Archive for the ‘British Food’ Category

The Perfect New Year Buffet

Monday, December 29th, 2014
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Maybe you’re hosting a New Year party and still need to have a last minute think about food and drink. Or maybe you’ll be ringing in 2015 at a ‘bring a plate’ style soiree and are still unsure of what to bring. Well, don’t worry as we’re here to calm your catering fears and give you some ideas for New Year nibbles that are sure to go down a storm on the buffet table.

Make the Mains Mini

Buffet Food Image

Image via Flickr

New Year is a chance to chatter and have fun, so make the mains handheld so that guests can pick one up as and when they get peckish. Mini burgers and hot dogs always go down a storm, as do mini pizzas and chicken wings. For vegetarian guests include meat free pizzas, quiches and halloumi bites with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Simple Sides

Buffet Food Image

Image via Flickr

Unless you want to, there is no need to go over the top on side dishes for a New Year buffet. A simple dressed salad, coleslaw and crudités with dips are all you really need. If you want a little extra. potato skins are always a good choice as are mozzarella dipper sticks. Yum!

Delicious Desserts

Buffet Desserts Image from Flickr

Image via Flickr

It’s the night before the resolutions start so treat your guests and yourself with naughty desserts. Like the rest of the buffet table, keep them small and simple; mini chocolate éclairs and cheesecake slices go down well as do homemade biscuits and of course, mince pies.

New Year Tipples

New Years Eve Cocktail Image

Image via Flickr

Alongside the bubbly at midnight when everyone raises a glass and brings in 2015, New Year is a fairly boozy occasion. You can choose to warm up with mulled wine, an Irish coffee or a Baileys hot chocolate or get creative with a more chilled out tipple. Take a look at some of the festive drink recipes we shared right here on the Sykes Cottages blog earlier in the month.

We hope we have given you some ideas of what to put on your buffet table on Wednesday night. If you’re having a New Year party we’d love to hear what you’ll be eating. Tweet us and let us know!

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Autumnal Recipes for National Apple Day

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
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Can you think of a more autumnal flavour than the humble apple? From crumbles to pies, sauces to chutneys, apples and autumn go hand in hand. This explains why National Apple Day always falls around this time of year. In honour of this year’s apple day, we’ve tracked down some recipes for our favourite apple dishes that you can try at home!

Mini Apple Crumbles

via Flickr

via Flickr

Ingredients

  • 125g of flour
  • 75g of unsalted butter
  • 75g of caster sugar
  • 50g of oats
  • 750g of apples
  • 2 tsp of caster sugar
  • 2 tsp of unsalted butter

Method

  1. First up preheat your oven to around 200°c.
  2. Place your flour in a large bowl and add the butter. Rub the butter and flour together until the texture resembles breadcrumbs and then mix in the 75g of caster sugar and the oats.
  3. Next take your apples, peel them and chop them before mixing in with the rest of the sugar.
  4. Divide the mixture between the jars and top with the crumble mixture.
  5. Place in the oven and cook until the crumble topping is golden brown and crisp.

Toffee Apples

toffe apples

via Flickr

Ingredients

  • 8 apples (preferably Granny Smith)
  • 4 tsp of golden syrup
  • 1 tsp of vinegar
  • 400g of caster sugar

Method

  1. First, put the apples in a bowl and cover with boiling water. This will remove the natural waxy cover and will make the toffee stick. After they have soaked, dry them and push a skewer through the core of the apples.
  2. Place your sugar into a pan with 100ml of water and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. Add the vinegar and golden syrup and turn up the heat. Using a thermometer, wait until the mixture has reached 140°c.
  4. Once that temperature has been reached, take each of the apples and dip into the toffee mixture. Place them on a sheet of baking paper and leave to cool.

Classic Apple Pie

Ingredients

Pastry

via Flickr

via Flickr

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 75g of caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 125g of plain flour
  • A pinch of salt.

Filling

  • 1 kg of Cox Apples
  • 250g Granny Smith Apples
  • 250g Bramley Apples
  • 200g of caster sugar.

Method

  1. Start by making the pastry. Put your butter, sugar, flour and salt in a food processor and blend until it looks like breadcrumbs. Then, add in your egg yolks and gently pulse the mixture until it is dough like.
  2. Knead this mixture on a floured surface until it is smooth and then wrap in cling film and refrigerate.
  3. Next peel and core all of your apples and slice them up. Add them to a saucepan with the sugar and gently heat the mixture until the apples begin to break down.
  4. Next take your pastry, split one third away from the mixture and roll out both pieces until they are a few millimetres wide. Take the bigger portion and use it to line a pie tin before blind baking it for 20 minutes at 200°c.
  5. Spoon your apple mixture into the pie dish and cover with the remaining third of the pastry. Return to to oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Well there you go, some simple recipes for our favourite autumnal apple dishes. Next time you’ve got family or friends coming round to dinner why don’t you give them a go. They’re easy enough to do and I’m sure they’ll bring out a few smiles around the table!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Hot Chocolate Recipes for a Lazy Sunday

Sunday, October 12th, 2014
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As the nights draw in and the temperatures begin to dip, one of my favourite Sunday evening activities is to curl up on the sofa with a hot beverage and a film. Normally, I’d go for a classic brew but when the weather takes a turn for the worse, there’s nothing better than an indulgent hot chocolate to warm you up! So in honour of these chocolatey delights, we’ve found some of the most unusual and mouth-watering hot chocolate recipes out there to feature on today’s blog. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (serves one)

Recipe via Nigella.com

Salted caramel hot chocolate

Via Flickr

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp salted caramel sauce (see here for recipe)
  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 50g finely chopped dark chocolate
  • Squirty cream to serve

Method:

  1. Pour milk, chocolate and salted caramel sauce into a saucepan and cook over medium heat.
  2. Stir until chocolate is melted and the liquid is rich.
  3. Pour into mug. Top with squirty cream and drizzle salted caramel sauce over the top.

 

Baileys Hot Chocolate (serves one)

Baileys Hot Chocolate

Via Flickr

Recipe via Londoncocktailscholars.co.uk

Ingredients:

  • 300ml milk
  • 50ml Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 heaped tbsp hot chocolate powder

Method:

  1. Pour the milk and hot chocolate powder into a pan and leave on medium-high heat.
  2. Stir continuously for 3-4 minutes until there are no lumps and the mixture has started to thicken. Do not let the mixture boil.
  3. Take off the heat and stir for 15 seconds.
  4. Pour the Baileys into a glass, then add the hot chocolate mixture and give it a stir.
  5. Top with cocoa powder or flaked chocolate.
  6. You can also try this recipe with flavoured Baileys – how about trying with Baileys Orange Truffle?

 

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate (serves one)

Recipe via Agirlcalledjack.com

Peanut butter hot chocolate

Via Flickr

Ingredients:

  • 150ml milk
  • 50ml water
  • 3 squares of either milk or dark chocolate
  • 1 heaped tbsp of smooth peanut butter

Method:

  1. Pour water, chocolate squares and peanut butter into a pan on medium heat.
  2. Stir well until chocolate and peanut butter have melted and formed a sticky paste.
  3. Add a splash of milk and stir in. Repeat with a larger splash. Then add the rest.
  4. Serve in mug.

If you do try out one of these recipes then let us know how you get on; we’d love to hear your thoughts! If you have any other delicious hot chocolate recipes that you’d like to share with us then please get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Properties with Delightful Dining Rooms

Friday, October 10th, 2014
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As you may have noticed, this week on the Sykes Cottages blog we’ve been getting a little gastronomic. We’ve been talking about the best places to go out to eat, the best local food to cook and we have a seriously indulgent recipe post coming up for you on Sunday (spoiler: it involves hot chocolate!) Once you’ve made or purchased all of this delicious food you need somewhere to eat it, which is why we’re putting the spotlight on some of the most delightful dining rooms that our properties have to offer. Whether you want enough table space for 20 guests to dine in comfort, or just a cosy corner where two can enjoy a romantic meal, with over 5,000 properties we have every style of dining area you can imagine at Sykes Cottages. Here are just a few of them.

The Hall, Northumbria

The Hall

Property reference 903958

This ornate dining room seats twenty four people comfortably and boasts both an open fire place and lovely views over the lake and the property’s grounds.

Beckside Barn, The Lake District

Beckside Barn

Property reference 914337

The dining room in Beckside Barn is beautifully decorated in a modern style which provides diners with a bright and airy feel. The room also opens out to a secluded patio area, providing the ideal location for after dinner drinks.

The Gaolhouse, East Anglia

The Gaolhouse

Property reference 4496

This unique property in East Anglia holds many original features including a dungeon! It also has a fantastic dining room with brickwork and beams to add character and patio doors adding a touch of brightness to this lovely dining area.

Three Peaks Barn, Yorkshire Dales

Property reference 10024

Property reference 10024

This lovely dining area nestles perfectly in the midst of the open plan living area. The dining space is comfortably modern, yet beams and bricks keep the character of the property.

Abbey Dore Court, Heart of England

Property reference 10024

Property reference 10024

Nestled in the kitchen area is one of Abbey Dore Court’s dining areas. The modern appliances mix with the kitsch traditional elements making this dining area the perfect place to enjoy brunch or an afternoon snack.

For more dining inspiration, take a look at our delightful dining pinterest board.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Sykes’ Food Tour of Britain

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
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If you’ve tuned into the Sykes’ blog this week you might have noticed there’s been a foodie theme going on. Well today isn’t any different as we’re heading out on a tour around the UK looking at some of the best regional foods going, from the classic Cornish Pasty through to the Welsh favourite, Bara Brith.

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie

pork pie

via Flickr

Where else could we start but with the classic picnic food, the pork pie. We’re not talking about any old pie, instead we’re going to be looking at the king of the range, the Melton Mowbray. These pies are one of a handful of foods protected by Protected Geographical Indication, meaning they can only be called Melton Mowbrays if they’re made within a specific area using traditional techniques. One key difference between a Melton and your standard pie is that they use fresh rather than cured meat, giving them their distinctive flavour.

Cornish Pasty

cornish pasty

via Flickr

Next we’re going to be taking a trip down to the south-west for the old favourite, the Cornish Pasty. Originally a luxury meal for the rich, the pasty became a staple food amongst Cornish tin miners during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and has since become one of the nation’s favourites. A good pasty should be full to the brim with a mix of beef mince, swede, carrot and onion and should have a peppery kick to finish.

Cheddar Cheese

via. Flickr

via Flickr

We’re sticking in the south west for this one too as we look at Britain’s most loved cheese. Apparently, over half the cheese produced in this country is a variation of cheddar, but can only be called West Country Farmhouse Cheddar if it’s produced in one of the four West Country counties using locally produced milk. One of the reasons cheddar is so popular is its versatility; no matter how you serve it up, whether it’s part of a classic ploughman’s lunch, melted on toast or simply with a couple of crackers, it’s absolutely delicious!

Bara Brith

bara brith

via Flickr

Next up is a Welsh classic, Bara Brith. Translated into English, Bara Brith means Speckled Bread, however there’s some dispute as to whether it’s actually a cake – no matter what it is, we think it’s delicious! Traditionally it would have been a hodge podge mix made from left over bread dough with some fruit and cooked in the embers of the weekly bake. Nowadays, it’s flavoured with tea and basted generously with honey giving it it’s lovely flavour.

Shortbread

via Flickr

via Flickr

Finally, we’re heading north of the border and to the home of shortbread. A traditional Scottish biscuit made with just flour, sugar and butter, shortbread is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. The Scots have been making this tasty treat since the 12th century, but it’s Mary Queen of Scots who is credited with refining the recipe to one we all know and love today. A good shortbread should have a light buttery flavour and be crisp yet crumbly when you bite into it.

So there we go, Sykes’ food tour of Britain. Hopefully you enjoyed having a read of it and like our choices, but if there’s anything you think should have been included then let us know, either over Facebook or on Twitter, and we’ll do our best to get it in next time!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.