Monthly Archives: December 2014
We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed lots of lovely food, laughter and great gifts with your family and friends! We’re still recovering from a superb Christmas dinner, but the celebrations aren’t over yet and we’re now looking forward to New Years Eve! So today we have a couple of canapés for you that are simple to make, professional-looking and absolutely delicious. Choose from crab, chilli and lime or prawn and asian slaw tartlets - both so light and tasty, you might have to pull your guests away from the table (we’re talking from experience here! See our crab tartlets photographed with the recipe below and head to the bottom of this post to see the rest of our party-perfect spread!)
This week's recipes are from the fantastic new book, Party-perfect Bites by Milli Taylor, full of ideas for stylish party snacks that will ensure you're always the hostess with the mostess! Milli is going to be on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch this weekend, sharing a selection of the delicious recipes from the book, so make sure you tune in for some more ideas!
crab, chilli & lime filo tartlets
3 sheets of filo/phyllo pastry (about 135 g/4 ¾ oz.)
100 g/1 stick minus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
400 g/1 ¾ cups fresh, cooked white crabmeat
5 spring onions/scallions
10 g/ ½ cup fresh coriander/cilantro
2 red chillies/chiles, deseeded
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes
Tabasco sauce, to season (optional)
12-hole muffin pan, buttered
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Stack the filo/phyllo sheets in a pile and use a sharp knife to cut them into 40 6-cm/2 ½ -in. squares, each of which will have 3 layers of pastry.
Keeping all other filo/phyllo squares covered with clingfilm/plastic wrap to prevent them drying out, take one set of 3 three squares. Lay one square onto a chopping board and brush lightly with melted butter. Top with a second square, offset to allow corners to show.
Brush lightly with melted butter and repeat with the final square.
Gently press the layered pastry into the hole of the muffin pan and repeat to fill the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and store in an airtight container until required. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
To make the crab filling, drain the crabmeat and place in a bowl.
Chop the spring onions/scallions, coriander/cilantro and chillies/chiles very finely. Mix with the mayonnaise and season with lime juice, Tabasco, salt and white pepper.
Fill each tart with the crab filling and serve immediately.
asian slaw & prawn tartlets
¼ red cabbage
¼ white cabbage
1 Gala apple, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled
1 spring onion/scallion
1 fresh red chilli/chile, deseeded
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sour cream or mayonnaise
17 cooked and shelled prawns/shrimp
34 filo/phyllo baskets (see above)
For the dressing
1 teaspoon caster/granulated sugar
3 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Mix all of the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Set aside.
Either using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the red cabbage very finely and place in a bowl. Shred the white cabbage, apple, carrot, spring onion/ scallion and chilli/chile in the same way and place in a separate bowl.
Season both bowls with 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix well. Add half the dressing to one bowl and the other half to the second bowl, let sit for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
Drain the vegetables and mix together just before serving so that the red cabbage doesn’t turn everything pink. Add the sour cream.
Spoon a little slaw into each filo/phyllo basket and top with half a prawn/shrimp. You can pinch the ends of the prawns/shrimp together to add height.
We had such fun making the crab tartlets and some of the other recipes from Milli’s book (and very much enjoyed eating them with a glass of mulled wine!) Our table spread included a tasty selection of savoury and sweet canapés; cayenne and cheddar biscuits, artichoke, mozeralla & speck, and malaysian coconut pancakes, as well as some delicious dips; tzatziki, roast carrot, ginger & miso dip, and black bean hummus.
We hope you have some time to relax over the weekend and have a fantastic New Year!
Party-perfect Bites by Milli Taylor is available here.
This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with christmas, canapes, savoury, chilli, recipe for the weekend, 2014, celebrations, Party-Perfect Bites, Milli Taylor, crab, prawn, Asian
It’s Christmas Eve Eve. The office is emptier than Santa’s sack on Boxing Day, the thought of your next mulled beverage isn’t quite enough to carry you through the afternoon and we all need a bit of cheering up. Here is a handy infographic to clearly display the emotions felt in the office today (although not too much of Top Left…)
Fortunately these complimentary colors are on hand to give us the boost we need…
We’re feeling chirpier already! So, with Santa and his Subordinate Clauses (much better than elves) just making one last minute list-check, Bucks Fizz a-chilling (but not like this!) and stockings very much hung by the chimney with care…
…Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at RPS, CICO Books and Dog’n’Bone!
Christmas feasting can be tricky if you have allergies or intolerances. Luckily Hannah Miles is on hand to help out with her newest book, Gluten-Free Christmas! This fab stollen recipe means that even previously forbidden treats can be enjoyed, and a little bird told us that if you head over to MadePeachy tomorrow you’ll find a Gluten-Free Mince Pie recipe too!
Stollen is a rich fruit bread, originating from 14th-century Germany. My version is bursting with cherries, chocolate and marzipan, with an amaretto and lemon dough.
250 g gluten-free self-raising flour, sifted
1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 eggs, beaten
75 g butter, melted and cooled
300 ml soured cream
100 g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons amaretto or other almond liqueur
a pinch of vanilla salt (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and a pinch of salt)
200 g dried morello cherries
100 g unsalted pistachios, chopped
100 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
250 g golden marzipan
icing sugar, for dusting
38 x13-cm stollen pan, very well greased
large baking sheet, greased and lined with baking parchment
Makes 1 large loaf
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Sift the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum into a bowl. Add the eggs with 50 g of the melted butter, soured cream and caster sugar. Stir in the lemon zest, amaretto, salt, cherries, pistachios and chopped chocolate. Spoon half of the mixture into the prepared stollen pan.
On a clean surface, use your hands to roll the marzipan out into a sausage shape the length of your stollen pan and place in the centre of the dough in the pan. Spoon the remaining dough mixture over the top of the marzipan, then invert on to the prepared baking sheet, keeping the stollen pan over the dough. (If you do not have a stollen pan, dust your hands with flour, and shape the dough into a long oval loaf, approximately 35 x 20 cm, and insert the marzipan in the centre of the dough before shaping.
Bake for 40–50 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is golden brown, gently lifting away the stollen pan to see if it is cooked. Remove the stollen from the oven and remove the pan.
Brush the top of the warm loaf with the remaining melted butter, and dust with icing sugar. The sugar will be absorbed by the butter, giving the loaf a sweet coating. This stollen is lovely eaten warm, spread with butter, if you wish, but will store well for up to 3 days in an airtight container. It can also be frozen in slices.
Gluten-Free Christmas by Hannah Miles is available here.
This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with christmas, baking, Hannah Miles, recipe for the weekend, 2014, Gluten-free, sweet, Gluten-Free Christmas, MadePeachy
We had a super time for our office Christmas party last night and exchanged some cracking Secret Santa presents! The gifts themselves were absolutely lovely - with everything from homemade chutney and beautiful scarves to the greatest, oversized pencil sharpener for spiral cutting carrots, courgettes and the like! – though it has to be said that some of the wrapping could have been a little more inspired...
So today we thought we’d share this great project from Christmas Crafts to encourage some wonderfully wrapped gifts! Whether you're a last-minute wrapper, happy to piece it all together on Christmas Eve, or already have everything wrapped and ready under the tree, these homemade gift tags will make your presents extra special this Christmas!
These cute gift tags for attaching to presents are made from standard parcel labels and decorated with red buttons and rows of embroidered running stitch.
Ruler and pencil
Brown parcel label
Foam board (for piercing and stitching holes)
Red embroidery thread
2 red buttons for each label
Hot glue gun (or all-purpose glue)
4 3/4in (12cm) narrow red ric rac braid (for the loop)
1. Use the ruler and pencil to draw a soft line, about 1⁄8in (3mm) from the edge, all around the brown parcel label. Place the label on the foam board and use the large needle to pierce holes along the pencil lines, spaced approximately 1/4in (5mm) apart. These will form the stitching holes for the embroidery. Rub out the pencil lines using the eraser.
2. Thread the needle with the red embroidery thread and work a row of running stitches around the edges of the parcel label.
3. Glue two buttons to the center of the label. You may find it easier to use a hot glue gun to do this. It is better to glue the buttons rather than sew them on, as you won’t be able to write on the back of the label if the buttons are sewn on.
4. Thread the ric rac braid through the hole at the top of the parcel label and tie securely. Thread the ends of the braid to your parcel to finish.
Christmas Crafts by Catherine Woram is available here.
Have a lovely last week in the run up to Christmas everyone!
There is no denying it now, Christmas is definitely almost upon us. Whether you’ve had your presents wrapped since mid-October or are more of a Mad-Dash-on-Christmas-Eve sort of a shopper, there’s always that surprise gift that you’ve forgotten you needed. Office Secret Santa catching you by surprise, or that friend who announces she's dropping by with pressies. But fret not! We have it covered! Scarves and Cowls by Fiona Goble is full of lovely warm knits for men, women and children and many can be knitted in an evening using just one ball of wool, making these patterns an ideal last-minute gift idea. This pattern is classy but cosy and will brighten up any winter outfit!
It may surprise you to discover that this stylish capelet is a simple knitted rectangle. What’s more, to create it you need know nothing more than how to cast on and bind (cast) off, and how to work the knit and purl stitches. So if you want something that’s impressive as well as easy, this is definitely the project for you.
Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK (66% wool, 34% silk) light worsted (DK) yarn
2 x 1 ¾ oz (50g) balls (148yd/135m) in shade 686 Cantaloupe
Needles and equipment
US 6 (4mm) knitting needles
Yarn sewing needle
1 x 1 3/8in (35mm) button in dark red
22 sts and 30 rows in stockinette (stocking) stitch to a 4-in (10cm) square on US 6 (4mm) needles.
The finished cape measures 34 ¼ in (87cm) along lower edge and is 8in (20cm) deep.
For the capelet
Cast on 48 sts.
Knit 2 rows.
Row 3: K4, [k1, p2] to last 5 sts, k5.
Row 4: K4, [p1, k2] to last 5 sts, p1, k4.
Row 5: Knit.
Row 6: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.
Rep rows 3–6, 56 times more.
Row 231: K4, [k1, p2] to last 5 sts, k5.
Row 232: K4, [p1, k2] to last 5 sts,
Knit 2 rows.
Bind (cast) off.
To make up
Fold down 2 ¼ in (7cm) at the top corners of both ends of the capelet and overlap the right over the left side. Sew on the button, using the picture as a guide, taking in all the front layers so the two ends are held in place. Fold down the top edge of the cape to form the collar.
Weave in all loose ends.
Scarves and Cowls by Fiona Goble is available here.
First things very well first: Happy Christmas Jumper Day one and all! We’ve all donned our festive knits and we’re raising some money for Save the Children UK in the process. Here are some members of the sales and publicity departments looking ever-so-jolly with penguins, baubles and snowflakes galore!
Now, on the serious business of our 50th(!!!) Recipe for the Weekend! Since we’re feeling wonderfully Christmassy, we’ve got a Yule Log with a difference for you today from the glorious Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent. You may remember back in September we had a go at a couple of the recipes from this fab book, including the Chocolate & Chestnut Roulade. So we can vouch for just how delicious this recipe is, and it definitely deserves a spot on your Christmas table!
Chocolate & Chestnut Roulade
We always have a chocolate yule log at Christmas, it’s just a family tradition. I’ve added chestnut purée to a chocolate buttercream to roll my soft chocolate sponge with instead of traditional whipped cream and decorated it with chopped chocolate. It’s rustic, easy to prepare and perfect for Christmas day!
4 large eggs
150 g caster sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
100 g plain flour
25 g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
50 g unsalted butter, melted
200 g dark chocolate, chopped
3 large egg whites
200 g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
250 g unsalted butter, softened and diced
1 x 250-g can sweetened chestnut purée
marron glacé, chopped
cocoa powder, for dusting
40 x 30-cm Swiss roll pan, greased and lined with baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
To make the roulade, put the eggs, sugar and vanilla into a large mixing bowl and whisk with a handheld electric whisk for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and thick and has trebled in volume.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into the bowl and gently fold into the egg mixture using a large metal spoon, taking care not to knock out too much air. Carefully pour the cooled, melted butter around the edge of the bowl and fold in until there are no traces of it.
Spoon or pour the batter into the prepared pan and gently spread level with a palette knife. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes, or until well-risen with a light crust and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with your finger. Let the cake cool in the pan for a minute.
Meanwhile, lay a large sheet of baking parchment on a clean work surface and scatter with 1 tablespoon caster sugar. Carefully turn the roulade out of the pan onto the sugar-coated paper and peel off the paper lining. Lay a clean dish towel on top of the cake and, starting at one of the shorter edges, roll the cake into a tight spiral with the towel inside the roll. Set aside until completely cold.
To make the buttercream, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan or pot of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth and set aside.
To make the meringue, put the egg whites, sugar and salt in a separate heatproof bowl set over a saucepan or pot of simmering water. Add 2 tablespoons of water and whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is foamy. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is warm to the touch, thickens, turns bright white and will hold a ribbon trail.
Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and beat for about 3 minutes with an electric handheld whisk, until it has doubled in volume is thick, stiff, glossy and the outside of the bowl feels cold to the touch.
Gradually add the butter to the cold meringue mixture, beating constantly on low–medium speed, until the frosting is smooth. Using a large spoon or spatula fold in the melted chocolate and the chestnut purée.
To assemble the roulade, carefully unroll the cooled cake and remove the dish towel. Spoon 4 generous tablespoons of buttercream onto the cake and spread evenly using a palette knife. Scatter with the chopped marron glacé. Using the baking parchment to support the cake, roll the cake back into a tight spiral and transfer to a serving plate. Cover the whole cake with more buttercream, scatter with chocolate shavings and dust with cocoa powder to serve.
Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent is available here.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and Happy Baking!
This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, baking, chocolate, Will Torrent, recipe for the weekend, 2014, sweet, Chocolate at Home, roulade, Xmas Jumper Day
After a lovely quiet weekend at the end of Drinks Week, we’re feeling like we could probably manage to slip our party shoes back on and celebrate something…What? It is December after all! Fortunately, Milli Taylor’s Party-Perfect Bites has come to our rescue! Packed with delicious canapés and party snacks from around the world, this gorgeous book will see you right through to New Year and beyond!
This recipe for Teriyaki Salmon Skewers is making our mouths water just thinking about it and we’re totally prepared to overlook the fact that the only thing we’re celebrating is making it all the way through Monday!
Teriyaki salmon skewers
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced on the diagonal
freshly squeezed juice of ½ a lime
1 teaspoon sesame oil
5 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
4 tablespoons clear honey
500 g salmon fillet, skinned and boned
black sesame seeds to garnish
26 wooden/metal skewers
a baking sheet, greased
Put the garlic, ginger, lime juice, sesame oil, soy and honey in a large bowl. Stir well to combine.
Slice the salmon into 26 bite-sized pieces. Toss the salmon in the sauce.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.
After 10 minutes, drain the salmon and reserve the sauce. Skewer the salmon and place on the prepared baking sheet and cook in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Meanwhile, reduce the sauce in a small saucepan on a low-medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until thickened and glossy.
Remove the skewers from the oven and brush or spoon the reduced sauce over each salmon piece, along with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Party-Perfect Bites by Milli Taylor is available here.
Congratulations on making it through Monday, and enjoy your celebrations!
We’ve had a great time celebrating Drinks Week, and it’s really got us into the festive spirit. We’ve learnt about pairing wine with some store cupboard staples from Jane Parkinson, and about the taste of Natural Wine from Isabelle Legeron MW. We also had some whisky cocktails thanks to Tristan Stephenson, and enjoyed some boozy mussels at the beginning of the week! Phew!
So, to finish up in a truly celebratory style, we’ve got something really special from LOLA’s Forever, the new book from the LOLA’s Bakers...Enjoy!
This cupcake was made for the special cocktail range at LOLA’s. A lime-scented sponge is brushed with a Grand Marnier syrup and finished with a vibrant pomegranate buttercream. A glamorous grown up treat – this one is Not For Children!
200 g/1½ cups plain/all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
90 g/¾ stick butter
190 g/scant 1 cup caster/superfine sugar
100 ml/½ cup full-fat/whole milk
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
grated zest from 1 lime
GRAND MARNIER SYRUP
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
50 g/¼ cup caster/superfine sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
150 g/1¼ sticks butter
400 g/2¾ cups icing/confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon vodka
4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 /2 teaspoon pink food colouring paste
muffin pan lined with 12 muffin cases
piping/pastry bag fitted with a large star nozzle/tip
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Start by making the Grand Marnier syrup. Place the orange juice, sugar and Grand Marnier in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.
Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use an electric whisk and large mixing bowl), and beat the mixture at medium to high speed for 1–2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure that all the butter and sugar is incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
Mix the milk, lime juice and zest together – don’t worry it will curdle! Gradually add this to the butter and egg mixture, alternating with the sifted flour mixture, until you have a smooth batter and all the ingredients have been incorporated. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the mixture between the muffin cases, filling to almost two-thirds full.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, until well risen and a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 15 minutes, then brush generously with the Grand Marnier syrup.
To make the buttercream, place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use an electric whisk and large mixing bowl), and beat until soft and fluffy. Sift in half of the icing/confectioners’ sugar and, with the mixer on low speed, mix until incorporated. Add the second half of the sugar, along with the vanilla bean paste, vodka, pomegranate molasses and food colouring paste, then beat, slowly, until smooth. This will take 1–2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and give it a final beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
Spoon the buttercream into the piping/pastry bag, and pipe a swirl of buttercream onto each cupcake. Alternatively, spread the buttercream onto each cake using a palette knife or metal spatula. Decorate each cupcake with a slice of lime.
LOLA's Forever by the LOLA's Bakers is available here.
We hope you've enjoyed Drinks Week as much as we have, and Happy Baking!
As part of Drinks Week, we’ve got a little something from Jane Parkinson that will come in very useful for anyone wanting to pair their wine and food. We perhaps all know to choose something light (and often white) with fish or to go for a tasty red with meat - though Jane might have something to say on that assumption! - but what do we really know about pairing with flavours?
In her new book, Wine & Food, Jane talks not only about the main ingredients on your plate, but also which flavour you should pay attention to for a good wine pairing. So today, we have some great info about matching wine with your favourite store-cupboard sauces, and as always, Jane makes it really nice and simple. So simple in fact, that I fancy having a jacket potato and green salad this evening with a good dollop of salad cream and a glass of Pinot Gris!
Store-cupboard wine matches
Those magic little pots and jars in your cupboards and fridges, which are usually packed with flavour and can change the taste of a dish altogether, depending on how much you add, can be tricky to pair with wine, so here are a few ideas to get you started.
The heat and sharp tang of mustard works well with a mellow and slightly nutty wine like Australian Semillon.
Although the bite of the Indian spice and the types of vegetables can vary in this and other chutneys, a fruity Pinot Grigio copes really well, and especially if it’s from the southern hemisphere, like New Zealand, where it’s often really ripe and full.
AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA
Balance out the salty soy flavour with a wine that’s dry but gives the impression of being a bit sweet. Cue a ripe, cherry–flavoured Amarone della Valpolicella.
Sweetness and chilli/chile heat makes for a very tricky wine match, but Moscato d’Asti usually works well. It’s floral, with bags of grapey lusciousness and low alcohol, both of which soften the effect of the heat. Plus, even though it’s lightly sweet it’s usually very crisp so it will cut through the sauce’s sticky texture.
The capers and herbs in this sauce are practically screaming ‘Pair me with Sauvignon Blanc!’ because of this grape’s natural affinity with anything heavy in green herbs and saltiness, but you could try a fizz, too.
Salad cream & Thousand Island dressing
RIESLING & PINOT GRIS
The hint of sweetness in off–dry Riesling or Pinot Gris really counters the acidic tang of these sauces.
Tomato ketchup & tomato relish
NEW WORLD PINOT NOIR
These sweet tomato condiments are best with a New World Pinot Noir that’s unoaked, so it’s plump, juicy, full of raspberry fruit and not too tannic.
Vegemite & Marmite®
Seems like a decadent choice, but it’s a really great match. Some people might think the dark colour and rich flavour of these spreads needs a red wine, but it’s actually the yeasty flavour that you want to match here, and older Champagnes have a rich, yeasty character, while their bubbles prevent the combination from tasting too heavy.
Wine & Food by Jane Parkinson is available here.
Have lovely evening!