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!)

Wholesome raisin scones

Home-baked scones are a fabulous comfort food – tasty, great texture and surprisingly good for you.

Wholesome Raisin Scones

Wholesome Raisin Scones

Time 45 minutes
Makes 14
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Raisins 175g (6oz)
Orange juice 3 tbsp
Self-raising flour 225g (8oz)
Wholemeal flour 225g (8oz)
Baking powder 4 tsp
Caster sugar 50g (2oz), plus extra for sprinkling
Butter 150g (5oz)
Buttermilk 284ml carton
Egg 1 large, beaten
Milk for brushing

1 Soak raisins in orange juice in a small bowl for 10–15 minutes. Preheat oven to 425ºC/425ºF/Gas 7.

2 Sift both flours with baking powder into a large bowl, mix in sugar, then rub in butter and make a well in centre.

3 Add soaked raisins (including any remaining liquid), buttermilk and egg to flour and mix to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead lightly on a floured surface, just enough to smooth. Roll out to 2.5cm (1in) thick.

4 Using a floured, 6.5cm (2½ in) plain round cutter, stamp out circles from dough and place on a baking tray. Re-knead and re-roll trimmings and stamp out more scones.

5 Brush scones with a little milk and bake for 12–15 minutes, until well-risen, golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped on base. Sift caster sugar over tops and cool.

A Dairy Diary 2007 recipe.

Dairy Diary Chat official launch

Welcome to the official launch of Dairy Diary Chat and your chance to win a copy of the new Dairy Cookbook.

Some of you may know that we have been testing the blog online for a few weeks now. Well everything is running smoothly, so here we are and we’ll be posting a new blog each week from now onwards! And to celebrate we are giving away 20 copies of Just One Pot, the new Dairy Cookbook – to enter read on!

So what can you expect in the coming months?

  • All the latest news from the Dairy Diary and Dairy Cookbook office.
  • A free recipe each week to tempt your tastebuds.
  • A growing library of recipes for further inspiration.
  • Hints and tips for the kitchen and around the home
  • Swap ideas with other Dairy Diary and Dairy Cookbook readers.
  • Suggest recipes, hints and tips for future publications.
  • Comment on all blog topics and recipes.

One idea we would like to explore is the possibility of an online reference section that expands on the excellent information already found in the Dairy Diary. Obviously we can only publish so much in the Dairy Diary – so what extra would you like to be able to find here?

Or what about a cookery workshop section where you can find “how to” instructions, specialist techniques, short-cuts and “secret ingredients” to ensure success in the kitchen?

To do all this we need your help! Do you have suggestions, great ideas or a little wisdom to share with your fellow readers? Yes? Well, here is your opportunity to do so.


Win a copy of Just One Pot

Win a copy of Just One Pot

Win a copy of Just One Pot, the new Dairy Cookbook.

We are giving away 20 copies of Just One Pot exclusively to Dairy Diary Chat readers. From snacks to glorious desserts, Just One Pot will show you how to create fresh, home-cooked food without lots of pots and pans. Delicious recipes that use just one pot each. Fabulous food with less fuss!

Click here to enter the competition.

Good luck. And don’t forget to bookmark this blog and visit again next week.

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