Thursday, 11 September 2014

A Tasty Autumn Recipe!

How quickly is summer disappearing? Fortunately at Kilver Court, we're pretty fond of Autumn too. Any excuse to try another warming cuppa from the Tea House, explore the gardens as they turn fiery and wrap up warm in the cosiest cashmere layers from Bamford, Hawick and Chinti & Parker!

In The Sharpham Pantry the team work hard to source delicious seasonal ingredients to fill the menu, so expect a September full of tasty treats! To celebrate, we wanted to share one of our favourites from the menu with you!

You may remember Sharpham Park teaming up with a number of talented chefs to put together the Great British Spelt Recipes, which raised money for Bowel Cancer UK - a cause close to our hearts. This delicious recipe came courtesy of Lucas Hollweg and we're sure you'll love it! Make the most of squash being in season and enjoy the sweet, nutty taste in this delectable dish!

 Butternut Squash and Pearled Spelt Salad

You'll need:
4 handfuls of Pearled Spelt (pick some up in The Great House!)
1kg Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into slices 1 or 2cm thick
Dried Chilli Flakes
4 Cloves of Garlic (give them a bash in their skins)
4 Sprigs of Thyme
150ml extra virgin oil (and a little extra to splash over the top)
Juice of 2 lemons (and a little grated zest)
2x 125g balls of buffalo mozzerella
A handful of mint and some rocket.

It's super easy to make, here's how you do it:

Arrange the squash pieces in a single layer in a large roasting tin, splash with olive oil and toss until the pieces are well coated.

Sprinkle with a pinch of chilli flakes, scatter with the bashed garlic and thyme sprigs and season well.

Pop in the oven (preheated to 200c) and cook for 20-30 minutes (turning now and then) until soft through to the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

To cook the Spelt:
Pour into a pan of boiling water and cook for 20-30 minutes until soft to the bite. Drain in a sieve, then tip into a bowl.

While everything's cooking, mix the lemon juice and zest with 125ml of the olive oil. Season well, then add to the spelt and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Stir in most of the rocket and mint leaves, then gently fold in the pieces of squash.

Divide onto plates and tear the mozerella into pieces and place a top each one. Add a few mint leaves and a splash more oil and voila!

Enjoy - and be sure to let us know how you get on if you make it!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Introducing Tregothnan: Tamsyn Talks Tea

Mrs Handbag and our Great House manager, Tamsyn, have joined forces to create a storm in a teacup! This weekend, we launch their new Tea House at the Harlequin Cafe, with the most wonderful varieties of teas to choose from. In their quest for the very best, Tamsyn headed down to Cornwall to visit the Tregothnan Estate. Naturally we wanted to hear all about it...

The Tregothnan estate is home to the Boscawen family who have owned it since 1335. They first planted outdoor Camellias (tea plants) in the 19th century, quickly realising that they could thrive in the Tregothnan micro climate. On a recent trip to Cornwall I was lucky enough to have a quick tour of the Tregothnan Gardens where their famous English tea is grown.

After getting a little lost going down the wrong side of the river Fal just outside Truro, (I should have set the sat nav) and driving through fantastic Cornish countryside, we finally reached Tregothnan.
We (my 8 year old son was coming to explore too) were greeted by an imposing wall of tea, picked a few to sample and relaxed for 5 minutes before meeting Jonathon Jones; the driving force behind the English Tea.

After a short car journey past the drying barns and down through woods, we jumped out of the car and walked through a little gate, past gorgeous trees and flowers and out into the most spectacular clearing. The sun was shining down and the view was stunning, with tea plants growing far and wide, covering the slopes of the hill.

Jonathon explained that only the top two leaves and a bud are picked from the plants and these then go through four processes to produce the tea. Picking, rolling, drying and oxidisation.  It is the last process – oxidisation - that determines the flavour. Easy!

Tregothnan’s  English tea is then mixed with a little assam to produce the traditional breakfast tea. They also produce a large range of herbal infusions... our favourite is the Manuka. Produced from the Manuka flowers grown on the estate,  it has a lovely light refreshing sweet spicy taste.  They also produce Manuka honey,  as well as the most amazing kea plum jam made with plums growing along the banks of the river Fal (don’t worry, you don’t have to go all the way to Cornwall: we sell it in The Great House).

It was an inspiring trip, both Arthur and I learnt tons about tea production! At the end of the visit Jonathon presented Arthur with a book called Made in Britain (featuring Tregothnan tea of course) by James Fielding.

Next stop was Falmouth Art College to see my eldest sons Drawing Degree show, but head over here to find out more about our fab new Tea House at Kilver Court - you won't be able to resist!

Tamsyn xoxo

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Glastonbury Festival Fever!

Festival fever has struck at Kilver Court!
 Glastonbury Festival… the anticipation has been creeping up on us for months, but with friends and family already heading onsite, we've officially caught the excitement bug. Less than 10 miles from the festival, it's impossible to resist the sights, sounds (yep, even smells) for long!

Are you heading to the festival this summer? We thought we'd pick out five of our favourite spots- to help inspire you! With five days to fill and plenty of exploring to do, start planning now...

1. Go Green
Head to the Green Fields for a festival experience reminiscent of the early days - and enjoy 60 acres of activities all running on green energy. Lighten up with laughter workshops, learn how to use a forge or a kiln, or join in Yoko Ono’s “Peace Tower” project: make a wish under the oak tree and it will be taken to Iceland and placed in her Peace Tower memorial to John Lennon – as a beam of light to aid World Peace.

2. Down Down Down...
The Rabbit Hole! Make like Alice and enter a world filled with playing cards and queens, carrots, caterpillars and cats. By day, see singer songwriters and new folk acts, by night enjoy theatrics, cocktails, dancing and DJs. You just need to find the White Rabbit to lead you down... seriously - be prepared to get on your hands and knees (we promise it's worth it).

3. Somerset Cider Bus
We're huge Temperley fans ever since our Pop up Sale earlier this year, but we the family's cider nearly as much. Julian Temperley has been taking the big blue cider bus to the festival since it first launched in the 70s, and 44 years later, it's still a firm favourite!

A Kilver Court favourite - look out for our Bottletoppers at the Festival!
4.  Indulge in Ethical Fashion
Need a fashion fix? The style stakes are always high at Glastonbury but if you fancy something that not only looks good, but DOES good, head to the Bottletop stand, located in the charity section near the Bandstand. With a range of neon shades and colour popping brights, they're PERFECT festival fashion (and just the right size for your essentials)

5. Playtime
If you're heading to the festival with the fam', the Kidz Fields are the perfect place to while away the hours. Where else would you find castles, aliens, bubbles, clowns, swingboats, roundabouts, explosions and magicians all in the same place? NOWHERE! Sleepy kids can enjoy puppet shows and storytime, while those with more energy than you, can learn circus skills and join in with all manner of workshops. Everything is free too!

If you're heading down to the festival this weekend, be sure to pop in for last minute essentials, from foodie treats in The Great House, to rugs, sunglasses, extra layers to keep cosy and even wellies (just in case!) We're just up the road - BA4 5NF

Friday, 6 June 2014

Mrs Handbag hits the Big Apple!

Hi All! After a long break away from being Mrs Handbag, I thought it was time to give you some gossip.....

Roger and I hit New York for the first time in many years for our son Cameron’s gala launch.  His company, Bottletop Trading (which raises funds for the Bottletop Foundation) was showcasing a new range of stunning bags, designed by Narciso Rodriguez at the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery, during New York’s premier Modern Art Week.

A star studded guest list included actress Claire Danes  and her husband, actor Hugh Dancy; American Vogue editor Anna Wintour; fashion designer Donna Karen (full of praise for Cam’s collection); Candice Swanepoel (Victoria Secret Angel  by night, international Bottletop ambassador by day!) and a veritable host of gorgeous models/glamourpusses. Head over to their Facebook page for a sneak peek at the party!

We spent a glorious weekend strolling around New York, soaking up the sun on the piers overlooking the Hudson River and enjoying a much more relaxed vibe than we both remembered from our last visit. When we drove into the city on our first day, the sight of the skyline suddenly brought back the horrific memories of 9/11 and we both felt we had to visit the memorial park to pay our respects. The sheer size and scale of the two massive waterfall ‘ponds’ really conveys the pain and drama of such a catastrophic event.

Our last afternoon was again, spent in the sun (hurrah for summer at last!), but this time wandering along New York’s High Line....a reclaimed railway line that runs over and through part of the city’s meat packing district (far trendier than it sounds!) and has been transformed with clever and thoughtful planting, into a park. Lots of inspiration for Roger and our own challenges at Kilver Court....

PS...for those of you that might be stuck near a radio on Saturday at midday, I have a regular ‘Mrs Handbag’ spot on Livvy and Chrissies 12.0clock show...talking fashion (of course) and all sorts of other chat... tune into Radio Bristol here and let me know what you think!

Mrs Handbag xx

Friday, 28 March 2014

Kilver Court celebrates all things meaty for National Butchers Week!

Baltonsborough Farm Shop has recently started supplying the Kilver Court with a deliciously flavoursome selection of local meat products, including steak and lamb chops. Their signature sausages – Balsbury Bangers, are already selling out faster than they can be made! All the meat is sourced locally and sits alongside the local and organic vegetables available in the Great House – perfect for a hearty dinner.

We caught up with butcher Max Cotton, business owner of Baltonsborough Farm Shop, to get an insight into the wonders of local produce.

Why local is best.

Chatting to Max it is clear to see that he’s passionate about his farm shop and the emphasis on supporting local produce. His main aim is to connect people to the countryside they live in. He said, “It seems silly to be living in the countryside where the farm animals are sold to supply other parts of the country. Just think of the transportation costs and environmental effects that are reduced when the meat you buy is home-grown just up the road!”

Buying local also ensures animals are given a better life.  UK welfare standards are far higher than some other European countries. It is always nice to know where the food you eat comes from.
Purchasing locally sourced meat also supports the local economy. Forget all the myths surrounding butchery prices being more expensive than supermarkets – a packet of Baltonsborough bangers are just £4.58 here at Kilver Court – a similar price to big supermarkets.

Try it yourself! 

Sharpham Park, the sister company to Kilver Court, is a 300 acre park near Glastonbury in Somerset which dates back to the Bronze Age. This is where Sharpham Park spelt is grown which is used to make the delicious spelt products sold at Kilver Court and used in the Sharpham Park Pantry Restaurant.

Thomasina Miers - cook, food writer, and the winner of BBC 2’s Master Chef in 2005 has donated a delicious recipe to the Sharpham Great British Spelt Recipes. A beautiful apricot and coriander spelt salad using our Sharpham Park product, but what can you serve it with?
We asked Max which meat would complement the salad – he advised that either the Baltonsborough grilled steak or chicken would be perfect. All the ingredients can be found here in our Great House (Click here for the recipe).

Or, an alternative if you’re feeling lazy, we are now serving a delicious Sunday lunch menu at our Sharpham Pantry Restaurant. Spend Sundays as they should be - relaxing and indulging your taste buds!  (Click here for the menu), then call us to book in: 01749340425.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Girl Power at Kilver Court

Saturday saw International Women's Day being celebrated worldwide - and got us thinking about all the talented female designers we have at Kilver Court. Here's five fantastic females who have created fashion empires to inspire us all!

Amanda Wakeley 

Amanda Wakeley has to be one of the most impressive women in the fashion industry - and she's done it all in less than 24 years!

Not only has she developed an international reputation for her beautiful and luxurious designs, worn by the likes of Kate Middleton, Charlize Theron and Kate Winslet just to name a few, but she has even earned herself an OBE for her continued services to fashion and charity work. Alongside running a fashion empire, Amanda has found time to co-chair Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.

We can't wait for her collection to arrive at Kilver later this month!

Margaret Howell

Margaret Howell began her brand designing, creating and selling accessories from her home in 1970.
Since then she’s created both men’s and women’s collections and opened up shops and outlets across the world from London to Tokyo.
Margaret Howell has been awarded a CBE for services to the fashion industry as well as a Royal Designer for Industry award.
Not only is she a super talented designer and creator, her business accumen is still going strong and at 67, she's an inspiration to us all - and proof that age is just a number!

MiH Jeans

Chloe Lonsdale is definitely a woman to behold.

In 2005 she took on her family's denim heritage and re-launched her godfather's brand ‘Made in Heaven’. Of course, a women's touch bought with it a cool, new vibe and the brand evolved in to what we now know and love as MiH Jeans.

MiH has been incredibly successful, with women the world over wearing her comfortable and stylish jeans including the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence. Chloe is still involved in every element of the brand, from dress designs to shop floor fittings and if you can't get your hand's on her fab denim, she'll show you how to customise your own skirt with a series of YouTube tutorials!

Isabella Oliver

The idea that you could be both pregnant AND glamorous AND sophisticated all at the same time was inconceivable for a long time. Pregnancy fashion was almost non existent, until founder and designer of Isabella Oliver, Baukjen de Swaan Arons fell pregnant with her first child ten years ago and decided to make a change. 

Thanks to her own experiences and determination for women to enjoy every aspect of their pregnancy, women everywhere can now enjoy the fashion they’ve always loved even with a baby bump!

Baukjen also designs clothes post-pregnancy to flatter the figure and give women the confidence boost they need. Here's to empowering mums worldwide!

Orla Kiely

Described as the “Queen of Prints” by The Guardian, Orla Kiely has pioneered the return of prints and patterns.

Orla started out as a hat designer before noting in the late 90s that while not everyone wore a hat, all ladies carried handbags and, so it was, she expanded to handbags. Now, Orla's label has conquered nearly every aspect of lifestyle, designing everything from (take a deep breath!) clothes, shoes, bags, hats, homeware, phone cases, garden accessories and even perfumes and candles. Her signature prints have even appeared on the back of a London bus!

Orla's inspiration? Her grandmother - girl power spanning generations!

We're pretty sure girls run the world ;)

Friday, 7 February 2014

Interior Tips to Transform your Home!

Kilver Court happens to be home to talented interior designer Jane Clayton, who stocks an incredible range of designer fabrics at discount (seriously, check it out here) in their Aladin’s cave style store. With years of experience transforming homes, we thought it was about time we picked her brains for a few quick and easy ideas on how to spruce up for spring, and transform our interiors.

Find gorgeous designer fabrics at Kilver Court
 There are so many subtle ways to transform the ambiance of a room, from strategic lighting to carefully chosen colours and textures. The best place to start though? Fix what you have got! Below Jane Clayton gives her top ten tips for instantly transforming a space – whatever your budget.

Inspired? Jane will be holding a series of FREE soft furnishing sessions at Kilver Court, covering everything from cushion design to curtain making – click here to find out more and reserve a space!

1.    Depressing, messy room? Stand at the doorway, close your eyes and count to 30. Now write down ten things that you can do to improve it. Yes you can! Start by dealing with those stain spots on the carpet and remove greasy marks on surfaces with polish (the smell will make the room feel ten times cleaner if nothing else!)

2.    Be brutal: liberate your living space of some excess possessions and make that run to the charity shop. You’ll be amazed how de-cluttering will lift your spirits. Not sure you're ready to part with your belongings? Pack them into storage for a while – the things you really miss can always be reinstated!

3.    Treat yourself to a subscription to a swanky interiors mag – call it an investment in inspiration. If you like a room, copy it. Be your own Interior Designer!

4.    Saggy sofas? Get some new pads and make sure that they are at least an inch/2.5cm larger than the covers – then you get a nice plump effect! Go for feather with down if you can afford it and always buy cushions at least 18” square. Big is beautiful!

5.    Fresh flowers instantly brighten up a room (and your mood!). Save cash and have a rootle in your nearest hedgerow for dogwood and ivy. Now spring is coming there’s a plethora of brightly coloured daffodils and snow drops on the way too!

6.    A good clean floor can transform a room – if yours is wooden and it needs sanding, hire an orbital sander and plug the exhaust pipe into a Henry. Run it at the same time as you sand and voila, NO DUST! Finish bare wood with the same varnish as Museums use: Bonakemi Traffic and you’ll never have to sand it again.

7.    Does your wrinkled rug drive you nuts? Are you forever straightening it?  My favourite trick is to use Foxi anti rug creep underlay, it keeps everything in position and saves you seconds of tweaking every day!

8.    Lighten up! A room really benefits from having a number of different light sources. As well as the main overhead light (why not get a dimmer switch to create a more relaxed atmosphere?) add lamps and candles to create a cosy ambiance on dark nights. Stock up on delicious fragrances in The Great House!

9.    Mix up a magic potion: combine white wine vinegar and bicarbonate soda and apply to grouting between kitchen tiles with an old toothbrush. The acidic combination will lift the dirt in those hard to reach crevices, and make your surfaces look sparkling new!

10.    Bed linen or sofa beyond salvation? Have a critical look and if it's stained or faded, rather than recovering (expensively!) buy a length of beautiful fabric that you can use as a throw. Opt for a weave that doesn’t crease and colours that complement the space. Finish with piles of gorgeous cushions! (Find out how at my free cushion masterclass, later this month).


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