Anniversary gifts

Anniversary gifts
My close friends Katy and James celebrate their first wedding anniversary next week. I have already made a card but have not yet bought a gift. Of course I checked in my Dairy Diary to see what is traditionally given for a first anniversary gift – paper. Hmmm….what paper-based present will they appreciate?!! I have deliberated quite a lot and decided to opt for a magazine subscription. They both enjoy travel, so a travel magazine seems like a gift they could both enjoy. Let’s hope they like it!
I am just glad it’s not their seventh anniversary with iron as the traditional gift! What on earth would I buy for that? I would love to hear of any innovative gifts given for wedding or wedding anniversaries. It means so much more to the recipient if it has been thought about.
Maybe a special cake is a nice idea? Try this special Celebration Cake recipe.

My close friends Katy and James celebrate their first wedding anniversary next week. I have already made a card but have not yet bought a gift.

Of course I checked in my Dairy Diary to see what is traditionally given for a first anniversary gift – paper.

Hmmm….what paper-based present will they appreciate?!! I have deliberated quite a lot and decided to opt for a magazine subscription. They both enjoy travel, so a travel magazine seems like a gift they could both enjoy. Let’s hope they like it!

I am just glad it’s not their seventh anniversary with iron as the traditional gift! What on earth would I buy for that? I would love to hear of any innovative gifts given for wedding or wedding anniversaries. It means so much more to the recipient if it has been thought about.

Maybe a special cake is a nice idea? Try this special Celebration Cake recipe.

Celebration Cake

Celebration cake recipe
makes 25cm (10in) cake
time 4 hours
567 calories per slice
24.1g fat of which 8.8g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Butter 350g (12oz)
Golden caster sugar 350g (12oz)
Eggs 6 large, beaten
Vanilla or almond essence 2 tsp
Self-raising flour 400g (14oz)
Finely ground hazelnuts 150g (5oz)
Ground almonds 150g (5oz)
Lemon curd 200g (7oz)
White marzipan 450g (1lb)
Clear honey 2 tbsp, warmed
Ready-to-roll fondant icing 1kg (2lb 4oz)
1 Preheat oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas 3. Line a
25cm (10in) round cake tin with baking paper.
2 Beat butter and sugar together until light
and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs, add
flavouring, then gently fold in flour and nuts.
3 Spoon mixture into tin, alternating with
spoonfuls of lemon curd. Smooth top. Bake for
2 hours 20 minutes or until firm to touch. Cool
for 1 hour, then turn out onto a wire rack.
4 Roll out marzipan to cover top and sides of
cake. Brush cake with honey, cover with
marzipan, trim and smooth all over.
5 Roll out and cover cake with fondant icing.
Decorate with fresh flowers, or as in photo.
A Dairy Diary 2007 recipe

A simple yet reliable recipe for a beautiful cake that’s perfect for celebrations.

Celebration Cake

Celebration Cake

Makes 25cm (10in) cake
Time 4 hours
567 calories per slice
24.1g fat of which 8.8g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Butter 350g (12oz)
Golden caster sugar 350g (12oz)
Eggs 6 large, beaten
Vanilla or almond essence 2 tsp
Self-raising flour 400g (14oz)
Finely ground hazelnuts 150g (5oz)
Ground almonds 150g (5oz)
Lemon curd 200g (7oz)
White marzipan 450g (1lb)
Clear honey 2 tbsp, warmed
Ready-to-roll fondant icing 1kg (2lb 4oz)

1 Preheat oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas 3. Line a 25cm (10in) round cake tin with baking paper.

2 Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs, add flavouring, then gently fold in flour and nuts.

3 Spoon mixture into tin, alternating with spoonfuls of lemon curd. Smooth top. Bake for 2 hours 20 minutes or until firm to touch. Cool for 1 hour, then turn out onto a wire rack.

4 Roll out marzipan to cover top and sides of cake. Brush cake with honey, cover with marzipan, trim and smooth all over.

5 Roll out and cover cake with fondant icing.

Decorate with fresh flowers, or as in photo.

A Dairy Diary 2007 recipe

Travel Tips

Travel tips
I have just finished writing a travel tips page for the 2011 Dairy Diary. Before researching it I never realised how unprepared I have been when travelling abroad! How many of us take the emergency number for our credit card company in case the card is stolen? Not me, that’s for sure! I seldom give anyone at home my holiday contact details either. In fact, I get so wrapped up in what I will wear/eat/drink/do when I am there that I completely forget about all the important stuff.
Thankfully, there has rarely been an emergency while I have been away – except when I was in New York the day before September 11th and no one at home knew my exact itinerary – it pays to be prepared. I would love to hear any useful travel tips or advice on what to take. Also, when booking a flight do you opt for on-board catering or take something of your own? I deliberated this last week when booking flights for a family holiday. I plumped for the in-flight meal as I find all those little parcels quite exciting. The taste is never up to much though!
But what is the best thing to take to eat on a flight? Probably not a particularly ripe French cheese! Try these Cheese Flapjacks – easily portable with oats for slow-releasing energy.

I have just finished writing a travel tips page for the 2011 Dairy Diary.

Before researching it I never realised how unprepared I have been when travelling abroad!

How many of us take the emergency number for our credit card company in case the card is stolen? Not me, that’s for sure! I seldom give anyone at home my holiday contact details either. In fact, I get so wrapped up in what I will wear/eat/drink/do when I am there that I completely forget about all the important stuff.

Thankfully, there has rarely been an emergency while I have been away – except when I was in New York the day before September 11th and no one at home knew my exact itinerary – it pays to be prepared.

When booking a flight do you opt for on-board catering or take something of your own? I deliberated this last week when booking flights for a family holiday. I plumped for the in-flight meal as I find all those little parcels quite exciting. The taste is never up to much though!

But what is the best thing to take to eat on a flight? I would love to hear any useful travel tips or advice on what to take.

Probably not a particularly ripe French cheese! Try these Cheese Flapjacks – easily portable with oats for slow-releasing energy.

Cheese Flapjacks

Savoury flapjacks are very morish and perfect for an energy boost on the move.

Cheese Flapjacks

Cheese Flapjacks

Makes 12
Suitable for vegetarians

Butter or margarine 50g (2oz)
Cashew nuts 50g (2oz)
Macadamia nuts 25g (1oz), halved
Carrot 1 large, peeled and grated
Double Gloucester cheese 110g (4oz), grated
Porridge oats 150g (5oz)
Dried mixed herbs 1/2 tsp
Egg 1, beaten

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Melt the butter in the microwave or a saucepan. Remove from the heat and then add the nuts, carrot, cheese, oats, herbs and egg. Mix well.

2 Grease a 20cm (8in) round pie tin. Spoon the mixture into the tin and press down well. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until golden brown. Leave in the tin to cool and then cut into 12 wedges. Serve cold as a snack.

Cook’s tip
These are great to make and keep in an airtight container in the cupboard. If anyone in the family fancies a savoury snack, they are the prefect healthy alternative to crisps.

Recipe taken from Hearty & Healthy Dairy  Cookbook

Ice Cream Sunday

I  enjoyed a gorgeous Sunday lunch at a local pub with some friends (and fidgety children) yesterday. The scrubbed old oak tables and wooden floors looked fabulous, but the highlight was most definitely the home-made ice creams. My personal favourite was apple pie – delicious. A friend of mine sampled the blackcurrant and liquorice ice cream, which none of us were convinced by! Heston Blumenthal is famous for his bacon and egg ice cream of course but I have not come across too many weird and wonderful flavours.
I would love to find out what bizarre flavours there are out there! Perhaps it might be good to stick to the flavours we know we love, such as Rhubarb and Custard Ice Cream from Year Round Dairy Cookbook.

I  enjoyed a gorgeous Sunday lunch at a local pub with some friends (and fidgety children) yesterday.

The scrubbed old oak tables and wooden floors looked fabulous, but the highlight was most definitely the home-made ice creams.

My personal favourite was apple pie – delicious. A friend of mine sampled the blackcurrant and liquorice ice cream, which none of us were convinced by! Heston Blumenthal is famous for his bacon and egg ice cream of course but I have not come across too many weird and wonderful flavours.

I would love to find out what bizarre flavours there are out there! Do you have a favourite? Or a flavour that you loath?

Perhaps it might be good to stick to the flavours we know we love, such as Rhubarb and Custard Ice Cream from Year Round Dairy Cookbook.

Rhubarb and Custard Ice Cream

Rhubarb and Custard Ice Cream
Celebrate the wonderful taste of fresh rhubarb with this ace cream. It’s simple to make and perfect for an afternoon treat.
Suitable for vegetarians
SERVES 8
Double cream 500ml pot
Orange 1, pared rind and juice
Egg yolks 4
Light Muscovado sugar, 175g (6oz)
Greek yogurt 200g tub
Rhubarb 500g (1lb 2oz) cut into chunks
1 Heat the cream with the pared orange rind in a pan over a gentle heat until it just comes to the boil. Leave to infuse 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks and 110g (4oz) of the sugar until thickened and light in colour. Add a little of the warmed cream mixture, stir well then add the rest of the cream. Pour the mixture back into the pan and stir continuously over a gentle heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Don’t let it boil or it may curdle. Strain it back into a large bowl, and cover closely with clingfilm. Discard the orange parings. Leave the custard to cool, then stir in the yogurt and chill the mixture.
2 Meanwhile, put the rhubarb in a pan with the juice from the orange (6-8 tablespoons) and the rest of the sugar. Cover and cook gently for 6 -7 minutes until the fruit is tender. Tip the rhubarb into a sieve over a large measuring jug or bowl. Leave like this for 10 minutes, or so, to let the juices drain through. You should have about 200ml (7 fl oz) juice. Reserve this for the sauce.
3 Mash the rhubarb roughly with a fork and when cold, stir it in to the custard. Pour into a plastic container and freeze until almost solid. Break up well with a fork, or better still, an electric hand mixer. Freeze again until almost solid, then break up again and freeze so the ice cream is smooth.
4 Taste the reserved rhubarb juice and add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Pour it into a small pan, bring to the boil and boil for about 10 minutes until it starts to get syrupy. Take the ice cream out of the freezer to the fridge about 40 minutes before serving to soften it.
COOK’S TIPS
If you have an ice cream maker, just put the rhubarb custard in and use as directed.  It’s less hassle than keep remembering to whisk it every few hours.
The ice cream will keep 2 months in the freezer.
VARIATION
Add any fruit puree to this basic custard mix. Or you could be clever and make a ripple ice cream –just layer almost frozen custard with fruit puree and swirl the mixtures.
Recipe taken from Year Round Dairy Cookbook.

Celebrate the wonderful taste of fresh rhubarb with this ice cream. It’s simple to make and perfect for an afternoon treat.

Rhubarb Icecream

Rhubarb Icecream

Suitable for vegetarians
Serves 8

Double cream 500ml pot
Orange 1, pared rind and juice
Egg yolks 4
Light Muscovado sugar, 175g (6oz)
Greek yogurt 200g tub
Rhubarb 500g (1lb 2oz) cut into chunks

1 Heat the cream with the pared orange rind in a pan over a gentle heat until it just comes to the boil. Leave to infuse 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks and 110g (4oz) of the sugar until thickened and light in colour. Add a little of the warmed cream mixture, stir well then add the rest of the cream. Pour the mixture back into the pan and stir continuously over a gentle heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Don’t let it boil or it may curdle. Strain it back into a large bowl, and cover closely with clingfilm. Discard the orange parings. Leave the custard to cool, then stir in the yogurt and chill the mixture.

2 Meanwhile, put the rhubarb in a pan with the juice from the orange (6-8 tablespoons) and the rest of the sugar. Cover and cook gently for 6 -7 minutes until the fruit is tender. Tip the rhubarb into a sieve over a large measuring jug or bowl. Leave like this for 10 minutes, or so, to let the juices drain through. You should have about 200ml (7 fl oz) juice. Reserve this for the sauce.

3 Mash the rhubarb roughly with a fork and when cold, stir it in to the custard. Pour into a plastic container and freeze until almost solid. Break up well with a fork, or better still, an electric hand mixer. Freeze again until almost solid, then break up again and freeze so the ice cream is smooth.

4 Taste the reserved rhubarb juice and add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Pour it into a small pan, bring to the boil and boil for about 10 minutes until it starts to get syrupy. Take the ice cream out of the freezer to the fridge about 40 minutes before serving to soften it.

Cook’s Tips
If you have an ice cream maker, just put the rhubarb custard in and use as directed.  It’s less hassle than keep remembering to whisk it every few hours.

The ice cream will keep 2 months in the freezer.

Variation
Add any fruit puree to this basic custard mix. Or you could be clever and make a ripple ice cream –just layer almost frozen custard with fruit puree and swirl the mixtures.

Recipe taken from Year Round Dairy Cookbook.

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