Tag Archives: Home-made

3 Gorgeous Bread Recipes for Real Bread Week

20 – 28 February 2021 is #RealBreadWeek!


Celebrated by baking your own loaves at home, whilst encouraging the whole family to get involved.

Real Bread Week was first established in 2009, to celebrate real bread, and the people who bake it. Although it is a little different this year, with many not able to access local bakeries.

For those of us that are tasked with home-schooling, this creates a great opportunity – to teach children how to bake the most delicious home-made bread (and occupy them for at least an hour or two!)

One of my favourite memories in particular is proving dough amongst towels in the boiler cupboard with my Dad, I expect it was not as glamourous as you’d envisage this process to be in a bakery.

With these three easy and scrumptious recipes, and the scent of freshly baked bread wafting through your home, you won’t want to purchase a mass-produced loaf again!


Homemade Bread

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Emily Davenport

Emily Davenport

I post a blog every week featuring food, family and fun. There are lots of useful household tips, crafty ideas, giveaways and delicious recipes that I think you will find irresistible.

Frugal but Fabulous Food?

On our office bookcase sit many, tantalising and beautiful cookbooks. They have huge ‘kerb appeal’ but in reality with (much) closer inspection are rarely practical…

and their authors seem to exist in some parallel universe where there is always time (and money) to shop at the local farmers’ market or quirky deli to buy some obscure ingredient, and always vast amounts of time to spend on preparation and food presentation.

Most of us though, live in the real world, where time is a rare commodity, that elusive deli is probably 25 miles away and the farmers’ market falls on the day when we have to stay in and wait for the electrician. Life is just not that perfect. That’s why part of my job is to create a cookbook that is tantalising and beautiful but also practical – this is the reason dairy cookbooks have been so popular for so many years.

So, what subject matter does the next cookbook tackle?
One idea is to create a book that focuses on how to shop, cook and eat cheaply. But is that not why “mums go to Iceland”? Can we make a book that will compete with these bargain convenience food shops? Hopefully not all of us want to fill up on junk. Many of us love food and know the importance of eating well, but perhaps not how to eat well on a budget (including me, if I’m honest).

Whilst researching this concept I have come across some great money-saving advice. The first and REALLY important point is to reduce food waste. Try following these great tips from www.myzerowaste.com

FridgeMenu plan.
Think about the meals that will cook and make a menu plan for the week. Write down the ingredients you need for each meal on a list. Stick to this list when you shop (and don’t shop when you’re hungry). I always plan for two fewer meals than we need as there are bound to be some leftovers to be used up.

Use up your leftovers.
Before you begin to cook or shop, look what’s left in the fridge and plan meals with anything in there. Vegetables which are starting to go soft can be made into soup or pasta sauces. Over ripe fruits can be made into pies or blended to make smoothies. Half a tin of tuna could be tonight’s pasta bake and a few spoons of cooked mince could be made into pasties.

Take a look at what you throw away.
Be honest with yourself and start writing things down. Do you throw away half a loaf of bread a week? Then why not freeze it and take out slices as you need them. Take individual slices out for sandwiches the night before you need them, or use straight from frozen for toasting. If you regularly throw away vegetables then maybe you need to buy them loose and reduce the amount you buy each week.

Check your fridge.
Are the seals good and is the temperature set to between 1 and 5 degrees? This ensures your fridge will keep your food fresh for as long as possible.

Portion control.
Make smaller portions so less food is thrown away.

Our cookbook Clever Cooking for One or Two was specifically created to reduce food waste (any leftover ingredients will have a long shelf life). Try these two recipes, Cheese and Ham Souffle Omelette/Ham and Green Pea Soup, which share one 250g pack of good quality cooked ham.

I am sick of diets!

Okay, it may only be the 11th January, but already I am sick and tired of hearing about diets and the latest slimming fads.

Please ignore the word ‘diet’ in my previous blog – I simply meant we would enjoy eating lots of soup rather than copious handfuls of chocolate!

I have just read a very inspiring article about how to be happier, not necessarily thinner. Dr Mark Porter: my prescription for better living in 2010 it contains so much fantastic advice. My mantra in life is probably quite similar (but of course involves food too!):

  • A LITTLE of what you fancy does you good.
  • Smile and always be cheerful.
  • Drink plenty of water (plus an occasional glass of red wine).
  • STOP eating when you feel full.
  • Be creative and make things.
  • Don’t buy sweetner-laden foods (research shows that the sweet taste actually makes your body crave sugar).
  • Read the TV guide BEFORE switching on the TV, if there’s nothing on you fancy, leave it off.
  • Cherish your friends but don’t waste time on those who don’t cherish you.
  • Use the Dairy Diary!
  • Cook.
  • Snack on healthy foods.

Talking of snacks, don’t forget our poor feathered friends during this cold snap. Our new book Seasonal Garden Ideas (due to launch this spring) has the perfect recipe for them to munch on.

Robin’s Christmas Dinner
Sturdy metal, ceramic or wooden container with a strong handle.
Large double-ended metal hook.
500g (1lb) lard plus mixed birdseed and nuts – try to find a mixture that contains dried mealworms which are a real favourite of robins. You can even find packets of dried mealworms to mix in with the other ingredients.

1 Melt the lard in the saucepan but ensure it doesn’t boil or burn.
2 Carefully pour the melted fat into your container, then stir in a mixture of birdseed and nuts and mealworms. Put aside to cool and set hard.
3 Attach the hook to the branch of a tree, then hang up your fat container from the handle. Try to site it in a reasonably sheltered area, and make sure the hook can’t slide off the branch. It will swing around as the birds land on it, but this won’t deter them – and it may help to keep greedy squirrels at bay.

And for us humans, snack on Cheese Flapjacks from Hearty and Healthy Dairy Cookbook (see below). Or for those lazy days why not visit Graze.com –  a mail order company who specialise in delivering healthy snacks to keep your blood sugar at a happy level throughout the day – what a revelation! I’m most excited about my first package due on Wednesday. There’s a voucher for a free sample in the February issue of Delicious magazine.

Cheese Flapjacks

Beware, as these are very moreish! They make an interesting, and healthier, alternative to the traditional sweet flapjack. Oats contain complex carbohydrates, which are released slowly to sustain energy levels and keep hunger pangs at bay.

Cheesy Flapjacks

Cheesy Flapjacks

Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 25-30 minutes
Calories per flapjack 167 Kcal
Fat per flapjack 12g
of which saturated 4.7g
Makes 12 flapjacks
Suitable for vegetarians + freezing

Butter or margarine 50g (2oz)
Cashew nuts 50g (2oz)
Macadamia nuts 25g (1oz), halved
Carrot 1 large, peeled and grated
Double Gloucester cheese 110g (4oz), grated
Porridge oats 150g (5oz)
Dried mixed herbs ½ tsp
Egg 1, beaten

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Melt the butter in the microwave or a saucepan. Remove from the heat and then add the nuts, carrot, cheese, oats, herbs and egg. Mix well.

2 Grease a 20cm (8in) round pie tin. Spoon the mixture into the tin and press down well. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until golden brown. Leave in the tin to cool and then cut into 12 wedges. Serve cold as a snack.

Cook’s tip
These are great to make and keep in an airtight container in the cupboard. If anyone in the family fancies a savoury snack, they are the perfect healthy alternative to crisps.

Chestnut Soup

A gorgeous chestnut soup – perfect for warming you up after a wintry stroll and for using up that surfeit of chestnuts.

Chestnut Soup

Chestnut Soup

Serves 4
Time 45 mins
279 calories per portion
7G fat of which 2.6G is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Butter 15g (½oz)
Onion 1 large, peeled and chopped
Frozen peeled chestnuts 500g packet
Vegetable stock 1 litre (1¾ pints)
Mixed dried herbs 1½ tsp
Single or double cream, chopped parsley and/or paprika to garnish, optional

1 Melt butter in a large saucepan, add onion and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened, taking care not to let it brown.

2 Add chestnuts, stock and herbs and bring up to boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes, or until chestnuts are softened.

3 Allow soup to cool, then purée in a blender. Season to taste.

4 To serve, reheat and garnish with a swirl of double cream and a light sifting of paprika.

5 To freeze, pour into plastic containers when cold. Cover and freeze. Reheat gently from frozen when required.

Recipe taken from the 2010 Dairy Diary.

Fabulous Festive TV

At last, something with a real feel-good factor on TV. For three nights last week I was glued to Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas.

What a fantastically inspiring program. Of course, for us normal people finding the time (and money – £75 for teddy bear fabric!) is not that realistic, but I did take inspiration from many of her ideas.

Gilding pears with real gold leaf was a touch decadent, but I will certainly be using ordinary fruit – possibly apples, dusted in powdery silver glitter, with a name card inserted into each stalk. I have also tied lengths of ribbon around each dining chair to give the Christmas table a more opulent look (see p38 of the 2009 Dairy Diary for this and more ideas for the table). Instead of hanging up the old tired-looking artificial wreath Kirstie and our gardening book, Seasonal Garden Ideas, inspired me to make my own. Armed with handfuls of foliage from the garden, I pinned and tucked evergreen twigs onto a moss-stuffed wire ring and finished it off with fir cones (collected by my two year old), cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices. It’s a very lovely addition to my front door.

Of course, I haven’t escaped cooking this weekend, I finally – yes late I know – made my Christmas cake. I love the Jewelled Christmas Cake from the 2009 Dairy Diary; it is simply delicious and looks so impressive. It’s a shame my decorating skills are not so impressive, though without having to use icing (which is always a disaster) perhaps this year, I may just create something worthy of the table.

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