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  • Posted on January 25, 2017

    Win a gluten-free baking bundle!

    We’re completely thrilled to be publishing a beautiful gluten-free baking book by Victoria Hall at the end of this month and are celebrating the release with a bundle giveaway in partnership with Real Foods!

    Simply answer the baking question below for your chance to win This is Gluten-Free by Victoria Hall and a selection of Real Foods ingredients needed for making Victoria’s delicious gluten-free Florentines.

    Gluten free baking bundle giveaway prize

    Selling a huge selection of naturally healthy and ethically sourced ingredients, Real Foods are one of Victoria’s favourite websites for buying gluten-free flours and other baking ingredients, such as nuts, seeds, chocolate, dried fruit and more. This brilliant baking prize bundle includes Doves Farm all-purpose gluten-free flour, Equal Exchange dark chocolate and If You Care baking parchment; as well as light brown sugar, flaked almonds, chopped walnuts, mixed peel, glacé cherries and a re-usable cotton organic bag from Real Foods with beautiful artwork by Edinburgh Sketcher.

    The competition closes on Tuesday 31st January and there will be one lucky winner. Good luck!


    Florentines are not quite a traditional cookie, more a suspension of nuts and fruit in a crisp but ever-so-slightly chewy caramel. Swathe the underside of these discs in dark chocolate and you have yourself a very elegant addition to your cup of tea. As robust as they are pretty-looking (thanks to being set with both caramel and chocolate), once completely cooled, they can be easily packaged up in a cellophane bag, decorated with a ribbon and given as a gift. My mum, in particular, would thank you for them.

    From start to serve: 1 hour l Prep: 10 minutes l Bake: 6–8 minutes


    30 g/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    75 g/ ⅓ cup soft light brown sugar

    30 g/2½ tablespoons plain/all-purpose gluten-free flour

    50 g/3 tablespoons double/heavy cream

    75 g/¾ cup flaked/slivered almonds

    25 g/3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts

    50 g/3 tablespoons mixed peel, chopped

    75 g/¾cup glacé cherries, chopped

    200 g/6½ oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate

    2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment or silicone baking sheets

    MAKES 12


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

    In a saucepan set over a low heat, melt together the butter, sugar and flour. Add the cream to the pan, a little at a time, stirring after each addition. The mixture should be smooth and caramel in colour when you remove it from the heat.

    Stir in the almonds, chopped nuts, mixed peel and cherries until evenly distributed and everything is coated in the caramel.

    Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes; this will allow it to cool slightly and prevent over-spreading in the oven.

    Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart – they will spread to about 10 cm/4 inches in diameter. Flatten each mound slightly, then bake in the preheated oven for 6–8 minutes until golden all over and the edges begin to darken.

    Remove from the oven. Using the tip of a spoon, gently push the lacy edges of the Florentines towards the centre to create a more circular shape. Be very careful not to touch them at this stage, as the sugar will be extremely hot.

    Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.

    Once cool, melt the chocolate in a jug/pitcher in the microwave, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir to combine until molten and smooth and then coat the underside of each Florentine with a good layer of chocolate, setting upside down on a wire rack to cool.

    As the chocolate begins to set, use a fork to create the traditional wavy pattern on the underside of each Florentine and then allow to harden completely before serving. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.


    This is Gluten Free by Victoria Hall

    This recipe is taken from This is Gluten-Free by Victoria Hall. Available now to pre-order.

    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, chocolate, 2017

  • Posted on June 13, 2016

    Win a bottle of Hepple Gin and The Curious Bartender's Gin Palace


    Hepple Gin  The Curious Bartender's Gin Palace



    Ripe, oily, juniper; pine and moss, fading to spice: cardamom and curry. Green citrus too. There's just a touch of blackcurrant there, but the juniper is the star of the show. No change on the palate: grippy, slightly tannic juniper hits in waves, leaping to the forefront off the flavour profile. It's supported by freshness from the lemon, but the green juniper notes power through, too. The finish is dry spice and an oily, resinous, but clean feel. Benchmark stuff. Good for anything you can throw at it, but accomplishing the most in a G&T.

    This post was posted in Competitions, News, UK and was tagged with drinks, Tristan Stephenson, gin, 2016

  • Posted on May 17, 2016

    Win 'A Year of Living Mindfully'

    This post was posted in Competitions, News, UK

  • Posted on March 7, 2016

    Win 3 cookbooks by Jenny Linford!

    Jenny Linford Cookbooks

    After the lovely launch of Jenny Linford's latest cookbook last week, we wanted to celebrate with a giveaway of her three RPS books! For your chance to win all three books, simply subscribe to our food and drink community where you will receive free recipes, exciting news from our authors and exclusive foodie competitions, straight to your inbox. One lucky winner will be announced next Tuesday - good luck!

    And if you just can't wait to see if you win then check out three of Jenny's lovely recipes below. Good quality ingredients, simple methods and super flavours  - it's enough to make you run to the kitchen!


    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, UK

  • Posted on January 25, 2016

    National Breakfast Week Giveaway

    We're big fans of breakfast here at RPS and CICO Books Towers, whatever time of day! So naturally we were delighted to learn that it's National Breakfast Week and to celebrate, we've got a copy of our brand new book, Breakfast for Dinner, for one lucky winner. All you have to do to enter is sign up to our food and drink community below. And for more breakfast goodness, head over to Instagram where we will be sharing a breakfast of the day all week. Good luck! You can find a sample recipe from this book here.

    This post was posted in Competitions, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with event, brunch, Book Launch, quick

  • Posted on November 9, 2015

    Diwali Food

    Happy Monday! This week sees the Indian festival of Diwali, which like many religious festivals is often expressed through the medium of food. Sounds like our kind of festival. Friends and family gather together to prepare Diwali snacks – both sweet and savoury – and it’s common for people to visit one another with boxes of homemade snacks. One such snack might be ‘puris’, which as we discovered at last week’s Vegan Street Food supper club are totally delicious puffs filled with something tasty. Here’s Jackie Kearney’s recipe, and to celebrate Diwali we’re offering one lucky winner a copy of this wonderful book – just head to the bottom of the post to enter.

    Pani Puri Pops

    Chaat-filled puri shells with tamarind & pomegranate

    Pani puri are also known as golgappa. We first tasted them at the festival of Dussehra. Hundreds of Gods descend from the mountain villages with their statue-carrying, trumpet-blowing and drum-playing support cast – which seemed to be the entire population of the region. They arrived into the Kullu Valley and it looked like Glastonbury had come to India, with tents, food stalls and crowds everywhere. We ate many delicious snacks that day, but this dish captures the best of Indian street food – deep-fried semolina puffs (puri), stuffed with chaat (usually made with spiced potato and sprouted beans) and filled with tamarind. You can buy the puri shells, if you like, because this dish is really all about the filling.

    280 g/2 cups plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust

    100 g/scant ⅔ cup semolina

    A large pinch of bicarbonate of soda/baking soda

    A large pinch of salt

    Sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep-frying


    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    200 ml/7 oz. tamarind pulp, or 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate/paste

    1 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchoor)

    ½ teaspoon salt

    3-cm/1-in. piece of root ginger

    1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

    1 tablespoon fresh coriander/cilantro leaves, finely chopped


    150 g/5 oz. potatoes, peeled and diced into 5-mm/1⁄4-in. cubes

    200-g/7-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

    ½ red onion, finely chopped

    ¼ teaspoon chilli/chili powder

    ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

    A pinch of chaat powder

    Salt, to taste


    Sweet date chutney

    Daniya (coriander chutney)

    2 tablespoons sev (fried chickpea/gram noodles)

    Natural/plain soya/soy yogurt

    Pomegranate molasses

    Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves

    Fresh pomegranate seeds

    Serves 8–12

    Put the flour in a bowl and add the semolina, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and salt. Add 400–600 ml/1¾ –2½  cups water, a little at a time, to make a stiff dough. Knead and then leave to rest for at least 15 minutes and preferably 30 minutes.

    On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough to about 3 mm/⅛ inch thick. Using a 4-cm/1½-in. cookie cutter, cut out about 24 small round puri discs.

    Heat the oil in a wok or large, heavy pan until hot but not smoking. Gently slide 3–4 puri into the wok, using a ladle to press down gently and make them puff up. Once puffed and crisp, remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let cool.

    To make the tamarind sherbet, toast the cumin in a dry pan over medium heat for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally, to release the aroma. Put the toasted cumin in a bowl with the other sherbet ingredients and 125 ml/½ cup water. Using a stick blender, process until smooth. Add 400 ml/1¾ cups water, and blend again. Chill for 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in water to cover for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and mix with the remaining filling ingredients. Add salt to taste.

    Using a small sharp knife, crack a small hole in the centre of each puri. Fill with the potato filling, then add 1⁄4 teaspoon each of chutney and daniya. Pour in the tamarind sherbet (a squeezy bottle is useful for this). Top with sev, and drizzle with soya/soy yogurt and pomegranate molasses. Scatter over coriander/cilantro leaves and pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.

    Vegan Street Food by Jackie Kearney is available here.

    The Competition

    Enter the competition here and we'll announce the lucky winner on Monday 16th November. Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with vegan, potato, homemade, chickpeas, savoury, event, spices, street food, vegetarian, snacks, 2015

  • Posted on September 8, 2015

    Our Top Tips for The Handmade Fair

    I don't know if you've noticed, but we're really really excited to be exhibiting at The Handmade Fair this year! Not only do we get the opportunity to come and meet some of the lovely crafty people that like our books, but we're also going to be surrounded by handmade goodness and we cannot wait to look around the stands!

    If you're coming to the fair, we figured that you're probably just as excited as we are to have a browse and take in as much as you can, so we've put together a list of our top tips for making the most of the fair (head to the bottom of this blog post to see)... but first, here's a few reasons why we hope you pop along to stand E73 and say hi!

    Handmade Fair images

    The Books

    With practical and inspiring ideas for a handmade home and imaginative projects for all types of crafters, our books will teach you how to create unique items, stylish accessories and a home that makes you happy every time you come through the front door.

    Our range includes titles from some of your favourite authors, including Nicki Trench, Clare Youngs, Selina Lake, Melanie Porter and Fiona Goble, as well as innovative new makers, such as Emily Quinton and Laura Strutt.

    CICO Craft Authors


    The Bargains

    20% off everything, all weekend! So whether you’re getting stocked up with crafty gifts or have a passion for making yourself, we’d hope you’ll bag yourself a bargain.


    The Prize

    Are you a keen sewer looking for your next machine and some new ideas? Or are you new to sewing and on the look out for some great beginner’s projects and equipment?

    We’ve got a fantastic sewing machine to give away to one lucky winner at the fair, along with a gorgeous fabric bundle and a super selection of sewing books. Simply head over to our stand to enter!


    Our Top Tips


    1. Browse then buy.

    Oh, who are we kidding, have your purses at the ready all day we say!


    2. Do a workshop.

    Make the most of the crafting while you’re there – we’d recommend the Upcycling Workshop with Hester van Overbeek.


    3. Carry water (and potentially a mini fan).

    For anyone who visited on the Friday of last year’s fair, you’ll know what we mean. The sun was hot (and the tents were hotter!) and water wouldn’t have been a bad idea!


    4. Chat to the experts.

    We can’t wait for you to visit our stand, but we’d also encourage you to visit craft experts like Annie Sloan, Juliet Carr and Hannah Sturrock.


    5. Books are heavy.

    But they’re also lovely, so make sure you’re feeling strong (you can never have too many craft books!)


    We hope to see you there!


    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, UK and was tagged with homemade, handmade, event, 2015, the handmade fair

  • Posted on August 17, 2015

    Win Two Tickets to The Handmade Fair!

    With one month to go until The Handmade Fair 18th - 20th September (you know, the wonderful craft fair presented by Kirstie Allsopp at Hampton Court Palace!), we can't hold in our excitement any longer and have two tickets to giveaway! For your chance to win, simply head to the bottom of this blog post where you can follow us on Twitter, tweet about the competition or like us on Facebook to enter - we will be sharing plenty of updates and exciting crafty news in the run up to the fair!

    The Handmade Fair Ticket Giveaway

    So, what can you expect to find at the fair?

    There are several tents of crafty goodness with loads of lovely materials and handmade items for you to browse and buy, as well as excellent workshops so that you can try out some new ideas and techniques! We'd love for you to pop along to our stand, E73, so here are a couple of reasons why we think you might like to (aside from checking out our wonderful range of craft and interiors books, that is!)...


    Beautiful Book Bargains

    We've got 20% off everything, all weekend! So whether you’re getting stocked up with crafty gifts or have a passion for making yourself, we hope you’ll bag yourself a bargain.


    Sewing Machine Bundle Prize

    Are you a keen sewer looking for your next machine and some new ideas? Or are you new to sewing and on the look out for some great beginner’s projects and equipment?

    We’ve got a fantastic sewing machine to give away to one lucky winner at the fair, along with a gorgeous fabric bundle and a super selection of sewing books. Simply head over to our stand to enter!


    CICO Books The Handmade Fair

    The Competition

    Simply follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and/or tweet about the giveaway below for your chance to win the two tickets! The competition will work on a points system and you can receive points for each of the entry options. One lucky winner will be announced on Monday 31st August. Good luck!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, UK and was tagged with handmade, event, 2015, the handmade fair, tickets

  • Posted on June 22, 2015

    Win two tickets to the The Country Brocante Summer Fair!

    We are thrilled to have two early bird tickets to giveaway this week for THE COUNTRY BROCANTE Decorative Country Homes & Garden Show at Petworth Park, Sussex on SATURDAY 4th JULY. The tickets will allow you early entrance to the show, where you can browse and buy an exciting range of antiques and vintage finds for your home and garden, as well as free entry into the beautiful Petworth House. You can also visit our stand where we will have 20% off a gorgeous range of interiors, food and drink books!

    Ticket for The Country Brocante

    It's bound to be a lovely day out and all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning tickets for you and a friend is...

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This is what Love Lane Vintage have to say about their fantastic range of exhibitors:

    Just weeks away now our Country Brocante Summer Fair is set to be an amazing day. We have The Capability Brown Tent filled with beautiful stands & pop up shops, the Tented Gallery filled with beautiful antiques, vintage and garden stands, The Sussex Tent will showcase wonderful artisan makers, vintage stands and antiques textiles, The Brocante Garden will be a village of gazebos, in here find an collection of French finds, garden treasures, plants and more vintage stands. Enjoy a glass of fizz with the Wiston Estate Winery and lunch in our Food Tent. Come and meet the Country Homes & Interiors Magazine team and get amazing discounts on the subscriptions, they will have goodie bags and more ! Ryland Peters & Small will be bringing along all their beautiful interiors books offering a 20% discount on all their titles.

    RPS & CICO Books at The Country Brocante

    We really hope to see you there! Good luck in the competition - the winner will be announced on Friday 26th June.

    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, UK and was tagged with interiors, event, 2015

  • Posted on June 19, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend: Father's Day Fries

    This weekend in the UK we're looking forward to some time with our dads... If you want to treat your old man to something special on Sunday (and we don't just mean a cold beer and the TV remote!), then why not cook him these delicious looking Father's Day Fries? This recipe is taken from the tempting new book by Laura Washburn, simply titled Fries and filled with all sorts of tasty tricks to pimp up the potato, sweet potato, parsnip, pumpkin and celeriac into the ultimate comfort food.

    I'm travelling back up north to visit my dad this weekend, so just happen to be in the mood for this British (and mostly northern!) favourite; chip shop chips and curry sauce! We'd love to see your chips chaps (curry sauce or not!), so tag us in your photos on Twitter or Instagram using #fathersdayfries and our favourite fries will win a copy of the book on Monday!

    Curry Fries

    classic fries

    3–4 large floury potatoes, all roughly the same size

    vegetable or sunflower oil

    sea salt flakes


    Peel the potatoes and trim on all sides to get a block. Cut the block into slices about 1-cm/3⁄8-in. thick, then cut the slices again to get chips.

    Put the potatoes into a bowl of iced water for at least 5 minutes, to remove excess starch and prevent sticking when frying.

    Fill a large saucepan one-third full with the oil or, if using a deep-fat fryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Heat the oil to 190°C (375°F) or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.

    Drain the potatoes and dry very well. Working in batches, fry about a handful of potatoes at a time. Place the potatoes in a frying basket (or use a slotted metal spoon) and lower into the hot oil carefully. Fry for 4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried.

    Just before serving, skim any debris off the top of the cooking oil and reheat to the same temperature. Fry as before, working in batches, but only cook until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried.

    Sprinkle with the salt flakes and serve.

    Classic Fries

    curry fries

    This is a British chip-shop staple that’s hugely popular. The sauce is usually a powdered mix but, when made from scratch, it does elevate this well above the average. Depending on how hot you like your curry, adjust the curry-powder heat in the recipe and if lots of fiery chilli is desired, add a good pinch of chilli flakes as well. Great with an ice-cold lager.

    Classic Fries (see recipe above)


    2 tablespoons vegetable oil

    1 onion, grated

    1 apple, peeled and grated

    1 garlic clove, crushed

    2-cm/ ¾-in. piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

    2 tablespoons medium-hot curry powder

    1 teaspoon turmeric

    1 teaspoon paprika

    2 teaspoons ground cumin

    ½ teaspoon ground coriander

    1 tablespoon plain/all-purpose flour

    500 ml/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

    1 tablespoon tomato purée/paste

    freshly squeezed lemon juice and/or sugar, to taste

    SERVES 4

    Prepare the curry sauce. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan/skillet with the onion. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until aromatic, 3–5 minutes.

    Add the apple, garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, paprika, ground cumin and ground coriander and cook, stirring for about 1 minute.

    Add the flour, add a splash more oil if it is very dry, and cook, stirring continuously for another 1 minute.

    While stirring, gradually pour in the stock and stir until well blended. Bring just to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and tomato purée/paste and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste. Depending on preference, add some lemon juice for more acidity or a pinch of sugar to sweeten, or both.

    Transfer to a blender and whizz until smooth. Set aside while you prepare the fries, according to the recipe above.

    To serve, reheat the curry sauce. Mound the fries on a platter and pour over the sauce. Serve immediately.

    Fries by Laura Washburn

    For more fantastic fries recipes, check out the new book Fries by Laura Washburn, available here.

    Happy Father's Day Dads!

    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with Comfort Food, Laura Washburn, fries

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