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Tagged with 'Autumn'

Make the most of your October half-term with these outdoor activities

The change of seasons from the warmer, dryer weather, to a colder and wetter Autumn can make it more challenging to find outdoor activities for kids to enjoy. However, we have a round-up of most of all the wonderful things available in the great outdoors over October half-term. Prepare the kid’s for the Autumn woodland with suitable country clothing  

Woodland Walk Pictures

Who doesn’t love a woodland walk? With the Autumnal colour schemes offering a sense of vibrancy and warmth, even if the weather is a little on the chillier side! While out walking, task the kids with picking out fallen leaves and sticks that they can transform into their very own artworks. The best way to do this is by using strong card and PVA glue, however, you should ensure that all your components are dry or they won’t stick! Then you can bring the outdoors in and brighten up your home!

Collecting Conkers

You probably have many childhood memories of collecting conkers on long Autumn walks, it allows you to take in the beauty of your surroundings, as well as filling the kids with excitement as they search out the finest conkers available. You can then get them to all enter into a conker competition; the rules are simple, thread a piece of string onto your conker and the aim of the game is to break your opponent’s conker. Advise the children to look for the strongest and shiniest gem in order to succeed!

Foraging

There are some wonderful things that can be found whilst foraging in the Autumn months, from berries to seeds and flowers. You can transform these into jams, use them in baking activities and to decorate your home. Take a look at our guide to Autumn foraging here for a little more information on what to look for and a few tips and tricks!

Pumpkin Carving Competition

One of the biggest events this season, is of course, Halloween! So, both you and the children can test out your carving skills and see who can create the best pumpkin masterpiece! Get a little creative and try something different with floral designs or scary spider’s webs, these can light up your home both inside and out. Or if you prefer a more traditional take, have a competition to see who can make the scariest pumpkin. You can even use the inside to make a tasty pumpkin pie!

Make a hedgehog home

The colder months can often be difficult for certain animals who are not as naturally well prepared, however you can certainly give them a helping hand by building them a hedgehog home! These can be simply made from cardboard boxes and tubes; the children will love taking their time to decorate the houses to make them feel more like a home for their next occupants. Place them near the bottom of the garden around hedges or woodland in somewhere a little sheltered for the best results! While taking the children out on their adventures, make sure that they are fully equipped with kid’s country clothing, such as hats, gloves and wet weather gear to ensure that they are safe and warm whilst on their outdoor adventures!

Flavours of Autumn — Venison with Blackberry Sauce (Recipe)

As the days turn darker, juicy autumn berries are now ripe for the picking from the bushes, ideal for both puddings and adding a sharp but sweet edge to traditional dishes. Our blackberry sauce perfectly captures the spirit of autumn, with its warm but tangy flavour adding to the succulent and rich flavours of the venison steak. Blackberries autumn fruits berries | Venison in blackberry sauce recipe | Fur Feather and Fin country living sporting gifts Venison with blackberry sauce (to serve two) Ingredients: Two venison steaks 150g blackberries Half a shallot (finely chopped) 100ml chicken stock 100ml red wine One tablespoon caster sugar Two juniper berries (crushed) Two sprigs of thyme Method: 1)      Simmer the blackberries with the caster sugar together in a small saucepan for five minutes, crushing the berries with a back of a fork. Set aside once simmered. 2)      In a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and pan fry the venison steaks. After five minutes, turn the steaks over and cook for a further three to five minutes, depending on how well done you would like the meat to be. Once done, take the meat from the pan and set aside to rest. 3)      Using the same frying pan, soften the finely chopped shallot over a medium heat for two to three minutes. 4)      Add the stock, wine, juniper berries and thyme to the shallot in the pan, simmering over a high heat for five minutes, until reduced. 5)      Stir in the blackberries and any leftover juices from the venison, simmering until warmed through. Serve the steaks with the warm blackberry sauce alongside some steamed green vegetables and mashed potato for a complete and delicious dish, ideally served with one of our food and drink gifts.

Countryside events this Autumn

As the season changes and the sun begins to fade, some may be left feeling glum that the summer is over, however there is certainly no need! The Autumn brings a beautiful array of colours into the natural environment along with an abundance of interesting wildlife and seasonal events to keep your spirits high. So we’ve rounded up some of the top country events taking place over the next couple of weeks. Collection of conkers before the championships The Dairy Show, 5th October 2016 A big date in the dairy farmer’s calendar, this show will be host to over 300 trade stands for this tremendous event, hoping to attract thousands of visitors for the day’s range of attractions. The main event of this show is of course the prize cattle, with more than 300 entries competing for the top points score in each of their categories to take home the winning title. This exhibits both the showmanship of the farmers, as well as the quality of the well cared for cattle at The Showground, Shepton Mallet in Somerset. Horse of the Year Show, 5th October – 9th October 2016 Otherwise known as HOYS, the Horse of the Year Show is known as ‘the world’s most famous horse show’, and will be held at the Birmingham NEC. This event attracts a staggering amount of both entries and visitors each and every year, with numbers often being recorded over 65,000. This year will be the 68th anniversary of the HOYS, and as with every year, it is hoped to be bigger and better than ever. Events include dressage, show jumping and showing, and determine who will be the winner of the prestigious titles of Supreme Horse of the Year and Supreme Pony of the Year. World Conker Championship, 9th October 2016 This is an event full of fun, and suitable for both children and adults. A buzzing atmosphere will fill the New Lodge Fields, Northamptonshire, with live music available throughout the event, traditional Morris dancing and many other traditional pub games. This is of course, not forgetting the conker competition to see who will be crowned the Conker King 2016! The games began in 1965 and have been going strong ever since, even having to chance to move to a new, larger venue in 2009 to accommodate for the increasing numbers of visitors and competitors. The event will also bring a range of craft and food stalls to tempt your taste buds as you await the conker champion! The Autumn Food and Country Fair, 9th October 2016 Another fantastic family event, The Autumn Food and Country Fair will take place at the East of England Showground in Peterborough. This fair certainly has a little something for everyone, with competitions such as a giant vegetable competition, a dog companion competition and a baking competition, plus a shire horse show and much more. This quirky event offers a wonderful choice for an Autumn day out, particularly for the children! There is a range of both indoor and outdoor activities on throughout the fair so no matter what the weather it will be a fun day for all who attend. It is best to be prepared however, so make sure you are equipped with kid’s, men’s and ladies wet weather gear! Image: Solipsist under Creative Commons

Autumn walks lift the spirits

A recent National Trust survey has found that a walk in autumn colours helps to boost your mood, with 84% of those asked saying that autumn walks make them feel healthier, happier and calmer. The National Trust polled over a thousand people for the research, used during the launch of their Great British Walk 2014 scheme. autumnwoodland Winter is often the bluest time of the year for many, with 43% of people saying that they felt more under the weather in the winter months. 71% of people said that an autumn walk helped to boost their mood, but 48% remarked that they didn’t go for enough walks during the autumn — the good news of an autumn walk’s mood-boosting properties may help to change this for the better. Colour psychologist Angela Wright explains that the colours of autumn are powerful in improving the mood, with their rich light and intense colours working to brighten the spirits. Alongside the firey colours of autumn, the fresh air, exercise and escape that comes with an autumn nature walk provides added benefits. So if you’re feeling a little under the weather today, an autumn walk in the scenic countryside may be just the fix, and follow that up with a look at our fabulous new Autumn ladies country clothing range.

Celebrate Autumn with this delicious Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkins are most commonly found carved into gruesome shapes as a Halloween decoration. However, the tasty fruit is actually delicious, especially when baked in a pie. With our fabulous range of essential oven and aga products, there is no excuse to not get baking and try our brilliant recipe: A colour picture of 7 orange pumpkins You will need: 90g/3½oz butter, softened 65g/2½oz caster sugar 3 free-range egg yolks 200g/7oz plain flour, 750g/1lb 10oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks 350g sweet shortcrust pastry (either pre-made or shop bought) 140g caster sugar ½ tsp salt ½ tsp fresh nutmeg, grated 1 tsp cinnamon 2 normal sized eggs, beaten 25g butter, melted 175ml milk 1 tbsp icing sugar plain flour, for dusting To make your sweet pastry: Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until well combined. Next, add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated into the mixture. Mix in the flour until the mixture comes together like a ball of dough. Tip the pastry out onto a floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 30 minutes (this can be done in the fridge) To make your pie: Place the pumpkin chunks into a large saucepan. Cover the fruit with water and bring it to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for around 15 mins or until tender. Then drain the pumpkin and cool. Next, heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. The roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill the pastry for 15 minutes (this can be done in the fridge if you prefer) Line the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans and then blind bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is golden and biscuit like. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Increase the temperature of your oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half of the cinnamon. Add the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then pour your mixture in to the pumpkin purée. Stir to combine all of your ingredients. Finally, pour your mixture into the pastry shell and cook for 10 mins, reducing the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 after this time. Continue to bake for 35-40 mins until the filling has just set. Once the pie is cooked, leave it to cool, then remove the pie from the tin. Mix the remaining cinnamon with the icing sugar and dust over the pie. Serve chilled. Pumpkin pie is best served with a good-sized scoop of delicious vanilla ice cream. Why not add a handful of honey-roasted pecan nuts for an extra Autumnal kick?