Perfectly English oven-baked recipes for St. George’s Day

Perfectly English oven-baked recipes for St. George's Day

In England, we seem to love sticking things in the oven. The Americans grill, the French sauté and the Germans brew, while here in England we won’t touch it if it hasn’t got that oven-gilded glow. As St. George’s Day is on a Sunday this year, we figured there was no better time to do a little baking in the true English spirit, but we think well try to change things up a bit. The oven will still play a central role – don’t worry, but let’s see if we can’t come up with a few creative ideas to make St. George proud. Here’s our run down of some favourite recipes for St. George’s Day.

Oxtail stew

Jamie Oliver's oxtail stew

This recipe comes straight from Jamie Oliver and is sure to please any crowd. From the look of it, it seems like a typical English stew, but delve a little deeper and you’ll see that it’s anything but. The fantastically chic ingredient oxtail is tender and delicious, and the addition of dark fruits and spices makes this one a true adventure.

Ploughman’s scones

Ploughman's scones

Ploughman’s + scones = English overload. It’s also delicious! You might have trouble deciding whether these sweet and salty morsels are best for breakfast, lunch, dinner or tea, but we say why not munch on them all day long? Fresh fruit and fluffy, cheesy scones will remind you why it’s so great to be English.

English muffin pizzas

English muffin pizzas

We owe it to the English muffin to top it with everything humanly possible, and just when we thought that that had already been done, in walked the English muffin pizza. All you need is to toast a few English muffins, top them with tomato sauce, cheese and your favourite ingredients, and stick them in the oven. They’re a perfect idea for a movie night or a St. George’s Day party with friends. If you’re worried about your oven being occupied by pizza-making fiends all day, you can always order the sides on one of the UK’s many food delivery apps such as the Hungry House app. Don’t worry, we won’t tell!

Caramel and whiskey bread pudding

Caramel and whiskey bread pudding

This traditional dish is known for having origins in the poorest of houses in the country, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t do a bit to turn it into something fit for a king. This bread and butter pudding uses thickly cut bread, Irish whiskey, raisins and salted caramel to make every bit moist and exploding with flavour.

Manchester tart

Home-made Manchester tart

An incredible, decadent dessert or accompaniment for tea, the Manchester tart makes the top of the list for English tarts. This reimagined recipe was crafted by the renowned English chef Marcus Wareing and includes caramelised bananas, jam and thick cream. Making it isn’t so hard; it’s the waiting an hour while it cools in the fridge that’s the difficult bit!

Bonus: Dragonfire gin & tonic

Dragonfire gin & tonic

One last bonus to pay homage to St. George’s famous nemesis, the Dragonfire gin tonic is a colourful and creative take on the classic cocktail. It’s easy enough to make, just make a classic gin and tonic, add a spritz of mango juice and garnish with a thick wedge of dragon fruit. Cheers!

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5 things you should know BEFORE installing underfloor heating

Aerial view of a sofa on a wooden floor

Wave goodbye to radiators and hello to more space and a warm home for less! Underfloor heating is a great choice and if you’re thinking of taking the leap to luxurious warm floors, these are the five things you need to know…

#1 It provides a constant temperature across the home or in individual rooms

Feet in orange & blue spotted socks on a wooden floor

The great thing about underfloor heating is its flexibility. Therefore, it sometimes pays to spend the extra money to get a professional supplier and installation company to not only fit the system but design it for you in the first place.

With central heating, the boiler fires up and sends heat through to all the radiators on the system, unless you switch the radiators off in certain rooms (if you can) or lower the temperature of the radiator with its thermostatic valve.

This gives you some flexibility, but not a lot. Underfloor heating is completely different. You can create single zone underfloor heating areas so that the important rooms in the house are heated when you need them to be but other rooms can enjoy a lower level of heat.

The ability to control your heating at every point of day and night means you save money as well as having a more comfortably heated home.

#2 It’s best fitted with high thermal conductivity flooring

Child playing with a toy digger on a wooden floor

Sounds a mouthful, doesn’t it?! But what does it mean?

It means to get the best from your underfloor heating system, you need a top layer of flooring that’s incredibly efficient in grabbing hold of the heat and keeping hold of it.

This means the system doesn’t need to work as hard. There are many flooring options – wood, laminate, ceramic tile, polished concrete and carpet – that work well with underfloor heating.

It’s true to say that some options work better than others. Polished concrete floors are a great conductor and retainer of heat. Ceramic tiles also work well and some wood flooring solutions are also a great fit.

It’s possible to use carpet but it must be of a low TOG rating to allow heat through it and into the room. However, even then, it’s not so great at hanging on to the heat.

#3 A smart thermostat adds more flexibility & sophistication

Nest smart thermostat

Although we think of underfloor heating as a modern invention, it’s been around for some time. The Romans used ‘fire under the floor’ to heat their bath houses.

Modern day underfloor heating is more sophisticated and flexible but to get even more out of the system, a smart thermostat is a must.

If you have a multi-zone system, you can set different temperatures in different rooms with a few taps of your smart phone – and alter it throughout the day.

Underfloor heating response time is slower than the boiler and radiator approach but that doesn’t mean it’s at a disadvantage. It just means that you plan your heating to fit with your activities from day to day. For that, you need the tools to set the heat of the system as and when.

#4 Correct installation is key

High-gloss kitchen floor
That’s why getting a professional and expert in all thing underfloor heating should install your system, even if they don’t design it.

Wet or water underfloor heating works by a series of pipe loops being laid in the sub floor and hot water circulating through them to heat the floor.

It’s an incredibly simple, yet effective system. But, this doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong when it’s being installed. Discovering that you have a leaking pipe when you’ve already laid the floor isn’t the opportune time to try and repair it.

All wet underfloor heating systems should be pressure tested BEFORE you start pouring high conductivity screed or laying insulation boards to protect the pipes. Once laid, the system will function without a hitch for years to come.

#5 Underfloor heating is a system that you’ll love!

Kitchen diner with wooden floorboard floor

Underfloor heating isn’t for everyone. If you like dry, hot heat that leaves your house stuffy, then underfloor heating isn’t for you.

If you prefer an ambient, constant temperature, as well as a luxuriously warm floor underfoot, then underfloor heating is for you.

However, you’ll need to have some patience. With some installation processes, the screed must dry thoroughly before the heat can be switched on because if you dry out liquid concrete too quickly it cracks. That means the floor isn’t as structurally sound as it should be, leading to problems further down the line. In other words, you may have to wait a week or two before the big switch on.

Underfloor heating suits any property and isn’t as expensive to fit as you’d think either. A proven technology, more and more people are realising the benefits of underfloor heating – why not you?

Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies understands the simplicity of underfloor heating but the amazing benefits it brings to any space, from a single room in a home to multi-zone systems in commercial premises.

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Get their look: Shades of blue sitting room

Shades of blue sitting roomcredit

This blue sitting room is stunning!

Deep marine blue panelled walls and door gives the space a real sense of style. The tonal, buttoned sofa in plush velvet provides sumptuous texture.

The painted surfaces contrast wonderfully with the gold coloured statement trumpet pendant light and metallic nest of tables. The flashes of yellow provided by the throw, patterned cushion and hardback book also work very well and balance the room nicely.

An indigo feather Cameroonian juju hat (read more about its origins here) provides a beautiful centrepiece.

The overall feel is luxurious and dramatic… and very successful indeed.

  1. DelightFULL Botti pendant lamp
  2. Mullen Bogota Quirky wall light
  3. Yves Delorme Angelie throw
  4. Dulux ‘Marine Blue’
  5. Royal blue Juju hat / Bamileke headdress
  6. Round nest of tables
  7. Connor 3-seater sofa

Get their look: Shades of blue sitting room | H is for Home

Win tickets to York’s Festival of Vintage

Win a pair of Festival of Vintage tickets | H is for Home

We’ve teamed up with the award-winning Festival of Vintage to offer two of our readers a pair of tickets each to attend the upcoming festival. This April 22nd & 23rd it returns for its 7th year to York Racecourse and will once again be showcasing the best in vintage shopping, music, dancing and fashion.

Vintage shelves for sale at the Festival of Vintage, York

A fun and nostalgic weekend, it attracts thousands of visitors, giving a feeling of being transported back in time. There’s a packed programme with three large halls of vintage shopping including fashion, homewares and furniture, two dance halls and music stages plus an impressive classic car display outside all focusing on the 1930s-1960s.

Rack of vintage clothes for sale at Festival of Vintage, York

There are so many extra things to see and do over the weekend such as craft ‘Make, Do and Mend’ workshops where you can learn a new skill, dance lessons covering many styles such as Lindy Hop and Jive and a variety of fashion shows. The Marks and Spencer Archive team returns to share their fashion history with everyone in Q&As and talks as well as show casing their favourite designs on the catwalk. There’s even a ‘Best Dressed’ contest where you can wow the judges and win cash prizes.

Couples dancing at the Festival of Vintage, York

With over 200 hand-picked vintage sellers from across the UK as well as 50 top quality vintage reproduction brands, the event is a honey pot for collectors and enthusiasts. Be it fashion, homewares, music, jewellery – there’ll be something there for everyone.

Vintage fabric for sale at the Festival of Vintage, York

Doors open from 10am-5pm, both days. York Racecourse, York YO23 1EX. For more information visit www.festivalofvintage.co.uk or call 0113 3458699.

If you fancy this as a great day or weekend out leave us a comment below saying what you’d most look forward to seeing or doing at the Festival of Vintage.

Tickets to Festival of Vintage, York





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Designer Desire: Barbara Brown

Collage of Barbara Brown textile designs | H is for Home

I went to a Barbara Brown exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester last week. I was already quite familiar with her work, but seeing them up close and in the flesh I was completely blown away!

Seeing images of her designs in books or online can never do them justice. The sheer scale of the many op art patterns – 1¼ metres wide – make the mind boggle!

Originally from Manchester, Barbara Brown attended Canterbury College of Art and then on to the Royal College of Art. It was at her degree show in 1953 that she was discovered by Tom Worthington, Artistic Director of Heal’s. The rest, as they say, is history. She produced many designs for the company (where she was a contemporary of Lucienne Day) in her two-decade career with them. Her designs won the Council of Industrial Design (COID) award on three occasions.

You can usually find lengths of her fabrics (and ready made soft furnishings if your sewing skills are anything like mine) on eBay and Etsy.

Barbara Brown textile designer © Graham Copekogacredit

Additional image credits:

Pinterest | V&A

Price Points: Luxury, ethical Easter eggs

Luxury, ethical Easter eggs | H is for Home

It’s Easter in a couple of weeks and this year, Justin’s birthday falls during the bank holiday weekend. I’ve already got him a present however, I’m thinking about getting him an additional one. One of these luxury, ethical Easter eggs will be just the ticket!

  1. Booja Booja large almond & sea salt caramel Easter egg – 138g: £26, Ethical Superstore
    These wonderfully presented handmade Easter egg gifts are created by artisans in Kashmir, India using papier-mâché and hand painted with truly unique designs before being hand packed in Norfolk with Booja Booja’s melt in the mouth superior quality and award winning, dark chocolate, almond and sea salt caramel truffles. A truly beautiful and ethical Easter egg gift for the vegan in your life.

    Booja Booja is a UK company with a refreshingly different mindset to its competitors; it strives to be minimal, renewable and of course beautiful! All of Booja Booja’s products are organic; free of dairy, wheat and gluten, are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and are GMO free.

  2. Dark chocolate Easter egg with chocaviar 75%: £50, Venchi
    Dark chocolate Easter egg coated with delicious 75% Chocaviar pearls with an elegant jewel gift inside.

    To uphold ethics, Venchi buys its raw materials directly from the local community, guaranteeing a fair price that not only ensures the community a stable present and future, but also encourages research and development of the best extra fine cocoa varieties.

  3. Ostrich egg – dark: £75, Hotel Chocolat
    Dark ostrich egg is made with half 70% dark chocolate with almonds and a dash of salt, and half 70% dark chocolate with hazelnuts and another sprinkling of salt. Served with a tray of 27 chocolates – pralines, truffles, caramels, patisserie and more – plus six golden eggs hidden inside the box for you to hunt, all in all this comes to more than a kilo of chocolate!

    Engaged Ethics is the name we coined for our direct programme to create sustainable cocoa growing communities. It differs from most other ‘trading fairly’ programmes as it goes beyond simply writing out a cheque and standing back (which is still a great deal better than doing nothing!) It’s a roll-up-the-sleeves, take risks, long-term approach, which has led to a remarkable set of results so far.