Monthly Archives: January 2021

Make the Perfect Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

Comfort food is a must in the current times

I, for one, have vowed to no more ‘New-Year-new-me’ declarations, which usually involves depriving myself of the things I love (which roughly translates to no chocolate).

Chocolate Brownies are one of
my absolute favourite treats.

This recipe from Fantastic Food For Less is foolproof; whenever I bake them the result is gorgeous, rich, gooey brownies. Perfectly served with classic vanilla ice cream.

They are relatively low in calories per portion too, so win-win!

Don’t miss your FREE Dairy Diary shopping bag

And for a very limited time only, with every Fantastic Food for Less you get a gorgeous Dairy Diary shopping bag worth £6.99 – completely free!

Free Shopping Bag

For more feel-good food take a look at our recipe collection here.

Emma Snow

Emma Snow

I am the Brand Executive for Dairy Diary. A passionate foodie (with a very sweet-tooth). Who likes to blog about all things DIY & scrumptious recipes.

Read more in the DAIRY DIARY BLOG

Burns Night Haggis Samosas

Haggis Samosas

It’s Burns Night this evening, which gives us (Scottish or not) the excuse to enjoy haggis


I have the confess that I didn’t actually try haggis until last year. What a revelation! I can’t believe I have been missing out all these years.

In this Dairy Diary recipe, the haggis is mixed with carrot and rice and encased in filo pastry to make these delicious samosas.

A twist on a classic – but a delicious one.

“Some hae meat and canna eat,
 And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.”


Haggis SamosasBurns Night
Haggis Samosas

A Dairy Diary recipe.



Burns Night celebrates the life and poetry of the Scottish poet Robert Burns.



Emily Davenport
Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Read more… 

Feel-Good Food

Braised Beef with Stilton Scones

If ever there was a time we needed feel-good food, it’s now

Food plays such an important role in nourishing and comforting us, and the art of cooking can be cathartic too.

This wintry dish of slow-cooked beef topped with cheesy scones is an absolute treat.

Braised Beef with Stilton SconesRecipe of the Week:
Braised Beef with Stilton Scones

Free Shopping BagThis recipe is taken from one of my favourite cookbooks, Fantastic Food for Less

This cookbook is all about cooking delicious meals more economically.

The recipes in it are really good and all are inexpensive to produce. Winner!

Don’t miss your FREE shopping bag!

And for a very limited time only, with every Fantastic Food for Less you get a gorgeous Dairy Diary shopping bag worth £6.99 – completely free!*

*Offer available while stocks last.

For more feel-good food take a look at our recipe collection 5 Feel-Good Recipes

Emily Davenport
Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Make your own natural dyes

NMake your own natural dyes

Who knew that you could make a dye from avocado stones?


Natural dyeing is back in fashion thanks to growing environmental concerns. Making your own colours at home with things you already have in your own kitchen cupboard is rewarding and perfect for keeping occupied during lockdown.

What exactly is natural dyeing, you might ask?

It’s a valid question given that many people’s experience with DIY dyeing is limited to childhood tie-dye experiments in a bucket or the rainbow rows of machine-washable Dylon packets found at the supermarket. 

As the name suggests, natural dyeing involves making coloured dyes from ingredients present in nature. Although a growing aversion to chemical products has put natural dyeing in the spotlight, the practice is actually an ancient one.

Before the invention of synthetic dyes in 1856, humans had been resourcefully brewing their own colours for hundreds of years.

These dyes were used to impart colour to household textiles and clothing. 

Throughout history there are numerous examples of people dyeing fabrics using local foodstuffs, plants and spices, producing an array of dazzling colours. In Asia, saffron was used to produce yellow. Closer to home, red was created from a dye extracted from the common madder plant. Lichen was used for purple and at the height of the English wool trade, woad was used for a brilliant blue. 

In industrial settings synthetic dyes are still used almost exclusively, but natural dyes continue to enjoy a quiet popularity among artists. As concern about industrial pollution grows, natural dyes are gaining appeal as a renewable resource with a low environmental footprint. 


Trying natural dyeing at home is easy and fun, and a great craft project to try with children during the school holidays. First, gather the materials you’ll use to make your colours. Refer to the list of common household ingredients and the colours they produce (see below) for inspiration. Some substances provide an unexpected surprise – who would have guessed avocado stones would produce such a gentle shade of rose?


When selecting items to dye, choose your fabrics carefully. Synthetic fabrics, such as nylon and polyester, cannot be dyed using natural dyeing methods. Stick to cotton, wool, silk or older linen (which will take the dye better than new).

Some plant dyes need a ‘mordant’ to make their colour last, while others (such as avocado stones and tea) contain natural tannins that help bond the colour to the fabric. The most widely available mordant is soya milk. Soak your fabric in the diluted milk a few days before you wish to dye it, then wash in the machine, air-dry and repeat the process twice more for best results. Plant dyes which require pre-mordanted fabric include onion skins and turmeric. 

Experiment with different foods and plants to see which colours you can create. Once you start, you’ll begin to see potential dyeing projects all around you – in kitchen scraps, unloved weeds, flowers, the tea cupboard… When it comes to natural dyes, the joy is in the experimentation. 

A rainbow of colours

Natural dyes

Dye substance   Colour produced
Avocado skins/stones Pale pink
Black beans Blue
Blackcurrants Purple
Brown onion skins Orange
Coffee grounds Brown
Daffodil heads Yellow
Walnuts Pale Pink
Hibiscus flowers Red
Red onion skins Yellow
Rooibos tea Peachy orange
Stinging nettles Green
Turmeric Yellow



Natural dying

DIY plant-dyes tea towel

Makes enough dye to colour 3-5 tea towels

You will need:
Rubber gloves
Large, deep saucepan or pot
4-6 avocado stones
Heatproof tongs or ladle
100% cotton or linen tea towels

  1. Put on the rubber gloves. Fill the pan or pot with water until two-thirds full.
  2. Add the avocado stones. Bring the water to a rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Simmer the water for 30-60 minutes until it turns bright red.
  4. Remove the stones with tongs or a ladle, then add the tea towels, keeping the liquid gently simmering.
  5. After 15-20 minutes, the tea towels should be a light, peachy shade of pink. Soak for a longer period to achieve a deeper shade of pink.
  6. When the tea towels reach the desired colour, use tongs to remove them from the pot. Rinse in warm water, then hang to dry out of direct sunlight.
  7. To preserve the colour of your tea towel, wash on a cold wash after use and do not dry in direct sunlight.

TIP Repurpose old textiles to make your tea towels. Try tired, white duvet covers or pillowcases.

This article is taken from Dairy Diary 2021.


Emily Davenport

Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Travel with your tastebuds

Cumberland Rum Nicky

One of my goals for 2020 was to travel to various cities and towns without stepping foot on an aeroplane


I wanted to explore the British Isles, discover regional food and learn about local traditions. Obviously, we weren’t able to do this, so I am hoping I can at least start my UK travels in 2021.

Top of my list is Cumbria – I have visited Bowness-on-Windermere and adored every second, I definitely want to return as soon as I can!

My passion to explore the UK was inspired by our popular cookbook Around Britain, which features this fabulous dessert.

Cumberland Rum Nicky is a classic dish from Cumberland in the Northwest of England and is packed full of dried fruit, ginger and rum.



Win a set of 4 Pastry Forks & Cakes PlatesPlus WIN a fabulous Portmeirion prize

You could try the Cumberland Rum Nicky recipe, regardless of where you call home – and serve it on your brand-new Sara Miller London Portmeirion Chelsea cake plates!

For a chance to win this set of pastry forks and cake plates, visit our competitions page. Or…






Emma Snow
Emma Snow

I am the Brand Executive for Dairy Diary. A passionate foodie (with a very sweet-tooth). Who likes to blog about all things DIY & scrumptious recipes.

Read more on the 

The Art of Calm

The art of calm

In many ways, our lives are more taxing than ever before, and in particular, the past year has put much more stress on us all


Making an effort to incorporate moments of calm into your day can have positive effects for mind and body, including enhanced concentration and contentment.

There’s no denying that modern life can be stressful. Faced with longer working hours and the magnetic tug of our smartphones, choosing calm in the midst of chaos can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task. In today’s technology-oriented society, it can be tricky to stay connected in the present. We are faced with a flood of information, whether in the form of news, television programmes, app notifications or messages from friends heralded by our buzzing smartphones. While being more connected than ever does have its benefits, it can also leave us aching for a quiet moment to ourselves.

It’s not the being calm itself that is difficult,
but remembering to slow down.

Should you find yourself stressed because you’ve taken on too much or your day has veered off course, taking a moment to gather your thoughts can be hugely beneficial for your state of mind. Opting to stay calm is a mindful act; a choice to be present and aware.

The best thing about adding mindful moments into your day is that over time, you will form a new habit. What’s more, it doesn’t have to mean retreating to a dark room to recite rounds of ‘om’. It can be as simple as you like and adapted around your routine so that it becomes as much a part of the day as the school run or boiling the kettle.

Just breathe

Paying attention to the breath is one of the simplest ways to introduce calm when your mind is racing. A round of deep breaths instantly slows the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight or flight response.

Set an alarm on your phone or computer for a time when you know you might be feeling swamped, like returning after lunch to a full inbox. Choose a calming tone – a bell or singing birds – to sound the alarm, and to differentiate it from the beeps of notifications. When the alarm chimes, inhale deeply for at least four breaths to relieve tension. As you breathe in, become aware of the sensations in your body. Exhale for four beats. Repeat regularly.

Listen deeply

Instead of focusing on your noisy thoughts, try concentrating on the sounds in your surroundings. Pay attention to whatever you can hear, noticing chirping birds or the white noise of the washing machine. Awakening this sense will lead you to notice the beauty in the present, in all its fullness.

Slowly does it

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can help to tackle each item on your to-do list in a conscious way by ‘mono-tasking’. Say to yourself: “I’m going to do the washing-up for 10 minutes” or “I’ll answer emails for 15 minutes”. This can bring order to what might seem like a never-ending list.

Go with the green

Spending time in nature relaxes the mind and body. Research has proven that just being among trees lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body and can have beneficial effects on blood pressure and heart rate. You don’t need to trek to your nearest forest to reap the benefits, either. Watering the plants or sipping your morning coffee outside can be just as soothing.


The art of calm

Use your imagination

Visualisation may sound a little out there if you’ve never tried it, but it can be a fantastic way to reduce stress. It is the practice of imagining yourself in a safe, peaceful state, in a place that makes you feel relaxed. The human mind is astonishingly powerful, and by visualising tranquillity you will start to invoke calming feelings in the body, relieving tension.

The power of visualisation has been backed by science as studies have found that the mere act of imagining creates new neural pathways. Set a 1-minute timer and imagine yourself in a place that makes you feel serene. Repeat throughout the day for best results.

Savour suppertime

Ever find yourself wolfing down dinner without really focusing on what you’re eating? Mealtimes, given how routinely they occur, offer a superb opportunity to practise slowing down. Switch off autopilot and take your time noticing the texture, flavours and aromas of your meal. Eating more slowly will also do wonders for your digestion.

Give yourself permission…

…to embrace imperfection. So much of the pressure we heap on ourselves is about reaching unattainable standards of perfection. You might be surprised to find there’s joy in the not-quite-perfect. The Japanese have a word for this – wabi-sabi – which realises that the only constants in life are the three ‘i’s: impermanence, imperfection and incompleteness.

Once we realise that nothing lasts and nothing can ever be perfect or ‘finished’, ourselves included, we free up our minds to focus on the present. And in so doing, adopting the art of calm suddenly feels much more achievable!


Emily Davenport
Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

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