Picnics!

Eat Kit BB-EAT copy

Sophie- I am always enamoured when I step into the garden in the square where I live in London. It’s not a huge garden, but it feels incredibly spacious and the flowerbeds are full of lots of wonderful flowers. There are wisteria trees in the middle, which are just magical. There are lots of wooden benches and chairs dotted around, which means you can picnic quite comfortably! There are always lots of lovely helpers from the picnic party taking dishes, glassware, jugs and pretty much everything from my collection to and from the kitchen down into the garden but what I couldn’t live without are the salad bowls.

Sarah- My favourite picnic spot is Richmond Park. If you haven’t been there before, go! It feels like you have stepped into the heart of the countryside, and there are secret gardens full of beautiful flowers and 700 year old oak trees. Plus the deer are incredible, there are 2 types; Red and Fallow, and they are magnificent. My favourite spot in the park is at Pen ponds, which consists of 3 huge lakes surrounded by trees and wildlife. On my picnic, I couldn’t live without the chopping boards, for last minute preparation and they are so easy to serve and pass around, plus they look great!

Hattie-My favourite picnic spot is on the meadow in Bosham, a tiny village in West Sussex which sits on a peninsula in Chichester Harbour. The meadow is situated between the beautiful Saxon church and the quay-side, so you can sit looking over the water to Chidham. In the summer there is always sailing going on, and the finish line for the racing is right in front of the meadow. It is such a peaceful place, and very “Swallows & Amazons”! I would take the Drink Kit! 

 

Rosie- Hampstead heath is definitely my favourite picnic spot. Its amazingly wild and there is a gorgeous cafe which sells honey made from the local bees! I love the view of London from Hampstead Heath, it is amazing how the skyline is constantly changing with skyscrapers being put up at a rate of knots. Yet Hampstead Heath is so peaceful, which makes it an ideal place to go for a picnic. I couldn’t have a picnic without the champagne flutes. In my opinion, a glass of fizz is a perfect way to kick off a picnic!

Poppy – Winterton Beach is my favourite picnic spot. You can either drive up the hill and park in the beach carpark, or you can park at the bottom and walk all along the dunes. In the summer and in low tide, you can paddle in the lowes, which are pools of water the sea leaves when the tide goes out. Plus there is a classic English beach cafe where they have 99′s, seaside fish and chips etc. You can see along the Norfolk coast for miles on a clear day. I would take the camp kit, so then the picnic can run into the night and you can toast marshmallows and kip under the blanket after swimming in the sea!

Julia- My favourite picnic spot has to be Bolt Head in Salcombe; the combination of the stunning views out to sea, the little pockets of shelter provided by the unspoiled rocky landscape, and the feeling of being on top of the world, make it a truly breath-taking place for a picnic.  Even in the summer though the wind can be bracing, so I would definitely fill the Burgon & Ball Drinks Flask in Allium bloom with hot fresh mint tea to take along.  You really feel like you’ve earned it once you make it to the top!”

 

Bottoms Up!

 

blogGlasses

Here in the Sophie Conran office, we absolutely love a good cocktail. Cocktails were first invented in the early 19th century and were quite simply, a concoction of spirits, bitters and sugars. These days, cocktail lists are endless. Here are some of the team’s favourites. All glassware and crystal is available from www.sophieconran.com/glass. Bottoms up! Sophie X

Mojito! 

1.5 limes, cut into wedges

30 fresh mint leaves

2.5 tsp granulated sugar

handful of ice

65 ml/2.5 oz white rum

splash soda water, to taste

fresh mint sprig to garnish

Place the limes, mint and sugar into a sturdy highball glass and give it a mash with the end of a clean rolling pin. This bruises the mint and juices the limes. Add the ice and pour over the rum. Add the soda water and stir it well. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

 

Champagne Cocktail!

Ingredients

1 white sugar cube

2 dashes bitters

20ml/¾fl oz cognac

enough champagne to fill the glass

 

Place the sugar cube onto a spoon and add the bitters.

Drop the soaked sugar cube into a champagne flute and add the

Top up the glass with champagne and serve.

 

Espresso Martini!

Ingredients

50ml/2fl oz vodka

25ml/1fl oz Galliano, or similar anise and herb-flavoured liqueur

1 tsp sugar syrup

25ml/1fl oz freshly brewed coffee

3 coffee beans, for garnish

Preparation method

Place the vodka, liqueur, sugar syrup and fresh coffee in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice and shake hard.

Strain into a martini glass and garnish with three coffee beans.

 

Margharita!

Tequilla

Cointreau

Lime

Lemon juice

Fine Granular Sea Salt

Add two measures of Tequila, one of Cointreau and one of lime juice into the cocktail shaker and shake over crushed ice. Prepare the glass by rubbing the with with a wedge of fresh lime and then dipping the glass into a shallow saucer of sea salt. Strain the mixture from the shaker into the glass and serve.

A Night with Valentine Warner at New Tom’s!

Tomorrow evening, my fabulous brother Tom will be opening his restaurant doors, New Tom’s in Notting Hill, to the highly acclaimed chef, Valentine Warner. He will be hosting an unmissable one-off dining event where he will give a quick talk about the preparation and cooking of the menu before serving up a delicious 4 course dinner while guests can enjoy a complimentary pink grapefruit and campari cocktail. Not only does this event showcase an incredible chef at work, but it is also is a chance to see Tom’s amazing new restaurant. There’s an incredible atmosphere in there and tomorrow night is sure to be a hugely enjoyable evening. Tickets are £60 per person, which also includes a caraf of wine. To book, contact sian@tomconran.com. Hurry, the event is tomorrow and tickets are selling out fast! Sophie X

NEw Toms blog

 

Lidded Storage Jars- NEW IN!

Take a peak at my brand new lidded storage jars! I am going to use them in my kitchen for storing rice and my kid’s cereal, plus any bits and bobs that I come across! The lids are air tight and  will keep the contents fresh for a long period of time. Plus, they will look effortlessly chic in any kitchen and will be gorgeous additions to your Sophie Conran collection. I hope you enjoy using them! Sophie X

Small, Medium and Large Lidded Storage Jars available. From £35

Small, Medium and Large Lidded Storage Jars, from £35

 

Easy Entertaining

Tea cloths in blue and pink from www.sophieconran.com

Tea cloths in blue and pink from www.sophieconran.com

I don’t know about you but I absolutely love entertaining; whether I’m having a cosy dinner party in with friends or a large picnic in the garden , I am in my element when entertaining! Follow my 5 simple steps which I always go by when organising parties, large or small. They’re so easy to follow yet very effective.

1. Start with a story board – I always look at lot of books and magazines to make an inspiration board, which then leads to a theme.

2. Keep it intimate – Avoid small parties in large rooms as too much space stops people feeling connected.

3. Choose your colours – All colours have an effect on your mood. Pink can make people excited, while white is pure and uplifting.

4. Light candles- Arrange tall ones in candlesticks and place lower ones in pretty glasses.

5. Don’t overstretch yourself on the menu- It can become quite stressful to cook complicated meals: there’s a bigger margin for error. Keep things simple.

blog Sophie Conran Press day

We had a wonderful press day at my flat in London last week. We welcomed lots of lovely journalists and bloggers who came to review my collections as well as sample some of my chocolate cake, smoothies & elderflower cocktails. Everything was on display, from my classic Portmeirion china to my brand new bed linen. My Portmeirion Christmas collection was also on display; it felt strange setting up a table full of lovely Christmassy things in the middle of summer! I’m so excited about my new range of bed linen, the fabric is super cosy and super luxurious. The bedlinen collection is going to be available exclusively from my online shop very soon.

Thank you so much to everyone who came and took time out of their days to come and visit us. It was wonderful to see you all. Sophie X

Lemon Meringue pie by Julian Biggs

Lemons Blog

Hand blown glass bowls available from www.sophieconran.com

When the sun is shining, I can’t think of anything better than grabbing a bundle of rugs and spreading out on the grass to enjoy a delicious picnic with some friends and a bottle of wine. Despite living in central London, I am fortunate enough to share a beautiful communal garden, just a stone’s throw away from my flat. The head gardener, Sarah, keeps it looking immaculate all year round and has planted some gorgeous poppies this summer and there are wisteria trees centred around the fountain which adds a touch of magic to the garden. It is a quiet haven away from busy central London and is one of my favourite places to gather some friends for a summer’s picnic. I’ve shared my good friend Julian Bigg’s delightful lemon meringue pie recipe, which I make lots during the summer months and always goes down a treat when dining alfresco! I’m offering 25% off on all the cake plates seen below, plus you will get a complimentary recipe card with your order.

 

LM PIE BLOG

25% off all my cake plates!

 

SERVES 10

You will need a 22cm (8.5 in) tart ring

 

For the Pastry:

250g (9oz) sweet shortcrust pastry, made with 75g (30z) butter, straight from the fridge, 25g (1oz) caster sugar and 150g (5oz) plain flour, pinch of salt and enough chilled water to bind

1 egg yolk beaten

 

For the Filling:

4.5g (1.5 oz) cornflour

1tbsp cold water

juice and zest of 2 large organic lemons

300ml (10fl oz) boiling water

90g (3oz) caster sugar

4 egg yolks, lightly beaten.

 

For the MERINGUE

4 medium egg whites

250g (9oz) caster sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F/ Gas 4). Roll out the pastry and line the tart ring. Prick and blind bake, using baking beans, for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and brush the pastry with the beaten egg yolk.

Mix the cornflour, cold water and lemon juice and zest. Stir in the boiling water until is smooth and transfer the mix to a pan. Simmer over a medium heat until thick: about 3 to 4 minutes.

Beat together the sugar and egg yolks with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. Then, whilst beating, slowly pour in the lemon mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour into the tart case and allow to cool and set.

Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F/ Gas 7). Meanwhile, using an electric whisk, whisk in the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Continue whisking and slowly pour in the sugar, until combined. Don’t go too fast or the meringue will collapse; the slower the better. Once all the sugar is mixed in, use a palette knife or spatula to spread the meringue over the top of the tart, then bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with fresh cream and a few raspberries, if you like.

 

Eton Mess!

With all the talk of strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, an Eton Mess seemed like a appropriate pudding to rustle up and serve over the weekend. I make mine with bananas, pomegranate and blueberries, which gives it an extra kick! This dish came into its own at Eton College and the rumour is it was first created when a meringue dessert was accidentally crushed by a dog while travelling to a picnic in the school grounds but what could be saved was served as a crushed meringue with strawberries and cream. I think it is so delicious and perfect for a summer’s weekend. Enjoy! 

White Ceramic Creamer from www.sophieconran.com

White Ceramic Creamer from www.sophieconran.com

ETON MESS

Serves 10

10 Small Meringues

300ml Double Cream

½ Tbspn Caster Sugar

½ Tspn Vanilla Essence

3 Bananas

150g Blue Berries

800g Strawberries

The seeds of ½ a pomegranate.

 

Pour the cream into a large bowl. Whip the cream into stiff peaks, adding the sugar and vanilla towards the end.

 

Cut the stalk and leaves off the strawberries then quarter them.

 

Slice the banana into discs. Break the meringues into the cream, then pop the blue berries and strawberries in too.

 

Gently stir through.

 

Scatter 2/3rds of the bananas onto your serving platter. Dollop about ½ of the cream and meringue mixture on top and flatten into a disc covering the bananas. Cover with the rest of the bananas. Dollop the remaining cream and meringue mix on top. It should look a bit like a mountain.   Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds.

Happy 4th July!

My gorgeous husband, Nick is an American, so the 4th  July is always a big deal in our home. We often have a big party with family and friends and pass around food we’ve all enjoyed over in the States such as hot dogs, chowder, cobb salads, southern fried chicken and pecan pie for pudding. The kids love it! The restaurant, Dirty Bones, on Kensington Church Street in London is famous for their hot dogs, so if you fancy going out for a fun supper then I would recommend heading there to sample their delicious variety of hot dogs and hear some brilliant music. Oh and the cocktails aren’t bad either! Happy 4th July everyone and hope you have some gorgeous celebrations wherever you may be. Sophie X

4th july blog

Create some fun star cookies for 4th July and serve on my band board

 

Mary Fedden

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Enigma’s and Variations Mary Fedden
Lund Humphries

 

Christopher Andreae’s book Enigma’s and Variations showcases some incredible artwork by Mary Fedden. I particularly love her oil painting Poppies. I think she captures the whimsical beauty of wild flowers amazingly and I love the bright contrasting colours of the petals and the calming simplicity of the background. Andreae tells us that she really didn’t want to sell Poppies and I can see why! Flowers and food are strong themes in Fedden’s work, and her painting Picnic at Glyndebourne really captures the lovely atmosphere there and made me excited to go. Finally, I thought her Zebra painting was wonderful, the choppy sea and dark stormy clouds clash beautifully against the elegant zebra and adorable little boy. I really recommend buying this book, mine has taken centre stage on my desk, and it is a real joy to flick through it for ideas and inspiration.

Mary Fedden Poppies blog

Enigma’s and Variations Mary Fedden
Lund Humphries

Zebra blog

Enigma’s and Variations Mary Fedden
Lund Humphries