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Recipes

It’s Blackberry Season

September 6, 2021
blackberry and apple crumble served in a Denby Halo bowl

Happy September! It’s blackberry season. Now is the time to fill your tupperware boxes and your bellies with this delicious harvest. Here at Valley Mill we’ve got lots of lovely blackberry recipes, tips on how to pick them and much more.

Blackberry Picking Tips

Happy child out blackberry picking

When Is The Best Time To Pick

End of August and throughout September is the best time to pick blackberries. Did you know that there is a legend of why you shouldn’t pick blackberries after the 11th October?

The story goes, that the Devil was kicked out of heaven on the 11th October and landed in a blackberry bush. Apparently because the bush hurt him so much he either spits or wees on all of the blackberries from this date onwards.

We think it’s probably more likely that by this time the wet weather has spoiled the crops.

Picking Tips

First tip, pick berries that are higher up and away from main roads. Why higher up you ask? Well, dogs love to water the plants and it’s always best to choose the ones that haven’t been given a sprinkling.

If you aren’t lucky enough to live in the country or rural areas then don’t panic because blackberries are found across so many areas. If there’s a hedgerow in your town or city then chances are there are blackberries growing there.

Choose berries which are firm and shiny and make sure you pick the ones that are fully black.

Remember to only pick the amount of blackberries that you actually need. It’s nice to leave some for other pickers and animals alike.

Small child placing his picked blackberries in to a tupperware box

Blackberry Storing Tips

When picking your blackberries try not to stack too many on top of each other in your tupperware box otherwise you risk squishing them.

If you aren’t eating or baking your blackberries straight away then make sure your blackberries are as dry as possible when storing them. They should last up to three days in the fridge. Good news, you can easily freeze your blackberries too if you need to make them last longer. When freezing make sure you freeze them in a single layer to avoid squashing them. Also, you can cook blackberries straight from frozen so winner winner!

Apple & Blackberry Crumble

Autumn means comfort food. There is nothing more comforting then picking your own blackberries and baking them in a crumble. Sat in front of the tele with the family and bowl of apple and blackberry crumble with custard. Yum!

We’ve got two alternative recipes for you. One vegetarian and one vegan. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

Crumble Topping: 120g plain flour, 60g caster sugar and 60g butter (we prefer salted but the general rule seems to be unsalted). You can also up these amounts depending on how much crumble you like on your dessert. Alternatively you can also add some porridge oats to the mixture for extra texture.

Fruity Filling: 300g apples (we recommend Pink Ladies, Braeburn or Granny Smith), 115g blackberries, 30g butter, 30g brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

Chopped apples and blackberries in a saucepan

Method

Preheat oven to gas mark 5. Check out oven temperature conversions here.

In a large bowl place your flour, sugar and butter to make the crumble topping. Rub the butter in to your flour and sugar to create a breadcrumb texture.

To make sure your crumble topping is extra crispy and crumbly, we recommend you spread your mixture on to a baking tray or sheet and cook in the oven for around 15 minutes.

Whilst your crumble topping is crisping, core, peel and chop your apples in to small cubes.

Over a low heat, melt your butter and brown sugar in a saucepan until it turns all caramelly.

Now add your chopped apples and cinnamon and cook for a further 4 minutes.

Finally, add your blackberries to this mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more.

Pour your mixture carefully in to your pie/crumble dish. Top with your crumble mixture and place in the oven for around 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.

Now what to serve with it? Ice cream or custard? (scroll down this page to find our custard recipes).

Don’t forget you need to wash your berries. Why not do it in style with this beautiful Alice Funge berry bowl.

Wash your blackberries with a stunningAlice Funge ceramic berry bowl

Vegan Apple & Blackberry Crumble

Ingredients:

Crumble Topping: 250g plain flour, 150g vegan margarine, 60g fairtrade brown sugar. You can also add 50g porridge oats for extra crumbliness.

Fruity Filling: 300g organic apples (we recommend Pink Ladies, Braeburn or Granny Smith), 150g blackberries,1 large tablespoon agave nectar, splash of water and 1/4 teaspoon of fairtrade ground cinnamon.

Method

Preheat oven to gas mark 5. Check out oven temperature conversions here.

In a large bowl place your flour and butter to make the crumble topping. Rub the butter in to your flour and to create a breadcrumb texture. Now stir in your brown sugar and porridge oats.

To make sure your crumble topping is extra crispy and crumbly, we recommend you spread your mixture on to a baking tray or sheet and cook in the oven for around 15 minutes.

Whilst your crumble topping is crisping, core, peel and chop your apples in to small cubes.

Over a low heat, add 2/3 of your chopped apples ino a saucepan with a splash of water, agave nectar and cinnamon. Cook for a few minutes until soft and squishy.

Now add the remaining apples for a couple of minutes to soften them.

Carefully mix in your blackberries being careful not to squash them.

Pour your fruity filling in to your ovenproof dish and spoon over the crumbly topping.

Pop in the oven for around 15-20 minutes or until cooked.

Fancy making your own custard from scratch? We’ve got both vegetarian and vegan versions for you. Scroll down this page to find our custard recipes.

Valley Mill Homeware

Check out incredible range of ceramics and homeware to serve your beautiful creations in style.

This Denby Halo bowl really sets off the colour of the blackberries. Plus the Halo range has a wide range of serving ware.

A captivating dark glaze on a Denby Halo bowl which is serving up apple and blackberry crumble

Why not serve up your custard in one of our Alice Funge mini pour jugs.

Mini ceramic pour jug perfect for serving custard

LIGA have a beautiful range of Scandinavian inspired homeware pieces. Serve up a pot of tea with your crumble.

Large scandinavian inpsired cream and cork LIGA teapot

Set the mood with one of scented wooden wick soy wax candles. Our candles are hand poured at our workshop in South Wales.

A creme brulee mood maker soy wax candle

Autumn nights are drawing in so why not get cosy with one of our Valley Mill Welsh woollen blankets.

cuddle up with this yellow meadow check woollen blanket as seen in country living

Custard Recipe

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks, 300ml double cream, 300ml milk, 2 tbsp cornflour, 75g of caster sugar, 1 tsp vanilla bean paste.

Method:

Add your milk and cream to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

In a bowl add your 6 egg yolks, vanilla paste, cornflour and sugar. Now whisk so that all of of the ingredients are combined thoroughly.

Take your hot milk and cream mixture and very slowly pour this in to the bowl of your custard mixture. Make sure you are whisking all the while you are adding the milk mixture to stop it curdling.

Once mixed, add this back in to the saucepan and stir constantly over a low heat. Your custard will begin to thicken and once ready pour over your delicious apple and blackberry crumble.

Vegan Custard

This recipe is super easy and simple. The colour is from adding a pinch of turmeric. Genius!

Ingredients:

1/2 litre plant-based milk (soy, almond or whatever is your favourite), 80g fairtrade caster sugar, 25g cornstarch, 4 tsp vanilla essence, 1 pinch turmeric.

Either blend (in a blender) or whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.

Only add a very small amount of turmeric. You just want it for colour and not for taste.

Pour into a pan and place on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes whilst stirring constantly.

Current Events Gifts Home New Product Launch Our Suppliers Recipes Valley Mill

Love Eco Living? Then You Will LOVE LIGA

June 25, 2021

We want to introduce you to an amazing new brand here at Valley Mill. Meet LIGA. Once you’ve met them we are sure you will LOVE LIGA.

Why LIGA?

We love to work with like-minded small businesses; that have their own unique story. They care about the products that they make and the effect they have on you as a customer, as well as the environment. So let’s find out more about this amazing company LIGA.

Love Liga?  Yes we do!  Look at this beautiful cream ceramic and cork homeware.
LIGA’s ceramic and cork cream ceramics are now available at Valley Mill online and instore.

Who Are LIGA?

LIGA are based in Cornwall and are a family run business who want to provide affordable and stylish homeware whilst also looking after the planet. The team draw inspiration from nature to design eco homewares that use only sustainable materials. Not only are they eco-friendly but their products are simply stunning too. Imagine serving up your outdoor dining with these? We are pretty sure your guests will be handing out a lot of compliments.

Keep your oil & vingear fresh and hygienic by storing them in this Scandanavian inspired Liga cream oil bottle. Strong, practical, stylish and a great quality dispenser for everyday use. Easy pouring for oil, balsamic or vinegar.

Working Together

There is so much to do to look after our planet better, and we can only begin to make a change by working together.

LIGA uses beautiful materials such as Ethically sourced Cork, Organic unbleached cotton, recycled papers, vegan wax, compostable cloth, bamboo, recycled EVA plastics and ceramics to create their sustainable collections. Ethically sourced from around the world with the hand printing, making and finishing carefully done in Cornwall. 

We Are Passionate About Eco Living

LIGA are committed and passionate about using sustainable materials in creative ways to make eco products affordable and useable for everyday living.

We love this cork and ceramic teapot from LIGA.  Pours beautifully and looks stunning too.
Update your kitchen homeware with this Scandanavian inspired Liga cream teapot. Strong, practical, stylish and a great quality teapot for everyday use. Serve up tea for two or for the whole family. This Liga teapot give a fabulous pour and can be used with tea bags or loose tea.

Our Ethos

Up until early 2020 we only sold products that were made in Wales and in turn, mainly supporting small local businesses.  Since then, we have branched out to UK made and UK designed and are only working with businesses who have the same ethos and beliefs as ourselves.  

Whilst the majority of our products are made in Wales, some of our suppliers products are mainly handmade in the UK or designed in the UK with materials sourced sustainably from outside of the UK.

Carbon Footprint

Our Welsh slate travels only 130 miles from Snowdonia.    At Valley Mill it’s not only our products that we want to be eco-friendly, but our staff too.  To strive for sustainable living, we offer our team a car share scheme with a monetary bonus to reduce the amount of cars used to travel to work.  

We also encourage working from home whenever possible.  This May we were proud to start a cycle to work scheme.  Want to find out more about educating yourselves and others? Take a look at the United Nations goals to help transform our world and protect our planet.

Update your kitchen homeware with this Scandanavian inspired Liga cream coffee mug. Strong, practical, stylish and a great quality mug for everyday use. A beautiful luxury mug for lattes, hot chocolate, coffee, iced tea and more.

When Valley Mill started in 2007, Kevin Thomas wanted the company to be eco-friendly and materials to be sourced locally providing a low carbon footprint.  From day 1 Kevin knew that not only do the products need to be natural but also packaging must be recyclable.  

Love LIGA

When searching for new companies to work with, it’s important to us at Valley Mill to find people with similar values to our own. When we were introduced to LIGA we instantly fell in love and we are pretty sure you will too.

Take a look at this YouTube video from LIGA. We just adore these mugs.

Geeky Cork Facts

LIGA have given us some amazing geeky cork facts.

  • Cork is such a perfect raw material that no industrial or technological processes have yet been able to replicate its features.
    • Excellent thermal & acoustic insulation
      • Impermeability to liquids & gases
    • Excellent elasticity, compressibility & resilience
      • Hypoallergenic
    • Soft to touch
      • Lightness
    • Cork tress & cork products absorb CO2

How Is Cork Harvested?

Have you ever wondered how cork is actually harvested? LIGA have created this YouTube video to show how the cork they use for their products is extrated.

Every nine years the cork is harvested from the Cork Oak tree without harming it.  Did you know that cork trees live for more than 200 years and the more LIGA use cork then the more trees are planted.  Take a look below to see how it all happens.

We adore this cream ceramic and cork bowl from LIGA. Yes we, LOVE LIGA!
Add a contemporary look to your style dining, with these Scandanavian inspired Liga cream salt and pepper shakers. Strong, practical, stylish and a great quality dispenser set for everyday use. Not only a necessity for your dinner table but they look stunning too. Also great to take on your picnics and outdoor adventures.

So now you have met LIGA and now you can understand why Valley Mill LOVE LIGA.

Shop their latest cream ceramic and cork homeware here.

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Father’s Day Gifts

June 4, 2021

Father’s Day is coming!  Sunday 20th June 2021 to be precise and we have some incredible Father’s Day gift ideas for you.

Now is the time to start planning that super gift for a Super Dad/Step-Dad/Grandad/Pops – because we have to agree that our father figures are out of this world.

Valley Mill Father’s Day Gift Guide

Dads, First time Dads, Dads to be, Grandads, Stepdads, Father figures … the Dad who has everything, not only do we have gifts for all your Dads and Father Figures but ideas to help you celebrate on the day too.

Father’s Day Ceramic Mugs

Dad you are really ROARSOME
Fabulous gift for a fabulous Dad because he is ROARSOME

Fancy a Brew?  Gift your AMAZING DAD with a fun, thoughtful and practical mug.  Great for dunking his digestives, sprinkling those mini marshmallows on his hot chocolate or serving up his morning wake up coffee. 

Strong, practical, stylish and a great quality mug for everyday use.  Go on, enhance his drinking experience. 

Movie Night

How does settling down on the sofa for a cwtch/cuddle with your Grandad watching a movie or reading a good book sound?  Then why not gift him one of our super comfy cushions for Father’s Day. 

Cuddle and cosy up with Grandad on Father's Day with the lovely Valleu Mill cushion
Grandad. The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

Thank him for all he does with this ideal decorative addition to your home.

We were once told “Cushions are the flowers of a living room”.  This means our cushions really must be the perfect gift.

Make it even cosier with one of Valley Mill’s Welsh woollen blankets.

Cosy up with a Valley Mill Welsh woollen blanket
Team up a cosy cushion with one of Valley Mill’s snuggly Welsh woollen blankets.

Gift A Welsh Slate Photo Frame

Who’s got the best Dad? You have of course!

Daddy and me photo frame. Welsh slate and handcrafted in Wales
Valley Mill personalised Welsh slate photo frame

Treasure your memories with our stunning Welsh slate photo frame.  Thank him for all he does with this ideal decorative addition to his home.

Daddy & Me … What a way to display that superb memory of your superhero!

‘Iechyd Da’ Dad

Our square ceramic & Welsh slate coasters are a fun and eye-catching way to serve Dads beverage in style. 

Valley Mill Square ceramic coaster
Square Ceramic Coaster – View the full range here

Coasters are a subtle addition to your home decor but have an important function.  Valley Mills eye-catching designs not only look great but protect your tables from drips and scratches.

Dad Ti'n Un Mewn Miliwn :  Dad You’re One in A Million.  Oerfect welsh slate coaster gift on Father's Day
Dad Ti’n Un Mewn Miliwn :  Dad You’re One in A Million

Backyard Picnic or BBQ?

If the way to your Dad’s heart is through his stomach then why not treat him to a backyard picnic or even fire up the BBQ. Check out our latest BBQ blog for some amazing recipes.

Serve up your Dads favourite BBQ meal on one of our Valley Mill Welsh Slate trays

Is he a cheese lover? Serve up his favourite cheeses on one of our cheese boards.

Serve up a selection of your father's favourite cheeses on one of Valley Mill's Welsh slate cheese boards.

Need a waterproof picnic blanket to serve up your Dad’s favourite treats? Made in Wales, our quilted cotton picnic rugs are ideal for park picnics and fun days out. The thoughtful combination of waterproof materials and a carry strap means they’re designed to be perfect for any adventure!

Adventure time on Father's Day. Grab a waterproof picninc blanket.
See our full range of Picnic Blankets here AND check out our June Online competition to win a ‘Picnic For Two’

Welsh Slate Father’s Day Hanging Signs

Let your Dad know how special he is to you and hang a reminder in your home to show him how much you care. 

He will love this Welsh slate sign and will be a treasured gift which will always remind him of you.  An ideal gift for all father figures young and old.  Valley Mill celebrating fatherhood and male parenting.  Show him how much you appreciate him with one of our thoughtful gifts. 

Hip, Hip, Hooray for Hip Flasks

June offer of 10% off personalised hip flasks valid until Sat 19th June 2021 17:00
Why not gift your Father figure a personalised Valley Mill hip flask

Often the perfect traditional keepsake to mark special occasions, or the ideal gift for those who enjoy long walks and campfires, our stainless-steel hip flasks have a classic design that can be personalised with your unique message. 

PLUS between now and Saturday 19th June 2021 17:00 we are offering 10% OFF personalised hip flasks online and instore in Union Street, Swansea. T&C’s apply.

Pamper Time

Does your Father Figure have a beard that is in need of fabulousness? Why not treat him to a Norse beard shampoo or beard oil.

Make that beard fabulous with our beard shampoo and oil

No beard? No problem! We’ve got some amazing shaving products from Norse.

We love these Norse shaving soaps. Perfect Father's Day Gift

Write Him A Poem

Why not write your Pops a poem? Show him ‘he’s the man’ with a fun gift written by you. You can try out this poem generator OR Here’s one we made earlier to give you some inspiration. You could even get it engraved on a hanging sign.

Write a poem for your Dad for Father's Day
Write your own poem and if you fancy, get it engraved on one of our Welsh slate hanging signs

Father’s Day Gift for Caravanners

Awaken your senses with the uplifting scent of warm cup of coffee! Hand made natural soy wax candles. Perfect gift for an adventurous caravanner.

These natural soy candles have been handmade in Wales using the finest quality soy wax, for a longer burn time and better scent throw. 

Gift your caravanner Dad a Hoffi Coffi candle handmade in Wales at Valley Mill HQ

Treasured Memories

Looking for an extra special way of giving a gift of a tresured memory? Why not give this unique gift of a solid piece of Welsh Riven Slate personally engraved with your own high resolution image, to capture any memory in a very unique way that will last forever.

PLUS between now and Saturday 19th June 2021 17:00 we are offering 10% OFF photograph engraving online and instore in Union Street, Swansea. T&C’s apply.

June offer of 10% off photograph engraving valid until Sat 19th June 2021 17:00

This Photograph Engraving can come with a solid slate rear plinth which enables it to be free standing or you can choose to have it rope hung.

ONLINE COMPETITION

It's your chance to win a Picnic for Two set from Valley Mill

This June we are giving you the chance to win a fantastic Valley Mill gift pack worth over £100!

The ‘Picnic for Two’ pack consists of:

  • Valley Mill Picnic Blanket – luxury cotton quilted waterproof with carry strap (choose from star, palm leaf or triangle design)
  • Welsh Slate Small Rope Tray – hand cut with rope handles for a rustic finish
  • 2 x Personalised Water Bottles – choose from a variety of colours and personalised for you
  • Valley Mill Mixed Berries Candle – made from natural soy wax, wooden wick & comes with a Valley Mill Welsh Slate lid that doubles up as a coaster

Everyone who makes a purchase of £50 or more* ONLINE at valleymill.co.uk AND subscribe to our newsletters will automatically be entered into the draw! T&C’s apply.

READ FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR THIS COMPETITION HERE

Check out our full range of Father's Day Gifts from Valley Mill

Treat your Father Figure to a gift that he will treasure. See our FULL RANGE here.