• Archive for May, 2014

    How to launch a country business at Makegood Festival

    by  • 30/05/2014 • Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    Join Country Homes & Interiors at the Makegood Festival, a festival of culture, creativity & entrepreneurship tomorrow, Saturday 31 May at 12.30pm. I’ll be hosting a discussion called How to Launch a Country Business. On the panel are an exciting mix of country business owners and experts that have hands-on experience of starting up country-based enterprises, including:

    Designer Vanessa Arbuthnott who runs her highly successful interiors company from the Cotswolds.

    Jim Whewell who set up Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire.

    Matt Doris from the online marketplace, Etsy.

    Brenda Fraser of Country Down chocolate company, La Coquine, and one of the winners of the Country Homes & Interiors My Country Business Awards 2013.

    Be inspired by their business stories and ask questions about how they went from start-up to success… Hope to see you there.

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    Country Look: pretty patchwork

    by  • 30/05/2014 • Country style • 2 Comments

    Looking to brighten up your kitchen table or add a touch of style to garden soirées this summer…you’ll love these stunning new oilcloths by Louise Body.

    Patchwork oilcloths by Louise Body on Country Days

    New Oilcloth fabrics…just in time for summer! £45 a metre, Lousie Body.

    Due to the popularity of Louise’s Paper Tile wallpapers, the two most popular designs – Mixed Folk and Patchwork Jade – are now available as oilcloth fabrics. As practical as they are beautiful, the fabrics have a soft matt PVC coating making them ideal to use as tablecloths. They work equally well for making bags, aprons and outdoor cushions.

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    Country food: honeysuckle cheesecake

    by  • 29/05/2014 • Country food • 2 Comments

    Honeysuckle Cheesecake

    Flower power: honeysuckle cheesecake is a taste of the country

    Cooking with flowers is a big trend again this summer. Here at Country Homes & Interiors we are noticing flowers popping up everywhere in floral-themed recipes – rose petal panna cotta, lavender sorbet, tansy pudding, violet cupcakes… And now it’s the turn of honeysuckle to step into the spotlight. Nothing beats the simple country pursuit of wandering along a lane, spotting some wild honeysuckle and picking it to suck out the nectar from the flower. But if you take home your haul, you can whizz up culinary delights such as this big creamy cheesecake, a perfect foil for the intensely sweet honeyed summer flavours of the honeysuckle blooms.

    50g honeysuckle flowers, plus extra for decorating
    1 tbsp caster sugar
    A small pinch of cinnamon
    150g digestive biscuits
    100g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
    350g cream cheese
    50g icing sugar
    300ml double cream
    150g blackberries
    Runny honey, for decorating

    1 Put the honeysuckle flowers into a saucepan over a high heat with 100ml of water, the caster sugar and the cinnamon.  Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard the flowers, you should be left with a couple of tablespoons of syrup – if you are left with lots of water, then bring it back to the boil and reduce it further. Set aside to cool.

    2 Crush the digestive biscuits into crumbs and mix in the butter, combining the two thoroughly. Use a little extra butter to grease a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin and transfer the biscuits into it, pressing them down firmly with the back of a metal spoon so that it becomes one solid biscuit base. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

    3 Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and 1–2 tablespoons of the honeysuckle nectar. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until it forms big, soft peaks and fold it into the cream cheese mixture using a metal spoon. Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Serve decorated with extra honeysuckle flowers and blackberries, and a drizzle of honey.

    Recipe: The Herb & Flower Cookbook by Pip McCormac (Quadrille, £16.99). Photograph: Yuki Sugiura


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    Country style: sea breeze living

    by  • 28/05/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Longing for a piece of coastal heaven? Why not grab the July issue of Country Homes & Interiors, out tomorrow, for more shore inspired decorating ideas. Here’s just a little taster of what you can expect to find…


    Want to recreate this look? Here’s how in 3 easy steps…

    Hang soft floaty sheers to shade against the sun but still let in the cool sea breeze – we love these from Villa Nova. Then add another layer by hanging shell garlands. Coastal Home has a great selection.

    Insert dashes of coastal colours by using a mixture of denim and striped scatter cushions and throws to a seating area. Try Harlequin and Sanderson.

    Have lanterns at the ready to light up evenings as the sun goes down. Mix textures, such as chrome and white wicker together. Look at Nordic House for an inspiring choice.

    By Nikki Bradley

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    Country room: classic kitchen

    by  • 27/05/2014 • Country style • 2 Comments

    White is a firm favourite in a country kitchen, and it’s easy to see why as there’s nothing like it for creating a bright and airy room.

    A classic white handpainted Shaker design, such as this one by Rencraft, works well with dark granite worktops. Interest can be added with an island unit painted in a slightly darker shade and topped with travertine, while stylish high-back bar stools make the perfect place to perch for a cuppa.

    A panelled chimney with a mantle shelf and tiled splashback is a great way of making a focal point of the range cooker. And don’t you just love that trio of on-trend chrome fisherman’s lamps that add the perfect finishing touch above the island?

    Classic style hand painted kitchen (cupboards painted in Pointing by Farrow & Ball, island painted in Shaded White by Farrow & Ball) by Rencraft. Prices start at £16,000.

    Classic-style handpainted kitchen (units painted in Pointing, island painted in Shaded White, both by Farrow & Ball) by Rencraft. Prices start at £16,000.

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    Country craft: fringed runner

    by  • 25/05/2014 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Fringed runner, Country Homes and Interiors blog

    Bring a simple stylish touch to a table with a fringed runner made following Country Homes & Interiors simple steps.

    We love the easy going style as seen on this table setting, smarted up by simple fringed runner. As featured in our soon-to-be-seen July issue this pair of runners brings a touch of coastal style to outdoor dining. Why not have a go at following our instructions?

    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: off to work we go!

    by  • 24/05/2014 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    The Country Homes & Interiors rooftop garden is newly planted and ready to grow! On what turned out to be one of the wettest days (naturally!) a week or so ago, we cleared and nourished our raised beds and planters ready to welcome in trays of baby veg and colourful blooms kindly donated by Homebase. It may not yet be RHS Chelsea Gold Medal standard (unlike Homebase’s own beautiful ‘Time to Reflect’ garden designed by Adam Frost), but we have high hopes – a little piece of country set against the London skyline. Keep reading this blog to find out how it’s coming along.

    In the meantime, here we are posing alongside the veg beds. Happy gardening this weekend!

    The team in our rooftop garden.

    The team in our rooftop garden.

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    Country food: summer dessert

    by  • 23/05/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    summer dessert

    This part frozen summer dessert is so quick to do and just the thing with mini waffles

    Here at Country Homes & Interiors we’re big fans of quick and easy desserts. Semifreddo fits the bill as you don’t need an ice cream maker to do it just an electric hand whisk and it ticks all the boxes on a hot day. It freezes wonderfully in a container and you can serve it either in scoops or turned out onto a serving plate and sliced. This recipe has a lovely zingy zip to it with the addition of home made candied peel.

    3 free range eggs
    2 free range egg yolks
    100g caster sugar
    500ml double cream
    3 tablespoons homemade candied citrus (see below), mini waffles and edible flowers, to serve

    Serves 6–8

    Combine the eggs, yolks, and sugar in a heatproof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Whisk the mixture with an electric hand whisk on a high speed for about 5 minutes, until it turns into pale yellow ribbons and has thickened. Turn off the heat and place the bowl with the egg mixture over a bowl filled with iced water to cool. Pour the cream into a large bowl and beat until thick and soft peaks form. Fold the cooled egg mixture through the cream until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in the candied fruit and pour into a clean bowl. Cover with cling film and freeze until firm. Scoop and serve with mini waffles.

    Tip: You can also line a loaf pan with cling film and pour in the semifreddo. Once frozen invert the pan onto a serving plate and unmold. Cut into 4cm slices to serve.

    How to make candied citrus:
    So much nicer than the store-bought variety, you will never look at candied peel in the same way again once you’ve made your own

    4 oranges (or 6 lemons or 8 limes, according to preference)
    700 g caster sugar
    a baking sheet, sprinkled with caster sugar

    Peel the oranges into strips making sure there’s no pith. Cut the peels into thin matchsticks and set aside. Bring a small pan of water to the boil and drop the peel into it. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain the peel and repeat the process. This will get rid of any bitterness. Bring the sugar and 700ml of water to a boil over a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the peel and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a rapid simmer. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes brushing down the sides with a pastry brush as necessary. Turn off the heat and allow the citrus to cool in the syrup for at least 1 hour.

    Preheat the oven to 250˚F (120˚C) Gas ½. Remove the peel from the pan with a slotted spoon, shaking any excess syrup back into the pan. Toss the peel in the sugar on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. Candied citrus can be stored in airtight containers for up to 6 months.

    Tip: Reserve the excess syrup for baking, pouring over ice cream and pancakes, making sorbets, cocktails, desserts, and marinades.

    *Recipe from Pickled & Packed: Recipes for artisanal pickles, preserves, relishes & cordials by Valerie Aikman- Smith. Photograph by Erin Kunkel (Ryland Peters & Small, £16.99 )

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    Country look: floral dining

    by  • 22/05/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Our main talking point this week has been the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with its array of beautiful blooms in stunning colours.  Feeling inspired, we’ve made this moodboard to show how pretty florals can be bought into the home…


    Bring florals indoors

    Where to buy; Medina tealight holders, Dotcomgiftshop; Vintage style plate, from a selection at BHS; Polka champagne flute,  LSA; Littalia Kastehelmi bowl, Cloudberry Living; Kew Stripe fabric, Cath Kidston; Eclectic cutlery, £30, The Contemporary Home; Trug, from a selection at David Mellor; Antique oak table, Alexander Paul Antiques; Colourful glass vases, Tiger;  Floral cushion, from a selection at Marks & Spencer; Kaustby chair, £40, Ikea; Box-pleat tablecloth, make your own with our step-by-step guide.

    Feeling inspired? Why not get creative with our moodboard tool for yourself and share with us on housetohome.

    By Nikki Bradley

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