• Archive for May, 2013

    Country buy: Munch goodies

    by  • 31/05/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    For a quirky assortment of ink, paper and cloth items for the home, browse away online at the delightful collection at Munch. Founder Sarah started the Munch empire with a selection of appliquéd designs on Harris tweed cushions — shown below is Bold Basil the charming country squirrel! As time has gone on the collection has grown to incorporate bone china mugs with friendly characters, a variety of wooden flowers to decorate walls and pretty tea towels and notebooks. Here’s a pick of my favourites…

    Just Jonty bone china mug; Crocus blue wall flower, £13.50; The Biggest bunch A5 lined notebook, £5.25; Bold Basil cushion, £26, all Munch.

    Just Jonty bone china mug; Crocus blue wall flower, £13.50; The Biggest bunch A5 lined notebook, £5.25; Bold Basil cushion, £26, all Munch.

    Munch is supporting The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds by donating 10% of each Colour Munch wood original work sold.

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    Country food: divine summer crumble

    by  • 30/05/2013 • Country food • 1 Comment

    Peach Crumble

    A vision of sunny colours: our peach crumble is just the thing for a rainy day

    When peaches are in season, I can’t resist them and there’s nothing nicer than making them the stars of a special dessert. This week is National Barbeque Week and my favourite finale of any BBQ is grilled peaches with mascarpone and honey – when the sun is shining. But it isn’t… So I feel the need for a comfort pudding. At this time of year crumbles tend to get overlooked until late summer when the hedgerows are heaving with berries. Choose the ripest, lushest fruit you can find for this Peach Crumble, especially nice served on a rainy summer day when everyone’s feeling miserable due to the sun’s no show. You could even pull out all the stops and serve it with custard if you feel like it. This recipe serves 6-8 and you will need…

    8 firm but ripe peaches
    2–3 tablespoons apple juice concentrate
    1 tablespoon plain flour
    pinch of salt
    For the crumble:
    80g hazelnuts or other nuts of your choice
    65g unbleached plain flour
    50g rolled oats
    grated zest of 1 orange or lemon
    1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1⁄8 teaspoon bourbon vanilla powder
    pinch of salt
    85g brown rice or agave syrup
    50g non-hydrogenated margarine, at room temperature

    Serves 6-8

    1 Preheat the oven to 150˚C (300˚F) Gas 2. To make the crumble topping, put the nuts in a baking pan and roast them in the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes. Rub off any skins that have loosened from the nuts, then roughly chop the nuts by hand or in a food processor. Big pieces will burn while the crumble is baking, so make them quite small.

    2 Put the flour, oats, zest, cinnamon, vanilla powder and salt in a bowl and stir. Add the syrup and mix well, then work the margarine in with your hands, rubbing it quickly between your fingers. When the mixture looks crumbly, add the chopped nuts.

    3 Turn the oven up to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas 4. Blanch the peaches in a saucepan of boiling water for 1–2 minutes – just long enough so the skin peels off easily. Transfer them to a bowl of cold water so you don’t burn your fingers, then peel off the skin. Halve and pit the peaches and cut them into wedges. Toss them with the apple juice concentrate, flour and salt. Spread them in the ovenproof dish and cover evenly with the crumble.

    4 Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown and the juice is bubbling up around the edges. The crumble is best served warm, but if you happen to have leftovers and serve it as a dessert the next day, I’m sure no one will complain.

    *Recipe taken from The Vegan Baker by Dunja Gulin (Photography Clare Winfield) is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £16.99 and is available from rylandpeters.com 

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    Country style: Tech up your summer

    by  • 29/05/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    It may be miserable outside, but there are still lots of summery projects to do indoors, with a little help from the latest technology, such as printing up holiday snaps and creating family albums. Creating portraits on digital canvas or decorating your home with digital pics on soft furnishings. How about waking up gently to birdsong! Shown here are stunning e-reader, kindle and laptop covers so you can identify yours easily. For more ideas on functional tech that looks good, check out our feature in our July issue (out on Thursday).

    E-reader, Sony. Kindle cover, KleverCase. I-pad sleeve, Mollie & Fred. Laptop cover Liberty.

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    Country room: colourful living room

    by  • 28/05/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Colour is definitely making a comeback and post Spring Bank Holiday, here’s a vibrant country living room to get you in the mood for summer.

    Mixing old and new is a very current look. Here, the beautiful pink wallpaper, from Little Greene, is a historic design taken from English Heritage’s archive but given a 21st century twist with a modern colour palette. The original paper dates from 1840 and came from a house in West London that was lived in by an antiques dealer for much of the 20th century.

    Grounding the scheme with a cream sofa and carpet allows colourful fabrics and accessories to be used for extra punches of colour, while adding in retro 50s-style furniture keeps the look on trend. Of course, that fabulous coffee table is also the perfect place to set out your  favourite vintage china teaset…

    Walls: North End Road wallpaper, in Mischief, £57 a roll, from the London Wallpaper III collection; paint: Woodwork in Shirting 129 Intelligent Eggshell, £48 for 2.5L, both Little Greene

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    Country moment: the alliums are out

    by  • 27/05/2013 • Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed seeing the alliums appear in my garden over the last few days. Those who know me well, will vouch for my quiet obsession with these ornamental cousins of the onion family. Rising on tubular bright green stems, these showy pop-poms of purple loveliness are a real ‘May is here’ signpost.

    Here is one of my favourites…

    One of my favourites – Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ – as seen at the Chelsea Flower Show this week

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    Country craft: Dip dye curtains

    by  • 26/05/2013 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    Fabric dye is a great, inexpensive way of achieving a new look and personalising ready mades.

    For these bed curtains in our out-soon July issue we took voile panels from Ikea and used beautiful Bahama Blue dye by Dylon to transform them.

    Just gradually lower the curtains into the dye to achieve the subtly shaded effect. Why not have a go following our instructions? It couldn’t be simpler.

    Bring a touch of Bahama Blue to plain white curtains.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try.

    And for more country crafts, recipes and room ideas, why not buy our new Country Home Ideas app?

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    Country garden: our first harvest

    by  • 25/05/2013 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    The Country Homes & Interiors rooftop potager has produced its first crop – deliciously crunchy radishes that tasted all the better knowing we’d grown them ourselves.

    It’s amazing that, in spite the lack of warmth this week, everything in the raised beds is coming on a treat. We’ve planted runner beans, lovingly tended from seed by Deputy Editor Sara, and yesterday some stocks arrived from Mr Fothergill’s, a welcome addition to the cutting garden. We’re looking forward to their heavenly scent. Hope you enjoy these latest pictures.

    If you’re looking for inspiring ideas for your garden, go to housetohome.co.uk/garden.

    Radishes straight from the plot – don’t they look good!

    Sara’s runner beans are off to a good start

    The cabbages have a way to go, but they seem happy

    The blossom on the broad beans is so pretty

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    Country buy: Farrow & Ball

    by  • 24/05/2013 • Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Farrow & Ball is one of the most iconic names when it comes to country decorating. Earlier this week I visited the head office in Wimborne, Dorset, to go behind the scenes and see where the magic happens!

    I was given a guided tour of the whole process: from where the creative team enthusiastically brainstorm new colours and designs, to where the experts mix the paints and print the wallpapers. It was fascinating to see just how much dedication goes into every step. Be it the paints or wallpapers, the team takes tremendous pride in ensuring each batch, however large or small, meets Farrow & Ball’s high requirements.

    Snaps from my day at Farrow & Ball; 1.The paints being made 2.Some bespoke artwork in the creative studio 3.The many samples of wallpapers 4. Printing blocks ready to print wallpapers.

    Snaps from my day at Farrow & Ball; 1.The paints ready to go out on order 2.Some bespoke artwork I loved in the creative studio 3. Samples of the many wallpapers 4. Printing blocks used to create the wallpapers.

    A small selection of happy colours from the edited palette of 132 colours available at Farrow & Ball.

    A small selection of happy colours from the edited palette of 132 colours available at Farrow & Ball.

    With interior and exterior, modern and traditional finishes available, all of Farrow & Ball’s paints are created to shape the home. This weekend’s Bank Holiday is the ideal time to get decorating, if you’re looking for paint inspiration why not get on board with a big trend this season for having fun with floors…

    Have fun on the floors; Floors are painted in Pavilion Gray with a border in Cook's blue, both £55 for 2.5 litres of Floor paint, Farrow & Ball.

    Floors are painted in Pavilion Gray with a border in Cook’s blue, both £55 for 2.5 litres of Floor paint, Farrow & Ball.

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    Country food: stunning starter

    by  • 23/05/2013 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Cucumber and curd cheese salad

    This week it’s all about the vegetables… It’s National Vegetarian Week (nationalvegetarianweek.org) so I’ve chosen a simply gorgeous Michelin style starter that is perfect if you’re entertaining over the long weekend. It’s fresh as a daisy and full of zingy spring flavours – and a million miles away from a stuffed mushroom.

    1 Blanch 100g flat beans in fast-boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain and leave in iced water. Toast 1 tsp sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until golden. Cut a cucumber into 5mm dice and sprinkle liberally with salt. Leave to drain in a sieve for 30 minutes.

    2 Heat 1 tsp aniseed or fennel seeds in a dry pan until crackling, carefully add 100ml cider vinegar and then stir in 100g caster sugar until dissolved. Allow to cool and meanwhile rinse the salt from the cubed cucumber. Transfer the cubes to a bowl and cover with the warm vinegar mixture. Leave to cool. (This will keep in the fridge for 5 days but it’s unlikely it will hang around that long.)

    3 To make the dressing, whizz 70ml buttermilk (if unavailable, stir 1 tsp vinegar into 65ml milk and leave for 5 minutes), 35g mayonnaise, a bunch of watercress stalks and a dash of mustard powder in a blender.

    4 Trim the ends from 2 cucumbers and peel into long strips with a Y shaped vegetable peeler. Arrange the ribbons of cucumber on a plate, curling the strips over as you go, and dress with a little sea salt.

    5 Spoon scoops of ewe’s curd (or goat’s curd) and roll them in 50g finely grated cheese rind, the older and drier the better. Arrange on the ribbons of cucumber. Add a few cubes of the pickled cucumber and a teaspoon of aniseed marinade to each plate, then scatter the flat beans and spoon over the dressing. Finish with some delicate borage flowers, a few watercress leaves and the toasted sesame seeds.

    *Recipe taken from the inspirational new The Ethicurean Cookbook (£25, Ebury Press, theethicurean.wordpress.com). Inspired by their shared passion for ethical eating and British seasonality, The Ethicurean was founded at the Victorian Barley Wood Walled Garden in the Mendip Hills, where the focus is on balancing bold flavours and culinary techniques with foraged wild produce.

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    Country style: get high on horticulture

    by  • 22/05/2013 • Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    It’s the centenary celebration of RHS Chelsea Flower Show and we think it’s a good excuse to indulge in all things petal related, especially in the decorating department, bringing joyful floral shades and shapes into your home in as many ways as you can. This wonderful fabric panel by Boeme is inspired by blooms at the show and makes a fabulous wall hanging or curtain. For more horticultural decorating ideas check out our June issue on sale now!

    Fleur curtain panel, Boeme Design

    Fleur curtain panel, Boeme Design

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