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5 Positive Things to Do

Positive Thinking

I’m not sure if positive thinking is a learned behaviour…

or if it’s within our genetic make-up, maybe a bit of both. I’m lucky (I think) to be a natural optimist, but my parents did teach me to notice and focus on the beauty around me – from a stunning rainbow to a simple pattern of raindrops on a window pane, and I think that this appreciation of small things makes me more prone to positivity.

It does us all good to step back once in a while and have a think. An article on positive thinking in this year’s Dairy Diary says this:

‘A step towards positive thinking is to take time to appreciate life in general, and your own life in particular. Remember to stop and smell the roses – that may be a well-worn notion but it works.

‘Some people call it living in the moment, becoming aware of everything around you – sights, smells, sounds, tastes, your feelings, yourself. Focus on things as they are at that moment, accept them without judgement, and you will start to see things you have taken for granted in a new light.’

 

Here are 5 things that we can all do this week to help us feel more positive.

  1. Pay someone a compliment; if you think notice someone wearing a pretty dress, doing a good job or being kind, tell them, even if it’s a stranger. It will make them feel good and you feel good too.

  2. Look for beauty in nature; from the dew on a flower to an early misty morning or even birdsong, there’s always something you can find, notice and appreciate.

  3. Find somewhere quiet and concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes. Breathe in slowly, hold for a count of six, breathe out slowly. Feel the sensation of breathing.

  4. Sometimes we so used to being surrounded by negativity that we hardly notice it. Take a few days break from TV; the news, documentaries or even soaps can make us feel very downcast. Listen to some music that you love instead.

  5. Do a little good turn. Something simple like baking a cake for a friend or a neighbour. Why not try the Dairy Diary recipe below. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Raspberry & Macadamia Cake

  • Servings: 10 slices
  • Time: 90 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 368 per portion
Fat 25g (11g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Ingredients

  • Macadamia nuts 125g (4½oz)
  • Light brown sugar 50g (2oz)
  • Caster sugar 110g (4oz)
  • Unsalted butter 175g (6oz), softened
  • Eggs 2
  • Almond extract a few drops
  • Self-raising flour 150g (5oz), sifted
  • Raspberries 200g (7oz)
  • Milk 2 tbsp
  • Demerara sugar 1 heaped tbsp

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/Gas 4. Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
  2. Whizz macadamia nuts in a food processor until finely ground.
  3. Beat together brown sugar, caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs and almond extract then fold in flour and nuts. When combined, gently fold in raspberries and milk.
  4. Pour cake mixture into prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes (you may need to cover with foil). Remove from oven, scatter with demerara sugar and return to oven for 5 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in tin.

 

A Dairy Diary recipe.

 

#positivethinking

#baking

#cake

Recipe of the Week: St George’s Steak & Ale Pies

 

Recipe of the Week: St George’s Steak & Ale Pies

Celebrate St George’s Day with one of these scrumptious little pies.

 

St George’s Steak & Ale Pies

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 961 per portion
Fat 61g (25.3g sat) per portion
Suitable for freezing

Ingredients

  • Olive oil 3 tbsp
  • Onion 1, peeled and chopped
  • Rindless unsmoked back bacon 4 rashers, chopped
  • Carrots 2, peeled and sliced
  • Braising steak 700g (1½lb)
  • Flour 2 tbsp
  • Pale ale 1 x 500ml bottle
  • Beef stock 300ml (½ pint)
  • Dried mixed herbs ½ tsp
  • Puff pastry 500g
  • Egg 1, beaten

Instructions

  1. 1 Heat half the oil in a large pan and cook onion for 5 minutes. Add bacon and cook for 3 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Toss beef in flour and brown in remaining oil. Return onion mix to pan and mix well, then pour in ale and stock. Add herbs and bring up to boil, stirring. Partially cover and cook gently for 2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Divide meat between four individual pie dishes. Cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Divide pastry into four. Roll each out 4cm (1½in) bigger than dish. For each Pie: Cut a strip of pastry for rim of the dish and attach with water. Press pastry onto dish. Trim excess and knock back edges. Glaze with egg and make a small hole. Set on a tray and bake for 30-40 minutes.

 

A Dairy Diary recipe.

 

#stgeorgesday

Recipe of the Week | Lamb Crown Roast

Lamb Crown Roast

This show-stopping lamb dish will be sure to impress on Easter Sunday.

Lamb Crown Roast

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 90 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 429 per portion
Fat 30g (13g sat) per portion

Ingredients

  • Racks of lamb 2, with 6–8 cutlets each
  • Butter 50g (2oz)
  • Onion 1 large, peeled and chopped
  • Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Celery 3 sticks, sliced
  • Dried apricots 50g (2oz), chopped
  • Dried cherries 50g (2oz), chopped
  • Pistachio nuts 50g (2oz), chopped
  • Fresh breadcrumbs 110g (4oz)
  • Chopped mint 3 tbsp
  • Lemon 1, grated zest and juice
  • Egg 1, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Steamed new potatoes and vegetables to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°fan/Gas 6.
  2. Bend the racks to form a crown, fat side inward, and secure with string.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and celery for about 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the chopped apricots, cherries, pistachios, breadcrumbs, mint, lemon zest and juice, egg and seasoning. Leave to cool slightly, then fill the crown centre.
  4. Weigh the filled crown, then transfer to a roasting tin, cover with foil and roast, allowing 15 minutes per 450g (1lb), plus 15 minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before carving. Serve with new potatoes and a selection of vegetables, if you like.

Cook’s tip
To make gravy, transfer the lamb to a warm plate and keep hot. Pour off any fat to leave the juices then stir in 2 tbsp plain flour, cook briefly then stir in 300ml (½ pint) lamb stock, 150ml (¼ pint) dry white wine and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Season, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes then strain into a gravy boat and serve.

 

5 Favourite Easter Recipes

Easter gives us the perfect excuse to get together with friends and family and enjoy some quality time.

Try one or two of these delicious recipes – they’re sure to meet with your guests’ approval.

 

Baked Salmon recipe

Often informal gatherings are the best. Serve a couple of salads, some buttered new potatoes and this gorgeous salmon for an effortlessly delicious lunch.

Baked Salmon

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 465 per portion
Fat 35g (11g sat) per portion

Ingredients

  • Salmon fillets 4, each approx. 150g (5oz), skin removed
  • Lemon ½, juice only
  • Fresh dill 15g (½oz)
  • Butter 20g (¾oz)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cucumber ½, thinly sliced
  • White wine vinegar 2 tbsp
  • Caster sugar 1 tsp
  • Chives 15g (½oz), finely snipped
  • Chopped watercress 2 tbsp, plus sprigs to garnish
  • Soft cheese 110g (4oz)
  • Light mayonnaise 2 tbsp
  • Steamed new potatoes to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/Gas 4. Line a large baking tray with foil.
  2. Place the salmon fillets on the foil, drizzle with the lemon juice, sprinkle with a little torn dill, dot with the butter and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Enclose the salmon in the foil then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is even in colour when pressed with a knife.
  4. Meanwhile, add the cucumber slices to a bowl with the vinegar, sugar and a little salt and pepper. Reserve a few more dill sprigs for garnish, chop the rest and add half to the cucumber and the remainder to a second bowl. Add half the chives to the cucumber and the rest to the second bowl. Gently toss the cucumber together and set aside.
  5. Add the chopped watercress, soft cheese and mayonnaise to the bowl of herbs and stir together until well mixed. Spoon into a serving bowl.
  6. Stir the cucumber once more then spoon onto a large shallow platter. Arrange the cooked salmon on top then garnish with the watercress sprigs. Serve with the sauce and new potatoes, if using.

Cook’s tips
Thick cut pieces of smoked cod loin could also be cooked in the same way in the foil then served with the sauce on a bed of stir-fried or microwaved spinach.

 

Lamb Crown Roast

This show-stopping lamb dish will be sure to impress on Easter Sunday.

Lamb Crown Roast

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 90 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 429 per portion
Fat 30g (13g sat) per portion

Ingredients

  • Racks of lamb 2, with 6–8 cutlets each
  • Butter 50g (2oz)
  • Onion 1 large, peeled and chopped
  • Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Celery 3 sticks, sliced
  • Dried apricots 50g (2oz), chopped
  • Dried cherries 50g (2oz), chopped
  • Pistachio nuts 50g (2oz), chopped
  • Fresh breadcrumbs 110g (4oz)
  • Chopped mint 3 tbsp
  • Lemon 1, grated zest and juice
  • Egg 1, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Steamed new potatoes and vegetables to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°fan/Gas 6.
  2. Bend the racks to form a crown, fat side inward, and secure with string.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and celery for about 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the chopped apricots, cherries, pistachios, breadcrumbs, mint, lemon zest and juice, egg and seasoning. Leave to cool slightly, then fill the crown centre.
  4. Weigh the filled crown, then transfer to a roasting tin, cover with foil and roast, allowing 15 minutes per 450g (1lb), plus 15 minutes. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before carving. Serve with new potatoes and a selection of vegetables, if you like.

Cook’s tip
To make gravy, transfer the lamb to a warm plate and keep hot. Pour off any fat to leave the juices then stir in 2 tbsp plain flour, cook briefly then stir in 300ml (½ pint) lamb stock, 150ml (¼ pint) dry white wine and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Season, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes then strain into a gravy boat and serve.

 

Strawberry Puffs recipe

A favourite of our Divisional Manager, this creamy pastries are a real treat.

Strawberry Puffs

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 40 minutes plus cooling
  • Print

Calories 356 per portion
Fat 25g (14g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians

Ingredients

  • Ready-rolled puff pastry 320g pack
  • Icing sugar 50g (2oz), plus 1 tbsp, plus extra to dust
  • Mascarpone 250g (9oz)
  • Fromage frais 200g (7oz)
  • Lemon 1, grated zest and juice
  • Strawberries 450g (1lb)
  • Caster sugar 25g (1oz)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°fan/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Roll out the pastry to about 36 x 23cm (14 x 9in), then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of icing sugar. Cut into 16 equal-size rectangles. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until risen and golden. Cut into two lengthways and leave to cool.
  3. Mix together the mascarpone, fromage frais, 50g (2oz) icing sugar and the lemon zest. Chop one third of the strawberries and stir into the mascarpone.
  4. Put the remaining strawberries in a food processor with the caster sugar and lemon juice and whizz to a purée, then sieve.
  5. Sandwich four pastries with three layers of the mascarpone mixture. Repeat to make eight puffs. Drizzle each serving plate with the strawberry coulis, add a strawberry puff, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Cook’s tips
Vary the fruits depending on what’s in season; autumn blackberries with a little chopped fresh mint, or forced rhubarb mixed with frozen strawberries in early spring.

 

Dairy Diary Favourites CookbookAll of these recipes are taken from our iconic cookbook; Dairy Diary Favourites, which is available to buy here for just £8.25.

Use the code DDPR and you can get free P&P (a little Easter treat from us).

 

 

Simnel Cake recipe

A classic for Easter.

Simnel Cake

  • Servings: 11
  • Time: 30 mins prep, 2¼ hours cooking
  • Print

Calories 722 per portion
Fat 30g (13.2g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians

Ingredients

  • Butter 250g (9oz), softened
  • Light muscovado sugar 250g (9oz)
  • Eggs 4
  • Plain flour 300g (11oz)
  • Baking powder 1 tsp
  • Ground mixed spice 2 tsp
  • Ground almonds 50g (2oz)
  • Luxury dried mixed fruit 500g (1lb 2oz)
  • Lemon 1, finely grated zest and 2 tbsp juice
  • White marzipan 500g (1lb 2oz)
  • Apricot glaze or sieved apricot jam 2 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 and line a 20cm (8in) cake tin with baking parchment.
    Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour along with each egg. Sift in the remaining flour, baking powder and spice and fold the almonds, dried fruit and lemon zest and juice into the mixture. Spoon half into the cake tin and smooth the surface level.
  2. Roll out one third of the marzipan until it’s a circle, just smaller than the cake tin, and lay it on top of the mixture in the tin. Spoon the remaining mixture over the top and level the surface.
  3. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 2–2¼ hours, or until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the cake. Cover with a sheet of baking parchment if it starts to brown. When cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool.
  4. Remove the cake from the tin and peel away the lining paper. Spread the apricot glaze or jam over the top. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan to fit the top of the cake. Place it on the cake and smooth down, taking care not to trap any air pockets underneath. Pinch around the edges.
  5. Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 pieces and roll each into a ball. Brush a little apricot glaze or jam onto the base of each and evenly space around the top of the cake. Place under a hot grill to brown the marzipan lightly. Remove from the grill and leave to cool before serving.

Cook’s tips
The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
If you have a choice of marzipan, choose white marzipan, which has a more natural flavour than golden marzipan.

 

 Chocolate Lolipos

Looking for something to make with little ones? These ‘sheepish’ chocolate lollies are great fun. 

 

Chocolate Lolipops

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 45 mins plus setting
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 231 per portion
Fat 12g (7.4g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians

Ingredients

  • White chocolate 200g bar, chopped
  • Lollipop sticks 8
  • Giant chocolate buttons 10-11
  • White mini marshmallows 50g (2oz)
  • Black and pink gel food colour to decorate

Instructions

  1. 1 Using the base of a mug, draw eight circles on a sheet of baking paper. Turn over paper and weight each corner.
  2. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.
  3. Spoon chocolate onto drawn circles. Place a lollipop stick onto each, turning once to coat. Place a button onto each circle near stick and snip remaining buttons into ear shapes and place one on each side of each button. Snip marshmallows in half with scissors and gently push into chocolate in concentric circles. Use gel to create eyes and mouth. Leave to set.

 

#EasterRecipe

#delicious

Best Ever Family Recipes: Country Beef Bake

 

Country Beef Cake

This comforting bake is a winner with all the family.

I do have to finely chop the onion and mushrooms so they go unnoticed, but the children love to help make (and eat) it!

 

Country Beef Bake

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: Prep 20 mins, Cooking 55 mins
  • Print

Calories 458 per portion
Fat 22g (11.6g sat) per portion
Suitable for freezing

Ingredients

  • 450g (1lb) lean minced beef 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 110g (4oz) mushrooms, wiped and sliced
  • 198g can sweetcorn with peppers
  • 225ml (8fl oz) beef stock
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 40g (1½oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 40g (1½oz) Double Gloucester cheese, grated
  • 450g (1lb) Mashed Potato

Instructions

  1. Dry fry mince in a non-stick frying pan until browned. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sweetcorn, stock and herbs. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Top up with stock if neccessary.
  2. Transfer to an ovenproof dish. Mix together cheeses and stir half into the mashed potato. Spoon on top of meat. Sprinkle remaining cheese over potato. Bake at 190°C (375°F) Mark 5 for 30 minutes.

 

Dairy Book of Home CookeryThis recipe is taken from the iconic #DairyBookofHomeCookery.

This best-selling family cookery bible is available to buy online here.

Please feel free to share your family favourites; the more the merrier (use #BestEverFamilyRecipes).

 

#BestEverFamilyRecipes

#Family

#Delicious

Recipe of the Week: Decadent Red Velvet Cake

This recipe needs specialist cake decorator’s food colouring, but wow is it worth it!

What a showstopper! And perfect for Mothering Sunday.

P.S. Don’t forget to put your clocks forward this evening.

 

 

Decadent Red Velvet Cake

Decadent Red Velvet Cake

Decadent Red Velvet Cake

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: Time 1¾ hrs
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 500 per portion
Fat 29g (18g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter 475g (1lb 1oz)
  • Caster sugar 250g (9oz)
  • Eggs 3 large, separated
  • Vanilla extract 2 tsp
  • White wine vinegar 1 tsp
  • Specialist cake decorator’s red food colouring paste 1 tsp
  • Cocoa powder 1½ tbsp
  • Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
  • Self-raising flour 275g (10oz)
  • Buttermilk 284ml pot
  • Icing sugar 425g (15oz)
  • Full fat soft cheese 180g tub

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/Gas 4. Grease and line a round deep 20cm (8in) tin.
  2. In a large bowl cream together 250g (9oz) butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla, vinegar and colouring. Sift in cocoa, bicarbonate and half the flour, then mix in half the buttermilk.
  3. Mix in remaining flour and buttermilk. In a separate bowl whisk egg whites until foamy then fold into cake mixture.
  4. Spoon into tin and bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin until cold.
  5. Level top and cut in half horizontally, reserving crumbs. Beat together icing sugar, remaining butter and cheese. Use to sandwich cake together and spread around sides and top. Sprinkle with cake crumbs.

 

#motheringsunday

#mothersday

#tripletested

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