Visit to Crisis

Crisis is a charity that provides a life line for people living in the streets in the UK, dedicated to ending homelessness by delivering life changing services and campaigning for change.

Last year, Crisis housed more than 4,000 homeless people over Christmas, helped more than 500 people to find employment and have helped countless more re-build their self esteem shattered by homelessness through arts and crafts. Today I visit the charity and It was humbling to see how the charity’s volunteers are helping to improve the lives of the homeless people in their care through the arts, education, sport, health and employment to name a few. Here are some pictures of the amazing work I saw. Please visit their website and show your support – http://www.crisis.org.uk. Thank you, Sophie. X

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Introducing…Pebble.

I am very excited to launch my fabulous new Pebble Collection on my online shop. Generous in size and a beautiful colour, this subtle pebble collection works well in any kitchen and will compliment your existing Sophie Conran for Portmeirion pieces or work perfectly as a stand-alone collection. Every item in the Pebble range is tactile, beautiful and practical.  Sophie X

Pebble Pasta Bowls- Set of Four

Pebble Pasta Bowls- Set of Four

Pebble Dinner Plates- Set of Four

Pebble Dinner Plates- Set of Four

Pebble Mugs - Set of Four

Pebble Mugs – Set of Four

Pebble Side Plates- Set of Four

Pebble Side Plates- Set of Four

Pebble Cereal Bowls- Set of Four

Pebble Cereal Bowls- Set of Four

Scotch Pancakes!

This is a fantastic recipe to whip up with the kids. Scotch pancakes are my American husband Nick’s favourite, being slightly more substantial than the classic crepe. My favourite topping is golden syrup and a handful of berries but I love a good old sugar and lemon one too.

White Frying Pan -£65

White Frying Pan -£65

For the batter:

110g (4oz) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
1 medium egg, separated
150ml (5fl oz) milk
15g (½oz) butter, melted, plus extra for frying

For the topping:

A handful of blueberries and raspberries
Heaped tablespoon of golden syrup
Sprinkling of icing sugar

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Plop the egg yolk and about 50ml (2fl oz) of the milk into the well and stir the dry ingredients into the liquid gradually. When the mixture is smooth, gradually add the rest of the milk, stirring until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the melted butter. Beat the egg white to the medium-peak stage and fold it into the batter using a large metal spoon.

Melt a knob of butter in a frying-pan over a medium heat – the butter should just coat the bottom of the pan. Using a small ladle, add the pancake batter, creating pancakes about 7cm (3in) in size. Cook for two to three minutes, until the pancakes are golden underneath and bubbles are starting to appear on the surface (the surface will also look ‘drier’). Using a palette-knife, carefully turn each pancake over and cook on the other side until brown. Drizzle the batch with golden syrup, throw in a handful of blueberries and raspberries and finally dust with icing sugar. YUM!

 

 

 

Laksa!

Taken from ‘The Fresh Vegan Kitchen’ by David and Charlotte Bailey, this is an absolutely delicious meal that is healthy and hearty. Perfect for all those on a New Year health kick! Here’s what the authors have to say…

A wonderful main meal soup, laksa is a mouth-watering, highly aromatic coconut-curry both filled with noodles and, in this version, tofu puffs and an assortment of vegetables. It’s usually very spicy, designed to make you sweat (and hence keep cool) as you eat it by the roadside in the tropics, but you can moderate the chilli according to your taste and climate.

The Fresh Vegan Kitchen by David & Charlotte Bailey, published by Pavilion. Image:  Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton.

The Fresh Vegan Kitchen by David & Charlotte Bailey, published by Pavilion. Image: Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton.

200g/7oz dried rice noodles
4tbsp coconut oil (or cooking oil of your choice)
2 tbsp palm sugar
1 batch Laksa Curry Paste
400ml/14fl oz/1.75 cups of coconut milk
1 batch Laksa Vegetable stock
1-2tsp tamarin (make sure it’s gluten free)
150g/5.5oz/1 heaped cup mange tout (snow peas), cut in half
125g/4.5oz/0.5 cup baby corn, cut in half lengthways
150g/5.5oz/1 cup enoki mushrooms
2 red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
100g/3.5oz/scant ⅓ block tofu puffs or marinated tofu pieces
1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro) plus extra to sprinkle
1 bunch of fresh Thai basil, picked
250g/9oz/1⅔ cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
a handful of crispy fried shallots
(green onions) or crispy friend Thai shallots
Large lime wedges to serve
Salt and Pepper

Soak the rice noodles in a bowl of water for about 1 hour, then drain.

In a large pan, heat the coconut oil, then add the palm sugar and Laksa Curry paste and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until it starts to brown and caramelize. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 20 minutes. Season with tamarin to taste, then strain.

Return the soup to the pan and bring slowly to the boil, adding the mangetout, baby corn, enoki mushrooms, red chillies and tofu puffs or pieces as it heats up. Meanwhile, take 4 large bowls and divide the soaked rice noodles, herbs and cherry tomatoes among them. As the soup comes up to the boy, reduce to a simmer, then check the seasoning and add a little more tamarin.

Pour the soup over the noodles and vegetables. Sprinkle with extra coriander leaves and crispy shallots and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

 

 

Valentine’s Day Hints!

Saint Valentine’s day is soon upon us, so get set for the big day with some of these gorgeous gifts from my online shop. Say it with a big bunch of flowers and pop them in my pink ceramic pitcher, or create a gorgeous atmosphere with my lovely hand blown tea lights. This year I’m going to be at Ambiente in Frankfurt, but I plan to cook my husband Nick one of his favourite meals when I’m back! I hope you have a wonderful day! Sophie X

 

 

 

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Peggy Porschen Fondant Fancies

I was delighted to be asked to my friend Peggy Porschen‘s fabulous baking classes and had the choice of which one I wanted to go to. It was a tough cookie, as there are so many amazing classes to choose from. I decided to go for the Fondant Fancies class and I took my gorgeous daughter Coco, who, like me is an avid baker. We had such a fabulous time and we absolutely loved the class and giggled throughout. Our teacher was fabulous, so patient and knowledgable and was helpful every step of the way. Coco and I especially loved the decorating part at the end. They tasted so good too; I brought them into the office and they were completley demolished in 10 seconds flat! I can highly recommend Peggy’s classes, not only do you learn lots but they’re oodles of fun too. Thank you Peggy for such a wonderful day. Sophie X

Image Credit: Peggy Porschen

Image Credit: Peggy Porschen

Image Credit: Peggy Porschen

Image Credit: Peggy Porschen

Scrummy Shortbread!

We had this scrumptious shortbread at the Press day and they were so delicious, lovely and light and melted in your mouth. I usually cut mine into hearts, which would be perfect for Valentine’s day! Brand them with a cookie stamp which are readily available from Amazon for added effect!

Shortbread hearts blog

Shortbread

Makes about 40

225g plain flour

75g corn flour

200g butter, straight from the fridge, cut into cubes

100g caster sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

Extra sugar and flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 180C.

Cover a large baking sheet with baking parchment, cut to size. I use a little butter rubbed on to the sheet to get he parchment to stay in place.

Sift the flour together and put into a food processor with the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Blitz until it is well mixed, looks like breadcrumbs or begins to clump. Turn out onto the work surface and work into a ball. Divide into 4 and dust the work surface with a little flour. Roll out each piece of dough to a thickness of a £ coin or a little thinner. Cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutter if you have one, or an upturned glass and place on the baking sheet. Place on the middle rung of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Leave in the tin to cool and dust with caster sugar.

Press Breakfast at Home

We had a delightful morning at home celebrating the launch of my new ‘Sophie Blue’ collection as well as getting an exclusive look at my collections for the year ahead, which will be exclusive to my website. The event started bright and early on a beautiful wintery Thursday morning and upon arrival our guests were given a mug of coffee and a pain au chocolate to warm them up. However some of our guests on a Jan detox opted for the healthier fruit salad and green tea option!  Guests were guided through each display and afterwards invited to hazard a guess at our summer fete-esque games; guess the weight of the coffee cake and guess how many Rococo jelly babies were in my new trifle bowl!  As lunch time neared, guests tucked into smoked salmon bagels, which went down a treat! It was lovely to see so many people there and I’m so excited to be revealing my new collections on my website in the next few months. Watch this space! Sophie X

PRESS DAY BLUE PRESS DAY cookies PRESS DAY group shot

Delicious Breakfasts!

It’s Farmhouse Breakfast Week this week, which celebrates the importance of breakfast. With all of us living such busy lives, breakfast is slowly being pushed out of our daily eating habits, which is not good for keeping active both physically and mentally at work or out and about. Farmhouse Breakfast Week highlights the fact that breakfast is essential for productivity so have a look at some of my favourite breakfasts, which I hope will give you some inspiration for some delicious morning meals this week. Sophie X

Medium Oval Platter

Medium Oval Platter with some fabulous apricots and lemons

blog Breakfast

Coffee, waffles and a lovely fruit salad.

 

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Small Footed Bowl with a Delicious Cup of Blueberries

Blog Blue breakfast

Cereal Bowl containing muesli with yoghurt, topped with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and passion fruit.

 

Delicious Quick and Healthy Couscous

January is upon us and this recipe is perfect for those having a new year health kick! It is such a simple recipe that it can be made for a quick dinner or for lunch the night before. Deliciously light and incredibly healthy, this is my go-to recipe for something a bit different than your usual salad and can be popped in the fridge to be used whenever you need a tasty meal in a hurry.

White Large Casserole available at sophieconran.com

White Large Casserole available at www.sophieconran.com

Couscous Salad

75g Couscous

Pinch of Cumin

Pinch of Salt

2 Small Tomatoes (finely chopped)

Small bunch of Mint (finely chopped)

1 tbsp Olive Oil

10 cm’s of Cucumber (peeled & finely chopped)

1 Carrot (peeled & finely chopped)

½ Chicken Breast

Cook the Couscous according to the instructions on the packet then allow to cool. Fry the Chicken in a little Olive Oil and slice. Combine the ingredients together and serve. Quick and Delicious!

Try adding Prawns, Roasted Vegetables, Pomegranate or a squeeze of Lemon to this recipe for something a little more indulgent or try combinations of your own! I also love to pair this recipe with my Moroccan Lamb with Apricots when I have lots of mouths to feed.

Enjoy!