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Monthly Archives: October 2015
  • Posted on October 30, 2015

    What to do with your pumpkin insides?

    Pumpkin carving season is upon us! We’ve been scouring Pinterest for weeks for inspiration and we’ve got some great ideas up our sleeves. But if we’re honest, the best bit about carving a pumpkin is the array of delicious recipes you can make with the insides. If you’re subscribed to The Pantry, you might remember we sent you some of our favourite recipes for leftover pumpkin last week, including this tasty risotto. It's warming and comforting, and just look at that colour - perfect for a grey day! And if you’re NOT signed up to The Pantry, whyever not?! Get yourselves over here, and make sure you don’t miss out on any further deliciousness!

    pumpkin and pea risotto with toasted pumpkin seeds

    risotto alla zucca e piselli

    A pretty orange colour speckled with vivid green peas, this risotto is a delight to eat – the peas pop in your mouth and the seeds give crunch. Fresh peas in season are fantastic, but I am a fan of frozen peas and am never ashamed to use them.

    125 g/1 stick unsalted butter

    3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

    ¼–½ teaspoon chilli/chili powder

    about 1 litre/4 cups hot vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

    1 large onion, finely chopped

    500 g/1 lb. fresh pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and finely diced

    300 g/1½ cups risotto rice

    3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

    200 g/1½ cups frozen peas, cooked and drained

    75 g/¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    SERVES 6

    Put half the butter in a saucepan, melt until foaming, then add the pumpkin seeds. Stir over medium heat until the seeds begin to brown, then stir in the chilli/chili powder, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep them warm.

    Put the stock in a saucepan and keep at a gentle simmer. Melt the remaining butter in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Cook gently for 10 minutes until soft, golden and translucent but not browned. Add the squash or pumpkin, and cook, stirring constantly over the heat for 15 minutes until it begins to soften and disintegrate. Mash the pumpkin in the pan with a potato masher. Stir in the rice to coat with the butter and mashed pumpkin. Cook for a couple of minutes to toast the grains.

    Begin adding the stock, a large ladleful at a time, stirring gently until each ladle has almost been absorbed by the rice. The risotto should be kept at a bare simmer throughout cooking, so don’t let the rice dry out – add more stock as necessary. Continue until the rice is tender and creamy, but the grains still firm. (This should take 15–20 minutes depending on the type of rice used.)

    Taste and season well with salt and pepper and stir in the mint, peas and all the Parmesan. Cover and let rest for a couple of minutes so the risotto can relax, then serve immediately, sprinkled with the pumpkin seeds.

    Risotto by Maxine Clark is available here. Still stuck for Halloween ideas? We've got some great recipes and craft projects on the blog.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with rice, savoury, halloween, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, risotto, pumpkin, 2015, The Pantry

  • Posted on October 28, 2015

    Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

    Here at the RPS and CICO Books towers there are two things that we really love – baking and making – so  you can imagine our excitement for Halloween; the holiday where we can bake a whole range of cute, creepy or even gross looking delights and make all sorts of scary stuff, from outfits to decorations for a party! So today we've got a cookie recipe to excite both our crafty and confectionary sides... these lovely spiced pumpkin cookies are just one of many tasty treats to be found in The Cookie Jar by Liz Franklin. Whether it's a party for kids or grown ups, these are perfect for your Halloween table spread and we think they'll go down a real treat. Or do we mean trick...

    Spiced pumpkin cookies

    100 g/6 ½ tablespoons butter, softened

    60 g/ ¼ cup thick honey

    150 g/ ¾ cup soft brown sugar

    1 egg

    250 g/2 cups plain/all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon mixed spice/apple pie spice

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda

    To decorate

    250 g/8 oz. ready-to-roll fondant icing

    orange food colouring gel

    1 egg white, beaten

    orange and green writing gels

    a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter

    2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment 

    MAKES ABOUT 20

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

    Put the butter, honey, sugar and egg in a large mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. Add the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and mix until you have a smooth, stiff dough. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

    On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a large rectangle with a thickness of about 3 mm/1/8 in. Cut out cookies using the cookie cutter. Bring the trimmed dough together and roll out again to cut as many cookies out of the dough as possible. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space for spreading between each one.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes, until golden and firm. Leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

    In the meantime, work a little orange food colouring gel into the fondant icing until the colour resembles pumpkin orange. Cut the icing out using the cookie cutter to cover the cookies.

    Brush the cookies with the beaten egg white and stick an orange icing pumpkin onto each cookie pumpkin, then use the writing gels to add the detail.

    Leave to set, store between layers of baking parchment in an airtight container or cookie jar and eat within 3 days.

    The Cookie Jar

    For more simple baked biscuits and tasty treats, check out The Cookie Jar by Liz Franklin, available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, gift, school holidays, kids, halloween, sweet, pumpkin, 2015, The Pantry

  • Posted on October 26, 2015

    Half term at the Zoo!

    Happy Half Term! What are your plans? Maybe you’re going to visit the zoo, or a farm? However you’re spending the time off from school, our book Make Your Own Zoo by Tracey Radford has some lovely ideas for super fun crafting with your household recycling. Like these penguins for example! How cute are they? And so easy to make…you’ll have the whole South Pole in no time! If you'd like to meet some of the other creatures who live at the zoo, check out our video now!

    A Party of Penguins

    The penguins are great singers, they love to entertain. They’ll perform in any weather and like singing in the rain!

    You will need

    Egg carton - The penguins are made from the long pointy cones that help protect the eggs in the carton

    1 x 2 in. (3 x 5 cm) cereal-box

    Cardboard

    Small scissors

    General-purpose scissors

    Glue

    Yellow, white, and black paint

    Paintbrush

    Ruler

    Pencil

    Fine black felt-tip pen

    1 Roughly cut out a whole cone from the egg carton so it’s easier to work with. Measure 1½ in. (4 cm) from the top and mark each side. Join the marks with a pencil line and then cut up from the bottom of the cone and along the line. Spending a little time measuring will stop you ending up with a wobbly penguin! Make your penguin bigger or smaller if you want.

    2 Paint one side of the cone with a thick coat of white paint. Paint the cereal-box cardboard yellow. Leave to dry.

    3 Use the pencil to draw an outline on the white side of the cone for the penguin’s chest and face. Then paint the rest of the cone black. When it’s dry, dot on some eyes with a fine black felt-tip pen.

    4 Cut a thin strip of yellow cardboard for the beak, snip one end into a “V” shape, and cut off about 6 in. (1 cm).

    5 To position the beak, make a horizontal slot under the eyes with the small scissors (keep the scissors flat and closed, press down, and twist slightly until the point pokes through). Make sure it’s wide enough for the beak. Put a dab of glue behind the slot and push the beak in.

    6 Cut two small, thin triangles from the yellow cardboard for feet and round off the ends a little. Glue the pointy ends underneath the cone and leave to dry before bending into place.

    TIP You can simply skip steps 4 and 5 and draw or paint on a beak instead.

    Make Your Own Zoo by Tracey Radford is available here.


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with homemade, make, school holidays, cico kidz, crafts for kids, kids, recycling, half term holidays, video, half term, quick, 2015

  • Posted on October 23, 2015

    An apple a day...

    Happy Friday! It’s been a long week but you’ve made it! The clocks go back this weekend, and we’re looking forward to long winter evenings, cosying up with blankets and comfort food. Inspired by Apple Day earlier this week, we’re celebrating all things autumnal and cosy with today’s recipe, taken from Hot Chocolate by Hannah Miles.

    Toffee Apple Hot Chocolate

    Eating toffee apples at Halloween and on Bonfire Night is such a treat – biting into the crisp caramel shell and then finding the juicy apple underneath. This hot chocolate is flavoured with caramelized sugar, and you should take the caramel as dark as you are (without burning it) to get the maximum caramel flavour in the milk. Apfelkorn liquer is a tasty German apple spirit which is very warming. It is available online and from good drinks retailers.

    1 dessert apple

    Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    100 g caster sugar

    500 ml milk

    40 g white chocolate, chopped

    4 tablespoons Apfelkorn liqueur (optional)

    Spray cream or whipped cream, for topping

    Dulce de Leche sauce, to drizzle

    Silicone mat or baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper

    Serves 2

    Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) Gas 1.

    Leaving the skin on, cut the apple into thin slices using a sharp knife or a mandoline. Toss the slices in lemon juice to prevent them browning, then dust in a little ground cinnamon. Lay the slices out flat on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 1–1 1/2 hours, until dried but still slightly soft. (This will make more dried apple than you need for decoration but they will keep well and make a great healthy snack if stored in an airtight container.)

    Place the sugar in a saucepan and heat gently over low heat until melted. Do not stir, but swirl it to ensure that the sugar does not burn. Once the sugar has melted, carefully dip some of the baked apple slices into the caramel – only dipping them in half way. (Use tongs and take extreme care as the sugar is very hot and can burn you.) Place the apple slices on a silicone mat or baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and leave to dry.

    Add the milk to the remaining caramelized sugar in the pan. Do not worry if the sugar solidifies, as it will melt on heating. Simmer over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and add the apfelkorn (do not return to the heat as it may curdle the milk). Pour the hot chocolate into two cups, top with a little whipped cream and drizzle with dulce de leche. Place an apple slice on top of each cup. Serve immediately.

    Hot Chocolate by Hannah Miles is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with drinks, Hannah Miles, chocolate, kids, halloween, recipe for the weekend, sweet, 2015, apple

  • Posted on October 21, 2015

    Chic Boutiquers at Home on tour!

    “Small businesses tend to be more original, ethical and interesting. Let’s support them by shopping from them whenever we can, from small retailers we know and we know we can trust, for durable, long-lasting, well-made products with ethical origins. That’s pretty darn chic.” Ellie Tennant

    Last week we celebrated the publication of Chic Boutiquers at Home by Ellie Tennant with an international blog tour of some of our favourite blogs, including homes from both this book, and Ellie’s first book Design Bloggers at Home. With this pedigree we knew it was going to be a good tour, and we had a poster to match!

    We started the blog tour off at two homes featured in the book. First off, was Lobster and Swan – that gorgeous navy wall on the cover is from their home (we’re more than a little bit jealous!) Jeska said “A must read for interior decor snoopers everywhere and anyone thinking about starting an online business.” And our second day took a look at the Dutch home of Le Souk owner Danielle, on her blog The Style Files. We just love this fireplace!

    Next up we crossed the Atlantic and visited SF Girl by Bay: “the concept only makes perfect sense me — if you’re truly fond of a shop’s look it’s only natural you may love the look of their homes, too.”

    This was followed by a post on VosgesParis who appreciated the accessibility of the ideas featured in the book, as well as the final chapter in the book which offers a kind of ‘How to…’ guide. “The book is packed with plenty of ideas to use in your own home and a wealth of tempting new shops to explore…[and] the final ‘How to Launch Your Own Online Shop’ chapter is crammed with invaluable practical advice’.

    Over on Happy Mundane, blogger Jonathan Lo chatted to Ellie about the book, and included some of his favourite images.

    Finally, we finished up a gorgeous week with My Scandinavian Home and a peek inside the Copenhagen home of Kristina Dam.

    What a week! We had a blast, and hope you did too. Make sure you click through to read all the blog posts and if your appetite has been well and truly whetted, Chic Boutiquers at Home is available here.

    All photographs by James Gardiner


    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, Book Launch, photos, blog tour, Lobster and Swan, 2015, Scandinavian, Ellie Tennant, Chic Boutiquers

  • Posted on October 16, 2015

    Happy Dahl!

    Don’t know about you, but we’re reaching the time of year when we’re fully ready for hibernation. It’s getting darker earlier and earlier, and we’re still trying to tell ourselves that the weather is crisp rather than bracing. The joy of this time of year though is cooking soup or stews; putting loads of flavourful ingredients into a big pot, letting it all cook down and voila – delicious lunches for the week ahead. Armed with our new book, At Home with Umami by Laura Santtini, we’ve got this delicious dahl in mind – the perfect autumn warmer!

    BROCCOLI & CHERRY TOMATO DAHL

    Everyone so far who has tried it, loves this recipe, so I call it ‘happy dahl’ as it always makes me feel like I am doing something right! For ease, you could use a tablespoon of curry powder instead of the spices listed below. You want the consistency to be slightly runny, so you may need to add a little water if it looks too dry. Serve with rice, tangy turmeric yogurt and plenty of fresh coriander/cilantro.

    65 g/4 tablespoons butter

    1 large onion, halved then sliced

    2 teaspoons ground cumin

    1 teaspoon ground coriander

    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

    2 teaspoons turmeric

    3 cardamom pods

    ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

    200 g/1 cup plus 2 tablespoons red lentils

    750 ml/3 cups stock

    Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

    40 g/½ cup desiccated/dried, shredded coconut

    Sea salt

    1 medium head of broccoli, cut into small florets

    200 g/7 oz. Cherry tomatoes (approx. 16–18), halved

    Handful fresh coriander/cilantro, finely chopped

    TURMERIC YOGURT

    3 tablespoons Greekstyle yogurt

    1 teaspoon ground turmeric

    1 tablespoon chopped coriander/cilantro

    1 teaspoon of mango and/or lime chutney

    SERVES 4

    Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, and sauté the onion until golden.

    Add the cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cardamom pods and black pepper and fry for 1 minute.

    Add the lentils and stir, making sure they are coated in all the spices.

    Add the stock, lemon juice and the coconut. Season with salt.

    Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 40–45 minutes until the lentils are cooked. If the liquid evaporates too quickly, you can add some more from the kettle. The mixture should not be dry – it should be a soft, slightly sloppy, dahl consistency.

    Meanwhile, make the turmeric yogurt by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing well.

    Five minutes before the lentils are done, add the broccoli florets. Stir gently. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.

    Add the cherry tomatoes cover for another 3–4 minutes.

    Test the broccoli – you want it to still have a bite, as it will continue to cook off the heat. If you let it overcook now, it will go mushy by the time you serve.

    Divide between bowls, top with chopped coriander/cilantro and serve with the turmeric yogurt.

    At Home with Umami by Laura Santtini is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with lentils, savoury, spices, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, tomato, 2015, healthy, umami

  • Posted on October 15, 2015

    Little Blackboard Town

    Earlier today, someone in the office dared to mention Christmas and we ended up chatting about how lovely everything looks when the decorations are up. If you fancy jazzing up a blank wall in your home, then don’t wait for December... why not get creative with your DIY and try some simple wall art? This project is taken from the latest book by Clare Youngs, Wall Art, and we think it’s a great way to decorate a child’s bedroom (and a fun project to do together!)

    Though it has to be said, kids or no kids, we would just love this little blackboard town above the kitchen counter to keep track of the shopping list and housework...

    Little blackboard town

    Little blackboard town 

    This project is easy to create, looks stylish, and provides entertainment for the kids. What’s not to love? Blackboard paint is easily obtainable at DIY stores and even comes in different colors. I have used traditional black for contrast with the bright patterns. The roofs and the trees are made from sheets of giftwrap and a wallpaper offcut, so all very affordable.

     

    You will need

    Newspaper

    Scissors

    Masking tape in different widths

    Pencil

    Blackboard paint

    Paintbrush

    Patterned paper

    Long ruler

    Craft (PVA) glue

    Craft knife

    Cutting mat

    Little blackboard town step 1

    1 Decide how big you want your houses to be. Cut or fold to size, one sheet of newspaper for each house and position it on the wall using masking tape. The houses don’t have to be the same size—a little variation is good. Leave small gaps between them—mine were 1⁄2 in. (1 cm) wide.

    Little blackboard town step 2

    2 Draw around the newspaper using a pencil, then remove the newspaper. Mask off each house with masking tape, using your pencil lines as guides. I used thin masking tape between the houses and thicker tape around the edges.

    Little blackboard town step 3

    3 Paint the house shapes with the blackboard paint and leave the paint to dry before carefully peeling off the masking tape.

    Little blackboard town step 4

    4 Mark the center of the each house shape, along the top edge. Fold a piece of patterned paper in half and align the fold, vertically, with the center mark of one of the houses. Mark the edge of the house (as shown) on the patterned paper.

    Little blackboard town step 5

    5 Use a ruler to draw a line from the mark you have just made on the patterned paper diagonally, up to the folded edge. Cut along this line using scissors.

    Little blackboard town step 6

    6 Open up the triangle you have made and glue it to the wall, aligning the straight edge with the top of the house.

    7 Repeat Steps 4 to 6 to make two more roofs. You can make them different heights.

    Little blackboard town step 8

    8 Draw a simple tree shape on the back of the paper you have chosen for a tree. I have made a simple pointed oval. Cut this out. Draw in a few branches and cut these out using a craft knife and protecting your work surface with a cutting mat. Stick the tree on the wall next to the houses.

     

    Wall Art by Clare Youngs

    The latest book by Clare Youngs is full of creative ways to decorate your home with hangings, paintings, stencils, papercrafts, tapestries, plants, and more. For more information or to buy the book, click here.


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, UK, What's new and was tagged with Clare Youngs, interiors, kids, project, 2015

  • Posted on October 13, 2015

    What do you feel like cooking?

    When we think about what or where to eat we usually say something like 'what do you feel like eating?'

    Restaurateur, author and food entrepreneur, Laura Santtini, is passionate about exploring flavours and feelings; we can heighten our enjoyment of food by eating what we feel like and cooking it with maximum flavour. Laura's flavourful recipes are packed with umami, the fifth basic taste, and will take your cooking to a whole new dimension. Good recipes are a given when on the pursuit of deliciousness, but how about also considering your current mood when choosing your food?

    This quick quiz will help you to discover the type of food that you feel like eating and, as an extra treat, there's a free umami-packed recipe designed by Laura at the end of the quiz...

    What do you feel like cooking?

    When we think about what or where to eat we usually say something like 'what do you feel like eating?'

    The pursuit of deliciousness is all about doing what you feel like with maximum flavour. With this short test, discover your perfect dish depending on how you are feeling right now. PLUS try a free recipe from Laura Santtini's new cookbook, At Home with UMAMI, tailored to suit your mood!

    A quick note... you should answer these questions as quickly as you can and go with the answer that first pops into your head. Your answers and result would most likely be different if you were to take the test on a different day or in a different mood, so good luck and go with your gut (pun very much intended!)

    Fresh & Uplifting



    Recipe from At Home with UMAMI by Laura Santtini
    Published by Ryland Peters & Small (photography by Con Poulos)


    According to your current feelings, your perfect dish would be fresh and uplifting so we have a delicious Kimchi Coleslaw recipe for you to try. Simply click on the link above, then save or print the PDF and head to the kitchen! Or if coleslaw isn't really your thing, then how about a fish dish or something with a zingy citrus kick.

    Flavours have the power to intensify, sooth, invigorate and inspire different feelings. If you'd like to learn more about flavours and feelings then check out the stunning new book by Laura Santtini, At Home with UMAMI, where you'll discover how to match your mood with your food.


    Keen to find out more?
    Umami is the super-savoury fifth basic taste. Often unrecognized, it has the extraordinary ability to enhance individual flavours, transporting dishes to another level. Check out this infographic to learn more about umami as a flavour, or see Laura's book for a range of recipes that showcase the wonder and magic of umami in your everyday cooking.


    Mellow & Comforting



    Recipe from At Home with UMAMI by Laura Santtini
    Published by Ryland Peters & Small (photography by Con Poulos)


    According to your current feelings, your perfect dish would be mellow and comforting! We have a delicious Asparagus, Lemon & Basil Risotto recipe for you to try. Simply click on the link above, then save or print the PDF and head to the kitchen! Or, if that doesn't tickle your tastebuds, then how about a succulent piece of meat with a red wine sauce, some creamy mac 'n' cheese or your favourite soup.

    Flavours have the power to intensify, sooth, invigorate and inspire different feelings. If you'd like to learn more about flavours and feelings then check out the stunning new book by Laura Santtini, At Home with UMAMI, where you'll discover how to match your mood with your food.


    Keen to find out more?
    Umami is the super-savoury fifth basic taste. Often unrecognized, it has the extraordinary ability to enhance individual flavours, transporting dishes to another level. Check out this infographic to learn more about umami as a flavour, or see Laura's book for a range of recipes that showcase the wonder and magic of umami in your everyday cooking.

    Bold & Bright



    Recipe from At Home with UMAMI by Laura Santtini
    Published by Ryland Peters & Small (photography by Con Poulos)


    According to your current feelings, your perfect dish would be bold & bright! We have a delicious Pecorino Lamb recipe for you to try. Simply click on the link above, then save or print the PDF and head to the kitchen! Or, if lamb isn't really your thing, then how about something with a bit of heat, like a lentil curry or some garlic and chilli prawns.

    Flavours have the power to intensify, sooth, invigorate and inspire different feelings. If you'd like to learn more about flavours and feelings then check out the stunning new book by Laura Santtini, At Home with UMAMI, where you'll discover how to match your mood with your food.


    Keen to find out more?
    Umami is the super-savoury fifth basic taste. Often unrecognized, it has the extraordinary ability to enhance individual flavours, transporting dishes to another level. Check out this infographic to learn more about umami as a flavour, or see Laura's book for a range of recipes that showcase the wonder and magic of umami in your everyday cooking.

    Heady & Daring



    Recipe from At Home with UMAMI by Laura Santtini
    Published by Ryland Peters & Small (photography by Con Poulos)


    According to your current feelings, your perfect dish would be heady and daring! We have a delicious Ricotta, Aubergine, Molasses and Crumbled Proscuitto recipe for you to try. Simply click on the link above then save or print the PDF and head to the kitchen! Or if that doesn't tempt your tastebuds then try a twist on an old favourite, such as tuna melt with banana, or a bold flavoured meat or poultry dish.

    Flavours have the power to intensify, sooth, invigorate and inspire different feelings. If you'd like to learn more about flavours and feelings then check out the stunning new book by Laura Santtini, At Home with UMAMI, where you'll discover how to match your mood with your food.


    Keen to find out more?
    Umami is the super-savoury fifth basic taste. Often unrecognized, it has the extraordinary ability to enhance individual flavours, transporting dishes to another level. Check out this infographic to learn more about umami as a flavour, or see Laura's book for a range of recipes that showcase the wonder and magic of umami in your everyday cooking.

    Sweet & Interesting



    Recipe from At Home with UMAMI by Laura Santtini
    Published by Ryland Peters & Small (photography by Con Poulos)


    According to your current feelings, your perfect dish would be sweet and interesting! We have a delicious Miso & Sweet Potato Cheesecake recipe for you to try. Simply click on the link above then save or print the PDF and head to the kitchen! Or if that doesn't tempt your tastebuds, how about adding a savoury hit to your favourite sweet treat, or go for a tasty homemade drink.

    Flavours have the power to intensify, sooth, invigorate and inspire different feelings. If you'd like to learn more about flavours and feelings then check out the stunning new book by Laura Santtini, At Home with UMAMI, where you'll discover how to match your mood with your food.


    Keen to find out more?
    Umami is the super-savoury fifth basic taste. Often unrecognized, it has the extraordinary ability to enhance individual flavours, transporting dishes to another level. Check out this infographic to learn more about umami as a flavour, or see Laura's book for a range of recipes that showcase the wonder and magic of umami in your everyday cooking.

    How would you best describe your day so far?

    Fun and exciting

    Slow and dull

    Busy and stressful

    Not too bad, not that special!

    What has the weather been like?

    Sunny and lovely

    Cloudy and dull

    Cold and miserable

    Stormy and raining

    Has your day been mostly...

    Working

    Out with friends or family

    Errands and doing chores

    Chilled and relaxing

    Which of these dishes do you most associate with childhood?

    Roast dinners and home-baked pies

    Sweets, chocolate and ice cream

    Packed lunches and picnics

    Pizza, chips and sausages

    What are your favourite flavours?

    Hot and spicy

    Rich and creamy

    Light and fresh

    Sweet and sour

    Which best describes your perfect day?

    Chatting, chilling, catching up with old friends

    Out and about, trying something new, exploring

    Relaxing with a film or a good book

    Practising or enjoying a favourite hobby

    When it comes to picking from a menu, do you tend to choose dishes that are...

    Adventurous and unusual

    Playing it safe, familiar or recommended by a friend

    Something from the specials board

    A twist on a favourite

    If you were cooking for a dinner party, which of the following would best describe your approach?

    Last minute rush, throw something together, what's in the fridge and what can I make with it

    Love choosing the recipe... perhaps a new dish, something fancy, food that will impress the guests

    Cook my usual crowd-pleaser, you can't go wrong with a classic

    Plan days in advance, prep your ingredients, you don't want any stress on the evening


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with savoury, 2015, recipe, Laura Santtini, quiz

  • Posted on October 9, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend

    It's one of our favourite weeks of the year... chocolate week! Not that we need an excuse to bake something chocolatey and delicious this weekend,  but this Great British Bake Off- inspired Chocolate Mille Feuille from Deliciously Chocolatey by Victoria Glass looks impressive and tastes even better. To celebrate Chocolate Week in style head over to The Chocolate Show London where our very own Will Torrent will be showcasing his chocolate skills live on stage. If you happen to live further afield why not try a recipe from Will's Chocolate at Home or one of our other fantastic chocolate-inspired books such as Hannah Miles' Hot Chocolate?

    Chocolate Mille Feuille

    Chocolate mille feuille

    Mille feuilles means ‘a thousand leaves’ – layers of buttery chocolate puff filled with crème pâtissière. 

     

    icing/confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

    Chocolate puff pastry

    125 g/1 cup plain/ all-purpose flour

    35 g/1/3 cup cocoa powder

    a pinch of salt

    50–75 ml/1/4–1/3 cup cold water

    2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    125 g/1 stick cold butter

     

    Crème pâtissière

    200 ml/3/4 cup milk

    2 large egg yolks

    50 g/1/4 cup caster/ granulated sugar

    20 g/21/2 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch, sifted

    1 teaspoon vanilla paste

    15 g/1 tablespoon butter

    35 g/1 oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate (60–70% cocoa solids), melted and cooled slightly

    2 piping/pastry bags fitted with 1-cm/ 3/8-in. plain nozzles/tips

    2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment

     

    Makes 8–10

     

    To make the pastry, sift the flour and cocoa together in a large bowl and stir in the salt. Make a well in the middle. Stir the lemon juice into the cold water and add two-thirds of the mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix and knead until you have a firm dough, adding more water if needed. This is called the détrempe. Flatten it, wrap in clingfilm/plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

    Put the butter in between 2 sheets of baking parchment and bash it with a rolling pin until you have a flat rectangle of butter about 2-cm/3/4-in. thick.

    On a lightly floured surface, roll the détrempe into a rectangle, about 1.25-cm/ 1/2-in. thick and place the butter in the centre. Fold the edges of the dough over the butter to create a neat parcel. Turn the dough over, so the seams are underneath, and roll into a neat rectangle of about 38 x 20 cm/16 x 8 in. With a short edge facing you, brush off any excess flour and fold over the furthest edge towards you and then the edge nearest you over the top. Seal the edges together with your fingers. Dust the surface with more flour and turn the dough 90 degrees. Roll into a rectangle, brush off any excess flour and fold as before. Seal the edges with your  fingers, wrap the dough in clingfilm/plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour. Repeat the rolling, folding and resting twice more, so in the end the dough will have been rolled and folded six times and rested in the fridge three times. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, the last time.

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

    Cut the puff pastry in half and roll each piece until it is about 1.5-mm/1/16-in. thick. Prick the tops all over with a fork and arrange one rectangle of pastry on each prepared baking sheet. Place another sheet of baking parchment over the pastry and top each rectangle with another clean baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes, or until cooked through and dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and turn the heat up to 220°C (450°F) Gas 8. Remove the top baking sheets and peel off the top layer of baking parchment, before liberally dusting with icing/confectioners’ sugar. Return the pastry to the oven for a few minutes, or until the sugar has caramelized. Be careful, it can turn very quickly!

    Leave the pastry to cool for a few minutes, before trimming the edges and cutting into 10 x 3-cm/4 x 11/4-in. rectangles. Leave to cool completely.

    To make the two different flavours of crème pâtissière, start by making a basic vanilla pastry cream. Put the milk in a pan set over a gentle heat. In the meantime, put the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour/cornstarch and vanilla in a heatproof bowl and whisk together. Once the milk just comes to the boil, pour it over the eggs and whisk together. Pour the mixture back into the pan and stir continuously over a gentle heat for 1–2 minutes. Increase the heat and continuing to stir until the mixture has thickened. Take the pan off the heat and vigorously whisk in the butter until it has melted. Spoon half of the crème pâtissière into a bowl and cover with clingfilm/plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming. Whisk the melted chocolate into the remaining half before decanting into another bowl and covering. Leave to cool to room temperature before spooning the mixtures into the piping/pastry bags. Chill until needed.

    To assemble the mille feuilles, simply pipe rounds of vanilla crème pâtissière onto 10 rectangles. Top with a second rectangle of pastry, before piping them with even rounds of chocolate crème pâtissière. Finally, place a third rectangle of pastry on each, before using a palette knife to transfer the mille feuilles to serving plates. Dust with icing/confectioners’ sugar and serve.

     

    Deliciously Chocolatey

     

    Deliciously Chocolatey by Victoria Glass is available here.

    Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent is available here.

    Tickets to The Chocolate Show can be purchased here.

    Hot Chocolate by Hannah Miles is available here.

    Happy baking everyone!


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with dinner party, chocolate, recipe for the weekend, dessert, sweet, Great British Bake Off, Chocolate at Home, 2015, recipe, patisserie

  • Posted on October 8, 2015

    Crochet a Wicked Witch Costume!

    With Halloween at the end of the month we're starting to think about fancy dress... If you're stuck for ideas for your kids (or yourself!) then why not have a go at this crochet wicked witch costume? Forget tacky lycra outfits bought in a one size fits all (but actually fits nobody) or that old white sheet that's been used year in year out since your child was tall enough to stand, and instead try your hand at a really unique crocheted costume.

    With a pattern for the witch's hat, the cobweb collar and a spider to complete the look, this is a brilliant way to make your Halloween outfit and will provide plenty of fun dress-up opportunities in years to come (apologies to that sad old sheet).

    Click on the image below and save or print the PDF pattern*.

    This pattern is one of many lovely ideas for handmade kids' costumes in Crochet Dress-Up by Emma Friendlander-Collins. You can find out more about the book or buy a copy here.

    Crochet Dress-up

    *Thank you for choosing to download this crochet pattern. The copyright belongs to CICO Books, so selling or distributing the material to a third party is prohibited. We don’t mind if you share it with a friend, but please do not make multiple copies without our permission. Copyright law is there to protect the work of the originator and unauthorised copying is illegal


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK and was tagged with handmade, kids, halloween, 2015, crochet, costumes

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