Monthly Archives: February 2020

Happy Leap Day!

Happy Leap Day

30 days has September,
April, June and November.
All the rest have 31,
except February alone,
which has 28 days clear,
and 29 each leap year.

Who learned that little ditty at school? Even now, I still recite it in my head when checking diary proofs (yes, honestly!)

And here we are on day 29. The day when women who rather fancy their other halves as husband material may propose. This ‘right’ to propose on 29th February each leap year goes back hundreds of years when Leap Day had no recognition in English law; the day was ‘leapt over’ and ignored, hence the term ‘leap year’.

It was decided that the day had no legal status, meaning that a break in tradition on this day was acceptable. Thankfully, nowadays, we can propose whenever we like, Leap Day or otherwise.



Baked Onion SoupIf you’re not busy proposing today, bake this absolutely delicious recipe. I know a baked soup sounds bizarre, but trust me, it’s worth it. Perfect Saturday lunch fayre.

This recipe is from our Cook it Slowly! cookbook, which is packed full of flavoursome recipes perfect for making ahead.

Baked Onion Soup








It’s Shrove Tuesday tomorrow

Lemon & White Chocolate Pancake Pops

Pancakes, as we would recognise them today, date back to Roman times

But a type of pancake is actually thought to originate in Stone Age times, more than 30 thousand years’ ago!

Shrove Tuesday (tomorrow), sometimes referred to as Pancake (or Jif Lemon!) Day, is the traditional feast day that precedes Ash Wednesday. It was, and still is to some, customary to fast from Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent) and so it was essential to use up ingredients, such as flour, eggs and milk, which also have religious symbolism.

Pancakes provide the perfect recipe for such ingredients and have been eaten on this day for centuries.

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, and so it moves date annually.

Us Brits have many unusual traditions and pancakes races are amongst them. The Olney Pancake Race is the most famous of these.  In years gone by, the ‘pancake’ or shriving bell’ would have been rung to summon people to church on Shrove Tuesday. Legend has it that one cook in Olney was in such a rush to get to her place of worship that she ran to church still clutching her frying pan. Today, competitors dress up in a skirt, headscarf and apron and dash to the finish line complete with frying pan and pancake.

If you fancy a rather more leisurely Shrove Tuesday, why not try making this recipe from the 2020 Dairy Diary? It’s a lot easier!


Lemon & White Chocolate Pancake Pops




I wonder, over the past 50 years, how many people have eaten pancakes made using the Dairy Book of Home Cookery recipe?

How many children scampered home from school eager for tea, excited it was Pancake Day, to be greeted by a perfect pancake cooked from this iconic book?

Failsafe Pancake recipe

This is the perfect pancake recipe with variations for Chilli Pancakes and Crêpes Suzette.






Recipe of the Week: Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Bright pink forced rhubarb brings welcome colour and flavour to our bowls this month.

Predominantly grown in Yorkshire, and now with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, these rose-hued shoots are grown in the dark in large, warm and humid sheds.

You can even visit the Wakefield Rhubarb Festival this weekend to celebrate it in all its magenta glory.

Whilst I am partial to rhubarb in gin, this recipe is also absolutely delicious. Share with others as one of your Random Acts of Kindness  this week.

Try it soon!

Rhubarb Crumble Cake





Cook it Slowly! cookbook openThis recipe is from our superb Cook it Slowly cookbook, which is packed with flavoursome dishes, slowly cooked to perfection.

Now available for just £8.75.








Random Acts of Kindness Day

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Apart from the usual chores, my children have just two rules; the first of which is BE KIND.


It’s something that we should all try to do, each and every day.


Be kind whenever possible.
It’s always possible.
Dalai Lama


We’re so busy, that even though the intention is there, it can get forgotten. That’s why I love the idea of Random Acts of Kindness Day (today).

It reminds us to do something special for someone, just because it’s a nice thing to do.

Win a bouquetThere are a million and one different ways of showing kindness today. But to start you off, here’s something really quick that you can do.

Click here and nominate someone you know who deserves a treat. We will pick a winner at random to receive a stunning bouquet of flowers.


For more inspiration visit the Random Acts Of Kindness website.





Feel-Good Food

Shaoxing Pulled Pork

Recipe of the Week: Shaoxing Pulled Pork

Still ensconced in the depths of winter; now’s the time for mood-enhancing activities. With the short days and the cold, it’s easy to feel a little blue.

The tonic for this? Food, fresh air, friends and family.

Prepare a delicious, slow-cooked creation to pop in the oven or the slow cooker.

Wrap up warm (wear a really cheery scarf!), invite friends and/or family to join you on a winter walk. Revel in their company, laugh out loud and enjoy any new signs of life that nature reveals on your ramble.

Then come home to the aroma of this gorgeous recipe.

Shaoxing Pulled Pork




Cook it Slowly! cookbook

Taken from our Cook it Slowly Cookbook, which is packed full of flavoursome recipes perfect for making ahead.

Take a closer look.









Valentine’s Day with a Difference plus Win a Gorgeous Bouquet

Happy Valentine's Day

Never too old for love

Valentine’s Day gives us the perfect excuse to show how much we care – may it be a partner, friend or even children.

We don’t have to go for the cliched three-course candlelit dinner, however, why not do something different together instead?

I’m going to bake some goodies and tackle a beautiful fell with my loved ones.

One of the best feelings ever is to sit atop a peak, admiring the view with the people I cherish (eating something rather delicious is pretty high on my list of loves too!!)

These two scrummy recipes are taken from our brilliant Cook it Slowly cookbook.

Valentines Day recipes

Cheddar & Veg Pasties

Blueberry & Orange Loaf


Win a bouquetWin a gorgeous bouquet for your loved one!

Nominate a loved one who you think deserves a treat, and if your entry is chosen, we will send them a gorgeous bouquet.


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