News

Preparing for Christmas

 

What a mixed week last week was! It was a mixture of feeling extremely festive and extremely stressed!

We have been flooded with orders on the week that Nick, the divisional manager, decided to take a golfing holiday!

We sold the entire cookbook reprint before it had even arrived but luckily we have a second delivery on its way very soon. It’s great that the books are so popular. As a Christmas special we are also offering a lovely free Dairy Diary pen with each giftpack sold (yes I have kept a few for the pen pot on my desk!)

On a festive note, tomorrow of course, we can open the first window of our advent calendar! I still get embarrassingly excited about such Christmas traditions. We have a very traditional Christmas dinner in our household and as Christmas orders need to be made soon I have started planning Christmas lunch and how much I may cheat this year.

For many complex reasons, last year we enjoyed a completely shop-bought lunch. It was tasty but nothing in comparison to proper home-cooked fayre. One side dish which will definitely be on the menu is the Treacle-glazed red cabbage from the 2004 Dairy Diary (contact me if you would like the recipe). It’s always really popular with everyone reaching for second helpings. I think I will also bake the Honey roast parsnips from last year’s diary (see below). Of course, everyone’s Christmas lunch varies and today Jamie Oliver tweeted a picture of Christmas tree-shaped pizza, consumed for Christmas lunch! Each to their own.

 

Pastry power

It would seem that we are a nation of pastry lovers. As many businesses are struggling Greggs the bakers are flourishing and have seen an increase in sales of almost 4%, the BBC reported last week.

Indeed on a recent visit to the North-East I was astonished to see a branch on almost every corner and even rumours of a drive-thru Greggs!

Pastry-comfortPerhaps we all need a little comfort food to cheer us up in these recession-ridden days? Or maybe we as a nation enjoy cheap and convenient foods. Either way, I must admit, I love pastry as an occasional treat. It certainly does seem to be the perfect comfort food for these wet and windy November days (though maybe not so perfect for our waistlines – but everything in moderation, I say!)

One of my favourite pastry recipes comes from last year’s Clever Cooking for One or TwoTwo cheese and onion tart. It tastes truly delicious and is a great storecupboard standby. I cooked it quite recently after a post-holiday power cut where I had to use up the contents of my freezer. With only a pack of defrosted puff pastry, some ready-grated cheese, sweetcorn and a solitary onion, it was the perfect recipe. I simply swapped the cherry tomatoes for sweetcorn and it tasted great. Crisis and wasted food averted!

Trick or treat?

For someone who usually has quite forthright views, I tend to sit on the fence when it comes to Halloween. I never can quite decide how I feel about it.

Is it a trick or a treat?

Is it a trick or a treat?

Is it a slightly sinister event, which children use to beg sweets off complete strangers? Or, is it simply a harmless excuse for little ones to dress-up, have a bit of fun and to enjoy one or two treats.

My son is still too young to badger me into participating in Halloween shenanigans, so I have time to make my mind up on the subject, but I am sure he won’t be encouraged to knock on strangers’ doors!

Whether we agree with it or not, Halloween does occur every year, so perhaps we should embrace it in a simple and innocent way and allow our little ones to dress up in spooky costumes and enjoy playing games with us while sampling a few treats.

Give these aptly-named Fat Rascals a try and use the occasion as an excuse to invite small loved-ones in your family to your home for some fun and games in the security of a safe environment.

Do you have a view on Halloween? Click on the ‘Leave a Comment’ link below.

Just One Pot flies off the shelf!

We have had very encouraging news regarding Just One Pot Dairy Cookbook this week. The buyer from Dairy Crest tells us it is flying off their shelves – excellent!

Just One Pot, Dairy Cookbook

Just One Pot, Dairy Cookbook

We have been really pleased with the book and its ease-of-use, but you never really know how well it will sell until the milkmen start taking orders. Very encouraging.

We are now putting the final touches to the next cookbook and a brand new gardening book. I am sure these will be just as popular – they are looking stunning. A big thank you to all the team – in particular Aune Butt the author of the gardening book – who have done such as fabulous job. It’s all hands to deck now to meet our print deadlines.

One of my personal favourites from Just One Pot is the excellent Thai Chicken Curry with Noodles. If you would like to try a few more recipes before buying visit the Dairy Diary website and click the sample recipes link.

And don’t forget to let me know what you think of the recipes by clicking the ‘Leave a Comment” link below.

A tense day in the Dairy Diary office

Wow! We have had some gorgeous cover designs in today from the illustrators we commissioned a couple of weeks’ ago. All feature flowers and birds, butterflies or dragonflies. I can’t wait for the research groups next week to canvas opinion. I have a definite favourite but I am sure our research groups will think differently, as is often the case! I wish all my work involved this rather than battling with ink cartridges, IT systems, grumpy people and packing parcels!
The reason I am wrestling with ink cartridges (I won’t go into the boring details but grrrr), is that all three of the books for publication next year are almost complete. I am printing out spreads to show to our Editorial Director and to send off for proof reading. It’s a very exciting time – seeing everything coming together – but also a little tense hoping that everything is approved. I am more than thrilled with everything though, so I am quietly confident – watch this space!
As a treat after my especially irritating day I am going to rustle up something delectable for dinner tonight – but it needs to be quick, easy and healthy too. So Fish Provençal from the Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook is perfect. Try it – I’ll think you will love it. Let me know by clicking on the ‘comment’ link below.

Wow! Today we received several gorgeous cover designs for the 2011 Dairy Diary.

We commissioned illustrators a few weeks ago to create designs featuring flowers and birds, butterflies or dragonflies. I can’t wait for the research groups next week to canvas opinion.

I have a definite favourite but I am sure our research groups will think differently, as is often the case! I wish all my work involved this rather than battling with ink cartridges, IT systems, grumpy people and packing parcels!

The reason I am wrestling with ink cartridges (I won’t go into the boring details, but grrrr), is that all three of the books for publication next year are almost complete. I am printing out spreads to show to our Editorial Director and to send off for proof reading. It’s a very exciting time – seeing everything coming together – but also a little tense hoping that everything is approved. I am more than thrilled with everything though, so I am quietly confident – watch this space!

As a treat after my especially irritating day I am going to rustle up something delectable for dinner tonight – but it needs to be quick, easy and healthy too. So Fish Provençal from the Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook is perfect.

Try it – I’ll think you will love it. Let me know by clicking on the ‘Leave a Comment’ link below.

Cover story

It’s been an exciting week this week as Karen (our designer) and I have been commissioning illustrators to create cover ideas for the 2011 Dairy Diary.

There are so many talented people out there is was very difficult to narrow it down to just five, who will create rough designs for our research groups at the end of this month.

Dairy Diary covers have changed radically over the last three decades, with subject matter varying from tennis rackets to teapots. We have decided to go full circle and take inspiration from the very first edition – 1982, choosing butterflies and flowers as the subject matter. Obviously the style will be radically different to the 1982 diary, with a soft and feminine feel but contemporary design.

Photography has featured on the covers of the diary in recent years, so we felt it was time for a change and illustration was the right route to take. I can‘t wait to see the designs that the illustrators create for us!

Dairy Diary Chat launch competition winners

This week’s other exciting news – we have drawn our competition winners!

Congratulations to Maisie, Christina, Clara, Gillian, Coral, Wendy, Doreen, Mike, Eve, Natalie, Janet, Aurora, Kate, Emma, Alison, Maureen, L Rose, Angie, Jackie and L Robbins. Just One Pot Dairy cookbooks are on their way to you. I hope you all enjoy the new recipes and let us know how you get on. Happy cooking!

For a taste of what Just One Pot has to offer try this delicious Onion, Mushroom & Goats’ Cheese Pizza.

1 49 50
%d bloggers like this: