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  • Posted on September 16, 2014

    Make your own Paper Flowers!

    With the summer fading away and all of our beautiful plants surrendering to autumn, we wanted to find a way to enjoy flowers around the office and in our homes right through the season! So today we’ve got a craft project from Paper Flowers by Denise Brown, a book full of lovely ideas using everything from tissue and crepe paper to giftwrap and pages torn from glossy magazines. These Faded Roses are reminiscent of our favourite summer blooms, yet their stylish vintage colours will match any home décor so you can set them on your table or in a little vase to brighten up the room!

    Faded Roses

    There are origami versions of this folding method that are very precise and beautiful but I prefer the quirkiness of casual blooms made with crepe paper. You can make larger roses using a bigger paper strip but a cluster of tiny ones looks fabulous as a wrist corsage. It may take a while to master the technique but it gets easier the more you make.

    Materials

    Watercolors and paintbrushes

    White crepe paper

    Ruler

    Scissors

    Plastic sheet or waterproof surface

    Absorbent kitchen towel

    Toothpicks

    White (PVA) glue

    Thin wire

    Wire cutters

    1 Make a strong color first by dipping a paintbrush loaded with color into about three tablespoons of clean water. Test the color out on some spare paper, remembering it will look very different when dry. When you are happy with the strong color, transfer some to a new container and dilute it with more clean water. Then in a third container dilute again to achieve a very pale version.

    2 For each flower, cut a strip of crepe paper 18 x 3in. (45 x 7.5cm) with the grain vertical to the strip. Lay the strip on a waterproof surface and dampen by brushing all over with clean water. The paper may stretch a little and it will be fragile so take care. Pick up excess water by dabbing with a piece of kitchen towel if necessary.

    3 While the strip is still damp, load a paintbrush with the lightest color and paint onto a third of the strip. Painting with the grain is easier.

    4 Load the paintbrush with the medium color and paint onto the rest. Use the dark color on one end of the strip, which will make the center of the rose. Let dry. If the color is too pale when dry you can dampen the strip again and add more color.

    5 Lightly fold the dry strip in half lengthwise; do not make a firm crease because the petal edges should look soft. With the strip fold at the top, turn over one end toward you at 45 degrees and make a light crease so that the lower edge is just over halfway down the folded strip. Turn the strip so the new fold is now vertical and place a toothpick along the 45-degree crease right up to the top point, which will be the center of the rose.

    6 Pick the toothpick up in one hand and begin to roll it into the strip. Just as the top gets covered, fold the top of the strip away from the toothpick at an angle with your other hand. Fold it over only a little—the idea is that the top of the strip is still a little higher than the central point of the rose.

    7 Continue to roll the strip up the toothpick, folding the strip over and away from you as you go. This does take a little practice but you can unravel and reposition the petals if necessary. Try not to make a triangle shape each time but vary where you make the petal folds.

    8 If you are happy with the shape your folds are making, add a dab of glue every now and then to hold them in place. Let dry.

    9 Remove the toothpick from the rose and trim the base of the rose at an angle to approximately ½ in. (12mm) long. Cut a 6in. (15cm) length of wire, put a dab of glue on the end and insert it into the base of the rose.

    10 Color some crepe paper in a subtle muted green and cut it into strips ½ in. (6mm) wide and approximately 16in. (40cm) long, with the grain vertical to the strip. Glue one end around the back of the rose and wrap the strip around the stem at an angle of 45 degrees, adding a dab of glue every now and then to hold it in place. Let dry and trim off the excess paper.

     

    So, keep summer sticking around that little bit longer, and happy crafting!

    Paper Flowers by Denise Brown is available here.


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  • Posted on September 15, 2014

    Annie Sloan is at The Handmade Fair!

    19th-21st September, Hampton Court Palace

    If you love making and creating then this brand new craft fair will be your perfect day out! With such a fantastic collection of industry experts and lots to see and do, we are so thrilled that author Annie Sloan will be there to offer you some paint and upcycling inspiration!

    The Handmade Fair is presented by Kirstie Alsopp in association with Mollie Makes and sponsored by HobbyCraft. You can buy tickets here, priced at £29, or head to the website to find out what else is on.

    Annie will be talking in the Super Theatre on Saturday at 4pm, inspiring you to upcycle your old furniture. She will also be holding Upcycling workshops in the Upcycling Tent every day.

    Annie Sloan (pictured above with her son, Felix Sloan) is one of the world’s most respected experts in the field of decorative painting. She runs highly successful workshops from her store in Oxford, UK, and teaches in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

    Annie has written more than twenty books, leading to total sales of well over two million books worldwide, which include the bestselling Quick and Easy Paint TransformationsColour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More and Creating the French Look (all published by CICO Books). She has also featured prominently on PBS television and the Homes & Gardens TV channel. She sells her own highly acclaimed range of Chalk Paint® which is available from over 900 locations worldwide, each one an independent store that Annie has handpicked herself. She has also recently launched fabric and fragrance collections that complement the Chalk Paint® range.

    And don’t forget, Annie’s new book - Annie Sloan's Room Recipes for Style and Colour - is out very soon and available to pre-order here!

     


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  • Posted on September 12, 2014

    Recipe for the Weekend!

    After a busy week publishing loads of wonderful books (like this one. And this one…) we’re very glad it’s Friday! We’re looking forward to getting home, cooking something nice and hearty and relaxing with friends and a film. Whatever you’re up to this weekend, we think this lovely warming curry from Jordan Bourke’s brand new book The Natural Food Kitchen will be the perfect accompaniment. This book is packed full of really scrumptious recipes that taste delicious, look beautiful and are good for you as well! We just couldn't wait to share this one!

    Spinach Kofta Curry

    When it comes to healthy and delicious vegetarian food, Indian cuisine really has it covered. This spinach kofta curry is just one such example, absolutely packed with flavour from all the spices and herbs, really comforting and warming, and yet good for you as well, with no cane sugar, refined wheat or dairy in sight. If you want the kofta to retain their crispiness, you can also serve them with the sauce on the side for dipping into.

    220 g chickpea flour

    250 g spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped into small pieces

    1 teaspoon ground coriander

    ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder

    1.25-cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

    1 fresh green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

    1 onion (about 100 g), finely chopped

    1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

    pinch of baking powder

    ¾ teaspoon sea salt

    vegetable oil, to fry

    steamed rice, to serve

    For the curry:

    2 large tomatoes

    2 fresh green chillies, deseeded

    4 garlic cloves, peeled

    2.5-cm piece of fresh ginger, grated

    1 medium onion, peeled and halved

    3 tablespoons cashew nuts

    3 tablespoons vegetable oil

    ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

    ½  teaspoon ground turmeric

    2 teaspoons ground coriander

    ½ teaspoon red chilli powder

    ½ teaspoon garam masala

    1 teaspoon sea salt

    handful of chopped coriander leaves

    Serves 4–6

     

    For the koftas, sift the chickpea flour into a large bowl, then stir in 120 ml water until you have a very thick batter with no lumps. Add the spinach to the batter with the rest of the ingredients and stir very well to combine. It should be thick with the spinach bound together by the batter – if it is too dry, add a little water; if it’s too wet, add a little flour.  Add 1 cm of vegetable oil to a wide frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, place heaped tablespoons of the batter into the oil, using 2 spoons to shape into mounds. Cook in batches for 7–8 minutes, turning a few times until deep golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.  For the curry, place the tomatoes, chillies, garlic, ginger, onion and cashew nuts in a food processor and blitz for a few minutes until smooth.  Pour the oil into a wide frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add in the cumin seeds, ground turmeric and ground coriander and fry for about 30 seconds. Add in the nut paste from the food processor, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and stir well to combine. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly until the oil begins to separate from the mixture.

    Add in 400 ml water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to low-medium, add in the koftas and simmer for about 4 minutes until they have absorbed some of the water and the curry has thickened. Add in most of the coriander and stir through. Serve in bowls with the remaining coriander and the rice on the side.

    The Natural Food Kitchen by Jordan Bourke is available here.

    Have a lovely weekend, and happy cooking!


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  • Posted on September 11, 2014

    Chocolate at Home... or in the Office!

    Publication Day has triggered celebrations all over the place at RPS and CICO Books towers! We’ve been drooling over this delicious Sausage and Lentil Stew from The Crumbs Family Cookbook this morning, and then we threw a little office chocolate party this afternoon!

    Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent is the ultimate guide to making your own truffles, chocolate cakes and decadent bakes in the comfort of your own home. Making your own chocolates doesn’t have to be a professional exploit and we’ve got the photos to prove it!

    This afternoon we enjoyed a delicious Chocolate Roulade and some mouth-watering Rum and Raisin Fudge – Totally Scrumdiddlyumptious!

    Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent is available here.


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  • Posted on September 11, 2014

    Happy Publication Day to The Crumbs Family Cookbook!

    Today we’re celebrating the publication of heaps of fab books – keep an eye on the blog later on for a sweet treat! One of the books we’re super excited about is The Crumbs Family Cookbook by Claire and Lucy McDonald (aka The Crumbs Sisters). This book is totally the Holy Grail of yummy, healthy, fast food for all the family and we can’t wait to get stuck in. Since it’s a day of celebration, we wanted to share with you one of the Crumbs Sisters’ recipes and this gorgeous stew has a wonderfully autumnal feel, perfect for the whole family now the weather is slightly cooler and the leaves are turning brown.

    Ooh La La Sausage and Lentil Stew

    This rustic casserole feels like a French take on sausages and mash. Slightly more sophisticated and a little bit healthier (it’s those lentils), all the hard work is done at the beginning which means by dinnertime, all the chopping and frying is a distant memory. Other advantages over bangers and mash are you can make it in advance and reheat it. Plus, it freezes. What more could you ask?

    Start to finish: 20 minutes prep

    + 45 minutes cooking

    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    a glug of olive oil

    12 pork sausages – nice chunky ones, not chipolatas

    100g (4 oz) unsmoked bacon

    2 red onions, roughly chopped

    2 garlic cloves, cracked under the flat side of a knife

    1 celery stick, sliced

    1 carrot, sliced

    1/2 red pepper, chopped

    300g (1 1/2 cups) dried Puy lentils

    850ml (3 1/2 cups) chicken stock/bouillon

    2 sprigs of rosemary

    handful of thyme leaves

    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    salt and pepper

     

    Put a glug of oil in a large saucepan with a lid. Once the oil is hot, add the sausages and bacon, browning the sausages on all sides. This takes about 10 minutes. Don’t skimp on the browning. There is nothing more unappetising – looking or tasting – than a flaccid sausage. Remove the sausages from the pan.

    Put the onions in and a pinch of salt to stop them from burning. Cook until they become translucent.

    If there is a lot of brown sausage fat on the bottom of the pan, chuck in a splash of red wine or stock, and scrape with a spatula to ‘deglaze’ the pan and keep the yummy flavours in the sauce.

    Add the garlic, celery, carrot, pepper and lentils. Give them a stir, and then pour in the chicken stock/bouillon. Add the rosemary, thyme and browned sausages.

    Bring to the boil, then cover and turn the heat down. Let it simmer for 25 minutes, until the lentils are cooked properly. Season with salt, pepper and a glug of balsamic vinegar. Serve with crusty bread and a green leaf salad.

    Freezing: Simply cool this down, then pop it into a freezer bag, label and freeze.

     

    The Crumbs Family Cookbookis published today and available here.

    Happy publication day, Lucy and Claire, and happy cooking, everyone else!


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  • Posted on September 10, 2014

    Mid-week Chat with Shelagh Ryan

    This week we have a brilliant new cookbook coming out that celebrates a relaxed, enjoyable approach to cooking, dining and entertaining with exciting recipes from the Lantana Café, London. Full of fresh food, international flavours and no-fuss cooking, Café Kitchen will inspire us all to make really tasty food every day and we just can't wait to get into the kitchen!

    Author of the book and founder of the Lantana Cafés, Shelagh Ryan invited us to visit her Shoreditch café to have a little chat. We talked all things foodie, as well as asking lots about Australia, café culture and Shelagh herself - to find out what Shelagh had to say, simply watch the video below!

    This book is officially published tomorrow and you can get your hands on it in all good bookshops and online. To try a couple of the recipes and flick through the pages to get a taster, then have a look here!

    Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!


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  • Posted on September 5, 2014

    Recipe for the Weekend: Chocolate at Home...

    With just 6 days to go until we publish the wonderful Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent, we have a totally scrumdiddlyumptious recipe for the weekend for you! Did you see this post earlier in the week launching our Willy Wonka-inspired competition to celebrate both this fab book and also the 50th birthday of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? We want to hear all about your craziest chocolate creations, fantasy or otherwise! With this in mind, we’re sharing Will’s Hot Pepper Cake with Chilli Ganache. What’s that you say, chilli in a cake? Chilli in a cake? We know. But seriously, give this one a try.

    Hot Pepper Cake with Chilli Ganache

    Chocolate and chilli is one of those combinations you just can’t ignore. I’ve given it a different new twist by using a hot pepper sauce and topping the cake with slithers of candied chilli. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but sure does pack a punch in the flavour territory. Try making it with hot piri piri sauce for something completely different. Go on, add as much as you dare!

    Cake

    250 g/2 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting

    65 g/2/3 cup cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting

    100 g/3/4 cup dark/bittersweet chocolate, chopped

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon sea salt

    350 g/1 1/4 cups demerara sugar

    3 large eggs, lightly beaten

    250 ml/1 cup extra virgin

    olive oil

    2 teaspoons Tabasco/hot pepper sauce, plus extra for the ganache

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Ganache

    350 g/3 cups dark/bittersweet chocolate (70%), chopped

    175 ml/ 3/4 cup double/heavy cream

    25 g/1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    1 rounded tablespoon

    light brown sugar

    Garnish

    1 red chilli

    2 tablespoons caster/granulated sugar

    a 20-cm/8-inch springform cake pan, greased and lined with baking parchment

    baking sheet, lined withbaking parchment

    Serves 6–8

     

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

    Mix together 2 teaspoons of plain/all-purpose flour and cocoa and use to dust the inside of the lined cake pan, tapping out the excess.

    Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth, then remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

    In a large bowl sift together the remaining flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the sugar, beaten eggs, olive oil, Tabasco/hot pepper sauce, vanilla, melted chocolate and 250 ml/1 cup water, and mix until thoroughly blended.

    Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 45 minutes, until the top is no longer shiny and has formed a light crust – the inside will still be slightly soft.

    Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan and  transferring to a wire cooling rack. Leave the oven on.

    Prepare the ganache – tip the chopped chocolate into a bowl. Heat the cream, butter, brown sugar and a few drops of Tabasco/hot pepper sauce in a small pan until boiling, stir until smooth, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Leave for 2 minutes, stir until smooth and leave to cool and thicken slightly.

    Meanwhile, make the garnish. Thinly slice the chilli and roll in the sugar. Place the chilli slices on the lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5–10 minutes or until the sugar begins to crystallize. Once this has happened, place the chilli slices back in the sugar to add even more crunch.

    Place the cooled cake on a serving plate and coat the top and sides with the ganache.

    Decorate with the candied chillies.

    Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent is available here.

    So, this weekend, whilst you're baking this crazy cake, get your thinking caps on and come up with the wackiest chocolate concoction you can!

     


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  • Posted on September 4, 2014

    Win a signed copy of Chocolate at Home!

    Do you love chocolate? Did you love Roald Dahl as a child? Is there a particular chocolate-based story that comes to mind?

    In our excitement for the new book, Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the childhood classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and not forgetting it's Roald Dahl day on the 13th!) with a Willy Wonka inspired competition...

    If you would like some chocolate inspiration then check out our Pinterest board where we're counting down the days until the book is out and the lucky winners are announced!

    Find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to enter the competition and don't forget to use #chocolateathome. Good luck everyone, we can't wait for your chocolatey creations!

    Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent is published by Ryland Peters & Small, available here.


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  • Posted on September 3, 2014

    Cosy Autumn Knitting!

    With the beginning of September this week we are starting to feel rather autumnal! The leaves are starting to turn, the nights are getting longer and it is feeling decidedly cooler outdoors! With this in mind, the publication of Scarves and Cowls by Fiona Goble could not come at a better time. This gorgeous book is full of quick and stylish knits for both men and women, and it’s actually making us keen for a gloomy, blustery day and the opportunity to wear a super snuggly scarf! To get you fully into Autumn-mode, we wanted to share one of these projects with you too. Trust us, you’ll be hunting out those woolly jumpers in no time!

    Pompom Scarf

    With its giant fluffy pompoms, this scarf is a great way to make a statement—without much effort. You can make the pompoms with a special pompom maker (but beware; they are addictive!) or can create your own pompom maker with nothing more sophisticated than a sheet of card. Knitted in 100 percent wool, this generously sized scarf is guaranteed to keep you mega-cosy.

    Yarn

    Rowan Cocoon (80% merino wool, 20% mohair) chunky yarn

    2 x 3½oz (100g) balls (126yd/115m) in shade 825 Clay (A)

    1 x 3½oz (100g) ball (126yd/115m) in shade 813 Seascape (B)

    Needles and equipment

    US 10½ (7mm) knitting needles

    Yarn sewing needle

    A pompom maker to make 4½in (11.5cm) pompoms, or four cardboard circles each measuring 4½in (11.5cm) in diameter with a 2¼in (5.5cm) diameter hole in the centre.

    Gauge (tension)

    14 sts and 16 rows in stockinette (stocking) stitch to a 4-in (10-cm) square on US 10½  (7mm) needles.

     

    Measurements

    The finished scarf is 62in (158cm) long and 11½in (29cm) wide.

     

    For the scarf

    Cast on 34 sts in A.

    Row 1: Knit.

    Row 2: Purl.

    Row 3: Knit.

    Row 4: Knit.

    Repeat these 4 rows 47 times more.

    Row 193: Knit.

    Row 194: Purl.

    Row 195: Knit.

    Bind (cast) off.

    To make up

    Gather the short ends of the scarf using the yarn tails left from casting on and binding (casting) off. Using the pompom maker or cardboard circles, make two large  pompoms in B, using half the ball for each pompom. Trim the pompoms and use the tails of yarn to sew one to each scarf end.

    Weave in all loose ends.

    Scarves and Cowls by Fiona Goble is available here.

    Happy knitting and stay cosy!


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  • Posted on September 1, 2014

    Back to School Lunchbox Ideas!

    The summer holidays are coming to an end and it seems hard to imagine how we’re going to swap well worn sandals and comfy trainers for a smart pair of school shoes, grubby knees and big grins for newly ironed uniforms, and lazy mornings and tasty brunches for an alarm-activated rush! But back to school doesn’t have to be chore – here are a couple of easy, great fun recipes for the kids to make their own packed lunches the night before!

            

    Taken from two of the My First books, we’ve got a recipe for roly-poly sandwiches where the kids can pick their favourite filling and even include some home-grown greens if they’ve been growing over the summer, as well as a sweet treat for after!

    roly-poly sandwiches

    Smoked salmon is really tasty in these sandwiches and it rolls up easily, but if you don’t like fish, you could use thin slices of ham or salami instead. Try different types of bread like whole wheat (wholemeal), white, or Granary. This is a good recipe to make if you have been growing your own alfalfa sprouts (mustard and cress)—give it a haircut and sprinkle it over the salmon.

    You will need

    1 slice brown, whole wheat (wholemeal), white, or Granary bread

    1 tablespoon cream cheese

    2 slices smoked salmon

    alfalfa sprouts (mustard and cress)

    rolling pin

    makes 1 sandwich

    1. Put the slice of bread on a clean surface and use a table knife to cut the crusts off.

    2. Flatten the slice of bread by rolling over it with a rolling pin.

    3. Spread the cream cheese onto the bread with the table knife.

    4. Lay the smoked salmon on top of the cream cheese and then sprinkle the alfalfa sprouts (mustard and cress) over the salmon.

    5. Starting with a short side of the bread slice, roll the bread up into a long sausage shape. Using the table knife, cut the sausage shape into five roly-poly sandwiches. When you lay them flat on a plate you’ll see that you have made spirals!

    Tip: other filling ideas

    Mash a little canned, drained salmon or tuna with a fork and mix in a little mayonnaise. Spread it on the bread then scatter a few torn lettuce or spinach leaves over the top before you roll.

    Grate some cheddar cheese and snip some ham up very small with scissors. Chop a tomato into tiny pieces. Mix everything together an spread on the bread before you roll.

     

    choc-nut granola bars

    You can pretend you are making something very healthy when you make these granola bars—there’s lots of fruit, nuts, and oats in them—but they are also sweet, buttery, and covered in chocolate chips, making them perfect for a lunchbox treat!

    You will need

    1/4 cup (30 g) whole almonds (optional)

    1 1/2 oz. (40 g) milk chocolate candied (glacé) cherries (optional)

    1 stick (125 g) unsalted butter

    1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar

    4 tablespoons light corn (golden) syrup

    2 cups (190 g) rolled oats

    1/2 cup (40 g) shredded (desiccated) unsweetened coconut

     

    9-in (23-cm) square baking pan

    baking parchment

    makes 12

    1. Ask an adult to turn the oven on to 350°F (180°C) Gas 4.

    2. Prepare your pan. Put a little butter on a paper towel and rub it all over the inside of the baking pan to grease it. Then place the baking pan onto some baking parchment, draw around it, cut out the square, and fit it into the bottom of the pan.

    3. If you are using almonds, carefully cut them into large chunks. Remember to use a sharp knife to cut down onto a board. Put them in a small bowl to use later. Now chop the chocolate into chunks and put that in a different bowl. If you are using them, cut the candied (glacé) cherries into small pieces and set aside.

    4. Put the butter, sugar, and corn (golden) syrup into a pan and ask an adult to help you place it on the stovetop (hob) over low heat and stir it until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

    5. Wipe a little oil over your spoon before dipping it in the corn syrup—the syrup should slide off easily!

    6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the oats and coconut into the melted mixture. Mix everything well, then spoon the oat mixture into the cake pan. Spread the mixture out and press it down evenly with the back of a spoon.

    7. Scatter over the almonds and cherries (if you are using them), and press them lightly into the mixture with the back of a spoon.

    8. Ask an adult to help you put the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 15–20 minutes. Ask an adult to remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle over the roughly chopped chocolate so that it will melt a little with the heat of the granola.

    9. Mark the granola into bars or squares with a round-bladed knife while it is still warm, then let it cool before cutting through and removing the bars from the pan. These bars will last for 4 or 5 days in a sealed container.

     

    We hope you and your kids have had a terrific summer and they're even a teeny tiny bit excited about going back to school!

     

       

    My First Cookbook is available here and My First Baking Book is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US and was tagged with books, cico, cico books, blog, book, recipe, facebook, amazon, Blogger, recipes, summer, cooking, summer holidays, children, kids, sandwich, 2014, my first, school, packed lunch, baking for kids, My First Cookbook, Back to School, roly poly sandwiches, school lunch, lunchbox, lunchbox ideas, granola nut bars, sweet treat, cooking for kids, my first baking book

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