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  • Posted on August 25, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend: National Burger Day

    It’s quite warm here in London and we’re certain that there’ll be one or two bbqs lit this weekend. So it’s great news that today is National Burger Day and we have not one, not two, not even three, but four fab recipes for burgers, perfect for whatever mood you’re in. Happy cooking!

    Miranda Ballard’s Ultimate Burger

    We couldn’t very well have a round up of our favourite burgers and not include this one from Miranda’s first book, Burgers and Sliders could we? Find the recipe here.

    Hearty Mushroom & Barley Burger

    If meat isn’t your thing, get a load of these veggie burgers going. You’ll be fighting the carnivores for one of these hearty burgers! Click here for the recipe.

    Fish Pie Burger

    With a burger-based twist on a British classic, these Fish Pie burgers are utterly delicious. Head over to The Pantry’s YouTube channel and find the recipe video.

    Burger Macaron

    And last but by no means least, finish up your burger party the super-cute way with adorable macarons! Head over here for the recipe.

    Have a great weekend!

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK and was tagged with fish, savoury, burger, school holidays, recipe for the weekend, beef, vegetarian, photos, quick, national burger day, 2016, macaron

  • Posted on August 18, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend

    A combination of the recent warm weather and the arrival of a new book in the office has got us planning a weekend foraging trip. The Forager’s Kitchen by Fiona Bird is out now and the recipe we’ve shared today is a perfect pudding for any summer dinner party, but with Fiona’s suggestions for other berries and flavours, it will see you right through to Autumn too!

    Bilberry and Lime Posset

    In medieval times, a posset was a curdled wine but it is now associated with a syllabub pudding. This simple recipe could be adapted to elder or other wild blossom by infusing the blossoms in the cream at step 1. Elderflowers were traditionally added to a summer baby’s christening posset.

    What to forage and find:

    Generous 2 cups (500ml) heavy (double) cream

    ¾ cup (150g) superfine (caster) sugar

    Zest of 1 lime, plus extra to garnish

    Juice of 2 limes

    ¾ cup (100g) bilberries, washed and dried

    Makes 6–7 small pots

    What to do:

    Put the cream, sugar, and lime zest in a heavy-based saucepan, and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves (3–4 minutes). Remove from the heat.

    Whisk the lime juice into the cream (it will thicken).

    Divide half of the bilberries between the pots and pour in half of the lime cream. Scatter most of the remaining bilberries on top of the cream (reserving 6–7 for decoration) and then divide the rest of the lime cream between the pots. Decorate each pot with a bilberry and lime zest.

    Leave to cool, and then refrigerate.

    Wild Notes

    Purée wild fruits and layer with the posset in a glass. You can use any soft wild fruit, or edible (and not protected) wildflowers in a posset.

    Try sweet violets: substitute the lime for the more traditional lemon, and swirl in some color with a splash of Sweet Violet Syrup. A dash of Honeysuckle Syrup, will sweeten a blackberry posset, or a drizzle of Pontack Sauce will spice it up.

    The Forager's Kitchen by Fiona Bird is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with Forager's Kitchen, Fiona Bird, recipe for the weekend, dessert, sweet, lime, 2016, foraging

  • Posted on August 17, 2016

    What to eat for the Olympics

    Last night we somehow found ourselves ensconced on the sofa, G&T in hand, saying things like “Excellent pike position there, shame about the rotation”. We were watching the Men’s 3m Springboard diving final and we are, of course, now experts. That’s the beauty of the Olympics. You get very caught up in sports that you had hitherto not even known existed and suddenly Jack Laugher’s silver medal seems like the most exciting thing all week.

    Speaking of medals, a flurry of Team GB successes over the last two days calls for something special and we think Will Torrent’s recipe for Pistachio and Strawberry Délices decorated with ACTUAL GOLD fits that bill nicely.

    How pretty are these? Head over to The Pantry’s YouTube channel to see a video of The Berkley's Head Pastry Chef, Mourad Khiat, building these beautiful cakes.

    It’s not all about Team GB though and we thought we’d share some Olympian recipes for the other nations topping the medal table.

    The United States are having a cracking Olympics – Simone Biles of their gymnastics team is our new hero – and we feel like it’s only right to honour such athletic skills with cheesey-goodness in the form of this Pimento Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Get the recipe here.

    Fold dim sum dumplings with the artfulness of 4½ somersaults in the tuck position (that’s Cao Yuan’s gold medal-winning dive for the uninitiated) with our video tutorial from Modern Dim Sum. Find it on YouTube here.

    Every Olympics viewing party needs snacks and with Russia and Italy doing so well, these two canapé recipes are topping our Must Cook list. Try Salmon Caviar Canapés from Mat Follas’ Fish (recipe here) and Courgette and Parmesan Crocchette, featured in Cicchetti by Liz Franklin (video tutorial here).  

    And last but not least, if you’d like to drink like a local head over here to find Mark Dredge’s top Brazilian Beers as featured in Craft Beer World. Cheers!

    We can’t wait to see what the last few days in Rio bring, but we’re sure we’ll be experts in a few more sports before next Monday’s closing ceremony!

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, Videos, What's new and was tagged with fish, canapes, savoury, event, italian, Will Torrent, vegetarian, snacks, photos, quick, sweet, Asian, Mat Follas, 2016, Loretta Liu

  • Posted on August 11, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend

    Here at RPS Towers we love figs, and now that they're in season (late June through to early Autumn, so get ‘em now!) we’re all about imaginative ways to eat them. So we were delighted when we spotted this recipe in our new book, Cicchetti. Cicchetti are Italian small plates and appetizers, and this recipe puts a delicious trio of figs, blue cheese and rocket on adorably tiny pizzas – a perfect starter for your next dinner party.

    Fig, Blue Cheese & Rocket/Arugula Pizzette

    Figs have a natural affinity with blue cheese, and the rocket/arugula balances the sweet and the salt with a peppery kick. I like to smear the pizzette bases with a layer of Robiolino – a lovely soft, mild cheese not unlike Philadelphia but with a slightly less pronounced flavour. Choose figs that are ripe, but not too soft. My pizzette base requires a little time to make – but I promise it’s worth it!

    300 g/10.oz. Robiolino (or other buttery cream cheese)

    400 g/14 oz. Gorgonzola

    4–5 ripe fresh figs

    a generous handful of fresh rocket/arugula

    PIZZETTE DOUGH

    500 g/3¾ cups Italian ‘00’ flour

    10 g/2 teaspoons salt

    5 g/1 teaspoon fresh yeast

    250 ml/1 cup warm water

    3 large baking sheets, floured

    MAKES 8

    First, prepare the pizzette dough. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt. In a separate bowl, stir the yeast and water together until the yeast has dissolved and then mix it into the flour. Bring everything together to form a soft dough. Leave the mixture to rest for 10 minutes, then lightly knead the dough, cover and leave to rest for 1 hour, somewhere not too warm. Lightly knead the dough a second time and leave for a further 1 hour. Knead the dough a third time, then cut into 8 pieces. Roll the dough out into 20-cm/8-inch circles, making sure the bases are really thin. Lay them on the prepared baking sheets and leave for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to its highest setting, usually 230˚C (450˚F) Gas 8.

    Spread the bases with a thin layer of Robiolino. Arrange small nuggets of Gorgonzola evenly over the top and bake for 8–10 minutes, until the bases are crisp and golden. Slice or quarter the fresh figs and arrange them over the pizzette. Garnish with fresh rocket/arugula and serve immediately.

    Cicchetti by Liz Franklin is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, vegetarian, Pizza, 2016, fig

  • Posted on August 4, 2016

    International Beer Day

    August 5th is International Beer Day which of course calls for a suitably beery recipe for this week’s Recipe for the Weekend. Naturally we turned to Mark Dredge and his latest book, Cooking With Beer and he did not let us down. This recipe takes the very British idea of Lager and Lime and gives it an international twist. Enjoy!

    LAGER AND LIME CHICKEN TACOS WITH AVOCADO AND LAGER SALSA

    Lager and lime is a curious British combination which is quite literal: it’s a pint of lager with a dash of lime cordial in it. This takes that concept and turns it into a Mexican-inspired dish of lager-and-lime-brined chicken, topped with salsa and wrapped in beer tacos – the recipe for these is great for small tacos or larger tortillas. This is also a great recipe to use up any unwanted lager that you might happen to have in the fridge.

    SERVES 4

    FOR THE LAGER AND LIME CHICKEN

    400g chicken thighs, skinned, boned and diced

    1 bottle of lager

    300ml water

    Juice of 3 limes

    3 tablespoons sugar

    3 tablespoons salt

    12 coriander seeds

    12 black peppercorns

    4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

    4 chillies, roughly chopped

    Plus, to cook: Salt, black pepper, some cayenne pepper (optional), and 1 whole lime (halved)

    FOR THE LAGER TACOS

    250g masa harina flour

    Pinch salt

    330ml lager

    FOR THE SALSA

    2 ripe avocados, peeled and stoned

    100g sweetcorn

    2 tablespoons lager

    2 teaspoons salt

    Juice of ½ lime

    1 green chilli pepper, finely diced

    TO SERVE: 50g goats’ cheese and some fresh coriander

    TO MAKE THE LAGER AND LIME CHICKEN

    In a large, sealable plastic container, mix the lager, water and lime juice to make a brine. Add the sugar and salt, stirring until everything is combined and then add the rest of the ingredients. Place the chicken in the brine, put the lid on the container and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

    Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C/Gas 7. Remove the thighs from the brine and pat them dry with some paper towel. Add extra seasoning and some cayenne pepper if you like your tacos hot. Place the thighs on a baking tray, along with the lime halves so that they caramelize and cook for approximately 30 minutes. You can also cook the chicken thighs on a barbecue.

    TO MAKE THE TACOS

    Mix the masa harina flour and salt in a bowl. Add the lager and mix into a smooth dough with a clay-like consistency. Leave to rest for 15 minutes and knead again.

    Divide the dough into small balls (you should get about 10-12). Flatten the balls of dough until they are about 1/8in (3mm) thick. A rolling pin works fine for this unless you have a tortilla press. Either way, place the dough balls between two pieces of clingfilm when flattening them.

    Cook the tacos in a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat for about 30 seconds on each side. Place in a warm over until needed.

    TO MAKE THE SALSA

    Chop the avocado into 1cm cubes. In a small bowl, mix the avocado with the sweetcorn, lager, salt, lime and chilli pepper and place in the fridge until ready.

    To serve, place a chicken thigh in a soft taco, top with some avocado salsa and add goats’ cheese and a few leaves of fresh cilantro.

    Cooking With Beer by Mark Dredge is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with chicken, savoury, Mark Dredge, craft beer, beer, recipe for the weekend, Mexican, 2016

  • Posted on August 3, 2016

    Wordless Wednesday: The French-Inspired Home

    The French-Inspired Home by Caroline Westbrook, with photography by Keith Scott Morton, is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, french, Wordless Wednesday, 2016

  • Posted on July 31, 2016

    Instagram Round-Up

    Um, where did July go? It just seems to have whizzed by, and we can’t believe it’s August tomorrow! It’s been a beautiful month over on instagram, with beautiful food, gorgeous homes and fun crafts for grown-ups and kids alike. So we wanted to share some of your favourite shots here on the blog. Make sure you’re following us at @RylandPetersandSmall and @CICOBooks so you don’t miss a thing! (Aerosmith earworm? You are welcome.)

    Food and drink was definitely the order of the day on the RPS account and loads of you loved these shots in particular.

    On CICO Books, the cover reveal of Wendy Ward’s book A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts (pre-order now!) and our beautiful July books proved to be big hits.

    We were also delighted that so many of you loved our “girls on film” too! Can’t wait to share the videos we shot with Isabelle Palmer and Elspeth Jackson when they popped in last week.

    That’s all for now. Happy August!

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with instagram, summer holidays, school holidays, photos, quick, 2016

  • Posted on July 28, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend

    It gets to this time every week and we’re already thinking about all the delicious things we’re going to cook and bake this weekend. Obviously we’re big fans of a Sunday Roast (who isn’t?) and this week’s recipe is an asian twist on a classic thanks to our new book, Salt by Valerie Aikman-Smith.

    Crispy Roast Duck with Asian Greens

    Rubbing kosher salt over the duck draws excess moisture out of the skin, while scalding makes for a crispy skin when roasted. A wonderful spiced honey glaze adds a vibrant color and flavor to the meat.

    1 fresh duck, 3 lbs./1.4 kg

    3 tablespoons kosher salt

    Honey Glaze

    4 star anise, crushed

    ⅓ cup/100 ml honey

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    finely grated zest of 1 orange and freshly squeezed juice of ½ orange (halves reserved)

    1 teaspoon Sichuan crushed peppercorns

    2 tablespoons soy sauce

    1-inch/2.5-cm piece fresh ginger, grated

    2 red thai chiles/chillies, chopped

    2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

    Asian Greens

    3 tablespoons peanut oil

    2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

    1 teaspoon soy sauce

    1 teaspoon honey

    3 cups/350g mixed Asian salad greens

    cracked black pepper and green tea salt

    a roasting pan lined with foil

    a roasting rack

    Wash and dry the duck. Rub the kosher salt all over the duck skin, cover, and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

    Put the roasting rack in the lined roasting pan. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Put the duck in a large bowl and pour boiling water over it. Immediately remove the duck from the bowl and place on the rack. Set aside.

    Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F) Gas 6.

    Stuff the duck with the reserved orange halves. Mix all the honey glaze ingredients together in a bowl and brush over the duck. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, removed from the oven, and drain off the fat that has accumulated in the bottom of the pan. You may need to cover the tips of the wings with foil, as they will be very crispy. Turn the oven down to 190˚C (375˚F) Gas 5 and put the duck back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

    Removed the duck from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes in a warm place.

    To prepare the Asian greens, whisk the peanut oil, sesame oil, red wine vinegar, soy sauce and honey together. Season with cracked black pepper and green tea salt. Put the salad greens in a bowl and toass with the dressing.

    Carve the duck and serve with the salad.

    Salt by Valerie Aikman-Smith is available here. And if you’re on the look-out for more weekend cooking inspiration make sure you check out RPS and CICO Books on Pinterest here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with salad, savoury, recipe for the weekend, 2016, duck, greens

  • Posted on July 21, 2016

    Summer Holiday Baking

    Now that the summer holidays are finally here, we’re sure you’re looking for fun things to keep your kids occupied and our book My First Cupcake Decorating Book is packed with loads of ideas. Flicking through, we reached this particular recipe and were immediately transported to school holiday baking of our youth and we knew we had to share it! If butterfly cakes don’t take your fancy, how about these super fun Ice Cream cupcakes or Cheeky Monkey cupcakes which we shared with our MAKE youtube channel earlier this year?

    Butterfly Cakes

    A butterfly surprise! A slice of cake forms the butterfly wings and they hide a layer of gorgeous buttercream frosting.

    You will need:

    Vanilla cupcakes

    ¾ cup (175 g) unsalted butter, softened

    1 cup (175 g) superfine (caster) sugar

    3 eggs

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1¾ cup (175 g) all-purpose (plain) flour

    3 teaspoons baking powder

    3 tablespoons milk

    Buttercream frosting

    1 stick (125 g) butter, softened

    1 tablespoon milk

    3 cups (375 g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    sprinkles

    12-hole muffin pan, lined with paper cupcake cases

    Makes 12

    Ask an adult to turn the oven on to 350ºF (180ºC) Gas 4. Line the muffin pan with paper cupcake cases.

    Put the soft butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until the butter is soft, creamy, and pale (if an adult is helping, you could use an electric beater).

    Break the eggs into a small bowl. Beat the eggs with a fork until the yolks have broken up and the mixture is bit frothy.

    Add a little egg to the creamed butter mixture and beat with the wooden spoon until the egg is all blended in.

    Then add a little more egg and beat again. Add a small sprinkle of flour if the mixture looks as though it is starting to separate (becoming bitty rather than smooth). Keep adding the egg until it is all used up and scrape any mixture down from the sides with a spatula.

    Add the vanilla extract and stir it into the mixture.

    Sift the flour and baking powder together into a separate bowl.

    Add the flour to the mixture in two halves. Fold the first half gently into the mixture with a big metal spoon. Don’t beat or over-stir it—gentle folding traps air into the mixture and will make the cakes lovely and light. When this is mixed in, add the second half and do the same.

    Carefully spoon the cake mixture into the paper cases in the muffin pan. Put the same amount into each one, so they are about two-thirds full.

    Ask an adult to help you put the cakes in the oven and bake them for 15–20 minutes until they are risen and golden and the cakes are springy to touch.

    Ask an adult to help you take the pan out of the oven and let it cool a little. Then lift out the cakes and put them on a wire rack to cool down. While the cakes are cooling, make your buttercream frosting.

    Put the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the milk.

    Measure the confectioner’s (icing) sugar into another bowl. Place a strainer (sieve) over the butter bowl and sift a little of the sugar into the bowl.

    Remove the sieve and beat the mixture together. Then sift in a little more sugar and beat again. Keep going until all the sugar has been mixed in and the frosting is light, fluffy, and smooth.

    Add the vanilla extract and stir it in evenly. If you would like to color your frosting, add a little food coloring paste or a couple of drops of liquid food coloring to the mix and stir it in well to get an even color.

    When the cakes are cool, slice a small disc off the top of each (just the top point—don’t cut right to the edge of the cake). Cut this disc in half and put the halves to one side.

    Cover the circle you have left on the cake with a blob of buttercream frosting.

    Push the two halves of cake into the frosting to form the wings of a butterfly. Decorate with sprinkles.

    Eat!

    My First Cupcake Decorating Book is available here. Don’t miss a video by subscribing to MAKE on Youtube here!

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, cupcakes, summer holidays, school holidays, kids, recipe for the weekend, my first series, sweet, cake, activities for kids, 2016

  • Posted on July 19, 2016

    The Wiccan Guide to the Full Moon

    As even an amateur Wiccan knows, the moon is very important when it comes to spells and magic. With the full moon tonight, we thought we’d share some wisdom from our new book The Green Wiccan Herbal by Silja, as well as a simple spell to make the most of this important phase of the moon.  So, over to Silja…

    The moon is central in magic, and thus also in the growing of magical herbs. Sure, if you have green thumbs, your herbs will probably grow during any lunar phase, but if you plant and harvest your herbs during the correct lunar phase, you are likely to have more success and healthier, bigger plants—and that means more potent magic!

    For us witches, the spiritual aspect of the moon is paramount, but there is also a  physical reason why you should pay attention to the moon phases when planting and harvesting—the gravity of the moon affects not only the tides, but also the water levels in soil. During a waning moon and especially just before the new moon, the earth’s water level is at its lowest, so planting and harvesting herbs at these times makes sense in that you avoid having to work with waterlogged soil.

    FULL MOON

    The full moon is the best time to harvest plants and herbs above ground because magically, it is the time of completion, of things being perfected. Take note that flowering herbs should generally be harvested during the day, preferably in sunlight if at all possible. If you have to harvest your magical herbs at other times due to your work schedule, because they are getting too big, or it’s getting cold outside, consider waiting until the next full moon to “make them magical”, i.e., place them on your altar, transfer them into a magical oil, or put them into a charm bag.

    FULL MOON RITUALS

    Called Esbats, full moon rituals are the traditional meeting day for covens. The moon's energy is at its strongest when it is full, favoring spells and magical rituals. In days gone by, there was also a more practical consideration— covens used to meet in forest clearings or on top of hills at night, and when there was not electrical light, the full moon helped to guide the way. The light of the full moon also helped the witches of old to see and harvest plants such as mistletoe. Mistletoe is traditionally gathered at night, as it is said to be more potent then, and the white berries are easy to see in the light of the moon. Also, because mistletoe is so magical, anyone seen gathering it would have been immediately suspected as a witch, Since witchcraft was considered a serious crime in the Dark Ages, it was best to harvest mistletoe at night, when other people were not likely to pass by.

    You do not have to be part of a coven to celebrate the full moon—it serves as a reminder for any Wiccan to practice their spirituality and take a monthly break from the mundane world.

    Herb and Crystal Full Moon Spell for Finding a Perfect Home

    Spell Ingredients
    ✩ Red clover flower
    ✩ Clear quartz crystal
    ✩ Bay leaf
    ✩ White thread

    On a full moon, place the red clover flower on the crystal and wrap them in the bay leaf. Secure the parcel with the white thread while chanting:

    “I ask the Moon Goddess so round

    A new home for me shall be found

    Nice rooms, and clean ground

    Happiness and comfort abound!”

    Carry the parcel with you when talking to agents or viewing houses.

    The Green Wiccan Herbal by Silja is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with nature, mind body spirit, wicca, herbs, 2016, full moon

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