Homemade Christmas Gifts

As promised, here is another super simple idea for a stocking filler this Christmas. As you know we have a fabulous herb garden here at the Hundred House, and this recipe is an unusual way of preserving them. The fragrance is delightful and will bring a hint of spring to those dark February days. It’s an unusual idea and a change from more traditional edible gifts.

Fragrant and vibrant herb salts bring freshness to darker days . Use it as a finishing salt, a rub for meats or to flavour homemade stocks.

You can use any herbs you like for this recipe. I’ve created one in a Mediterranean style (basil,parsley) and one with a nod to Morocco, brimming with the freshness of mint and coriander. Anything that you have in your garden will work well, just think about what flavours you enjoy. It’s a lovely way to preserve the very last memories of summer eating .

What you need

  • 3 cups of fresh herbs.
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt ( I used Maldon Smoked Sea salt, but any coarse salt will do)

What to do 

Wash your chosen herbs and dry them thoroughly.

Remove any discoloured leaves

Place the herbs and salt in a food processor and pulse until they are blended together. Go steadily, if you go too far you will end up with a mushy mess !

Place the herbs in a sterilised jar, and store in the fridge. The herb salt will be ready in around 7 days, and will keep for up to six months.

I use this as a finishing salt, or as a rub for my favourite meats. It’ll be a real boon when barbecue season rolls around .

Any herbs can be used, I chose to create two blends based on cuisine of Morocco and the Mediterranean.

Three cups of  your chosen herbs…….

………blended with half a cup of coarse grain salt.

Blend to a coarse grind. Use the pulse setting to make sure you don’t blend the mixture too much.

A pretty ribbon and a handwritten label transform this simple idea into an unusual gift.

This is such a simple make, and a smashing alternative to the swathes of shortbread and chocolates that we are used to. Combine it with a voucher for  lunch or dinner at the Hundred House and you have a perfect gift for any lover of great food.

I hope you enjoy making and giving this lovely gift, remember to subscribe to get our regular updates and recipes. Liking  and following our Facebook page will make sure you never miss a post from our blog.

 

 

 

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‘Tis the season

Eagle-eyed Facebook followers will know that Christmas is in full swing at the Hundred House. I thought I’d take the chance to tell you more about our stunning new decorations in the Tithe Barn.

Handmade especially for our party and wedding venue, our new decorations are inspired by the colours that surround the Hundred House in winter. A real modern classic.

 

 

Following expert tuition from Denise Purnell of Ginger Lily Florist, our events and wedding guru Joanne Phillips created six new garlands for our barn. Drawing on her years of expertise in the industry Jo chose colours that will be a perfect complement to any colour scheme, as well as bringing extra sparkle to our Christmas party events.

Each pine cone, glittering bauble and dainty bead is hand wired to the foliage.

 

A range of festive trimmings were gathered to create our garlands

Florist’s wire is used to make sure the decorations are firmly fixed.

Each garland takes around two hours to make. I asked Jo for her tips on how create the perfect festive finish.

  • Don’t feel you have to spend a fortune. Simple baubles can be transformed with skillful arrangement.
  • Decide on a theme. A jumble of ideas can look cute and quirky, but keep a common thread, even if it’s just colour.
  • Plan your design before you start. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to start rewiring half-way through.
  • Prepare all your materials, even down to cutting the florist wire.
  • Take care to keep all the decorations front facing.

Florist’s wire, cut and ready to go . Jo recommends preparing your materials before you start makes the job easier.

Pine cones were the trickiest to wire.The key is making sure the wire sits at the base, so the cone hangs true.

Planning your design before you start is the key to things going smoothly.

Beautiful modern vintage style.

So there you have it, simple effective decorations that will bring stunning sparkle to our tithe barn.

More photos of the hotel and restaurant are on their way, plus news about our luscious lunch menus and delightful dinner. If you really can’t wait, have a look on Facebook, where there’s a sneak peek of our festive food.

For information about Ginger Lily Florist have a look at their Facebook page

https://m.facebook.com/Ginger-Lily-Florist-formerly-Rustic-Wedding-Flowers-1415607878686513/?locale2=en_GB

Or follow them on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/gingerlilyflorist/

 

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Homemade Christmas Gifts

Christmas is the ultimate feast for the senses.twinkling lights, frost on your favourite tree, the air suffused with the scent of cinnamon, nut meg and cloves. It is a time to treasure, and a time to spend with those you care about.

Preparation for all your celebrations are well underway here at the Hundred House, menus have been finalised, bookings are flooding in for our famous party nights and the restaurant has a distinctly festive feel. Next week is our big decorating party, it’s a magical time which shows off the unique style of the Hundred House. I’ll be writing about our new decorations next week, but today I wanted to tell you about some gorgeous homemade gifts.

Sweet, fragrant and delicious served with a spoonful of cream.

 

Imagine , if you will, little jars of clementines bathed in brandy and scented with Christmas spices, a warming ginger liqueur just made for sipping by the fire after a crisp winter walk and little jars of preserved herbs that will be perfect in February when we all crave a hint of spring.  These are simple gifts that are straightforward to make, none of them need to mature for months so there is still time to get creative in the kitchen.

Clementines Soused in Brandy

Makes two generous jars.

You will need

  • 8 to 12 clementines
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 300mls water
  • 150mls brandy or cognac
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

You will also need two clean sterilised jars

What to do

Peel the clementines, taking care to remove the pith. Pack them into your jars, nestling the cinnamon and star anise around them.

To make the brandy syrup:dissolve the sugar in the water and bring it to the boil. Remove from the heat. When the syrup is cool add the brandy.

Pour the syrup over the clementines and seal the jars.

These will keep in a cool dark place for one month. They are delicious  served warm (just heat them through on the stove), or cold with lick of velvety cream.

Peel the clementines and pack them into your sterilised jars along with Cinnamon and Star Anise.

 

 

Dissolve the sugar in the water, bring to the boil, then remove the syrup from the heat and allow to cool before adding the brandy.

Pour the brandy syrup over the clementines and store in a cool dark place for up to a month.

Making these takes around half an hour. I think they’re a fabulous twist on the Christmas tradition of putting an orange in your festive stocking !

I’ll be posting more ideas for homemade goodies over the next week so keep an eye on your inbox, or just like and follow us on Facebook.

 

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New flavours you will love !

Autumn is well and truly here and regular diners will have noticed our menu gradually moving towards warming winter flavours that showcase our harvest. As the natural changes wrought by the shift in seasons,we have exciting new technology in our kitchen. With new technology comes new technique, which means we can bring you new tastes to try. I spent a little time with our head chef Andy, who introduced me to some of the creations from the kitchen. One of my favourites is the Ham Hock and Black Pudding terrine.

Ham Hock and Black Pudding Terrine with Pickled Carrots, Mustard Mayonnaise, Salsa Verde and little pops of pork crunch. 
©kam

 

As well as the obvious harmony between soft,melting ham hock and earthy, rich black pudding what made this dish stand out for me were the accompaniments.

Pickled carrots, pops of pork crunch a swoop of mustard mayonnaise…….it’s the accompaniments that make this dish sing.

 

 

 

Chefs often talk about balance in a dish, and this has been beautifully realized here. Each element is good on its own, but together they make the whole dish sing. The contrast between the sharp but sweet, zingy pickled carrots and the rich meats is nothing less than a joy. Combine this with pops of pork crunch and the freshness of the lemon, carpers and anchovies of the  Salsa Verde and you have a truly memorable marriage of flavours.

 

Ham Hock and Black Pudding terrine, wrapped in sauteed leeks, accompanied by home pickled carrots, pork crunch, mustard mayonnaise and Salsa Verde.
©kam

You can sample this beautiful dish as a starter on our À la carte menu or as part of our lunch menu. A perfect start to seasonal eating.

 

I’ll be featuring more of our latest food creations regularly in the new year, sign up to be the first to know ! Just press the button below, or follow us on FaceBook.

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Cheery Chutney

Chutneys are used in so many ways at the Hundred House, whether they’re enhancing our home made paté, giving a bit of zing to our scrumptious lunchtime sandwiches or complimenting our selection of cheeses, we love the curious combination of sweet and savoury that only a chutney can give.

Assembled loveliness
©kam

 

 

Chutney makes a gorgeous gift too, and is a great way of using up a glut of apples or pears from your garden, making the most of homegrown veg, or even just taking advantage of special offers at your local greengrocer.  Here are a couple of my favourites

Beetroot and Orange Chutney

  • 1½ kg raw beetroot, trimmed, peeled and diced (wear gloves!)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 eating apples, peeled and grated
  • zest and juice 3 oranges
  • 2 tbsp white or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 700ml red wine vinegar
  • 700g golden granulated sugar

Method

  1. In a preserving pan or your largest saucepan, mix together all the ingredients well. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for 1 hr, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is thick and the beetroot tender.
  2. While the chutney is cooking, prepare your jars by running through a short hot wash in your dishwasher. Or wash thoroughly by hand, then put in a hot oven to sterilise for 10-15 mins. Once the chutney is ready, let it settle for 10 mins, then carefully spoon into the jars and seal while still hot. You can eat it straight away but it will be even better after a month. Will keep for up to 6 months in a cool dark place. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within 2 months.

Spiced Beetroot and Orange Chutney. Great with cold meats and rich brie and sharp stilton. Making it makes the house smell stunning too !

Recipe from Good Food magazine

Spiced Pear Chutney

Ingredients

  • 60ml/2¼fl oz olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 200g/7¼oz sultanas
  • 100g/3½oz raisins
  • 100g/3½oz demerara sugar /or coconut sugar
  • 400ml/14¼oz cider vinegar
  • 100g/3½oz crystallised ginger, finely sliced
  • 800g/1lb 12¼oz pears coared and cut into wedges
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 good pinch of saffron

    Method

    1. Heat a large saucepan with the oil, add the rosemary, sultanas, raisins and sugar and fry them until the fruit begins to caramelise.

    2. Pour in the vinegar and boil on a high heat for three minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, then turn to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Because of the fruit, this chutney has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan, so stir it well and keep an eye on it. Don’t let the pears cook too much; they should keep their shape.

    3. Spoon it into clean hot jars, filling them as full as you can, and seal while hot. Store in the fridge.

      Pear Chutney is delicious with hard cheeses such as Comté, or slathered on a pork pie.

 

Recipe from BBC Food

There’s just got time time to make a batch or two ready for Christmas. Alongside a Hundred House gift voucher you’ve got the makings of a perfect food lovers gift.

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Pegasus

Did you know we have our very own donkey ?  This may be a surprise, since dear Pegasus is safely positioned away from the hustle and bustle of the Hundred House.

 

Waiting for apples

We gave a home to Pegasus around four years ago, as a companion to Donk. She’s five years old and gorgeous.

 

Her favourite person is Libby, who feeds and cares for her. Pegasus does her bit for recycling too, taking great delight in the leftover apple and potato peelings. She’s the most recent in a long line of rehomed donkeys, and another of the things that make the Hundred House such a unique and charming place.

There’s nothing quite as lovely as a donkey’s nose.

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Beautiful blooms

Our garden is one of our favourite things. It’s what makes us unique and we know that our guests love it too.  Whilst the glorious summer flowers are fading, we’ve just harvested the latest crops for creating our hanging herb posies. All the herbs and flowers that we use to decorate the Hundred House are grown, harvested and dried right here. Libby had just created some beautiful new arrangements, and we think they look stunning.

Helichrysum, and Love in a Mist
©kam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfectly preserved
©kam

We’ve commissioned some gorgeous slate labels too, the heart shape gives a stylish retro feel.

The contrast between slate and delicate Angelica is beautiful
©kam

I love the vibrant purple of the Globe Thistle against the soft red brick.
©kam

 

Pop in soon to have a look and a bit to eat, everywhere is looking beautiful and of course the food is fantastic !

Ready for a lovely lunch
©kam

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Hollowdene Hens

 

Can you imagine how many eggs the Hundred House needs each week? As well being part of our delicious breakfast dishes, we use them in cakes, glazing pastries, sauces, side dishes, you name it, eggs are involved in the kitchen every single day. As you know, we really care about where our ingredients come from and whilst we like to use as much of our own produce as possible, space and time mean we source our some of our ingredients from local suppliers.Over the next few months I’ll be finding out about many of our suppliers and the essential egg seemed like a great place to  start. Peter Jarvis, owner of Hollowdene Hens was kind enough to answer some questions and take some fab poultry pics!

Happy hens mean tasty eggs

HH What can you tell us about Hollowdene Hens?

PJ I’m a former dairy farmer, and went into free range egg production just over 10 years ago. We run 3 separate flocks of about 2000 birds in each. This gives us a continuous supply of varying size eggs. Each flock is re stocked about every 15 months. Effectively this means we are re stocking one flock every 5 months.

HH Why are free range eggs better than other methods?

PJ The hens have the freedom to go out during day light every day. Judging by the speed they rush out every morning, this is something they truly enjoy. I haven’t said much about caged hens. Clearly, they are easier to manage, they eat less (therefore it’s cheaper to produce eggs) due to lack of exercise, but they have no life, other than that of a prisoner.

Here’s to happy hens !

HH What do you enjoy about your job?

PJ   For me, this is a very enjoyable job, although the down side is, it is truly 24/7, 365 days a year. Days off are few and far between.

HH Can the public buy your eggs?

PJ Our eggs are used in many top hotels and restaurants in the Shrewsbury / Telford area and can be bought in many independent shops in this area too. Under the Hollowdene hen’s logo.

HH Finally, do you have a favourite hen?

PJ the two resident cockerels are the only ones we have named. Colin and Stanley! Pictures attached. Stanley is the one posing in the back of the van, next to the egg boxes.

Stanley the Cockerel

 

Free range eggs not only taste better, they really do come from hens that have had happy lives. Thank you Peter for telling us a bit more about Hollowdene Hens, and for taking the smashing photos.  I’m pretty sure Stanley will be ready for a modelling career soon !

Colin the Cockerel

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