Best Bonfire Night Recipes

Our three favourite Bonfire Night recipes


Butternut Squash Velouté

Butternut Squash Velouté

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 362 per portion
Fat 31g (19g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Butter 50g (2oz)
  • Onions 2, peeled and sliced
  • Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • Butternut squash 700g (1lb 9oz), peeled and cubed
  • Vegetable stock 600ml (1 pint)
  • Double cream 150ml pot
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to serve (optional)
  • Toasted sourdough bread to serve (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a large pan and add onions and garlic. Cover with a lid and leave to sweat over a low heat for 10 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add squash and stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until squash has softened.
  3. Pour in half the cream, season to taste and puree with a stick blender. Serve with a swirl of cream, sprinkled with nutmeg and with sourdough toast, if you like.



Extra Special Gooey Gingerbread

  • Servings: 18 bars
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Calories 157 per portion
Fat 6g (3.5g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Butter 110g (4oz)
  • Granulated sugar 75g (3oz)
  • Golden syrup 225g (8oz)
  • Marmalade 2 tbsp
  • Self-raising flour 225g (8oz)
  • Ground ginger 2 tsp
  • Bicarbonate of soda ½ tsp
  • Milk 150ml (¼ pint)
  • Eggs 2


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Butter a small roasting tin measuring about 18 x 28 x 4cm (7 x 11 x 1½in) and base line with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, syrup and marmalade into a saucepan and heat, stirring, until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Mix the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl, then stir into the cooled butter and sugar mixture.
  4. Beat the milk and eggs together, then stir into the ginger mixture. Pour into the prepared tin, level the surface and cook for about 25 minutes until the cake is well risen and golden. The cake is ready when the top springs back when pressed with your fingertips.
  5. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then take it out of the tin, peel off the paper and cut it into bars.

Cook’s tips
To store, wrap in foil and then keep in an airtight tub or tin.
It’s also delicious as a pudding with a splash of hot custard.


Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 282 per portion
Fat 17g (7.6g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians


  • Milk chocolate 40g (1½oz), broken up
  • Smooth peanut butter 2 tbsp
  • Milk 350ml (12fl oz)
  • Whipped cream 2 tbsp, optional
  • Mini marshmallows and grated chocolate to serve, optional


  1. Place chocolate, peanut butter and milk in a pan. Heat gently, whisking, until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth.
  2. Pour into 2 mugs and top with whipped cream and marshmallows and/or grated chocolate, if using.


Recipes taken from the Dairy Diary.


Dairy Diary 2018 now available




The origins of Halloween and what to do with all that pumpkin

 Haloween Pumpkin

The origins of Halloween

The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.*

Until 2,000 years ago, the Celts lived across the lands we now know as Britain, Ireland and northern France. Essentially a farming and agricultural people, the Pre-Christian Celtic year was determined by the growing seasons and Samhain marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark cold winter. The festival symbolised the boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

It was believed by the Celts that on the night of 31st October, ghosts of their dead would revisit the mortal world and large bonfires were lit in each village in order to ward off any evil spirits that may also be at large.

The night or evening of Samhain became known
as All-hallows-even then Hallow Eve, still later
Hallowe’en and then of course Halloween.

A special time of the year when many believe that the spirit world can make contact with the physical world, a night when magic is at its most potent.

Throughout Britain, Halloween has traditionally been celebrated by children’s games such as bobbing for apples in containers full of water, telling ghost stories and the carving of faces into hollowed-out vegetables such as swedes and turnips. These faces would usually be illuminated from within by a candle, the lanterns displayed on window sills to ward off any evil spirits. The current use of pumpkins is a relatively modern innovation imported from the United States.

*Halloween by Ben Johnson

Pumpkin carving fun with your children

Halloween carved pumpkinChoose your pumpkin – a large, ripe pumpkin that has smooth, even surfaces and sits comfortably without danger of rolling over is best.

Sketch your pattern on paper to suit the size and shape of your pumpkin. If you’re not artistic, use a stencil or template.

Make the lid by drawing a 125mm (5″) circle on the top. Cut out the lid with the saw/blade at an angle – leaning slightly to the outside – this will stop the lid dropping inside. Remove the lid and clean its base.

The kids can remove the inside – they love this slimy job and can easily remove all the seeds and mushy stuff. Then you can takeover scraping with a spoon or ice-cream scoop. Thin walls make carving easier, but don’t make them too thin or the pumpkin will collapse. Make the base inside flat to accommodate a candle.

Apply your pattern by copying freehand onto the clean, dry pumpkin with a marker/pen/pencil or tape your paper pattern to the pumpkin and mark the design by poking holes through the pattern.

Let’s carve – adults only if you’re using a knife! Carefully begin at the centre of your pattern and work outward – small shapes first. The kids can push out the shapes as you go. Lastly ensure the pumpkin sits stably without danger of rolling.

Light up – place a tea-light in the base. Ensure the candle is level and carefully light it. Always extinguish the candle when leaving the room.

For a carving tool, we recommend a pumpkin saw. If you’re using a knife (small and sharp) carve gently and steadily, making a few gentle strokes for each cut.


And what to do with all that pumpkin?

Halloween Pumkin recipes from Dairy Diary

Here are four of our favourite Halloween recipes from the Dairy Diary team:

Halloween Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Halloween Pumpkin Gratin

Pumpkin & Ginger Risotto

Halloween Cake Pops


Yes, we know the Halloween Pop Cakes don’t contain pumpkin, but they are too good to miss out!

Have fun!







Special Summer Sale

Get a whopping 50% off
these fabulous cookbooks!

But only while stocks last.

50% off selected cookbooks

50% off these fabulous cookbooks

Don’t miss this opportunity to buy a super cookbook from the publishers of the Dairy Diary at half price!

With over 3 million sales we know our books are loved, by novice and experienced cooks alike, throughout the UK.

Delight family and friends with triple-tested recipes that ensure great results every time.

Choose from:

Dairy Diary Favourites – was £8.25, now £4.12

Just for One or Two – was £8.25, now £4.12

Dairy Book of Home Cookery – was £10.49, now £5.24

Fantastic Food For Less – was £5.99, now £2.99

Take a Box of Eggs – was £7.49, now £3.74


Buy now at

Offer closes 24 August 2017.


Five fantastic Bonfire recipes for all the family

Five fantastic Bonfire recipes for all the family


Five fantastic Bonfire recipes for all the family

November the 5th will soon be upon us, and although it’s exciting to see the spectacle of organised displays, they can be very busy, noisy, muddy and cold!

Our solution is to stay at home, cook delicious but portable food and enjoy a few fireworks in the garden whilst watching other slightly (much) more impressive ones in the distance.

This means that it’s easy to nip inside for a warm (and the loo) and we can time it to suit the children who still have early bedtimes.

Here’s our menu for this year.  Of course, it’s the 2015 Dairy Diary  and our gorgeous Fantastic Food for Less cookbook  that have provided these delicious Bonfire recipes.


For the little ones


Pigs in Blankets recipe

Pigs in Blankets 

Time 30 mins.
Per portion: 313 Kcal, 23g fat (10.5g saturated).
Makes 8

Medium-sliced white bread 8 slices
Butter 110g (4oz)
Tomato ketchup 3 tbsp
Mustard 1 rounded tbsp
Chopped parsley 4 tbsp
Good-quality pork sausages 8, skins removed

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Remove the crusts from the bread, then use a rolling pin to roll out each slice.

2 In a saucepan, heat the butter and ketchup together until melted, then stir in the mustard and parsley.

3 Brush some of the butter mixture over each slice of bread, then place a sausage diagonally across each one. Bring the opposite corners up and over and secure with cocktail sticks. Place on a baking tray, brush with butter and bake for 20–25 minutes until the sausages are cooked.


Chocolate brownies

Chocolate Brownies 

Time 55 minutes.
Per portion: 122 Kcal, 4g fat (1.6g saturated)
Makes 16
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Prunes in fruit juice 410g can
Eggs 2
Caster sugar 110g (4oz)
Cocoa powder 50g (2oz)
Plain flour 50g (2oz)
Baking powder 1 tsp
Cook’s dark chocolate 75g (3oz)

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line an 18cm (7in) shallow square tin with greaseproof or non-stick baking paper. Snip the paper at the corners, press it into the tin and secure the corners with paper clips.

2 Drain the prunes, remove the stones and put the fruit into a liquidiser or food processor. Blend to a purée.

3 In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until they are pale and frothy and the whisk leaves a trail of mixture when lifted above the bowl.

4 Fold in the prune purée, then sift in the cocoa, flour and baking powder and carefully fold in.

5 Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and tilt to level the mixture. Cook for 30-35 minutes until the cake is well risen and a skewer comes out cleanly when inserted into the centre. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

6 Meanwhile, break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Stand the bowl over a barely simmering saucepan of water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Melt the chocolate, then spoon it over the cake and spread in a thin layer. Leave to set.

7 Lift the cake out of the tin, peel off the paper and cut into 16 squares.


For the grown ups


Parsnip Apple Soup

Spiced Dhal Soup 

Time 1¼ hrs plus soaking.
Per portion: 178 Kcal, 5g fat (0.6g saturated).
Serves 8
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Yellow split peas 225g (8oz), soaked overnight in cold water, or red lentils
Sunflower oil 2 tbsp
Onions 2, peeled and finely chopped
Parsnips 5, about 350g (12oz), peeled and chopped
Garlic 4 cloves, peeled and crushed
Ground cumin 1½ tsp
Ground coriander 1½ tsp
Turmeric 2 tsp
Vegetable stock 1.7 litres (3 pints)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Drain the soaked peas and set aside.

2 Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onions and parsnips for about 5 minutes until softened and lightly browned.

3 Add the garlic and spices and fry for 1minute, stirring. Add the stock and split peas or lentils and season well with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes until the peas or lentils are very soft.

4 Purée half the soup in a liquidiser or food processor, then stir it back into the remaining soup and reheat before serving in warmed bowls.


Bonfire suasages

Bonfire Hot Dogs 

Time 40 mins
Per portion: 412 Kcal, 19g fat (7.4g saturated)
Serves 6

Good quality pork sausages 6
Clear honey 2 tbsp
Tabasco sauce 1 tsp or to taste
Butter 25g (1oz)
Olive oil 1-2 tbsp
Onions 3 large, peeled and sliced
Caster sugar 1 tsp
Hot dog or crusty rolls 6, split

1 Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6.  Place sausages in a roasting tin. Mix together honey and Tabasco sauce and pour over sausages, turning to coat thoroughly. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through, turning and basting a couple of times during cooking.

2 In a large heavy-based pan, melt butter and oil over a medium heat until foaming. Add onions and mix well. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar, increase the heat and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden.

3 Pop a sausage into each roll and top with caramelized onions.


Luxury Eccles Cakes

Luxury Eccles Cakes

Time 40 minutes.
Per portion: 223 Kcal, 13g fat (5.7g saturated)
Makes 12
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Luxury mixed dried fruits 175g (6oz)
Dark muscovado sugar 50g (2oz)
Ground mixed spice 1 tsp
Grated nutmeg ½ tsp
Lemon 1, finely grated zest only
Butter 40g (1½oz), melted
Ready-rolled puff pastry 375g packet
Egg 1, beaten
Caster sugar for sifting

1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 and grease two baking sheets. In a large bowl, mix together the dried fruits, sugar, spices, lemon zest and the butter.

2 Lay the pastry on a lightly floured surface and using a 9cm (3½in) plain round cutter, stamp as many rounds as you can from the pastry and set aside.

3 Re-fold the pastry trimmings, in layers, and then re-roll and stamp out more rounds until you have 12 of them.

4 Dividing evenly, place a rounded teaspoonful of the fruit mixture in the centre of each pastry circle. Brush the edges with cold water, then bring the sides of the pastry up and over the filling and pinch firmly together to seal. Turn over and gently flatten with your hand.

5 Place the Eccles cakes on the greased baking trays and brush lightly with beaten egg, then lightly score the tops, diagonally, three times. Bake for 12–15 minutes until the cakes are well risen, golden brown and crisp to the touch.

6 Sift the Eccles cakes with caster sugar while they are still hot. Eat warm, or leave until cold.


Enjoy and stay safe everyone.

The Perfect Autumn Menu

The Perfect Autumn Menu


The Perfect Autumn Menu

Celebrate the harvest season by enjoying some wonderful seasonal British Food.

Recipes taken from the new Fantastic Food For Less cookbook.

Take a look at our Pinterest page for lots more inspirational recipes.

Parsnip Soup

Piquant Parsnip Soup

Time 1 hr. 
Per portion: 264 Kcal,
15g fat (7.7g saturated).
Serves 4
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Butter 25g (1oz)
Parsnips 675g (1½lb), peeled and sliced
Bramley cooking apple 1, peeled and sliced
Vegetable stock 1.25 litres (2 pints)
Dried sage ½ tsp
Single cream 150ml (¼ pint)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and add the parsnips and apple. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2 Pour the stock into the saucepan and add the sage. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until the parsnip is softened.

3 Purée the soup with a hand-held blender, and then reheat gently with the cream and season to taste before serving.

Mackerel Fishcakes

Mackerel Fish Cakes

Time 20 minutes. 
Per portion: 681 Kcal, 52g fat (12.4g saturated)
Serves 4
Suitable for freezing

Peppered smoked mackerel fillets 345g pack
Mashed potato 350g (12oz)
Chopped parsley 1 tbsp
Creamed horseradish 2–3 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Egg 1, lightly beaten
Milk 2 tbsp
Fresh white breadcrumbs 75g (3oz)
Butter 25g (1oz)
Sunflower oil 1 tbsp
Mayonnaise 4 tbsp

1 Baked potato wedges and salad to serve (optional)

2 Flake the mackerel fillets and stir into the mashed potato, along with the parsley, 1 tablespoon of horseradish sauce and seasoning.

3 Divide the mixture into 8 and mould each portion into shape. Beat the egg with the milk, dip the fish cakes in the egg mixture and then coat in breadcrumbs.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat until foaming and cook the fish cakes for 4–5 minutes on each side (in batches, if necessary) until they are golden brown and warmed through.

4 Stir the remaining horseradish into the mayonnaise and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5 Serve the fish cakes with the flavoured mayonnaise, and with potato wedges and salad, if you like.

Baked Apples

Baked Apples

Time 45 minutes. 
Per portion: 223 Kcal, 8g fat (5.2g saturated)
Serves 4
Suitable for vegetarians

Butter 40g (1½oz), softened
Light muscovado sugar 40g (1½oz)
Chopped glacé ginger 1 tbsp
Glacé cherries 25g (1oz), chopped
Ready-to-eat prunes 75g (3oz), chopped
Dessert apples 4
Custard to serve (optional)

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until soft and smooth. Stir in the glacé ginger and then add the cherries and prunes.

2 Cut a thin slice off the top of each apple and reserve. Core the apples and cut a very thin slice off the bottom if needed, to stop them rolling around.

3 Stand the cored apples in a small 20cm (8in) circular dish, then press the fruit mixture into the cavities, spooning the remainder over the cut top edge. Press the apple lids back in place.

4 Add 2 tbsp of water to the base of the dish, then bake for 30 minutes until the apples are tender. 5 Serve hot with custard, if you like.

Fantastic Food For Less cookbookFantastic Food for Less

Enjoy fantastic food and save money at the same time with the new Fantastic Food For Less cookbook.

It’s about cooking delicious meals more economically – each recipe is simple to cook, tastes fabulous and won’t cost the earth.

Fantastic Food For Less features 100recipes that have been triple-tested to ensure perfect results first time!

  • Soups & Snacks
  • Main Courses
  • Desserts & Bakes

Available now for just £7.99



Read the blogs on our website. 

Fabulous Father’s Day Menu

Fantastic Father's Day Menu


Fabulous Father’s Day Menu

Like many mums and daughters across the land, I am planning to cook something special on Sunday.

I am sure we will be enticed out on some ‘geeky’ trip to see a motorbike event or something space or fossil-related but we will come home to feast on these treats.




Chorizo & Kale Soup

Serves 3
Time 40 mins.
Per portion: 202 Kcal, 14g fat (6.9g saturated)

Butter 25g (1oz)
Onion 1, peeled and chopped
Chorizo sausage 75g (3oz), sliced
Potato 1 large, peeled and cubed
Garlic 1clove, peeled and crushed
Ham or vegetable stock 600ml (1 pint)
Kale 50g (2oz), finely shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes until softened. Then add the chorizo, potato and garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

2 Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the potato is tender. Use a potato masher to mash some of the potato and thicken the soup.

3 Add the kale and then simmer, uncovered for 2-3 minutes, until the kale has wilted and is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


Roast Belly of Pork


Roast Belly of Pork

Time required 2 hrs.
Per portion: 531 Kcal, 30g fat (10.7g saturated)
Serves 4

Boneless pork belly joint about 680g (1½lb), skin left on and scored
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Five spice stir-fry paste 1 tsp
Hoisin sauce 2 tbsp
Baps or tortillas 4
Spring onions 4–6, trimmed and finely sliced
Cucumber ½, finely shredded

1 Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8. Check the weight of the pork and calculate the cooking time: allow 45 minutes per 500g (1lb 2oz), plus 40 minutes. Lay the pork in a roasting tin, skin-side up. Mix together the oil and five spice stir-fry paste and smear on both sides of the meat. Turn it back so the joint is skin side-up and roast for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and roast for half of the remaining cooking time.

2 Remove the pork from the oven and spread the hoisin sauce on both sides of the meat. Baste with the cooking juices and return to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time, basting with the sauce every 20 minutes.

3 Remove from the oven and leave to rest on a board for 10 minutes. Then remove the fat from the pork, slice the meat thinly and use it to fill baps or warmed tortillas. Top with the spring onions and cucumber.


Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart

Serves 8
Time required 1½ hrs.
Per portion: 473 Kcal, 29g fat (11.7g saturated)
Suitable for vegetarians

Ready-made sweet dessert pastry 375g packet
Eggs 5 large
Caster sugar 200g (7oz)
Lemons 3, grated rind only
Fresh lemon juice 150ml (¼ pint)
Double cream 150ml (¼ pint)
Icing sugar for dusting, optional
Raspberries to decorate, optional

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and pop a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

2 Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a few centimetres larger than the base and sides of a 23cm (9in) diameter fluted loose-bottomed flan tin. Line the tin with the pastry, pressing it into the corners of the flutes. Don’t trim the rim of the pastry. Prick the base and chill for 10 minutes.

3 Line the pastry case with foil or baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Then put the flan tin on the hot baking sheet and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove the flan from the oven, take out the beans and paper and, using a rolling pin or sharp knife, roll over the top of the tin to remove any extra pastry. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is crisp. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 140°C/275°F/Gas 1.

4 To make the filling, whisk the eggs with the sugar and lemon zest in a large jug. Whisk in the lemon juice followed by the cream.

5 Pop the cooked pastry case back on the baking sheet and pour the filling into the case. Bake for 30–40 minutes until the mixture is just set. There should still be a slight wobble in the centre. Remove the tart from the oven and leave it to cool, then remove from the tin and set on a plate. Serve cold dusted with icing sugar and a few raspberries for decoration, if using.


Clever One Pot cookbook

All recipes are from the fantastic
Clever One Pot cookbook,
which is still available
to buy for just £7.99.

Buy Clever One Pot







%d bloggers like this: