• Archive for November, 2013

    Country craft: leaf stamp wall hanging

    by  • 10/11/2013 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    Leaf stamp wall hanging Country Homes and Interiors

    Decorative wall hanging made with leaf stamps and embroidered stitches. Fabric, stamps, thread, ink pads and hoop all from a selection at Hobbycraft

    Celebrate the last days of autumn and make a foliage inspired wall hanging. Featuring golden seasonal shades this leaf stamp wall hanging also has pretty yet simple to sew embroidery details. Follow these easy instructions from the Country Homes & Interiors team.

    You will need
    Leaf stamps
    Brown ink pads – we used a couple of diffent brown tones
    Embroidery needle
    Embroidery thread – we used a variety of autumnal shades
    Embroidery hoop

    To make lay the fabric front side facing and place the hoop on top where the pattern is to feature. Using the leaf stamps and ink pad create a surface pattern to fit inside the hoop circumference then allow to dry. Follow the manufacturers instructions and fit the fabric tightly into the embroidery hoop with the fabric front side facing. Using different embroidery threads add some needlework details by stitching along the leaf veins. Trim off any excess fabric with the scissors then hang up on a wall.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. Or for more country crafts, recipes and room ideas, why not try our new Country Home Ideas app?

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    Country garden: flower fireworks

    by  • 09/11/2013 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Here at Country Homes & Interiors, we’ve found a brilliant way to bring fireworks into your garden all year round. Plant Allium schubertii bulbs now and come late-spring they’ll produce the most amazing heads of flower, up to 30cm across, like giant starbursts.

    When the flowers are finished you can dry the spiky seedheads to make wonderful natural decorations. You can even work them, perhaps sprayed silver or gold, into your Christmas wreath. So, a real year-round sparkler, then!

    For bulbs, try J Parkers, or for a container-grown plant, go to Crocus.

    Enjoy a firework display in your country garden with Allium schubertii.

    Enjoy a firework display in your country garden with Allium schubertii.

    In flower, this ornamental onion produces a burst of pretty pink-purple stars.

    In full bloom, this ornamental onion produces a burst of pretty pink-purple stars.

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    Country Shop: Two Ducks.

    by  • 08/11/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Gorgeous gifts and home ideas available to buy now. We love Two Ducks!

    Gorgeous gifts and home ideas available to buy now. We love Two Ducks!

    This wonderfully inspiring online shop is definitely worth a browse.  With exciting gift ideas and country home accessories Two Ducks is a visual feast!  Claire Leigh, the founder, carefully chooses each product…

    ‘We adore anything that is lovingly made and cleverly designed here in Great Britain. Our ranges include gorgeous jewellery, stationery, body products, textiles, ceramics, candles, children’s gifts and lampshades and above all else, we try to offer gifts that are that little bit different. We’re always on the look out for new designers who share our passion for gorgeous and innovative offerings so our ranges are constantly growing and evolving’.

    Two Ducks with its refreshing approach makes shopping online so simple and more important enjoyable and fun!

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    Country food: autumn pudding

    by  • 07/11/2013 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Sticky date pudding with poached autumn fruits and clotted cream

    A spoonful of something sweet: sticky date pudding with poached autumn fruits, hazlenut praline and clotted cream

    Here at Country Homes & Interiors we’re all big fans of pudding now dusk is getting earlier and the need to go home to a bowl of something comforting is the order of the day. This wonderful combo of toffee, hazlenuts and autumn fruits is rich but somehow manages to be light in texture too. Just the thing for autumn nights…

    600ml water
    340g pitted dates
    2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    120g butter, plus extra to grease
    340g caster sugar
    4 free range eggs
    340g flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    clotted cream, to serve

    For the poached autumn fruits
    2 large quince (poached and sliced)
    300ml water
    300g caster sugar
    1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
    1 2 1/2 cm piece of cinnamon stick
    juice of 1 lemon
    2 large Cox’s apples, peeled, quartered and cored
    2 large Comice pears, peeled, quartered and cored

    For the toffee sauce
    150g caster sugar
    50ml water
    80ml double cream
    20g butter

    For the hazelnut praline
    50g toasted blanched hazelnuts
    100g caster sugar
    1 tbsp cold water

    You will also need: a 30 x 20 x 5cm cake tin

    1 Start with the hazelnut praline. Lay the toasted hazelnuts on to a small tray covered with greaseproof paper and place to one side. Place the sugar and water in a small clean saucepan over a high heat, and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly until the sugar has turned into a dark caramel. Pour the caramel over the hazelnuts and allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours, until set hard. Break up the praline into pieces and pulse in a food processor into course crumbs. Set aside until ready to serve.

    2 While the praline is cooling, prepare the poached fruits. The quinces take much more cooking than the apples and pears, so it’s a good idea to poach them separately beforehand and just add them to the cooked compote at the end. To poach the quinces, peel them, leaving them whole, place in a saucepan and cover with the water and sugar. Add the vanilla seeds, cinnamon and the lemon juice (this prevents the quinces discolouring). Cover the surface of the liquid with a disc of baking parchment and bring the mixture to the boil. Turn down to a gentle simmer and poach until soft. The poaching time will vary depending on the size and ripeness of the fruit but it may take up to 20 minutes. Once cooked, leave the quinces in the poaching syrup to cool. Slice each apple and pear quarter into about 3 wedges. Place into a saucepan and add enough of the quince poaching syrup just to cover the apples and pears. Bring to the boil and turn down to a gentle simmer. Poach until the fruit is soft – about 5–7 minutes – then remove from the heat. Remove the quinces from the poaching syrup, cut into wedges and add to the apples and pears. Set aside until ready to serve then gently reheat the fruit in the poaching syrup.

    3 For the pudding, preheat your oven to 160ºC/Gas Mark 3. Grease the inside of the cake tin with butter, then dust with flour. Give the tin a couple of taps over the sink to release any excess flour. Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan. Add the dates and simmer for a couple of minutes, until they have softened. Mix in the bicarbonate of soda and allow the mixture to stand for about 10 minutes. The bicarbonate of soda will break the dates down further so they are easily distributed through the pudding. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, before adding the next. Sift the flour and baking powder together then stir them into the egg mixture. Add the date mixture and the vanilla extract and mix well until all the ingredients are well combined. Don’t worry if the mixture seems a little wet. Pour into the prepared tin, allowing plenty of room for the pudding to rise. Place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. To test if it’s ready, push the blade of a small knife or a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean, the pudding is ready. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out carefully on to a wire cooling rack. Once cool, trim the edges from the cake and slice into 12 even-sized squares. Wrap each portion in clingfilm and store in the fridge until serving.

    4 When ready to serve, make the toffee sauce. Place the sugar into a heavybased pan and mix in the water so all the sugar is wet. Heat the pan over a medium-high heat to melt the sugar and bring it to the boil. Have a pastry brush and a glass of water to hand to brush down the sides of the pan should any sugar crystals start to form. Once the sugar has reached a dark caramel, switch off the heat and gently stir in the cream, followed by the butter. Be very careful as it will boil violently when the cream hits the hot caramel. Keep stirring until you have a smooth sauce, then keep warm over a low heat.

    5 To serve, reheat the pudding portions in a low oven then transfer to serving bowls. Spoon over the warm poached fruits and pour the toffee sauce liberally over the top. Finish with a generous spoonful of clotted cream and a light sprinkling of hazelnut praline. Any remaining pudding will keep for 5 days in a sealed container in the fridge.

    *Recipe from Roast: A Very British Cookbook (£25, Absolute Press), out now. Photograph: Lara Holmes

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    Country style: Stir up decorating

    by  • 06/11/2013 • Country style, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    Stir up Sunday is fast upon us, the Sunday at the end of this month when the family traditionally get together to bake Christmas cakes and puddings and children can learn the art.

    At Country Homes we understand how much you love your kitchen as a focal point for the home and are always looking for new ideas and decorating inspiration. This charcoal toned glass fronted cabinet is just the place to store and display stir up Sunday ingredients and bake-ware. And for the bold home decorator, a wallpaper with a charred effect wooden board design, is the perfect backdrop. For other seasonal decorating ideas see our December issue, out now!

    Scrap wood Wallpaper by Piet Hein, Rockett St George. Display unit, Laura Ashley. Vintage utensils, Re Found Objects. Mixing bowl, Garden Trading. Enamel teapot, Wild and Wolf.cabinet

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    Country room: French living room

    by  • 05/11/2013 • Country style • 4 Comments

    It must be the profusion of pumpkins around at the moment but this country living room with its orange accents caught my eye. It shows how pops of orange are perfect for adding an autumnal twist and warming up a neutral scheme.

    Here, rustic features and elegance blend beautifully – the exposed stonework wall complements the French chic of the Louis XV chairs and the salon-style sofas from Grange.

    Hoarders will probably have most room envy for that capacious bookshelf – just imagine how much you can store away there! But best of all, the sliding bookshelves hide a wall-mounted TV. How ingenious is that?

    Country-Homes-and-Interiors-Country-Days Country Room -living-room-blog

    New Directoire sliding bookshelves and TV compartment £8,554, Jacob Collection square coffee table £1,515, Trianon sofa in Osborne & Little Lido taupe fabric covering and Casamance Galerie d’Art satin orange piping £2,395, all Grange

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    Christmas cookery school with Country Homes & Interiors

    by  • 04/11/2013 • Country business, Country food, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    If, a bit like me, you are already thinking ahead to Christmas Day lunch and needing inspiration for what to cook, then look no further!

    Country Homes & Interiors is offering you the chance to attend an exclusive one-day Christmas cookery course on Wednesday  4 December 2013 at the Rosemary Shrager Cookery School. This reader event will be held in the cookery school’s bespoke kitchen designed by Mark Wilkinson in the Old Corn Exchange, Royal Tunbridge Wells.

    Hosted by Rosemary Shrager herself and attended by Mark Wilkinson, the Christmas themed course will help you develop your festive culinary skills. With industry insiders on hand to offer valuable advice, you’ll pick up plenty of tips on how to create stylish, seasonal dishes in your own kitchen. You’ll make… a Confit Salmon with Beetroot, Orange and Tarragon starter. Followed by a main course of Pheasant Breast, Slow braised Legs, Porcini Timbales, Celeriac Purée, Buttered Cabbage Fine Beans & Salty Pork. To finish,  a dessert of of Chestnut Pavlova, Apple Sorbet and Sesame Seed Tuille.

    Tickets cost £90 per person and include the cookery lesson, lunch with wine, plus a goody bag to take home. To book, email thj@mwf.com.

    The timetable of the day is…

    10.15am Arrival, plus tea coffee & biscuits in the cookery school.

    10.30am Welcome by Mark Wilkinson and Rosemary Shrager.

    10.45am-1.45pm Rosemary demonstrates cooking a selection of seasonal dishes in stages which students take to work stations to make the dish aided by Rosemary’s team.

    1.45pm-3pm Lunch with wine – guests eat what they have prepared)

    3pm Guests leave with a goody bag.

    Rosemary Shrager hosts a day of Christmas cookery

    Rosemary Shrager hosts a day of Christmas cookery with Country Homes & Interiors

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    Country craft: pumpkin candle holders

    by  • 03/11/2013 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Pumpkin candle holders, Country Homes and Interiors

    Decorative pumpkin candle holders

    Carve and create decorative pumpkin candle holders to light up your home on autumn evenings or use for special events such as a bonfire party. Follow Country Homes & Interiors easy instructions to make your own.

    You will need
    A pumpkin
    A large and small serrated kitchen knife (or see here for proper carving kits)
    A dessert spoon
    Tea lights
    A ball point pen

    Cut the bottom off the pumpkin to stabilise so it remains upright, then carve and remove the top and stalk area, a little larger than the tea light. Place the tea light on the top and draw around it with the ball point pen so that it marks and scores the fleshy top of the pumpkin. Put the tea light to one side and carve out the inside flesh and seeds to fit the score marks. Pack out the bottom of the pumpkin with newspaper, then insert the tea light making sure it is flush to the top.  This candle holder would look charming on it’s own, or why not create a colourful display and combine pumpkins with seasonal squashes and use larger candles to add height.

    NB never leave burning candles unattended.

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    Country Christmas…

    by  • 02/11/2013 • Country moment • 2 Comments

    It’s a little over seven weeks to Christmas but fear not – the December issue of Country Homes & Interiors is on sale now!

    Packed with festive inspiration galore from seasonal baking and lazy brunches to cheery decorations and hand-picked gifts. Find out about Country Homes & Interiors reader workshops too; create your own pine wreath and luxury crackers with the Darling Collective, or savour the delights of a Christmas cookery day with Rosemary Shrager in Tunbridge Wells.

    There’s so much more to browse, dip in to discover the most beautiful Christmas ever…


    Buy in store or browse online

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    Country buy: happy home accessories

    by  • 01/11/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Instead of feeling sad now we’ve waved goodbye to the longer days of sunlight, here at Country Homes & Interiors we’ve decided to embrace all the things we love about winter.

    In the spirit of celebrating winter woollies and all things bright and cheery, we thought we’d share the joy of Donna Wilson’s whimsical collection of knitted curious creatures, cute cushions and luxurious lambswool blankets for your home. These snaps from the new autumn/winter collection are sure to make you smile…

    Donna Wilson Country Homes and Interiors blog

    Quirky new pieces from Donna Wilson

    Donna_Wilson Country Homes and Interiors

    Characterful accessories guaranteed to make a happy home

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