Cakes & Bakes: Walnut and sultana loaf

Sliced, home-made walnut and sultana loaf | H is for Home

I’ve decided to make a walnut and sultana loaf this week by tweaking a basic white bread recipe that I regularly use. I didn’t have enough white flour in store so I substituted a quarter with wholemeal. It was a good decision as it added to the nuttiness of the finished loaf.

Home-made walnut and sultana loaf dough in a mixing bowl with cane banneton | H is for Home

Sliced or torn pieces of this bread will go amazingly well with a mild, creamy blue cheese such as Dolcelatte, Saint Agur or Roquefort.

Home-made walnut and sultana loaf dough profing in a cane banneton | H is for Home Home-made walnut and sultana loaf dough profing in a cane banneton | H is for Home

Another good option would be a couple of dipping bowls of good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Once the loaf’s a couple of days old, have it toasted and spread with butter and honey.

Home-made walnut and sultana loaf | H is for Home

Walnut and sultana loaf
Yields 1
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  1. 7g/¼oz fast action yeast
  2. 1tsp sugar
  3. 300ml/10½fl oz warm water
  4. 500g/18oz strong bread flour
  5. 1tsp salt
  6. 50g/1¾oz chopped walnuts
  7. 50g/1¾oz sultanas
  9. Home-made walnut and sultana loaf ingredients
  1. In a measuring jug, stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water. Leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to begin working
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the flour. Make a well in the centre
  3. Add the liquid and knead until a smooth ball of dough is formed (I used my Kenwood mixer with dough hook attachment on a low speed for about 10 minutes, but you can do it by hand on a floured work surface for about 20 minutes)
  4. Cover the mixing bowl with cling film or put it into a large, clear plastic bag and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Add the salt, chopped walnuts and sultanas and knead lightly until the fruit & nuts are evenly distributed through the dough
  6. Place in a greased loaf tin (or in a well-floured banneton like I did) and re-cover and allow to prove again until doubled in size
  7. Preheat the oven to 260ºC/500ºF/Gas mark 10, put an empty roasting dish on the bottom shelf of the oven and fill a cup with cold water and set aside
  8. Once the loaf has risen, if using a banneton, grease a baking sheet and gently decant the loaf on to it, trying not to knock any air out of it
  9. Quickly & carefully pour the cup of water into the roasting dish before putting the loaf into the oven
  10. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 200ºC/ 400ºF/Gas mark 6
  11. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes before taking it out of the oven
  12. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour before use
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Elayne Fallon Circus

Vintage 'Circus' breakfast set designed by Elayne Fallon for Staffordshire Potteries | H is for Home

Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls… please let us introduce a fabulous display of animals, carriages, lion tamers, strong men and clowns! What a lovely way to start the day – breakfast served on this cheery crockery!

Detail of a lion from a vintage 'Circus' breakfast set designed by Elayne Fallon for Staffordshire Potteries | H is for Home

They’re from the ‘Circus’ range designed by Elayne Fallon for Staffordshire Potteries Ltd in the 1960s/70s.

Base stamp detail from a vintage 'Circus' breakfast set designed by Elayne Fallon for Staffordshire Potteries | H is for Home

This little set comprises mug, cereal bowl, egg cup and plate – everything you might need!

Vintage 'Circus' breakfast set designed by Elayne Fallon for Staffordshire Potteries | H is for Home

The pieces are dinky, but not miniature – so whilst they’re no doubt intended for children, there’s certainly no reason why us grown ups can’t enjoy our egg and soldiers served on them too!

Get their look: Mid-century-modern-inspired kitchen

Mid-century-modern-inspired kitchencredit

This mid-century-modern-inspired kitchen merges vintage and brand new in just the right measure. The mint coloured cupboards, fridge and patterned wallpaper are very evocative of the period. The splashes of red and yellow give the space added impact.

The 1950s are associated with a post war optimism which influenced interior design greatly – and this kitchen is a suitably bright and cheerful space to reflect that spirit.

  1. Portfolio 9.45-in W chrome ceiling flush mount light
  2. Julia Rothmans Daydream (green) wallpaper tiles
  3. The Skylark shallow bowl stem mount light
  4. Smeg FAB28YV1 fridge A++ energy rating, 60cm wide, left-hand hinge, pastel green
  5. Eames moulded plastic side chair
  6. FairTrade red heera jute diamond 60cm x 150cm runner
  7. STENSTORP kitchen trolley, white/oak

Get their look: Mid-century-modern-inspired kitchen | H is for Home

Introducing a new puppy to your cats

Cat nuzzling puppy on grass

If you already have pets, and are considering getting a puppy, this article is for you. Below, we look at the potential issues and briefly explain how to get around them to ensure that your new dog settles in with your existing pets as quickly as possible.

Pug puppy

Get into your pets’ heads

Without a doubt, you’re going to have to help both parties to understand what’s going on and teach them to accommodate each other. At first, you’ll need to supervise every encounter. To do that, your understanding of cat and dog body language will enable you to see problems coming and step in before the claws come out and fur begins to fly.

Chances are you already understand your cat well, but it’s a good idea to brush up on canine body language before introducing one into your home. You need to understand both sides of the conversation. This page is a great place to learn most of what you need to know about dog & puppy body language.

Black & white terrier in a woman's arms

Use scent to make the introduction

If the breeder allows it, get a t-shirt and stroke the puppy you have chosen with it. Take this home and leave it somewhere your cats can find it. You should also wipe over areas of furniture your cats use with the t-shirt. Mixing the scent of your new puppy in with the other scents in your home will allow them to get used to it. When you bring your puppy home they’ll feel far less threatened by it presence.

Startled black & white cat

Re-train the cat

This bit can be tricky. If you own cats, you’ll know they are very much the boss; they tend to do what they want, when they want. Of course, this can continue even when you have a new pet. However, you need to be practical and think about breaking some habits that may lead to conflict. For example, if you feed your cats on the floor switch to feeding them on a surface that a puppy cannot reach. That way, you’re removing a potential flashpoint between your cats and the new dog. Puppies are curious and will be attracted by the smell of food. When your cat sees the puppy eating its food on the first day a fight is almost inevitable. Changing your cats’ eating habits for a week or two or more can stop this type of misunderstanding from occurring.

Spaniel puppy sitting with a boy & girl on a sofa

Take things slowly

On the day you get your puppy home, you’ll be able to introduce him or her to every member of the family. However, you may want to wait a while before showing the pup to your cat or cats. Let the puppy explore, but try to keep them apart for a couple of days. That way, your cat will smell the fact the pup is around and get used to the fact that the dog is there, but their life hasn’t changed. When they actually see the pup they’re more likely to respond calmly. Just make sure they’re not left alone until the dog has learnt that the cat isn’t a plaything and shouldn’t be chased.

If you want more detailed advice about introducing a puppy to your existing pets, a good breeder like Douglas Hall Kennels will be able to help. They understand the importance of settling a puppy into their new home and recognise that it’s not always easy to do so. As a result, they have the expertise to offer advice that’s tailored to your specific family circumstances.


Designer Desire: Jacqueline Groag

Mosaic of Jacqueline Groag designs | H is for Home

The day was sure to come when we were going to feature Jacqueline Groag in our Designer Desire series. We’ve blogged about her on numerous occasions in the past, so we won’t repeat ourselves here. Click here to read up and find out more about this wonderful textile designer!

These are just a taste of all the wonderful designs she produced in her lifetime. If we’ve piqued your interest in Jacqueline Groag there’s an entire book  available that’s dedicated to her work.

Jacqueline Groag

Image credits:

eBay | Pinterest | V & A

Price Points: Emergency overnight kits

Emergency overnight kits | H is for Home

Unfortunately, Justin’s mum had a stroke recently so we’ve been doing lots of hospital visiting during the past fortnight. It’s at unexpected times like this that emergency overnight kits seem like a very wise precaution.

Whether you’re grabbing it yourself or asking a relative or friend to pick it up for you, it can be a godsend. No scrabbling about at short notice – or in unfamiliar surroundings if someone’s doing it for you. They’re perfect for hospital stays – or hastily arranged short breaks or business trips.

My basic kit would contain pyjamas, undergarments, tent mules, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap, deodorant, reading glasses and hair bands.  What would go into your overnight emergency kit?

  1. Travel Essentials overnight emergency kit: Amazon (US)
  2. Vintage TWA airline overnight kit: £9.99, eBay
  3. Stow Away travel grooming kit by Men’s Society: £25, Notonthehighstreet