Lamb and Apricot Cousous

Perfect comfort food for chilly autumn evenings.

This is a rare treat indeed – comfort food that tastes great, looks fabulous and is a good healthy meal too! What more could you wish for?

A Moroccan inspired dish, this recipe is packed with flavour and really is an all-in-one meal, providing you with protein, carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It is quick to prepare and then you can forget about it while it cooks to perfection.

Lamb and Apricot couscousPreparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour 30 minutes
Calories per portion 309 Kcal
Fat per portion 8g
of which saturated 3.5g
Serves 4
Suitable for freezing

Olive oil spray 2–3 bursts
Lean lamb 350g (12oz), diced
Onion 1, peeled and sliced
Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
Ground turmeric 1 tsp
Leek 1, washed and sliced
Red pepper 2, deseeded and roughly chopped
Ready-to-eat dried apricots 150g (5oz)
Lemon 1, grated zest and strained juice
Lamb stock 450ml (¾pint)
Couscous 110g (4oz)
Chopped flat leaf parsley 2 tbsp

1 Heat a saucepan or flameproof casserole dish and then spray with olive oil. Add the lamb and onion to the pan in a single layer. Cook over a high heat, turning occasionally until the lamb is browned on all sides. Add the cinnamon and turmeric and cook for a further minute, stirring well.

2 Add the leek, red pepper, apricots and lemon zest and juice to the casserole dish and mix with the meat. Pour the stock into the dish. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for 1¼–1½hours, or until the lamb is tender.

3 Add the couscous, stir and re-cover the pan. Continue to cook for a further 3–5 minutes, over a very gentle heat until the couscous is just tender and has thickened the juices. Stir the parsley into the mixture. Serve with a green salad.

Cook’s tip
This recipe is versatile – it may also be cooked in a moderate oven rather than on the hob.

Recipe taken from Healthy & Healthy Dairy Cookbook

Autumn and Apples

Last night, we enjoyed some delicious home-made toffee apples at our local firework display.

Fresh, hand-picked apples coated in a crunch sweet toffee – delicious and every dentist’s nightmare!

Baked home-grown appleWhat a naughty but very nice way to use up a glut of home-grown apples. I always inherit bags full of garden-grown apples from my parents. They grow eating apples, which are perfect packed with raisins and cinnamon and microwaved for a couple of minutes until soft and steaming. Of course, all the family love stewed apple served with piping hot custard too.

My Grandad was always a big fan of cheese and apple sandwiches, an unusually tasty combination which has been seen in the Dairy Diary in years gone by. I personally, love it made with Camembert and slices of Cox apple on a seeded roll.

For a surfeit of home-grown cooking apples why not try Autumn chutney from next year’s Dairy Diary?

Autumn Chutney

A perfect way to make use of home-grown apples and pears. And very satisfying to make.

Makes approx. 1.5kg
Time 3–4 hours
43 calories per tablespoon
0G fat of which 0G is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Autumn Chutney

Autumn Chutney

Bramley cooking apples 500g (1lb 2oz), peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Conference pears 6 large, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Plums 8 large, stoned and quartered
Blackberries 600g (1lb 5oz)
Ginger 50g (2oz), peeled and finely chopped
Red and green chilli 1cm (½in) piece of each, deseeded and finely chopped
Onions 600g (1lb 5oz), peeled and roughly chopped
Granulated sugar 750g (1lb 11oz)
Distilled white wine vinegar, 5% acidity 450ml (16fl oz)

 

1 Put all ingredients into a large stainless steel preserving pan. Heat gently, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to the boil.

2 Reduce heat and cook for 3–4 hours (stirring often) until it is reduced by about two-thirds, or when a wooden spoon drawn across the centre leaves a path that is slow to close up.

3 Allow chutney to cool, then spoon into clean jars. Cover with acid resistant lids or waxed discs and cellophane covers.

4 Store in a cool, dark cupboard for at least 1 month before using. Serve with bread, cheese, spring onions and radishes or cherry tomatoes.

Cook’s tip
Cooking time varies according to size of pan – a wide shallow pan cooks quicker than a narrower, deep one.

Recipe taken from 2010 Dairy Diary.

Fat Rascals

There is lots of history behind these biscuits, and they may originally have been cooked on open turf or peat fires on Whitby Moor. Another suggestion is that they were made from trimmings of shortcrust pastry that were rolled out and had currants and sugar sprinkled over the top. They were then baked and eaten warm, with butter spread over them.
Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 18 minutes
Calories per biscuit – 200 Kcal
Fat per biscuit – 9g
of which saturated – 5.8g
Makes – 10
Suitable for vegetarians
Plain flour 250g (9oz)
Salt pinch
Butter 110g (4oz)
Currants 50g (2oz)
Light muscovado sugar 2 tbsp
Milk 3–4 tbsp
Caster sugar for sprinkling
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Butter a baking sheet.
2 Sift the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Rub in the butter, then stir in the currants and sugar. Add the milk and bind to form a dough. Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface and then roll it out to about 1cm (1⁄2in) thick.
3 Use a 5cm (2in) cutter to cut out rounds and place them on the baking sheet. Re-roll and cut trimmings as necessary. Sprinkle caster sugar over the tops. Cook in the centre of the oven for 15–18 minutes. These will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.
Cook’s tip
• Some people make these into faces by arranging currants for the eyes and nose and flaked almonds for the teeth.

There is lots of history behind these biscuits, and they may originally have been cooked on open turf or peat fires on Whitby Moor.

Fat Rascals

Fat Rascals

Another suggestion is that they were made from trimmings of shortcrust pastry that were rolled out and had currants and sugar sprinkled over the top. They were then baked and eaten warm, with butter spread over them.

Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 18 minutes
Calories per biscuit – 200 Kcal
Fat per biscuit – 9g
of which saturated – 5.8g
Makes – 10
Suitable for vegetarians

Plain flour 250g (9oz)
Salt pinch
Butter 110g (4oz)
Currants 50g (2oz)
Light muscovado sugar 2 tbsp
Milk 3–4 tbsp
Caster sugar for sprinkling

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Butter a baking sheet.

2 Sift the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Rub in the butter, then stir in the currants and sugar. Add the milk and bind to form a dough. Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface and then roll it out to about 1cm (1⁄2in) thick.

3 Use a 5cm (2in) cutter to cut out rounds and place them on the baking sheet. Re-roll and cut trimmings as necessary. Sprinkle caster sugar over the tops. Cook in the centre of the oven for 15–18 minutes. These will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.

Cook’s tip
Some people make these into faces by arranging currants for the eyes and nose and flaked almonds for the teeth.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook

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.

Real custard sauce

Do you have favourite dislikes? Things that were better in your childhood maybe? One of mine is custard powder – given the opportunity I can’t resist boring everyone with, ‘Oh, real custard is so much better. It doesn’t take long to make at all, but it is worth the effort.’
Well, this week my family’s patience finally snapped and I was told to put up or shut up.
OK. Mild panic. So, real custard… how hard can it be? And it had better be fantastic. No pressure then.
After several hours scouring cookbooks I realise that there is an bewildering variety of recipes. Yikes. Can they all work?
Well this is the recipe I used and yes, it was so much better. And worth the effort.
Do you have a better recipe?
Preparation 5 mins
plus 15 mins standing
Cooking 15 mins
Serves 4-6
Fresh milk 300ml (½ pint)
Vanilla pod 1
Egg yolks 4
Sugar 25g (1oz)
1 Reserve 45ml (3 tbsp) milk. Place remaining milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan. Bring almost to the boil.
2 Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
3 Place egg yolks, sugar and reserved milk in a bowl. Beat until thick and creamy.
4 Remove vanilla pod from milk and pour milk on to egg mixture.
5 Strain mixture into a heavy-based saucepan and cook, stirring, until custard thinly coats the back of a spoon (about the thickness of single cream).
6 Pour into a cold jug and serve. The custard thickens on cooling.
Try it and let know how you get on. Can you improve it? Click on the ‘Leave a Comment” link below.
Now you will want something to pour this delightful custard over won’t you? How about a delicious Apple & Plum Crumble from Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook.

Do you have favourite dislikes? Things that were better in your childhood maybe? One of mine is custard powder – given the opportunity I can’t resist boring everyone with, ‘Oh, real custard is so much better. It doesn’t take long to make at all, but it is worth the effort.’

Making real custard sauce

Making real custard sauce

Well, this week my family’s patience finally snapped and I was told to put up or shut up.

OK. Mild panic. So, real custard… how hard can it be? And it had better be delicious. No pressure then. But after several hours scouring cookbooks I realise that there is a bewildering variety of recipes. Yikes. Can they all work?

Well, this is the recipe I used and yes, it was so much better. And worth the effort.

Preparation 5 mins
plus 15 mins standing
Cooking 15 mins
Serves 4-6

Fresh milk 300ml (½ pint)
Vanilla pod 1
Egg yolks 4
Sugar 25g (1oz)

1 Reserve 45ml (3 tbsp) milk. Place remaining milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan. Bring almost to the boil.

2 Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

3 Place egg yolks, sugar and reserved milk in a bowl. Beat until thick and creamy.

4 Remove vanilla pod from milk and pour milk on to egg mixture.

5 Strain mixture into a heavy-based saucepan and cook, stirring, until custard thinly coats the back of a spoon (about the thickness of single cream).

6 Pour into a cold jug and serve. The custard thickens on cooling.

Try it and let know how you get on. Can you improve it? Do you have a better recipe? Click on the ‘Leave a Comment” link below.

Now you will want something to pour this delightful custard sauce over won’t you?
How about a delicious Apple & Plum Crumble from Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook.

Emily is taking a well earned break. Today’s blog has been written by the Dairy Diary Chat administrator.

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