Tag Archives: Home-made

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…….

 

Autumn Chutney

A perfect way to make use of home-grown apples and pears. And very satisfying to make.

Makes approx. 1.5kg
Time 3–4 hours
43 calories per tablespoon
0G fat of which 0G is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Autumn Chutney

Autumn Chutney

Bramley cooking apples 500g (1lb 2oz), peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Conference pears 6 large, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Plums 8 large, stoned and quartered
Blackberries 600g (1lb 5oz)
Ginger 50g (2oz), peeled and finely chopped
Red and green chilli 1cm (½in) piece of each, deseeded and finely chopped
Onions 600g (1lb 5oz), peeled and roughly chopped
Granulated sugar 750g (1lb 11oz)
Distilled white wine vinegar, 5% acidity 450ml (16fl oz)

 

1 Put all ingredients into a large stainless steel preserving pan. Heat gently, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to the boil.

2 Reduce heat and cook for 3–4 hours (stirring often) until it is reduced by about two-thirds, or when a wooden spoon drawn across the centre leaves a path that is slow to close up.

3 Allow chutney to cool, then spoon into clean jars. Cover with acid resistant lids or waxed discs and cellophane covers.

4 Store in a cool, dark cupboard for at least 1 month before using. Serve with bread, cheese, spring onions and radishes or cherry tomatoes.

Cook’s tip
Cooking time varies according to size of pan – a wide shallow pan cooks quicker than a narrower, deep one.

Recipe taken from 2010 Dairy Diary.

Autumnal offerings

We enjoyed a pleasant walk via local footpaths recently and the children were intrigued by the fattening blackberries on their brambles.
It’s one of the first signs of autumn, which officially begins tomorrow. We will make a special trip – armed with baskets – to pick these delicious fruits when they are fully ripened. With a young toddler, I might need to consult my Dairy Diary stain removal page after our excursion!
It’s wonderful though to be able to enjoy the bounty of our countryside, from picking through to cooking and eating. I might try a bramble jelly this year and I will certainly have a go at the Blackberry and Apple Tartlets recipe – yum. Any more blackberry recipe suggestions gratefully received!
In Britain, in was once considered unlucky to pick blackberries after a certain date, often Michaelmas (29th September), as it was believed the devil would have spat or stamped on them. I don’t think I will be passing that little nugget of folklore on to my son during our forages!
I absolutely adore this season, with crisp sunny walks through rustling leaves, warming autumnal soups, the excitement of bonfire night and fireworks, and the changing colours of the countryside. I can’t wait to try leaf prints with Isaac when they start to fall from the trees – perfect for making cards for those who enjoy autumn Birthdays. It’s times like these when I love living in Britain with our varied weather and beautiful scenery.

We enjoyed a pleasant walk using local footpaths recently and the children were intrigued by the fattening blackberries on their brambles.

It’s one of the first signs of autumn, which officially begins tomorrow. We will make a special trip – armed with baskets – to pick these delicious fruits when they are fully ripened.

With a young toddler, I might need to consult my Dairy Diary stain removal page after our excursion!

Plump blackberries ripe for picking

Plump blackberries ripe for picking

It’s wonderful though to be able to enjoy the bounty of our countryside, from picking through to cooking and eating. I might try a bramble jelly this year and I will certainly have a go at the Blackberry and Apple Tartlets recipe – yum.

In Britain, in was once considered unlucky to pick blackberries after a certain date, often Michaelmas (29th September), as it was believed the devil would have spat or stamped on them. I don’t think I will be passing that little nugget of folklore on to my son during our forages!

I absolutely adore this season, with crisp sunny walks through rustling leaves, warming autumnal soups, the excitement of bonfire night and fireworks, and the changing colours of the countryside. I can’t wait to try leaf prints with Isaac when they start to fall from the trees – perfect for making cards for those who enjoy autumn Birthdays. It’s times like these when I love living in Britain with our varied weather and beautiful scenery.

Do you have a favourite blackberry recipe that you would like to share? Click the “Leave a comment” link below.

Apple and blackberry tartlets

Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes
Calories per tartlet 727 Kcal
Fat per tartlet 34g
of which saturated 20.1g
Makes 4 tartlets
Suitable for vegetarians + freezing
For the filling
Bramley cooking apples 500g (1lb 2oz), peeled, cored and sliced
Caster sugar 150g (5oz)
Lemon 1, finely pared zest and juice
Blackberries 150g (5oz), hulled
For the pastry
Plain flour 250g (9oz)
Salt a pinch
Butter 150g (5oz)
Caster sugar 1½ tbsp, plus extra for sifting
Egg 1 large, beaten with 2 tbsp water
1 To make the filling, put the apples in a saucepan, add the sugar, lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons of cold water. Cover the pan and cook gently until the apples are softened. Remove from the heat, add the blackberries and set aside to cool.
2 To make the pastry, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the sugar. Finally, add the egg and mix to make a soft dough.
3 Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to 3mm (1⁄8in) thick. Using a 12.5cm (5in) diameter cutter, cut out four rounds from the pastry and set aside.
4 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Line a four-hole Yorkshire pudding tray with the pastry rounds and fill with the apple and blackberry mixture. Bring the pastry sides in and over the filling.
5 Cover the tartlets loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes, until golden brown, removing the foil after 20 minutes. Sift a little caster sugar over the tartlets and serve.
Cook’s tip
Open freeze at the end of step 4, then individually wrap in foil and freeze for up to 9 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then cook as described.
Shopper’s tip
Bramley cooking apples are best for this recipe. Choose those that are unblemished.
Apple & Blackberry Tartlets

Apple & Blackberry Tartlets

Perfect for an afternoon treat – go on, spoil yourself.

Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time  45 minutes
Calories per tartlet  727 Kcal
Fat per tartlet  34g
of which saturated  20.1g
Makes  4 tartlets
Suitable for vegetarians + freezing

For the filling
Bramley cooking apples 500g (1lb 2oz), peeled, cored and sliced
Caster sugar 150g (5oz)
Lemon 1, finely pared zest and juice
Blackberries 150g (5oz), hulled

For the pastry
Plain flour 250g (9oz)
Salt a pinch
Butter 150g (5oz)
Caster sugar 1½ tbsp, plus extra for sifting
Egg 1 large, beaten with 2 tbsp water

1 To make the filling, put the apples in a saucepan, add the sugar, lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons of cold water. Cover the pan and cook gently until the apples are softened. Remove from the heat, add the blackberries and set aside to cool.

2 To make the pastry, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the sugar. Finally, add the egg and mix to make a soft dough.

3 Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to 3mm (1⁄8in) thick. Using a 12.5cm (5in) diameter cutter, cut out four rounds from the pastry and set aside.

4 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Line a four-hole Yorkshire pudding tray with the pastry rounds and fill with the apple and blackberry mixture. Bring the pastry sides in and over the filling.

5 Cover the tartlets loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes, until golden brown, removing the foil after 20 minutes. Sift a little caster sugar over the tartlets and serve.

Cook’s tip
Open freeze at the end of step 4, then individually wrap in foil and freeze for up to 9 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then cook as described.

Shopper’s tip
Bramley cooking apples are best for this recipe. Choose those that are unblemished.

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

Great-value gifts

In the current economic climate, almost everyone wants to buy great quality gifts at a very reasonable price; well it’s no different in the Dairy Diary office. In the next month we will commence research on the contents of our next giftpack, so we have been trying to create a shortlist of good products at a price we can afford. This year’s giftpack is already proving to be exceptionally popular, with its wooden bookstand – perfect for trying out recipes from the diary or cookbook, or simply for displaying your diary’s weekly events. But how can we improve on that within budget? Any ideas will be gratefully received!
It’s no different in my house either, although I still buy gifts for friends and relations, I have less to spend now and often supplement the bought gift with a home-made present. Although my friends may disagree, I hope it shows I am not too stingy but also take time to make something personal. I often use inexpensive glass beads (in their favourite colour of course), to make bracelets for female friends. For my son’s Birthday I am going to paint a large floor mat with fields, roads, rivers, a farm and a village – something perfect for all his beloved animal and transport toys.
Here’s a divine recipe for Luxury Florentines that I am going to try as a treat for my friends, wrapped in cellophane and ribbon they should look very pretty and taste fabulous too!
I’d love to know about any of your home-made gifts ideas and of course anything you have been wanting to see in the Dairy Diary giftpack.

In the current economic climate, almost everyone wants to buy great quality gifts at a very reasonable price.

Well it’s no different in the Dairy Diary office. In the next month we will commence research on the contents of our next giftpack, so we have been trying to create a shortlist of good products at a price we can afford.

This year’s Dairy Diary Giftpack is already proving to be exceptionally popular, with its wooden bookstand – perfect for trying out recipes from the diary or cookbook, or simply for displaying your diary’s weekly events. But how can we improve on that within budget?

Do you have a great idea for next year’s giftpack? Let me know by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link at the end of this post.

It’s no different in my house either, although I still buy gifts for friends and relations, I have less to spend now and often supplement the bought gift with a home-made present. Although my friends may disagree, I hope it shows I am not too stingy but also take time to make something personal.

I often use inexpensive glass beads (in their favourite colour of course), to make bracelets for female friends. For my son’s Birthday I am going to paint a large floor mat with fields, roads, rivers, a farm and a village – something perfect for all his beloved animal and transport toys.

Take a look at this divine recipe for Luxury Florentines that I am going to try as a treat for my friends – wrapped in cellophane and ribbon they should look very pretty and taste fabulous too!

I’d love to know about any of your home-made gifts ideas, so click on the “Leave a Comment” link below.

National days

Who on earth creates and legislates (if they are?) these ‘National Something Ridiculous’ Days?

Recently on Twitter I have seen National Tapioca Pudding Day, National Blueberry Muffin Day and National Piña Colada Day!

Surely, these must have been made up by some over zealous (or desperate) marketing agency?

Believe it or not the humble ploughman’s lunch was also created in the sixties by an advertising agency to promote the traditional pub lunch! I certainly don’t take exception to this though, as there’s nothing nicer on a warm summer’s day than sitting in the beer garden of a country pub enjoying a delicious wedge of cheese with pickle and a hunk of bread – washed down with a cold half pint!

Have a go at this gorgeous Chutney – no ploughman’s lunch is complete without it. It’s well worth the effort. Let me know how you get on.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: