Splitting focus between all things tile-tastic and the natural world that surrounds us.
Home-schooling and working from home aside, many of us are using our time spent in self-isolation to do one of two things – getting back in touch with the natural world and redecorating some aspect of the home, be it a whole room renovation or just restyling a bookcase. That’s why this week’s recommendations of how to keep yourself entertained all stem from these two seedlings of activities…
Choosing just one book, magazine or blog each week is by no means easy – thankfully, most of us are somewhat spoilt for choice with what’s lining our bookshelves or waiting to be read online. But, there’s a certain one that we’ve had on our must-read list for sometime, but instead it has been sat looking like a lovely coffee table book, waiting patiently to be thumbed – Nurture by Carole Bamford.
For those yet to discover the utterly wonderful world of Daylesford and Bamford, this recipe-meets-lifestyle, linen-bound book is the perfect introduction. Full of wholesome things to cook (many of which are served in Daylesford’s seasonal eateries in the Cotswolds and London) and passages of prose that inspire you to live more sustainably, healthily and beautifully, this is a hardback that’s harmonious indeed with Mother Nature.
Even if you’re not the natural documentary sort, it’s hard to come across anybody who doesn’t appreciate the works of Attenborough. Maybe it’s not that you don’t like this sort of series, but would always favour watching something fictional or funny, and with only so many hours in the day, anything nature-based gets stuck at the back of the queue. If that scenario sounds familiar, then now’s the time to get acquainted, starting with Our Planet – a double Emmy award-winning Netflix original.
First airing in 2019, there are eight episodes (each lasting just shy of an hour) to feast your eyes upon as Attenborough takes you through the world’s remotest jungles, forests, deserts and high seas. You’ll see enthralling footage in the finest of 4K detail with many never-before-seen moments (such as a blue whale mother and her newborn calf spotted in the gulf of New Mexico) and scenes that will make you proud of and thankful for the planet that we call home. Itching to travel and ignited in action to do your bit to protect it you will be just one episode in.
Instead of focussing on Spotify playlists, for our column, we’ve decided to shine a lot on podcasts instead.
Here we move from the natural world to all things interiors with the jam-packed episode listing brought to you by Country & Townhouse’s interview-based channel – House Guest. A popular listen, it has amassed 65 episodes (the most recent airing just a few days ago) and gets an impressive five stars on iTunes.
In each episode, the much-read magazine’s editor, Carole Annett spends no more than 30 minutes chit-chatting to names known (and less so) in the world of interiors. They might be world-famous designers such as Nina Campbell, Olga Polizzi or Kelly Hoppen, colour gurus like Farrow & Ball’s renowned Joa Studholme or the creative minds behind some of the most esteemed interiors brands in the industry – Tricia Guild of Designer’s Guild being a case in point.
Tune in for those of you desperately seeking an interiors fix!
One of our all-time favourite tile-tactic Instagram accounts has to be @parisianfloors from photographer Sebastian Erras.
Shooting downwards in every frame, he serves a feast for the eyes with patterned floor upon patterned floor discovered in France’s capital (along with the inclusion of his own two feet and impressive shoe collection). What began in Paris then took him all over the world, documenting the most tantalising of tessellations, some graphic and colourful, others ornate and jewel-like in palette.
Favourites of ours include the unusual tan and azure blue Belgian tiles found in the Take Five Espresso bar that melds Celtic-like motifs encased in quatrefoil and circular shapes as well as the Parisian scallop and teardrop blue mosaic that Sebastian loved so much, he went back toAvenue Emile Zola to shoot it with a favourite pair of blue lace-ups to share on the day he reached 100,000 followers.
Not only will this have you looking at (and appreciating) your own tile masterpieces, but you’ll be wanting to get yourself on a Eurostar to Paris, pronto (or pronto-ish as the case may be at the moment!)
Whether you’ve made your own pasta before or not, it’s generally one of those ingredients that we don’t think twice about buying but we absolutely think twice about making. How easy it is to scatter the shells or strips out from the bag and into the pan, but how much more rewarding it is to make them from scratch and how much more will you savour every mouthful.
We had a go at this recipe just last week and were amazed just how simple it was. Requiring pantry basics only and not even a pasta machine – a rolling pin and a bit of elbow grease is all it takes – the thick ribbons of pappardelle are easy-peasy to shape unlike the tricky carving or orecchiette!
Home-made pappardelle pasta
65g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, semolina and salt before tipping it onto a clean, dry surface and making a deep well in the middle.
- Add the eggs into the well and whisk them together as you gradually bring in the flour from the sides. Keep working the dough until it starts to come together and is no longer runny – this can take a good few minutes so keep going!
- Flour your hands and then start kneading the dough, dusting with extra flour as you need to stop it from sticking. After about 10 minutes, it should be smooth and elastic.
- Flatten it into a thick disc, wrap it tightly in cling film, and let it rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
- Now to roll! Dust the surface with flour and semolina and flatten the dough into an oval that’s about 1/2 inch thick. If you’re using a pasta machine, feed it through the largest width setting and repeat 3-4 times. Carry on doing this, gradually narrowing the opening until you reach setting 4 on your machine. Cut the pasta sheet in half, trim and remove any of the straggly bits. If you’re using a rolling pin, simply roll and roll some more until you get the sheets as long and thin as you can.
- Cut the sheet into ribbons that measure 1/2 inch wide and then dust them once more with semolina.
- Pop them into a pan of bubbling salted water and they’ll cook in 2-3 minutes – be sure to not do more than that or they won’t be perfectly al dente!