• Country food

    Sweetcorn fritters with yogurt, avocado and chilli

    by  • 01/09/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    Try this over the weekend as a great lunch or brunch dish. Add lean crispy bacon or a poached egg to make it more substantial for larger appetites.

    Makes 4-6 fritters

    525g frozen sweetcorn, thawed
    2 free-range eggs
    125g plain flour
    1tsp baking powder
    1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
    1tbsp chopped fresh coriander
    a little oil, for frying

    100g 0% Greek yogurt
    2 avocados, chopped
    2 red chillies, chopped
    fresh coriander and lime wedges

    1. Put half the sweetcorn in a blender with the eggs, flour and baking powder. Whizz to a puree, remove to a bowl and add the rest of the sweetcorn, the red onion and the coriander. Season well.
    2. To cook, heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook ladles of the mix in batches over a medium heat until lightly browned on both sides. Keep warm until they are all cooked. Top with the yogurt, avocado, chilli and coriander. Serve with a squeeze of lime.
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    Griddled halloumi and pepper ciabattas

    by  • 25/08/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    Treat your tastebuds to this quick and easy mouthwatering main – perfect for a delicious meat-free Bank Holiday barbecue in the countryside.

    SERVES 2

    250g pack halloumi light cheese, cut into 4 slices
    1 roasted red pepper from a jar, sliced
    2 ciabatta rolls, halved and toasted
    2 tbsp olive oil
    Handful of rocket leaves
    Mint and coriander yogurt, to serve

    1 Heat a griddle pan, add the halloumi slices and cook for 2 mins on each side, until charred. Remove from the pan and add the sliced pepper. Cook for 2 mins to heat through.

    TIP Add garlic for extra favour – marinate the halloumi for a few minutes with a splash of olive oil and crushed garlic cloves before griddling.

    2 Drizzle the cut sides of the ciabatta rolls with olive oil and top with the halloumi, peppers and rocket. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve with mint and coriander yogurt.


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    Baked cheesecake with blackberry and mint compote

    by  • 18/08/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Ready_blackberry cheesecakeLight, refreshing and delicious, these individual baked vanilla cheesecakes tick all the boxes when it comes to the perfect summer dessert. We found this amazing recipe in Shaun Rankin’s first recipe book, Seasoned Islands (The Refinery, £20). The zingy blackberry and mint compote can be used to dress ice cream, custard or sponge cakes, too!

    Serves 6
    You will need six 7.5-10cm diameter springform release tins to make the cheesecakes.

    250g blackberries
    2 heaped tbsp icing sugar
    juice of ¼ lemon
    110g unsalted butter
    225g digestive biscuits
    100ml double cream
    2 eggs
    175g caster sugar
    2 vanilla pods
    675g cream cheese
    6 mint leaves, chopped

    1 To make the blackberry and mint compote, put the blackberries, icing sugar and lemon juice into a saucepan together with 3tbsp of water. Bring to the boil and cook the fruit for 4 minutes. Transfer the blackberries and their juices to a bowl and leave to chill in the fridge.

    2 For the cheesecakes, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease the base and sides of the individual tins.

    3 Melt the butter in a saucepan and remove from the heat.

    4 Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin to make breadcrumbs. Mix thoroughly into the melted butter.

    5 Place the biscuit mix into the cake tins so the coverage is about 1cm thick.

    6 Using the back of a metal spoon, press down firmly and evenly on the biscuit until flat to form solid bases.

    7 Place the cream, eggs and caster sugar into a large bowl and mix together well.

    8 Split the vanilla pods and scrape the seeds into the mixture. Add in the cream cheese and beat until smooth.

    9 Pour the mixture onto the biscuit bases. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until set.

    10 Turn the oven off and open the door, leaving the cheesecakes to bake out for 10 minutes before removing. Allow to cool.

    11 Just before serving, add the mint leaves to the compote. Transfer the cheesecakes to plates and spoon over the blackberry compote.

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    Strawberries and cream cake

    by  • 11/08/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    Afternoon tea is one of life’s greatest pleasures – taking a blissful hour out of the afternoon for some indulgent treats and a little rest, read or catch-up with a good friend. This wonderful recipe from Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent (Ryland, Peters & Small) is well worth its place on your cake stand. Topped with strawberries (which take their place in desserts like Eton Mess perfectly alongside whipped cream and meringue pieces), these cakes have all three combined (with some clotted cream thrown in for good measure)!

    MAKES 12

    100g butter, softened
    75g clotted or double cream
    175g caster sugar
    3 large eggs, beaten
    ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
    175 g self-raising flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    a pinch of salt
    1 tablespoon whole milk


    3 tablespoons Strawberry jam
    300ml double cream
    1 tablespoon icing sugar
    seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
    300g strawberries, hulled and quartered
    6 mini meringue shells


    • 12 x mini loaf pans, a 12-hole loaf sheet or a 20 x 30-cm/8 x 12-inch rectangular cake pan, greased and lightly dusted with flour.
    • a disposable piping bag


    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4. Cream together the softened butter, clotted or double cream and caster sugar until really pale and fluffy, this will take about 3–5 minutes in a stand mixer and longer by hand. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix again until smooth.
    2. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix again until thoroughly combined. Add the milk and mix until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans or large cake pan.
    3. Arrange on a baking sheet (if using the loaf pans) and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 15 minutes until well risen, golden and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
    4. Cool in the pan or pans for 1–2 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
    5. If using a large cake pan, first cut into fingers using a small serrated knife, then cut out a little rectangular hole from the top of each cake to make a well. Spoon 1 teaspoon of strawberry jam into each well.
    6. Using a balloon whisk beat the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla seeds until it will just hold a stiff peak. Spoon into the piping bag and pipe vanilla cream on top of each cake. Arrange the strawberries on top, lightly crush the meringues and scatter over the strawberries to serve.

    Photography by Matt Russell © Ryland Peters & Small http://www.rylandpeters.com/afternoon-tea-at-home

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    Thrice-cooked pork loin

    by  • 04/08/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Ready_Thrice cooked pork loin copy

    We found this amazing recipe in Neil Rankin’s recent cookbook Low and Slow (Ebury Press, £25). Start it the day before you want to eat it; the timings cook the pork loin to medium – the big difference here is that loin can’t be cooked as far as belly, so you have to reduce the end roasting time. But you can add an extra low oven drying time so the crackling cooks faster.

    Timings are for a 1.5kg (8–10cm) boned and rolled loin joint, which will serve 4–6 people.

    Step 1: Poach
    Put the joint in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the water for 15 minutes. The pork should reach an internal temperature of around 55°C.

    Step 2: Chill and dry
    Place the pan in the sink under running cold water.When the pork has cooled down so it can be handled, lift it out and dry with a tea towel. Salt the skin, then leave in the fridge overnight, uncovered, to dry slightly and chill.

    Step 3: Dry-bake
    Set your oven to 140°C. Cook the loin from fridge-cold for 40 minutes. On a probe thermometer it should read no more than 60°C internally.

    Step 4: Chill
    Remove the pork from the oven. Cool slightly, then leave it in the freezer for 2–3 hours, or overnight in the fridge, to chill completely.

    Step 5: roast
    Set your oven to 220°C. Roast the pork from fridge-cold for 30 minutes, placing the meat on a rack with a tray to catch any fat underneath.The skin should puff up like a balloon. If it goes too dark, pull the pork out and turn down the temperature, then put it back in. The final internal temperature should be no higher than 63°C – if it’s lower, don’t worry as the core temp has already been reached during the previous cooking stages.

    Photography by Paul Winch-Furness

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    Announcing Country Homes & Interiors Christmas

    by  • 01/08/2016 • Country business, Country craft, Country food, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Country Homes & Interiors ChristmasWe know it’s summer but we are so excited about our first-ever show we had to let you know about it now! Country Homes & Interiors Christmas is being held at beautiful Stonor Park, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire on 25-27 November 2016.

    Set in marquees on the front lawns of this stunning stately home, this must-go-to experience will bring to life Country Homes & Interiors at our favourite time of year. Enjoy the beautifully decorated entrance filled with festive styling ideas. Shop for creative and crafted home and garden accessories, lifestyle buys and gifts. Meet exciting country businesses and their inspirational owners. Treat yourself and your friends to fabulous seasonal food and drink.

    Country Homes & Interiors is the home of modern country style and we are thrilled to be hosting this unique and boutique festive show. Pop it in your diary now and get ahead and order tickets here.

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    Summer sherry trifle

    by  • 28/07/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    For summer parties or big family meals, go retro with this thoroughly British summer trifle. This fruity classic not only looks amazing but tastes sensational and will keep guests coming back for more.

    Serves 12 to 16

    185 g (6½ oz) trifle sponge fingers
    3 tbsp raspberry jam
    3 tbsp sweet sherry
    300 g (10 oz) raspberries
    25 g (1 oz) gelatine leaves
    1 litre (1 ¾pt) cranberry juice for the custard
    1 x 284 ml pot double cream
    3 large, free-range egg yolks
    25 g (1 oz) caster sugar
    1 dsp cornflour

    For the topping

    600 ml (1 pt) double cream
    3 tbsp sweet sherry
    3 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra to dust berries, to top

    You will need
    4-litre (7 pt) trifle dish

    1 To make the base, place the sponge fingers in the base of the trifle dish, mix the raspberry jam with the sherry, warm slightly in the microwave and pour over the fingers. Scatter the raspberries on top.

    2 To make the jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft, wring the water out, then heat the leaves very gently until just melted (don’t allow to steam or bubble), stir into the cranberry juice and pour over the raspberries. Place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

    3 To make the custard, heat the cream to steaming, then pour it over the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour, stir until smooth, then return to a clean pan, place back on the heat and stir constantly until thick – it should be steaming but not bubbling. Let the custard cool completely, then pour over the set jelly.

    4 To top, whip the cream with the sherry and icing sugar until you have soft peaks, then smooth over the top of the set custard. Add the berries and dust with icing sugar. It will sit undecorated in the fridge overnight, just add the berries and sugar before serving.

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    Making strawberry jam?

    by  • 25/07/2016 • Country food, Country moment • 0 Comments

    Feeling jam happyWe’ve been feeling jam happy here at Country Days this weekend. Picking strawberries at this time of year from the local pick-your-own farm is lovely in itself, but coming home to make your own strawberry jam is even better!

    A tried and tested favourite is Jamie Oliver’s Incredible Homemade Strawberry Jam recipe. It makes just enough to last a week or so in the fridge and is perfect with scones and cream or as a filling in a Victoria sponge!

    Have you been making any jam? What’s your favourite?

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    Peach and Rosemary Crumble

    by  • 21/07/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    This truly delicious recipe is from new book Superfoods Superfast by Julie Montagu (Quadrille, £18.99). Not only is it a super healthy summer pudding but any leftovers can be eaten for breakfast, too – just add milk!

    Serves 6–8

    6 large ripe peaches, stoned and cut into small chunks or thinly sliced
    90g (¾ cup) oats
    60g (½ cup) buckwheat flour
    5 rosemary sprigs, leaves separated
    75ml (5 tablespoons) coconut oil, melted
    55g (3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) coconut palm sugar
    2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
    2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    ½ teaspoon sea salt


    1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
    2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together until well combined and crumbly.
    3. Spoon into the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. The crumble will come out hot and bubbly and absolutely delicious!

    Photography by Yuki Sugiura

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    Chilled Minted Pea Soup

    by  • 14/07/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Ready_Chilled Pea & Mint Soup 1

    This lovely refreshing summer soup can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept chilled in the fridge. For a smoother soup, sieve it before serving, then simply pour it in the glasses and garnish to serve.

    30g (1oz) butter
    3-4 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
    500g (1lb) peas, fresh or frozen
    750ml (1½pt) vegetable stock
    2-3tbsp freshly chopped mint
    Pinch of sugar, optional
    Double cream and pea shoots, to serve

    Heat the butter in a pan and add the shallots, or onion, and cook for about 5-7 mins, until they have softened but not coloured.

    2 Add the peas to the pan and then the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 mins until the peas are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the soup to cool slightly.

    3 Add the chopped mint to the soup and purée in a blender or with a stick blender. Season to taste, and add the sugar, if needed.

    4 Chill the soup well before serving and if it’s too thick, thin it down with a little cold water or vegetable stock.

    5 Serve in small glasses with a little cream spooned on top and garnished with some pea shoots.

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