How Dairy Diary recipes are created

Dairy Diary recipes
Dairy Diary recipes

Every recipe in the Dairy Diary and our cookbooks is triple-tested, and from the original idea to the finished recipe, it’s quite a lengthy process.

First, our recipe writers produce a list of recipe ideas from which we choose our favourites. From this list we need to ensure that there will be a good balance of savoury/sweet, veg/fish/meat and a good range of different ingredients – it’s quite a jigsaw puzzle!

The writer then tests and writes the recipe. Then the recipe is given to our editor to edit to Dairy Diary style and to fit the space in the book.

After that, it’s passed to a team of amateur testers, who check that the recipe is easy to understand, shop for and to cook, and of course, it tastes delicious!

Finally, the recipes are given to our food stylist, props stylist and photographer, who test, cook and shoot each dish and make them look utterly fabulous.


A special new recipe

I’ve recently had a recipe request for an old recipe that I haven’t been able to find in our archive of books. The idea sounded so delicious that I’ve decided to create it for the next diary. Here it is. We all loved it – I hope you do too!


Coconut, Pineapple & Fruit Loaf


Coconut, Pineapple & Fruit Loaf

  • Servings: One large loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Self-raising flour 150g (5oz)
  • Desiccated coconut 75g (3oz)
  • Caster sugar 75g (3oz)
  • Butter 110g (4oz), softened
  • Eggs 2
  • Pineapple chunks in juice 227g/230g can
  • Luxury dried mixed fruit 75g (3oz)
  • Granulated sugar 25g (1oz)


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°fan/Gas 5. Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, 50g (2oz) coconut, caster sugar, butter and eggs.
  3. Fold in pineapple chunks (reserve juice) and dried fruit. Spoon into prepared tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle with remaining coconut.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean (cover with foil if the top is browning too quickly). Mix reserved 5 tablespoons pineapple juice with granulated sugar and spoon over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  5. Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.

Coconut, Pineapple & Fruit Loaf

For more recipes, check out the Dairy Diary 2018 and Cook it Slowly! cookbook.




Special Summer Sale & A Special Summer Salad


50% off these fabulous cookbooks

Get a whopping 50 per cent off these fabulous books!

But only while stocks last.



And here’s one of our favourite recipes, taken from the fabulous Just for One or Two cookbook (which is now half price!)




Apricot Bakewell Tarts

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 546 per portion
Fat 26g (8g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians


  • Plain flour 50g (2oz)
  • Caster sugar 2 tsp plus 25g (1oz)
  • Butter 25g (1oz), diced
  • Strawberry or raspberry jam 4 tsp
  • Dried ready-to-eat apricots 40g (1½oz), sliced
  • Egg 1
  • Almond extract a few drops
  • Ground almonds 3 tbsp
  • Skimmed milk 2 tbsp
  • Flaked almonds 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • Cream or ice cream to serve (optional)


  1. Place the flour and 2 teaspoons sugar in a bowl and rub in the butter to make fine crumbs. Stir in 2-3 teaspoons cold water to make a smooth dough. Knead lightly on a floured surface and then cut in half and roll each half out thinly. Use to line two 10cm (4in) diameter tart tins. Trim the tops and chill for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Spread the jam over the base of the tarts and then sprinkle with the apricots.
  3. Separate the egg into two medium-sized bowls. Whisk the white until stiff and moist peaks form. Add the remaining sugar and almond extract to the egg yolk and whisk until it is thick and pale. Fold in the ground almonds and milk, then gently fold in the egg white.
  4. Pour the mixture over the apricots, sprinkle with the flaked almonds, if using, and bake for 15–20 minutes until golden and just set. Check after 10 minutes and cover with foil if necessary to stop over-browning.
  5. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, remove from the tins and dust with icing sugar. Serve with fresh cream or ice cream if you like.

Cook’s tips
You could use other types of dried ready-to-eat fruits. Choose your favourite.
If you don’t have individual tart tins, you could use poachette rings set on a baking tray.


A Just for One or Two  recipe.



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.


Behind the Scenes at our London Photo Shoot

Cookbook photoshoot

Last week I travelled down to London for the first of our cookbook shoots.

Our photographer, Steve Lee, has been shooting Dairy Diary images for over 15 years and is a master of his craft.

As well as working with us he has also photographed with many top chefs and food writers, including Michelle Roux, Antonio Carluccio and Phil Vickery.

We also work with acclaimed food writer Sara Lewis, who effortlessly makes each recipe look so delicious. Completing our small (but perfectly formed!) team is Olivia Wardle who sources all the gorgeous props and lovely Douglas Lee, who assists with everything from setting up the lighting to making the coffee.

Everyone works really hard behind the scenes to make the books look so fantastic.

Nothing is ‘staged’ or cheated; the food
is created exactly as per the recipe, then
photographed as quickly as possible
while it’s still fresh.

We shot some absolutely stunning images, which I can’t wait to share with you, but we have to wait for those, so instead I’m going to share my favourite recipe from our previous shoot.

Look out for this in our BRAND NEW COOKBOOK, coming very soon.



Chana Dhal with Roast Vegetables

Chana Dhal with Roast Vegetables

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

Calories 319 per portion
Fat 9g (1g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

For the dahl

  • For the dahl
  • Yellow split peas 300g (11oz)
  • Rapeseed oil 1 tbsp
  • Red onions 2, peeled and chopped
  • Garlic 2–4 cloves, peeled and chopped
  • Root ginger 5cm (2in) piece, finely chopped
  • Red chilli 1, deseeded and chopped
  • Fresh coriander 25g (1oz), stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • Bay leaves 2
  • Garam masala 2 tbsp
  • Ground cumin 2 tsp
  • Whole plum tomatoes 400g can
  • Vegetable stock 600ml (1 pint)
  • Limes 2, juice squeezed

For the roasted vegetables

  • Rapeseed oil 3 tbsp
  • Cauliflower 450g (1lb), broken into florets
  • Large Chantenay carrots 450g (1lb), halved lengthways or quartered if thick
  • Celeriac 300g (11oz), peeled and cut into wedges
  • Garam masala 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds 2 tsp
  • Ground turmeric 1 tsp
  • Black mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • Curly kale 110g (4oz), large stalks removed and chopped
  • Naan breads 6, warmed, to serve


  1. Soak the split peas overnight in cold water, then rinse and drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, chilli, chopped coriander stalks, bay leaves and spices and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the tomatoes, the stock and the peas. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 1½–2 hours until the peas have softened.
  3. For the roasted vegetables, preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/Gas 4. Heat the oil in a large roasting tin for 5 minutes. Coat the cauliflower, carrots and celeriac in the oil and roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the spices and stir well. Add the kale and roast for a further 15–20 minutes until the kale is crisp and the carrots and cauliflower just tender.
  5. When ready to serve, add the lime juice and half the coriander leaves to the dhal. Serve with the roast vegetables and naan bread and garnish with the remaining coriander.

Cook’s tip
If you prefer, cook the dhal in the oven at 150°C/130°fan/Gas 2 for 2 hours.


Win a £100 Marks and Spencer Giftcard

Win a £100 M&S Giftcard


We need your help please, so that we can plan future books and make sure they are what our customers want.

We have a few ideas for our next cookbooks and would love to hear your thoughts on them, and also what you think of our cookbooks and the Dairy Diary – what do you love and what could be better?

Please fully complete our ONLINE SURVEY by Saturday 8 April and we will enter you into a Prize Draw to win a £100 M&S Giftcard.

I promise that the findings and your details will never be used for any other purpose.

Thank you very much indeed for your help; I hope you enjoy taking part!

Emily Davenport
Dairy Diary, Managing Editor


Win £100 M&S Giftcard




10 Must-Visit Food & Drink Festivals

10 Must-Visit Food & Drink Festivals

As the wind has been buffeting the trees and the rain pelting the windows I’ve been making a food festival shortlist.

Having something to look forward to is a real mood-lifter to cheer up these dreary days.

In the UK we’re really lucky, as there is a myriad of food and drink festivals across the country to keep us nourished and entertained.

There’s everything from cheese
shows to garlic festivals and even
a Jam & Ham festival in Carluke!

So after some very pleasant research, here’s my shortlist of fab events to visit this year.

Gin Festival London
17-19 February

Held in the magnificent Tobacco Dock, there will be more than 100 gins, cocktails and masterclasses from industry experts. Chin chin.

Cambridgeshire Spring Crafts, Food & Gifts Fair
18-19 March

Heaven – all things foodie and crafty. This should be the perfect place to stock up on birthday gifts for the year. And it’s held in the arena at Wood Green Animal Charity, so the hire of the venue is supporting a very worthwhile cause.

Cocktails in the City – Leeds
6-7 April

Held in the iconic town hall, this event showcases cocktails from the best bars in the city and also includes a secret carnival, escape room and street food market. It looks intriguing and lots of fun!

Spring Tide Food Festival
20 May

A seaside food festival – what more could you want? On the spectacular Jurassic coast, this event pulls together some of the best local food, drink, art and entertainment.

Dales Festival of Food & Drink
17-18 June

Held in the birthplace of Wensleydale – the nation’s favourite cheese – this food festival boasts food stalls, cookery demonstrations, live music and a funfair as well as arts and crafts.

Gower Chilli Festival
22-23 July

As Gower is one of the prettiest places in the world, this is a must. The festival has great live music, chilli companies, cooking competitions, kids events, gourmet food, local crafts and street food too.

Nantwich Show & Cheese Awards
26 July

Boasting the International Cheese Awards, this show is famous in our locality. One of our former colleagues even judges the cheeses. It’s a traditional mix of food, farming and shopping with a huge cheese tent (that can get a little whiffy in hot weather!)

The Big Feastival
25-27 August

This festival is AMAZING! Last year was my first, but I loved every second of it. With gorgeous food, fabulous music, a laid back atmosphere and dancing to a DJ set from Blur’s Alex James. Pure bliss.

Ludlow Food Festival
8-10 September

I’ve eaten one of my most memorable meals in this delightful town and so a visit to its festival in on my must-do list. Held inside Ludlow Castle, it has more than 180 local food and drink producers.

Conwy Honey Fair
13 September

Founded by Edwards I, this fair has taken place on the 13th September for over 700 years! Held in the picturesque town centre, it’s a quaint mixture of honey, crafts, plants and gifts.


Of course, there’s much more to the UK than just food. Take a look on page 46 of the Dairy Diary to find out more about British festivals and some very strange folklore too.

We’re a quirky nation!

Which events are on your to-do list for this year?














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