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Daffodils, Leeks and Bananas

Daffodils, leeks and bananas are to the fore this week.

For St David’s day on Tuesday, we won’t be having the traditional cawl, a kind of lamb stew with leeks and root vegetables, but only because we’re not meat eaters (or Welsh come to that!) but it’s nice to join in.

Maybe I’ll try a thick soup with all the vegetables and add some chilli to give it a bit of a kick or try the Welsh Leek Soup from Around Britain, Dairy Cookbook.

 

Fairtrade FortnightFairtrade Fortnight

We’ll probably be going overboard for bananas, as well as leeks. Bananas are always a hit in this house (especially with yogurt and honey!), but also Fairtrade fortnight kicks off on Wednesday. The official website has plenty of ideas for anyone wanting to join in the campaign to raise awareness. I’m quite taken with the idea of an inflatable banana – I had one once and it was a huge hit, and not just with kids!

Apparently, Fairtrade products and Fairmined gold are being considered for the royal wedding. There’s a petition to sign to help encourage it. I’m quite surprised they’re not going for Welsh gold, though.

 

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Welsh Leek Soup

Also known as cawl cennin, the word ‘cawl’ meaning broth.

Welsh Leek SoupPreparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes
Calories per portion – 140 Kcal
Fat per portion – 11g of which saturated – 6.5g
Serves – 6
Suitable for vegetarians (with vegetable stock)
Suitable for freezing

Butter 25g (1oz)
Onion 1, peeled and chopped
Potato 1, peeled and diced
Celery 2 sticks, chopped
Leeks 3, trimmed, sliced and washed
Stock, chicken or vegetable 900ml (1½ pints)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crème fraîche 6 tbsp (about half a tub) plus extra for serving
Chives to garnish

1 Heat the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, potato and celery. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

2 Add the leeks to the pan, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Add the stock and some seasoning and simmer, half-covered with the lid, for 20 minutes or until the potato is softened.

4 Ladle out about half the soup into a food processor and purée until fairly smooth. Pour the purée back into the pan with the rest of the soup and reheat with the crème fraîche. Add hot water to thin the soup a little more if you like.

5 Serve hot in warmed bowls, each garnished with a spoonful of crème fraîche and some snipped chives.

Cook’s tip
If you haven’t got crème fraîche, use double or single cream instead.

Recipe taken from Around Britain, Dairy Cookbook

 

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Celebrate National Dairy Week

National Dairy Week, 21 – 27 February, is here to highlight how important milk, cream, cheese, butter and yoghurt are to a healthy diet.

Milk helps to make strong bonesInteresting, but with two small children I have already learnt that any dairy-based food is popular with them.

From yorkshire puddings to pancakes; cheese sauces to custard; the more old-fashioned the recipe the more popular it seems.

Rice pudding is a family favourite when we haven’t got through our milk quota quite as quickly as normal. I usually use a recipe from the Just One Pot recipe book, but last month I spotted the Blueberry Rice recipe in the Dairy Diary. You have to boil the rice first – has anyone tried it yet? Is it as good as letting the pudding slowly cook in the oven?

Dare I deviate away from the predictable? Let’s all be brave and give a different dairy dish a go this week! Try Blueberry Rice today.

Karen
Dairy Diary Team

P.S. My milkman is a saint. Through the recent period of snow and ice, when no cars were travelling up or down our hill, he still delivered. He was the talk of the community was Mr John Hudson.

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Blueberry Rice

Delicious rice pudding that’s low in calories!

Blueberry Rice a Dairy Diary recipeServes 6
Time 1 hour 40 mins
Calories 168 per portion
Fat 5g of which 2.0g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Pudding rice 50g (2oz)
Eggs 3, beaten
Caster sugar 50g (2oz)
Vanilla essence ½ tsp
Milk 600ml (1 pint)
Dried blueberries 40g (1½oz)
Ground nutmeg pinch
Single cream to serve, optional

1 Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3. Cook rice in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain well.

2 Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla essence and milk together. Add blueberries and rice.

3 Pour into an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Stand in a baking dish containing enough hot water to come halfway up sides of dish. Bake for 1½ hours or until set. Serve with single cream, if using.

A Dairy Diary recipe

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Winter seems to be dragging on for too long – for those of us who love the sun!

Valentine's Day FlowersSo it was fantastic to see clumps of snowdrops and crocuses coming up together in a corner of the local park today.

Flowers may be at the forefront of many people’s minds just now, since good old Valentine left a note for his jailer’s daughter signed ‘Your Valentine’ and started the whole thing off.

That was in Roman times. Apparently, Valentine was a priest who fell foul of the Emperor Claudius for conducting marriage ceremonies between young soldiers and their beloveds. The Emperor preferred his legionnaires to remain single and focused on their fighting skills, undistracted by any notion of wedded bliss.

Well, that’s one theory anyway. Another is that it’s all based on a fertility festival in honour of the god Lupercus.

However it started, the Victorians really took hold of it, pretty cards came on to the market and now around a billion are sent out every year.

A special card, flowers and chocolates are all lovely to receive, of course. I wonder how many are really anonymous – not sure how that tradition came about.

Dinner in a restaurant is great, too, but usually an expensive treat on the day itself. A romantic dinner at home can be fun, too. Plenty of foods are thought of as aphrodisiacs – chocolate (naturally!), avocado, asparagus, salmon, chillies, figs, bananas and watermelon among them.

The Egyptians swore by radishes. And the smell of almond and vanilla does it for some people, allegedly. Well, they are gorgeous!

Best wishes

Marion
Dairy Diary Team

 

How about an irresistible Valentine’s Day dessert?

Try this wicked Tropical Ginger Creams recipe from Good Food, Fast – you can whip up in just 15 minutes? And we still have a few copies for sale at just £9.99. Click here to view pages.

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Tropical Ginger Creams

Forget about the calories – this dessert has a large helping of ‘the feel good’ factor.

Tropical Ginger CreamsTime 15 minutes
Calories per portion 509 Kcal
Fat per portion 34gof which saturated 18.2g
Serves 2
Suitable for vegetarians

Dark chocolate 50g (2oz), broken into small pieces
Boiling water 4 tbsp
Fresh pineapple 2 thick slices
Double cream 90ml (3fl oz)
Your favourite liqueur such as Grand Marnier, Kirsch, Rum or Brandy
Raspberries 12
Ginger biscuits 4, crushed

1 Put the chocolate into a small bowl, add the boiling water and stir until melted.

2 Using a large plain round pastry cutter (a little smaller than the pineapple slices), cut out the flesh from each slice. Then, using a small plain round pastry cutter, remove the hard woody core. Cut the pineapple into small pieces.

3 Pour the cream into a mixing bowl, add your chosen liqueur and whisk until the cream holds a soft, floppy peak. Then gently fold in the pineapple, taking care not to over mix, as the mixture will then be too stiff.

4 Spoon the cream into two large wine glasses, alternating layers of raspberries and the melted chocolate and sprinkling the crushed biscuits over the top before the final drizzle of melted chocolate. Serve immediately.

Recipe taken from Good Food, Fast

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