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  • Posted on May 16, 2018

    Shabby Chic Interior Inspiration from the home of Rachel Ashwell


    Take a sneak peek into the home of Rachel Ashwell, founder of the Shabby Chic brand and discover her design and interior inspirations for creating a beautiful, comfortable and liveable home…

    Home truly is where we hang our hats, and I have hung my hats in a lot of different places.  When I move into a home, I never quite know my length of stay but “home is where the heart is” are the truest of words. My philosophy is that wherever I am, I make my nest, even in a rented home or hotel. With flowers, music, candles, and beautiful, comfortable, and functional things, a home will be that much lovelier a place for our hearts to be.



    Authentic is the way I would describe my kitchen. While I have affections for squeaky cupboards, wonky drawers, and dripping faucets, the reality is that every kitchen needs careful planning and to function well. I removed most of the cupboards and installed a couple of open shelves, my philosophy being that if you don’t use it, lose it, and if I can’t see it, I forget I have it, so all my new and vintage dinnerware and odd useful charming things end up for daily use, not always as originally intended, but used nonetheless. The countertops are of pure white Thasos marble honed to take off the shine and straight-edged— any bevel would have been too fancy. A rough wood dresser houses a multitude of things, and baskets sit underneath, storing essentials. On top, a microwave and books rumble together in orderly chaos. Farmhouse sinks to me are a must for any home that can house one, and I love how they bring instant cottage or castle to the story. Pots and pans and cleaning things are actually hidden away in unsqueaky drawers under the countertop, concealed by crudely constructed rough wood doors.


    Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic


    My office at home

    Other than a couple of pale blue painted harvest tables, a white leather chair, and breezy voile curtains hung on a set of French doors, everything else in the room evolves and changes as my projects command. Fortunately everything that pops in is usually so lovely in some form or another that process and mess always look beautiful. Behind my desk is a memo board that’s an ever-evolving work of art. Cards made by my children share equal status with my bits and bobs and dates to remember, mainly already past.



    The hodgepodge room

    This room could easily have been the forgotten space or the walk-through room at best, had it not been the recipient of a misplaced but much appreciated fireplace more suited to a drafty castle than my sunny Californian home. But nonetheless, its presence gave the room the upper hand over its sister room where the television and the kitchen sit. I have always loved dark brown leather Chesterfield sofas but never had the right home. Finally this seemed right. However, I did change the leather set of cushions for sage velvet so I still had elements of my mushy comfort. The shallow but densely strung and clustered crystal chandelier hangs low over the coffee table. Dimly lit, with candles and the fire, it is nearly impossible not to have a romantic moment.


    Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic



    Beautiful boudoir

    I am just as happy in a beach shack or a barn in the fields of Texas; however, when I want the classical, luxurious hotel experience I am often left disappointed with corporate luxury. This bedroom was my stage to create the Grand Hotel that I have yet to find: a place to play out my imaginings of being a princess. Decadent plush silks, velvets, and crumpled linens were my vision. To me, a test of lovely bedding is if the bed looks equally yummy unmade. A vital glamour element is vintage lighting: chandeliers, wall sconces, and lampshades (often tattered) make the story real.


    Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic


    For more interior inspiration from Rachel, check out her book Shabby Chic Interiors, photography by Amy Neunsinger © CICO Books.

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with interiors, rachel ashwell, shabby chic

  • Posted on May 15, 2018

    Sun-blush Tomato, Orange & Burrata Salad recipe

    Gloriously simple to put together, this bright and colourful dish offers a Mediterranean-inspired combination of colours, textures and flavours for a fantastic summery feel!

    Veggie Salad Bowl

    2 large oranges

    24 sun-blush/semi-dried

    cherry tomato halves

    2 burrata cheeses (or good-quality fresh mozzarella cheese)


    olive oil

    freshly ground black pepper

    a handful of fresh basil leaves

    Serves 4


    Peel the oranges, making sure to trim off all the white pith, and cut into even, thick slices.

    Place the orange slices on a large serving dish, then scatter over the sun-blush/semi-dried tomato halves. Tear the burrata cheeses into chunks and layer on top of the orange slices and tomato halves.

    Drizzle with olive oil and season with pepper. Garnish with the basil leaves and serve at once.


    This recipe is from The Veggie Salad Bowl, photography © Ryland Peters & Small

    The Veggie Salad Bowl

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with salad, savoury, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, summer

  • Posted on May 8, 2018

    Cinnamon Bun French Toast recipe

    Brunch goals coming up! For our US friends, we have another recipe from Brontë Aurell's newest book ScandiKitchen Summer that is the perfect way to say thank you this Mother's Day. (But really, who need's an excuse to try this indulgent breakfast to start your weekend!)

    Imagine the situation – you have some leftover cinnamon buns. It doesn’t happen often, but it CAN happen. What does one do with those useless, stale things? Cinnamon bun French toast with vanilla syrup and cardamom yogurt, of course. The syrup recipe makes an ample amount, but it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. If you can’t be bothered, use maple syrup instead.

    ScandiKitchen Summer 


    150 g/3⁄4 cup caster/ superfine sugar

    100 ml/1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water

    1 vanilla pod/bean

    sea salt flakes (optional)


    200 g/1 cup thick Greek/ plain Greek-style yogurt

    ground cardamom, to taste


    3 eggs

    pinch of salt

    1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    50 g/generous 1⁄3 cup plain/ all-purpose flour

    small pinch of bicarbonate of soda/baking soda

    125 ml/1⁄2 cup whole milk

    4 cinnamon buns, sliced widthways in half (traditional Scandi yeast-based buns)

    butter, for frying

    fresh raspberries or blackberries, to serve

    Serves 4


    For the vanilla syrup, put the sugar and water in a saucepan, scrape the vanilla pod/bean and add the pod and seeds to the pan. Boil gently for 4–5 minutes on a medium-high heat, taking care not to burn the syrup. If it’s reducing too quickly, shorten the cooking time or your syrup will be too thick. Remove from the heat and add salt flakes to taste, if you like (it intensifies the vanilla flavour).

    For the yogurt topping, stir the cardamom into the yogurt, to taste – I like freshly ground cardamom, but you can leave it plain if you are not a fan.

    For the French toast, mix the eggs with the salt, cinnamon, flour and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Pour in the milk, bit by bit, and stir into a smooth batter. Place the bun pieces in a bowl and pour the batter over.

    Mix to ensure all pieces are generously coated. Cover with clingfilm/plastic wrap and leave for 10 minutes to soak through.

    Heat some butter in a frying pan/skillet, then fry the pieces of bun until cooked through and golden on both sides, adding more butter as needed. Arrange two on each plate, top with cardamom yogurt and berries. Pour over syrup to taste.


    This recipe is from ScandiKitchen Summer by Brontë Aurell, photography by Peter Cassidy © Ryland Peters & Small

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with breakfast, brunch, recipe for the weekend, sweet, scandikitchen

  • Posted on May 2, 2018

    Feasts from the Fire

    Time to up your BBQ game this bank holiday! We guarantee your mates will be impressed with this unique way of cooking salmon on an open fire and we’ve not forgotten the veggies too with this stunning charred treviso salad.


    CEDAR PLANK SALMON with sake

    Wooden planks are a great way to cook fish on the grill as they stop the fish from sticking to the metal grate. This recipe uses cedar planks, but there are other varieties of wood that lightly flavor the fish. The wooden planks are soaked in cold water first to prevent them burning over the hot coals.

    Feasts from the Fire


    1 lb/450 g center-cut salmon, skin on

    ½ cup/125 ml sake

    ¼ cup/60 ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

    1 tablespoon wasabi powder

    pinch of sea salt

    10 shishito peppers, thinly sliced

    cracked black pepper

    2 lemons, quartered

    cedar plank, 7 x 15 inches/ 18 x 38 cm

    SERVES 4


    Soak the cedar plank in cold water for a minimum of 3 hours, up to a maximum of 24 hours.

    Rinse the salmon under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a ceramic baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together the sake, olive oil, wasabi powder, and sea salt. Pour over the salmon and marinate for 20 minutes.

    Heat the grill/barbecue to medium–high. Place the wet plank on the grill and leave it there for 6–8 minutes until the wood is charred on one side.

    Turn the plank over. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place on top of the charred side of the plank. Sprinkle with the sliced shishito peppers and some cracked black pepper. Close the lid of the grill and cook for 15–20 minutes until the salmon is cooked. Times may differ depending on the thickness of the fish, so check for doneness by inserting a sharp knife into the fish— the flesh should be opaque in the middle.

    Serve on the plank with the lemons and drizzle with a little extra olive oil.


    Charred Treviso SALAD

    Charred Treviso bathed in an anchovy and almond dressing is a delicious accompaniment to any cookout. It’s a hardy but milder relative of radicchio and has pretty, long leaves that are tinged with green and white. The anchovy and breadcrumbs add sweetness to this salad.

    Feasts from the Fire


    ½ cup/55 g almonds, roughly chopped

    2-oz/56-g can of anchovies

    2 cups/100 g panko breadcrumbs

    3 tablespoons salted capers

    ¼ cup/60 ml olive oil

    4 small Treviso chicory/ radicchio, cut in half lengthwise

    ¼ cup/30g grated Parmesan

    cheese (optional)

    cracked black pepper

    oil, for brushing the grate

    SERVES 6–8


    Place the almonds and anchovies (there’s no need to drain them) in a food processor and pulse to a rough consistency. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the breadcrumbs, capers, and half the olive oil.

    Toss together and season with pepper.

    Heat a pan over a medium–high heat, add the breadcrumb mixture, and toast until golden brown. Set aside. Heat the grill/barbecue to medium–high. Brush the grate with oil.

    Place the Treviso on a baking sheet and brush with the remaining olive oil. Grill for 2–3 minutes on each side until slightly charred and wilted.

    Remove them to a platter and scatter with the breadcrumb mix. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, if using, and season with a little more black pepper.


    These recipes are from Feasts from the Fire by Valerie Aikman-Smith, photography by Erin Kunkel © Ryland Peters & Small

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with savoury, bank holiday, bbq, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, open fire cooking

  • Posted on April 25, 2018

    Almond Affogato recipe

    Something truly indulgent and truly delicious for you to try this weekend, from The Happy World of Dri Dri Gelato. This coffee/dessert is a perfect way to end a dinner party. It's easy to make and bound to impress your guests!

    Affogato, meaning ‘drowned’, is a classic Italian way to serve gelato. Drown scoops of gelato with a shot of hot espresso. Almond and coffee is a perfect combination, but you could try it with other gelato flavours such as Madagascan Vanilla, Bacio or Hazelnut. This recipe makes enough gelato for eight servings, but if fewer servings are required, simply store the remaining gelato in the freezer to enjoy another time.


    500 ml/2 cups organic whole milk

    165 ml/2⁄3 cup organic whipping cream

    140 g/1 cup shelled almonds

    ½ teaspoon of sea salt

    165 g/ ¾ cup organic (caster) sugar

    1 free-range egg white

    shots of espresso made with organic

    100% Arabica beans, to serve

    Serves 8


    Put the milk and cream in a small saucepan and heat gently until it reaches boiling point. Pour the mixture into a heat-resistant bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

    In a dry frying pan/skillet, lightly toast the almonds with the salt and set aside to cool. When cooled, grind the almonds to a paste in a food processor.

    In a large mixing bowl and, using an electric hand whisk, beat together the sugar and egg white until it forms soft peaks when the beaters are lifted out of the mixture.

    Stir in the almond paste, add the chilled milk mixture and whisk for a further 20 seconds.

    Pour the mixture into the gelato maker and churn freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Prepare shots of espresso using an espresso machine or an Italian moka. Place a scoop of the gelato into each coffee cup and serve with a shot of espresso on the side so guests can pour the hot coffee over the gelato and enjoy immediately.


    This recipe is from The Happy World of Dri Dri Gelato by Adriano di Petrillo, photography by Steve Painter © Ryland Peters & Small

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with coffee, recipe for the weekend, dessert, sweet, drink, gelato

  • Posted on April 19, 2018

    National Tea Day

    Happy National Tea Day! We couldn’t get through a day in the office without a good cup of tea, so we’ve turned to Mat Follas to find out how to brew the perfect cuppa. Then, why not pair it with a delicious Anzac biscuit – because you can’t have tea without a good biscuit!

    How to make the perfect cup of afternoon tea

    How to make the perfect cup of tea, for all varieties of tea, is not something I can realistically cover in a few words here. Whole books are dedicated to tea making. What I can talk about is my view of how to make the perfect cup of afternoon tea.

    A pot of afternoon tea should always be a blend of Assam Indian tea leaves; one teaspoon per person and one for the teapot is a good rule of thumb. You might like it a little stronger, if so, add another teaspoon.

    The tea is made with just-boiled water and left for about 3 minutes before serving. Tradition demands that, for luck, the teapot is turned around three times in a clockwise direction during this time, I remember my Grandmother always doing this. Assam tea is served with a dash of milk in the teacup before the tea is poured. Sugar is optional but really should be used only in the morning, as afternoon tea should always be served with sweet treats.

    A pot of Earl Grey tea is also ideal for drinking with afternoon tea; the bergamot zest in the tea leaves gives the tea a lovely zesty and floral flavour. It should be served with similar amounts of tea per teapot to the Assam tea, but with a tiny slice of lemon in the teacup, not milk.

    All of the above said, do make your tea how you like it. Add milk to your Earl Grey, pour the milk after the tea or add sugar… it’s your cup of tea after all.


    Anzac biscuits

    In New Zealand and Australia, Anzac biscuits/cookies are traditionally used as a fundraiser for returned servicemen, so they hold a special place in the hearts of everyone from either country. They are long-lasting, so they were made by wives and mothers during the Second World War and posted to servicemen. Today, no Australasian cafe would be without them, because they are absolutely delicious with a cup of tea (dunking required to soften them!).


    100 g/3⁄4 cup plain/all-purpose flour

    200 g/1 cup caster/granulated sugar

    75 g/1 cup desiccated/dried unsweetened shredded coconut

    75 g/generous 3⁄4 cup rolled/ old-fashioned oats

    150 g/1 1⁄4 sticks butter

    50 g/2 1⁄2 tablespoons golden/ light corn syrup

    1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda splash of boiling water

    2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment




    Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3.

    Mix the flour, sugar, coconut and oats together in a large mixing bowl. Place the butter and golden/light corn syrup in a small saucepan and heat on a low heat until melted and combined.

    In a bowl, combine the bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and a splash of boiling water to  dissolve it. Stir, then pour into the saucepan with the butter and syrup. Add the liquid ingredients to the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to mix thoroughly.

    Using a dessertspoon, form balls of the mixture and place on the lined baking sheets with a 2.5-cm/1-inch gap between each one.

    Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and harden before removing them from the baking sheets.


    For more delicious recipes from Mat Follas, check out Afternoon Tea at Bramble Cafe. Photography by Steve Painter © Ryland Peters & Small


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with baking, tea, recipe for the weekend, sweet, national tea day, biscuits

  • Posted on April 18, 2018

    Asparagus & Peas Spring Pasta recipe

    This lovely dish is all about Spring, in fact Italians call this combination, Primavera. It’s also a perfect pre-run dish for everyone running the London Marathon this weekend – full of carbs to keep you fueled and lovely green veg to keep you strong and healthy!

    60 g/1⁄2 stick butter

    1 banana shallot, thinly sliced

    1 garlic clove, finely chopped

    a generous handful of sugar snap peas, trimmed

    a bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 2.5-cm/ 1-inch lengths

    a handful of frozen peas, defrosted

    200 g/7 oz. dried pasta or

    160 g/6 oz. fresh pasta

    2 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano shavings

    a handful of mint leaves, finely chopped

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    SERVES 2


    Put a large pan of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan.

    Toss in the shallot, garlic, sugar snaps, asparagus and peas and sauté for 2–3 minutes to remove the rawness of the vegetables but still keep them vibrant and relatively crunchy. Season and set aside.

    When the salted water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the packet. Drain the pasta, but keep a cup of the cooking water.

    Tip the hot drained pasta into the buttery vegetables, adding a tiny splash of the retained pasta cooking water. Add the Parmigiano shavings and chopped mint and toss with gusto over a high heat until the pasta is well coated and creamy. Serve with plenty of extra freshly ground black pepper.

    TASTY TOPPER crispy fried prosciutto di Parma.


    This recipe is from Pasta Secrets by Laura Santtini, photography by Christopher Scholey © Ryland Peters & Small

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with savoury, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, pasta, spring, veggie

  • Posted on April 11, 2018

    Vegan Sweet Potato Porridge recipe

    How beautiful is this breakfast?! Start your day with this satisfying and super healthy porridge recipe. It's a great way to get all your fruit AND you veg you need.

    1 large sweet potato (or 2 small), scrubbed clean and pricked with a fork a few times

    500 ml/2 cups almond milk (or half almond milk, half water)

    2 tablespoons chia seeds

    2 tablespoons ground flax seeds/ linseeds

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

    pinch of sea salt

    1 teaspoon coconut oil

    1–2 tablespoons almond butter



    sliced fresh berries

    fresh edible flowers


    SERVES 2


    The night before, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6. Roast the sweet potato for 45 minutes until softened and cooked through (give it a little squeeze with a kitchen towel protecting your hands; if it has got a good amount of give, it’s done). Leave it to cool completely, then store in the fridge overnight. You can do this in bigger batches for a double batch of porridge or for other meals.

    In the morning, remove the skin from the sweet potato (it should peel away easily after it’s roasted and cooled). Place it in a medium saucepan and mash it with a fork until you’ve created a rough purée.

    Place the saucepan with the sweet potato over a medium heat. Stir in the milk, chia seeds, flax seeds/ linseeds, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and further mashing the sweet potato as needed, for 5–6 minutes until the ingredients have warmed through and melded together in a thick but easily stirred consistency.

    Stir in the coconut oil and either stir in the almond butter or drizzle it on with your other toppings.

    Portion the porridge into bowls and serve warm topped with berries and granola.


    For more healthy breakfast recipes, check out The New Porridge by Leah Vanderveldt. Photography by Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small.

    The New Porridge

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with vegan, breakfast, porridge, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, healthy

  • Posted on April 5, 2018

    Detoxifying Superfood Smoothie recipes

    Try these two detoxifying smoothie recipes as a healthy kick start to your day or a pick me up that will satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt! Packed with superfoods like spinach, ginger and watercress, they are a simple and not to mention tasty way to get your 5 a day!

    Superfood Juices and Smoothies

    Deep cleanser

    Strawberries make a surprisingly rich and creamy juice and, thanks to the presence of the powerful antioxidant ellagic acid, encourage liver-cleansing enzymes to escort toxins out of the body. Alongside their liver cleansing capabilities, strawberries are rich in B vitamins and vitamin C as well as the mineral potassium, which helps to maintain normal blood pressure and supports the kidneys.


    4 handfuls of strawberries, hulled

    3 handfuls of spinach leaves

    2 handfuls of blueberries

    1 large uncooked beetroot/beet, peeled and cut into wedges

    2.5-cm/1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and halved

    juice of 1 lemon

    1 teaspoon açaí berry powder

    1–2 teaspoons detox greens powder

    SERVES 2


    Juice the strawberries, spinach, blueberries, beetroot and ginger then stir in the lemon juice, açaí berry powder and detox greens mixture.


    Green shot

    The vitamin C in the lemon helps the absorption of the iron provided by the spinach and parsley. Iron is an important mineral and aids detoxification that takes place in the liver. The super-nutrient PEITC found naturally in watercress and also in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage has been found to cleanse and protect the lungs from pollution and cigarette smoke as well as reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, including ovarian.


    4 handfuls of spinach

    2 handfuls of parsley

    4 handfuls of watercress

    3 medium apples, quartered, cored and cut into wedges

    2.5-cm/1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and halved juice of 1 lemon

    1–2 teaspoons wheatgrass powder

    SERVES 2


    Juice the spinach, parsley and watercress, interspersing them with wedges of apple to help them through the juicer, then juice the ginger and stir in the lemon juice and wheatgrass.


    These recipes are from Superfood Juices and Smoothies by Nicola Graimes, photography by Kate Whitaker © Ryland Peters & Small

    superfood juices and smoothies

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with recipe for the weekend, quick, healthy, superfood, smoothies, drink

  • Posted on April 4, 2018

    Inspiring Tiny Homes

    More recently, tiny homes have become the answer for many who need somewhere affordable to live and possess the creativity and energy to create something different. Gill Heriz has brought together a collection of some of the most incredible tiny homes from around the world, from boats and caravans to yurts seaside huts, to show how beautiful and achievable tiny home living can be.


    Inspiring Tiny Homes

    Inspiring Tiny Homes

    Inspiring Tiny Homes

    Inspiring Tiny Homes

    Inspiring Tiny Homes

    Inspiring Tiny Homes

    Inspiring Tiny Homes


    These photographs have been taken from Inspiring Tiny Homes by Gill Heriz. Photography by Nicolette Hallett © CICO Books.

    Inspiring Tiny Homes

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with inspiration, interiors, tiny homes, tiny houses

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