Tag Archives: Lake District

National Picnic Week plus a very moreish recipe (and a special treat!)

 Lake District Picnic

I’ve recently come back from a couple of astonishingly beautiful days in the Lake District.

The deluges earlier in the year, followed by day-after-day of glorious sunshine has resulted in such a verdant and lush landscape; it’s a pure joy to see.

We tackled a pretty sizeable fell walk and so I packed some much-needed sustenance in my rucksack.

And we found one of the most glorious picnic spots I’ve seen – complete with very high bench that make your feet dangle in a comical fashion like a small child.

It may be twee and a little old fashioned,
but with the right location and good
food a picnic can be simply lovely.

Lake District picnic 2

We enjoyed dry-cured bacon sandwiches on soft white rolls and a cheeky slice of Blueberry & Orange Loaf, which survived pretty well in the heat. If you fancy making it the recipe is shown below

The recipe is from our Cook it Slowly cookbook, which in my opinion is one of our best. Find out more about it here.

And as it’s National Picnic Week next week you have the perfect excuse to picnic somewhere gorgeous.

Why not share your favourite
recipe (and location)?


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Blueberry & Orange Loaf

Blueberry & Orange Loaf

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

Calories 316 per portion
Fat 10g (6g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Self-raising flour 350g (12oz)
  • Caster sugar 75g (3oz)
  • Blueberries 200g (7oz)
  • Oranges 2, finely grated zest and juice
  • Milk 4–6 tbsp
  • Eggs 3
  • Butter 75g (3oz), melted
  • Demerara sugar 1–2 tbsp


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°fan/Gas 3. 
Butter a 900g (2lb) loaf tin and line with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the caster sugar, blueberries and orange zest.
  3. Pour the orange juice into a measuring jug and make up to 150ml (¼ pint) with milk. Beat in the eggs and butter and then pour this into the bowl with the flour and blueberries and stir until just mixed together. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top.
  4. Bake for 1–1¼ hours until risen and firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cook’s tips
Don’t over-mix the ingredients or the cake will be tough.
If preferred, omit the demerara sugar and drizzle over some orange glacé icing made by mixing icing sugar with orange juice.

Autumn – the best season in Europe?

Autumn is my favourite season

It has been a glorious weekend. As I have three small children I am always up early – rarely by choice – but yesterday it was a pleasure.

The view from the kitchen window – sipping my coffee in an attempt to wake up – showed the valley shrouded in mist, bathed in autumnal sunshine with russet coloured trees dotted along the horizon.

Autumn is my favourite season, I love the change
in temperature, the gorgeous colours and the excuse
to unpack my favourite snuggly clothes!

It has got me thinking about the places I have visited in the autumn and some of the delicious seasonal meals I have eaten whilst on my travels.

In England, one of my favourite haunts is Chatsworth, which is breathtakingly beautiful in October. One year, I had the pleasure of bumping into Antony Gormley whilst admiring a sculpture exhibition. I enjoyed a wonderful wander around the gardens and a delicious roast beef dinner – with the most AMAZING roast potatoes in the estate restaurant.

For beauty, an autumnal Lake District is hard to beat. One climb to Catbells above Derwentwater particularly sticks in my mind – complete with a delicious flapjack on the summit courtesy of a very kind couple we bumped into on the final scramble to the top.

A little further afield, just a short budget plane journey took us to the Bienniale in Venice – a wonderfully eclectic collaboration of art from all around the globe. We had a wonderful few days in the autumn sunshine soaking up the sights, enjoying a proper Italian Bolognese and indulging the occasional ice cream.

Another gorgeous place to visit this month is Bavaria, Germany. The colours in this region are out-of-this-world, especially around the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle. A coffee and slice of strudel in a café in quaint Dinkelsbuhl will always be on my list of favourite cake moments!

So, though the beauty of my surroundings leaves its
indelible mark on me, it’s the food on my travels that
leaves a lasting impression too.

I’d love to hear about your favourite autumnal stamping ground and the meals you have enjoyed there.

Autumnal recipes from the Dairy Diary and Dairy Cookbooks


I’d like to some of my favourite autumnal recipes from Dairy cookbooks and Dairy Diaries… Sausages Baked with Apples & Squash, Red Cabbage Salad and Plum Streusal Tart.

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