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Monthly Archives: April 2013
  • Posted on April 26, 2013

    A seasonal recipe from The Forager's Kitchen

    You might know that wild garlic is in season right now... but did you also know that it features in The Forager's Kitchen, the new book from Fiona Bird?

    No, well here's Fi's recipe for Minted Pea and Ramps (Wild Garlic) Soup to serve 4 people...

    What to forage and find:

    * 31⁄2 oz (100g) ramps (wild garlic) stalks

    * 1 tablespoon olive oil

    * Knob of butter

    * 10 oz (275g) scrubbed new potatoes

    * 41⁄2 cups (1 litre) vegetable stock

    * 1 cup (150g) freshly  shelled peas

    * 3 mint leaves, finely shredded

    * Freshly ground black pepper

    * A handful of ramps (wild garlic) flowers


    What to do:

    1 Wash and finely slice the ramps (wild garlic) stalks.

    2 Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan and cook the ramps over low heat for 1 minute.

    3 Cut the new potatoes into small pieces and cook with the ramps for another 1–2 minutes, stirring often.

    4 Add 3ó cups (800ml) of the stock and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 8–10 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

    5 Add the peas and mint, and simmer for another 3 minutes to cook the peas.

    6 Remove the pan from the heat, and allow it to cool for a minute.

    7 Blend the peas and potatoes in a food processor, and return to the pan, or use a

    hand blender.

    8 Use the remainder of the stock to rinse around the food processor bowl, and add enough to the saucepan to reach the desired consistency.

    9 Heat over low heat to warm through, season with freshly ground pepper, and serve as soon as possible in warm bowls.

    Scatter ramps (wild garlic) flowers over the soup just prior to serving. If you wish,

    decorate with a swirl of crème fraîche.

    Wild Notes

    Decorate the soup with a swirl of crème fraîche and ramps (wild garlic) flowers.

    For a really minty soup, use mint tea in place of stock, and one shredded

    mint leaf. On a hot summer day, serve this soup cold with ramps ice cubes.


    Recipe from the new book by Fiona Bird, The Forager's Kitchen which is published by CICO Books and is out now! Other food books are here - all are delicious!


    This post was posted in News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with 2013, olive oil, mint, potato, Forager's Kitchen, Fiona Bird, peas

  • Posted on April 25, 2013

    An Evening with Will Torrent...

    A Delicious Success At Will Torrent's Pâtisserie at Home Book Launch...

    For a charming young pastry chef who has won many awards over recent years, another speech to a room of peers and mentors should hold no fears. But on the evening of the 18th April, Will Torrent felt both particularly nervous and excited. He chose to hold the launch of his début cookery book, Pâtisserie at Home, at the University of West London from which he graduated in 2007 with a first-class degree in Culinary Arts Management. There were speeches by the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Peter John and chef Brian Turner CBE, raptly heard by more than 100 guests including chocolatier Paul A Young, The Great British Bake-off winners Edd Kimber and John Whaite, as well as host of very proud friends, colleagues, family and of course, publishers.

    When the time came for Will to speak, his outstanding combination of determination, drive and perseverance became apparent. Coupled with the stunning, meltingly good chocolate-themed bowl-food and dessert canapés created that day by Will and a group of the university’s trainee chefs, it was clear that his success and popularity are down to an awe-inspiring talent, as well as his continuous gratitude to everyone who has helped him in his achievements. “Wow! What a night!” he said, with a big smile on his face. “This has been such a special and emotional evening and I would like to thank everyone who has helped make this book launch a great success.”

    His passion is infectious, his talent impressive, and as he is always eager to share his knowledge with others, to show them that anything is possible with the right support and commitment, he wrote Pâtisserie at Home to take the fear factor out of French pastry. The book looks good enough to eat, and with Will at the helm, it won’t be long before you are whipping up the kinds of éclairs, tarts and macarons that would make Will himself proud.


    Why not try one of Will's delectable fruity creations for yourself with one of his simple recipes for Framboisiers perfect all year round!

    300 g raspberries

    Almond cake

    120 g egg whites (about 4 egg whites)

    80 g caster sugar

    4 eggs

    130 g ground almonds

    75 g icing sugar

    40 g plain flour

    2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

    50 g flaked almonds

    Crème diplomate

    250 ml whipping cream

    250 ml double cream

    500 g storebought crème pâtissière

    2 Swiss roll pans, lined with greaseproof paper

    20 x 30-cm rectangle frame

    Makes 12

    Start the recipe the day before you want to serve the framboisiers.

    For the almond cake

    Preheat the oven to 190˚C (375˚F) Gas 5.

    Put the egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer or in a bowl using an electric whisk and whisk until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the whole eggs.

    Gently fold in the ground almonds, icing sugar and flour using a large metal spoon.

    Finally, stir in the melted butter.

    Spoon the mixture into the prepared Swiss roll pans and spread level with a spatula. Sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 5–10 minutes or until springy to the touch and golden on top. Flip each slab of cake onto a sheet of greaseproof paper dusted with a little semolina. Peel the baking paper off the top and allow the cakes to cool.

    For the crème diplomate

    Put the whipping cream and double cream in a stand mixer or use a mixing bowl and an electric whisk. Beat until soft, billowing peaks form.

    Be careful not to over-whip it otherwise it will become thick and grainy and it will split when mixed in with the crème pâtissière. 

    Gently fold the whipped cream, in stages, into the crème pâtissière until smooth and irresistible.

    Fold the raspberries into the crème diplomate. If I am making this for children, I love to crush the raspberries first and ripple them through the cream.

    Press the rectangle frame down on top of one cooled cake slab in turn to cut out equal rectangles of cake. Leave the frame pressed into one cake and spread the raspberry crème diplomate over the cake layer within the frame. Spread level with a spatula Place the second cake slab on top (almond-side down) and press down gently with your hand.

    Freeze overnight, still in its frame. This will make it easier to cut smoothly.

    The next day, gently ease the frame away from the framboisier and cut it into 12 neat fingers using a hot, sharp knife.

    Allow to defrost before serving, then dust with icing sugar.

    You could also leave the framboisier whole and serve it as a lovely birthday cake.

    Pâtisserie at Home by Will Torrent is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available to purchase here.



    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with 2013, Will Torrent, Book Launch

  • Posted on April 16, 2013

    Make Your Own Spring Garden Basket!

    Hurrah! It's finally Spring and it's also National Gardening Week so there's no better time to get back in the garden!

    With this in mind, we thought we'd share a fabulous project from the recently published 'Teeny Tiny Gardening' and what could be more appropriate than a Spring Garden Basket?

    Create a spring garden in a basket by choosing beautiful paperwhite narcissi for their delicious fragrance and mixing them with grape hyacinths, primulas, and pansies. Lining the basket with moss adds a woodland feel. The moss will need to be kept moist to retain its color, so mist with a water spray bottle.


     Wire basket

    Moss (available from florists)

    Green or black plastic sheeting for lining the basket

    Soil-less potting mix

    Bucket (optional)


    Fritillaria meleagris

    (snake’s head fritillary)

    Blue Muscari armeniacum

    and white M. armeniacum ‘Argaei Album’ (grape hyacinth)

    Narcissus papyraceus (paperwhite narcissus)

    Primula vulgaris (primrose)

    Viola 5 wittrockiana (pansy)


    1 Line the basket with some moss, pushing it down well so that it stays in position. Tear off small pieces of moss and push them in place to fill any gaps in the lining.

    2 Cut out a circle of plastic and push it inside the basket, tucking the edge in slightly so that it won’t be visible from the outside.

    3 Put some potting mix in the bottom of the basket to cover the plastic lining, making sure that there is enough room for the plants.


    4 Take the plants out of their plastic pots and arrange them in the basket, using the taller plants toward the back. Pack the plants in so that the basket looks as though it is bursting with flowers.

     5 You may find it helpful to sit the basket in a bucket to hold it steady while you are planting.

     6 When you are happy with the arrangement, fill around the plants with more potting mix and push down with your fingers to hold them all in place.

     7 Water the basket gently using a watering can and sit back to enjoy your springtime garden!



    tip: A visit to the garden centre in spring will supply you with all the plants you need for this basket, but you can also plant it with bulbs in winter and grow the plants yourself. Add pansies when the bulbs are about to flower.

    'Teeny Tiny Gardening' by Emma Hardy is published by CICO Books and is available to buy from online outlets and at all good bookstores.

    Photography by Debbie Patterson.








    Check out our exciting range of Home & Garden books.

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, What's new, What's new and was tagged with Emma Hardy, plants

  • Posted on April 11, 2013

    National Bread Week 2013!

    The country is gearing up for National Bread Week 2013, now in its 12th year.  From the 16th–22nd April bread, along with its significant ‘roll’ in the day-to-day life of millions, will be celebrated!

    A dietary staple for the past 5,000 years, bread is packed with fibre, protein, vitamins and iron. Good for us and delicious, nothing quite compares to the smell of a freshly baked loaf, something that 75% of the nation will be glad to hear as they tuck into a sandwich this lunchtime!

    In celebration of National Bread Week here are a couple of delectable bread recipes for you to try at home, from our brilliant bread bakers!

     Jane Mason author of All You Knead is Bread

    Emmanuel Hadjiandreou author of How To Make Bread




    Potato and rosemary bread

    Leftover mashed potatoes make excellent bread – moist, soft, chewy and full of the flavour of the mash. Use whatever leftover mash you have, whether you make it with cream and butter, salt and pepper, mustard, horseradish, wasabi, anything at all. In this recipe I have added rosemary because it gives the bread colour and extra flavour.

    1 kg strong white flour

    5 g instant yeast, 10 g dry yeast, or 20 g fresh yeast

    500 g water

    20 g salt

    3–4 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles (or other fresh herb of your choice)

    mashed potatoes – up to about half the volume of the dough

    baking sheet, lined with parchment paper

    makes 4 loaves

    If you are using instant or fresh yeast, put all the ingredients (except the mashed potatoes) in a big bowl and mix them together. Tip them out onto the counter and knead well for 10 minutes.

    If you are using dry yeast, put the flour in a big bowl and make a well. Sprinkle the dry yeast in the well and add 100 g of the water. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes. You may or may not get a beige sludge on the top of the water, but don’t worry – what is important is to dissolve the yeast. Add the remaining ingredients (except the mashed potatoes) and mix. Tip out onto the counter and knead well for 10 minutes.

    Pop the dough back into the bowl, cover with a dry tea towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

    Pull the dough out of the bowl and gently fold in the potatoes until well incorporated but not completely blended in. The dough will get sticky and slack but use a scraper to gather it all up and get it off your hands and keep going. Don’t add more flour unless you freak out and then please be sparing. This will make brilliant bread. Pop back in the bowl, cover again and allow to rest for 1–2 hours until doubled in size.

    Pull the dough out onto a floured surface.


    Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Flour your hands and shape each portion into a ball or sausage as best you can. Don’t stretch and fold it as you would normally to form a skin and trap the air bubbles – the dough is too soft for this and it will sink a bit. Place on the prepared baking sheet, flour the tops, cover with a dry tea towel and allow to rest for 1 hour.

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

    Make a few slashes in the tops of the loaves with a sharp knife or scissors, if you like, and dust with flour. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.

    All You Knead is Bread by Jane Mason is published by Ryland Peters & Small and can be purchased here.

    Pecan raisin bread

    Pecan and sultana is another combination that works so well in bread. This is a recipe I learned at the Savoy in London when I worked there and it was always part of the bread basket offered at lunch and dinner.

    35 g chopped pecans

    35 g sultanas

    200 g strong white flour

    50 g wholemeal flour

    5 g/1 teaspoon salt

    3 g fresh yeast or 2 g dried yeast

    180 g warm water

    baking sheet lined with parchment paper

    Makes 1 small loaf

    1  Mix the pecans and sultanas and set aside.

    2  In one (smaller) mixing bowl, mix the flour and salt together and set aside. This is the dry mixture.

    3  In another (larger) mixing bowl, weigh out the yeast. Add the water and stir until the yeast has dissolved. This is the wet mixture.

    4  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.

    5  Mix the mixtures together with a wooden spoon and then your hands until they come together to form a dough.

    6  Cover with the bowl that had the dry mixture in it.

    7  Let stand for 10 minutes.

    8  After 10 minutes, the dough is ready to be kneaded. Leaving it in the bowl, pull a portion of the dough up from the side and press it into the middle. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat this process with another portion of dough. Repeat another 8 times. The whole process should only take about 10 seconds and the dough should start to resist Take care not to squash the sultanas.

    9  Cover the bowl again and let stand for 10 minutes.

    10  Repeat Steps 8 and 9 twice, then Step 8 again. Cover the bowl again and let rise for 1 hour.

    11  When the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down with your fist to release the air.

    12  Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Transfer the ball of dough to the floured work surface.

    13  Fold one edge of the dough over into the middle. Fold the opposite edge over to the middle.

    14  Now roll the dough to make a sausage. Make the ends tapered.

    15  Sprinkle flour over the bread. Score diagonal lines along the surface using a sharp, serrated knife.

    16  Place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise until slightly less than double the size – about 30–45 minutes.

    17  About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 240˚C (475˚F) Gas 9. Place a roasting pan at the bottom of the oven to preheat. Fill a cup with water and set aside.

    18  When the dough has finished rising, remove the bowl or covering.

    19  Place the bread in the preheated oven, pour the reserved cupful of water onto the hot roasting pan and lower the oven temperature to 200˚C (400˚F) Gas 6.

    20  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

    21  To check if it is baked through, tip it upside down and tap the bottom – it should sound hollow.

    22  If it is not ready, return to the oven for a few minutes. If it is ready, set it on a wire rack to cool.

    How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available to purchase here.

    Other food related books we publish also here.

    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with bread

  • Posted on April 10, 2013

    Could it be? Spring has arrived!

    A small but hopeful rumour has been slowly making its way around the country.  Barely a whisper on the breeze, we are daring to utter the word…spring.  Finally, blue skies and blossom covered trees are forecast and if we’re really lucky a bit of birdsong might be thrown in for good measure!

    Welcome in the new season with this deliciously beautiful creation from MasterChef’s Hannah Miles.  This delectable cheesecake promises to be the perfect Spring-time treat for friends and family to devour on a sunny afternoon!

    ‘In my opinion, there is no greater cheesecake expert than Hannah.  It was the first thing she ever cooked for me on MasterChef.’  Gregg Wallace

    Japanese cherry blossom cheesecake


    55 g/4 tablespoons butter, softened

    55 g/1⁄4 cup caster/white sugar

    1 egg

    2 teaspoons matcha powder

    1 generous tablespoon crème fraîche

    55 g/scant ½ cup self-raising flour, sifted


    4 sheets leaf gelatine

    200 g/scant 1 cup cream cheese

    250 g/generous 1 cup ricotta

    1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

    100 g/½ cup caster/white sugar

    150 ml/2⁄3 cup double/heavy cream

    400 g/1½–2 cups cherry compôte


    30 g/1 oz. dark chocolate, melted

    sugar flowers

    a 23-cm/9-inch round springform cake pan, greased and lined

    a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle/tip

    SERVES 12

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

    For the cake base, whisk together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add the egg and beat again. Dissolve the matcha powder in 1 tablespoon hot water and add to the cake mixture along with the crème fraîche. Sift the flour over the mixture and fold in so that everything is incorporated. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes until the cake is golden brown and springs back when pressed gently in the centre. Leave to cool in the pan.

    For the filling, soak the gelatine leaves in water until they are soft.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cream cheese, ricotta, vanilla and sugar together until light and creamy.

    Put the cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and heat gently. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves and add them to the warm cream, stirring until dissolved. Pass the cream through a sieve/strainer to remove any undissolved gelatine pieces, then whisk into the cheese mixture.

    Blitz the cherry compôte in a blender or food processor to make a smooth purée. Spread one third of the cherry purée over the cake base, leaving a small gap around the edge of the cake. Fold the remaining cherry purée into the cheesecake mixture, stopping before it is fully incorporated to make a pretty swirled pattern. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the base and smooth level, then leave to set in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

    To decorate, spoon the melted chocolate into the piping bag and pipe delicate chocolate branches on top of the cheesecake. Fix sugar flowers to the branches using a little extra chocolate so that they look like cherry blossom branches.

    Cheesecake by Hannah Miles is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available to purchase here

    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with weather, Hannah Miles

  • Posted on April 5, 2013

    Things are hotting up for Dr B... the sauce-erer of sauce-erers!

    Welcome to the wicked world of Dr Burnorium; the ultimate purveyor of pain and leading hot-sauce expert.  After decades of travelling around the globe in search of the most potent peppers, the doctor has personally tried and tested the finest, tastiest and most importantly, hottest sauces that the world has to offer.

    To share his wealth of knowledge and experience, the great man recently wrote a book entitled 'Dr Burnorium's Compendium of Hot Sauces'.

    It was created as a challenge to any self-professed lover of spice, and for the first time, the Doctor was able to share his favourite recipes, ranging from the internal damnation offered by the Colon Cleaner to the insane heat that emanates from his own evil creation: Psycho Juice. This fiery guide is not only full of original recipes but comes packed with the stories behind the sauces, reviews and a closer look at the chillis that cause all the pain.

    Since then, Dr Burnorium (and his sauces) have gone on to feature in the Wall Street Journal...

    The Times...

    And is soon to be on both The One Show (next Friday, 12th April)...

    and The Food Programme on Sunday 14th April...

    So after twenty years of hard work, we feel that the Doctor has finally become an overnight taste sense-ation!

    Dr Burnorium’s Compendium of Hot Sauces is published by Dog ‘n’ Bone Books and is available from all good bookshops and online outlets.

     Visit Dr B's website at: www.hotsauceemporium.co.uk



    This post was posted in News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with chilli, sauce

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