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There are a few things happening around the office that I’m pretty excited about, and if you can believe it, my secret stash of Lindt 70% dark chocolate doesn’t even rank in the top ten.

At the top of the list has to be the new Food & Entertaining section launching with the May 2011 issue of House & Home.

At once expanded and streamlined into a more user-friendly section, the new food pages now include more of what our lovely readers have been asking for, from test drives of small appliances to stories about new food-related stores across Canada — from a butcher shop to a vanilla-scented bakery.

The entertaining story, usually found at the front of the mag, moves into the food section, and will feature culinary-minded folk, along with their best tips, tools of the trade, and recipes.

Speaking of which, the monthly food feature will be more about the food and less about the table settings; doable meals that will still wow family and friends. And let me tell you, we just shot the June feature and I’m still drooling! (Our food and prop stylists are the best in the biz!)

We cap off the section with a brand new page, called Fresh & Fast. It’s healthy, it’s easy, and it’s for dinner tonight.

Also in the May issue, we’re running my food feature about the fab trip I took to the Cotswolds, in the heart of the English countryside, with House & Home senior design editor Meg Crossley. We stayed at the gorgeous five-star hotel, Eckington Manor, where we took a class at its Aga Cookery School. (Did you know that at home, 70% of cooking is done on the stovetop as opposed to in the oven, whereas with a heavy duty Aga cooker, that number is reversed?) Between bouts of baking bread and ambling alongside verdant farmland and the Avon River, we came to appreciate the produce, local lamb and especially fresh Cotswold air, in all of its British glory.

I hope you enjoy the Cotswold story and its accompanying British-inspired recipes in the pages of our May issue (on newsstands April 11, or click here to order a copy!). You'll see some of my photos from the trip below. Also, check out the launch of House & Home’s new Food & Entertaining section and let us know what you think!

Walks on the farm and sweet sleeps were both had at Eckington Manor.

We learned how to cook local lamb in an Aga stove, the inspiration for an easy lamb chops recipe that appears in the May issue.

I’m not going to tell you what this is, but you can probably tell it’s dessert, and this classic British pudding also makes an appearance in the May issue.

These black-faced sheep are unique to the United Kingdom.

The greenest of greens can be found in the rolling English countryside.

To try your hand at a few more British-inspired dishes, see Nigella Lawson’s and Gordon Ramsay’s recipes in our Food Network Chefs guide.

Photo credits:
Amy Rosen

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