• Posts Tagged ‘country kitchen’

    Festive stocking

    by  • 30/11/2014 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Create this festive stocking follwoing Country Homes and Interiors blog

    At Christmas there can never be enough stockings! All the better if they match this seasons latest colour trend of muted greys with frosted touches bringing a real country winter feel. This one features in our January issue and is so simple to make. To find out how to make click here.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. Happy crafting!

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    Seasonal treat: roasted chestnuts

    by  • 27/11/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    rosemary baked chestnuts

    On a crisp winter’s day, the smell of roasted chestnuts in the air is an instant lift. We love the idea of piling them in to twists of newspaper – so simple yet so delicious…

    Serves 4

    500 g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh unshelled chestnuts
    10 small knobs of butter
    4 sprigs of rosemary, torn into smaller stems
    1 tbsp coarse sea salt
    finely grated zest of 1 lemon

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Use a sharp knife to carefully cut a cross on the round side of each chestnut. Place them all in a baking dish and dot with the butter, rosemary, salt and lemon zest. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until golden and the shells have opened slightly. They are best eaten while still warm, but they are also a great addition to salads. Simply peel off the outer and inner skins (they’ll come away together for the most part) and enjoy.

    *Recipe from Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl (£25, Hardie Grant Books)


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    Table talk

    by  • 25/11/2014 • Country style • 1 Comment


    Love French style? Then you’ll adore this country kitchen with its pretty dining area that’s reminiscent of a chic French manor house or elegant farmhouse.

    The scheme blends classic French-style furniture with pretty faded florals. Set the scene with distressed cane-back chairs that have a characterful, timeworn feel, then add linen seat pads for extra comfort. Make sure the table has the relaxed touch that’s key to informal occasions by laying it with a cloth in a faded floral such as Oyster Christobel fabric by Kate Forman. A mesh-fronted armoire keeps the look cohesive and is the perfect place to store artisan crockery.


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    Comfort food in a loaf

    by  • 20/11/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Sausage and tomato plait

    The simple things… Sometimes all you need is the smell of a home baked loaf wafting around your kitchen to transform your day. This one is packed with herby sausagemeat and squidgy semi-dried tomatoes – such a tasty combination – and best served straight up.

    600g good-quality sausagemeat
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    50g breadcrumbs
    3 tbsps chopped oregano
    1 tbsp chopped thyme, plus extra leaves for sprinkling
    Sea salt and black pepper
    Butter or oil for greasing
    Flour for dusting
    500g all-butter puff pastry
    150g semi-dried tomatoes, diced
    Beaten egg for glazing

    1 Mix the sausagemeat, onion, breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme and a little salt and pepper until evenly combined.

    2 Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Grease a baking sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to 4mm to 5mm thick and cut out three strips around 45cm long by 12cm wide. Arrange one-third of the sausage mixture down the centre of each strip, keeping the filling 2cm in from the edges of the pastry.

    3 Arrange the tomatoes on top. Bring the edges of the pastry over the filling and pinch firmly together. Roll the three pieces over so the joins are underneath. Loosely plait the 3 lengths together. (It makes a more even shape if you start in the middle and then plait each half to the end.) Carefully transfer the plait to the baking sheet and glaze with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sea salt and thyme leaves.

    4 Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4 and bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

    Recipe: Joanna Farrow. Photograph: Dan Jones




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    Craft a stocking

    by  • 16/11/2014 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    Make this delightful Christmas stocking following Country Homes and Interiors instructions

    What a find on Christmas morning. A stocking full of presents at the end of the bed and, even better, it’s a homemade stocking too! This one is featured in our December issue and combines  a jolly tartan fabric (Achray F6254-05, £102 a metre, Osborne & Little) finished with a cheery red cuff (Linara Post Box, 2494/16, £34.50 a metre, Romo).

    To make draw a stocking pattern onto paper to your chosen size, adding 2.5cm seam allowances all round. Cut out two pieces from the tartan. For the trim measure along the top of the stocking cut a 10cm strip of red fabric to twice this measurement minus 5cm. Cut berry and leaf shapes from fabric remnants and using fabric bonding tape, iron onto one right side of a stocking section, embroidering stems and details if desired with contrasting thread. Right sides facing, pin and machine stitch the main stocking together, taking a 2.5cm seam, leaving the top edge open. Trim seams and snip into the seam allowances around the curved edges to ease the fit. Press open seam allowances and turn through. Fold the trim in half widthways and stitch a 2.5cm seam along the short edges to form a ring. Press seam open and turn through. Fold the cuff ring in half along the length and press. Pin the two raw edges around the top of the cuff lining up with the wrong side of the stocking top and matching the trim seam with one of the stocking seams. Stitch in place and turn the trim down to cover the joining seam.  To finish, add a fabric or string loop inside for hanging.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy country craft projects  for you to try. Happy crafting!

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    Pumpkin soup with roasted ceps

    by  • 13/11/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    pumpkin soup

    A comforting autumn soup that’s perfect for serving on a cold day with fresh crusty rolls. It’s beautiful to look at too. We love this recipe as it combines two of our seasonal favourites – sweet pumpkin and roasted ceps.

    Serves 4
    For the soup

    50g butter
    1 onion, chopped
    1kg pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and reserved, then diced
    800ml vegetable stock
    110g Parmesan rind and cheese, roughly chopped
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the garnish

    25g pumpkin seeds
    4 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle to serve
    25g pumpkin, cut into 5mm dice
    110g fresh ceps, cut into 1.5cm dice
    2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
    25g Parmesan, cut into 5mm dice

    1 Heat a large frying pan over a low-medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the butter and onion and fry gently for 8–10 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Increase the heat to medium, add the pumpkin and continue to fry, stirring well, for 2–3 minutes. Pour the vegetable stock over the pumpkin mixture and bring to the boil. Stir in the Parmesan rind and cheese, then return the mixture to a simmer and continue to simmer for a further 8–10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    2 Transfer batches of the mixture to a food processor and blend to a smooth purée. Repeat the process until all of the mixture has been blended to a purée. Strain the soup mixture through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and heat until warmed through.

    3 Meanwhile, for the garnish, heat a frying pan over a high heat until hot. Add the pumpkin seeds and dry fry until toasted. Add the vegetable oil and continue to fry the seeds for 4–5 minutes, shaking the pan regularly, until golden-brown.

    4 Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a separate frying pan over a medium heat. Add the diced pumpkin (for the garnish) and fry for 1–2 minutes, or until just softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.

    5 Return the frying pan used to cook the pumpkin to the heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the ceps and fry for 2–3 minutes, or until golden-brown. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the chives until well combined.

    6 To serve, ladle the warm soup into 4 bowls. Sprinkle over a pinch each of the cooked pumpkin, diced Parmesan and ceps. Finish with the toasted pumpkin seeds, then drizzle over a little olive oil.

    Recipe: Bryn Williams. Photograph: Andrew Hayes-Watkins. Taken from Saturday Kitchen Suppers (£20,  Weidenfeld &  Nicolson)






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    Make a winter blind

    by  • 09/11/2014 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Make a winter blind following Country Homes and Interiors blog's easy instructions

    Come the cold winter months window spaces become a prime place to add drama or a focal point to a room. Fabric can be a great space filler at a window and, if used as a blind, can bring colour, character and personality with pictorial designs and patterns. This charming roman blind is featured in our December issue and is made with a Kerry Joyce fabric available from Redloh House and  features woodland creatures and leafy motifs, typical of our winter landscape. A neat red border at the bottom which both draws the eye and lends a smart finish. A roman blind by definition is an elegant style to choose at a window and operates with a simple string and loop system on the reverse that is easy to make even for a lesser experienced seamstress. To have a go and make your own roman blind why not click here and follow our simple instructions.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy country craft projects  for you to try. Just click here.

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    Citrus drizzle cake

    by  • 06/11/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Drizzle cake

    A drizzle cake always disappears first from the table at a fête or bake sale. This one has limes and clementines added to the lemons for the most citrusy kick of all. Cornmeal or polenta adds a golden glow to the sponge, but if you prefer you can substitute the same amount of plain flour. A slab of this will make your day complete.

    Makes 12 large squares

    For the cake
    225g soft butter, plus extra for greasing
    2 lemons
    2 limes
    1 clementine
    200g caster sugar
    4 free range eggs, room temperature
    125g plain flour
    125g fine yellow cornmeal or quick-cook polenta
    ¼ tsp salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    125g lemon-flavoured or plain whole yoghurt

    For the topping
    100 g caster sugar, or granulated for extra crunch

    1 Preheat the oven to 180°C 160°C fan/gas 4. Grease a 23cm  shallow square tin with butter, then line it with baking parchment. Finely grate the zest from all the fruit, taking care not to remove the bitter white pith. Put 2 teaspoons of the mixed zests in a large bowl with the butter and sugar, saving the rest for later. For a straight-up lemon cake or lime cake, simply use the zest and juice from one kind of fruit (you’ll need 4 teaspoons zest and 80ml juice).

    2 Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and pale. Scrape the sides of the bowl down every now and again with a spatula, so that every last bit gets mixed in.

    3 Crack the eggs into a measuring jug. Pour one egg into the bowl, then beat it into the creamed mixture until completely combined, fluffy and light. Add the rest of the eggs one by one, beating well each time. If the mixture starts to look slimy, add 1 tablespoon of the flour and it will become smooth again. Thoroughly mix together the flour, cornmeal or polenta, salt and baking powder, then sift half of it on top of the egg mixture. Using a spatula or a large metal spoon, fold it in until the batter is thick and fairly smooth.

    4 Fold in the yoghurt in the same way, then sift over and fold in the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin, level the top, then give it a sharp tap on the work surface to help remove any bubbles that can sometimes appear in this cake. Bake for 20 minutes, or until it is golden and has risen all over, then turn the oven down to 160°C 140°C fan/gas 3. If it’s browning too much on one side, quickly and carefully turn it around. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch, or it passes the skewer test. Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack for a few minutes.

    5 Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from 1 lemon, 1 lime and half the clementine, to make about 80ml. Poke 20 or so holes all over the cake using a fine skewer or a cocktail stick. Mix the sugar for the topping into the juice (do not let it dissolve), then spoon it over the surface of the still-warm cake, making sure that the sugar looks thick and evenly spread.

    6 Leave to cool completely. The sugar will become crisp and sparkly once the syrup soaks into the cake. Cut into squares to serve. If making the cake a day ahead, leave it loosely covered or in a roomy container with a little air for breathing. This will keep the sugary crust crisp.

    Recipe from What to Bake and How to Bake It by Jane Hornby (£19.95, Phaidon Press). Photograph Max and Liz Haarala Hamilton

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    A new take on the pasty

    by  • 09/10/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Smoked haddock pastie

    We’re big fans of  lovely Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge here at Country Homes & Interiors and have been following his new TV show, which showcases his innovative take on British classics. While we’re on the subject, who doesn’t love a pasty? But this one from Tom is a bit different, as it features smoked haddock. The smoking and curing process gives the haddock a meatier texture than most fish so it can withstand a longer cooking time. This is what we love about Tom’s recipes – he is reinventing everyday food into something extra special.

    SERVES 4

    250g swede (about ½ swede), peeled
    200g waxy new potatoes, peeled (or scrubbed Jersey Royals would be perfect)
    1 onion, diced
    4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
    1 tablespoon cracked black pepper (more if you really like pepper)
    500g smoked haddock, skin and bones removed, cut into 1cm dice
    4 knobs of butter
    1 free range egg, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten, to glaze
    Flaky sea salt, to finish
    Brown sauce, to serve (optional)

    For the pastry:
    750g strong bread flour, plus a little more for dusting
    11/2 teaspoons salt
    100g chilled lard, diced
    75g chilled butter, diced
    220–260ml water, chilled

    1 Start with the pastry. Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer with the lard and butter. Using the beater attachment, mix together on a medium speed. When it starts to look like breadcrumbs, change the attachment to a dough hook and add 3–4 tablespoons of the cold water. Mix, slowly adding more water to form a dough – you will need to gradually add about another 160–200ml water, just until you get the consistency of a firm bread dough. Once it’s come together, continue to knead with the dough hook for 4–5 minutes until smooth and quite elastic. Remove from the bowl and wrap in cling film. Rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to a day.

    2 While the dough is resting, slice the swede and potatoes into 3–5mm slices. Place the sliced vegetables in a bowl with the onion, parsley, black pepper and a pinch of salt. Stir in the smoked haddock.

    3 Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Divide the rested dough into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Lightly dust a surface with a little flour and roll out each ball into a rough circle, about 25cm in diameter. Spoon a quarter of the filling on to a disc of pastry. Spread the filling on to one half of the disc, leaving the other half clear. Stick a knob of butter on top of the filling. Brush the edges lightly with water then carefully fold the pastry over and join the edges. Push together with your fingers to seal. Crimp the edges to make sure the filling is held securely inside. You can seal it with a fork or make small twists along the edges and then fold the end corners underneath. Repeat with the rest of the pastry and filling.

    4 Put the pasties on the lined baking tray. Brush the top of each one with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes before serving, with brown sauce if you like.

    *Recipe taken from Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes (Absolute Press, £25). Photograph: Cristian Barnett


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    It’s chutney time!

    by  • 02/10/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Pumpkin and orange chutney

    Who knew that making your own chutney is such a popular thing? Social media is awash at the minute with lovely posts by friends showing Kilner jars filled with wonderfully creative combinations – runner bean and mustard; marrow and ginger; beetroot and horseradish… and there are whole forums devoted to the subject. My personal favourite is spicy damson but now there’s a new contender on the block – this pumpkin and orange chutney is just the best. Delicate and mild pumpkin is given a leg-up by warming chillies and fresh-tasting orange zest. Make it now and you can pack it in your Bonfire Night sausage baps or to zhush up your winter cheeseboard. The smell of this chutney being made just conjures up coming home to a country kitchen.

    Makes 4–6 jars

    1kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
    300g (approximately 2) Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped
    300g (approximately 2) onions, peeled and diced
    600ml cider vinegar
    400g raw cane sugar
    30g sultanas
    10g (approximately 1 orange) grated orange zest
    50g (approximately 10) fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
    5g fresh ginger root, peeled and very finely diced
    10g sea salt

    1. Put the pumpkin, apples, onions and vinegar into a large, heavy-bottomed preserving pan. Heat on a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft.

    2. Bring the mixture to the boil. Add the sugar, sultanas, orange zest, chillies, ginger and salt. Stir well to ensure all the sugar is dissolved and the ingredients are evenly distributed.

    3. Boil for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the chutney doesn’t catch on the base of the pan, until the correct consistency is achieved. Test by running a spoon along the bottom of the pan – if the channel you make doesn’t fill immediately, the chutney is ready.

    4. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the chutney into sterilised jars. Seal immediately and store, ideally for two months, before using.

    *Recipe taken from Tracklements – Savoury Preserves by Guy Tullberg and Becky Vale (£16.99, Pavilion). Photograph: Dan Jones

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