Tag Archives: Syllabub Trifle

Have fun and exercise your mind

Have fun and exercise your mind

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Have fun and exercise your mind

We’ve started a new regime, my other half and I, where on our Friday ‘date’ nights, one of us is totally responsible for choosing what we eat, drink and do.

Mwhahahaha, now’s my chance to dust
down the board games (all in the spirit
of the Dairy Diary of course!)

In our Brain Training feature, in this year’s Dairy Diary we talk about the benefits of keeping our brains active so it has given me the perfect excuse to sneak out the Crossword game.

 

Brain training

The ability to think quickly, clearly and creatively, and to concentrate better, can be cultivated. If you have the motivation, and are prepared to put in a little effort, it seems to be entirely possible to improve your mental capacity, whatever your age. The key is to keep challenging yourself – giving your brain a gentle workout will strengthen it and improve its power.

Messages are passed through your brain via neurons, using chemical and electrical reactions that travel with mind-boggling speed. Part of each neuron is insulated with myelin, a fatty substance that helps electrical transmissions. The thicker the insulation, the speedier and more accurate your thinking and the better your memory. Learning increases the density of neuron connections, and repetition increases the thickness of the myelin. Bingo!

 

What can you do to boost your brain power?

Anything that engages different parts of the brain at the same time is especially effective. The left side is concerned with logic, sequential thinking and decision making; the right side with creativity, imagination and random ideas.

Tackle crosswords, sudokus, quizzes and puzzles, or take up bridge. Solving cryptic puzzles involves several parts of your brain – logic, recall, creative thought, analysis, deciding on likely options, dealing with frustration – and the benefits increase if you do it with someone else.

Learn something new and challenging e.g. chess, crochet, a musical instrument. Learning another language may seem ambitious but is especially good because it forces your brain to switch tracks continuously, which is one of the most mentally demanding things you can do. It helps hone the frontal lobes, the brain’s mind managers, which tend to shrink as part of the ageing process.

Study a subject that you find interesting e.g. botany, nutrition, a specific era of history.

Read, and maybe join or start a book club. Discussing books with others hones your critical/analytical skills.

Make up brain games to play with friends e.g. think of an animal or food for every letter of the alphabet. Focusing on simple tasks helps to improve concentration as well as boosting brain power. Include memory games, so that each person has to repeat what has already been said.

Listen to music. Listening to Mozart has been shown to improve spatial and mathematical reasoning.

An exercise to help improve your concentration is to spend a few minutes every day emptying your mind and thinking of nothing but your breathing. Practising focusing on one thing will help you to de-clutter and calm your thoughts, so you can concentrate better the rest of the time.

 

As working parents with several young children, it’s pretty impossible to find the time to take up a new language or join a book club. We can, however, squeeze in the odd board game or two when the children are asleep (the games that we play with the children are not particularly intellectually taxing just yet!)

 

Here’s my menu for Friday evening:

 

Smoked Mackerel Pate

Smoked Mackerel & Dill Pâté

Time 10 mins plus chilling. Per portion: 185 Kcal, 8.4g fat (1.3g saturated). Serves 4

Smoked mackerel 225g (8oz), skinned
Chopped dill 3 tbsp
Lemon juice 2 tbsp
Garlic 1 clove, peeled and crushed
Freshly ground black pepper
Double cream 150ml (¼ pint), lightly whipped
Egg white 1, whisked
Lemon wedges to serve (optional)
Melba toast to serve (optional)

1 Place the mackerel flesh in a bowl. Add the chopped dill, lemon juice, garlic and pepper and mash together well or blend in a food processor.

2 Fold in the cream and egg white; chill.

3 Serve with Melba toast and lemon.

 

Cheddar Cheese Risotto with Bacon

Cheddar Cheese Risotto with Bacon

Time 30 minutes. Per portion: 478 Kcal, 23g fat (12g saturated). Serves 4

Butter 25g (1oz)
Risotto rice 225g (8oz)
Spring onions 8, trimmed and chopped
Hot vegetable stock 900ml (1½ pints)
Smoked streaky bacon 8 rashers, de-rinded and halved
Frozen peas 200g (7oz)
Freshly ground black pepper
Mature Cheddar cheese 110g (4oz), diced

1 Melt the butter in a large non-stick saucepan and add the rice, coating it well in the butter. Stir in the spring onions and about 150ml (¼ pint) of the stock and simmer until almost absorbed. Pour in more stock, a ladleful at a time and each time waiting for the liquid to be almost absorbed before adding more, simmering until the rice is almost cooked. The mixture should not be dry.

2 Meanwhile, grill the bacon rashers until crisp.

3 Add the peas and season well with pepper. Heat through, then stir in the Cheddar cheese. When the cheese starts to melt, serve with the bacon rashers piled on top.

 

Raspberry Syllabub Trifle

Syllabub Trifle

Time 20 minutes plus chilling. Per portion: 395 Kcal, 27g fat (15.1g saturated). Serves 6

Trifle sponges 4
Raspberry jam 110g (4oz)
Lemon 1, grated zest and juice
Caster sugar 50g (2oz)
Dry cider with elderflower 120ml (4fl oz)
Double cream 300ml carton
Mixed frozen fruits 200g (7oz), just defrosted

1 Slice each sponge cake in half horizontally. Spread jam over half of the slices, then cover with the remaining slices, cut to fit and place in six individual glasses in a single layer. Spread any remaining jam over the top of the sponge cakes.

2 Place most of the lemon zest, the lemon juice and sugar in a bowl. Add the cider and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Drizzle a little of this liquid over the trifle sponges until just moist.

3 Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the remaining cider mixture.

4 Spoon the fruit over the sponge and then cover with the flavoured cream. Top with any remaining lemon zest. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

 

Accompanied by Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and
followed with a couple of games of Crossword.

 

Dairy Diary 2015 collection

The 2015 Dairy Diary is still available and if you like the look of the recipes above, they are taken from our cookbook, Fantastic Food for Less.

You can buy both books with FREE DELIVERY throughout January!

 

I would love to know what activities you participate in to expand and exercise the mind.

 

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The Ultimate Christmas Menu

The Ultimate Christmas Menu

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The Ultimate Christmas Menu

Make Christmas day extra special this year with these amazing recipes, simple enough for anyone and everyone to achieve.

  • Turkey with Sherry Gravy
  • Potatoes Dauphinois
  • Braised Red Cabbage with Blackberries
  • Cinnamon Spiced Cranberry Sauce
  • Syllabub Trifle

Enjoy!

 

Turkey with Sherry Gravy

Turkey with Sherry Gravy

For a really festive meal, treat your guests to this turkey recipe on Christmas Day. The lemon, parsley and thyme stuffing is good to eat cold, too.

15 minutes preparation time 4½–4¾ hours cooking time plus resting
714 Kcal per portion
35.4g fat per portion of which 17.9g is saturated
6 servings with plenty left for eating cold

For the stuffing:
Fresh white breadcrumbs 250g (9oz)
Chopped parsley 6–8 tbsp
Chopped thyme 1–2 tbsp
Lemon 1, grated rind
Butter 110g (4oz), melted
Egg 1
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the turkey:
Turkey 5–6kg (11–13lb)
Turkey or chicken stock 600ml (1 pint)
Butter 50g (2oz), softened
Herbs to garnish

For the gravy:
Plain flour 3 tbsp
Gravy browning optional
Sherry 2 tbsp
Rosemary leaves to garnish
Lemon thyme leaves to garnish

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/ Gas 5. To make the stuffing, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together, taking care not to press it together too much – it should remain light and open in texture.

2 To prepare the turkey, rinse out the inside and pat dry. Press the stuffing into the neck cavity, shaping any extra stuffing into balls, which can be cooked on a small baking tray at the top of the oven for 15–20 minutes.

3 Pull the neck skin over the stuffing and secure with a skewer or a couple of wooden cocktail sticks. Weigh the turkey to calculate the cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb). A turkey with stuffing that weighs about 6kg (13lb) will take approximately 4½–4¾ hours to cook.

4 Place the turkey in a roasting tin, pour the stock around it and spread the softened butter over the skin. Cover with foil and place towards the bottom of the oven (the shelf above the turkey at the top of the oven can be used for roasting vegetables).

5 Keep the turkey covered with foil until the last 45 minutes of the calculated cooking time, then remove foil, baste and return to the oven until cooked through.

6 To test if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the flesh of the thigh with a skewer – if the juices that run out are clear, it’s cooked, but if the juices are still pink, then the bird needs further cooking. When cooked, remove it from the oven, and transfer to a warmed serving plate. Cover the turkey with clean foil and leave it to ‘rest’ in a warm place for 20–30 minutes as this will make carving easier.

7 To make the gravy, pour the juices from the roasting tin into a fat separator or jug. Return 3 tbsp of the fat to the roasting tin and skim as much fat as possible off the rest of the juices and discard it.

8 Place the roasting tin on the hob and stir in the flour for the gravy. Cook over a gentle heat for a couple of minutes, then slowly stir in skimmed turkey juices. Bring to the boil and, if it is too thick, then stir in some boiling water to give the desired consistency and add a little gravy browning if liked. Stir in the sherry and season to taste. Keep piping hot until serving and pour into a warmed gravy boat.

9 Serve the turkey garnished with rosemary and lemon thyme and accompanied with stuffing balls, roast potatoes, steamed vegetables, and orange halves stuffed with lightly cooked cranberries.

 

Potatoes Dauphinois

Potatoes Dauphinois

Time 1½ hrs
Serves 4
Calories 471
Fat 36g of which 20.8g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Butter 15g (½oz)
Potatoes 600g (1lb 6oz), peeled and thinly sliced (thickness of a pound coin)
Whole milk 175ml (6fl oz)
Double cream 200ml (7fl oz)
Nutmeg ½ tsp
Cheese such as Cheddar or Gruyère 50g (2oz), finely grated

1 Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Grease a 900ml (1½ pint) oval ovenproof dish with butter.

2 Place potatoes into medium sized pan with milk, double cream and nutmeg. Bring slowly up to boil on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Using a slotted spoon, strain potatoes, reserving liquid. Carefully arrange potatoes in dish, seasoning as you layer, and making sure they overlap neatly. Pour liquid over potatoes and sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

 

Braised red cabbage with blackberries

Braised Red Cabbage with Blackberries

Time 45 mins
Serves 6
Calories 97
Fat 4g of which 2.2g is saturated
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

Butter 25g (1oz)
Onion 1, peeled and finely chopped
Red cabbage 500g (1lb 2oz), quartered, core removed, thinly sliced
Light muscovado sugar 2 tbsp
Red wine vinegar 2 tbsp
Ground mixed spice 1 tsp
Apple juice 150ml (¼ pint)
Blackberries 225g (8oz)

1 Heat butter in a saucepan, add onion and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring until softened. Stir in cabbage then sugar, vinegar, spice and apple juice. Season with salt and pepper.

2 Cover and cook gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender. Add blackberries and cook gently for 10 minutes more.

3 Spoon into a serving dish and serve with roast turkey, chicken or casseroled lamb or beef.

 

Cinnamon Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Cinnamon Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Time 15 mins
Serves 6
Calories 96
Fat 0g of which 0g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing

Cranberries fresh or frozen 300g (11oz)
Caster sugar 125g (4½oz)
Fresh orange juice 125ml  (4fl oz)
Cointreau or brandy 1 tbsp, optional
Cinnamon stick 1

1 Put all ingredients in medium sized heavy-based pan and mix well. Heat gently, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Bring slowly up to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally.

2 Leave to cool – the cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools. Remove cinnamon stick. Serve warm or cold with ham or turkey. This can be made a day in advance, cooled, poured into a rigid plastic container, covered and chilled overnight ready to reheat on Christmas Day.

 

Syllabub Trifle

Syllabub Trifle

Time 20 minutes plus chilling.
Per portion: 395 Kcal
27g fat (15.1g saturated)
Serves 6
Suitable for vegetarians

Trifle sponges 4
Raspberry jam 110g (4oz)
Lemon 1, grated zest and juice
Caster sugar 50g (2oz)
Dry cider with elderflower 120ml (4fl oz)
Double cream 300ml carton
Mixed frozen fruits 200g (7oz), just defrosted

1 Slice each sponge cake in half horizontally. Spread jam over half of the slices, then cover with the remaining slices, cut to fit and place in six individual glasses in a single layer. Spread any remaining jam over the top of the sponge cakes.

2 Place most of the lemon zest, the lemon juice and sugar in a bowl. Add the cider and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Drizzle a little of this liquid over the trifle sponges until just moist.

3 Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the remaining cider mixture.

4 Spoon the fruit over the sponge and then cover with the flavoured cream. Top with any remaining lemon zest. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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