Orange Iced Cup Cakes

Daintily iced buns, perfect for a girly coffee morning or tea party.

Orange Iced Cup Cakes

Time 25 minutes
Calories per cake 180 Kcal
Fat per cake 10.2g
of which saturated 6.1g
Makes 18 cakes
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing without the icing

Butter 125g (4½oz), softened
Caster sugar 125g (4½oz)
Self-raising flour 125g (4½oz)
Baking powder ½ tsp
Eggs 2, beaten

For the butter icing
Butter 75g (3oz), softened
Icing sugar 150g (5oz), sifted
Orange 1, grated zest and 1 tsp juice
Sugar flowers to decorate

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5 and line 18 bun-tin holes with pretty paper cases.

2 Tip all the ingredients for the cake mix in a bowl (it is very important that the butter is at room temperature and thus softened). Using a hand-held electric whisk, mix well until the cake batter is smooth and creamy.

3 Divide the cake batter evenly between the bun cases. There is enough mixture to three-quarters fill each bun case, so don’t over fill or the mixture will go all over the oven. Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes or until well risen, golden and cooked. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

4 Meanwhile, make the butter icing. Beat the butter with a hand-held electric whisk or wooden spoon and gradually beat in the icing sugar. Beat in the grated orange zest and enough orange juice to taste and give a soft but not runny consistency.

5 When the cakes are cold, spread the orange icing on top and decorate with sugar flowers. For a special event, pop the iced buns in a pretty tin and pipe a letter on each cake to spell Happy Birthday or Happy Christmas.

6 Check on the internet for some great mail order cake decorating suppliers who stock coloured paper cases and dainty iced flowers to decorate these cakes for a very special occasion.

Recipe taken from Good Food, Fast – Dairy Cookbook.

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Battle of the Boyne

Those of you lucky enough to live in Ireland have a bank holiday today – I hope you’re all having fun. The rest of us workers are very envious!

King William III

King William III

Today’s bank holiday commemorates the Battle of the Boyne. For many years I have edited this in the Dairy Diary but I have never really known much about its history. Time to find out…

This year’s bank holiday will mark the 320th anniversary of King William’s victory in Ireland. Interestingly, it is very important to the history of the British Monarchy (I think we should all be entitled to this bank holiday!)

Because of his old church beliefs, in 1688 powerful establishment figures forced King James to abdicate and invited William to take the throne. King William III was the Protestant head of the Dutch royal house of Orange. When James and his wife Mary landed in England, the royal army defected and James fled to France. James was deterrmind to win back his throne and, with the help of the French King, amassed an army of 25,000 (mainly Irish Catholics and French).

He landed in Ireland and fought against King William. William’s 36,000-strong army conisted of protestants from several European countries and both kings led their armies in person. It was a bloody battle at Oldcastle, near the mouth of the river Boyne, which saw a victory for William and it glued William and Mary firmly on the throne. It consolidated the momentous changes in the British way of government known as the Glorious Revolution.

Today’s fabulous Blueberry Crumble recipe comes from Just One Pot, Dairy Cookbook – still available for just £2.99 – and makes the most of this seaon’s delicious blueberries.

Clever Cooking for One or TwoWin a copy of Clever Cooking for One or Two
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Blueberry Crumble

Blueberries given a sharp lemony edge beneath a comforting topping.

Blueberry CrumblePreparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 388 Kcal
Fat per portion 25g
of which saturated 10.2g
Serves 6
Suitable for vegetarians

Blueberries 450g (1lb)
Caster sugar 150g (5oz)
Lemon 1, grated rind and juice
Breadcrumbs 75g (3oz)
Ground almonds 75g (3oz)
Butter 110g (4oz)
Slivered or flaked almonds 25g (1oz)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Mix the fruit, 75g (3oz) of the sugar and lemon rind and juice in a shallow baking dish.

Make the crumble by mixing the breadcrumbs, ground almonds and remaining sugar in a large bowl. Rub in, or cut in, the butter roughly and spoon the mixture evenly over the fruit. Scatter with slivered or flaked almonds.

Bake the crumble for about 30 minutes, turning the oven heat down to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 after 15 minutes when the top has browned. Serve warm or cold with plenty of cream – clotted or double!

Cook’s tip
Crumbles are pretty flexible with the cooking temperature. If you’re cooking other things in the oven at the same time, the crumble will cope – just cook it until it looks good.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot, Dairy Cookbook

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Ratatouille and Ham Pasta Bake

Ratatouille and Ham Pasta BakePreparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Calories per portion 594 Kcal
Fat per portion 21g
of which saturated 9g
Serves 4
Suitable for freezing

Aubergine 1
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pasta shapes 300g (11oz)
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Onion 1, peeled and chopped
Red pepper 1, deseeded and chopped
Courgette 1, trimmed and chopped
Chopped tomatoes with garlic 2 x 400g cans
Dried mixed herbs 1 tsp
Cooked lean ham 225g (8oz), diced
Mozzarella 175g (6oz), grated
Grated Parmesan cheese 4 tbsp

1 Trim the aubergine and cut into small pieces. Layer in a colander or large sieve, sprinkling with salt. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes, then rinse well in cold water and pat dry.

2 Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet’s instructions. Drain well and set aside.

3 While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and pepper for 5 minutes until just softened. Add the aubergine and courgette, and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, ham and black pepper and stir. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and leave to simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

4 Preheat the grill to hot. Stir the pasta and 110g (4oz) of the mozzarella into the vegetables. Pile into a large shallow ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese. Place under the grill and cook for 4–5 minutes until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Serve immediately or cool and freeze, as described opposite.

Cook’s tip
To freeze, allow to cool. Transfer to individual freezer containers. Freeze for up to 6 months. Allow to defrost overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the oven in a small ovenproof dish, covered with foil, until piping hot.

Shopper’s tip
For a quick version, replace the vegetables and chopped tomatoes with 4 x 390g cans ratatouille.

Recipe taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two, Dairy Cookbook.

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Sandwich Speculation

During my edit of the new Dairy Book of Home Cookery, I have come across some unusual sandwiches – combinations that surprised me but had some friends’ mouths watering.

Strange sandwichesIt seems that we have very wide ranging tastes when it comes to that humble of British inventions (introduced by the 4th Earl of Sandwich), the sandwich.

I was most sceptical about the DBoHC’s orange and mackerel, or bacon and banana ensembles but willing to give them a try (the latter, when toasted and drizzled with maple syrup is a bit of a revelation.) However, on browsing the Guardian blogs this morning, I was appalled to see that Tesco have launched a Lasagne Sandwich Initially, I checked the date of the blog assuming it was an April fool, but no, it was published in June. Surely no one with a tastebud would want it? Is it me?!

I would love to know if you have given it (or something equally bizarre) a try. When looking on Tesco’s website, it doesn’t seem to be there so perhaps it has made a rapid disappearance from their shelves – and no wonder!

For an appealing alternative to the ‘lasagndwich’ try this Chicken & Avocado Salad Sandwich from Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook.

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Chicken and Avocado Salad Sandwich

Avocados are a rich source of vitamin E, which is required for healthy skin and good cardiovascular health. When really ripe, avocado can be mashed and used as a tastier alternative to a low fat spread.

Chicken and advocado sandwichPreparation time 10 minutes
Calories per sandwich 397 Kcal
Fat per sandwich 16g
of which saturated 2.8g
Makes 4 sandwiches

Avocado 1 very ripe large
Lime or lemon juice 1 tbsp
Mint leaves 8 shredded, optional
Mixed grain bread 8 slices
Cooked chicken breast 200g (7oz), shredded
Cucumber slices 12
Baby spinach leaves 4 handfuls, rinsed and dried

1 Halve the avocado, remove the stone and scrape out the flesh onto a plate. Mash it with lime or lemon juice and add the shredded mint, if using. Spread the mashed avocado mixture over the 8 slices of bread.

2 Arrange the chicken evenly on 4 of the slices and season to taste. Put the cucumber slices on top and then pile up

the spinach leaves.

3 Place the other piece of bread, avocado side down on top to make 4 sandwiches. Press them together gently and cut each into two pieces.

Cook’s tip
Use fresh salmon or tuna instead of chicken in the sandwich.

Recipes taken from Hearty & Healthy Dairy Cookbook.

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