Tag Archives: family

Best Ever Family Recipes: Speedy Chocolate Sponge Puddings

Speedy Chocolate Sponge Puddings

Best Ever Family Recipes:
Speedy Chocolate Sponge Puddings


Rich, chocolatey and moist sponge puddings with vanilla ice cream.

What’s not to like? These easy puds are great fun to make and always go down a storm. Sometimes, we mix it up a bit and serve with mint choc chip ice cream – mmmmmm.

Fantastic Food For Less cookbookThis scrumptious recipe is taken from one of my favourites books;
Fantastic Food for Less, which has 100 absolutely gorgeous dishes.

There are two types of recipes:
Quick & Easy – can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.
Take it Easy – allowing you to do something else while they cook slowly.

Now that is helpful!

And at only £5.99 it’s an absolute steal.

Click here for more information.



Speedy Chocolate Sponge Puddings

Speedy Chocolate Sponge Puddings

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 655 per portion
Fat 40g (23.8g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians


  • Unsalted butter 150g (5oz), softened, plus a little extra for greasing
  • Caster sugar 110g (4oz) plus 2 tsp
  • Self-raising flour 110g (4oz)
  • Baking powder ¼ tsp
  • Cocoa 2 tbsp
  • Egg 1 large
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • Dark chocolate 110g (4oz), broken into small pieces
  • Milk 3 tbsp
  • Vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)


  1. Thoroughly grease individual pudding basins or microwave-suitable teacups with butter. Place 110g (4oz) of butter and 110g (4oz) of caster sugar in a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into the bowl, then add the egg, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of water. With an electric hand-held mixer, whisk the ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Divide the chocolate mixture evenly between the pudding basins or teacups, loosely cover with cling film and microwave on high for 4 – 5 minutes, until the sponge is well risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the microwave and allow to stand while making the sauce.
  3. To make the sauce: Put the chocolate in a small bowl with the 2 tsp sugar, the remaining butter and the milk. Place over a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir until smooth.
  4. Run a palette knife around each pudding to loosen, trim the tops level if necessary, then turn the puddings out onto individual plates and coat with the chocolate sauce. Serve with ice cream, if you like.

Cook’s tip

For marmalade puddings, omit the cocoa and vanilla and replace with the zest and juice from 1 orange. Spoon 50g (2oz) marmalade into each cup or basin before adding the sponge mixture. There’s no need to make the sauce, simply serve with custard.






Best Ever Family Recipes: Easy Chicken Curry

Best Ever Family Recipes

Years ago, pre-children, I remember a food stylist and mum telling me one of the most stressful things about being a parent is trying to get children to eat well.

Three children later and I can relate to this adage more than I ever imagined. Despite the best of intentions, home-cooked pureed Annabel Karmel recipes and several desperate calls to my health visitor, my little tykes – one in particular – are unbelievably fussy.

Never EVER did I think I would allow my child to eat ketchup sandwiches (albeit, reduced salt/sugar on wholemeal bread) and serve fruit instead of vegetables. But I have to confess, that sometimes I do. Life has got so busy that I make meals that meet with the least resistance.

But! It’s a new year and a new
start: time to introduce those
finicky creatures to new tastes.

I’m going to enlist their help with this challenge as they always seem more likely to try new foods when they have cooked it themselves.

So for mums, dads, aunties, uncles, grannies and grandads everywhere, here’s the first (of many) #BestEverFamilyRecipes. I hope you and your little lovelies enjoy it.

Please feel free to share your family favourites; the more the merrier (use #BestEverFamilyRecipes).



Recipes from the Dairy Diary

This curry is mild and sweet enough for little ones, and even sneaks in some butternut squash (chop the veggies really small).

The recipe is taken from the 2017 Dairy Diary. If you haven’t yet bought your copy, it’s still available and is perfect for planning all your family activities. BUY

Easy Chicken Curry

  • Servings: Serves 4 adults or 2 adults and 2-3 children
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 417 per portion
Fat 17g (8.5g sat) per portion
Suitable for freezing


  • Butter 50g (2oz)
  • Onions 2, peeled and chopped
  • Dessert apples 2, peeled, cored and chopped
  • Butternut squash 300g (11oz), peeled and diced
  • Curry paste 2 tbsp
  • Plain flour 2 tbsp
  • Ground ginger 1 tsp
  • Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
  • Milk 450ml (3/4 pint)
  • Mango chutney 2 tbsp
  • Cooked chicken 350-2450g (12-16oz), cut into chunks
  • Cooked basmati rice, naan bread to serve, optional


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan and add onion, apple, squash and curry paste. Cover and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add flour, ginger and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
  3. Pour milk into pan, then add mango chutney and cooked chicken. Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve curry on a bed of rice sprinkled with almonds and with naan bread, if using.








10 holiday activities for the whole family – young or old

10 holiday activities for the whole family – young or

Whether you’re staying at home during the school holidays or enjoying a good old British seaside holiday, there’s bound to be the odd day when you need some new inspiration for things to do.

Having just come back from a fortnight’s holiday in the stunningly beautiful, but rain-prone Wales I feel like I am something of an expert in keeping 3 generations occupied!

So here are a few suggestions for fun – whatever your age!

1 Make a giant map of your location.

Stick large pieces of paper together and draw on a map of where you are using an Ordnance Survey (or Google) as reference. Then draw and colour in landmarks you have visited or activities you have enjoyed. You could even draw in roads or railways and the youngest can use it for model cars or trains.

2 Play a board game.

We love Cranium, Don’t Say It or What a Performance, which are simple enough for everyone to enjoy.

3 Make Stripy Jelly!

Stripy Jelly recipeThis recipe from our fabulous new cookbook, Dairy Diary Favourites, is such fun to make and a winner with all the family. Just make sure you buy additive-free jelly beans or your children will be climbing the walls!!

Custard powder 2 tbsp
Milk 300ml (½ pint)
Strawberry jelly 135g packet
Whipped cream and children’s sweets to decorate

  1. Blend the custard powder with a little cold milk. Bring the remaining milk to the boil and pour onto the mixture, stirring well. Return to the pan and bring back to the boil, stirring. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

2.  Make up the jelly according to the packet’s instructions. Pour a third of the jelly into a jug, stir in the custard and mix well.

3.  Pour half the remaining jelly into a 900ml (1½ pint) glass dish and chill until set. Pour half the custard mixture on top, chill until set. Repeat layers with the remaining mixture, chill until set.

Just before serving, decorate with whipped cream and sweets.

4 Go on a nature walk.

Older members of the family will enjoy sharing their knowledge with little ones and youngsters revel in new discoveries. Children love a challenge, so you could create a list of things to collect, such as:

  • Nature walkSomething round
  • A leaf bigger than the palm of your hand
  • Something that does not belong
  • A fir cone
  • Something yellow
  • A small stick
  • Something rough
  • A feather
  • Something smooth
  • A leaf smaller than your fingernail
  • Something shiny
  • A blade of grass
  • A daisy
  • Something with stripes
  • Something pretty
  • A pebble that looks like an animal

You could even paint the pebble to look even more like the animal when you get home. Or make all of your finds into a collage to keep.

5 Play card games.

Older generations always seem to know great card games, and will enjoy teaching the little ones how to play. You could even make it competitive and give chocolate buttons as prizes.

Treasure hunt crop

6 Head off on a treasure hunt.

This can be as simple or as complex as you like, dependent on the ages of people in the family. You could make clues or just leave a trail to where the ‘treasure’ is. Treasure could be something like a bag of chocolate coins or a few new colouring pens. I bought some pretty but inexpensive stones and hid them amongst pebbles on the beach for the children to find.

7 Go to the cinema or have a DVD night at home.

Choose a good all-rounder family film, buy a big bag of popcorn and relax.


Family photo

8 Pose for a family photo.

Place your camera on a tripod or table, set the timer and say cheese!


Visit an attraction

9 Visit a local historical site or museum.

Choose somewhere with a mixture of activities, such as children’s trails, interesting artefacts or buildings and, of course, a good café!

10 Play rounders.

If there are small children involved, give them a huge racket and use a soft ball, so that everyone gets a chance to be involved.


Dairy Diary Favourites cookbookTo celebrate the 35th anniversary of the iconic Dairy Diary we have created a collection of the top 100 recipes from the past 35 years.

From children’s teas and quick midweek meals to delicious lunches and decadent desserts, there’s something in this book to tempt everyone.

Click here to find out more.

Essential Items to Keep in your Car

Essential Items to Keep in your Car this Winter

Essential Items to Keep in your Car

(and how to organise them)

Extremely cold weather is forecast and it won’t be long before de-icing the car will become part of the morning routine. So now’s the perfect time to ensure that you have all the essentials you need in your car.

It’s important to be prepared for inclement weather but also family outings can be so much easier if you’re prepared.

Rather than packing everything every
time you leave the house, have a think
about what you use on a regular basis
and keep it in the car.

Obviously there’s no point loading the car up with loads of useless clutter that weighs it down and increases your fuel consumption, but some useful bits and bobs can make life much easier!

Here’s what (and how) I pack in my car to make family life run a little more smoothly.

In the glovebox

  • Purse containing coins for car parks
  • Torch
  • Details of breakdown service and insurance (make sure you also have a copy at home)
  • Pen
  • Notebook
  • Glasses/sunglasses
  • Phone charger
  • Lipbalm

In the door/seat pockets

  • Hand sanitiser (essential post-petrol stop)
  • Ice scraper
  • Window cloth
  • Road map (if you’re retro like me and prefer it to satnav)
  • Small activity book per child
  • Ziploc Bags (for storing all sorts of bits and bobs or in case someone feels unwell)
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissues

In the boot

  • Warning triangle
  • Fluorescent vests
  • Spare tyre or equivalent
  • First aid kit
  • Re-usable shopping bags
  • Umbrella
  • Suncream
  • Towel
  • Woolly hat, gloves and pack-a-mac
  • Roll of tin foil (this may seem bizarre but tin foil can be used to wrap leftover picnics, keep you warm in a crisis, and create a temporary blackout-blind at a holiday property)
  • Picnic rug (for picnics – obviously – and also to keep little ones warm)
  • Scissors and tape
  • Hair ties, clips and hairbrush

I have found the best way of storing everything in the boot is in a sturdy basket as it doesn’t fall over or roll around when I’m driving.

I don’t keep any tools or jump leads etc. in my car as I would have no idea how to use them! In the event of a breakdown, I would always ring for roadside assistance.

Stay safe this winter.



#drivesafe #snow #ice #family

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