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  • Posted on October 24, 2014

    Recipe for the Weekend: Halloween Special!

    Ever since the Charcuterie launch when we came home with a pumpkin, we've been feeling ever so slightly Halloweeny! So for this weekend's recipe, we thought we'd share something to get you into the spooky spirit - a delicious blue monster cupcake. Not only will these cute little monsters look great for your Halloween spread, but you know that they'll taste unbelievable as they're taken from the new LOLA's recipe book, LOLA's Forever.

    The new book is packed with delicious baking bits, with everything from big cakes and tray bakes to the favourite LOLA's cupcakes, including some exciting and sophisticated sweet treats! Though as this week is the Halloween build up, we're not feeling ever so sophisticated... so bring on the blue monsters!

    blue monster cupcake

    For this Halloween cupcake, a special nozzle/tip makes spaghetti-like strands of buttercream to create a monster face.

    200 g self-raising flour/ 1 ½ cups cake flour mixed with 3 teaspoons baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    175 g/1 ½ sticks butter

    250 g/1 ¼ cups caster/ granulated sugar

    1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste

    3 eggs

    175 ml/ ¾ cup sour/ soured cream


    150 g/1 ¼ sticks butter

    1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

    350 g/3 cups icing/confectioners’ sugar

    3–4 tablespoons full-fat/whole milk

    purple food colouring paste


    48 candy teeth

    36 candy eyes

    24 jelly beans

    muffin pan lined with 12 muffin cases

    piping/pastry bag fitted with a ‘worm’ or ‘spaghetti’ nozzle/tip

    MAKES 12

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

    Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, and set aside.

    Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use an electric whisk and large mixing bowl), and beat the mixture at medium to high speed for 1–2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure that all the butter and sugar is incorporated.

    Add the vanilla bean paste and mix. Mixing at low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients, and mix, at low speed, until combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and briefly beat at high speed until the mixture is smooth.

    Add the sour/soured cream and mix until incorporated. Do not over-mix.

    Using an ice cream scoop, divide the mixture between the muffin cases, filling to almost two-thirds full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, until well risen and a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the buttercream, place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use an electric whisk and large mixing bowl), and beat until soft and fluffy.

    Add the vanilla bean paste and mix again. Sift in half of the icing/ confectioners’ sugar and mix at low speed, until incorporated. Add the second half of the sugar, then beat, slowly, until incorporated. Add the milk, a tablespoonful at a time, mixing at medium speed, until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Add a little food colouring and fully blend until you have a colour that is suitably scary! If the icing is stiff, add a little more milk.

    Spoon the buttercream into the piping/pastry bag. Starting at the outside edge, pipe little lines of icing from the edge of the cupcake inwards, like the spokes of a wheel. Pull the piping/pastry bag away sharply at the end of each line, so that the strings of buttercream snap off from the nozzle/tip and drop down onto the top of the cupcake. Once the first circle is complete, start on another circle, overlapping your first, but this time starting further away from the edge.

    Finally, finish the centre by overlapping the second circle. Don’t worry if the icing isn’t perfect, all monsters look different anyway!

    Decorate each monster with four candy teeth, three candy eyes and two jelly beans for ‘horns’.


    The fantastic new book, LOLA's Forever, is out now and available here!

    Have a super weekend everybody, enjoy your Halloween preparations and happy baking!

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with books, blog, ryland, peters, small, ryland peters small, book, recipe, amazon, Blogger, baking, recipes, halloween, recipe for the weekend, weekend, 2014, cupcake, bake, cakes, blue monster, monster, cupcake recipe, LOLA's, lola's cupcakes, lola's forever, traybake

  • Posted on October 23, 2014

    The one with the great speech!

    Celebrating the launch of another fabulous book, on Tuesday evening we raised a glass to Jane Parkinson with huge congratulations for her chatty, informative guide, Wine & Food. Gathered in the lovely downstairs of 28°-50°, Maddox Street, we enjoyed the most delicious champagne from Ayala, glorious canapés from the restaurant and lots of chatter about two of our favourite things; wine and food!

    If you like wine and you've never visited 28°-50°, then we would highly recommend that you do! The staff are absolutely wonderful and it's a great place to sit and enjoy a glass of something delicious (and a plate to go with it if you please!) It made a stunning setting for the launch of Jane's book and with such a good turn out, it was perfect for everyone to mingle and squeeze around as the evening went on!

    You'll notice that everyone is enjoying a glass of Ayala Champagne in the photos, and my oh my, did we enjoy it!? Such lovely fizz and just perfect for the celebrations! In the book, Jane recommends numerous dishes to pair with champagne, including lightly dry-spiced seafood dishes, or to cut through anything fried. It went perfectly with the delicious selection of canapés; from crab salad on crouton to mini cheeseburgers, salmon gravlax on sourdough to parmesan & truffle arancini.

    Of course, Jane and her wonderful book took centre stage! She gave a lovely speech with lots of thank yous and a big cheers to finish, and everyone was hugely impressed with Wine & Food, flicking through the pages and chatting about Jane's pairing tips and suggestions.

    The evening came to a close with lots of book signing and smiles.

    Congratulations Jane, Wine & Food is fantastic and the evening was a great success!

    Wine & Food is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with books, party, blog, ryland, peters, small, ryland peters small, book, amazon, Blogger, Book Launch, food, book signing, wine, 2014, photos, wine book, event photos, launch photos, wine and food, Jane Parkinson, champagne, Ayala, 28 50

  • Posted on October 22, 2014

    Creating your Vintage Hallowe'en!

    With Hallowe’en just over a week away, we’re all starting to plan our outfits and conjure up ideas to decorate our homes! Today we’ve got a project for you to make from the new book, Creating your Vintage Hallowe’en, so that you can create an eerie vibe and spook your guests as they creep up the garden!

    While we all love to make, bake and pumpkin carve for the occasion, you might enjoy the spooky celebration a little more this year by understanding a bit about the folklore and traditions behind it. As well as fun crafty makes, Creating Your Vintage Hallowe’en is bursting with spooky artworks, ephemera, rhymes, and stories that we think you will just love! Why not write up a couple of the unusual Hallowe’en facts and quotes in a scary scrawl and pin them around the room to entertain your guests?

    If you’d like to discover how Hallowe’en came to be one of the most popular holidays in the calendar, then we’re giving you the chance to win a copy of the new book! We’ve got four copies to giveaway and all you need to do is head over to Twitter, follow and re-tweet any of our #vintagehalloween tweets and tell us what you love most about the haunted holiday!

    balloon ghosts

    No Hallowe’en party would be complete without a bunch of visiting ghosts, and these balloon spooks couldn’t be easier to make. A piece of cheap cotton muslin is hung over a balloon with creepy features made from black card. Tie them in place to decorate a dull corner or fasten them by the front door to welcome trick-or-treaters to your home.

    You will need

    White balloon

    White ribbon

    59 in. (150 cm) square of white cotton muslin for each ghost


    Approximately 6 in. (15 cm) square of black card



    1. Blow the balloon up. Take a length of ribbon, making sure that it is long enough for the ghost to be hung up. Tie the ribbon securely around the balloon knot.

    2. Fold the muslin in half and then into quarters. Make a small snip at the folded corner point using the scissors.

    3. Unfold the muslin and thread the ribbon through the hole, pulling the muslin down over the balloon.

    4. Draw two wobbly eyes and a wide, round mouth onto the black card. Cut them out neatly.

    5. Stick the eyes and mouth onto the muslin over the balloon using the glue. Make sure they are well stuck down. Create a collection of ghosts, making the facial features different for each one. Hang the ghosts in place using the ribbon.


    Creating your Vintage Hallowe'en by Marion Paull is available here.


    We hope you enjoy making these balloon ghosts and have lots of other great things planned for Hallowe'en! If you'd like some more inspiration then try these fright night recipes, these ghost cupcakes,  and this cobweb table decoration... And don't forget to enter the Twitter #vintagehalloween competition for a chance to win the book!

    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, US, What's new and was tagged with books, cico, cico books, blog, book, craft, crafts, decoration, craft book, craft author, amazon, Blogger, handmade, vintage, fabric, competition, halloween, halloween craft, ghosts, win, 2014, craft projects, ghost, balloon ghosts, Marion Paull, #vintagehalloween, competitions, creating your vintage hallowe'en

  • Posted on October 21, 2014

    Great Ormond Street Bake it Better

    Yesterday, we held a Bake it Better bake sale in the office to help raise some dough for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. With sweet treats baked from a selection of our books, we had everything from indulgent chocolate muffins and tasty lemon squares to salty pretzants (a pretzel-croissant mash-up!) and biscuits, and everyone in our office came down to have a taste. We all had a lot of fun flicking through the recipes, eating cake and dropping our coins into the pot!

    Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity raises money to enable the hospital to provide world class care and to pioneer new treatments and cures for childhood illnesses. With some generous donations for the baked goods, we were thrilled to be part of such a great event and raising money for such a good cause. If you'd like to learn more about Bake it Better and find out how you can hold your own bake sale then click here.

    Below are the tasty treats and the books that we baked them from, all available now!

    To find out more about the books, click on the one that takes your fancy below!



    Thanks to all for your donations and to the bakers for providing us with such tasty treats! We hope our dough will help bake it better. Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US and was tagged with books, blog, ryland, peters, small, ryland peters small, book, recipe, london, london event, Blogger, baking, recipes, children, family baking, 2014, charity, bake, Victoria Glass, great ormond street, gosh, great ormond street hospital, children's hospital, bake sale, cake sale, bake it better, charity bake sale, chocolate muffins, lemon squares, pretzants, biscuits, baking mas-up, Sarah Randall, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, hummingbird bakery, Home-Baked Gifts with Love

  • Posted on October 20, 2014

    A week with Hans Blomquist

    As you may have seen last week we had a wonderful blog tour for Hans Blomquist In Detail hosted on some of our favourite interiors blogs! So last Monday we packed our virtual spotted hanky on a stick, took one last look at our own little blog and headed off on a big adventure! We were so lucky to have all these beautiful blogs taking part and you can see more about their posts below.

    On Monday, decor8 kicked us off with this great post featuring 5 Things I Liked About This Book, 5 Things That I Learned By Reading This Book and 5 Ways I’d Like To Use This Book. ‘Moody, gorgeous photography – each photo has a cinematic feel to it – like you are watching a gorgeous film’

    Tuesday saw a delightful review on Lobster and Swan, and Felix even snuck in! ‘I am especially in awe of his ability to beautify dark rooms, walls and surrounding’

    This gorgeous book was at the heart of the blog tour but on Wednesday we got to know the man behind the magic a little better thanks to The Lifestyle Editor’s Q&A feature.

    On Thursday, Such Pretty Things posted a review, illustrated by gorgeous details from the book. ‘Whilst the book is absolutely stunning…it is far more than just another pretty book filled with pretty images’

    And last, but by absolutely no means least, Décor Art UK finished us up with a wonderful review on Friday, focusing on each chapter in turn and illustrated by more of the book’s stunning photography!  ‘a very beautiful book that will teach you to take in every detail’

    Phew! What a busy, beautiful week! We’re so glad to have been able to share some of this book with you. If you’re feeling inspired (and really, how could you not be?!) you can order the title here.

    In Detail by Hans Blomquist, with photography by Debi Treloar and Hans Blomquist, published by Ryland Peters and Small.

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with blog, home, house, ryland, peters, small, ryland peters small, interiors, twitter, pinterest, amazon, Blogger, colour, autumn, 2014, nature, blog tour, Hans Blomquist, In Detail, Debi Treloar, decor8, Lobster and Swan, Such Pretty Things, The Lifestyle Editor, Decor Art UK, texture, textiles, collections, displays

  • Posted on October 17, 2014

    A Celebration of Vanilla!

    This week has been a busy one and so we’re looking forward to a relaxing weekend, enjoying some lovely autumnal fare! Today is the inaugural National Real Vanilla Day, hosted by LittlePod and Bickleigh Castle in Devon, with two days of events and classes. To celebrate here at RPS towers we wanted to share this gorgeous recipe from Vanilla by Janet Sawyer of LittlePod for this week's Recipe for the Weekend. We think this delicious traybake will be a perfect post-lunch treat on Sunday, and we may even make vanilla custard to have with it too!

    Lumberjack Cake

    LittlePod supplies the Exploding Bakery, whose pastries travel to London and Paris every day. Its owner, Tom, told me about the origin of one of his favourite cakes: ‘Flicking through a copy of Australian Women’s Weekly, as I am prone to do, I came across a rather rugged and handsome-looking cake that appealed to all my manly confectionery needs. When it came out of the oven we duly scoffed it down, noting the uncanny resemblance to a sticky toffee pudding: delicious sweet dates and dense, moist sponge. Add to this the apple and crunchy caramelized coconut and you have yourself one hell of a tasty traybake...’


    250 g chopped dried dates

    1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

    175 g butter

    300 g caster sugar

    2 eggs

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    400 g plain flour

    1 teaspoon salt

    500 g apples


    75 g butter

    125 g soft light brown sugar

    100 ml milk

    70 g desiccated coconut

    a 30 x 18-cm traybake pan, lined with baking paper

    serves 8


    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4. Put the dates in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda, add 330 ml boiling water and set aside to cool.

    Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, then add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat vigorously until fluffy, then gently fold in the flour and salt, taking care not to overmix it.

     Peel and remove the cores from the apples, then finely chop them. Stir the apples into the bowl of dates (this will help them cool down). Fold the apples and dates into the cake batter.

    Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40–50 minutes. If a knife or skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

    Meanwhile, make the topping. Place all the ingredients in a heavy-based pan and cook gently over low heat until the butter melts, or heat in a microwave-proof container. Give it a good stir.

    Remove the cake from the oven, spoon the topping mixture onto it and spread it out evenly, then return it to the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.


    Vanilla by Janet Sawyer is available here.

     Happy Friday everyone and enjoy your Vanilla!

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with books, blog, ryland, peters, small, ryland peters small, book, recipe, facebook, pinterest, amazon, Blogger, baking, coconut, dates, recipes, cooking, autumn, recipe for the weekend, weekend, 2014, apples, vanilla, lumberjack cake, Janet Sawyer, LittlePod, National Real Vanilla Day, Bickleigh Castle

  • Posted on October 16, 2014

    The one where we bought a pumpkin...

    Last night we had a super evening filled with charcuterie, cornichons, cheers and chums at Muddy Boots, The Modern Meat Company.

    Celebrating the launch of an absolutely cracking new book by our lovely author, Miranda Ballard, we enjoyed a delightful selection of salumi themed treats, a delicious glass (or two?!) of Sauvignon Blanc and great company to chat and laugh the night away!

    The book took centre stage with beautiful photography by Steve Painter, Miranda’s scrumptious recipes and the kind of feel that makes you just want to pick it up and flick through the pages!

    Congratulations Miranda! The book is fantastic and the evening was so much fun. Can we do it all over again?!

    If cured meat recipes and delicious salumi platters sound good to you, then Miranda's book Charcuterie is available here.

    And in case you were wondering, we picked up a pumpkin from a nice man setting up his stall at Borough Market on the way home... it will now forever be the launch where we bought a pumpkin!


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with books, blog, meat, ryland, peters, small, ryland peters small, book, recipe, london, london event, amazon, Blogger, Miranda Ballard, Muddy Boots, recipes, Book Launch, cooking, 2014, charcuterie, cured meat, event photos, launch photos, pumpkin, salumi

  • Posted on October 15, 2014

    How an editor became a poker queen!

    Coinciding with this year’s European Poker Tournament currently taking place in London (8th – 18th October) and celebrating the launch of her book, How to Become a Poker Queen, Rebecca McAdam held a wonderful poker party at The Grand Connaught Rooms last night where we had the chance to learn about the game, gather her top tips, as well as play a friendly (though competitive!) tournament. We had a fantastic evening and even walked away with a few prizes!

    Whether you’re new to poker or have some experience, Rebecca will show you how to hone your instincts and truly become a poker queen. Below are her tips for beginners and a few pictures from the evening!


    Tips for beginners

    I recently asked professional poker player Ben Jenkins to show some people I work with how to play poker and teach them tips on how to be successful early on in their poker journey. As they bounded out into the world ready to take on allcomers I thought that his advice would be perfect in preparing you for your time at the felt. Here are the wonderful Ben Jenkins’ tips:


    Keep things simple

    Poker can be a complicated game, but it doesn't need to be. It's possible to make your decisions in a way that will make potential future decisions easier. I always advise beginners to be mindful of this. For example, you're playing No Limit Hold ‘em and have Q-Q, there is $13,450 in the pot and the community cards read Jh 7c 6h Qc. You are first to act with 10,500 chips in your current stack and two opponents still in the pot. While you have the best hand possible right now, there are many possible hands your opponent can have that can outdraw you. I see a lot of people trying to keep their opponents in the pot in this spot, betting around $4,000–$6000, only for a card to roll off on the river leaving a tricky situation where your opponent has likely made a flush or straight. Instead I'd recommend moving all-in on the turn – the pot is already quite big and most hands your opponents could have are draws, since there is only one queen left, and a lower set or two pair probably won't fold. In any case we don't want cards to fall that stop these hands paying you off for the maximum! Sometimes your opponents will want to gamble with their draw too, or believe you are trying to push them off a hand with a draw yourself and  call with a weak hand that is drawing dead to your top set. Either way you eliminate any tricky guess-work you may have had to make on the river. By keeping the pot simple for yourself you have ensured that you can't make a mistake, and in poker you largely profit by forcing opponents into mistakes.


    The tournament is under way...


    Play the good hands!

    Pairs, big aces and suited broadways (10-J, J-Q, Q-K or K-A belonging to the suit) are the best hands because they hit the flop the most often, making the strongest hands – sets, top pairs, straights and flushes. Making the best hands is going to make you a favourite to win the pots while also making the game easier. If you find yourself making a second and third pair a lot, you can end up in a lot of tricky spots and we're trying to keep it simple.


    Play your hands in position

    When you have the button or are to the right of it (the ‘cutoff’), then you are going to be able to watch the action before making your decision. Poker is a game of incomplete information, but by trying to play most of our hands ‘in position’ - that is last to act – we have much more information than everybody has had to act before us. The more information you have the easier it will be to make a good decision and avoid a mistake. Be very selective about what hands you play from early position where the positional disadvantage is the most acute. 'You want hands that will remain strong once the flop is dealt – typically big pairs and aces – and to actively look for opportunities in which to aggressively press any positional advantage you may have. In late position, typically the button and cut off; small pairs and suited connectors become much more playable – although not from a shallow stack as you need enough chips behind to realise the implied odds of these hands (taking into consideration future betting) when you do hit a good flop.


    The prizes!


    Playing live

    Online poker is a great way to get into poker – you can play a lot of hands quickly from the confines of your own home without worrying about giving any tells away. However, many people also enjoy playing live where you get to meet, and chat to, many different opponents. People often remark that they find some of the aspects of live poker quite daunting; they are worried about giving away tells, muddling around with chips or acting out of turn. Largely I think these fears are unfounded if you take your time, breathe and remain calm, follow the action and concentrate on other people, how they are acting, and how they play their hands. You'll be too busy to worry about giving off tells yourself, but if you think you are, then find a routine and do the same things every hand. Don't be the player holding their cards to fold before it’s your turn, look at your cards and place your hands on the table the same way each time. If you aren't comfortable handling chips, don't play around with them, and when making bets, announce them to the dealer and use the largest chips you have. If ever you are unsure of the action, for example who is next to act, then ask the dealer. Remember, in poker we are simply trying to avoid mistakes. Also, take the time to get to meet your table mates. There are many interesting people that play poker – it's a very social game. Relax and enjoy it. Ultimately, nothing is more valuable than experience in poker; it can act like aversion therapy. After seeing the same situation repeatedly, if you are paying attention, you will begin to instinctively know what’s going on. You will begin to interpret the information you gather at the table more accurately, such as people’s betting patterns or the way they handle their chips or hold their cards, which will lead you to make better decisions. There is a lot to be said for good strong logic in poker, so take your time, think things through, have a plan and be consistent. I love the challenges the game presents to me. I've played for over ten years but am still constantly learning and evolving the way I think about the game. Be reflective; if you aren’t sure about a hand you have played don't be shy to ask a more experienced player what they think. Not everybody plays the same, and there is not usually one right course of action, but it never hurts to take on board other people's opinions. Most of all though, have fun, nothing else will keep you motivated to improve more, and of course, it never hurts to be lucky once in a while.




    How to Become a Poker Queen by Rebecca McAdam is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with books, blog, ryland, peters, small, ryland peters small, book, london, london event, amazon, Blogger, event, 2014, event photos, poker, poker queen, how to become a poker queen, Rebecca McAdam, Ben Jenkins, poker tournament, poker tips, beginnger, beginner's poker, tips for beginner

  • Posted on October 14, 2014

    Get to Grips with Crystals

    Throughout history crystals have been regarded as a source of power and healing, but it can be difficult to know where to begin, and what you need for your current situation. But a new book by Golnaz Alibagi is on hand to help you out! The Essential Guide to Crystals is packed with information on the many merits of various crystals. The book is helpfully organised into chapters covering different areas of your life, such as home, love, friendship, and work, and Golnaz tells you which crystals you need, whatever situation you find yourself in. Today on the blog we wanted to share with you some of Golnaz’s tips for getting a new job, and what to do once you’re there!



    Whether you’re just starting out in the world of work or wanting to move on, a new job represents a radical change in your life and so is bound to get the nerves jangling. Calm pre-interview jitters by putting a Black Sapphire crystal under your pillow to ensure you sleep well and are able to do yourself justice. For more of a helping hand, dress to impress by accessorizing your favorite lucky outfit with a Hematite crystal. The gem will strengthen your personal magnetism, and help you blow their socks off! Then, once you’ve been hired, waltz into your new job without any fear by carrying a Serpentine gem in your wallet or purse. This will help you to hit the professional ground running, and ensure you make a dazzling impression.


    Alternative gemstones:

    Black Sapphire: Amazonite, Adamite, Magnetite.

    Hematite: Zircon, Mookaite, Adamite.

    Serpentine: Yellow Tourmaline, Blue Sapphire, Cinnabar.


    Thinking big Forget thinking outside the box—break out of it altogether by holding a Stone of Dreams to help you live each day as if it’s your last, and ensure you don’t leave the world with your music, or any regrets, still inside you.

    Alternative gemstones: Bronzite, Tiger’s Eye, Fire Opal.

    Taking action There’s only one place where progress comes before work and that’s in the dictionary! So stop dreaming and start scheming by placing a Jasper crystal in your office to help you get your projects out of your head, and into the world.

    Alternative gemstones: Septarian, Diamond, Tiger’s Eye.


    Completing projects Stick to your projects like icing on a cupcake by placing a Hemimorphite on your desk to help you stay motivated, and prevent you from giving up before the recipe for your success is fully baked and served to perfection.

    Alternative gemstones: Honey Calcite, Picasso Marble, Red Chalcedony.


    Motivation Keep your drive sky high by spending five minutes holding a Poppy Jasper each morning. Visualize all the fabulous things your project will lead to, and your enthusiasm will soon know no bounds. and help you manifest your dreams.

    Alternative gemstones: Sardonyx, Tiger’s Eye, Larvakite.


    The Essential Guide to Crystals by Golnaz Alibagi is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with books, self-help, cico, cico books, blog, book, health, amazon, Blogger, autumn, 2014, mind, healing, guidance, help, mind body spirit, crystals, The Essential Guide to Crystals, Golnaz Alibagi, healing power, work healing, work life, crystal healing

  • Posted on October 10, 2014

    Recipe for the Weekend

    Autumn has definitely arrived, and she’s brought with her flurries of leaves, shiny conkers and some rather unwelcome showers. So we’re very much looking forward to a cosy weekend, with perhaps a blustery walk in the park if the rain stays away. Simple and warming, this delicious casserole will be the perfect post-walk fare and it’s taken from our new title, A Gourmet Guide to Oil and Vinegar by Ursula Ferrigno. And don’t forget that you can enter our twitter competition to win a copy of this beautiful book.


    Nonna Ferrigno’s Chicken Casserole

    This recipe is revisited so frequently in my home, not just for its taste, but also for its ease of cooking. It is tasty, satisfying and also a one-pot meal, which is very useful for time-short mums. I have experimented over the years with various combinations, sometimes using smoky bacon, lardons or pancetta. All these are good variations, but not necessary.

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons Italian ‘00’ flour

    8 chicken thighs, bone and skin on or off, depending on your preference

    3 tablespoons olive oil

    2 celery stalks, finely chopped

    1 medium carrot, diced

    1 red onion, diced

    150g chestnut/cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped

    1 garlic glove, crushed

    3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

    2 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped

    1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

    3 bay leaves

    6 tablespoons Italian passata/strained tomatoes

    6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (not too small)

    Handful flat leafed parsley

    To serve:

    Focaccia or crusty bread

    Serves 8

    Add a little salt and pepper to the flour, and coat the chicken in it.

    Heat a flameproof casserole dish, add the olive oil and heat gently. Add the chicken, cook until coloured and remove. Add more oil if necessary and add the celery, carrot, onion, mushroom and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Add the chicken, vinegar, 500ml water, herbs, passata and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

    Simmer for 45 minutes, checking that the casserole is not drying up and stirring it periodically.

    Garnish with parsley and serve with focaccia or crusty bread to mop up the juices.


    A Gourmet Guide to Oil and Vinegar by Ursula Ferrigno is available here.

    Have a lovely weekend, and don't forget to enter our competition!

    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with books, blog, olive oil, ryland, peters, small, ryland peters small, book, chicken, casserole, recipe, twitter, pinterest, amazon, Blogger, recipes, cooking, Comfort Food, competition, autumn, recipe for the weekend, weekend, twitter competition, win, 2014, cosy, Oil, Vinegar, A Gourmet Guide to Oil and Vinegar, autumn cooking, italian food, Ursula Ferrigno, chicken casserole

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