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  • Posted on January 19, 2017

    Vegan Paella

    Our next Veganuary inspiration is a one-pot, vegan take on a classic Spanish paella. Colourful, delicious and quick to make, it's bursting with fresh vegetables and enhanced with the subtle flavour of saffron, perfect for brightening up gloomy winter evenings.

    Vegan Paella

    a large pinch of saffron threads

    80 ml olive oil

    200 g red or yellow cherry tomatoes

    100 g green beans

    4 baby courgettes, halved

    80 g frozen peas, thawed

    2 garlic cloves, chopped

    2 fresh rosemary sprigs

    320g paella rice

    800 ml vegetable stock

    30g flaked almonds, lightly toasted

    serves 4

    Put the saffron in a bowl with 65 ml hot water and set aside to infuse. Heat half of the oil in a heavy-based frying pan set over high heat and add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan so that the tomatoes soften and start to split. Remove the tomatoes from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the beans, courgettes and peas and stir-fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside with the tomatoes.

    Add the remaining oil to the pan with the garlic and rosemary, and cook gently for 1 minute to flavour the oil. Add the stock and saffron water to the pan, then stir in the rice. Cook over high heat until bubbling fiercely, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until almost all the stock has been absorbed.

    Scatter the cooked tomatoes, beans, courgettes and peas over the rice, cover lightly with some foil and cook over low heat for 5 minutes so that the vegetables are just heated through. Sprinkle the almonds on top to serve.

    This recipe has been taken from easy one-pot, available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, What's new, What's new

  • Posted on January 12, 2017

    Vegan and Paleo friendly Vegetable Stir-Fry

    This fabulous vegetable stir-fry is a great, versatile dish, as you can easily mix and match your ingredients to suit everyone’s tastes. Packed full of colourful veg and served with a sweet and spicy sauce, this recipe is Vegan and Paleo friendly, but you could add king prawns or nuts for extra protein, or serve with noodles or rice on the side…it’s totally up to you!

    Vegetable Stir-Fry

    1 red and 1 green (bell) pepper, sliced into strips

    3 carrots, cut into ribbons

    150 g/5 oz. green beans, sliced

    100 g/5 oz. baby corn, roughly chopped (optional, omit if following strict Paleo diet)

    2 pak choi/bok choy, sliced lengthways

    coconut oil, for frying (optional)

    black sesame seeds, to garnish

    sesame oil, to drizzle

    stir-fry sauce

    ½ –1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, to taste

    ½ –1 green chilli/chile, thinly sliced, to taste

    ½ red chilli/chile, thinly sliced

    1 garlic clove, finely chopped

    a small handful of jarred pea aubergines/eggplants, roughly chopped

    2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

    2 tablespoons liquid coconut aminos

    freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime

    SERVES 4

    First prepare the stir-fry sauce. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside until ready to cook.

    The hard work in this dish is in the slicing of the vegetables. Prepare the ingredients as indicated, ensuring everything is sliced or chopped in a similar way to allow the ingredients to cook at the same time.

    Set a large wok or frying pan/skillet over high heat and add a little coconut oil or water. Add the vegetables and cook for 1–2 minutes until you have the desired crunch – I like my vegetables to be al dente but you can cook them for a little longer if you prefer.

    Tip half of the stir-fry sauce into the pan and toss to coat. Continue to cook for 1–2 minutes longer to release the flavours of the sauce into the dish, then remove the pan from the heat.

    Top the dish with black sesame seeds and drizzle with a little sesame oil. Serve immediately with the remaining stir-fry sauce on the side to pour over to taste.

    This recipe is from 'Perfectly Paleo' by Rosa Rigby, available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, What's new, What's new and was tagged with january, vegan, savoury, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, paleo, healthy

  • Posted on January 10, 2017

    What is your perfect one-pot dinner?

    We love to choose recipes from our cookbooks to share with you but this time, we have decided to let you choose your own! Answer these quick questions to discover your perfect one-pot dish and reveal a deliciously simple recipe to cook at home...



    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK and was tagged with savoury, recipe, quiz, 2017

  • Posted on December 22, 2016

    Festive Drinks For The Weekend...Cheers!

    It’s almost Friday, which means…almost time to start the full on Christmas celebrations! Hurray!

    If you’re throwing a party or hosting a house-full of family this weekend, we’ve got some great ideas for different and easy to make drinks to serve…from cocktails, to Christmas beer and even something for the drivers, we’ve got everyone covered with these fab festive recipes.

    Spiced Pomegranate Apple Cider

    16 cups (3.8 liters) pasteurized apple cider (juice)

    2 cups (500ml) pomegranate juice

    4 tbsp maple syrup

    2 cinnamon sticks

    6 whole cloves, plus extra for garnishing (optional)

    ó vanilla bean (pod)

    3 star anise

    4 oranges, peeled, zest reserved

    2 sliced oranges, for garnishing (optional)

    Serves 16

    In a large pan combine the cider, pomegranate juice, and maple syrup.

    Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla bean, star anise, and orange zest. You can either discard the four oranges that are needed for the zest, or juice them and add the juice to the apple cider and pomegranate juice.

    Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain to remove all solids.

    Serve warm, garnished with clove-studded orange slices if desired.

    Sherry Cobbler

    50 ml/2 oz dry sherry, such as Fino or Amontillado

    10 ml/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    10 ml/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

    10 ml/2 teaspoons sugar syrup

    15 ml/ ½ oz pineapple juice or purée

    thin lemon and orange slices, to garnish

    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, add all the ingredients except the citrus slices and shake well. Strain into a chilled tumbler or highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with slices of lemon and orange and serve with a straw.

    Williams Bros Nollaig

    Alloa, Scotland • ABV: 7.0% • Hops: Centennial, Bobek, Southern Cross

    Ingredients: Christmas trees

    As well as modern styles, Williams Bros make a range of traditional-style Scottish brews with Old World brewing ingredients found locally. Fraoch is a hopless Heather Ale, one of Scotland’s original beer styles, which contains bog myrtle and is a resinous yet fragrantly floral beer. Kelpie puts seaweed into the mash tun for a fresh, sea-air feel—harking back to the time when Scottish coastal brewers fertilized their fields with seaweed. Nollaig is the most fun of these beers: it’s made with Christmas trees and is Santa-approved. Sappy with pine but somehow as bright as the lights above the presents, there’s a fresh floral flavor, dried herbs, and some zesty citrus with a jammy kind of marmalade sweetness. No novelty value in the Williams Bros beers—they’re all excellent.

    You can buy this beer direct from Williams Bros Brewing here.

    These recipes are taken from (in order):

    Mocktails, cordials, infusions, syrups and more, available here.

    Parisian Cocktails by Laura Gladwin, available here.

    The Pocket Book of Craft Beer by Mark Dredge, available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK and was tagged with New Year, christmas, drinks, craft beer, recipe for the weekend, cocktail

  • Posted on December 20, 2016

    7 Recipes You Need To Cook This Christmas!

    To finish up our Christmas round-ups, we’re thinking Christmas Food today on the blog. From food for the main event to Boxing Day leftovers to New Year’s Eve nibbles, we’ve got recipes to take you right through the festive season. And if you’re still in need of some present inspiration, check out our Homemade Gifts Round-Up here.

    For the main event we obviously turn to Miranda Ballard and her Modern Meat Kitchen. Click here for her Roast Turkey recipe, and here for what you HAVE to do with your leftovers on Boxing Day.

    Just the words salmon caviar and canapé are enough to get us drooling! You can find the recipe here.

    Or how about Christmas dinner in a mouthful? Click here for the recipe.

    Tiny pizza anyone? You’ll find the recipe here.

    Brontë Aurell’s Ginger Biscuits & Glögg are so quick to make, they’re perfect to have a batch on hand for any unexpected guests this festive season. Click here for the video tutorial and recipe.

    And last, but very much not least, don’t forget Team TWISTED’s Camembert Hedgehog Bread for the ultimate in cheesey goodness – perfect for any party this festive season! Head here for the recipe.

    Happy eating!

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, christmas, salmon, drinks, canapes, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, sweet, 2016, turkey

  • Posted on December 15, 2016

    Camembert Hedgehog Bread

    Obviously at this time of year, party food, or food to feed a large group of people is often at the forefront of our menu planning. Fortunately, our new book from the team behind Twisted’s viral videos over on Facebook, Twisted: The Cookbook, is on hand to ensure that your guests don’t go hungry! The camembert hedgehog is one of their most popular videos to date (check it out here) so we thought you might like the recipe! Perfect for festive games nights, New Year’s Eve, or for that awkward period after the 26th but before the 31st where you’re just not sure if you’ve had enough cheese yet. You know the one. Enjoy!

    CAMEMBERT HEDGEHOG BREAD

    Ahh, the Camembert Hedgehog Bread—a stalwart of Twisted’s funk-cheese repertoire. Trust us, this will be your next dinner party show-stopper. Even the most amateur (and possibly drunk) chef should feel right at home with this dish, but its ease is only half the appeal. All it takes is six ingredients, ten minutes to make and twenty to bake, and boom, food heaven (and lots of weird dreams to boot).

    1 large, whole camembert for baking, all packaging removed

    1 large sourdough loaf (or any other large loaf of bread)

    2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, plus a few small sprigs

    3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus a few slivers

    6 tablespoons olive oil

    sea salt flakes

    SERVES 4

    HOW EASY? WITH EYES CLOSED

    1 Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.

    2 Using the bottom of your camembert box as a stencil, cut a hole in the middle of the loaf. Tear away the bread to make the hole as deep as the camembert.

    3 Working around this central cavity, carefully cut your loaf in both directions almost all the way down to the bottom of the loaf (it’s important not to cut through the bottom crust). You want to have 1-inch (2.5-cm) squared individual segments (the perfect size for dunking).

    4 Score the one side of the camembert and cut away the rind. Pop the cheese, cut side up, in the bread hole.

    5 Mix the chopped rosemary and chopped garlic into the olive oil and spoon all over the loaf, encouraging the flavored oil into all the slits. Cover the loaf liberally with sea salt flakes. Pop a few mini sprigs of rosemary and a few garlic slivers in the middle of the cheese, along with a little drizzle of olive oil.

    6 Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and get your mates round.

    Twisted: The Cookbook is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, bread, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, vegetarian, quick, 2016

  • Posted on December 13, 2016

    5 Homemade Gifts To Make This Christmas

    Next up in our Christmas round-ups, we’re thinking about homemade gifts.  As we mentioned in this post, we’re doing a Homemade Secret Santa this year, but whether you’re after a little stocking filler, or something personal for a friend or loved one, we’ve got you covered.

    Grocery shopping will no longer be a chore, thanks to this gorgeous tote bag from our new book Hygge Knits (this book is published in January, but you can preorder it here). Find the pattern for the bag over on MAKEetc here.

    These home-infused oils make a lovely stocking-filler for your favourite foodie. Click here for the recipes.

    If you know someone celebrating their first Christmas this year, Laura Strutt’s Bunting Baby Blanket would make a lovely gift. Find the knitting pattern here.

    Make these notebooks to kickstart a year of writing for any budding author. You can find a printable PDF project here.

    These lavender bags make sweet little stocking fillers. The project is available here.

    And as a bonus, homemade cards and gift tags can add a personal twist to any gift. We’ve got a video tutorial for these stocking cards here, and the instructions for homemade gift tags on the blog here.

    We hope you’re feeling inspired, but don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Gifts for Crafters blog post on MAKEetc here.

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    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, homemade, handmade, gift, photos, 2016

  • Posted on December 12, 2016

    Sherlock Returns!

    I don't know about you, but we're very excited to greet the new year with the return of our favourite detective and the long awaited series 4 of Sherlock Holmes! Thank you BBC and Mr. Cumberbatch, you have saved us from the January blues! So to get ready for the big day we wanted to share with you an extract from our book, Sherlock Holmes’s London by Rose Shepherd, in which she introduces the city Sherlock would have known. Over to Rose...

    The London of Sherlock Holmes is a city of the imagination. Arthur Conan Doyle did not extend himself in describing it. With a few deft pen strokes he gave us fog and gas lamps, hansom cabs, gentlemen’s clubs and opera, pawnbrokers and gin palaces, wily street urchins and dull-witted “Scotland Yarders”—which, for us, the avid readers, is enough. We know that London of the 1890s, capital of Great Britain, of Empire and Commonwealth, in the last gasp of the Victorian era. We can see the teeming thoroughfares, the horses drawing carts, landaus, roughams, the diffused glow from shop windows, the swirling “pea-soupers.” We can hear the ring of iron horseshoes, the clatter of wheels on cobbles, the music of an organ-grinder, the cries of hawkers selling nostrums, matches, posies, whelks. It’s a little bit edgy, dirty, smelly, but always exciting.

    Nor has it all vanished. On the contrary, it is astonishing how much of today’s London would be recognizable to Holmes and Watson. Here and there are survivors from the Middle Ages—remnants even of Roman times. Tudor black-and-white abuts Jacobean grace and Georgian elegance, alongside 1960s Brutalism.

    In the shadow of great towers of glass and steel are important public buildings of bygone ages, ancient churches, impressive monuments, venerable hotels, restaurants, and stores. If we raise our eyes above plate glass and fluorescence, above nail bar and tanning salon, burger joint and mobile phone emporium, we see how handsomely historic London has accommodated the 21st century. The very lack of unity makes for endless fascination.

    In this book we set out upon a tour of the London of the world’s first consulting detective. We visit his haunts and walk the streets in his footsteps, admire stupendous edifices, poke into nooks and corners and back alleys. We can shop, as he would have done, for snuff, shooting sticks, game birds for the table, fine wine, top hats, swords, and country tweeds. We can venture into his favorite restaurant and onto his crime scenes, and find out where justice was dispensed and where the villains whom Holmes brought to book would have languished.

    But a city is more than just a built environment, it is a milieu, it is its people—or, rather, its people are its lifeblood. London in the late 1800s was home to four and a quarter million souls. It was a city of extremes of rich and poor: carriage folk in their Regency mansions, the poor in workhouses and slums, the destitute in rags, under arches, and an emerging middle class colonizing the Victorian pattern-book redbrick terrace homes (row houses) that are such a large part of current housing stock. Masters, servants, wharfingers and wherrymen, shopkeepers, laundresses, flower girls, pen-pushers, publicans, costermongers, cabbies, stable boys, actors, loafers, beggars, harlots, hucksters… All human life was here, giving voice to what Tennyson called “the central roar,” and Robert Louis Stevenson “the low growl” of London.

    Here too, of course, were the criminals whose vile pursuits furnished Doyle with such rich material. Most infamous of all was “Jack the Ripper,” the fiend who stalked the squalid streets of Whitechapel. While he still exercises the minds of investigators who speculate as to his true identity, he remains a faceless figure, almost a figment.

    By contrast, Sherlock Holmes, a character of fiction, is entirely real and present. Let us now get on his case.

    This is extracted from Sherlock Holmes's London by Rose Shepherd which is available here. AND don't forget to tune into BBC One at 9pm on January 1st to see Sherlock's next adventure!


    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, christmas, 2015, Rose Shepherd

  • Posted on December 8, 2016

    Crunchy Christmas Trees!

    For the office Secret Santa at RPS and CICO Books Towers this year, we’re exchanging homemade gifts. Fortunately, we’ve got plenty of books full of inspiration, including Christmas Cookies to Make and Bake! In our opinion, you can’t beat a batch of freshly baked cookies! So whether you’re doing homemade gifts, or just want something tasty to accompany mulled wine with your pals, why not give this recipe a go?

    Crunchy Christmas Trees

    These crunchy, pretty little pistachio-coated trees look really festive at Christmas time and are perfect for packaging up in brown paper and tied with ribbon to give as a grown-up edible gift to friends and family.

    125 g/1 stick butter

    125 g/⅔ cup caster/granulated sugar

    1 whole egg

    250 g/2 cups plain/all-purpose flour

    TO DECORATE

    1 egg white, lightly beaten

    100 g/¾ cup finely chopped pistachios

    icing/confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

    2 prepared baking sheets

    Christmas tree-shaped cookie cutters in assorted sizes

    MAKES 20-25

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

    Beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the whole egg and beat until fully incorporated. Stir in the flour and bring the mixture together to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Wrap in clingfilm/plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

    On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 3–4 mm/1⁄4 inch. thick. Cut out Christmas trees using the cookie cutters. Lay them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space for spreading between each one. Bring the trimmed dough together and roll out again to cut as many cookies out of the dough as possible. Arrange on the baking sheets with the other cookies.

    Brush the top of each cookie with the lightly beaten egg white, leaving the trunk of the tree without the egg white wash. Scatter the chopped pistachios over the branch part of the tree.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 10–15 minutes, until golden and firm. Leave to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes or so, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Dust with icing/confectioners’ sugar to emulate freshly fallen snow, if liked.

    Christmas Cookies to Make and Bake is available here.

    Keep your eye on the blog next week for more homemade holiday gift ideas. We’ve also got loads of ideas over on Pinterest.

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new

  • Posted on December 6, 2016

    5 Projects You Need To Make This Christmas!

    Taking a cursory glance at social media over the weekend, it seemed as if all of our friends simultaneously put up Christmas trees and started decorating their houses. Well, yipeee! We are fully embracing the holiday spirit here at RPS and CICO Books towers, and if there’s one thing we like even more than Christmas decorations, it’s handmade Christmas decorations. Here’s 5 of our favourite projects that will ensure you have a lovely, unique home this year!

    Decorate your tree with Elspeth Jackson’s rag rug Christmas baubles. These are so cute, we’re considering keeping them up all year round…we won’t tell if you don’t! There's a video tutorial here.

    We shared this cute reindeer decoration to make with the kids last week over on instagram stories, and you all loved it so we popped the instructions up on our MAKEetc. blog. Check them out here.

    A garland of these silver stars would look lovely slung across a mantelpiece, or you could hang single stars in your tree to just catch the light like Juliet’s done here. Find the project here.

    This Succulent Wreath looks super effective, and you’ll stand out on a street of holly wreaths! Find the instructions here.

    Jazz up jam jars as tea-light holders with this project from Hester van Overbeek’s first book, Furniture Hacks. You could even use sparkly beads for an extra party feel!

    For more inspiration, check out our book Handmade Christmas and make sure you keep an eye on MAKEetc. for a free project or two over the next few weeks.

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    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, News, UK, Videos, What's new and was tagged with christmas, christmas decorations, christmas craft, handmade, paper crafts, activities for kids, winter living, winter, 2016

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