• Archive for April, 2015

    Almond polenta cake

    by  • 30/04/2015 • Country food • 0 Comments

    almond and raspberry polenta cake

    This gluten-free cake is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth while staying away from flour. The polenta and almonds give the cake a crumbly texture that beautifully offsets the tartness of the raspberries. It travels well too – great for packing up for a Bank Holiday weekend picnic if the sun is shining…

    Serves 8-10

    200g unsalted butter
    230g unrefined caster sugar
    3 large free range eggs
    1 tsp almond extract
    200g ground almonds
    100g polenta
    1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
    200g raspberries
    20g flaked almonds

    1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric whisk for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Then add the almond extract and whisk for 2 minutes until fully incorporated.

    2 Place the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder in a separate bowl and mix well. Lightly fold the dry mixture into the butter, sugar, and egg mixture until just smooth. Gently fold the raspberries into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, smooth over the surface, and scatter over the flaked almonds.

    3 Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with only a few crumbs. Leave the cake in the tin to cool slightly. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Store in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

    Recipe from Grains as Mains by Laura Agar Wilson, (DK, £16.99)

    Read more →

    Love informal dining

    by  • 28/04/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Blue and white country dining room with vintage feel

    It’s that time of year when you long to throw open the doors and let the spring sunshine flood in… and what better place to do it than in an informal dining area that leads into the garden, so you can enjoy lazy lunches and delicious dinners!

    Here at Country Days, we loved this pretty country dining room with its light and airy feel. White is the perfect colour to use to keep a scheme cool and fresh in summer, and here, classic distressed farmhouse table and benches, topped with mellow wood for warmth, team beautifully with elegant plantation shutters (these are from California Shutters) that filter the sunlight and prevent the room from becoming too bright. The look can be softened with cushions – intersperse scatter and bench seat cushions for an eclectic, casual feel.

    Pops of blue have been introduced as a subtle nod to coastal style, and a statement wall created with a nautical-inspired design (Abigail Edwards’ fabulous Seascape summer wallpaper) that features line-drawn rolling waves for a striking backdrop.

    Wooden floorboards keep the look understated and relaxed, while vintage industrial lights hang above the table for on-trend lighting – scour antiques fairs such as Ardingly in West Sussex to find similar vintage treasures. Arrange sprays of seasonal flowers in jam jars to add a pretty country finishing touch to the tabletop.

    Read more →

    Time for tulips

    by  • 27/04/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    tulips-new

    It’s not often you get to see over 100 varieties of tulip planted in a beautiful kaleidoscope of colour combinations. But that’s exactly what Country Days saw at the Tulip Festival at Pashley Manor in Ticehurst, East Sussex yesterday. The Festival originated to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the tulip’s arrival in Europe from Persia and has gone from strength to strength since its inception. It has become an extremely popular annual event held in association with Bloms Bulbs.

    Wandering amongst the colour combinations of yellows, purples, pinks and reds in this quintessential English country garden is a real inspiration for anyone who’s never quite sure how to show tulips off to their best. Planted in formal borders, casual kicthen garden style or in a myriad of pot shapes, the Pashley Manor schemes are a real source of gardening ideas. The shapes of the tulips – from frilly to sleek – was outstanding and all with names to die for – from Queen of the Night to Purple Passion.

    If you’re in the areas, be sure to stop by until 4 May.

    Photograph by Clive Nichols.

    Read more →

    Pretty up walls with patterned paint rollers

    by  • 26/04/2015 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    paint roller | Country Days | Country Homes & Interiors

    Add artistic touches to plain walls in no time at all with a decorative paint roller, as featured in the May issue of Country Homes & Interiors, perfect for borders and murals. We opted for similar paint shades for a soft spring feel, but if you’re feeling brave, contrasting colours lend a little drama to living rooms and bedrooms. Simple and easy to use, they come in a range of seasonal country themes – Laura Ashley’s Aviary Garden design is our favourite, what’s yours?

    If you like this idea, we’ve got lots more easy craft projects to inspire you on the Country Homes & Interiors homepage.

    Read more →

    Stylish bathroom storage

    by  • 25/04/2015 • Country style, Country Videos • 0 Comments

    The bathroom, generally speaking, is often the smallest room in relation to the amount of ‘essentials’ that live in it. It’s a haven filled with towels, gowns, lotions, potions, wash bags and cotton doo-dahs, all of which can make this compact space an untidy one.

    Watch our latest video for a sneak peek behind the scenes on our June shopping shoot to see how we stylishly tackle the problem of bathroom storage…

    Read more →

    Catch up with 2014′s My Country Business Awards winners…

    by  • 22/04/2015 • Country business • 0 Comments

    To celebrate  Country Homes & Interiors’ 2015 My Country Business Awards, we’re catching up with last year’s winners to find out how the award has helped them progress their amazing businesses and realise their dreams.

    Proof of the Pudding | Country Days | Country Homes and Interiors

    Just a spoonful of Susan Green’s delicious puddings was enough to win over the judges in the Food category. Her business, The Proof of the Pudding, has grown from chocolate puddings to a great range of award-winning flavours from her farm. Susan chats to us about what’s changed for her since winning…

    Read more →

    Big up the blue

    by  • 21/04/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Blue country kitchen

    Blue is definitely the colour of the moment and the delicious pale powder blue palette, used on the classic country ingredients such as the Shaker-style cabinets, butcher’s block and tongue and groove wall panelling in this gorgeous country kitchen, creates a fresh and clean look.

    Pastel blue is a fabulous shade to use in a scheme where you want to maximise the light, and also works well in a south-facing room as it doesn’t appear too cold. It also teams beautifully with on-trend grey for a modern twist – here the hero piece is a graphite-coloured range (by Everhot) that makes a striking focal point and adds definition to the scheme. Dark grey is a great neutral colour for an appliance as it’s unlikely to date and also harmonises with granite worktops and slate flooring.

    Combining kitchens with relaxed dining areas is a big trend that ensures the kitchen is the heart of the home. Here, a large farmhouse table and bench create an informal touch, and softness is introduced with striped seat cushions that pull together the blues and greys used in the scheme.

    Big up the cottage feel with artisan pottery and vintage-style ceramic and glass bottles brimming with posies of country flowers for a spring feel. Pale blue enamelware would work beautifully in this scheme too.

    Read more →

    Time for frog spotting

    by  • 20/04/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Country Days, Country Homes and Interiors, frogsThe Country Days team are loving all things ‘frog’ this bright and sunny April morning.

    We’ve been hearing the Marsh Frogs singing in the East Sussex countryside – a real sign that Spring is here. Shy and warty, this is the largest of the European frogs. Although they’re not native to the UK, the males have the most amazing laughing song as they call to their lady friends.

    Our country and city garden ponds have been filling up with frog spawn and some of us have spotted tadpoles already. Appearing almost overnight, it’s great to see life returning to our waterways.

    Have you been hearing or seeing our amphibian friends?

    Read more →