Onion, mushroom & goats’ cheese pizza

Tangy goats’ cheese contrasting with velvety mushrooms.
Thin and crispy pizza base 1
Organic onion relish 2–3 tbsp
Tomatoes 2, thinly sliced
Baby mushrooms 50g (2oz), wiped and sliced
Goats’ cheese 110g (4oz), sliced and broken into chunks
Green pesto sauce about 1 tbsp (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wild rocket about 15g (½oz)
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7.
Put the pizza base onto a baking sheet. Spread the onion relish on the top to make a thin layer. Scatter the tomatoes and mushrooms on top. Add the goats’ cheese and bake for 10–12 minutes or until the pizza is golden and cooked.
Quickly spread green pesto sauce over the top of the pizza, if using. Season to taste and serve with a handful of rocket in the centre.
COOK’S TIP
Don’t go mad with the onion relish – it is strong and quite sweet but cuts through the richness of the goats’ cheese beautifully.

Tangy goats’ cheese contrasting with velvety mushrooms.

Onion, mushroom & goats' cheese pizza

Onion, mushroom & goats' cheese pizza

Thin and crispy pizza base 1
Organic onion relish 2–3 tbsp
Tomatoes 2, thinly sliced
Baby mushrooms 50g (2oz), wiped and sliced
Goats’ cheese 110g (4oz), sliced and broken into chunks
Green pesto sauce about 1 tbsp (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wild rocket about 15g (½oz)

1 Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7.

2 Put the pizza base onto a baking sheet. Spread the onion relish on the top to make a thin layer. Scatter the tomatoes and mushrooms on top. Add the goats’ cheese and bake for 10–12 minutes or until the pizza is golden and cooked.

3 Quickly spread green pesto sauce over the top of the pizza, if using. Season to taste and serve with a handful of rocket in the centre.

Cook’s tip
Don’t go mad with the onion relish – it is strong and quite sweet but cuts through the richness of the goats’ cheese beautifully.

Recipe taken from the new Just One Pot, Dairy Cookbook. Available now.

Great-value gifts

In the current economic climate, almost everyone wants to buy great quality gifts at a very reasonable price; well it’s no different in the Dairy Diary office. In the next month we will commence research on the contents of our next giftpack, so we have been trying to create a shortlist of good products at a price we can afford. This year’s giftpack is already proving to be exceptionally popular, with its wooden bookstand – perfect for trying out recipes from the diary or cookbook, or simply for displaying your diary’s weekly events. But how can we improve on that within budget? Any ideas will be gratefully received!
It’s no different in my house either, although I still buy gifts for friends and relations, I have less to spend now and often supplement the bought gift with a home-made present. Although my friends may disagree, I hope it shows I am not too stingy but also take time to make something personal. I often use inexpensive glass beads (in their favourite colour of course), to make bracelets for female friends. For my son’s Birthday I am going to paint a large floor mat with fields, roads, rivers, a farm and a village – something perfect for all his beloved animal and transport toys.
Here’s a divine recipe for Luxury Florentines that I am going to try as a treat for my friends, wrapped in cellophane and ribbon they should look very pretty and taste fabulous too!
I’d love to know about any of your home-made gifts ideas and of course anything you have been wanting to see in the Dairy Diary giftpack.

In the current economic climate, almost everyone wants to buy great quality gifts at a very reasonable price.

Well it’s no different in the Dairy Diary office. In the next month we will commence research on the contents of our next giftpack, so we have been trying to create a shortlist of good products at a price we can afford.

This year’s Dairy Diary Giftpack is already proving to be exceptionally popular, with its wooden bookstand – perfect for trying out recipes from the diary or cookbook, or simply for displaying your diary’s weekly events. But how can we improve on that within budget?

Do you have a great idea for next year’s giftpack? Let me know by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link at the end of this post.

It’s no different in my house either, although I still buy gifts for friends and relations, I have less to spend now and often supplement the bought gift with a home-made present. Although my friends may disagree, I hope it shows I am not too stingy but also take time to make something personal.

I often use inexpensive glass beads (in their favourite colour of course), to make bracelets for female friends. For my son’s Birthday I am going to paint a large floor mat with fields, roads, rivers, a farm and a village – something perfect for all his beloved animal and transport toys.

Take a look at this divine recipe for Luxury Florentines that I am going to try as a treat for my friends – wrapped in cellophane and ribbon they should look very pretty and taste fabulous too!

I’d love to know about any of your home-made gifts ideas, so click on the “Leave a Comment” link below.

Luxury Florentines

Luxury florentines
Devine delights. And they look so fabulous too!
Time 50 mins
110 calories per Florentine
6G fat of which 2.8G is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Makes 20
Unsalted butter 50g (2oz)
Single cream 90ml (3fl oz)
Soft dark brown sugar 75g (3oz)
Orange 1 small, finely grated zest and 1 tbsp juice
Plain flour 50g (2oz)
Flaked almonds 50g (2oz)
Mixed cut peel 50g (2oz)
Glacé cherries 50g (2oz), quartered
Glacé pineapple or crystallised
stem ginger 25–40g (1–11⁄2oz), chopped
Angelica 25–40g (1–11⁄2oz), chopped
Dark chocolate 100g packet, broken into pieces
1 Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line 3–4 baking trays with baking paper.
2 Put butter, cream, sugar, orange zest and juice into a large saucepan and stir over a moderate heat until melted and smooth.
3 Add flour, almonds, peel, cherries, pineapple and angelica to pan and mix well. Allow mixture to cool a little.
4 Put teaspoonfuls of mixture onto prepared trays, spacing well apart. Bake in batches for 10–12 minutes until spread out thinly and lightly browned.
5 Allow florentines to cool until cold on baking trays. When quite cold, melt chocolate (see page 93) and spread evenly over the smooth underside of each florentine. Allow chocolate to set and store in an airtight
container, interleaved with nonstick foil or baking paper.

Divine delights. And they look so fabulous too! Could you resist one?

Luxury Florentines from the Dairy Diary 2010

Luxury Florentines from the Dairy Diary 2010

Time 50 mins
110 calories per Florentine
6G fat of which 2.8G is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Makes 20

Unsalted butter 50g (2oz)
Single cream 90ml (3fl oz)
Soft dark brown sugar 75g (3oz)
Orange 1 small, finely grated zest and 1 tbsp juice
Plain flour 50g (2oz)
Flaked almonds 50g (2oz)
Mixed cut peel 50g (2oz)
Glacé cherries 50g (2oz), quartered
Glacé pineapple or crystallised stem ginger 25–40g (1–11⁄2oz), chopped
Angelica 25–40g (1–11⁄2oz), chopped
Dark chocolate 100g packet, broken into pieces

1 Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line 3–4 baking trays with baking paper.

2 Put butter, cream, sugar, orange zest and juice into a large saucepan and stir over a moderate heat until melted and smooth.

3 Add flour, almonds, peel, cherries, pineapple and angelica to pan and mix well. Allow mixture to cool a little.

4 Put teaspoonfuls of mixture onto prepared trays, spacing well apart. Bake in batches for 10–12 minutes until spread out thinly and lightly browned.

5 Allow florentines to cool until cold on baking trays. When quite cold, melt chocolate (see page 93) and spread evenly over the smooth underside of each florentine. Allow chocolate to set and store in an airtight container, interleaved with nonstick foil or baking paper.

A Dairy Diary 2010 recipe.

National days

Who on earth creates and legislates (if they are?) these ‘National Something Ridiculous’ Days?

Recently on Twitter I have seen National Tapioca Pudding Day, National Blueberry Muffin Day and National Piña Colada Day!

Surely, these must have been made up by some over zealous (or desperate) marketing agency?

Believe it or not the humble ploughman’s lunch was also created in the sixties by an advertising agency to promote the traditional pub lunch! I certainly don’t take exception to this though, as there’s nothing nicer on a warm summer’s day than sitting in the beer garden of a country pub enjoying a delicious wedge of cheese with pickle and a hunk of bread – washed down with a cold half pint!

Have a go at this gorgeous Chutney – no ploughman’s lunch is complete without it. It’s well worth the effort. Let me know how you get on.

Ploughman’s Lunch Chutney

No Ploughman’s Lunch is complete without this great Chutney.

Ploughman's Lunch

Ploughman's Lunch

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time 3-3½  hours
Makes approximately 2.3kg  (5lb)

Cooking apples 1.8kg (4lb) peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Onions 900g (2lb) peeled, halved and thickly sliced lengthways
Dry cider 500ml (16fl oz)
Sultanas 175g (6oz)
Seedless raisins 175g (6oz)
Salt 25g (1oz)
Ground ginger 15g (½oz)
Sweet paprika 1 tbsp
Clear honey 225g (8oz)
Soft dark brown sugar 110g (4oz)
Distilled malt vinegar 900ml (1½pints)
Clean jars and acid resistant lids

1 Place the apples and onions in a large, heavy-based preserving pan. Add the cider and cook over a moderate heat for 20 minutes, until the apples and onions start to soften.

2 Add the sultanas, raisins, salt, ginger, paprika, honey and sugar to the pan. Pour in half of the vinegar, stir well and cook for 20 minutes.

3 Stir in the remaining vinegar and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Then, reduce the heat and allow the chutney to cook at a gentle bubble until reduced by approximately two-thirds, or until when a spoon drawn through the centre leaves a gap that is slow to close up. Stir the chutney frequently to prevent it burning.

4 Remove the pan from the heat and allow the chutney to cool until cold, then spoon into clean jars. Using a clean skewer, work the skewer backwards and forwards through the chutney to remove any air bubbles.

5 Wipe the tops of the jars clean, and then cover with acid-proof lids. Store in a cool, dark, dry and airy cupboard. Preferably, allow the chutney to mature for 2-3 months before using.

Recipe taken from the Around Britain Dairy Cookbook.

Museums and mini beasts

I simply must rave about my local museum. My son and I had a day off together as my childminder (otherwise known as Mum and Dad) is on holiday.

Isaac and I decided to dodge the rain and try out a new exhibition at the museum. We were there for hours! It was wonderful!

There were so many hands-on exhibits for Isaac – magnifying glasses for examining mini beasts, dressing-up costumes, puzzles, crayons, Velcro pictures and much more. I am so glad I have encouraged museum visits in my recent Family Fun feature for the 2011 Dairy Diary.

Museums are not just for kids of course – there was plenty for me to learn too! Our lunch in the café was very disappointing though, dishes home-made from local ingredients (as you would expect) were sadly lacking. We opted to share a soggy jacket potato and beans followed by a very dry and definitely not home-made scone. Next time I think we will take a picnic and bake our own scones.

Drop in to your local museum next time you have a rainy day and let me know what it’s like (you might want to take these fabulous Wholesome Raisin Scones with you though!)

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