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Blackberry Season – Fontina & Blackberry Basil Smash Toastie.

Fruit & cheese is a great combination, and as the blackberries are almost there, here’s something to try at home.  Fontina cheese & blackberry basil smash toasted sandwich.  it takes longer to say  than to make!

bbcheese Fontina is not too readily available in the UK, you’ll probably need to check out the specialist delis, but good substitutes are gruyere, and gouda, they all work.

This makes 4 toasted sandwiches but yo can adjust as required.

1 loaf of multigrain bread, cut into 8 thick slices

340g of fresh blackberries

12-15 fresh basil leaves, chopped

200g ounces of fontina cheese, sliced or gruyere / gouda

2 tablespoons olive oil

In a large bowl, mash blackberries with a fork (be careful – they will splatter!) and stir in chopped basil. Heat your sandwich maker or large skillet over medium-low heat.

Lay a piece of cheese on each slice of bread, then top with a few spoonfuls of smashed blackberries. Gently pick up 3 slices, brush some olive oil on the bottom, and place them on the griddle or skillet. Place the remaining slices on top, brushing them with olive oil too. If you can, cook these slowly so the bread gets perfectly golden and the cheese melts, so let each side cook for about 4-5 minutes. Remove and dig in!

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Watermelon Punch Bowl – Summer Party Ideas

Very simple yet very impressive, this watermelon punch bowl is guaranteed to raise a smile.

watermelon-punch-bowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will need:
1 oblong seedless watermelon (about 5-7Kg)
3 cups Carbonated water

DIRECTIONS

STEP 1

Cut top third off watermelon; trim bottom just enough to make a flat surface. Scoop out flesh.

STEP 2

Working in batches, puree watermelon in a food processor. Strain through a fine sieve; discard solids. (You should have about 9 cups juice.) Cover rind with plastic wrap. Refrigerate juice and rind until chilled, about 1 hour. Combine juice with Carbonated water; transfer to rind.

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Try Something Different – Cucumber Lemonade

What is it they say, when life gives you lemons?  Well this summer cooler is just perfect to quench those dry throats.Cucumber-Lemonade-with-Basil-1

If you decide to make this, let us know how you like it!

Cucumber Lemonade
1 seeded cucumber
2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice*
2 cups of sugar
1 cup hot water
1 gallon cold water (1 gallon = 128 fl oz)
4 rinds of lemon

Method

1. Pour sugar into a large bow or pitcher. Make sure you have a whisk handy.

2. Add hot water to sugar. Whisk the sugar and hot water together until the sugar fully dissolves.
3. Add in lemon juice; whisk into your sugar and water mixture. So now you have a simple syrup which is flavored with the lemon juice.
4. Add cold water to mixture.
5. Put your seeded cucumber into a blender with 1 quart (32 fl oz) of the lemonade. “Blend it into oblivion.”
6. Add this mixture right back into the lemonade.
7. Flip the lemon rinds inside out and drop them right into the pitcher. Stir.

Chill and enjoy!

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The New Cafe Reading Room – How we did it.

We just love the new reading room addition to our cafe.  We had always planned to develop the space, but we anticipated tackling it around 12 months after opening the initial part of the cafe.  However, the popularity of the cafe has outstripped capacity and we made the decision to push on with it.

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We had a good idea of the type of room we wanted to create and what was required.  We took inspiration from this wonderful Ikea Billy bookcase hack from The Makerista.   This would be the focus of the room and set the overall tone, so we spent some time planning how to adapt it for the space.

A quick trip to Ikea and three Billy bookcases were assembled, these would fit across the end wall.  Although they width did not work out exactly, we planned to centre the three bookcases and panel out equally on either side.

Assembling the bookcases that will stand against the purple wall.

Assembling the bookcases that will stand against the purple wall.

The height of the room meant that the proportions of the bookcase would look shorter so we added extension pieces (also available from Ikea) to take the top to within 12cm of the ceiling.

Extensions were needed to raise the overall height of the bookcase

The proportions were wrong for the standard height of the bookcase.

Extensions were needed to raise the overall height of the bookcase

Extensions were needed to raise the overall height of the bookcase

The bookcases were then secured together and a frame was constructed to fix the complete assembly into place.  The frame work would also provide the fixing for the side panels.

Framework in place to fix the bookcases to the wall and floor.

Framework in place to fix the bookcases to the wall and floor.

Side panels were then fitted, a crown moulding secured along the head of the bookcase frame and 34mm reed mouldings were fixed to mask the join between each bookcase face.

Moulding and trim was used to mask the join and make the bookcase look seamless.

Moulding and trim was used to mask the join and make the bookcase look seamless.

The walls were painted a darker grey than the main cafe, the aim being to reduce the light levels from the large room window.  Wall lights were fitted and the main ceiling lights removed.

Wall lights fitted and the walls painted a darker grey ('Storm' by Leyland)

Wall lights fitted and the walls painted a darker grey (‘Storm’ by Leyland)

Finally the chairs and tables were added, along with additional standard lighting.

A bit more dressing of the bookcase required, but almost there.

A bit more dressing of the bookcase required, but almost there.

More books needed!

More books needed!

The view back towards the main cafe.

The view back towards the main cafe.

Our aim has always been to create a relaxing and inviting space and we think we’ve achieved it. Now all that’s left is to come and try some of our fabulous coffee, pick up a paper and relax.

See you soon.

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Boozy Figs and Goats Cheese Camembert

Figs & cheese are a match made in heaven, this combination of baby red figs, goats cheese camembert with a little red wine make a wonderful addition to any meal.  Give it a go, you’ll love it.

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Boozy Figs and Goats Cheese Camembert
Servings
6 After meal snack
Servings
6 After meal snack
Boozy Figs and Goats Cheese Camembert
Servings
6 After meal snack
Servings
6 After meal snack
Ingredients
Servings: After meal snack
Instructions
  1. Pour the wine into a pot and add all the other ingredients except the figs. Slowly heat the wine and allow the sugar to melt and then bring it to the boil. Add 6 of the figs (whole) to the pot and allow to poach for 5-8 minutes, depending on how big your figs are. Remove the figs and reduce the sauce until it has thickened to a syrupy consistency.
  2. To serve, simply pile the cheese onto a wooden board. Slice the un-poached figs and arrange on the cheese. Add the poached figs and drizzle the syrup over the cheese and fruit. Serve with crackers or melba toast.
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Summer Culture Fix – 5 Local Events To Visit This Summer

Each summer English Heritage sites host a variety of events, many of them designed to work with their specific locations. We’ve selected 5 that appeal, of course a search of the English Heritage database will reveal over 500 to choose from.

 

JANE EYRE

DATE Sun 23 Aug 2015    TIME 6.45pm – Late evening

LOCATION  Mount Grace Priory  SUITABLE  Families

Young governess Jane Eyre arrives at the mysterious Thornfield Hall deep in the Yorkshire moors and meets enigmatic Mr Rochester. So begins this most unforgettable of love stories. When a secret from the past returns to haunt them, can Jane and Rochester’s passion survive the forces that might tear them apart forever?

Doors open at 6.45pm, performance starts at 7.30pm

Full Details


THE JUNGLE BOOK

DATE Fri 31 Jul 2015   TIME 6:45pm – 11pm

LOCATION  Mount Grace Priory  SUITABLE  Families

In the magical Indian jungle a new arrival changes the animal kingdom forever. Your favourite animal characters are brought to life to create an enchanting and fun-filled musical show for children of all ages. Join Mowgli on his wonderful adventures with the loveable and wise Baloo the Bear, the powerful panther Bagheera, and not to mention mischievous monkeys and the terrifying tiger Shere Khan!

Doors open at 6.00pm, performance starts at 6.30pm

Full Details


THE TEMPEST

DATE  Fri 31 Jul 2015  TIME  6:45pm – 11pm

LOCATION   Mount Grace Priory  SUITABLE  Families

A tremendous tempest causes a shipwreck and scatters a cargo of noblemen across a mysterious island. Little do they know that Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan, is at the helm of all magic and mystery. In Shakespeare’s last and most magical tale, fairies and spells unwind villains’ desires, tie lovers together, and unknot past wrongs.Shakespeare’s glorious tale of magical creatures, love and forgiveness on a faraway island is sure to captivate audiences.

Doors open at 6.45pm, performances starts at 7.30pm.

Full Details


THEATRE – EMMA

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 21.39.55

DATE  Wed 05 Aug 2015  TIME  6.45pm – Late evening

LOCATION  Mount Grace Priory  SUITABLE  Families

Join one of Jane Austen’s favourite heroines on her journey of self-discovery. Doors open at 6.45pm, performance starts at 7.30pm.

Full Details


THE CASEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

DATE   Wed 22 Jul 2015  TIME  6.45pm – Late evening

LOCATION  Helmsley Castle  SUITABLE  Families

The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detective Sherlock Holmes has a mysterious new case to investigate when summoned to a nunnery deep in the English countryside. Holmes and his companion Dr Watson join the search for the most elusive piece of treasure known to mankind. With a missing novice, a death in the convent and some very suspicious nuns, Holmes’ newest case promises to be his most terrifying and challenging yet. Doors open at 6.45pm, performance starts at 7.30pm.

Full Details

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Mojito Watermelon

This spiced up watermelon makes everyone’s favourite summer treat even better.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 20.56.35Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 strips lime zest, sliced, plus 2 tbsp juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 small watermelon, rind discarded and sliced
  • 1/3 c. torn mint
  • Flaky sea salt

Directions

  1. Whisk together oil, lime juice, and sugar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Serve watermelon topped with dressing, lime zest, mint, and sea salt.
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Avocado Caprese Salad

Avocado Caprese Salad

This delightful summer salad is just a whole bowl of freshness.

Avocados are full of magnesium and potassium, they’re the nutrients that help reduce blood pressure. Tomatoes are filled with lycopene and help thwart colon cancer. Arugula and basil are antioxidants and helps with anti-aging and carry anti-cancer properties. And mozzarella…protein, calcium and just plain good.Avocado-Caprese-Salad-Foodiecrush.com-

 

To remove the pit out of the avocado, cut it in half and with one firm chop of a large, sharp knife, embedding the knife into the pit until it sticks. Wiggle the knife back and forth and twist the pit out of the avocado half while holding the half in your hand.  Twist and pull the sides apart. Cut the avocado into slices. Take a large spoon and scoop the avocado slices away from the skin and layer on top of the vegetables.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • ½ avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 3 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (I prefer the fruitiest, lightest flavored)
  • 1½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • generous pinch of sugar or dollop of honey
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Assemble the arugula, avocado slices and mozzarella in a serving bowl. Top with torn or slivered basil leaves. Whisk the extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl with the balsamic vinegar, sugar or honey and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and pour over the salad. Toss to coat and serve.