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The importance of breakfast

Did you know it’s Farmhouse Breakfast Week?

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and demonstrate the variety on offer.

With one in four people regularly skipping breakfast, the challenge for the nation is to re-think the morning routine. For further information see http://www.shakeupyourwakeup.com/

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.Breakfast is so important

When you wake up your energy reserves are low. What you choose to eat at breakfast affects your mood, physical and mental performance, weight and your general and long-term health.

If you miss breakfast you are likely to get hungry mid-morning and grab a snack that is high in calories and fat but low in nutrients and fibre.

Studies show that children who regularly eat a cereal based breakfast are healthier and less likely to be overweight. In fact teenagers who ate breakfast cereals more than five times a week weighed less, had a smaller waist size and lower blood sugar levels than those who rarely ate cereal.

But it is not just children that perform less well if they miss breakfast, other studies show that adults who ate breakfast tended to work faster, made fewer mistakes in logic tests and had better memory recall compared with breakfast skippers.

Research among adults shows that people who eat breakfast are more likely to be within the ideal weight range than people who skip breakfast.

So I won’t be skipping breakfast again! I do enjoy muesli and fruit, but at the weekend I often fancy something a little different. Eggs Florentine is a favourite – hearty, healthy and very quick to prepare.

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Eggs Florentine

A deliciously healthy variation on simple bacon and eggs.

Eggs Florentine from Hearty & Healthy Dairy CookbookWhite wine vinegar 2 tsp
Eggs 4
Baby spinach leaves 225g pack
Leek 1 large
Smoked bacon 4 rashers
Low fat natural fromage frais 4 tbsp
Ground nutmeg ¼ tsp

1 Half fill a deep frying pan with water and add the vinegar. Bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Carefully break the eggs into the pan and cook for 5–6 minutes (or until cooked to your liking), occasionally spooning the water over the yolks to cook them evenly. Remove from the heat and keep warm in the water until ready to serve.

2 Meanwhile, rinse the spinach and pack into a saucepan without drying. Trim the leek and split lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water to flush out any trapped earth, and then shake well to remove excess water. Shred finely and mix into the spinach. Cover and place over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes until wilted.

3 Preheat the grill to hot and grill the bacon rashers until cooked, turning once.

4 Meanwhile, drain the spinach and leek by pressing against the side of a colander or sieve to remove as much liquid as possible, and return to the saucepan. Stir in the fromage frais and nutmeg and add seasoning to taste.

5 To serve, divide the spinach between two warm serving plates. Drain the eggs using a slotted spoon and place two on top of each pile. Dust with extra nutmeg and black pepper, if liked, and serve immediately with slices of hot toast and grilled smoked bacon.

Cook’s tip
Spinach might look bulky when its fresh, but it wilts and reduces in size very quickly when cooked. Its flavour is intense, which is why some fromage frais stirred into the cooked spinach works so well.

Recipe taken from Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook

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Competition winner

Congratulations to Mrs Smith of Chicester, who wins £250 worth of M&S vouchers.

A warm thank you to everyone who entered the Dairy Diary M&S voucher competition. I am sure Mrs Smith will enjoy her shopping trip to M&S.

Don’t forget we have a competition every fortnight here at Dairy Diary Chat. And there’s still time to enter…

Win a Dairy Diary Address BookWin a Dairy Diary Address Book

Start 2011 afresh with a brand new Dairy Diary Address Book. With 12 tabbed sections for family and friends, a section for emergencies and services plus tradesmen’s business cards you can keep everything at your fingertips.

Enter now!

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Sustainable Mackerel

Did you watch Hugh’s Fish Fight on Channel 4?

I watched it with my 12 year son and we found it both fascinating and disturbing. Surely all that waste can’t be acceptable?

He has signed up to the campaign, fishfight.net, and insisted that all five of us did so too!

Will the series change your fish buying habits? How do you feel about farmed salmon being coloured to supermarket specifications?

I think we will be eating a lot more mackerel in future and looking to buy organically farmed salmon where possible.

So we will be cooking this quick and easy Mackerel with Lime and Caper Sauce recipe this week – and I’ll ask my fishmonger to fillet the mackerel.

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Mackerel with lime and caper sauce and crushed potatoes

Delicious and nutritious ready in less than 30 minutes.

Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
Calories per portion 609 Kcal
Fat per portion 45gof which saturated 18g
Serves 1

Small potatoes 4, scrubbed
Butter 25g (1oz)
Mackerel 1, filleted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lime 1, grated zest and juice
Capers 1 tbsp, drained and roughly chopped
Spring onions 2–3, trimmed, washed and sliced

1 Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to the boil and add the small potatoes. Bring the water back to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook the potatoes for 15–18 minutes, or until they are tender.

2 Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Score the skin of the mackerel into a criss-cross pattern and season the flesh side of the fillets. Add the mackerel to the pan, skin-side down, and cook the fish for 2–3 minutes or until the skin starts to crisp, then turn the fillets over and cook for a further 1–2 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. Remove the fillets from the pan and add the lime zest and juice, capers and spring onions and cook over a low heat for 1–2 minutes. Season to taste.

3 Drain the potatoes well and then return them to the pan and use a spoon to crush them against the side of the pan until they split open.

4 Spoon the potatoes onto a serving plate and place the fish fillets on top. Pour over the lime and caper sauce, so that any juices will be absorbed into the potatoes, and serve immediately.

Shopper’s Tip
To save time preparing the recipe at home, ask the fishmonger to fillet the mackerel for you when you buy it.

Recipe taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two.

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New Year Resolutions

Did you make a New Year Resolution? Well, here we are in week two of 2011 and I am struggling already.

Not to keep my resolution, but to start it!

My resolution is to lose weight, get fit and eat healthily. Sound familiar?

The first problem is a house packed with chocolates, snacks and goodies left-over from Christmas – just too many temptations.

But I am starting today. All temptations will be banished to the back of the cupboards and only good healthy food will be bought. Hmmm… we’ll see how long that lasts!

Have you made a New Year Resolution? How’s it going? Do you have any tips to ensure success?

A good place to start is the Fit and Healthy feature in the new Dairy Diary.

Tonight I will prepare the fantastic Salmon and Ginger Fishcakes recipe from Good Food, Fast. Delicious, healthy and ready it just 30 minutes.

Win a Dairy Diary Address Book

Start 2011 afresh with a brand new Dairy Diary Address Book. With 12 tabbed sections for family and friends, a section for emergencies and services plus tradesmen’s business cards you can keep everything at your fingertips.

Enter now!

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