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Time for action

When you have been with your partner for some time, as I have, you get to a point where sometimes you say things a little too bluntly.

Just last week my darling husband looked me up and down and declared I was the fattest he’d ever known me. Charming. I had felt it too of course, but Chris underlined it.

Admittedly the trousers are feeling a little snug and the tummy is creating the ‘muffin top’ that all women try to avoid, but I refuse to go up a size. I think my recent lack of any fat-burning exercise since missing out on training for the ‘Race for Life’ this year and our over-productive blackberry bush have helped me reach this point.

Fruit Crumble from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery | 2012 editionThere have been quite a few home-made crumbles and pies this past few weeks, including the delicious Fruit Crumble in the new Dairy Book of Home Cookery.


Time for action! So, I have squeezed myself back into my jogging pants and been for two runs this week, and it didn’t feel bad.

On Tuesday night when I went out I had decided to challenge myself to run, no walking, all the way back home, about 2km. Halfway along the gently downhill road a progression of Hell’s Angels bikers started deliberately slowing down as they neared me. ‘Here we go’, I thought, ‘I’m in for some abuse…’ as the leader stopped I couldn’t avoid taking my headphones out and coming to a standstill.

‘Do you know where Loxley is?’ he asked. Phew! Just directions, and directions I knew the answer to at that. It was such a relief. As I plugged back in and got my tired legs moving again they all cordially gave me a nod of thanks as they rumbled away.

Chris loved this story when I regaled it to him, as we both sat devouring our blackberry crumbles… well, it was the last of the season so I could hardly refuse!

Keep fit!

Karen Perry
Dairy Diary Team

P.s. Fruit Crumble is a favourite with all the family. Serve with real custard sauce for the ultimate comforting dessert.





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Fruit Crumble with variations

Fruit Crumble from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery | 2012 edition

A favourite with all the family. Served with real custard a good crumble is a wonderful thing.

Serves 6
Preparation 25 mins
Cooking 1 hr
Per portion 307 kcals, 11g fat (6.6g saturated)
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

900g (2lb) cooking apples, rhubarb, gooseberries, damsons, plums, blackberries or red or blackcurrants
75–110g (3–4oz) granulated sugar, depending on sharpness of fruit
175g (6oz) plain flour
75g (3oz) butter
50g (2oz) caster sugar

1 Prepare fruit, slicing any large pieces. Put into a 1.25 litre (2 pint) ovenproof dish in layers with granulated sugar.

2 Cover with foil and bake at 190°C (375°F) Mark 5 for 15 minutes.

3 Sift flour into a bowl. Rub butter into flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in caster sugar.

4 Sprinkle crumble evenly over fruit. Press down lightly, then smooth top with a knife.

5 Reduce oven to 180°C (350°F) Mark 4 and bake for a further 45 minutes or until top is light brown.


Oaty Fruit Crumble
Follow recipe and method for Fruit Crumble. For the crumble topping mix together wholemeal flour, brown sugar and 25g (1oz) porridge oats with the butter.

Ginger Fruit Crumble 
Follow recipe and method for Fruit Crumble. For the crumble topping use demerara
sugar instead of caster sugar and add 1 tsp ground ginger.

Crispy Lemon Crumble
Follow recipe and method for Fruit Crumble. Add grated rind of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp crushed cornflakes to crumble topping.

Recipe taken from The Dairy Book 0f Home Cookery | 2012 edition

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Tomatoes, herbs and busy bees

Just had our first tomatoes from the garden. This year we found a small bush variety rather than the tall plants that need support – Sweet ‘n’ Neat they’re called and they live up to their name.

Delicious and very tidy! The label says each plant produces about 60 fruits – the small cherry type – so that’ll keep us going for a while. You can cook them, or use them in recipes, but they’re so good just off the bush I don’t suppose any of them will make it that far.

Nutty Pesto Tomatoes recipe
If you’re growing bigger tomatoes, there’s a great sounding recipe in Just One Pot (my current favourite recipe book – full of good ideas, especially cutting down on the washing-up!) – Nutty Pesto Tomatoes on page 130. Might have to buy some big toms to try that one.

All the herbs we planted in May are going great guns, too.

I never thought the oregano would take off like it has, and the silver thyme is so pretty.

Both are in flower and attracting honey bees. I suppose that means someone hereabouts has hives – can’t imagine where, since this is a suburban area of terraced houses with small gardens. The allotments are a quarter of an hour’s walk away – which is possibly not far as the bee flies, so maybe that’s the answer. Anyway, it’s very pleasing as we keep hearing about how numbers of honey bees are declining. Must keep my eye out for locally produced honey.

Have a good week.

Dairy Diary Team


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Nutty Pesto Tomatoes

Big juicy tomatoes with a crunchy pesto-infused filling.

Nutty Pesto TomamatoesPreparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
Calories per portion 407 Kcal
Fat per portion 26g
of which saturated 6.5g
Serves 4
Suitable for vegetarians

Beef tomatoes 4
Ciabatta rolls 2
Green pesto sauce 180g jar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil 3 tbsp
Pine nuts 2 tbsp

Halve the tomatoes horizontally then carefully scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Place the tomato shells in a roasting tin.

2 Tear the ciabatta into pieces. Put into a food processor and whizz to coarse crumbs. Add the crumbs and pesto to the tomato flesh and mix thoroughly, seasoning to taste.

3 Spoon the tomato mixture into the shells, then drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of pine nuts.

4 Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until the tomatoes are softened and the topping is golden. Serve immediately.

Cook’s tip
This simple recipe is only as good as the tomatoes, so buy those that are still on the vine for the best flavour.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot.

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Entertaining the kids in the summer holidays

So, the summer holidays are upon us again.

For people with no children this means everywhere is much more annoyingly busier. For us with children, we have to find lots of things to do to keep those immortal words ‘I’m bored’ at bay.

Working from home I can afford to take not quite so much work on over the next six weeks, so my children will be visiting holiday clubs just two days every week. Leaving me with another five to fill.

A holiday planner is already up on the wall with all the big booked-in events written in: the week at their Nan’s caravan in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, the morning going to look after and ride a pony, the cinema trip, the visit to The Deep aquarium and the play centre visit with cousin Emma.

However, there are still a lot of days when I need to think of something to enable us to turn the television off for a few hours: that’s the curse of having too many children’s channels!

Hidden away upstairs I have a few craft kits from the very child friendly Buttonbag company.
If I can keep my patience perhaps we can make knight peg people and put on a show one day? Perhaps we can sew a little felt mouse each without too many pricked fingers? Perhaps I can bear the mess of making my own papier mache again and make some balloon masks?

And most definitely we should get out some of their old-fashioned board games to play.

Just this weekend we were housebound due to the rain so the ‘Junior Monopoly’ came out. And do you know what? It was really great. Better than playing on the Wii. It had been so long since we’d last played it that I was surprised to find my six year old Finley could read the instructions himself, and my four year old daughter Elena could recognise the numbers on the money. Fun and educational!


Seeded Tomato Scones | A Dairy Diary recipeThen, of course, there is always some baking that can be done.
Two chairs squeezed in side by side into my tiny kitchen as we all take turns to weigh and mix. The great thing about the recipes in the Dairy Diary is that they aren’t too long or complicated, so with my young helpers to hand I may well give the Tomato Scones from the 2011 Dairy Diary, page 87 a go.

There’s nothing they like more than getting messy hands and being able to use a rolling pin. And of course the results are bound to beat ‘boring’ old sandwiches.

Good luck.

Karen Perry
Dairy Diary Team


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Tomato Scones

Simply irresistible, serve hot from the oven with a little cheese

Seeded Tomato Scones | A Dairy Diary recipeMakes 12
Time 20 mins
Calories 133 per portion
Fat 5g of which 2.7g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Self-raising flour 275g (10oz)
Salt ¼ tsp
Butter 50g (2oz)
Dried basil 1 tsp
Tomato purée 1 tbsp
Milk 275ml (9fl oz)
Egg 1, beaten
Sesame seeds 1-2 tbsp
Cherry tomatoes and Cheddar cheese to serve, optional

1 Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Place flour and salt in a bowl. Rub butter into flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2 Add basil, tomato purée and milk and half of the egg and mix to a soft but not sticky dough.

3 Roll out on a floured work surface into a rectangular shape about 2cm (¾in) thick and cut into 12 x 5cm
(2in) squares.

4 Place on a greased baking sheet, brush tops with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 10 minutes or until well risen and golden.

Serve with tomatoes and cheese, if using.

A Dairy Diary recipe.

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