Cakes & Bakes: Bonnag

Sliced, home-made bonnag | H is for Home

A couple of weeks ago, we were watching an episode of Countryfile where they visited the Isle of Man.

Flour and cubes of cold butter in a mixing bowl | H is for Home

One of the features they did from there was the annual Bonnag World Championships – which, last year, was won by 11-year-old Tom Keig.

Bonnag dough | H is for Home

Bonnag is a traditional Manx bread which, it is believed, has been around for hundreds of years. It can be ‘plain’ as I’ve made here or can be sweet with the addition of dried fruit such as currants, raisins, candied peel and mixed spice.

Loaf of home-made bonnag | H is for Home

I went in search of a recipe but could only find ones with sketchy quantities and instructions. I guessed at the consistency and wetness of the dough. I thought it would be really similar to Irish soda bread in its ingredients and method. Anyway, it turned out really well. It was delicious straight from the oven with a smearing of butter!

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later.

Manx bonnag recipe | H is for Home

Bonnag
The national bread of the Isle of Man
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 450g/16oz plain flour
  2. pinch salt
  3. 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  4. 1tsp cream of tartar
  5. 60g/2oz cold butter, cubed
  6. 250g buttermilkHome-made bonnag ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a baking tray and set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients
  4. Rub in the cubed butter and make a well in the centre
  5. Pour in the buttermilk and mix until the dough just comes together
  6. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and form it into a ball. Do not over-knead
  7. Place the ball of dough on to the greased baking tray and bake for ¾ of an hour or until the top becomes golden brown
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Get their look: Elegant sitting room

Elegant sitting roomcredit

Get their look: Elegant sitting room | H is for Home

What is it that makes this space such an elegant sitting room?

The owners have retained the original 19th century features where possible, yet it looks thoroughly 21st century – bright, spacious and uncluttered.

The soaring ceilings with central rose and cornicing give the room grandeur. The wide, lime-washed Douglas fir floorboards elongate the space.

Then there’s the statement lighting – the oversized floor lamp and luxe ‘Bling’ chandelier have real impact.

The modern feel is further enhanced by pieces of mid century design furniture, contemporary artwork and textiles.

  1. Bling chandelier by Robert Abbey
  2. Farrow & Ball ‘Great White’
  3. HEKTAR white floor lamp
  4. Marble oval coffee table
  5. Raffles sofa
  6. Ercol Studio couch
  7. Douglas fir flooring

Designer Desire: Lotta Jansdotter

Mosaic of Lotta Jansdotter designs | H is for Home

We bought a lovely new duvet set a couple of weeks ago that was designed by Lotta Jansdotter. We’d not heard of her before but have since searched for and found lots of examples of her work online.

She’s a Finland-born, USA-based surface pattern designer whose products can be found on fabrics, bed linen, soft furnishings, luggage, ceramics, paper goods… all manner of homewares.

Her designs are bright and modern with a Scandi twist.

There are lots of different outlets selling her goods including Amara, B&Q, DaWanda, Etsy, eBay and Target. She has published a number of books on sewing, craft and decorating projects.

Alternatively, if you like getting hands on, Jansdotter runs workshops a few times a year in diverse locations such as Jaipur, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Åland (the islands where she is from originally).

Lotta Jansdotter portrait

Image credits:

Ashley Wilde Group | Pinterest

Price Points: Plant hangers

Plant hangers | H is for Home

We recently inherited a magnificent spider plant specimen with at least a dozen or so plantlets arching outwards & downwards. It currently sits on a window ledge in the stairway and isn’t being shown off to its maximum potential.

It would look stunning suspended from the ceiling so we’re looking at the array of plant hangers available online. #1 is the classic cream cord macramé plant hanger that was ubiquitous in the 1970s… and I really love it. I remember making loads of them when I was a child. #2 is a colourful crocheted version… but it’s a DIY version – and I can’t crochet for toffee! #3 is my favourite of the lot; elegant and minimalist, with just a trio of black strings and a lovely brass container – it will display the foliage beautifully.

  1. Macramé plant hanger: £15, Etsy
  2. Flower Power crochet-your-own plant hanger: £29.00, Wool and the Gang
  3. On Interiors large brass hanging plant pot holder: £34.50, Trouva

Cakes & Bakes: Plum pie

Slice of home-made plum pie | H is for Home

British Pie Week has rolled around once again – an annual event in which we enjoy getting involved in wholeheartedly!

Cubed butter, and flour in a food processor next to a bowl of plums | H is for Home

I use the week as an opportunity to make a kind of pie that I’ve never made before. This year it’s a home-made plum pie.

Making a sweet crust pie base | H is for Home

I used one of my favourite sweet pastry recipes that I borrow from Dorie Greenspan, pairing it with a James Martin spiced plum filling recipe from in a 2008 copy of BBC Good Food Magazine.

Cooking plums | H is for Home

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of cloves, but it works amazingly well with the plums.

Uncooked plum pie | H is for Home Cooked plum pie | H is for Home

A drizzle of pouring cream or ladle-ful of custard over the top or on the side… a perfect cold weather pudding!

Home-made plum pie with serving spoon | H is for Home

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Home-made plum pie recipe | H is for Home #BritishPieWeek #pie #recipe #plums

Plum pie
For the pastry
  1. 400g/14oz plain flour
  2. 120g/4oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 250g/9oz very cold butter
  5. 2 egg yolks
For the filling
  1. 750g/oz ripe plums stoned & thickly sliced
  2. 140g/oz golden caster sugar, plus extra
  3. ½tsp ground cloves
  4. 1 heaped tbsp cornflourHome-made plum pie ingredients
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If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
For the pastry
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the eggs, just to break them up, and add it them little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the eggs are in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the pie dish and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the dish and over the rim. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the pie filling
For the filling
  1. Put the plums, sugar and ground cloves in a pan
  2. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and the plums are juicy (8-10 minutes)
  3. Combine the cornflour with a little of the syrup, then mix well into the fruit
  4. Boil for another few minutes, stirring until thickened
  5. Allow to cool completely
  6. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a round and, using the rolling pin, carefully lower the pastry over the filling
  7. Press the pastry lid into the pastry bottom either with your thumbs or a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top with a little beaten egg
  8. Make a slit in the pastry lid to allow steam to escape
  9. Bake at 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4 for 20-25 minutes or until crust is brown and juice just begins to bubble through the slit in the crust
  10. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing & serving
Notes
  1. Serve with pouring cream or hot custard
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Creating a vintage look for your bathroom

Creating a vintage look for your bathroomcredit

The vintage look is certainly a popular one to adopt, and there are a great deal of elements and intricacies to consider when it comes to exactly what style you’re trying to recreate. Pebble Grey take you through some of the aspects of planning your perfect vintage bathroom.

Bathroom sink with splash back of triangular shaped tile splash backcredit

Plan in advance

You probably already have a good idea about your own likes and dislikes when it comes to bathroom décor, and we’re specifically aiming to create a vintage look. So how do we take that from your mind to reality? The first step is to figure out exactly how much room there is with which to work. Now, that isn’t to suggest that it’s impossible to create a stylish and welcoming vintage bathroom with limited space. Only that resorting to some ingenuity in using the available space might be necessary.

The second thing to consider is exactly which style you prefer to emulate, as this will dictate the fittings and décor in which to seek out. Do you want a more rustic, old-fashioned style with authentic wooden furnishings and striking marble highlights? Or a fantastically vibrant 70s style room filled with bright complementary colours?

Decorative centrepiece

Blue-painted roll top bathcredit

A particularly striking design choice in a vintage bathroom would be decorating your bathroom around one specific furnishing, so that it comes to function as the centrepiece of your bathroom. This can work regardless of the exact era you intend to replicate.

Authentic wooden panelling for either your floors or walls will make your bathroom feel much more inviting and warm over more clinical white bathroom tiles It will stand out beautifully, and won’t limit your available space by any significant amount. With traditional baths slowly taking a back seat to showers in the modern day, a claw-footed free-standing bath will also work in any vintage style as your centrepiece. That said, you can choose to customise this a little.

Most styles will fit in an old-fashioned bathroom, but a vibrant coloured bathtub can function as the centrepiece of a 70s style bathroom just as well. If you prefer this approach, you could also consider, instead of lots of collaborative colours – like pink and yellow together – having a mostly plain yet stylish bathroom, with the bath being central and standing out as your one dazzling splash of colour.

Green & white 30s/40s-look bathroomcredit

Make use of what you have

However, many houses simply don’t have the space to make such bold decorative statements. If you find yourself lacking in space for something like that, look elsewhere to draw attention. For example, an elevated-cistern toilet with pull chain can even add to the appeal of a vintage bathroom.

Storage can always be a concern when it comes to decorating a smaller bathroom, but there are still options available to you. Modern bathrooms often make use of reflective metals like chrome in their furnishings, so when planning your vintage design, look for copper and brass to fit perfectly. With that in mind, over a modern vanity unit, opt for a traditional pedestal sink flanked by coloured cabinets that complement the sink.

When it comes to designing, everyone will have a different idea of what will constitute their own perfect bathroom, so planning out the space and décor long in advance will ensure that you’re left with a room that is perfect for you.

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