2020 Anniversaries

The first Glastonbury Festival

My parents were hippies!


I’m sure that they would have loved to go to the first Glastonbury Festival; held 50 years’ ago, but I don’t think their old Frogeye Sprite would have made it that far.

Performers included T.Rex and Hawkwind and the £1 entrance fee also included free milk!

This year’s anniversary festival features artists as diverse as you can imagine, with Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift headlining the main stage. I’m sure that none of the revellers from 1970 would have imagined how huge and iconic the festival has now become.

This year sees milestones of many famous icons including the National Trust.

Dairy Diary 2020 anniversaries

See our guide to 2020 anniversaries for more.






British Pie Week

Cumberland Rum Nicky

Recipe of the Week: Cumberland Rum Nicky


This may not sound like a recipe to celebrate British Pie Week, but it is and oh what a delicious specimen of pie it is!

This delicious dessert, packed full of dried fruit, ginger and rum is a classic dish from Cumberland in the Northwest of England.

The ports of Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport were at the centre of the UK run trade in the 18th century, importing rum, molasses and sugar from the Caribbean. The Cumbrians combined these imported ingredients to create this scrumptious pudding.

Cumberland Rum Nicky



Around Britain cookbookPlus a special 20% discount!

This is one of 130 regional recipes in our wonderful cookbook; Around Britain, back by popular demand.

For a limited time only, if you use the code ABMARCH you can get 20 per cent off the price of this brilliant book.

It would make a great Mother’s Day gift!

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See Where History Changed

See where history changed

New Ideas for Places to Visit

With all the miserable weather that we have been experiencing recently, it’s the perfect time to cosy-up indoors and plan some adventures for when it’s less blustery.

This feature from the Dairy Diary, introduces you to places where turning points in British history actually happened. I’m no history buff, but I find it fascinating and, as a foodie, I can most definitely recommend Ludlow as a must-visit destination.



See Where History Changed

It could all have been so different! Those turning points in history that set events off on a divergent path have a fascination all their own – it’s hard to resist playing the ‘what if’ game, especially in the places where they occurred. Be drawn in and enjoy some great days out.


In AD 43, the Emperor Claudius accepted the surrender of the Celtic tribes at Camulodunum (aka Colchester) and declared this land to be the Roman province of Britannia. Colchester was its capital – until Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, took exception to the Roman presence and burnt it down. William the Conqueror built his first stone castle on the site of Claudius’s temple and the old Roman walls (built after Boudicca’s spirited fight-back) were finally breached after an 11-week siege by Oliver Cromwell’s cronies during the Civil War.

Most of the walls are still standing, however, including the Balkerne Gate featuring Claudius’s triumphal arch. Plenty more to discover here, but when exploring take a moment to consider the plight of the Roman veterans left at what turned out to be the sharp end and coming up against a very angry woman!

Pevensey Castle and Battle Abbey

Nowadays, Pevensey Castle (above) stands several miles inland but in 1066 the sea lapped at its walls and here it was that William of Normandy landed his invasion force, easily overwhelming the defenders.

The new king, Harold II, was away in the north, repelling Norwegian invaders at Stamford Bridge.

By the time he got back with his weary army, William was ensconced at Battle and everyone knows what happened next – 1066, the most memorable date in British history.

A Benedictine abbey was later built on the site, which is now in the care of English Heritage. You can explore the ruins of the abbey, walk round the battlefield, imagine the scene (with the help of an audio guide) and stand at the very place where Harold fell. Unforgettable! Why not go and take a look for yourself?


Visit Runnymede today and you will find a memorial to the sealing of Magna Carta, the ultimate game-changer. King John didn’t want to do it but in June 1215 he had no option. Precisely where the deed was done is a matter of conjecture – in these peaceful meadows, on nearby Magna Carta Island or under the Ankerwycke yew, a truly magnificent ancient tree on the opposite bank of the Thames (worth a visit on its own).

Four copies of the original document survive and can be seen in Lincoln Castle, Salisbury Cathedral and the British Museum. Editions from a few years later are in Durham and Hereford Cathedrals and the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Banqueting House

Even in the days of civil war beheading a king was a radical step, and this is where it happened in 1649. Charles I pushed his luck until the increasingly powerful Oliver Cromwell and his cohorts had had enough. The trial, for treason and murder, took place in the magnificent Westminster Hall (part of the Houses of Parliament, visitors welcome).

The doomed king remained dignified to the last, walking through the glorious banqueting hall – the only part of Whitehall Palace to survive a fire of 1698, ceiling paintings by Rubens – and out through large windows onto the scaffolding erected outside. The crowd groaned as the deed was done and Britain became a republic.

Ludlow Castle


Ludlow castle makes an impressive ruin. It was once a place of great strategic importance due to its position in the border country between England and Wales, and this is where, in 1502, events took an unexpected turn that changed the fate of England. For five months or so, the heir to the throne, Prince Arthur, had been living in the castle with his young Spanish bride, Catherine of Aragon, when he caught the ‘sweating sickness’ and died, aged just 15. His younger brother now became heir, and in 1509, having been duly crowned, Henry VIII married the widow and the rest is history.

Ludlow (above) remains an unspoilt, medieval town and a visit to one of the fairs or festivals held here provides present-day fun, as well as taking you back to a less predictable past.

Market Bosworth

Near this sleepy town is the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre where the whole dramatic story of a major turning point in British history unfolds. The struggle for supremacy between the rival houses of Lancaster and York started with a skirmish in St Albans in May 1455 and ended on 22 August 1485 at Bosworth Field, Richard III’s last stand. About a mile from the heritage centre, Henry Tudor won the day for the Lancastrians and thus ended the Wars of the Roses.

Incredibly, Richard’s grave was discovered in 2012, under a car park. Monks had buried him hastily, not bothering with coffin or shroud, and the rumours about a crooked spine were proved to be true. On 26 March 2015 he was reburied with due pomp in Leicester Cathedral and the car park has protected status.

HMS VictoryPortsmouth

A day at the Historic Dockyard is not enough to experience all it has to offer, but whatever you do, don’t miss HMS Victory (above), the flagship of Admiral Lord Nelson. This is the ship on which Nelson led the line against a combined French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar, just south of Cadiz, and annihilated the enemy by dint of superior strategy, great leadership and iron nerve.

Napoleon’s plans to invade Britain were scuppered, his naval power crushed and British command of the sea ensured for a century.  That’s quite a result! Sadly, Nelson was killed during the action, his enduring status as national hero guaranteed.

White cliffs of Dover

Destroy air defences, dominate the skies, send an invasion force, accept surrender. That was the plan. It didn’t work thanks to the RAF’s determined retaliation and the skill and courage of the pilots. During the glorious summer and autumn of 1940, the first sky-only armed conflict was fought out over the Channel and the famous white cliffs. What better place to find the National Memorial to the Few? It’s located on the cliffs between Dover and Folkestone, open all year.

The Battle of Britain Monument in London is on Victoria Embankment, opposite the London Eye, and Spitfires (page 29) and Hurricanes are on show at RAF Cosford in Shropshire.

Game change averted

Despite best endeavours, Guy Fawkes and the gang didn’t blow up king and parliament, Elizabeth didn’t marry Dudley, Bonnie Prince Charlie didn’t press on to London. If any of these had succeeded, the course of history may have been fundamentally changed. And what would have happened if the Bletchley Park codebreakers hadn’t worked it out?

Coughton Court in Warwickshire is where the gunpowder plot was hatched, the Ashmolean Museum has the lantern Guy Fawkes was carrying when arrested and the National Archive has his confession.

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, sweeping Elizabeth I off her feet was no secret. The only problem was that he was already married. Then on 8 September 1560, his wife, Amy Robsart, was found dead at the foot of the stairs in Cumnor Place. How that came about is still open to speculation and the whiff of scandal was enough to put paid to Dudley’s marital hopes.

What little is left of Cumnor Place stands near Cumnor’s old village church. Kenilworth is where the Queen and the Earl continued their revelries. Swarkestone Bridge, south of Derby, is the longest stone bridge in England and a step too far for the Bonnie Prince. The force seemed to be with him but, nevertheless, this is where he turned back, an event remembered on Derby’s Bonnie Prince Charlie weekend, the first in December – dressing up optional.

Ironbridge Shropshire


Mega industrial developments changed the way people lived their lives for ever and Britain was at the heart of it all. The discovery of how to smelt iron using coke was a trigger and the first ever cast-iron bridge (above) was built across the deep gorge at Ironbridge in Shropshire in 1779. This marked the birth of the Industrial Revolution and it’s still there to marvel at in all its glory. The whole area has been designated a World Heritage Site, providing a great day out with a Victorian village, workshops, museums and plenty of fun for the children.

Other significant sites include Ditherington Flax Mill, Shrewsbury, the first iron-framed building – reducing the use of wood made fire less of an occupational hazard – and the ‘slips’ at Chatham Historic Dockyard, giant sheds in which ships were built. These were the first wide-spanned metal structures in the world. Liverpool Road Railway Station, Manchester was the world’s first passenger railway station, built in 1830 and now part of the Museum of Science and Industry.









Happy Leap Day!

Happy Leap Day

30 days has September,
April, June and November.
All the rest have 31,
except February alone,
which has 28 days clear,
and 29 each leap year.

Who learned that little ditty at school? Even now, I still recite it in my head when checking diary proofs (yes, honestly!)

And here we are on day 29. The day when women who rather fancy their other halves as husband material may propose. This ‘right’ to propose on 29th February each leap year goes back hundreds of years when Leap Day had no recognition in English law; the day was ‘leapt over’ and ignored, hence the term ‘leap year’.

It was decided that the day had no legal status, meaning that a break in tradition on this day was acceptable. Thankfully, nowadays, we can propose whenever we like, Leap Day or otherwise.



Baked Onion SoupIf you’re not busy proposing today, bake this absolutely delicious recipe. I know a baked soup sounds bizarre, but trust me, it’s worth it. Perfect Saturday lunch fayre.

This recipe is from our Cook it Slowly! cookbook, which is packed full of flavoursome recipes perfect for making ahead.

Baked Onion Soup








It’s Shrove Tuesday tomorrow

Lemon & White Chocolate Pancake Pops

Pancakes, as we would recognise them today, date back to Roman times

But a type of pancake is actually thought to originate in Stone Age times, more than 30 thousand years’ ago!

Shrove Tuesday (tomorrow), sometimes referred to as Pancake (or Jif Lemon!) Day, is the traditional feast day that precedes Ash Wednesday. It was, and still is to some, customary to fast from Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent) and so it was essential to use up ingredients, such as flour, eggs and milk, which also have religious symbolism.

Pancakes provide the perfect recipe for such ingredients and have been eaten on this day for centuries.

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, and so it moves date annually.

Us Brits have many unusual traditions and pancakes races are amongst them. The Olney Pancake Race is the most famous of these.  In years gone by, the ‘pancake’ or shriving bell’ would have been rung to summon people to church on Shrove Tuesday. Legend has it that one cook in Olney was in such a rush to get to her place of worship that she ran to church still clutching her frying pan. Today, competitors dress up in a skirt, headscarf and apron and dash to the finish line complete with frying pan and pancake.

If you fancy a rather more leisurely Shrove Tuesday, why not try making this recipe from the 2020 Dairy Diary? It’s a lot easier!


Lemon & White Chocolate Pancake Pops




I wonder, over the past 50 years, how many people have eaten pancakes made using the Dairy Book of Home Cookery recipe?

How many children scampered home from school eager for tea, excited it was Pancake Day, to be greeted by a perfect pancake cooked from this iconic book?

Failsafe Pancake recipe

This is the perfect pancake recipe with variations for Chilli Pancakes and Crêpes Suzette.






Recipe of the Week: Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Bright pink forced rhubarb brings welcome colour and flavour to our bowls this month.

Predominantly grown in Yorkshire, and now with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, these rose-hued shoots are grown in the dark in large, warm and humid sheds.

You can even visit the Wakefield Rhubarb Festival this weekend to celebrate it in all its magenta glory.

Whilst I am partial to rhubarb in gin, this recipe is also absolutely delicious. Share with others as one of your Random Acts of Kindness  this week.

Try it soon!

Rhubarb Crumble Cake





Cook it Slowly! cookbook openThis recipe is from our superb Cook it Slowly cookbook, which is packed with flavoursome dishes, slowly cooked to perfection.

Now available for just £8.75.







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