• Archive for July, 2014

    A little bit of heaven

    by  • 31/07/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Summer's eve elderflower, gooseberry and frangipani tart

    Who would have thought it – all that ice cream and sorbet is getting a little repetitive as this glorious British heatwave just runs and runs (cue weekend of thunder storms). Make your next summer dessert this fragrant tart, which combines the two classic summer flavours of elderflower and gooseberry with a delicious frangipane. Just the thing to serve up at garden fetes, weddings, alfresco soirees and tea parties… More tea vicar?

    Serves 12

    For the pastry:
    250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    50g icing sugar
    125g cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes
    1 large free range egg, beaten

    For the filling:
    2 x 300g tins of gooseberries (drained weight 290g)
    3 tbsp elderflower cordial
    1 tbsp icing sugar

    For the frangipane:
    150g butter, softened
    150g caster sugar
    3 large free range eggs, at room temperature
    150g ground almonds

    For the icing:
    25ml elderflower cordial
    50g icing sugar

    1 To make the pastry, mix together the flour and icing sugar in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until you have a breadcrumb-like consistency. Add the egg, then use a blunt knife to mix and pull the pastry together. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.

    2 Meanwhile, make the fruit filling by mashing the well-drained gooseberries with the elderflower cordial and icing sugar.

    3 Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. To make the frangipane, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer or wooden spoon until light and creamy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the ground almonds and set aside.

    4 Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin and about 24 x 24cm. Put both hands under the pastry, palm side up and fingers spread wide, and transfer to a 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Press into the corners and run the rolling pin over the top, cutting off any excess. Patch up any tears then pour in the filling, levelling with the back of a spoon. Spoon in the frangipane so it touches the edges, and bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes until the frangipane is brown and the pastry is crisp. Leave to cool on a wire rack whilst in the tin. Once cool, remove from the tin, mix the cordial and sugar and drizzle over the top.

    Recipe from Bake-Off finalist Holly Bell’s new book Recipes from a Normal Mum (Quadrille, £20). Photograph: David Loftus
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    Head to a farm festival

    by  • 31/07/2014 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    ready_Lead-story-v2Listen to great local music, indulge in scrummy food and soak up that relaxed festival feeling, all in a rural location surrounded by glorious rolling countryside. Sound good? We think so too, that’s why we’re pulling on our wellies and donning our favourite festival gear ready for a weekend of fun on the farm.

    This unique venue choice has become increasingly popular with more and more farm festivals popping up across the UK every year. As well as promoting talented musicians and supporting numerous charities, they also make for a fantastic opportunity to meet your local food suppliers and stock up on fresh, seasonal and sustainable produce. We can’t think of a better way to enjoy this sunny weekend!

    Here’s our favourite farm festivals…

    FARMFEST Somerset (1-2nd Aug)
    Why we love it: ‘Good music, good causes, good times’ is the ethos it stands by – we couldn’t agree more. Dedicated to promoting a simple and eco-friendly way of living, pretty much everything you see on site is either handmade or upcycled, from the main stage to the marquee flooring.

    THE BIG FEASTIVAL The Cotswolds, (29-31 Aug)
    Why we love it: With Jamie Oliver as co-host, it’s no surprise that this gastro-festival has one tasty line-up. As well as numerous stalls offering the best of the British Street Food scene, artisan food vendors showcase top produce from the local area.

    LOUNGE ON THE FARM Kent (2nd Aug)
    Why we love it: Merton Farm makes for a stunning setting in which to enjoy Kent’s impressive local music scene. Intimate sets and eccentric entertainment combined with a chilled, family-friendly vibe makes this the perfect day for festival goers of all ages.

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    Meet the maker behind Earth Inke

    by  • 30/07/2014 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments

    Country Style Setter Earth Inke Country Days blog Country Homes and InteriorsKatherine Morris of Earth Inke lives in Shropshire with her partner Ian and son Oliver. Her beautiful wallpaper designs are inspired by her life in the countryside.

    What made you want to become a wallpaper designer?
    My love of drawing and all things interiors. The thought of someone living with my designs in their home and making them smile is the ultimate driver.

    Describe your making process.
    I hand draw my designs from life. I collect different clays and develop them into a colour palette; these are then transformed into environmentally friendly water based printing inks. The final product is made in a family run printers in Lancashire, who still use machines over 150 years old.

    What do you love about the countryside?
    Everything. From your window it’s the collective beauty of nature. On a walk it’s the clean air, the smell of the earth after it’s rained and on close inspection it’s the intricate detail, little caves for seeds to hide in, sticky buds and furry caterpillars.

    Describe your creative style in three words.
    Detailed, elegant and sketchy.

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    Come into this heart-of-the-home kitchen

    by  • 29/07/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments


    Here at Country Days, we love a homely country kitchen and this one, with its welcoming, pull-up-a-chair feel, certainly ticks the box.

    Clever use of warm muted shades complements the characterful beam, while the handmade rustic floor tiles pull together the tones of the units and Aga. Accessories in delicious berry shades bring in extra punches of bold colour.

    This is a look that works really well with painted furniture – here a vintage farmhouse table and chairs were given a facelift with a lick of paint for an elegant touch.

    To see more rooms from this beautiful country house click on http://bit.ly/1rvDyOX

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    Make this stylish bed canopy

    by  • 27/07/2014 • Country craft • 2 Comments


    Lend a little drama to your bedroom with an elegant bed canopy made with a length of draped fabric. As featured in our soon to be seen September issue, this canopy is simple to make yet such a striking addition to a room. To find out how to make click here.

    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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    Hello Petal…

    by  • 25/07/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments


    We love this fabulous new collection of soft furnishings by textile designer Rebecca Newport. Hello Petal as a name perfectly encapsulates the pretty, fun and cheery nature of the range. The beautiful flowery designs are based on Rebecca’s original watercolour paintings, all inspired by Kew Gardens, London.

    Each piece is digitally printed to capture the vivid colour and brushstrokes of the original artwork, to give them a unique hand-painted feel. The first collection features 12 cushion designs all named after flowers, from £40 each, perfect for the country home!

    There’s a petal design for every taste, from the delicate pastel shades of Fleur to the more zesty yellows of Iris. Which design best suits your country style?

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    Artist in residence

    by  • 24/07/2014 • Artist in residence • 1 Comment

    Country Homes and Interiors, Country Days blog, Sarah-Hough

    ‘This sketch is called Surveillance,’ says our new Artist in residence Sarah Hough.As I climbed the hill out of the small village of Plush, I had a funny feeling that I was being closely watched.’
    Sarah has always been intrigued by nature and as a young child would often while away an afternoon lying in a field watching beetles crawling through the grass, and butterflies fluttering in the breeze. Find out more about her here.
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    Love vintage finds from Loop the Loop

    by  • 23/07/2014 • Country business, Country style • 1 Comment

    Country Style Loop the Loop | Country Days | Country Homes and Interiors

    Working from their home in the beautiful Brecon Beacons, creative duo Laura and Adam of online vintage emporium Loop the Loop spend their days sourcing and selling unique pieces, as well as taking their English pointer Otti for long muddy walks! They stopped by for a quick chat…

    What makes your day lovely?
    Scouring stalls at antique and flea markets and the camaraderie between sellers and buyers. You get to meet some really interesting people and end up finding pieces that are brimming with character.

    What’s your business ethos?
    To source products which offer quality, style and are useful to have in the home. To quote William Morris: “have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”.

    Describe your creative style.
    Rustic, vintage, timeless.

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    Meet our Artist in residence

    by  • 22/07/2014 • Artist in residence • 1 Comment

    Country Homes and Interiors, Country Days blog, Sarah Hough

    Sarah Hough‘s studio is tucked away on a farm above the Piddle Valley in West Dorset. Here she creates unique works of art inspired by the local landscape. ‘My inspiration often comes from my morning walks, which are an essential part of my working day, and on which I stop to sketch in pen and ink, watercolour or pencil.’

    Sarah has a beautiful eye for the organic textures, patterns and colours found in the natural habitat and we’re delighted that she has agreed to be our Artist in residence.

    She will be sharing her beautiful seasonal pictures with us on a weekly basis – look out for her first one this Thursday.

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