English Country Kitchen – Some Design Considerations

English-Cottage-Kitchen-Designs-Strong-Traditional-Country-Kitchen-with-Stone-Wall-615x300[1]You can make your kitchen very appealing by designing it in the English country style. This style is best suited for houses that have been built using natural materials such as stone, brick and wood. In fact, the English country style integrates simplicity and practicality with comfort and variety. An English country style kitchen may appear to be very simple like one in one of the countryside cottages. You can customize it to look formal and at the same time maintain its comfortable and unimposing feel.

Use Soft, Warm Colors

When you choose colors for your kitchen, look for shades that resemble natural colors that you can see in the countryside. Subtle colors such as pale yellow, faded blue, lavender and rose go well with the English country kitchen style. Typically, warm tones and cream or light red (earthen feel) wall colors give a relaxed look to the kitchen.

Use Cabinets and Countertops Made of Wood

Mainly, wood is used for making kitchen cabinets as well as countertops. The design of cabinets may be simple, but they should be sturdy. The doors may be plain or paneled. Generally, cabinets are whitewashed and given a distressed paint finish in order to create the impression that it is being used well. You can use large metal hinges as well as round knobs made of ceramic or wood to enhance the appearance. Cherry wood finish for the countertop provides an appealing look and often the kitchen island is also given the same finish.

Create a Comfortable, Weathered Look

The English country kitchen style is cozy and homely and not ornate or extravagant. Therefore, items like a warm hearth rug, knitted throws on kitchen chairs made of wood and weathered tin pitchers or earthenware further enhance the look.

Highlight Rustic Features

Highlight the rustic features in your kitchen such as a stone fireplace or beamed ceiling. You can find pieces at flea markets or antique stores that go well with the décor. They could include old china hutch, an antique English stove, copper pans and pots, cast iron skillets, large pitchers and ceramic plates. They are a great addition to the English country style kitchen.

You may find that the accessories are cluttered in an English country kitchen. However, you can exercise control over the additions to the kitchen space. You can display the pretty chinaware on shelves, condiment jars on countertops, framed family photographs on bare surfaces, and storage wicker baskets. You can also hang dried herbs over the fireplace mantle or stove and add a great deal of fresh flowers around the room.

Have a Comfortable Breakfast Area

Incorporating a cozy breakfast area in your English country style kitchen further enhances its appeal. You and your family members can sit together and eat snacks or breakfast. Ideally, you should go for a solid table made of wood and farmhouse style chairs with seat cushions covered with a fabric having a plaid or floral pattern that is characteristically used in countryside kitchen.

Hot Game Pie

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 35 minutes (Plus chilling)
Serves 4

This ultimate game pie with crisp crust is made using autumnal vegetables, pheasant and venison.

Nutrition Facts

987 K. calories
62 grams protein
39 grams carbohydrates
61 grams fat
23 grams saturates
10 grams fiber
1.9 grams sugar
3.14 grams salt

Ingredients

Stock

Pheasants – 2, about 800 grams each
Oil – Sunflower or olive oil
Fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs
Bay leaves – 2
Carrot – 1 chopped
Onion – 1 medium (chopped)
Red wine – 200 milliliters
Tomato purée – 1 tablespoon

Filling

Celeriac – 1 small (about 600 grams; peeled/chopped into big chunks)
Butter – 50 grams
Bunch thyme, rosemary and parsley
Venison sausages – 3
Oil for frying
Pancetta – 100 grams (skinned and cut into small cubes; or use bacon lardons)
Shallots/baby onions – 125 grams
Mixture cleaned mushrooms – 150 grams (try shiitakes, chestnuts and ceps)
Young parsnips – 200 grams (peeled and cut into sticks of 6 centimeter length)
Clear honey – 2 teaspoons

To assemble

Mustard grain – 2 teaspoons
Puff pastry (thaw it if frozen) – 250 to 300 grams
Egg yolk – 2
Sprigs of thyme, sea salt for decoration

Method of Preparation

Pull out the legs of the pheasants after untying them. Use the tip of an extremely sharp knife to detach the legs at the point where the thigh is attached to the body. Now, cut the breast fillets off from the rib cage and keep it aside. The remaining parts of the carcass can be discarded.

Take a large pan and heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Brown the legs of the pheasants and season them. Add carrot, onion and 2 to 3 sprigs rosemary, thyme, bay leaves. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil the mixture to reduce it by three-quarters. Now, add the tomato purée. Continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1.25 liters of water and bring it to a boil. Remove the scum and fat that rise to the top.

The stock can then be simmered for about 15 minutes till it gets reduced by half to approximately 600ml. Strain the stock out and then pour it back into the pan. Continue boiling till it gets reduced to around 300 milliliters. The dish could be prepared up to this point as many as 2 days in advance. Or else, the stock could be frozen and stored for about a month. (The legs are not required for this recipe. However, they may be shred.)

Use a covered pan to prepare a celeriac purée by sautéing the celeriac in butter along with 2 sprigs of rosemary. Heat the pan for about 15 to 20 minutes until they become soft. The rosemary can then be discarded. Now, heat the stock and add a small ladleful into a blender/food processor along with the celeriac. Blitz to a purée.

Poach the large chunks of cut breast fillets in the stock for about 7 minutes or till they become just firm. Remove them and set them aside. Now, add the sausages and poach for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and slice and also remove the stock from the stove.

In a big frying pan, heat oil and sauté the pancetta for about 4 to 5 minutes. Now, add the shallots/onions and a little bit of oil. Cook for 5 minutes more. Transfer the mixture to a big bowl. Add oil to the pan and fry the mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl and toss them together or mix with a large spoon.

Transfer the parsnips onto the pan along with the honey and also the leaves from a sprig of thyme. Season and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Now, discard the thyme. Transfer the content into the bowl together with the meat. Cut one sprig each of rosemary, thyme and parsley into small pieces and add to the bowl. Toss everything together.

Heat the stock and then add the mustard and 1 tablespoon of celeriac purée. Transfer the remaining purée to the bottom of a rectangular pie dish that is deep and has a size of 22 centimeters × 10 centimeters. Transfer the filling on to the top and pour the stock over. You can cover the filled pie with a cling film and chill it for a day or so.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 180 degrees Fahrenheit or gas level 6. Now, roll the pastry on a board that is lightly floured. Beat the yolks till they become smooth. Then brush a little of it around the pie dish’s rim. Put the pastry on top and seal by pressing down the edge. With the help of a sharp knife remove the excess and pinch the edges to crimp.

You can cut some oval shapes, leaf marks in the center and pinch the ends. Fix thyme sprigs and sprinkle sea salt flakes. Keep the pie in the oven for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 180 degrees Celsius or 160 degrees Fahrenheit or gas level 4 and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Wait for 10 minutes and then serve.

How To Make Your Home Child Proof

childproofing_home[1]Data released by the Child Accident Prevention Trust shows that as many as one million children are admitted to hospitals each year following accidents at home. Here is a handy guide to help you to make your home toddler-proof/child-proof and minimize the risk of accidents. For more information and regular updates related to safety, you can also check out the website of the Child Accident Prevention Trust.

Kitchen

Kitchen is the most dangerous room as far as a child is concerned. This is because toxic as well as harmful household products like bleach are stored in the kitchen. Therefore, you must ensure that such products are stored in cupboards that have child-proof latches. Additionally, the drawers that store knives and other dangerous objects should also have safety latches.

As your children grow older, a child-proof lock may not be safe enough. Therefore, store dangerous chemicals either in lockable cupboards or outside the house.

Keep blenders, kettles, coffee machines and other appliances at the back of the worktop. Ensure that the cables of these appliances are tied up and tucked away out of reach of children.

Use the hobs’ back burners and ensure that the handles of the saucepan face the back.

Do not allow your children to wander around in the kitchen when you are cooking or handling hot water, etc. Never cook when you are carrying hot items or holding your child.

Ensure that hot items are kept away from the edge of the worktop and avoid using a tablecloth. Your child may pull out the table cloth.

Use high chairs with straps, but do not leave your child unattended.

Make your rubbish bin child proof.

Living room

Avoid open fires. Use a hearth gate or a fireguard. Keep all firelighting products safely.

Cover furniture’s and tables’ sharp edges with special protectors.

Keep poisonous house plants out of reach of children.

Secure things that can topple to the walls.

Stick visible markers on patio glass doors. Use only safety glass.

Bathroom

Use non-slip bath mats or bath dots. Never leave your children unattended in the bath.

Use water at the right temperature.

To prevent toddlers from falling into the toilet bowl, fix toilet locks. This also prevents seats and lids from falling on to your child’s fingers.

Keep all medicines, vitamins, beauty products, and cleaning agents out of reach of children.

Bedroom

Never leave your baby in the cot for too long. Put the baby in its bed before it can climb out.

Never leave your child at the top in a bunk bed till the child is five years old.

Avoid using clothes with draw strings as night dress.

Always unplug hairdryers, hair straighteners, etc. after use and keep them out of reach.

Nursery

Use a bed guard when your little one moves from the cot to bed. Use soft close toy chests with air gap.

Place furniture away from windows. Small children are tempted to climb out.

Everywhere In the House

Fix safety gates at the top as well as bottom of the stairs or other places where you want to restrict access to your child.

Never store items on stairs.

Ensure that the cord strings on blinds/curtains are not looped.

In the garden

To avoid accidental drowning, cover ponds by infilling with sand or circling with a fence.

Never leave your child unattended wherever there is water.

Always keep the shed locked.

General advice

On doors, use finger guards.

Make sure that your home complies with all fire safety standards.

Install adequate numbers of smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Check them frequently.

Ensure all dangling cords are out of your children’s reach.

Tips for Making Your Bedroom Beautiful

bedroom33[1]Who does not love their bedroom? You need to feel absolutely comfortable when you are in your bedroom because this is where you relax after a hard day’s work. When you lie down on your bed in the night, you should be able to feel calm with things that you love most surrounding you. In fact, you should make your bedroom a sanctuary. Of course, you need to put in some work to bring it up to that level. The aim of this article is to provide you with some tips for creating a perfect bedroom of your own.

Install Adjustable Light

Proper lighting is essential to make your bedroom a place to relax. Therefore, it is a good idea to fix an adjustable light (dimmer) in your bedroom. This helps you to reduce the brightness of light when you feel like relaxing and increase the brightness when you want to read or do anything else. It is also a good idea to fix lamps on either side of the bed in order to have evenly balanced lighting in your bedroom.

Get Rid of Clutter

It is absolutely important that you clear off clutter from your bedroom. You should remove items that you really do not need or those that are just taking up space. You are not required to throw these items. You can keep them somewhere else; your office or in storage areas. Clutter can give you an unsettled feeling.

Add/Remove Furniture

Determine whether the furniture that you have in your bedroom are all required or you need to add any other piece. For example, if you feel that the desk in your bedroom is not required and adding a chair would help you to read using the natural light from the sun, then remove the desk and add a chair by the side of the window. Adding the right type of furniture and removing those that are not required helps you to make your bedroom a soothing place.

Remove the Electronic Gadgets

TV and other electronic gadgets can be distracting and steal away the calmness that you should experience in your bedroom. Your sleep will be affected as you may spend time watching your favorite TV shows for a longer period of time. Therefore, eliminating these gadgets would make your bedroom more peaceful.

Add a Few Art Pieces

It is a good idea to add at least one item that you can stare at and enjoy its beauty. You could either add a piece of art or a well-designed bookcase. You have number of options available to you when it comes to adding a piece of art. However, you must ensure that it blends well with the décor of your bedroom.

Ensure That Your Room Smells Great

Your room may have an amazing look, but it won’t be really beautiful without the right kind of fragrance floating around. You can either place some candles or pot-pourri on your nightstands. The best scent to have in a bedroom is lavender. This is because it provides healing properties in addition to making your bedroom smell great.

All said and done the key thing to do for creating a beautiful bedroom is to add your character to it. This is what will make you feel absolutely comfortable in your room.

Walking the Dog In The Countryside – Advice for Pet Owners

post_dogwalking2[1]Walking is important for both you and your dog. Walking for about 30 minutes a day makes you healthy and feel happy as well. Walking does not only make you feel good, but also helps you enjoy increased energy levels, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and maintains the health of your heart. However, you need to be aware of certain issues when you take your dog out for a walk. These are as follows:

#1: If you happen to meet farm animals when walking with your dog, you must keep it under control and on its lead. Leave sufficient space in between the farm animals and your dog. If the animals show any kind of aggression, leave your dog and allow it to run away. Moreover, you should also quickly leave the field.

#2: Do not allow your dog to foul open access land or any public place. Train your dog to go in your yard prior to taking it out for a walk. Dog mess spreads some terrible diseases and infections. This is because dog poo may contain microscopic Toxocara Eggs (as many as one million!). The symptoms of Toxocaris infection, especially in children, include nausea, dizziness, epileptic seizures and asthma. Serious infections can cause eye damage and even permanent blindness.

Unwormed dog poo may harbor parasites that can cause harm to farm animals such as cows and sheep. Clear up the mess and dispose it into a dog bin in case your dog gets caught short. If you don’t have access to a bin, ensure that you don’t leave the mess behind. Also, do not put it in a bag and hang it on a tree. Dispose it at home in a safe manner.

Children, cyclists and pushchair and wheelchair users make use of the countryside throughout the year.

#3: Landowners may take action if your dog strays into their property or causes worries to their livestock as it is considered to be a serious offence. Special rules apply to access land and dogs are to be kept on a fixed lead which is less than 2 meters.

#4: Small children may get frightened if a dog comes bounding towards them. Some adults who do not appreciate inquisitive noses and muddy paws also might find it frightening even though you know that your dog is being friendly to them. Be considerate and put your dog on its lead as and when you see people coming towards you.

#5: When going out walking/riding with your pet dog on bridleways, byways and restricted byways, be on the lookout for horseriders, especially in the narrow sections. Many people do not know that barking dogs and those that are let loose can frighten horses. Frightened horses can cause problems for themselves, riders and others, especially if they take flight or rear up. You can prevent this from happening by ensuring that your dog responds to your recall at all times. Therefore, you need to either keep your dog a fixed as well as retractable lead or keep it in sight provided you have confidence that the dog will respond to your control signal or command or signal.

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