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Tag Archives: christmas
  • Posted on December 20, 2017

    Chocolate Christmas Cake recipe

    If you've had no time to make a traditional Christmas cake this year, then we think this double chocolate Christmas cake from Angela Romeo's Fantasy Cakes is a pretty great alternative (if not even better!)

    chocolate christmas cake

    1 quantity of Double Chocolate Sponge mixture (see below) baked in three greased and lined 18-cm/7-inch cake pans for 40 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick/ toothpick comes out clean, then cooled

    1 quantity of Classic Buttercream (see below)

    40 g/generous 1/2 cup desiccated/dry unsweetened shredded coconut

    For the wild birch bark

    50 g/2 oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate, chopped

    300 g/101/2 oz. white chocolate

    2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment

    thin paintbrush

    retro Christmas cake decorations

    SERVES 22

     

    For the wild birch bark, melt the dark/bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or microwave on high in 30-second bursts, stirring in between). Place the lined baking sheets so they are in a ‘landscape’ position in front of you. Using the paintbrush dipped in the dark/ bittersweet chocolate, brush small horizontal lines and 'knots' on the baking sheet (see chocolatey tip). Place the sheets in the fridge for 5 minutes to set.

    Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a separate heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or microwave on high in 30-second bursts, stirring in between). Remove the baking sheets from the fridge. Working on one sheet at a time, spoon over the white chocolate and spread out to a thin layer using a palette knife/metal spatula. Return to the fridge for 15 minutes.

    With the shortest side of the baking sheet facing you, gently roll up the baking parchment, allowing the bark to snap into thin-rectangular pieces. It doesn’t matter if you have a few irregular shards, these will still look really effective. Chill until needed.

    If necessary, trim the tops of the cakes to make level. Sandwich together using 350 g/12 oz. of the buttercream – the bottom side of the top cake should be facing up. Place the cake on a serving plate or cake board. Crumb-coat the cake using 450 g/1 lb. of the buttercream.

    Place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes, then use the remaining buttercream to coat the cake in a second layer. Smooth and remove the excess buttercream with a palette knife/metal spatula – you don’t need to be too neat here as the whole cake will be covered in decoration.

    Gently press the bark into the sides of the cake, working around, until the sides are covered. Sprinkle over the desiccated/dried unsweetened shredded coconut, then position the Christmas cake decorations in place.

    Chocolatey tip: Have a small bowl of warm water nearby. If the chocolate starts to set on the paintbrush, clean the brush off in the warm water. Wipe with a paper towel and continue.

     

    Double chocolate sponge

    450 g/31/2 scant cups selfraising/ self-rising flour plus

    2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda, sifted (omit soda if baking with US flours)

    3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, mixed with 4 tablespoons just-boiled water

    500 g/21/2 cups caster/ superfine sugar

    240 g/21/4 sticks butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing

    300 ml/11/4 cups buttermilk

    4 eggs

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    150 g/51/2 oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate, melted

    MAKES ENOUGH FOR 1 LARGE CAKE

     

    Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) Gas 4. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk until combined and smooth. Transfer to greased and lined pans specified in each recipe (if using 18-cm/7-inch cake pans, ensure they are at least 4.5 cm/13/4 inches deep and lined with a 1.5-cm/2/3-inch collar). Bake for the time specified in each recipe.

     

    Classic buttercream

    300 g/23/4 sticks butter, softened and cubed

    200 g/7 oz. vegetable fat such as Trex or Cookeen, at room temperature

    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

    1 kg/7 cups icing/ confectioners’ sugar, sifted

    MAKES 1.5 KG/3 LB. 5 OZ.

     

    Using an electric hand whisk, beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the vegetable fat, vanilla and 2 tablespoons water. Gradually whisk in the icing/confectioners’ sugar in batches, until smooth and spreadable. Add another 1 tablespoon water, if needed.

     

    This recipe is from Fantasy Cakes by Angela Romeo, photography by Adrian Lawrence © Ryland Peters & Small

    Fantasy Cakes


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with christmas, baking, chocolate, recipe for the weekend, sweet

  • Posted on December 19, 2017

    Quick and Easy Canapés for Last Minute Parties

    Last minute Christmas party? No need to panic! These 5 canape recipes are quick and easy and sure to impress your guests!

     

    Sweet Potato, Pea & Mint Fritters

    2 eggs

    1 sweet potato, peeled, grated and squeezed of moisture

    80 g petit pois

    2 spring onions, chopped

    3 tablespoons plain flour

    4 sprigs of mint, leaves removed and chopped

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    coconut oil, for frying

    MAKES 10–12

     

    Whisk the eggs well in a small bowl. Combine with the sweet potato, peas, spring onions, flour, mint, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, mixing well.

    In a large pan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat. Spoon in the potato mixture, 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, and pat down into a flat patty with a spatula. Cook for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan with a spatula, drain on paper towels and serve.

     

    Spicy sweet potato wedges & corn with harissa crème fraiche

    1 tablespoon ground coriander

    1 tablespoon ground cumin

    1 tablespoon smoked paprika

    1/2 teaspoon chilli/chili powder

    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    3 tablespoons olive oil

    3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges

    220 g/8 oz. baby corn

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

    HARISSA CRÈME FRAÎCHE

    1–2 tablespoons harissa paste

    100 g/ 1/2 cup creme fraiche

    large baking dish lined with parchment paper

    SERVES 6 AS A SIDE

     

    Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F) Gas 6. Put the spices and the garlic in a large bowl. Add the oil and potato wedges and mix well. Arrange the wedges in a single layer in the baking dish. Sprinkle generously with sea salt. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until tender and crisp. Add the corn and cook for a further 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Swirl the harissa through the creme fraiche. Serve alongside the wedges.

     

    Blue cheese dip with rainbow crudités

    BLUE CHEESE DIP

    150 g/ 3/4 cup Greek yogurt

    150 g/ 3/4 cup ricotta

    ½ teaspoon chopped chives, reserving some to finish

    juice of 1/2 lemon

    100 g/3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons blue cheese (such as Roquefort or Stilton), crumbled

    2–3 drops Worcestershire sauce, to taste

    SERVES 6

    CRUDITÉS

    6 green beans (approx. 50 g/ 1/3 cup), blanched and cooled

    6–10 (approx. 100 g/ 1 cup) asparagus spears, very lightly blanched and cooled

    1 yellow (bell) pepper, cut into batons

    1 head chicory, leaves separated

    3–4 baby topped carrots, peeled and halved lengthways

    3 mini cucumbers, cut into batons

    1 bunch of radishes, washed and green leaves kept

     

    First make the dip. Put the Greek yogurt, ricotta, chives and lemon juice in a bowl and mix well.

    Add the crumbled blue cheese, making sure it stays quite lumpy. Drizzle with 2–3 drops of Worcestershire sauce, to taste.

    Place the bowl on a platter and surround with all the crudités  – at this stage you can cover with clingfilm/plastic wrap and keep chilled until your guests arrive. To serve, scatter over the reserved chopped chives.

     

    Prosciutto eggs

    6 slices of prosciutto

    6 eggs

    6 sprigs of thyme

    a handful of grated Parmesan (optional)

    6-hole muffin pan, greased with vegetable oil

    MAKES 6

     

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

    Line the prepared muffin pan with prosciutto and place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.

    Using two spoons, pull the prosciutto back against the sides of the muffin holes. Crack an egg into each prosciutto-lined muffin hole and top with a sprig of thyme and a pinch of Parmesan. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and take out of their moulds.

     

    Baked mini courgettes with goat’s curd

    8 mini courgettes/ zucchini, halved

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    a pinch of chilli/red

    pepper flakes

    100 g/1/2 cup goat’s curd (or crumbled goat’s cheese)

    grated zest of 1 lemon

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    SERVES 6 AS A SIDE

     

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

    Place the courgette/zucchini halves on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and chilli/red pepper flakes and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Top the courgettes/zucchini with the goat’s curd and lemon zest and bake for a further 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

     

    These recipes are all from Party Food to Share by Kathy Kordalis, photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small.

    Party Food to Share


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with christmas, party, canapes, savoury, quick

  • Posted on December 13, 2017

    A Free-From Christmas Dinner

    Tired of turkey and needing some delicious free-from alternatives for your Christmas dinner? We've put together a free-from Christmas menu with veggie, gluten free and vegan options that we guarantee everyone will enjoy!

    Starter

     

    Vegan Spiced carot and lentil soup with cashew cream

    Full of winter spices, this vegan soup makes a perfect starter for your Christmas dinner. You can find the full recipe over on MindfulnessETC.com

     

    The Main Event

    Even if you love the traditional turkey, try these vegan side dishes alongside your roast spuds and veg so that everyone can enjoy something special this Christmas dinner.

     

    Vegan Jerusalem Artichokes with garlic cream and hazelnut crust

    vegan artichoke gratan

    1 kg/2 lb. 4 oz. Jerusalem artichokes

    4 shallots

    6 garlic cloves, left whole

    ½ cauliflower, cut into florets

    1–2 tablespoons olive oil

    1 teaspoon white pepper

    425 ml/1¾ cups almond milk or other vegan milk, plus extra if needed

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    ½ teaspoon mustard powder

    1 teaspoon onion powder

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 slice brown or rye bread, blitzed to rough breadcrumbs

    3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

    1 tablespoon freshly chopped marjoram or parsley (or ½ teaspoon dried)

    2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

    SERVES 4–6

     

    Peel the Jerusalem artichokes and slice into 5 mm/¼ inch thick discs. Set aside in salted water to prevent them discolouring. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas 7.

    Lay the shallots, garlic and cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with half the olive oil. Season with half the pepper and toss slightly. Lay the Jerusalem artichokes on another baking sheet, drizzle with the rest of the olive oil and season with the remaining pepper. Place both baking sheets in the hot oven and roast for about 30 minutes until the cauliflower and artichokes are tender.

    Transfer all the roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender, add the almond milk, lemon juice, mustard powder, onion powder and salt. Blitz until very smooth. Add more milk if necessary, to make a smooth, pourable sauce. Adjust the seasoning to taste if needed.

    Layer the Jerusalem artichokes in a deep baking dish and then pour over the sauce. Sprinkle both type of breadcrumbs, the herbs and chopped hazelnuts over the top. Place in the hot oven for about 20–30 minutes until golden on top and bubbling. Serve immediately.

     

    Vegan Winter Veg Bowl

    Liven up your veg with this delicious vegan recipe. You can get the full recipe over on MindfulnessETC.com

     

    Veggie Slow Cooked Onions with Nut Stuffing

    A veggie Christmas dinner? No problem! We love this twist on a regular nut roast. Plus, if you make sure to choose vegan bread, it is a perfect vegan main too!

    nut stuffed onions

    8 medium-sized onions, peeled

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

    2 teaspoons dried thyme

    2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

    2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

    70 g/11⁄3 cups day-old spelt breadcrumbs

    70 g/21⁄2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped, plus 2 teaspoons oil for brushing

    finely grated zest of 1 lemon

    sea salt and cracked black pepper

    chopped parsley, to serve

    Low 5–6 hours / High 4–5 hours

    Serves 6

     

    Trim the root end of each onion to make a flat base. Using a small sharp knife, slice the top off each onion then cut out a deep hollow, leaving a 1.5 cm/3 ⁄4  in. thick onion shell. Reserve half of the scooped-out onion (save the rest for another recipe) and finely chop.

    Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet, add the chopped onion and fry for 8 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, thyme, pumpkin seeds and chopped walnuts and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon zest until combined. Season the stuffing mixture with salt and pepper.

    Brush the outside of each onion with the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Generously fill each onion with the stuffing, pressing it down as you go and mounding the top.

    Arrange the stuffed onions in the slow cooker pot – they should fit snugly. Cover and cook on low for 5–6 hours, or high for 4–5 hours. The onions should be beautifully tender but still keep their shape. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

     

    Desserts

    And to finish, something sweet!

     

    Gluten Free Mince Pies

    From start to serve: 1 hour l Prep: 30 minutes l Bake 15–20 minutes

    1 batch Shortcrust Pastry at room temperature

    350 g/12 oz. gluten-free mincemeat

    2 tablespoons brandy (optional)

    1 beaten egg, to glaze

    icing/confectioners’ sugar, to dust

    a 10-cm/4-inch round cookie cutter

    a star or round 7.5-cm/ 3-inch cookie cutter

    a 12-hole muffin pan, greased

    MAKES 12

     

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

    Lightly knead the room-temperature pastry on a clean, cool work surface and then divide into two pieces, one that is roughly double the size of the other. Lay a large piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap onto the work surface and lightly dust with plain/all-purpose gluten-free flour. Place the larger pastry ball in the middle and gently press it into a disc shape with your hands.

    Lay a second piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap over the top and, with a rolling pin, roll out the pastry quite thinly.

    Remove the top layer of clingfilm/plastic wrap. Stamp out discs using the cookie cutter, gently lifting and press each disc into a hole of the prepared pan, easing it into the corners. Re-roll the trimmings until all the pastry is used up and all of the pan is lined. If there are any cracks in the pastry, use the trimmings to patch them back together – as ever, don’t panic!

    In a bowl mix together the mincemeat and brandy (if using), then spoon a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into each pastry case.

    Repeat the rolling-out process for the remaining piece of pastry and then use a star or smaller cutter to cut out festive lids for the pies and place on top. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes until golden brown.

    Put the pan onto a wire rack and allow the mince pies to cool before serving. If you try to take them from the pan too soon the risk of the mince pies breaking is much higher. Once they are cooled, be delicate when removing these from the pan, and loosen the edges with a table or small palette knife if required.

    Dust with icing/confectioners’ sugar before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

    Note If you haven’t taken the pastry from the fridge in advance, give it a 15–20 second blast in the microwave before kneading.

     

    Shortcrust pastry

    Prep: 10 minutes l Chill: 2 hours

    460 g/3 cups plain/

    all-purpose gluten-free flour

    1 teaspoon xanthan gum

    1 teaspoon salt

    225 g/15 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

    1 egg

     

    Using either the basic or chocolate quantities of ingredients, put the dry ingredients and cubed butter into a food processor and pulse until they reach a fine crumb consistency.

    Pour in the egg and 1–2 teaspoons of water and mix until completely combined. The mixture will start to come together.

    Use your hands, being sure to avoid the blade, to bring together the dough, then lightly knead on a lightly floured worksurface.

    Put the pastry ball onto a piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap, press into a disc shape and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, until firm.

    Notes: To make the pastry by hand, put the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Add the butter and rub in using your fingertips to fine crumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and water and then mix well with a table knife, until the mixture starts to clump together. Bring together and knead, wrap and chill as above.

    When rolling out, don’t use too much flour, as this will dry it out – I advise instead rolling between two sheets of clingfilm/plastic wrap to prevent it sticking without the need for excess flouring.

     

    Vegan Chocolate Ganche Tart

    1⁄2 quantity Sweet Pie Dough

    For the ganache

    620 g/1 lb. 6 oz. plain, soft tofu

    390 g/3 cups finely chopped vegan dark/bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa)

    grated zest of 21⁄2 lemons

    brown rice syrup or other sweetener, to taste

    non-dairy milk or cream, if needed

    For the mousse

    450 ml/2 cups chocolate soy or oat milk

    160 g/11⁄4 cups finely chopped vegan dark/bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa)

    85 g/1⁄3 cup brown rice syrup

    90 g/7 tablespoons cornflour/ cornstarch

    28-cm/11-in. springform cake pan or loose-based tart pan

    Serves 6–8

     

    Make and refrigerate the Sweet Pie Dough.

    For the ganache, blanch the tofu in boiling water for 2 minutes.

    Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Put the blanched tofu, melted chocolate and lemon zest in food processor.

    Blend until smooth. Taste and if it’s not sweet enough, blend in syrup to taste; if too thick, add a little milk or cream while blending.

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

    Take the dough out of the fridge. Place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a circle about 31 cm/ 13 inches in diameter. Loosely roll the dough circle around the rolling pin and unroll it over the tart pan. Neatly line the pan with the dough and trim off any excess from the edges with a pastry wheel or your fingers. Patch up any holes with dough off-cuts. Prick the base all over with a fork and bake in the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes. Leave the oven on.

    Remove the pan from the oven and pour the ganache into the tart crust.

    Spread level with a spatula. Put back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges turn lightly golden. Allow to cool completely in the pan.

    For the mousse, heat the chocolate milk in a saucepan, then add the chocolate and syrup and whisk until the chocolate has melted. Mix the cornflour/cornstarch into 5–6 tablespoons water. Slowly add this to the saucepan over low heat, whisking vigorously. Keep whisking and it will start to thicken once it reaches the right temperature. Allow to cool slightly.

    Spread the mousse over the cold ganache in the tart case with the spatula. Refrigerate but allow to come to room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Cut into slices with a sharp knife dipped in hot water.

     

    Sweet pie dough

    400 g/3 cups unbleached plain/all-purpose flour

    150 g/1 cup fine cornmeal

    3 teaspoons baking powder

    1⁄2 teaspoon salt

    240 g/2 cups nonhydrogenated margarine, chilled

    130 g/1⁄2 cup brown rice or agave syrup

    grated zest of 1 lemon

    70–110 ml/1⁄3–1⁄2 cup ice-cold water

    40 x 28-cm/16 x 11-in. baking pan (for a thinner crust) or 23 x 30 cm/9 x 12-in. baking pan (for a thicker crust)

     

    Put the flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the margarine and pulse 6–8 times until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

    Add the syrup and lemon zest and pulse again a couple of times.

    Add ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing until the mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready.

    If it doesn't, add a little more water and pulse again. Do not add too much water otherwise it will make the dough tough.

    Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead it just enough to form a ball but do not over-knead it. Shape it into a disc, wrap it in clingfilm/plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. If you’re in a hurry you can chill the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes. If refrigerated, allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 5–10 minutes before rolling it out.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4 and continue with the relevant recipe.

     

    These recipes have been taken from (in order listed):

    Superfood Slow Cooker by Nicola Graimes

    My Vegan Travels by Jackie Kearney

    The New Nourishing by Leah Vanderveldt

    Superfood Slow Cooker by Nicola Graimes

    This is Gluten Free by Victoria Hall

    The Vegan Baker by Dunja Gulin

    All photography is © Ryland Peters & Small


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with christmas, vegan, baking, savoury, vegetarian, Gluten-free, sweet

  • Posted on December 12, 2017

    Decorate Your Christmas Table with William Yeoward

    Hurrah for Christmas! It’s one time of the year to really let rip in the dining room. It’s time to ferret in the loft, burrow in the drawers and pull out all those trinkets and baubles. Break all the rules, disregard the barriers between traditional and modern, dust off everything that sparkles and shines and rediscover all the rare and wonderful things kept for “best”. A Christmas table does not have to be a cliché, but it does have to be personal, and it should most definitely have a sense of humour.

     

    FAIRYTALE CHRISTMAS

     

    “Full-on fantasy never disappoints. Be brave and never ask for others’ opinions. It’s all about you!”

     

    William Yeoward Christmas table decorations

    William Yeoward Christmas table decorations

     

    Time for some magic. For a family gathering, I pulled out all the stops to present the full tinseltown crystal and candlelight experience.

    I took inspiration from those rich, dark, Dutch Old Masters like Vermeer whose velvety layers of darkness are punctuated with slots of colour and shafts of light. I do try not to take my Christmas decorating too seriously. I’m not one for the designer tree with themed baubles. If Christmas is a family tradition, then it should reflect past history. We do buy a little bit of something new every year, but old favourites never lose their status, and that includes the slightly tatty fairy with just the one wing. Her place at the top of our tree is sacrosanct.

     

    MODERN ALPINE

    William Yeoward Christmas table decorations

    William Yeoward Christmas table decorations

     

    A complete change of scene here, far away from family traditions of tinsel and crackers and dusty heirloom decorations. The setting for this youthful Christmas is an apartment in the Alps. Far from the wintering gloom, crackling fires, Christmas Specials on the television and the glow of candlelight, this setting makes the most of the sunlight that comes bouncing off the snow and streaming though the windows.

     

    A TOAST TO TRADITION

    “Sometimes it is right to relax into the embrace of Christmas past and go with the flow of tradition. A white tablecloth, cut glass and red flowers will never hit the wrong note, and it just takes a little twist to bring the party right up to date.”

     

    William Yeoward Christmas table decorations

    William Yeoward Christmas table decorations   William Yeoward Christmas table decorations

     

    Christmas is, of course, the one time of year when the decoration of the room does not have to speak in any way to the decoration of the table. The table is the star performer, and everything else justfalls away. I’ve chosen red raffia placemats, just the right size to peek out from under the bone china plates with their thick gold trim – definitely a touch of the luxurious. The informality of the placemats is picked up with the raffia napkin rings – too much luxe can be counterproductive. The crystal is clear, and the tall red coupe cocktail glasses add their zing of colour and are perfect for all the toasting that will no doubt take place as the meal progresses. As this is likely to be a long and leisurely evening, I’ve used shaded candle holders that take tea lights, so there’s no danger of the candles burning down to the wick before the Christmas pudding appears.

     

    This blog has been extracted from William Yeoward Blue & White and other stories with photography by Gavin Kingcome © CICO Books

    William Yeoward Blue and White


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with christmas, interiors, festive, decoration, table

  • Posted on December 7, 2017

    Meringue snowmen cookies recipe

    We're starting to get that festive feeling! These cookies are topped with 3D snowmen made with meringue resting on a white chocolate snow scene. The cookies are bursting with white chocolate chips and are flavoured with Lotus Biscoff crunchy spread which gives a delicious caramel flavour. If you do not have cookie spread then you can replace with smooth peanut butter instead.

    Snowmen Cookies

    FOR THE SNOWMEN

    1 egg white

    60 g/5 tablespoons caster/ granulated sugar

    FOR THE COOKIES

    115 g/1 stick butter, softened

    130 g/2/3 cup caster/ granulated sugar

    60 g/scant 1/4 cup cream cheese

    60 g/2 oz. Lotus Biscoff spread or peanut butter

    170 g/11/4 cups self-raising/ self-rising flour

    100 g/31/2 oz. white chocolate chips

    TO DECORATE

    140 g/5 oz. white chocolate, melted

    3 tablespoons icing/ confectioners' sugar, sifted

    orange and black food colouring gel

    piping/pastry bag, fitted with a large round nozzle/tip

    2 large baking sheets, lined with silicon mats or baking parchment

    cocktail sticks/toothpicks

    Makes 14

     

    Preheat the oven to the lowest possible setting, about 130°C (260°F) Gas ½.

    Begin by making the snowmen. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks. Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking constantly until the meringue is smooth and glossy. Spoon the meringue into the piping/pastry bag fitted with the large round nozzle/tip. Pipe 14 circles of meringue about 3 cm/1 inch in diameter on one of the baking sheets. On top of each of these, pipe a smaller ball for the snowman’s body and then a third slightly smaller one on top for the head. Bake for 45–60 minutes until the meringue is crisp.

    Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

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

    Whisk together the butter, sugar and cream cheese until light and creamy. Add the biscuit spread and whisk in. Sift in the flour and whisk in, along with the white chocolate chips. Place 14 spoonfuls of the dough on the second baking sheet a small distance apart. Bake for 10–15 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden brown. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

    Spoon a little of the melted white chocolate over each of the cookies and place a meringue snowman in the centre of each.

    In a mixing bowl, mix the icing/confectioners' sugar with a little water and colour with a few drops of orange food colouring. Use a cocktail stick/toothpick to draw small orange noses on each of the snowmen. Add a few drops of black food colouring to the orange icing and then use a second cocktail stick/toothpick to add small black eyes, mouths, buttons and arms. Leave for the icing and white chocolate to set.

    These cookies will keep for up to 3 days, but are best eaten on the day they are made.

     

    For more festive bakes, check out Cute Christmas Cookies by Hannah Miles.

    Cute Christmas Cookies


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with christmas, baking, recipe for the weekend, sweet, cookies, festive

  • Posted on December 5, 2017

    Christmas Gift Guide

    Whether they're a foodie, a gardener, a coffee expert or a star baker, we have a book they'll love this Christmas!

     

    GIFTS FOR FOODIES

    From quick family favourites to indulgent weekend meal ideas or healthy eating motivation for the New Year, you're sure to find the perfect gift for a foodie with our great range of recipe books...

     

    Flavours of the world...

         

     My Modern Indian Kitchen by Nitisha Patel  - over 60 recipes for home-cooked Indian food

    Laura Santtini's Pasta Secrets - over 70 delicious recipes from authentic classics to modern & healthy alternatives.

    Real Mexican Food by Ben Fordham - Authentic recipes for burritos, tacos, salsa and more

    Sushi Made Simple by Atsuko Ikeda - From classic wraps and rolls to modern bowls and burgers

     

    Healthy Eating and Free From...

       

    The New Nourishing by Leah Vanderveldt - delicious plant-based comfort food to feed body and soul

    Super food Slow Cooker by Nicola Graimes - Healthy wholefood meals from your slow cooker

    My Vegan Travels by Jackie Kearney - comfort food inspired by adventue

     

    Recipes for the weekend...

       

    Party Food to Share by Kathy Kordalis - Small bites, platters & boards

    The Lambshank Redemption Cookbook by Lachlan Hayman - 50 blockbuster movie-inspired recipes

    Saturday Pizzas from the Ballymaloe Cookery School - The essential guide to making pizza at home, from perfect classics to inspired gourmet toppings.

     

    GIFTS FOR BAKERS

    They'll be star bakers in the making everywhere this Holiday season with our range of baking books - bring on Bake Off 2018!

         

    LOLA'S: A Cake Journey Around the World by LOLA's Bakers - 70 of the most delicious and iconic cake recipes discovered on our travels

    This is Gluten Free by Victoria Hall - Delicious gluten-free recipes to bake it better

    Fantasy Cakes by Angela Romeo - magical recipes for fanciful bakes

    Japanese Patisserie by James Campbell - Exploring the beautiful and delicious fusion of East meets West.

     

    GIFTS FOR DRINK LOVERS

    Whether it's time for a cup of coffee or a cocktail, we've got your covered!

     

    Winter Warmers...

       

    Easy Leaf Tea by Timothy d'Offay - Tea house recipes to make at home

    Hot Drinks - Over 25 warming recipes for cold days

    Coffee Drinks by Merlin Jobst - An illustrated infographic guide to what's in your cup

     

    Cocktail Time...

         

    The Curious Bartender's Rum Revolution by Tristan Stephenson

    Gin Tonica by David T Smith - 40 recipes for Spanish-style gin and tonic cocktails

    Prosecco Cocktails by Laura Gladwin - 40 tantalizing recipes for everyone's favourite sparkler

    Dr. Adam Elmgirab's Book of Bitters - The bitter and twisted history of one of the cocktail world's most fascinating ingredients

     

    Wine Lovers...

     

    Natural Wine by Isabelle Legeron - An introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally

    Wine and Food by Jane Parksinson - Perfect pairings every time

     

    GIFTS FOR INTERIOR DESIGN

        

    The Scandinavian Home by Nicki Brantmark - Interiors inspired by light

    Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors - Show-stopping looks for unique interiors

    New Nordic Colour by Antonia af Petersens - Decorating with a vibrant modern paletteo

    Books Make a Home by Damian Thompson - Elegant ideas for storing and displaying books

     

    GIFTS FOR GARDENERS

    Whatever size your garden, you can get green fingered with our range of gardening books.

         

     My Gardening Journal & Planner

    Tiny Tabletop Gardens by Emma Hardy - 35 projects for super-small spaces - outdoors and in

    The Art of Living with Nature by Willow Crossley - 50 beautiful projects to bring the outside in

    Teeny Tiny Gardening by Emma Hardy - 35 step-by-step projects and inspirational ideas for gardening in tiny spaces

     

    STOCKING FILLERS

    These little books are perfect to pop in a stocking and make someone smile this Christmas!

         

    What Your Dog Breed Says About You by Jo Hoare - A fun look at the peculiarities of pets and their owners

    So You Think You're a Hipster by Kara Simsek - Cautionary case studies from the city streets

    Don't be a Nordic by Jo Hoare - Why embracing the Scandi lifestyle won't change your life

    The History of Insults - Over 100 put-downs, slights and snubs through the ages

     

         

    The Little Pocket Book of Natural Beauty by Karen Gilbert - 35 step-by-step projects for homemade beauty

    ScandiKitchen: The Essence of Hygge by Bronte Aurell

    Easy on the Eyes by Lisa Potter-Dixon - The pocket book of eye make-up looks in 5, 15 and 30 minutes

     

    GIFTS FOR KIDS

    Meet the cute characters in our range of gorgeous and fun kid's books this Christmas.

       

     Talulla Bear Goes Exploring by Heather Roan Robbins - A Mindful Tale of Discovery

    Shady Bay Buddies: Archie Goes to the Doctor by Emma Brown

    Shady Bay Buddies: Archie's First Day at School by Emma Brown


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with christmas, interiors, drinks, gift, kids, gardening, books, food

  • Posted on December 22, 2016

    Festive Drinks For The Weekend...Cheers!

    It’s almost Friday, which means…almost time to start the full on Christmas celebrations! Hurray!

    If you’re throwing a party or hosting a house-full of family this weekend, we’ve got some great ideas for different and easy to make drinks to serve…from cocktails, to Christmas beer and even something for the drivers, we’ve got everyone covered with these fab festive recipes.

    Spiced Pomegranate Apple Cider

    16 cups (3.8 liters) pasteurized apple cider (juice)

    2 cups (500ml) pomegranate juice

    4 tbsp maple syrup

    2 cinnamon sticks

    6 whole cloves, plus extra for garnishing (optional)

    ó vanilla bean (pod)

    3 star anise

    4 oranges, peeled, zest reserved

    2 sliced oranges, for garnishing (optional)

    Serves 16

    In a large pan combine the cider, pomegranate juice, and maple syrup.

    Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla bean, star anise, and orange zest. You can either discard the four oranges that are needed for the zest, or juice them and add the juice to the apple cider and pomegranate juice.

    Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain to remove all solids.

    Serve warm, garnished with clove-studded orange slices if desired.

    Sherry Cobbler

    50 ml/2 oz dry sherry, such as Fino or Amontillado

    10 ml/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    10 ml/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

    10 ml/2 teaspoons sugar syrup

    15 ml/ ½ oz pineapple juice or purée

    thin lemon and orange slices, to garnish

    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, add all the ingredients except the citrus slices and shake well. Strain into a chilled tumbler or highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with slices of lemon and orange and serve with a straw.

    Williams Bros Nollaig

    Alloa, Scotland • ABV: 7.0% • Hops: Centennial, Bobek, Southern Cross

    Ingredients: Christmas trees

    As well as modern styles, Williams Bros make a range of traditional-style Scottish brews with Old World brewing ingredients found locally. Fraoch is a hopless Heather Ale, one of Scotland’s original beer styles, which contains bog myrtle and is a resinous yet fragrantly floral beer. Kelpie puts seaweed into the mash tun for a fresh, sea-air feel—harking back to the time when Scottish coastal brewers fertilized their fields with seaweed. Nollaig is the most fun of these beers: it’s made with Christmas trees and is Santa-approved. Sappy with pine but somehow as bright as the lights above the presents, there’s a fresh floral flavor, dried herbs, and some zesty citrus with a jammy kind of marmalade sweetness. No novelty value in the Williams Bros beers—they’re all excellent.

    You can buy this beer direct from Williams Bros Brewing here.

    These recipes are taken from (in order):

    Mocktails, cordials, infusions, syrups and more, available here.

    Parisian Cocktails by Laura Gladwin, available here.

    The Pocket Book of Craft Beer by Mark Dredge, available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK and was tagged with New Year, christmas, drinks, craft beer, recipe for the weekend, cocktail

  • Posted on December 20, 2016

    7 Recipes You Need To Cook This Christmas!

    To finish up our Christmas round-ups, we’re thinking Christmas Food today on the blog. From food for the main event to Boxing Day leftovers to New Year’s Eve nibbles, we’ve got recipes to take you right through the festive season. And if you’re still in need of some present inspiration, check out our Homemade Gifts Round-Up here.

    For the main event we obviously turn to Miranda Ballard and her Modern Meat Kitchen. Click here for her Roast Turkey recipe, and here for what you HAVE to do with your leftovers on Boxing Day.

    Just the words salmon caviar and canapé are enough to get us drooling! You can find the recipe here.

    Or how about Christmas dinner in a mouthful? Click here for the recipe.

    Tiny pizza anyone? You’ll find the recipe here.

    Brontë Aurell’s Ginger Biscuits & Glögg are so quick to make, they’re perfect to have a batch on hand for any unexpected guests this festive season. Click here for the video tutorial and recipe.

    And last, but very much not least, don’t forget Team TWISTED’s Camembert Hedgehog Bread for the ultimate in cheesey goodness – perfect for any party this festive season! Head here for the recipe.

    Happy eating!

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, christmas, salmon, drinks, canapes, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, sweet, 2016, turkey

  • Posted on December 13, 2016

    5 Homemade Gifts To Make This Christmas

    Next up in our Christmas round-ups, we’re thinking about homemade gifts.  As we mentioned in this post, we’re doing a Homemade Secret Santa this year, but whether you’re after a little stocking filler, or something personal for a friend or loved one, we’ve got you covered.

    Grocery shopping will no longer be a chore, thanks to this gorgeous tote bag from our new book Hygge Knits (this book is published in January, but you can preorder it here). Find the pattern for the bag over on MAKEetc here.

    These home-infused oils make a lovely stocking-filler for your favourite foodie. Click here for the recipes.

    If you know someone celebrating their first Christmas this year, Laura Strutt’s Bunting Baby Blanket would make a lovely gift. Find the knitting pattern here.

    Make these notebooks to kickstart a year of writing for any budding author. You can find a printable PDF project here.

    These lavender bags make sweet little stocking fillers. The project is available here.

    And as a bonus, homemade cards and gift tags can add a personal twist to any gift. We’ve got a video tutorial for these stocking cards here, and the instructions for homemade gift tags on the blog here.

    We hope you’re feeling inspired, but don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Gifts for Crafters blog post on MAKEetc here.

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    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, homemade, handmade, gift, photos, 2016

  • Posted on December 12, 2016

    Sherlock Returns!

    I don't know about you, but we're very excited to greet the new year with the return of our favourite detective and the long awaited series 4 of Sherlock Holmes! Thank you BBC and Mr. Cumberbatch, you have saved us from the January blues! So to get ready for the big day we wanted to share with you an extract from our book, Sherlock Holmes’s London by Rose Shepherd, in which she introduces the city Sherlock would have known. Over to Rose...

    The London of Sherlock Holmes is a city of the imagination. Arthur Conan Doyle did not extend himself in describing it. With a few deft pen strokes he gave us fog and gas lamps, hansom cabs, gentlemen’s clubs and opera, pawnbrokers and gin palaces, wily street urchins and dull-witted “Scotland Yarders”—which, for us, the avid readers, is enough. We know that London of the 1890s, capital of Great Britain, of Empire and Commonwealth, in the last gasp of the Victorian era. We can see the teeming thoroughfares, the horses drawing carts, landaus, roughams, the diffused glow from shop windows, the swirling “pea-soupers.” We can hear the ring of iron horseshoes, the clatter of wheels on cobbles, the music of an organ-grinder, the cries of hawkers selling nostrums, matches, posies, whelks. It’s a little bit edgy, dirty, smelly, but always exciting.

    Nor has it all vanished. On the contrary, it is astonishing how much of today’s London would be recognizable to Holmes and Watson. Here and there are survivors from the Middle Ages—remnants even of Roman times. Tudor black-and-white abuts Jacobean grace and Georgian elegance, alongside 1960s Brutalism.

    In the shadow of great towers of glass and steel are important public buildings of bygone ages, ancient churches, impressive monuments, venerable hotels, restaurants, and stores. If we raise our eyes above plate glass and fluorescence, above nail bar and tanning salon, burger joint and mobile phone emporium, we see how handsomely historic London has accommodated the 21st century. The very lack of unity makes for endless fascination.

    In this book we set out upon a tour of the London of the world’s first consulting detective. We visit his haunts and walk the streets in his footsteps, admire stupendous edifices, poke into nooks and corners and back alleys. We can shop, as he would have done, for snuff, shooting sticks, game birds for the table, fine wine, top hats, swords, and country tweeds. We can venture into his favorite restaurant and onto his crime scenes, and find out where justice was dispensed and where the villains whom Holmes brought to book would have languished.

    But a city is more than just a built environment, it is a milieu, it is its people—or, rather, its people are its lifeblood. London in the late 1800s was home to four and a quarter million souls. It was a city of extremes of rich and poor: carriage folk in their Regency mansions, the poor in workhouses and slums, the destitute in rags, under arches, and an emerging middle class colonizing the Victorian pattern-book redbrick terrace homes (row houses) that are such a large part of current housing stock. Masters, servants, wharfingers and wherrymen, shopkeepers, laundresses, flower girls, pen-pushers, publicans, costermongers, cabbies, stable boys, actors, loafers, beggars, harlots, hucksters… All human life was here, giving voice to what Tennyson called “the central roar,” and Robert Louis Stevenson “the low growl” of London.

    Here too, of course, were the criminals whose vile pursuits furnished Doyle with such rich material. Most infamous of all was “Jack the Ripper,” the fiend who stalked the squalid streets of Whitechapel. While he still exercises the minds of investigators who speculate as to his true identity, he remains a faceless figure, almost a figment.

    By contrast, Sherlock Holmes, a character of fiction, is entirely real and present. Let us now get on his case.

    This is extracted from Sherlock Holmes's London by Rose Shepherd which is available here. AND don't forget to tune into BBC One at 9pm on January 1st to see Sherlock's next adventure!


    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, christmas, 2015, Rose Shepherd

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