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Monthly Archives: February 2016
  • Posted on February 26, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend

    It’s definitely turned a little colder over the course of this week, so we thought we’d share a wonderfully warming bake from Jenny Linford’s new book, Garlic. This delicious bread would be ideal on the Sunday lunch table or dipped in some warming soup, and really, nothing beats that freshly-baked smell, does it?

    Roast Garlic Rosemary Focaccia

    Freshly made focaccia is always a treat, with roast garlic adding a wonderful savouriness and rosemary an appealing aromatic note. Serve on its own or with Italian charcuterie, such as parma ham or mortadella, for a light meal.

    500 g/3½ cups strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

    1 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon sugar

    300 ml/1¼ cups hand-hot water

    5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    6 roast garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

    3 tablespoons rosemary leaves, finely chopped

    a pinch of sea salt flakes

    a large mixing bowl, oiled

    a baking sheet, greased

    Makes 1 loaf; serves 6

    Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Gradually add in the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil, bringing the mixture together to form a sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Then work in the roast garlic and 2 tablespoons of the rosemary. Transfer to the prepared mixing bowl, cover with a clean damp kitchen cloth and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

    Break down the risen dough and shape into a large oval on the prepared baking sheet.

    Using your fingertips, press into the dough to make numerous small indentations. Spoon over 2 tablespoons of the oil, so that it fills the indents, and sprinkle over the remaining rosemary. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

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

    Bake the focaccia in the preheated oven until golden brown. Spoon over the remaining oil and sprinkle with the sea salt flakes.

    Serve warm from the oven or at room temperature.

    Garlic by Jenny Linford is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with vegan, baking, savoury, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, Jenny Linford, 2016, garlic

  • Posted on February 19, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend

    Whilst very few kitchens would be without a peppermill, this versatile ingredient can be so much more than a quick grind at the end of cooking. As our new book Pepper by Valerie Aikman-Smith shows, it adds depth of flavour to just about any dish, even sweet ones. Yes, you read that right. Chocolate and pepper are a match made in heaven and these deliciously boozy desserts are sure to be a big hit this weekend! Enjoy!

    Pepper bourbon chocolate pots

    Delightful little pots packed with spicy boozy flavours. I like to make these for casual outside dinners in the summer. They are a breeze to whip up and are also great for picnics – I pour the mousse into easily transportable individual jars with lids.

    140 ml/⅔ cup double/heavy cream

    2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

    2 teaspoons Lampong peppercorns, coarsely chopped

    1 tablespoon bourbon or whiskey

    300 g/10½ oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate (72% cocoa solids)

    6 egg whites

    2 tablespoons caster/superfine sugar

    Crème fraîche, to serve

    Edible flowers, to garnish (optional)

    SERVES 6

    Pour the cream into a small pan and add the espresso powder and peppercorns.

    Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat and cool. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl, then stir in the bourbon or whisky.

    Melt the chocolate over a medium heat in a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir in the espresso pepper cream to combine.

    In a large bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric beater until stiff peaks form, then add the sugar and whisk to combine.

    Add the chocolate mixture to the egg whites a spoonful at a time and gently fold together. Divide the mixture between 6 small bowls or pots. Refrigerate for 4–24 hours.

    To serve, add a dollop of crème fraîche to the top of each chocolate pot. If you wish, garnish with edible flowers.

    Pepper by Valerie Aikman-Smith is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, chocolate, recipe for the weekend, quick, sweet, 2016, pepper

  • Posted on February 17, 2016

    Modern Pastoral blog tour

    Modern pastoral interiors are about embracing the pared-back lifestyle of living in the country, taking nature as the main point of inspiration…[using] colors, textures and details to create a home in which to unwind - a retreat from the rest of the world

    So begins the blurb of our new book Modern Pastoral by Niki Brantmark (blogger at My Scandinavian Home); this was certainly a sentiment celebrated in last week’s blog tour. Five beautiful blogs shared some of their favourite images from the book, and we’ve rounded up the best of the tour here in one handy post so you can revisit them again and again!

    We kicked off the tour with a lovely post over at Lobster & Swan who said “Modern Pastoral is basically my rustic dream book...filled with beautiful examples of rustic living adapted to modern life”. We love this cushion!

    Our second stop was with Emily Quinton on her new blog, Make Believe. As always, Emily had photographed the book beautifully, and we loved the pairing of the rustic colours on Niki’s book with peachy yellow tulips.

    photo by Emily Quinton

    The middle of the week saw us pay a visit to Little Green Shed where Modern Pastoral was declared an ‘interiors dream’. Lou also included one of our favourite images from the book – this gorgeous outdoors shower!

    We finished up the week with lovely reviews, illustrated by more of James Gardiner’s photographs over on Décor Art UK and SF Girl by Bay, who appreciated the ideas in the book for bringing a small part of nature into your home.

    Wow! What a week! It has certainly inspired us to get back to basics with our interiors, and as lots of the blogs pointed out, it’s so easy to do, whether it’s just displaying some pebbles from a favourite beach, or that wood burner you’ve always wanted! If you’re feeling similarly inspired, make sure you settle down with a nice cup of tea, and simply click the links to read all the posts.

    Modern Pastoral by Niki Brantmark is available here.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, Book Launch, photos, nature, Scandinavian, 2016, rustic

  • Posted on February 12, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend: Afternoon Tea

    Are you looking to treat someone special this weekend? Valentines Day is the perfect excuse to spend some down-time in the kitchen and make a romantic gesture with some delicious food. These savoury crispbreads from Will Torrent's Afternoon Tea at Home are simple yet stylish, a perfect starter or lunch recipe, and are sure to impress your sweetheart.

    Fig and Ricotta Crispbreads


    Fig and ricotta crispbreads with pistachios, mint and pomegranate molasses

    These roasted fig and ricotta crispbreads make delightful canapés for a New Year’s Eve party as well as one of your savouries for afternoon tea. What makes them super-special is the drizzle of pomegranate molasses and mixed chopped parsley and mint – it’s a taste explosion!

    6 ripe figs

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

    250 g/8 oz. ricotta cheese

    24 round Scandinavian-style crispbreads

    50 g/ ½ cup shelled unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped

    2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint

    salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    a baking sheet lined with foil

    Makes 24

    Preheat the grill/broiler to high.

    Cut the figs in half through the stalks and arrange cut-side uppermost on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with a little oil and 1 tablespoon of the pomegranate molasses.

    Place the dressed figs under the grill/broiler until juicy and bubbling. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

    Mix the ricotta with another tablespoon of the pomegranate molasses and season with salt and black pepper.

    Lay the crispbreads on the work surface or on a serving tray and divide the ricotta between them, spreading it almost to the edges.

    Cut each fig half in half again so that you have bite-sized quarters and arrange on top of the ricotta-spread crispbreads.

    Scatter with pistachios, sprinkle with roughly chopped herbs and serve immediately.

    Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent

    Find out more about Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent here.

    For Will Torrent's full Afternoon Tea for Two menu with four more free recipes, sign up to The Pantry now.

    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with canapes, Valentines Day, savoury, brunch, Will Torrent, recipe for the weekend, cheese, lunch, vegetarian, recipe, 2016, Afternoon tea

  • Posted on February 6, 2016

    Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester

    To celebrate the imminent publication of Will Torrent’s new book, Afternoon Tea at Home, Will and head pastry chef of The Dorchester, David Girard spent a busy morning in The Dorchester kitchen chatting all things afternoon tea. The book features guest recipes from some of the world’s top afternoon tea institutions, including The Dorchester’s delightful Beehive Tarts. Here Will and David talk about just why we love afternoon tea so much, and David shares his patisserie secrets with a step-by-step for making the perfect caramel!

    Will: What is it about afternoon tea that people love so much?

    David: Afternoon tea is an experience, a special moment you share with people you care about. It’s also very relaxing. You choose the tea, a classic sandwich and a scone, but the real surprise is the patisserie…you can create something individual, for a specific moment. It’s all about stopping for two hours in the afternoon and just enjoying the passing of time.

    W: How and where do you get your inspiration for all of your lovely patisserie?

    D: The patisserie must be seasonal. I also read a lot, think a lot and look at social media. I share my idea with some of my team and we sit down and draw out what we want to do. Then we just try until we get the result! I also actually work with our floristry designer, so we can work on the same colour palette for the patisserie and the flower bouquets.

    W: What is your favourite part of afternoon tea? The pastries, the sandwiches, the scones or something else?

    D: I will say as a pastry chef, it’s always the patisserie I get excited about, but as I said, I think the whole experience has to be memorable.

    Thanks David! Now to turn our hands to the caramel...


    4 g/2 sheets leaf gelatin

    200 g/1 cup sugar

    300 ml/1¼ cups double/heavy cream

    A pinch of salt

    90 g/6 tablespoons butter

    To make the caramel, first soak the gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes. Put the sugar in a pan set over a medium heat, leave it to melt, then turn up the heat and bring to the boil – be careful not to boil too much as you only want to caramelize it slightly.

    In a second pan warm the cream, then carefully pour over the melted sugar – it will bubble up a lot.

    Add the salt, bring back to the boil and remove from the heat.

    Add the butter and stir until melted. Drain the gelatin and squeeze off any excess water before adding to the caramel. Stir in, then pour into a jug/pitcher and set in the fridge to cool.

    For the Dorchester afternoon tea, David uses caramel as a filling for these cute ‘Beehive’ Tarts. You can find the full recipe in Will Torrent’s new book, Afternoon Tea at Home.

    Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent is available to pre-order here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Interviews, News, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with sweet, 2016, Afternoon tea, patiss, caramel

  • Posted on February 5, 2016

    Modern Dim Sum for The Year of the Monkey

    Here at RPS Towers we are very fond of bite-size food. Canapés…tapas…appetizers, we love them all. So naturally, we were very excited when copies of our new book, Modern Dim Sum by Loretta Liu, landed recently. With Chinese New Year on Monday we thought it was time we shared one of Loretta’s delicious dumpling recipes. The book includes the recipes for making your own dough, and we’re sharing that too, but if you’re feeling lazy, you can buy dumpling skins from a good Asian supermarket. We won’t tell if you don’t!

    Pork and leek jiaozi

    Traditional jiaozi are extremely popular at holiday celebrations such as Chinese New Year. Often prepared in an assembly line by various family members, these tasty dumplings are enjoyed by children and adults alike. The folded, plump pleated shape is a nice easy one to start with.

    1 batch Wheat Dough (see below)

    100 g/3½ oz. firm tofu, drained and sliced into small cubes

    A pinch of salt

    100 g/3½ oz. minced/ground pork

    2 Chinese chive stalks, white parts removed, finely chopped

    A large handful of fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped

    1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper

    1 teaspoon black pepper

    2 tablespons dark soy sauce

    2 tablespoons sesame oil

    1 leek, finely chopped

    2 button mushrooms, finely chopped

    1 tablespoon sunflower oil

    black vinegar, for dipping

    MAKES 16

    Prepare the wheat dough following the instructions from the basic recipe below. While the dough is resting, begin the filling. Sprinkle the tofu slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes before squeezing out the excess water.

    In a large bowl mix the minced/ground pork with the tofu and the rest of the ingredients apart from the sunflower oil and black vinegar.

    Roll out the skins, continuing to follow the instructions below. Place a small tablespoon of filling neatly into the centre of a skin. Dip your fingertips into a small dish of water and slightly moisten the edge of half the skin. Fold the skin in half over the filling. Pinch one end together and make small folds to form pleats. The end result should be a plump sealed pocket.

    Tap the dumplings base-down on your work surface to finish. As you are working, set aside the finished dumplings on a floured baking sheet under a damp cloth so they do not dry out.

    Heat the sunflower oil over a medium heat in a large frying pan/skillet. Lightly fry the dumplings until golden brown on the bottom. To finish off the cooking process, place the dumplings in a large pan of boiling water. Cover with a lid and poach until they float to the surface.

    Serve the dumplings hot with black vinegar for dipping.

    Wheat dough

    150 g/1 cup + 2 tablespooons Asian white wheat flour

    80 ml/scant ⅓ cup water


    Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and combine with the water to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 20–25 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Separate and roll into two equal cylinders about 2.5 cm/1 inch in diameter. Cover with a damp kitchen cloth and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

    To prepare the skins, use a sharp knife to slice the dough cylinders into 16 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, flatten each piece with a rolling pin until it has a round shape and a diameter of around 7.5 cm/3 inches.

    Modern Dim Sum by Loretta Liu is available here. Happy Year of the Monkey!

    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with homemade, chinese new year, savoury, recipe for the weekend, Asian, 2016, world food, pork, Loretta Liu

  • Posted on February 3, 2016

    Wordless Wednesday: February Preview

    Photograph by:: 1. Mark Lohman 2. Lisa Cohen 3. Paul Massey 4. Mark Lohman 5. Paul Massey 6. Jan Baldwin 7. Jan Baldwin

    Perfect English Cottage by Ros Byam Shaw is available here.

    Romantic Prairie Style by Fifi O'Neill is available here.

    Simply Scandinavian by Sara Norrman is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, Wordless Wednesday, 2016, preview

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