We Love November!


We Love November!

 

The penultimate month of the year and what a feast it has to offer, despite the fact that it is the only month when more rain usually falls on London than on Paris! 

According to data from Twitter, the Spanish are more likely to tweet “Te amo” (I love you) in November than in any other month, so we thought it would be fun to explore what there is to love about November...

Chiddingfold Bonfire - Saturday 5th November 2016

Chiddingfold Bonfire - Saturday 5th November 2016

Tom Raffield - Grand Designs

Nestled amongst the trees in a beautiful piece of Cornish woodland is the steam bent house that Tom built.

Tom and his wife Danielle have long dreamed of being able to live and work amongst the trees and after two years of hard work and creative exploration they have finally finished their biggest project to date.  Featured on Grand Designs on during October 2016, Kevin McCloud and his team documented the process and joined them on their journey from frivolous idea to the realisation of their dream.

At Tom Raffield, they create beautiful furniture and lighting to treasure – pieces that both stand out and fit into your life, bringing a unique quality to your home.

Inspired by the forms of nature, they design and make each item by hand in their workshop in Cornwall.  

Their award-winning ranges combine sustainable design with the low-energy process of steam bending to create timeless pieces that will last over a lifetime.

Figura's Magnificent Larders

As winter approaches, November feels like the perfect time to feature larders. In medieval halls the larder was where meat (‘lard’), fish, and other foodstuffs prone to rapid spoilage were stored.  Looked after by the Larderer, it was closely connected to the  saucery, the scullery and the pantry. The pantry (from the word ‘pain’) was where the bread was kept.

By the Victorian era, whilst large houses maintained the use of separate rooms for food preparation and storage elsewhere, the larder and pantry simply became large wooden cupboards, each with its exclusive purpose.

Today the larder or pantry is a ‘must have’ for our clients.

Figura

Figura

So what would be in our larder?  A larder should be designed individually for each client with a definite function in mind. It is so much more than just a large cupboard. We design it to be uncluttered, simple and organised. The larder creates another workspace that could be dedicated to pastry or bread making. It can also be where you chop, mix, roll, juice, brew coffee or blend smoothies. We have designed them specifically to provide a children’s cooking zone and even to become home to a malt whisky collection.

Figura

Figura

Taurus Wine - Bramley

Taurus Wines has been a feature on the Surrey and Sussex landscape for over 15 years, supplying both fine and ‘party’ wines from its shop at Whipley Manor Farm. Rupert Pritchett, the proprietor, hand selects each wine for the shop – going as far afield as Argentina (as well as short hops to Europe) on buying trips to source fantastic wines at great prices.

"I still get a thrill when I find a great wine from a small vineyard and can import it directly – it means our customers get a great value wine; one that their friends won’t have seen anywhere else!" says Rupert

We’ve asked Rupert to find us some inspirational wine matches to go with the recipe and menu suggestions from our guest blogger this month, The Noah's Ark – read on for his recommendations.

"The November dish of roasted south coast cod with that delicious creamy, mussel and saffron broth deserves something rather good. One of my personal favourites is our Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño 2013 (£15.99). It’s a classic Albariño, and would be light enough to not overpower the delicate cod, while having enough freshness to cut through the beautiful creamy broth and cheesy crisp. It’s a bone-dry white with a hint of minerality, like its French cousin the Premier Cru Chablis, which would also be an excellent, if pricier, match for this dish."

"The November dish of roasted south coast cod with that delicious creamy, mussel and saffron broth deserves something rather good. One of my personal favourites is our Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño 2013 (£15.99). It’s a classic Albariño, and would be light enough to not overpower the delicate cod, while having enough freshness to cut through the beautiful creamy broth and cheesy crisp. It’s a bone-dry white with a hint of minerality, like its French cousin the Premier Cru Chablis, which would also be an excellent, if pricier, match for this dish."

"Tarte Tatin is an autumnal favourite; warming and sweet, and made even better with lovely English apples! Another treat we love made from English apples is Somerset Pomona (£10.99). It’s a secret blend of apple juice and brandy that’s matured in oak barrels so it takes on a wonderful warming vanilla hint – perfect with a dollop of rich vanilla ice cream or custard that will no doubt be served with the tart. This digestif will carry you onto your cheeseboard too, as it’s a great match for the richness of Stilton – in fact it’s served at the world-famous Noma restaurant in Copenhagen alongside its puddings and cheeses."

"Tarte Tatin is an autumnal favourite; warming and sweet, and made even better with lovely English apples! Another treat we love made from English apples is Somerset Pomona (£10.99). It’s a secret blend of apple juice and brandy that’s matured in oak barrels so it takes on a wonderful warming vanilla hint – perfect with a dollop of rich vanilla ice cream or custard that will no doubt be served with the tart. This digestif will carry you onto your cheeseboard too, as it’s a great match for the richness of Stilton – in fact it’s served at the world-famous Noma restaurant in Copenhagen alongside its puddings and cheeses."

Hygge

With our Scandinavian heritage at Figura we read with interest that Denmark has just been voted the happiest country in the world again, making it 40 years in a row it has taken the crown. And there's one absolutely lovely trick we should take from this world of happy people that could make our lives better too.

It's called the 'hygge' (pronounced hooga) and it basically means 'to have cosy time together'.

Danish families have hygge time not just every now and then, or on holidays, but as a regular activity. It's ingrained into their family culture. Think 'we-time' not 'me-time'. Think cosying up together with candles or fairy lights twinkling, supping hot chocolate and lying on beanbags chatting about your day. Think sitting out in the garden with rugs over your knees, watching the stars.

Hygge is about feeling the cosiness, and it's not hard to see how, if this is part of your everyday family life, it can make you happier.

Hygge is not about big gestures or extravagant plans: it's about creating time together and enjoying the little things in life. The things that make you feel all warm and 'hyggelig'.

Noah's Ark

Located just a stone’s throw from Blackdown Hill on the borders of Surrey and West Sussex, The Noah’s Ark is a beautiful 16th century pub situated in the picturesque village of Lurgashall.

The pub has become an established venue under the ownership of Henry Coghlan and Amy Whitmore, their aim is to provide outstanding seasonal food with great service while retaining a traditional pub atmosphere.

This month we have been chatting to Amy to find out why she thinks autumn is an exciting time  at The Noah’s Ark.

Firstly they have a short, regularly changing menu focusing on the best of seasonal and local produce, and Amy is delighted that autumn offers more delicious ingredients than any other time of year.

They also work with many wonderful local suppliers, but they don’t get more local than Orchard Park Farm – their neighbours, and a farm that offers Pick Your Own organic plums and apples. 

Amy and the team are currently featuring apples on their menu in a number of guises.  There is a delicious sounding ‘Cocktail of the Month’ an Apple Mojito, an Apple, fennel and air-dried ham salad.  For their younger visitors over the Bonfire Weekend they are giving away home-made Toffee Apples! But one of their perennial (and most popular) favourites is a classic Apple Tarte Tatin.

Research shows that the Tarte Tatin was created accidentally in the 1880's, at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France. The hotel was owned and run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin.

If you’d like to make your own, here’s their recipe:

Ingredients (Serves 6)

300g/puff pastry
6 – 7 apples such as Coxes or Braeburn (ideally local!)
100g caster sugar
50ml water
60g unsalted diced butter
Crème fraiche, clotted cream, vanilla ice-cream to serve

20cm Tarte Tatin dish/oven proof pan

Method

Pre heat the oven to 190°C/Gas mark 5.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, to approximately 3mm thick. Then cut out a circle about 5cm bigger than the dish or ovenproof pan, being used to cook the apples.

Peel, quarter and core the apples. Melt the sugar and add the water in the pan, lightly warm on medium heat until it turns golden brown, then take off the heat and stir in the diced butter, bit by bit.

Place the apples in the pan and gently stir them to cover them with the caramel; then starting at the edge, place them rounded side down, tightly in circles, until reaching the centre.

Finally, place the pastry on top, tucking the edges into the pan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  The pastry should be a lovely crispy golden brown.

Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool down.  Place a large plate (upside down) on top of the tart and holding both, upturn them so the tart overturns onto the plate.

At The Noah’s Ark it is served with Caroline’s Dairy (another favourite local producer) ‘Double Dairy’ vanilla ice-cream but it works just as well with crème fraiche or clotted cream.

If you would like to enjoy a main course beforehand, they recommend their roast fillet of south coast cod, baby leek, mussel and saffron cream broth, parmesan and crab crisp. It’s a good autumnal main course that isn’t too heavy.

Enjoy the rest of your autumnal eating!

Our favourite picks of the unique and handcrafted from the interiors magazines this month...

From Left to right
Oliver Bonas: Estella small bowl, Le Creuset: Round casserole in Cassis, Rocket St George: Eye Egg Cup, Fairies of Knapwell Wood
The Merchant Fox: Somerset Willow Wool Work Basket, Hector Finch: Chiara Pendant in Turchese, Julian Stair Ceramics, VV Rouleaux, squashed gooseberry goose feather fringe
Emma Lacey Ceramics, Pentreath and Hall, Lindell and Co cushion, Michele Varian Ceramics, Rowen and Wren, Kinmel welsh blanket
Farrow and Ball, Inchyra Blue, Cornish Bright: Tim Casey glassware, Toast: sheepskin slippers, Tracy Glover: Teardrop pendant.

Property: The Country Estate Market

Figura works with clients who are looking to invest in their homes for the future and so the property market is area we follow with interest.  Each month we will be bringing you an insight from our local and highly regarded property experts.

For most buyers, the perfect country estate would lie within two hours’ drive of London, Figura’s heartland. Buyers specify it should have long views free from any development, 1,000 acres of mixed farm and amenity land and a beautiful period and ideally not too large Georgian house in reasonably good condition.

According to Tim Harriss of Knight Frank, Guildford, "buyers, both UK based and international are looking to be within an hour or so from London with good access to first class schools as well as both Heathrow and Gatwick. Tim tells us that for many affluent buyers a place in the country has an enduring appeal."  Knight Frank’s latest edition of 'Private View' highlights why a home in the countryside is every bit as covetable as one in the capital.

Knight Frank

Knight Frank

It will come as no surprise that gems such as these are few and far between and, when they do appear on the market, they can command many millions.

We spoke to Andrew Giller, co-founder of house, a local on-line Estate Agent, who is managing the sale of a large country estate in Surrey.  He told us that "2016 has been a 'stop start' year with an early flush of sales in the spring followed by a stall in the market during the traditional county house selling season of March through to July, thanks to Brexit."

At house, they have welcomed back the London buyer with many more families wishing to make the traditional migration down the A3, these particular buyers have been dormant from the market for the past number of years, in part due to the continued increase in the London market.

House are anticipating a more fluid country house market during 2017 as they are currently witnessing an increase in buyers out viewing, predominantly from London and North Surrey, competitive mortgage rates and general felling that now is a good time to be investing in the country.

International buyers are benefiting from the weaker pound and they have sold a number of properties to overseas buyers that already have a house in London and want a country house to use at weekends and holidays. Andrew anticipates that this trend will increase during the spring in 2017 as more houses come the market.         

One of the shifts that has been observed among buyers, is that savvy purchasers are looking at the cost of restoration, upkeep and factoring in the potential cost of maintenance work before stepping forward to bid.  They are also looking at the potential to add value. Figura has worked with many clients, helping them realise the full potential and value of their beautiful homes.  It is our privilege to design hand-built furniture and interiors for a great number of the finest houses in Surrey, Sussex, London and beyond.

The Design Museum's new home

The Design Museum in London is moving and will reopen in its spectacular new location on High Street Kensington on 24th November 2016.

The new Design Museum will be the world’s leading museum of contemporary design and architecture, an international showcase for the many design skills at which Britain excels and a creative centre, promoting innovation and nurturing the next generation of design talent.

The Design Museum’s collection is an important record of the key designs that have shaped the modern world. It tells the history of mass production, from the manufacturing innovations of the nineteenth century up to the digital and making revolution of the last few years. The collection spans all aspects of design including architecture, fashion, furniture, product and graphic design, digital media and transport. 

Inspiring Views Trail

On a crisp and bright November autumnal day this circular walk within the Surrey Hills sounds like an excellent reason to wrap up warm and enjoy the fresh air.  

Perspectives: Giles Miller (Winterfold Hill)

Perspectives: Giles Miller (Winterfold Hill)

The 5.5 mile walk, celebrates the Inspiring Views Art Project, visiting a number of beautiful viewpoints and discovering the sculptural benches and poetry inspired by these. You will be taken on a peaceful journey through the densely wooded rolling hills, interspersed with breath-taking viewpoints and artwork. The Inspiring Views project, the brainchild of Surrey Hills Arts, aims to discover, reveal and interpret the views from the Surrey Hills. The artworks respond to the location and incorporate seating providing a reason to visit, pause and appreciate the outstanding view.

Grains: Tom Nicholson-Smith

Grains: Tom Nicholson-Smith

Featured Maker: Silvia K Ceramics

Although her heart now lies in Sussex, it is Silvia Kamodyova’s Slovakian roots that serve as inspiration for her ceramics. Silvia K creates a functional range of terracotta tableware and larger vessels inspired by folk traditions and peasant artefacts. Coming from Slovakia, a country of incredible cultural heritage, Silvia has always had a passion and respect for crafts.

Her work reflects the simple beauty of agrarian vessels, decorating her pieces with marks inspired by the landscape. All pieces in her range are made by hand in Silvia’s favourite terracotta clay that has been fired to mid temperature to give it a beautiful rich red colour. Silvia uses coloured slip mixed from raw materials and handles made from naturally tanned brown British leather.