• Archive for July, 2014

    Country look: British Seabirds

    by  • 11/07/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Richard Bramble has teamed up with the Marine Conservation Society to launch this fabulous British Seabirds collection…

    Richard-Bramble-ceramics-on-Country-Days-Blog

    Dinner plates, £17.50 each, Seabirds collection by Richard Bramble.

    Inspired by family holidays to the Outer Hebrides and a life-long fascination with native seabirds and marine life, the new collection features four iconic coastal birds – an Oystercatcher, Puffin, Tern and Gannet. The images, taken from Richard’s original watercolour paintings, feature on Dinner plates, mugs, bowls and tea towels.

    In addition to cheering up your home the collection is helping to care for our seas, shores and wildlife with a percentage of each sale being donated to the Marine Conservation Society. Richard says of working with the UK Charity, “Protecting our marine environment is something I feel passionately about as seabirds’ lives depend on the health of our fish stocks, coast and seas. By supporting the Marine Conservation Society we can all contribute to making our seas fit for seabirds to thrive in and for people to enjoy for generations to come.”

    Read more →

    Country food: carrot cakes

    by  • 10/07/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Carrot cakes

    Healthy and delicious crowd pleasers: cardamom and carrot cakes with maple icing

    Baking fads come and go and the demise of the cup cake is announced on a fairly regular basis but really – who wouldn’t like one of these. But hold on – what’s great about these cup cakes is that they are a healthy version. Yes that’s right – free of refined sugar and sweetened with maple syrup and banana although you would never know. Very thick yoghurt works for the icing too, and the carrot can even be swapped for butternut squash or parsnip. It’s such an easy recipe – give it a go.

    Makes 12 little cakes

    For the cakes

    80g butter or coconut oil
    4 tablespoons maple syrup
    seeds from 4 cardamom pods, finely ground in a pestle and mortar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    150g ground almonds
    100g light spelt or chickpea flour
    50g pumpkin seeds
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    2 medium carrots, grated
    1 banana, peeled and mashed
    3 organic or free-range eggs, beaten

    For the icing
    200g cream cheese
    4 tablespoons maple syrup
    a pinch of ground cinnamon
    a pinch of ground ginger to decorate
    grated zest of 1 unwaxed lime

    1 Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line a twelve-hole muffin tin with paper cases and put to one side. Put the butter or coconut oil and maple syrup into a pan with the spices and melt over a low heat. Set aside to cool.

    2 Now put the ground almonds, four, pumpkin seeds and baking powder into a bowl. Add the grated carrot, mashed banana and eggs, then pour in the cooled maple mixture and mix well. Spoon into the paper cases. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden on top and a skewer poked into the cakes comes out clean.

    3 While the cakes are cooking, make your icing. Put the cream cheese into a bowl with the maple syrup and spices and beat until light and fluffy with an electric hand whisk – a wooden spoon works just fine too. Once the cakes are out of the oven and have cooled down, thickly spread each one with the icing and finish off with a grating of lime zest.

    *Recipe taken from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones (£25, Harper Collins)

    Read more →

    Country style setter: Hinchcliffe & Barber

    by  • 09/07/2014 • Country business, Country style • 1 Comment

    Hinchcliffe_and_Barber_on_the_Country_Homes_and_Interiors_blog

    True Blue mugs, £18, jug, £30. Dorset Delft cockerel jug, £27.50; all Hinchcliffe & Barber.

    We talk to the designers who are defining the latest looks for our country homes

    We chat to Georgia Hinchcliffe whose father, John, and mother, Wendy, set up design brand Hinchcliffe & Barber in the 1980s. After the untimely death of her father, Georgia joined the family business and now works alongside her mother, splitting her time between their two studios in Dorset and Wiltshire. Having made the change, she feels she’s finally found what she was always meant to do.

    What techniques do you use in your work?

    Every piece is created using a variety of traditional craft techniques. For example, our new range of printed cushions was made using a block print, and our new ceramic ranges involve a mix of potato print, paper cut and wax resist designs. It’s important to continue using original techniques, otherwise everything will look too computer generated – there’s definitely a balance to be had.

     How does the countryside influence your designs?

    My late father was a real countryman. He walked every day, loved his garden and observed the seasons carefully. This is reflected in his glorious designs that focus around the sea, flowers and animals. In many ways, I’ve inherited his appreciation of nature and feel soothed by open, empty spaces and long views.

     What’s your working space like?

    My husband and I have just bought a new house, nestled in the Wiltshire countryside, with an old chapel for me to convert into a studio and showroom. My mother and I need lots of space to work – we’ve folders and folders of work from the 1980s, so much of the time we play around with older designs, updating and reworking them for today.

     What’s next?

    It’s an exciting time for us. Our new range featuring mugs, jugs, aprons and other kitchen textiles, in four new designs, launches this month at Harrogate Homes & Gifts Show in association with our licensee MyGiftsTrade. Working with another family business has been fantastic. With their input we’re in a position for the first time in 10 years to supply our products to retailers however small or large. We’re already working on our next collections so watch this space!

    Read more →

    Country room: French-style bedroom

    by  • 08/07/2014 • Country style • 2 Comments

    We’re particularly partial to a little French style here at Country Homes & Interiors and this idyllic country bedroom with its amazing vaulted ceiling is the perfect backdrop to such a scheme.

    The pièce de la résistance has to be the ornate French bed sumptuously upholstered in a beautiful floral fabric. Team with French furniture painted in muted shades for a calm and elegant look and add animal hide rugs to the stripped floorboards for a modern twist.

    For more rooms from this gorgeous house, visit http://bit.ly/TCegzx

    bedroom blurb

    The sumptuous French bed is dressed with crisp white linen and a chunky woollen throw

    Read more →

    Country craft: painted cutlery

    by  • 06/07/2014 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    Give plain cutlery a mini makeover by adding a pop of colour with a quick spray of paint.

    Give plain cutlery a mini makeover by adding a pop of colour with a quick spray of paint.

    Bored of using plain old cutlery. Then jolly them up with a pop of colour like this set as seen in our August issue. Quick and easy to achieve simply place the cutlery on some newspaper, spray with suitable spray paint following the manufactuerers instructions and allow to dry. We like Plasti-kote spray paint for its finish and fab range of colours.

    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?

    Read more →

    Country look: festival spirit

    by  • 04/07/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    The weekend is nearly here, what lovely things have you got planned? Will you be hosting a BBQ with friends, wearing flowers in your hair at a country style festival or watching the Wimbledon final, feet up with a glass of Pimm’s? Whatever the weather, we hope you have fun!

    Wimbledon_inspired_moodboard_on_Country_Days_blog

    Summer days fun!

    Where to buy from our Moodboard; White melamine cups, £2.50 each, Rockett St George. Camping stool, £35, Garden Trading. Abacus flower radio by Orla Kiely, £150, Pure. Spotty picnicware, from a selection at Sainsbury’s. Penguin Classics deckchairs, £69, Cocoboat. Cobweave blanket, £50, Baker & Bell. Croquet set, £199, available at Jaques London.

    Read more →

    Country food: heavenly meringues

    by  • 03/07/2014 • Country food • 2 Comments

    meringues

    An exotic take on a classic: cardamom, salted pistachio and rose meringues

    It’s time to get whipping up a classic concoction – some wow factor meringues with an Eastern twist. We can’t think of a nicer summer dessert.

    Serves 6–8

    4–5 green cardamom pods
    4 free range egg whites
    200g caster sugar
    100g salted pistachios, roughly chopped
    ½ tsp rose extract
    150ml double or whipping cream
    Few drops good-quality vanilla extract
    200g raspberries or other summer berries

    1 Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F/Gas mark ½. Grind the cardamom pods using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Sieve the result, discarding the husks and fibrous bits. Set aside.

    2 Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks using an electric whisk, making sure the bowl is completely dry and free of any grease. Start adding the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. You should have a thick, glossy mixture.

    3 Stir through the chopped pistachios, the sifted cardamom and the rose extract. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Use a large spoon to drop dollops of the mixture onto the baking sheet – you should have 6–8 meringues in total.

    4 Bake in the oven for 2 hours, until the meringues are crisp and firm. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside until they are completely cool.

    5 Lightly whip the cream to soft peaks and then stir in the vanilla extract. Serve the meringues with a dollop of the cream and scattered with a few fresh raspberries. The meringues will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

    *Recipe taken from the stunning new book Spice by Druv Baker (£25, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, out now). Photograph: Kate Whitaker

    meringues

    Read more →

    Country Style Setter: Poppy Treffry

    by  • 02/07/2014 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments

    tara[1]

    Bicycle cushion, £21, boats tea towel, £8.50; both Poppy Treffry.

    We talk to the designers who are defining the latest looks for today’s country homes

    Designer maker Poppy Treffry set up her company in 2004 making quirky gifts and homewares on a ‘cranky Singer sewing machine’. Since then, her business has grown into a happy team of eleven, a shop in St Ives, and around 100 stockists across the world including Fortnum and Mason, Bettys and Anthropologie.

    Tell us a little bit about the making process involved in your designs.

    I treat my sewing machine as a sketchbook really. Rather than spending lots of time drafting ideas, I’ll hoop up some fabric, cut some appliqué pieces and set to. I spend so much time thinking about my collection I find a lot of the planning work gets done in my head. If it’s a whole new product I’m designing then I prefer a trial and error approach – I like to be doing!

    What is it that you love about crafting?

    It’s all about freedom for me ­– and accidental results! We create a lot of our range in small batches which means we can constantly evolve products depending on reaction from customers; we’re not tied to 1,000 products arriving on a ship that we need to sell before we can change our collection!

    What inspires you?

    My inspiration comes from all around me. Our favourite company saying is ‘we stitch what we see’, so I always have a sketch book with me when I’m out and about. A camping trip in my van with the family by the seaside can be the spark behind a new tea towel design, or some free time to sketch in St Ives can become a poster collection or a big one off embroidery piece.

    What’s your favourite thing about the countryside? 

    I grew up in Cornwall on the edge of Bodmin moor so I’ve always been a country girl, proved to me when I lived in London for a short while! I need the space and the open air and I like to walk, to sketch a hedgerow and watch the birds!

    Describe your artistic style in 3 words… 

    Quirky, simple and colourful.

    By Tara King.

    Read more →