Archive for the ‘British Food’ Category

Iced Tea Recipes for Summer

Sunday, July 10th, 2016
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Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to take your tea with a refreshing, summery twist. Perfect for picnics, barbecues and days spent in the garden, here’s a selection of the best iced tea recipes around to keep you nice and cool over the summer months.

Lemon Iced TeaIced Tea

Serves 10. Recipe via Good Housekeeping


  • 4 tea bags
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 litre boiling water
  • 3 litre still lemonade
  • Mint sprigs
  • Lemon slices


  1. In a large bowl, add tea bags and 6tbsp of caster sugar. Then add a litre of boiling water.
  2. Steep for 2 minutes, take the tea bags out then leave to cool completely.
  3. Fill a large jug with ice, pour in the tea then add 1.3 litre still lemonade.
  4. Garnish individual glasses with mint sprigs and lemon slices.


Pimm’s Iced TeaIced Tea

Serves 4-6. Recipe via BBC Good Food.


  • 4 tea bags
  • 20g mint
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large oranges, juiced, plus extra slices to serve
  • 2 lemons, juiced, plus extra slices to serve
  • 400ml Pimm’s No. 1
  • Several strawberries, sliced
  • Plenty of ice to serve


  1. In a large jug, add tea bags and half the mint. Then pour in 1.2 litre of boiling water.
  2. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes before removing the tea bags, stirring and adding the sugar.
  3. Once cool, remove the mint. Add orange juice, lemon juice and Pimm’s.
  4. Chill thoroughly- this can be made up to one day in advance.
  5. Serve over ice with slices of lemon, orange, strawberry and mint sprigs.


Raspberry and Mint Iced TeaIced Tea

Serves 4. Recipe via


  • 500g raspberries
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 2 mint sprigs
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tea bag
  • Half lemon, sliced
  • Ice to serve


  1. In a large bowl, crush raspberries and sugar together using a potato masher. Add the mint sprigs and bicarbonate of soda.
  2. Pour ½ litre of boiling water into a jug containing the tea bag and leave for 4-5 minutes before removing the tea bag.
  3. Pour the hot tea over the raspberries. Stir then leave to cool for 1 hour.
  4. Strain the mixture through muslin and into a sieve to make about 600ml of liquid then add 300ml cold water.
  5. Serve over ice with lemon slices and a sprig of mint.

If like us, you love tea in all of its forms, then make sure you check out our Great British Brew campaign which includes tea reviews, stats on how people like their tea, and a fantastic infographic which will tell you all you’ve ever wanted to know about the humble brew. For more delicious recipes and meal inspiration, head to the food section of our blog.

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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.

Creme Egg Recipes for Easter

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
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If you’re anything like the team here at Sykes Cottages, you’ll have already made your way through dozens of Cadbury Creme Eggs as soon as they hit the shelves after Christmas. They’re one of the best chocolate treats around and no one can resist their gooey goodness. With this in mind, why not surprise your guests this Easter with one of these delicious Creme Egg desserts?  They’re sure to be a hit with young and old alike and will definitely earn you the title of Star Baker.

Creme Egg Millionaire’s Shortbread

Creme Egg Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

Image via

Serves 12. Recipe via


  • 300g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 160g plain flour
  • 397g can of condensed milk
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 3 Creme Eggs


Pre-heat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and get ready a tin that is around 9 inch square.

For the shortbread

  1. Combine 150g butter with 50g golden caster sugar and then mix in 160g flour. Put into tin and work into the corners. Prick with a fork all over and put into the oven for around 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Remove and leave to cool completely before you add the caramel layer.

For the caramel

  1. Combine the condensed milk, 150g sugar and 150g butter in a saucepan over a very low heat. Stir constantly. Once it’s melted, increase the heat to medium but keep stirring constantly.
  2. As the sugar dissolves, your mixture will turn golden and begin to thicken. Heat for 10 minutes until it comes to a gentle boil- only bubbling slightly and keep stirring constantly.
  3. Once its consistency is similar to gravy, remove from heat and pour into a cold bowl to cool down completely.
  4. Once cool, pour onto your shortbread layer.

For the chocolate and creme egg topping

  1. Break chocolate into chunks and heat in microwave for 30 second intervals. Remove and stir every 30 seconds until melted.
  2. Pour over the caramel mixture.
  3. Cut the Creme Eggs in half and arrange on top of the chocolate. Leave in the fridge to cool for at least two hours.


Creme Egg Tray Bake

Creme Egg Tray Bake

Image via

Serves 20. Recipe via


  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 5 Creme Eggs, smashed up


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 31x20cm shallow tin.
  2. In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after adding each egg.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and 50g cocoa powder and fold in.
  4. Put into the tin, pushing into the corners, then bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool and place on a wire rack.
  5. Sift the icing sugar and 25g cocoa powder into a bowl and add a few tsp water to make a spreadable icing. Spread over the top of the cooked tray bake and top with smashed Creme Egg pieces.


Creme Egg Cheesecake

Serves 12. Recipe via


  • 100g butter, melted
  • 2 Creme Eggs, chopped
  • 200g digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 600g full-fat Philadelphia
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300ml double cream, whipped
  • Yellow food colouring
  • 6 mini Creme Eggs to decorate


  1. Line the base of a 20cm loose bottom cake tin. Melt the butter and Creme Eggs in a pan then stir through the biscuits. Press into the bottom of the cake tin then leave in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, lightly beat the Philadelphia until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and icing sugar until well combined then fold in the whipped cream.
  3. Measure out 300g of the Philadelphia mixture into a separate bowl then stir through the yellow food colouring. Spoon this over the biscuit base then top with the remaining white mixture.
  4. Leave to set in the fridge for at least three hours.
  5. When set, top with mini Creme Eggs to decorate and serve.
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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.

Pie Week Recipes

Monday, March 7th, 2016
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Today marks the start of British Pie Week and what better way to celebrate than by baking a homemade pie for you and your loved ones to share? So from the traditional pork pie to the tasty apple pie, we’ve included three easy pie recipes below to give you some inspiration.

Raised Pork Pie

A favourite here in Britain, the humble pork pie can trace its routes right back to the early 18th century. The following BBC Good Food recipe may not be as old as the original, but it is just as good! This recipe will feed up to ten people and takes around 3 hours to prep as well as an overnight stint in the fridge, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get it right.


For the filling

  • 800g pork shoulder, minced or finely chopped
  • 400g pork belly, half minced and half chopped
  • 250g smoked bacon, cubed
  • 2 large pinches ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground mace

For the pastry

  • 575g plain flour
  • 220ml water
  • 200g lard

To finish

  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 6 gelatine leaf
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180c/160c for fan and 4 for gas.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, bring together all the ingredients for the filling.
  3. To make the pastry take a separate bowl and add the flour, then put the lard and water into a small pan and heat gently until the lard has melted, then bring it to the boil before stirring into the flour using a wooden spoon.
  4. When the mixture is cool enough to handle but still warm, you can knead it until smooth.
  5. Cut off ¼ of the dough and wrap it in cling film, placing it to one side to use later for the lid. Roll out the remaining dough before placing it into the base of a non-stick 20cm springform cake tin. Whilst the dough is still warm, work quickly to press it in evenly all over the base and up the sides of the tin.
  6. Make sure there are no holes in the pastry and fill with meat, making sure to pack down well. Roll out the dough for the lid and place on top of the pie, pinching around the edges to seal the pie. Finally, make a hole in the centre of the top of the pie to allow steam to escape; we suggest using the handle of a wooden spoon for this.
  7. Cook the pie in the oven for 30 minutes before reducing the heat to 160c/140c for fan and 3 for gas. Continue to cook for 90 minutes.
  8. Brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and then return to the oven for a final 20 minutes. Once done remove the pie from the oven and leave to cool.
  9. Soak the gelatine in cold water for around five minutes, then remove and squeeze out the excess water. Heat the stock until almost boiling then remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine. Leave to cool at room temperature.
  10. Use a small funnel to pour the stock into the pie through the hole in the top. Pour in a little at a time allowing a few seconds between each addition. Leave to set in the fridge overnight before serving.

Traditional Apple Pie

Packed full of cooking apples, sugar and cinnamon, I dare anyone not to love this classic desert! Apple pie is so popular that just about every country has their own take on the dish. This following recipe from about food follows the traditional British and Irish recipe which takes around an hour to make and will serve six people.



  • 200g plain flour
  • 110g cubed butter
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water
  • Pinch of salt


  • 700g cooking apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 110g sugar
  • 25g butter
  • 4 – 6 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • Milk to glaze


  1. In a large clean bowl, rub together the flour, butter and salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. You will want to work as quickly as possible so that the dough doesn’t become warm.
  2. Add the water to the mixture. Using a cold knife, stir the mixture until the dough binds together. If your mixture is too dry, add more water, a teaspoon at a time. Wrap the finished dough in Clingfilm and chill in the fridge for between 15 and 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200C or gas 7 and whilst the dough is chilling in the fridge, simmer the apples with the lemon juice and water in a large pan until soft.
  4. Once soft, add the sugar and cinnamon to the cooked apples. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter before leaving to cool.
  5. Split the chilled dough in half and roll out the first half using this to line a 13cm/7” pie dish. Put the cooled apple mixture into the pastry case. Roll out the second half of the dough to make a lid for the pastry. Damp the edges of the pastry in the dish with a little cold water, cover with the lid and press down on the edges firmly to seal the pie.
  6. Brush the top of the pie with milk and bake on the top self of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Fish Pie

Fish pie is a real favourite here in the UK with pubs and restaurants across Britain featuring the scrumptious pie on their menus. This recipe from BBC Good Food will show you how to make fish pie from home in just four easy steps! The recipe takes around an hour and 15 minutes to make and will serve a family of four when done.


  • 600ml full-fat milk
  • 400g skinless white fish fillet
  • 400g skinless smoked haddock fillet
  • 100g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g cheddar, grated
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 egg
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1kg floury potato, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
  • small bunch parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Poach the fish by placing the fish in a frying pan and pouring over 500ml of the milk. Stud each onion quarter with a clove and then add to the milk along with the bay leaves. Bring the milk just to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for eight minutes. Lift the fish onto a plate and strain the milk into a separate jug to cool before flaking the fish into large pieces and placing in the baking dish.
  2. Hard boil the eggs before peeling and slicing into quarters. Arranged the quartered eggs on top of the fish then scatter over the chopped parsley.
  3. Make the sauce by melting the butter in a pan before stirring in the flour and cooking for one minute over a medium heat. Take the mixture off the heat and pour in a little of the cold poaching milk, then stir until combined. Continue to add milk gradually until you have a smooth sauce. Return the sauce to the heat and boil for five minutes, stirring continually until the sauce coats the back of your spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg before pouring over the fish in the baking dish.
  4. Pre-heat over to 200c/180c for fan and 6 for gas. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes before draining and seasoning with salt and pepper. Mash the cooked potatoes using the remaining butter and milk, then use the mashed potato to top the pie, starting at the edge of the dish and working your way in. Fluff the top of the mashed potato with a fork and then sprinkle over the cheese before baking the whole pie in the oven for 30 minutes.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her husband.

Romantic Valentine’s Recipes for Two

Thursday, February 11th, 2016
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Are you thinking of making a meal for your loved one this Valentine’s Day? Here are three delicious recipes that you can easily make to get you in their good books! Whether you fancy a steak, seafood or a vegetarian delight, these recipes are sure to go down a treat.

Rump steak with mushroom and red wine sauce

This quick and easy recipe from BBC Good Food will give the impression you’ve slaved over a hot stove for hours. It should take around 15 minutes in total to make.


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 rump steaks
  • 2 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
  • 140g mushrooms, chopped
  • 150ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp butter


  1. Season the steaks then put into frying pan with pre-heated oil. For a medium rare steak, fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or you can fry for more/less time to suit your liking. Take out of the pan and set aside.
  2. Add mushrooms and thyme leaves to the pan. Cook until softened then pour in the wine and bubble until syrupy.
  3. Turn off the heat then stir in the butter. Season.
  4. Serve steaks with sauce poured over. Complement with creamy mashed potato and crunchy green vegetables.


Mussel linguine

An extra special Jamie Oliver recipe as told to him by his adopted Italian grandfather! Love is definitely in the air with this recipe and it’s sure to impress your date. It should take around 10 minutes to cook, plus preparation time.


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 pinches crumbled dried chilli
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 250g linguine
  • 1kg mussels, washed and debearded
  • Small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put pan of salted water on to boil. In a separate pan, add extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic, chilli and anchovy then add the cherry tomatoes as the garlic begins to fry. The garlic shouldn’t take on any colour but the oil needs to be hot enough to fry the anchovy. Juice from the tomato and oil should make a light sauce.
  2. Add linguine to the pan of boiling water and cook.
  3. Add the mussels to the tomato sauce. Stir, place a lid on top and cook until all of the mussels are open. Add handful of chopped parsley to the pan.
  4. Drain the pasta al dente and then pour the pasta and mussel sauce back into the pan, mixing everything together.
  5. Put back onto a low heat for an additional minute or two so the pasta sucks up the mussel juice. Serve with drizzle of olive oil and season to taste.


Miso roasted aubergine steaks with sweet potato

If your date this Valentine’s Day is vegetarian, try this delicious BBC Good Food recipe for a visually-pleasing and filling meal. It should take around 20 minutes to prepare and an hour to cook.


  • 1 aubergine, around 375g
  • 350g unpeeled sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp brown miso paste
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Small piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • Pink Himalayan salt, pinch
  • 8 spring onions, sliced
  • Small pack of parsley, chopped


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Peel aubergine and spread miso paste all over it.
  2. Put aubergine and sweet potato wedges into a roasting tin. Pour 225ml of boiling water into the base of the tin and add oil, ginger and garlic. Sprinkle pinch of salt over the wedges then put into oven for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, add another 125ml boiling water to the base of tin and put back into the oven for a further 20 minutes.
  4. After the 20 minutes, add 50ml boiling water and the spring onions. Roast for 10 more minutes. Check the aubergine is cooked by sliding a knife into the centre- if it’s cooked the aubergine will be soft.
  5. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the wedges. Slice aubergine into 2cm thick ‘steaks’ and serve on top of the sweet potato wedges. Make sure there is sauce in the tin- if not, add 3tbsp of water to loosen up the miso then pour the miso gravy over the aubergine. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper and serve.

For more recipe ideas, head over to the ‘Food’ category on our blog here. You’ll find plenty of tasty dishes and desserts to whip up and create the perfect meal this Valentine’s Day.

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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.

Some Healthier Comfort Foods

Sunday, January 24th, 2016
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If you’re anything like me, then there’s a good chance you may well have overindulged slightly over the festive season. However, January’s never the best time to try and shift a few pounds, especially since all you really want to do is tuck into some good old fashioned comfort food. This is why we’ve tracked down some comfort food recipes with a twist, giving you all the deliciousness without the calories- so take a look!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Who doesn’t like a hearty portion of spaghetti and meatballs? Well this recipe will allow you to tuck into a proper portion without having to worry too much about the waistline. Using turkey instead of the traditional beef, it will allow you to cut down on the calories whilst still being absolutely delicious. All in all the recipe will take about 40 minutes from start to finish, making it perfect for a midweek meal, so why don’t you take a look here?

Macaroni Cheese

Or alternatively, there’s a lighter version of macaroni cheese. This recipe uses cauliflower to cut down on the carb-filled pasta, as well as some low fat sour cream to make sure that it retains that wonderful creaminess without being too overindulgent. If you feel like treating yourself, you could try out the Panko breadcrumb topping that will set it apart from your ordinary mac and cheese. Tempted you? Then find out more here!

Cottage Pie

And how about the old family favourite, a cottage pie? Well thanks to some more cunning use of cauliflower, this time to hold back on the amount of potato in the topping, and also using plenty of wholesome veg in the filling, you’ll be able to tuck in without feeling too guilty about it all! The recipe makes enough pie to feed 6-8 hungry mouths, perfect if you’ve got a few people coming over for a meal, take a look at it here!

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Now this one might surprise you but it turns out that one of the best things about a good, rich chocolate brownie is that you can replace a few ingredients with healthier alternatives and not notice the difference! This recipe from the Food Network uses both wholegrain flour and a low fat yoghurt in the mix but still tastes as delicious as ever, what more could you ask for?

So there  you have it, some healthy comfort food alternatives that are perfect for those looking to cut back a little. We hope that you find them useful in keeping to those New Year’s Resolutions but do let us know if you have any other great healthy recipes that we could share!

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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.