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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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.

Low fat lunches

It’s my family holiday very soon, so I have decided to lose a few pounds ready for donning my shorts (though it may be jeans as we are holidaying in Devon).

I normally shun Rivita for more tasty things such as bread! However, I have been pleasantly surprised. Spread with a little St Dalfour jam (which is sugar free) and some low fat soft cheese they are really quite tasty!

I have chosen the crackers with sesame seeds for extra flavour. Coupled with lots of fruit and delicious baby plum tomatoes sprinkled with a little sea salt – I have survived my days at work.

The Hearty and Healthy Dairy Cookbook has been invaluable for evening meals, particularly Chinese chicken soup, Meaty twizzle sticks and Fruity Italian Sundaes.

For those with an aversion to crackerbread who want a healthy snack give this Spicy Bread Pudding a try.

Do you have a favourite bread pudding recipe?

Spiced bread pudding

Looking for a healthy snack? Try this tasty twist on the traditional bread pudding.

Spiced bread Pudding

Spiced bread Pudding

Preparation time 25 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes
Makes 16 squares
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Wholemeal sliced bread 300g (11oz), cut into 2.5cm (1in) squares
Semi-skimmed milk 300ml (½pint)
Egg 1, beaten
Low fat margarine 75g (3oz)
Raisins 110g (4oz)
Sultanas 50g (2oz)
Brown sugar 110g (4oz)
Ground cinnamon 1 tbsp
Grated nutmeg 1 tbsp

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Grease a rectangular sandwich tin that measures approximately 23 x 20cm (9 x 8in).

2 Place the bread and milk in a large bowl and mix together. Leave to soak for 5 minutes then add all of the remaining ingredients and mix well. Press into the sandwich tin.

3 Bake for 30–35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool and then, when cool, turn out and cut into squares.

Cook’s tip
Replace the sultanas with other dried fruits, if you prefer – try blueberries, cranberries or cherries.

Recipe taken from the Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook

Being Creative with Leftovers

I’m feeling very proud of a ‘leftovers’ culinary creation we enjoyed last night. Usually I am no good at all at impromptu cooking, but rely on my myriad of cookbooks to get me through dinner. However, no recipes for my fridge contents – a few sad looking veggies –  could be found. I decided to stir-fry the veggies – halved baby corn, halved baby courgettes, carrot batons, sliced red onions and halved mange tout – and serve them with noodles. To give them a little more taste (and a little protein), I heated 3tbsp peanut butter, a good splash of milk, 2 tsp soy sauce and ½ finely chopped chilli in the microwave, then tossed everything together.
My other half was thrilled at what he expected to be a very boring dinner. I hate to waste food and always endeavour to use everything left in the fridge/breadbin/cupboard but it isn’t always as palatable! I would love to know of any good leftovers meal ideas.
How about giving Brunchtime French toasts a try? Perfect for leftover egg, bacon and tomato.

I’m feeling very proud of a ‘leftovers’ culinary creation we enjoyed last night.

Usually I am no good at all at impromptu cooking, but rely on my myriad of cookbooks to get me through dinner.

However, no recipes for my fridge contents – a few sad looking veggies –  could be found. I decided to stir-fry the veggies – halved baby corn, halved baby courgettes, carrot batons, sliced red onions and halved mange tout – and serve them with noodles.

To give them a little more taste (and a little protein), I heated 3tbsp peanut butter, a good splash of milk, 2 tsp soy sauce and ½ finely chopped chilli in the microwave, then tossed everything together.

My other half was thrilled at what he expected to be a very boring dinner. I hate to waste food and always endeavour to use everything left in the fridge/breadbin/cupboard but it isn’t always as palatable!

Are you creative with leftovers? I would love to know of any good leftovers meal ideas.

How about giving Brunchtime French Toasts a try? Perfect for leftover egg, bacon and tomato.

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