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Monthly Archives: November 2012
  • Posted on November 30, 2012

    As temperatures plummet

    It feels decidedly wintery outside so who could blame you for needing a bit of a cheer up.

    Pies Pies, Glorious Pies by Maxine Clark

    The solution has arrived, and it isn’t a SAD machine.  In fact, it is an age old solution that still works a treat.  Bake a pie! Yes, happiness is home made and nothing says happy like a big old steaming hot pie.

    I recently decided to put this theory to the test and cheer myself and my family up with some delicious home baking.  On a freezing Sunday afternoon  I decided to turn on the heating, crank up the radio and get cooking.  Maxine Clark’s Pies Glorious Pies seemed like a good place to start.  Having never made a pie from scratch before I was more than slightly concerned about the possible outcome. Remembering my grandmother’s favourite mantra ”cooking is like love…It should be entered into with abandon or not at all” I decided to put pre-pie nerves aside and jump in with both feet – this was going to be the best pie ever…

    This is my pie!

    And so it was…well almost.  Salmon Koulibiaca, my pie of choice, turned out to be great fun to make.  Including eggs, basmati rice, mushrooms, lots of smoked salmon and puff pastry, quite a lot of preparation time was needed.  The best part was piling all of the filling into the centre of the pastry and stretching the pastry over the top to try to enclose it all.  My attempts were pretty farcical as the filling spilled out from every edge.

    When the pie (eventually) came out of the oven and we all tucked in,  it was truly delicious – although my carpe diem attitude did lead to a dangerous over use of dill, which even I admit was perhaps a bit too overbearing in flavour.

    Over zealous dill-use aside, this was a delightful dish and the perfect winter warmer, it comes highly recommending, even from a pie making novice like me.

    This is Maxine's pie!

    If you fancy giving it a go, here is the recipe, let us know what you think:

    Roast Smoked Salmon Koulibiaca

     Note from Maxine:

    I have been very fortunate to collaborate with Rosie Campbell-Preston of Inverawe Smokehouses over the past ten years. We have created some delicious smoked fish recipes together, this being a favourite. Roast smoked salmon is brined salmon, suspended over hot smoke, which cooks and smokes it at the same time. Serve

    in generous slices with a mixed-leaf salad tossed in a sharp lemony dressing.

    75 g/5 tablespoons butter

    6 spring onions/scallions, chopped

    125 g/41⁄2 oz. button mushrooms, roughly chopped

    75 g/1⁄3 cup basmati rice

    225 ml/scant 1 cup light fish stock

    600 g/1 lb. 5 oz. roast smoked salmon (or smoked salmon)

    2 large eggs, hard-boiled

    and peeled

    1–2 tablespoons chopped

    fresh dill

    3 tablespoons chopped

    fresh parsley

    finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon

    1 recipe Rough Puff Pastry

    (see page 25) or Cheat’s Puff Pastry (see page 27)

    1 egg, lightly beaten

    salt and freshly ground

    black pepper

    a heavy baking sheet, greased

    with butter

    Serves 4–6

    Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat, add the spring onions/scallions and mushrooms and cook for 2–3 minutes. Stir in the rice and mix well, then pour in the fish stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover and leave to cool.

    Break the roast smoked salmon into large flakes (or roughly chop the smoked salmon) and place in a mixing bowl. Roughly chop the hard-boiled eggs and add to the salmon with half the dill and half the parsley, mixing well. Taste and season, but don’t use too much salt as the salmon will be salty.

    Tip the cooked rice into another bowl and use a fork to fluff it

    up, then mix in the remaining dill and parsley and the lemon zest and juice. Taste and season.

    Roll out the pastry to a 35 x 27-cm/14 x 11-inch rectangle directly onto a piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap. Spoon half the rice mix onto the centre of the pastry, widthways leaving a good bit of pastry at either side that will eventually wrap over the filling. Leave a border of at least 2.5 cm/1 inch at either end.

    Carefully spoon the salmon mix evenly over the rice, piling it high. You may want to use your hands to mould this into shape.

    Top with the remaining rice mix, pressing and moulding it into

    a rounded loaf shape.

    Bring one side of the pastry up and over the filling, brush the edge with beaten egg, then bring the other side over to enclose the filling completely. Pinch the ends to seal. Using the clingfilm/plastic wrap, carefully flip over onto the prepared baking sheet so that

    the sealed edges are underneath. Brush the surface of the pastry all over with the beaten egg. (If it is a special occasion, use extra pastry

    to cut into fish shapes to decorate, then glaze again. Alternatively, glaze first, then use the tip of a teaspoon to indent half-moons to resemble fish scales.) Chill for at least 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas 7.

     Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave it to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

     Pies, Glorious Pies by Maxine Clarke is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £16.99.

    Watch out for my next Pies blog, which will feature culinary efforts from around the office!

    More of our fantastic food books here.



    This post was posted in Featured, UK and was tagged with salad, winter warmer, salmon, mushrooms, rice, eggs, parsley, pastry

  • Posted on November 30, 2012

    Explore the fabled beauty

    “Seductive, to me, signifies a person, a place, or a moment that, once encountered, one never wants to leave.”

    Seductive Interiors Seductive Interiors

    Sera’s thoughts on the true meaning of the word seductive ring true after you have stepped into her beautiful London abode, Chocolate Towers, and experienced it for yourself.

    The approach to Sera’s gorgeous home, couldn’t feel more quintessentially ‘London’ if it tried. Identical townhouses line the streets and I even trotted across the Abbey Road zebra crossing, once graced by the Beatles, on my way.

    In a sea of similitude, Chocolate Towers stands as symbol for individuality, from the rich brown colour of the render to the Moroccan garden furniture, Sera’s maverick design style radiates from the very centre of this exquisite home.

    Stepping inside, I was instantly transported from London, to stunning exotic lands. Each room bursts with Sera’s eclectic taste, as crumbling antique furniture sits together with retro pieces from around the globe. On the walls hang huge blown-up black and white photos of Sera’s favourite rock stars alongside classical artworks and modern paintings. If seductive means never wanting to leave, then count me in, I wasn’t going anywhere!

    Seductive Interiors Seductive Interiors

    Peruse these stunning pictures for yourselves and prepare to be seduced!

    Seductive Interiors by Sera Hersham-Loftus is published by Cico Books at £30.00.

    Go here for more interiors books we publish.



    This post was posted in Featured, UK and was tagged with christmas, sera hersham loftus, interiors

  • Posted on November 21, 2012

    How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou.

    The Guild of Food Writers Awards are the most prestigious in the field of food writing and broadcasting and showcase the best in the industry.

    The award was presented to Emmanuel at a ceremony at the stunning Fishmongers' Hall overlooking the Thames. You can read more about the awards party on our blog.

    How to Make Bread shows you step-by-step how to make basic bread as well as delicious sourdoughs, flavoured yeasted breads, pastries and morning bakes.

    You can get bread-making tips by following How to Make Bread on Facebook.

    Click here to check out other food and drink books on the site.

    This post was posted in News, UK and was tagged with bread

  • Posted on November 14, 2012

    An Evening full of Real Mexican Food

    Yesterday evening, our day’s work done, a group of us hotfooted it over to Covent Garden Waterstones in happy and hungry anticipation. Our lovely authors Felipe Fuentes Cruz and Ben Fordham, co-founders of Benito’s Hat Mexican Kitchen, had invited people to come along to celebrate the publication of Real Mexican Food, a book packed to bursting point with tantalizing recipes for burritos, tacos, salsa and as we discovered, much more!
    Felipe, whose grandmother provided much inspiration for the recipes in the book, treated us to a demonstration of how to make an authentic salsa verde, using fresh green chillies and tomatillos. Not for this chef the mosquito whine of a high-tech blender. Instead he gently pulverized the ingredients in his trusty molcajete or pestle and mortar – a giant-sized volcanic rock of an affair. Then we sampled totopos (homemade tortilla chips), delicious and as far removed from a Dorito as you could care to imagine. There were also little bowls of esquites (oregano sweetcorn with crumbled feta cheese), tostadas de frijol (fried tortillas with black beans) and taquitos dorados de papa con dos quesos (little fried tacos filled with the fluffiest mashed potato, cheddar and feta). What a winning combination! All recipes included in the glorious book.
    Staff from Benito’s Hat weaved through the crowd carrying aloft trays filled with mini margaritas, so that before long the sound of Felipe’s pestle upon mortar was accompanied by a contented schlurping through straws and a steady sound of munching.
    We’re over the moon to have published this book and to have the chance to work with people like Ben and Felipe, whose passion for good food is as contagious as it is genuine. And how pleased it makes us that despite the growing rise of the use of Kindles, people still pick up books and marvel at the beauty of them. Thank you for hosting the event Waterstones. That was a lovely evening!
    Why not check out our wonderful section on food and drink for more books.

    This post was posted in News, UK and was tagged with feta

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