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  • Posted on August 28, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend

    Get ready to party! With Notting Hill Carnival this bank holiday we just can’t wait to get into the carnival spirit. Whether you’re heading over to dance with the other fiesta folk or looking to feed your own party of hungry revelers these Jerk Wings, from Chicken Wings, are the perfect way to heat up your party! And if chicken's not your thing, then we also have these indulgent Mozzarella Cheese Sticks to brighten up your weekend.

     

    Jerk Wings

    These caramelized jerk chicken wings are spicy, juicy and very, very moreish, and the Cajun Remoulade Dipping Sauce makes the perfect accompaniment.

    Jerk Chicken Recipe

    1.8 kg/4 lbs. chicken wings, halved at the joints, tips removed

    1⁄2 onion, chopped

    35 g/1⁄2 cup spring onions/scallions, sliced

    7 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    4 habanero peppers, deseeded and chopped

    3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

    2 teaspoons dried thyme

    2 tablespoons kosher/ flaked salt

    1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

    1 tablespoon ground allspice

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    2 teaspoons ground cumin

    1 teaspoon chilli powder

    1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    4 tablespoons vegetable oil

    5 tablespoons soy sauce

    3 tablespoons brown sugar

     

    Take out

    120 ml/1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

     

    Cajun Remoulade Dipping Sauce:

    500 g/2 cups mayonnaise

    2 tablespoons Homemade Ketchup

    2 tablespoons English mustard

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

    2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

    3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

    1 teaspoon celery salt

    1 teaspoon paprika

    Serves 4–6

     

    Put the onion, spring onions/scallions, garlic, habanero peppers, fresh and dried thyme, kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, cumin, chilli powder, nutmeg, vegetable oil, soy sauce, brown sugar and lime juice in a blender and blend until the marinade is completely smooth.

    Place the chicken in a large bowl, pour the marinade over and toss to coat completely.

    Cover the bowl with clingfilm and marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours.

    Preheat the oven to 230ºC (450ºF) Gas 8. Line 2–3 baking sheets with foil and grease with

    cooking spray or vegetable oil.

    Place the chicken on the baking sheets and reserve the marinade left in the bowl. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

    Brush half the reserved marinade over the chicken and turn the wings over. Bake for a further 15 minutes.

    Turn the chicken again and brush on the remaining marinade. Bake for a further 10–15 minutes until the chicken is tender and caramelized and the juices run clear when the thickest part is pierced to the bone. Rest the wings on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a serving platter.

    Cajun Remoulade Dipping Sauce

    Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Refrigerate before serving.

     

    Deep Fried Mozzarella Sticks

    Warm, crispy, gooey cheese sticks are a great companion to chicken wings. Serve these mozzarella sticks with an array of the dips or sauces in this book.

     

    Mozzarella Sticks

    2 eggs, beaten

    120 g/1 1/2 cups Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs or breadcrumbs with a tablespoon of Ranch

    Seasoning

    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

    80 g/ 2/3 cup plain/ all-purpose flour

    40 g/1/3 cup cornflour/ cornstarch

    450-g/1-lb. bag of mozzarella cheese sticks

    vegetable oil, for frying

    Serves 4–6

     

    In a small bowl, mix the eggs with 60 ml/1⁄4 cup water.

    In a separate, medium bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and garlic salt. In another medium bowl, mix the flour and cornflour/cornstarch.

    Preheat the oil in a deep fryer set to 180ºC (350ºF).

    One at a time, coat each mozzarella stick in flour, then egg and then breadcrumbs. Fry for about 30 seconds until golden brown. Drain on paper towels before serving.

    Find out more about Chicken Wings by Carol Hilker here.

    Chicken Wings by Carol Hilker


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK and was tagged with party, chicken, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, 2015, mozzarella, carnival, Notting Hill, chicken wings

  • Posted on August 26, 2015

    Your new favourite dessert...

    In the market for something sweet? If there’s one thing we love more than a good dessert here at RPS towers, it’s two good desserts and this recipe from Hannah Miles’ Sweetie Pie fits that bill nicely. These beautiful puddings perfectly combine the glorious Crème Brûlée with a little custard tart…so simple and yet, so delightful!

    Crème brûlée tarts

    The classic French dessert of crème brûlée is always popular, and I have used that delicious sugar-topped custard to fill these delicate tarts. Make these ahead for a dinner party and simply caramelize the tops before serving.

    For the pie crust

    260 g digestive biscuits

    130 g butter, melted

    For the filling

    4 egg yolks

    80 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

    ½ teaspoon vanilla salt (or regular salt)

    500 ml double cream

    Six 10-cm/4-in. Loose-bottom, round, fluted tartlet pans, greased

    Chefs blow torch

    Makes 6

    For the pie crust, place the digestive biscuits in a food processor or blender and blitz to fine crumbs, or place in a clean plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. Stir in the melted butter, ensuring that all the crumbs are well coated. Press the crumbs into the base and sides of the pans.

    For the brûlée filling, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla salt until thick and creamy. Heat the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Pour the hot cream over the egg mixture, whisking constantly, and then return the custard mixture to the pan. Heat gently, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Take care not to overcook the custard, otherwise is will scramble. Pour the custard into the tartlet pans and let cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2–3 hours.

    When you are ready to serve, sprinkle a little sugar over the top of each tart and then caramelize using the blow torch. Serve immediately. The uncaramelized pies will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

    Sweetie Pie by Hannah Miles is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK

  • Posted on August 26, 2015

    What do you know about La Tomatina?

    Today is the 70th anniversary of this excellent tomato festival and as we couldn't really hold our own food fight in the office (or could we? Hmmm...), we thought we'd celebrate with a little quiz! Taken from Jenny Linford's lovely book, The Tomato Basket, we've got a few quick questions for you to test your La Tomatina knowledge!

    What do you know about La Tomatina?

    La Tomatina is an exuberant, noticeably messy and undoubtedly fun event... test your knowledge on one of the most famous tomato festivals in this quick quiz!

    Where does La Tomatina take place?

    Buñol, Spain

    Dongguan, China

    Melbourne, Australia

    How did the festival begin?

    Young men from the town had a fight in the town square and resorted to hurling fruit and vegetables from a vegetable stall, creating what became an annual event.

    It began as a protest against local politicians, with citizens resorting to the handiest – and messiest – of natural missiles, abundantly to hand.

    An accidental spillage by a lorry laden with fresh tomatoes started this messy event.

    Nobody really knows, it could be any of the above theories!

    Local townsfolk held a 'mock' tomato funeral during it's ban in the 1950s.

    True

    False

    Now the festival is a ticket only event, how many tomato throwers are able to participate?

    200

    2,000

    20,000

    How many tomatoes are provided for 'ammunition'?

    125 tonnes

    125 kg

    125 tomatoes

    Oh, what a mess!

    It looks like your La Tomatina knowledge is pretty messy!

    If you'd like to learn more about tomato festivals or tomatoes in general, then check out Jenny Linford's cookbook, The Tomato Basket 

    Top tomatoes!

    Looks like your La Tomatina knowledge is pretty impressive!

    If you'd like more reasons to celebrate the glorious tomato then check out Jenny Linford's cookbook, The Tomato Basket


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK and was tagged with tomato, Jenny Linford, quick, 2015

  • Posted on August 22, 2015

    What is the role of a Guardian Angel?

    As today is national Be an Angel Day we’re thinking about ways that we can be helpful or kind to someone else; whether that involves stopping to help a stranger in the street, or simply making a cup of tea for someone that’s had a busy week. Thinking about putting other people first always gives us a warm feeling, but it’s also good to know who is there looking out for us.

    Your Guardian Angel is always around and you can learn how to recognize the presence of your angel in the beautiful new book, Do You Know Your Guardian Angel? by Jacky Newcomb. Today we’ve got an extract from the book to share with you – What is the Role of a Guardian Angel? – to help you realise the loving support and helpful guidance that your Angel offers.

    Guardian Angels

    What is the Role of a Guardian Angel?

    The traditional role of angels is as protectors and guides and their role is really very similar today.

    There have always been stories about angels helping people but, unlike today, when we can look up angels on the Internet and read about them in books, it may have been harder to find something relevant to everyday life in days gone by. We can judge their roles today by reading of other people’s angel experiences and the stories seem to fall into various categories.

    * Angels guide us to meet the people who can help us or set us on the right path.

    * They lift us physically out of danger or get a stranger (an angel in disguise?) to distract us so that we avoid an unexpected hazard.

    * They bring people (angels again?) to speak to us and comfort us. Stories persist of strangers stopping to share helpful words and guidance at appropriate times.

    * They bring useful people to us when we’re in trouble. I’ve collected numerous stories about people being helped by random folk who seem to have the perfect equipment to fix their car on the deserted country road or offer food, money, or shelter unexpectedly. These people often disappear as quickly as they arrived, usually before they can be thanked.

    * A confident “person” protects us from a threatening individual either by appearing bigger and more powerful or by just barring the way from the menace.

    * Angels leave us signs to guide us to our next step

    * They comfort us by bringing sounds, scents, lights, or even physical objects, or by surrounding us with a loving, peaceful energy or touch.

    * They may escort deceased loved ones to us (in visions and dreams) to reassure us, or bring through the voice of a deceased family member whose warning may startle us to action more quickly—STOP, SLOW DOWN, for example.

    Do You Know your Guardian Angel?

    Do you know your Guardian Angel? by Jackie Newcomb is available here. The book is illustrated beautifully by Jane Taylor.


    This post was posted in Featured, UK, What's new and was tagged with mind body spirit, 2015, angel

  • Posted on August 21, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend

    With National Burger Day this Thursday we’re already getting ourselves in the mood for a big juicy burger. We thought we’d prepare you for the beefiest of celebrations with this Ultimate Restaurant Burger recipe from Burgers and Slidersthe first book from expert butcher Miranda Ballard.

    Now when we think of all that is meaty and mighty, of course we turn to meat connoisseur Miranda so we’re really excited for her new book Modern Meat Kitchen to be published in October.

    Ultimate Restaurant Burger

     

    Ultimate restaurant burger with bacon, cheese & tomato relish

    Why go to a restaurant when you can make these delicious gourmet burgers at home? This easy recipe combines a tasty beef patty with all the trimmings. Serve with Classic Homecut Fries for the ultimate burger experience.

     

    For the tomato relish

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 onion, sliced

    1 garlic clove, crushed

    1 fresh red chilli/chile, chopped

    800 g/ 3 1⁄2 cups canned chopped tomatoes

    200-ml/ 3⁄4 cup red wine vinegar

    200-g/ 1-cup sugar

    30 g/ 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed

    3 or 4 baby gherkins, chopped a handful of fresh coriander/ cilantro

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

     

    For the burgers

    340 g/12 oz. lean minced/ ground beef

    1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

    a large pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

     

    To serve

    2 slices bacon

    4 slices Cheddar cheese

    2 large burger buns

    butter, for spreading

    2 tablespoons American mustard

    2 pickled gherkins, thinly sliced

    75 g/1 cup chopped lettuce

    Classic Homecut Fries

    Makes 2 burgers

     

    To make the tomato relish, heat the oil in a frying pan/skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli/chile and fry, stirring occasionally, until soft.

    Add the tomatoes and mix well. Add the vinegar and sugar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. The relish should be the consistency of jam. Stir in the capers and gherkins and the coriander/cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

    To make the burgers, put the beef in a bowl with the salt and pepper. Work together with your hands until evenly mixed. Divide the beef mixture in half and shape into two burger patties. Press each burger down to make them nice and flat.

    Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers over medium–high heat for 5 minutes on each side until cooked through.

    Meanwhile, heat a separate frying pan until hot and fry the bacon slices until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.

    When the burgers are cooked, remove from the pan and top each with two slices of cheese. Set aside to allow the cheese to melt slightly.

    Slice the burger buns in half and lightly toast them under the grill/ broiler or in the toaster.

    Spread butter on the cut sides of each bun. Squeeze a little mustard onto the base and put the cooked burgers on top. Add a generous spoonful of tomato relish to each and top with the bacon, gherkins and lettuce. Finish the burgers with the lids of the buns and serve with Classic Homecut Fries.

     

    Burgers and Sliders by Miranda Ballard is full of great gourmet burger recipes for indulgent eating. Find out more here.

    Modern Meat Kitchen, published in October, is a comprehensive guide to meat including fantastic protein-packed recipes. Find out more here.

    Learn more about Miranda's meaty ethical philosophy with our interview here.

    Burgers and Sliders by Miranda BallardModern Meat Kitchen by Miranda Ballard

     


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US and was tagged with burger, recipe for the weekend, cheese, tomato, 2015, bacon, meat, national burger day

  • Posted on August 17, 2015

    Win Two Tickets to The Handmade Fair!

    With one month to go until The Handmade Fair 18th - 20th September (you know, the wonderful craft fair presented by Kirstie Allsopp at Hampton Court Palace!), we can't hold in our excitement any longer and have two tickets to giveaway! For your chance to win, simply head to the bottom of this blog post where you can follow us on Twitter, tweet about the competition or like us on Facebook to enter - we will be sharing plenty of updates and exciting crafty news in the run up to the fair!

    The Handmade Fair Ticket Giveaway

    So, what can you expect to find at the fair?

    There are several tents of crafty goodness with loads of lovely materials and handmade items for you to browse and buy, as well as excellent workshops so that you can try out some new ideas and techniques! We'd love for you to pop along to our stand, E73, so here are a couple of reasons why we think you might like to (aside from checking out our wonderful range of craft and interiors books, that is!)...

     

    Beautiful Book Bargains

    We've got 20% off everything, all weekend! So whether you’re getting stocked up with crafty gifts or have a passion for making yourself, we hope you’ll bag yourself a bargain.

     

    Sewing Machine Bundle Prize

    Are you a keen sewer looking for your next machine and some new ideas? Or are you new to sewing and on the look out for some great beginner’s projects and equipment?

    We’ve got a fantastic sewing machine to give away to one lucky winner at the fair, along with a gorgeous fabric bundle and a super selection of sewing books. Simply head over to our stand to enter!

     

    CICO Books The Handmade Fair

    The Competition

    Simply follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and/or tweet about the giveaway below for your chance to win the two tickets! The competition will work on a points system and you can receive points for each of the entry options. One lucky winner will be announced on Monday 31st August. Good luck!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, UK and was tagged with handmade, event, 2015, the handmade fair, tickets

  • Posted on August 14, 2015

    Recipe for the weekend

    Happy Friday! This week seems to be the week summer forgot, but we’re dreaming of warmer climes thanks to our brand new book, Mezze by Ghillie Basan. Whether you’re looking for the perfect feast for a long, lazy afternoon with friends or a snack to accompany pre-dinner party drinks, there is sure to be something for you in this beautiful book. Since we’re trying to trick ourselves into believing that it really is summertime somewhere, we’ve gone for this fresh, colourful salad to share with you this weekend! Enjoy!

    Artichokes with broad beans and almonds

    Fresh globe artichokes should be treated like flowers and stood in a jug/pitcher of water until ready to use. In the early summer, the markets and street-sellers of the eastern Mediterranean region display crates of artichokes, which they skillfully prepare for you on the spot. Frozen ready-prepared artichoke bottoms are also available in some supermarkets and Middle Eastern stores. However, you can prepare your own: pull off the outer leaves and cut off the stalks; using a sharp knife, slice away the purple choke, the small leaves and any hard bits; remove any fibres with the edge of a spoon and rub the artichoke bottoms with a mixture of lemon juice and salt to prevent them from discolouring.

    175 g/1½  cups fresh broad/fava beans, shelled

    4 fresh globe artichokes, trimmed to their bottoms

    125 ml/¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

    freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

    50 ml/3 tablespoons water

    2 teaspoons granulated sugar

    sea salt

    90 g/1 scant cup blanched almonds

    a small bunch of dill, chopped

    Serves 4

    Place the broad/fava beans in pot of water and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans for about 40 minutes, until tender. Drain and refresh under running cold water. Remove the skins and put the beans aside.

    Place the artichoke bottoms in heavy-based saucepan. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and water and pour it over the artichokes. Cover the pan with a lid and poach the artichokes gently for about 20 minutes. Add the sugar, a little salt, beans and almonds and continue to poach gently for a further 10 minutes, until the artichokes are tender. Toss in half the dill and turn off the heat. Leave the artichokes to cool in the saucepan.

    Lift the artichoke bottoms out of the saucepan and place them, hollow-side up, on a serving dish. Spoon the beans and almonds into the middle of the artichokes and around them. Garnish with the rest of the dill and serve at room temperature.

    Mezze by Ghillie Basan is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with vegan, salad, lemon, savoury, Book Launch, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, Ghillie Basan, 2015

  • Posted on August 12, 2015

    Wordless Wednesday: Texture

    Picture credits: 1. Catherine Gratwicke 2. Catherine Gratwicke 3. Hans Blomquist 4. Simon Brown 5. Debi Treloar 6. Paul Ryan

    Texture is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, Book Launch, photos, nature, texture, 2015, Wordless Wednesday, wood, stone, linen, wool

  • Posted on August 11, 2015

    Furniture Hacks blog tour

    Last week we celebrated one of our newest books with a wonderful blog tour. Six of our favourite blogs hosted Furniture Hacks by Hester van Overbeek, telling us all about their top projects, trying out some of Hester’s hack ideas and all-in-all inspiring us to Do It Ourselves! Just look at all the gorgeous blogs we had taking part!

    The week was kicked off in style with Emily Quinton on Makelight. Emily is shortly moving home and she said that Furniture Hacks has got her really excited about making stuff for her new home. She loved this super quick and easy cutlery update – you just need nail varnish!

    Our next stop was this review on Décor Art UK, illustrated by some of Hester’s lovely projects. 

    “The book offers heaps of advice and good tips on starting a new project”

    Claireabellemakes appreciated the range of projects for all and any abilities, from a geometric chest of drawers achieved using washi tape, to a shelving unit for the living room. And a special shout out for Kermit the cover star too!

    “A perfect book for getting off Pinterest and staying inspired.”

    Next we headed over to Growing Spaces, where Heather had a go at the lovely garden candles. How pretty are her tealights?!

    On Friday we stopped at Crafty Queens who reviewed the book in English AND Dutch! Perfect for Hester! Carmen also shared some of the hacks she’s already done in her own home, head over to her blog to check them out.

    Last, but very much not least, we finished up our tour at the Little Green Shed where the mantra “with a little budget and a slice of imagination anything can be achieved” rings true. Her favourite project was the dip-dye curtains (and don’t they look divine with that shade of Annie Sloan chalk paint?!)

    What a lovely week! Don’t forget to visit Hester’s own blog too for more Furniture Hacks-goodness!

    Furniture Hacks by Hester van Overbeek is available here.


    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, handmade, Book Launch, upcycling, photos, 2015, DIY, hacks

  • Posted on August 7, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend

    Happy International Beer Day! With the forecast looking promising this weekend we hope you'll all be opening something cold and delicious. This Punk Ass Chicken recipe from Beer and Food by Mark Dredge combines our love of juicy chicken and smooth beer for a brilliant result if we do say so ourselves! You can even tick all the summer-style boxes this weekend and cook it on the barbecue. Job done!

    Punk Ass Chicken recipe from Beer and Food by Mark Dredge

    Punk Ass Chicken

    Often known as Beer Can Chicken, this recipe is always going to be in a beer and food book for a few simple reasons: it’s awesome, it’s outrageous, and it’s a lot of fun. Although classically a BBQ recipe, I don’t know anyone with a BBQ big enough to cook a whole chicken like this, plus this works fine in most regular ovens.

    I have identified four issues to overcome in order to make this recipe. This first is choosing the beer. You can use any you wish – I like Brewdog Punk IPA because Punk Ass Chicken is a cool name - but make it a good one because some of the beer’s character will permeate the chicken. IPA, Stout, Saison, and Fruit Beer are all good choices. The second issue is actually putting the can inside the chicken. This is not a glamorous job, especially if you’ve already seasoned and oiled the bird, but the good news is that, like a forefinger and a nostril, a beer can is exactly the same size as a chicken’s butt. The third problem is making sure it doesn’t fall over. I have no useful tips for this except that if you see it leaning to one side, then you’d better catch it before it falls (because it will fall). The fourth problem is getting the can out at the other end of the cooking because the chicken and the can, plus the beer still in the can, are very hot, so be careful.

    1 Whole chicken

    1 Can of beer

    Olive oil

    Selection of seasoning, herbs, and spices (salt and freshly ground black pepper are essential, the rest are down to you—I like to use garlic, fresh thyme, and paprika, but you can also go with chilli/chile powder, curry powder, or other spices)

    SERVES 4-6

    1. Remove all the shelves from the oven apart from the lowest one. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas 6. Place a baking tray in the oven for the chicken to sit on.

    2. Now open the can of beer and approach the bird... Rub the oil, seasoning, herbs, and spices over the bird, plus some of the beer if you wish. I also like to add some garlic cloves and thyme inside and under the skin of the chicken and to the baking tray.

    3. Pour half of the can of beer into a glass. (You can also use this “spare” half can of beer as a brine if you want to start your recipe preparation earlier.) Now, try to push the can inside the chicken—you may need some help with this. Once the can is secure, stand the chicken up and balance it on the baking tray (at this point it may look very sorry for itself, but it’ll soon look incredible). Close the oven door and cook for around 11/2 hours, depending on the size of the bird.

    4. I love this dish served with a plate of fries and some coleslaw or salad. Have a cold beer on the side. It really doesn’t matter which one.

    Beer and Food by Mark Dredge

    Beer and Food by Mark Dredge showcases the finest food and the best craft beers in the world. Find out more here.  Mark's new book The Best Beer in the World is published in October. Find out more here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with chicken, drinks, savoury, Mark Dredge, craft beer, beer, recipe for the weekend, 2015, Beer and Food

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