• Posts Tagged ‘easy recipes’

    Country Christmas…

    by  • 02/11/2013 • Country moment • 2 Comments

    It’s a little over seven weeks to Christmas but fear not – the December issue of Country Homes & Interiors is on sale now!

    Packed with festive inspiration galore from seasonal baking and lazy brunches to cheery decorations and hand-picked gifts. Find out about Country Homes & Interiors reader workshops too; create your own pine wreath and luxury crackers with the Darling Collective, or savour the delights of a Christmas cookery day with Rosemary Shrager in Tunbridge Wells.

    There’s so much more to browse, dip in to discover the most beautiful Christmas ever…


    Buy in store or browse online

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    Country food: easy tomato recipe

    by  • 03/10/2013 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Beefsteak tomatoes stuffed with aubergine and mozzarella

    Country food at its best: beefsteak tomatoes stuffed with aubergine and mozzarella

    Here at Country Homes & Interiors the talk this week is of tomato gluts. Those with bumper crops and big larders are talking of batch cooking chutneys and sauces for winter (shhhh). The real stars of the show for me though are the big boys: I like stuffing and roasting beefsteaks, and serving them with big chunks off a rustic seeded loaf. This recipe is a classic and serves 6…

    6 beef tomatoes, ripe but firm
    9 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    2 handfuls basil leaves
    2–3 tbsp plain flour, for dredging
    400g small aubergines, trimmed, thinly sliced into rounds
    2 free range eggs, beaten with a large pinch salt
    200g mozzarella
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Using a sharp knife, slice the tops off the tomatoes, about a quarter of the way down, to make  lids. With a small spoon, remove the seeds and pulp inside the tomatoes and reserve. Place the hollowed-out tomatoes on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Add a pinch of salt to the cavity of each, then turn the tomatoes upside down and set aside for 10–15 minutes to allow moisture to escape.

    2 Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil in a pan over a high heat. Fry the onion for 3–4 minutes until softened, then add the reserved tomato pulp and half the basil leaves and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well. Reduce the heat to medium, then half cover the pan with a lid and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, or until most of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture has thickened. Check and stir from time to time to prevent from burning.

    3 Heat 2 more tablespoons of olive oil in a separate  pan over a medium–high heat. While the oil is heating up, sprinkle the flour onto a plate and dredge the aubergine rounds in it, shaking off any excess. When the oil is hot, dip each round into the beaten egg. Add the coated aubergine to the hot oil, in batches if necessary, and fry for 3–4 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden-brown on both sides. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle a little salt  over.

    4 To assemble, begin with a slice of aubergine, then top with a spoonful of tomato sauce, followed by a basil leaf, then a slice of mozzarella. Repeat the layers until the tomato cavities are full and all the ingredients used up. (Reserve any leftover basil leaves for the garnish.) Put the lid on each tomato and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle over a little of the remaining olive oil.

    4 Bake the stuffed tomatoes in the oven for about 25 minutes or until softened and the cheese has melted. To serve, garnish with the remaining basil leaves, then drizzle over the remaining extra virgin olive oil and season again to taste.

    * Recipe by Gennaro Contaldo, taken from the new Saturday Kitchen Cooking Bible (£20, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, orionbooks.co.uk)

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    Country craft: Simple vases

    by  • 14/07/2013 • Country craft, Country moment • 0 Comments

    Simple vases

    Jam jars bring effortless style to freshly picked flowers

    Arrange freshly cut flowers in collected jam jars for easy summer styling. Either group the jars together or place in a line with single blooms or a jolly mix of pretty posies.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. And for more country crafts, recipes and room ideas, why not buy our  Country Home Ideas app?

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    Chocolate fondue

    by  • 04/04/2013 • Country food • 3 Comments

    Chocolate fondue

    Chocolate fondue served with fruit and marshmallows. Recipe taken from Chocolat by Eric Lanlard is published by Mitchell Beazley at £18.99, available to buy from Amazon

    I know fondue is a bit retro, but a good chocolate fondue is a great alternative to a dessert or perfect for a party. You can be as creative as you want with the food to be dipped.

    Serves 6

    Preparation time: 15 minutes

    Cooking time: 5 minutes

    300g (10oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped

    2 tbsp milk

    250ml (8fl oz) double cream

    75g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

    2 tbsp dark rum

    For dipping and coating

    3 bananas, cut into chunky pieces

    3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut

    into chunky pieces

    juice of 1 lemon

    12 large marshmallows

    Assortment of dried fruit, such as figs, dates and prunes

    150g (5oz) chopped hazelnuts, roasted (see Tip on page 44)

    150g (5oz) desiccated coconut

    First prepare the dips. Toss the bananas and pears with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Arrange the prepared fruit, marshmallow and dried fruit on a large platter or in ramekins, together with the roasted nuts and coconut. Make a pile of metal or wooden kebab sticks on the side. To make the fondue, place a fondue pan in a bain-marie. Alternatively, place a heatproof serving bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the chocolate and milk and melt together, then whisk in the cream. Keep warm, then just before serving stir in the butter, cinnamon, vanilla and rum. Take the warm fondue to the table hot and encourage people to help themselves. Use the kebab sticks to dip the fruits and marshmallows into the hot chocolate, then roll into the nuts or coconut. A fun way to end a dinner party!

    Recipe taken from Chocolat by Eric Lanlard is published by Mitchell Beazley at £18.99, available to buy from Amazon.
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    Food travels…

    by  • 12/08/2012 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    With limp looking salad and meat shamefully undressed, I decided it was time to embark on a Classic British Cookery course at Daylesford Organic this summer… Nestling in 2,000 acres of glorious Cotswold countryside, the cookery school sits alongside a kitchen garden and sustainable organic farm which produces its own meat, milk, cheese, bread and wine.

    Daylesford Organic Cookery School

    Daylesford Organic

    To this backdrop,donned in chef whites and stylish apron, my sense of ability was immediately elevated – perhaps a masterchef moment on the horizon? Charming Head Chef Vladimir Niza and his assistant Mike Barnard led us through an array of delicious recipes, nutritional facts and expert tips on presentation, then we took to our gleaming work stations, armed with the best kitchenware I’ve surely seen. One dish after another turned out beautifully (well, almost!), though I have the ever-patient chef Mike to thank for my success – Ummmh Mike, can you help? How do I…Oh…aha!

    Daylesford Organic Chef Demonstration

    Cookery demonstration

    Satisfyingly homemade dishes ranged from onion cider soup and creamy fish pie to an incredible roast pork with crackling and apple sauce. High on hope, we finished the course and took to the farmshop – some armed with a month’s supply of food while others narrowed it down to that perfect oil or crunchy sea salt…

    Daylesford Organic farm shop

    Seasonal produce

    It’s hard to leave this foodie haven but visitors can choose to stay on and relax at the Hay Barn Spa, the farm cafe, or make a weekend of it at Daylesford’s holiday cottages. Enjoy…

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    Fit for a King

    by  • 19/05/2012 • Country food, Country moment • 0 Comments

    I ventured back in time this week to 6th February 1789 when ‘mad’ King George III was declared fit to dine with cutlery again at Kew Palace …Master Cook William Wybrow immediately set about preparing a celebratory feast in the Royal Kitchens featuring the King’s favourite dishes -soupe barley, mutton steaks smoured in a frying panne, and chocolate tart…

    The kitchens served Kew Palace and White House but they closed after Queen Charlotte’s death in 1818 and remained untouched for the next 200 years! Thanks to restoration by Historic Royal Palaces, the kitchens are now open to the public, offering a magnificent showcase of cookery in Georgian times.

    The Great Kitchen at Kew Palace (Credit-Forster_HRP)

    The Great Kitchen at Kew Palace

    Visitors can see how food was prepared and cooked with 18th century ovens and sturdy bakehouse tables. Upstairs there are fine examples of Georgian décor, including the office of the Kitchen Clerk who kept meticulous records of meals and budgets.

    The Clerk's Office Ledger

    The Kitchen Clerk's Ledger

    Today’s visitor’s can enjoy lively  cookery demonstrations at the palace on special occasions… or dare to test the King’s favourite recipes at home? We would love to hear if you do…

    The Great Kitchen, Kew Palace

    Chefs cook up a royal feast at Kew Palace

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    Strawberry Eton Mess

    by  • 10/05/2011 • Country food • 2 Comments

    A delicious dessert that's so easy to make. The stunning fabric is from Liberty

    Thanks to all this sunny weather we’ve been having it’s a bumper year for British strawberries. They taste wonderful, so much better than the imported variety. And nothing says summer like a bowl of freshly picked ripe and juicy strawberries. If you fancy making a sweet dessert with them, Eton Mess is always a big favourite in our house – lush strawberries mixed with thick cream and gooey-centred meringue. You can always substitute shop bought meringues if you don’t have time to make your own. This recipe serves 6 and is so easy to do. There are more ideas for lovely sweet treats to make with strawberries in our June issue, out now.

    You will need…

    2 medium egg whites

    100g caster sugar

    500g strawberries, hulled

    200ml double cream

    100ml elderflower cordial – we like Bottlegreen’s Elderflower Cordial (£3.95 for 500ml)

    200g Greek yogurt

    Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F/Gas ½. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Put the egg whites in a thoroughly clean bowl and whisk with a hand held electric beater until peaking. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a tablespoonful at a time, until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Make sure that you whisk the meringue well between each addition of sugar, or syrup will seep out during baking. Place spoonfuls onto the baking sheet, spacing them slightly apart. Don’t worry about making neat meringue shapes as they’ll be crushed up for the mess. Bake for 1 to 1¼ hours or until the meringue is crisp on the outside but still soft in the centre. Leave to cool.

    Put the strawberries in a bowl and mash lightly to break them up. Whisk the cream and elderflower cordial in a bowl until the mixture just holds its shape. Tip in the yogurt and stir gently to combine.

    To assemble, break up the meringues and put half in a large glass dish or individual ones. Top with half the cream mixture and then half of the strawberries.  Layer up with the remaining ingredients and stir together lightly to combine.

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    More chocolate treats!

    by  • 26/04/2011 • Country food • 2 Comments

    Delicious Easter truffles

    For post-Easter chocolates with a difference, I love these gourmet truffles, which are hand-made by a small family chocolatier called Sloe Motion in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, using the fruit from their award-winning liqueurs. My favourite is the Sloe Gin Chocolate Truffles (I also like their Sloe Chutney).

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    Easter roast

    by  • 19/04/2011 • Country food • 1 Comment

    I love dishing up a traditional family meal of roast lamb on Easter Sunday. And this stainless steel rectangular roasting dish from Le Creuset is just the thing to cook it in. This year I’m going to try their recipe, which serves 6.


    You will need:

    2 kg (4 lbs) shoulder of lamb

    8 canned anchovy fillets in oil, drained

    5 sprigs rosemary

    1 garlic clove, cut into 6 pieces

    3 tbsps vegetable oil

    350g (12 oz) sweet potatoes

    450g (1 lbs) roasting potatoes

    Freshly ground black pepper


    1 tbsp plain flour

    375ml hot brown stock

    4 tbsps full bodied red wine

    1 rounded tsp redcurrant jelly

    Preheat your oven to 180˚C / 350˚F / Gas 4. Using a sharp knife make a number of holes in the thicker parts of the lamb shoulder. Cut 5 of the anchovy fillets in half, retaining 3 for the gravy. Push small pieces of the rosemary together with a piece of the anchovy into the holes. Make 6 more holes and push a piece of garlic into these. Put 1 tbsp of the oil into the roaster. Add the lamb and drizzle with a little more oil and some freshly ground black pepper. (Do not add any salt; the anchovies will bring enough salt to the recipe). Cover the top of the meat with a piece of aluminium foil, but do not enclose it within the pan. Roast the lamb for 1 hour.

    Meanwhile peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Boil in lightly salted water for 3 minutes, drain well. When the lamb has roasted for 1 hour, remove the foil and baste the meat with the pan juices. Add the potatoes around the meat and season with some black pepper. Roast for a further 50 minutes – 1 hour. (Check the lamb 20 minutes earlier if you prefer it slightly pink. Remove the meat and keep warm, continue roasting the potatoes). Transfer the meat and potatoes to a warmed serving dish.

    Put the roasting pan on the stove-top over a medium heat. Add the flour to the fats in the pan, together with the remaining anchovy fillets, chopped into small pieces. Stir well until all the fats are absorbed. Gradually stir in the hot stock, wine and redcurrant jelly. As you stir mash the softening pieces of anchovy into the gravy so that the consistency becomes smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary (but do not add any salt). Carve the lamb into thick slices and serve with a little of the gravy poured over together with the roasted potatoes and some seasonal vegetables of your choice.

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    All-purpose muffins recipe

    by  • 12/04/2011 • Country craft, Country food • 2 Comments

    Delicious home baked muffins with a variety of fillings

    I love a recipe like this one, where the filling can be varied according to what’s in season or what you fancy. And they’re perfect for making with the children in the Easter holidays. It’s from Bake! By Nick Malgieri (£20, Kyle Cathie), a brilliant new cookbook that’s just come out. Here is the basic muffin batter, then don’t forget to choose a filling from the suggestions listed. This recipe makes 12 standard-size muffins and you will need a 12-hole standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.

    You will need…

    260g plain flour

    110g sugar

    1 tbsp baking powder

    ¼ tsp salt

    110g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

    1 medium egg

    240ml full fat milk

    Filling – choose from list below

    Set a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 190˚C/gas mark 5. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, and set aside. Pour the butter into a mixing bowl and thoroughly whisk in the egg, then whisk in the milk. Whisk about one third of the flour mixture into the liquid until absorbed. Whisk in another third, again until the liquid is absorbed. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the last of the flour mixture. Gently fold in the filling of your choice and transfer the batter to the muffin pan. Bake the muffins until they are well risen and golden, and the point of a paring knife inserted in the centre of one muffin emerges dry. This will take about 20 minutes. Cool the muffins in the tin on a rack and lift them out when they have cooled completely.

    Choose your filling…

    Blueberry: Add 1 tsp grated lemon zest to the liquid mixture. After mixing the batter, fold in 200g rinsed and dried blueberries. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with 2 tbsps sugar mixed with ¼ tsp ground cinnamon before baking.

    Lemon Poppy Seed: Add 2 tbsps poppy seeds to the flour mixture, and add 1 tbsp of finely grated lemon zest to the liquid mixture.

    Old-Fashioned Jam: Add 2 tsps vanilla extract and 2 tsps finely grated lemon zest to the liquid mixture. Half fill the holes in the muffin tins and drop 1 tsp of your favourite jam in the centre of the batter. Add the rest of the batter, being careful to cover the jam completely.

    Chocolate Chip: Add 2 tsps vanilla extract to the liquid mixture. After mixing the batter, fold in one 170g milk or dark chocolate chips. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins before baking with 2 tbsps unflavoured sugar.

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