Honey Roast Parsnips


Christmas isn’t Christmas without roast parsnips. The honey in this recipe adds a little extra sweetness and turns the humble parsnip into something very special.


Honey Roast Parnips

Honey Roast Parsnips

Serves 4
Time 35 mins
Suitable for vegetarians


Olive oil 2 tbsp
Unsalted butter 50g (2oz)
Parsnips 900g (2lb), peeled and quartered lengthways
Clear honey 2 tbsp

1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Heat oil and butter in a roasting tin on top of the stove. Add parsnips and fry until golden on all sides.

2 Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

3 Pour honey over roast parsnips and coat evenly. Season and return to the oven for 5 more minutes, or until tender.

Cook’s tip
Small or medium sized parsnips give the best flavour and texture.

A Dairy Diary recipe.


Christmas countdown

It’s the last week in November and the Christmas countdown has begun. Today I opened my brand new Dairy Diary for the first time and added next year’s holiday dates – two booked already, how fantastic!

It may just be my obsessively organisational nature but there is something lovely about opening a new diary and filling in all your details – with your best writing pen and handwriting of course! Then two weeks’ later the book is full of lots of scribbled notes in several different pens!

It’s been a very industrious and Christmassy weekend, with craft projects and ‘Stir-up Sunday’ – traditionally, the day when Christmas puddings are made – with the whole family joining in to ‘stir-up’ the mixture. We made delicious Calypso puddings from the 2010 Dairy Diary, refreshingly different with pineapple and mango as well as prunes and apricots.


Home-made Christmas card

Isaac's Christmas card

Working on the 2011 Dairy Diary, with its card-making feature, has inspired me to make cards for loved ones this year. I’m afraid time as a working mum doesn’t allow for all my cards to be home-made but the special people in our lives will get mummy-commissioned cards made by my son, who will be two in December. First we found all the buttons cut from my clothes over the past ten years (some in frightening colours and patterns!) and sorted them into colours. I drew a triangle on a ready-made card and Isaac spread the triangle with glue and covered it with buttons, placing an extra one underneath for the ‘trunk’.

He thoroughly enjoyed himself with gluing and sticking and they looked surprisingly good. The most effective card is a shocking pink with black buttons (especially for Auntie Claire according to Isaac!). Let’s hope Auntie Claire isn’t reading this…….


Calypso puddings

These delicious Calypso puddings from the 2010 Dairy Diary are refreshingly different with pineapple and mango as well as prunes and apricots. Perfect for Christmas Day.

Calypso puddings

Calypso puddings

Makes 8
Time 3½ hours
348 calories per serving
4g fat of which 0.9g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Soft, pitted Agen prunes 200g (7oz), roughly chopped
Lemon and orange 1 of each, grated zest and juice
White or dark rum 4 tbsp
Soft dark brown sugar 50g (2oz)
Eggs 3, beaten
Ready-to-eat dried apricots 110g (4oz), roughly chopped
Raisins and sultanas 150g (5oz) each
Freshly prepared mango and pineapple flesh 110g (4oz) of each, cut into 1cm (½in) cubes
Maraschino cherries 110g (4oz), drained and quartered
Wholemeal breadcrumbs 200g (7oz)
Pineapple slices 4, cut into wedges to serve, optional
Holly sprigs to decorate, optional

1 Grease 8 x 200ml (7fl oz) pudding moulds with butter and base line with baking paper. Cut 8 larger rounds from baking paper and foil for covering.

2 Put all ingredients except pineapple slices into a large bowl. Mix well, spoon into moulds and smooth tops. Place larger paper rounds on top and cover securely with foil.

3 Steam puddings for 2 hours and then for 45 minutes to reheat. When ready to serve, turn puddings out, decorate with holly sprigs and serve with pineapple slices, if using.

Puddings can be prepared 6-8 weeks before Christmas and then reheated on the day.

Recipe taken from the 2010 Dairy Diary.

Pastry power

It would seem that we are a nation of pastry lovers. As many businesses are struggling Greggs the bakers are flourishing and have seen an increase in sales of almost 4%, the BBC reported last week.

Indeed on a recent visit to the North-East I was astonished to see a branch on almost every corner and even rumours of a drive-thru Greggs!

Pastry-comfortPerhaps we all need a little comfort food to cheer us up in these recession-ridden days? Or maybe we as a nation enjoy cheap and convenient foods. Either way, I must admit, I love pastry as an occasional treat. It certainly does seem to be the perfect comfort food for these wet and windy November days (though maybe not so perfect for our waistlines – but everything in moderation, I say!)

One of my favourite pastry recipes comes from last year’s Clever Cooking for One or TwoTwo cheese and onion tart. It tastes truly delicious and is a great storecupboard standby. I cooked it quite recently after a post-holiday power cut where I had to use up the contents of my freezer. With only a pack of defrosted puff pastry, some ready-grated cheese, sweetcorn and a solitary onion, it was the perfect recipe. I simply swapped the cherry tomatoes for sweetcorn and it tasted great. Crisis and wasted food averted!

Two Cheese and Onion Tart

As an occasional treat it is the perfect comfort food for these wet and windy November days

Two Cheese and Onion Tart

Two Cheese and Onion Tart

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 614 Kcal
Fat per portion 41g
of which saturated 20.8g
Serves 2
Suitable for vegetarians + freezing

Ready-rolled puff pastry 1 sheet from a 425g pack
Tomato chutney or ketchup 2 tbsp
Onion 1 small, peeled and thinly sliced
Baby plum or cherry tomatoes 6, halved
Cheddar cheese, Double Gloucester or Red Leicester mixed with a blue cheese like Gorgonzola or Stilton 110g (4oz), cut into cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley to garnish

1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Carefully unroll the whole pack of pastry and put one sheet (measuring 23 x 28cm/9 x 11in) on to a heavy baking sheet. Reroll and re-wrap the other sheet and chill or freeze for later use.

2 With a sharp knife, mark a border about 1.5cm (½in) in from the edge all round and lightly mark it for decoration. With a fork, prick inside the border, to keep the pastry flat while it cooks.

3 Spread the chutney or ketchup inside the border, then scatter the onion slices over the sauce, followed by the cheese cubes and tomato halves. Season with pepper.

4 Bake the tart in the bottom half of the oven for about 30 minutes until the pastry is browned and crispy. Cool for a few minutes and then sprinkle with a little parsley. Serve the tart warm or cold.

Cook’s tip
This is easy to assemble and can be left in the fridge, loosely covered with cling film, ready for baking when you want to.

Shopper’s tip
Ready-rolled pastry is a good stand-by as it thaws quickly for a speedy base for savoury and sweet tarts.

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

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

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