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.

Apple and Plum Crumble

Rather than make a traditional crumble mixture using flour, here oats are used as a topping. Oats are an excellent source of soluble fibre, which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and as the energy from them is released slowly, you’ll feel full for longer.
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 185 Kcal
Fat per portion 1g
of which saturated 0.2g
Serves 4
Suitable for vegetarians + freezing
Cooking apples 450g (1lb), peeled,
cored and sliced
Plums 450g (1lb), stoned and quartered
Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
Cornflour 1 tbsp
Demerara sugar 3 tbsp
Jumbo oats 3 tbsp
Olive oil spray 2–3 bursts
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Mix together the apple slices, plums, cinnamon, cornflour and 2 tablespoons of the demerara sugar. Tip the mixture into an ovenproof dish. Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of water.
2 Sprinkle the oats over the top and then the sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Spray 2–3 bursts of oil over the top of the oats. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20–30 minutes or until the topping is a light golden colour and the apples feel tender when pierced with a skewer.
Serve with real custard sauce.
Cook’s tip
For a crunchier topping, use jumbo rolled oats or ‘traditional’-style oats, which are larger than normal rolled oats.

Rather than make a traditional crumble mixture using flour, here oats are used as a topping.
Oats are an excellent source of soluble fibre, which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and as the energy from them is released slowly, you’ll feel full for longer.

Apple & Plum Crumble

Apple & Plum Crumble

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 185 Kcal
Fat per portion 1g
of which saturated 0.2g
Serves 4
Suitable for vegetarians + freezing

Cooking apples 450g (1lb), peeled, cored and sliced
Plums 450g (1lb), stoned and quartered
Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
Cornflour 1 tbsp
Demerara sugar 3 tbsp
Jumbo oats 3 tbsp
Olive oil spray 2–3 bursts

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Mix together the apple slices, plums, cinnamon, cornflour and 2 tablespoons of the demerara sugar. Tip the mixture into an ovenproof dish. Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of water.

2 Sprinkle the oats over the top and then the sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Spray 2–3 bursts of oil over the top of the oats. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20–30 minutes or until the topping is a light golden colour and the apples feel tender when pierced with a skewer.

Serve with real custard sauce.

Cook’s tip
For a crunchier topping, use jumbo rolled oats or ‘traditional’-style oats, which are larger than normal rolled oats.

Recipe taken from Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook

Just One Pot flies off the shelf!

We have had very encouraging news regarding Just One Pot Dairy Cookbook this week. The buyer from Dairy Crest tells us it is flying off their shelves – excellent!

Just One Pot, Dairy Cookbook

Just One Pot, Dairy Cookbook

We have been really pleased with the book and its ease-of-use, but you never really know how well it will sell until the milkmen start taking orders. Very encouraging.

We are now putting the final touches to the next cookbook and a brand new gardening book. I am sure these will be just as popular – they are looking stunning. A big thank you to all the team – in particular Aune Butt the author of the gardening book – who have done such as fabulous job. It’s all hands to deck now to meet our print deadlines.

One of my personal favourites from Just One Pot is the excellent Thai Chicken Curry with Noodles. If you would like to try a few more recipes before buying visit the Dairy Diary website and click the sample recipes link.

And don’t forget to let me know what you think of the recipes by clicking the ‘Leave a Comment” link below.

Thai chicken curry with noodles

A fresh and mild curry with a zesty tang – one of my favourite recipes from Just One Pot Dairy Cookbook.

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes
Calories per portion 527 Kcal
Fat per portion 26g
of which saturated 16.4g
Serves 4
Vegetable oil 1 tbsp
Thai curry paste 3 tsp
Skinless, boneless chicken thighs 8, each cut into 4 or 6 square-ish pieces
Coconut milk 400ml can
Aubergine 1, cut into 2.5cm (1in) chunks
Baby sweetcorn 10, halved lengthways
Tenderstem broccoli 110g (4oz), cut into 5cm (2in) lengths
Straight-to-wok noodles 300g packet
Lime 1, grated zest and juice
Thai fish sauce 2 tbsp
Coriander good handful of leaves, left whole or chopped
Thai red chillies 1 or 2, deseeded and finely sliced (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)
Heat the oil in large saucepan. Stir in the curry paste and cook for half a minute. Add the chicken pieces and fry gently until sealed.
Stir in the coconut milk then add the aubergine and baby sweetcorn and bring to the boil. Simmer, with the pan half covered, for 10 minutes.
Add the broccoli stems and cook for another 2 minutes. Then stir in the noodles and put the broccoli heads to steam on top of them. Simmer, uncovered, for 3–5 minutes until the vegetables are just tender.
Season with lime zest and juice and add fish sauce, to taste, and whole or chopped coriander leaves, holding some back to garnish.
Stir gently and serve in warmed bowls. Garnish with red chilli, if you like, and a few more coriander leaves and lime wedges, if using, along with the remaining fish sauce for seasoning to personal taste.
COOK’S TIP
If you like a bit more heat in your Thai curry, add some grated root ginger, garlic and sliced chillies along with the curry paste.
Thia Chicken Curry with Noodles

Thia Chicken Curry with Noodles

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes
Calories per portion 527 Kcal
Fat per portion 26g
of which saturated 16.4g
Serves 4

Vegetable oil 1 tbsp
Thai curry paste 3 tsp
Skinless, boneless chicken thighs 8, each cut into 4 or 6 square-ish pieces
Coconut milk 400ml can
Aubergine 1, cut into 2.5cm (1in) chunks
Baby sweetcorn 10, halved lengthways
Tenderstem broccoli 110g (4oz), cut into 5cm (2in) lengths
Straight-to-wok noodles 300g packet
Lime 1, grated zest and juice
Thai fish sauce 2 tbsp
Coriander good handful of leaves, left whole or chopped
Thai red chillies 1 or 2, deseeded and finely sliced (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)

1 Heat the oil in large saucepan. Stir in the curry paste and cook for half a minute. Add the chicken pieces and fry gently until sealed.

2 Stir in the coconut milk then add the aubergine and baby sweetcorn and bring to the boil. Simmer, with the pan half covered, for 10 minutes.

3 Add the broccoli stems and cook for another 2 minutes. Then stir in the noodles and put the broccoli heads to steam on top of them. Simmer, uncovered, for 3–5 minutes until the vegetables are just tender.

4 Season with lime zest and juice and add fish sauce, to taste, and whole or chopped coriander leaves, holding some back to garnish.

5 Stir gently and serve in warmed bowls. Garnish with red chilli, if you like, and a few more coriander leaves and lime wedges, if using, along with the remaining fish sauce for seasoning to personal taste.

Cook’s tip
If you like a bit more heat in your Thai curry, add some grated root ginger, garlic and sliced chillies along with the curry paste.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot Dairy Cookbook.

A tense day in the Dairy Diary office

Wow! We have had some gorgeous cover designs in today from the illustrators we commissioned a couple of weeks’ ago. All feature flowers and birds, butterflies or dragonflies. I can’t wait for the research groups next week to canvas opinion. I have a definite favourite but I am sure our research groups will think differently, as is often the case! I wish all my work involved this rather than battling with ink cartridges, IT systems, grumpy people and packing parcels!
The reason I am wrestling with ink cartridges (I won’t go into the boring details but grrrr), is that all three of the books for publication next year are almost complete. I am printing out spreads to show to our Editorial Director and to send off for proof reading. It’s a very exciting time – seeing everything coming together – but also a little tense hoping that everything is approved. I am more than thrilled with everything though, so I am quietly confident – watch this space!
As a treat after my especially irritating day I am going to rustle up something delectable for dinner tonight – but it needs to be quick, easy and healthy too. So Fish Provençal from the Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook is perfect. Try it – I’ll think you will love it. Let me know by clicking on the ‘comment’ link below.

Wow! Today we received several gorgeous cover designs for the 2011 Dairy Diary.

We commissioned illustrators a few weeks ago to create designs featuring flowers and birds, butterflies or dragonflies. I can’t wait for the research groups next week to canvas opinion.

I have a definite favourite but I am sure our research groups will think differently, as is often the case! I wish all my work involved this rather than battling with ink cartridges, IT systems, grumpy people and packing parcels!

The reason I am wrestling with ink cartridges (I won’t go into the boring details, but grrrr), is that all three of the books for publication next year are almost complete. I am printing out spreads to show to our Editorial Director and to send off for proof reading. It’s a very exciting time – seeing everything coming together – but also a little tense hoping that everything is approved. I am more than thrilled with everything though, so I am quietly confident – watch this space!

As a treat after my especially irritating day I am going to rustle up something delectable for dinner tonight – but it needs to be quick, easy and healthy too. So Fish Provençal from the Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook is perfect.

Try it – I’ll think you will love it. Let me know by clicking on the ‘Leave a Comment’ link below.

%d bloggers like this: