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Tag Archives: christmas
  • 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

  • Posted on December 6, 2016

    5 Projects You Need To Make This Christmas!

    Taking a cursory glance at social media over the weekend, it seemed as if all of our friends simultaneously put up Christmas trees and started decorating their houses. Well, yipeee! We are fully embracing the holiday spirit here at RPS and CICO Books towers, and if there’s one thing we like even more than Christmas decorations, it’s handmade Christmas decorations. Here’s 5 of our favourite projects that will ensure you have a lovely, unique home this year!

    Decorate your tree with Elspeth Jackson’s rag rug Christmas baubles. These are so cute, we’re considering keeping them up all year round…we won’t tell if you don’t! There's a video tutorial here.

    We shared this cute reindeer decoration to make with the kids last week over on instagram stories, and you all loved it so we popped the instructions up on our MAKEetc. blog. Check them out here.

    A garland of these silver stars would look lovely slung across a mantelpiece, or you could hang single stars in your tree to just catch the light like Juliet’s done here. Find the project here.

    This Succulent Wreath looks super effective, and you’ll stand out on a street of holly wreaths! Find the instructions here.

    Jazz up jam jars as tea-light holders with this project from Hester van Overbeek’s first book, Furniture Hacks. You could even use sparkly beads for an extra party feel!

    For more inspiration, check out our book Handmade Christmas and make sure you keep an eye on MAKEetc. for a free project or two over the next few weeks.

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    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, News, UK, Videos, What's new and was tagged with christmas, christmas decorations, christmas craft, handmade, paper crafts, activities for kids, winter living, winter, 2016

  • Posted on December 1, 2016

    Simple Infused Oils

    Now that it’s December we can officially think about Christmas. Of course, we’ve unofficially been thinking about Christmas since Halloween, but that’s because we’re big kids. But it’s allowed now. We love nothing more than finding the perfect gift for our friends and loved ones, and it’s even better if that gift is homemade. So, today we’re sharing a couple of recipes that will make the perfect gift for your favourite foodie. These simple home-infused oils are quick and easy to do, and will spruce up even the most boring salad!

    Smoked Garlic Oil

    Tea-smoking is a terrific way to flavour foods. It is often used to smoke salmon or duck, but works well here with the garlic. You will need to double line the wok with foil and open a window when you are smoking foods as the aroma is quite pungent.

    8 tablespoons soft brown sugar

    8 tablespoons long grain rice

    8 tablespoons tea leaves

    1 head garlic

    250 ml/1 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive

    freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

    salt and pepper

    Makes 300 ml/1¼ cups

    Line a wok with a double sheet of foil and combine the brown sugar, rice and tea leaves in the bottom. Place a small rack or griddle over the smoking mixture (making sure the two don’t touch) and lay the garlic on the rack.

    Place the wok over a high heat and, as soon as the mixture starts to smoke, top the wok with a tight-fitting lid. Lower the heat and cook gently for 15 minutes until the garlic turns a deep brown. Allow to cool.

    Place the unpeeled garlic in a bottle or jar, add the oil and allow to infuse for 1 week. Drain and use the oil to make a dressing, adding vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Great with a beef carpaccio or a charred lamb salad.

    Bay And Thyme Oil

    Bay and thyme give the oil a mellow flavour and, once strained, it is perfectly enhanced with a light vinegar, such as Chinese black vinegar or rice wine vinegar.

    6 bay leaves

    4 sprigs fresh thyme

    salt and pepper

    150 ml/⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil

    1–2 tablespoons vinegar of your choice

    Makes 200 ml/1 scant cup

    Place the bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper in a pestle and mortar and pound gently to bash up the herbs. Transfer to a jar, add the oil and marinate for 5 days.

    Strain the oil into a jar, add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

    This dressing is great served over salad leaves or shaved courgettes/zucchini.

    Oils by Ursula Ferrigno is available here. For more Christmas gift ideas for Foodies, check out our Gift Guide pin board here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, vegan, homemade, savoury, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, quick, 2016

  • Posted on November 18, 2016

    Vegan Thanksgiving? No problem!

    Our colleagues in America are getting very excited for the holiday weekend, and here in the UK we’re getting excited because Thanksgiving means that Christmas is literally just around the corner! Today’s recipe is from our new book Perfectly Paleo by Rosa Rigby and would make a wonderful vegan main dish for the holiday period. We reckon it’s so tasty that if you make it for Thanksgiving everyone will be requesting it again for Christmas too!

    Winter Root Vegetable Gratin

    This is quite a hearty vegan meal, which is warming enough to serve straight from the pan and I actually really enjoy it served on its own or with some simple sautéed or steamed green veg on the side.

    1 tablespoon coconut butter

    1 heaped tablespoon each of chopped fresh parsley and rosemary

    leaves of 8 sprigs fresh thyme

    2 bay leaves

    2 celery stalks/ribs, finely diced

    1 onion, finely diced

    4–5 ladles Vegetable Stock

    250 g/9 oz. white turnip, thinly sliced

    250 g/9 oz. swede/rutabaga, peeled and thinly sliced

    250 g/9 oz. butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced

    black pepper, to season

    toasted flaked/slivered

    almonds, to serve

    topping

    200 g/1¾ cup cashews, soaked in water

    ½ teaspoon salt

    freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon

    ½ teaspoon mixed dried herbs (I use a dried Italian herb mix)

    a 1-litre/quart capacity casserole dish, greased with coconut butter

    a high-powered blender (I use a NutriBullet)

    SERVES 4–6

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

    Put the coconut butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the herbs, celery and onion, and sauté for a few minutes. Pour over the stock and cook for a little while longer.

    Layer the sliced root veg in the prepared casserole dish – I tend to mix and match the vegetables in a layer – and, between each layer, add a layer of the cooked onions and celery, removing the bay leaves. Pile the layers up high as the casserole shrinks as it cooks, season with black pepper and pour over the remaining stock – you may not need all the stock but there should be enough to steam through the veg, bearing in mind that it will evaporate during cooking.

    Put the dish on top of a baking sheet in case of spillages and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the veg is cooked.

    To make the topping, blend all the ingredients in a high-powered blender with 6 tablespoons of water. The mixture should be smooth. If it seems too thick add a little more water. It should have the consistency of a creamy white sauce or béchamel.

    Remove the casserole dish from the oven and spread the topping over the cooked vegetables. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden.

    Sprinkle with almonds immediately before serving.

    Perfectly Paleo by Rosa Rigby is available here. For more vegan recipes, click here.

    Enjoy!

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    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, vegan, savoury, vegetables, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, butternut squash, Thanksgiving, healthy, 2016

  • Posted on September 29, 2016

    Tiramisu with a twist...

    Sometimes life calls for dessert, and sometimes it calls for Dessert with a Capital D. This is one such pud! Why do anything in half measures? Hannah Miles’ latest book, Layered Desserts is crammed with indulgent treats from all around the world, and each and every recipe would make a great dinner party ‘pièce de résistance’. So whether you’ve got the whole family round for Sunday lunch, or just a few friends over for an intimate supper, impress them with Hannah’s twist on an Italian classic…

    Or if peanut butter & jelly is more your thing, check out this decadent recipe tutorial on The Pantry's youtube channel.

    Toblerone Tiramisu

    While Italians will probably shudder at the thought of including Toblerone in their national dessert, I love the hints of almond and honey crunch that it adds. If you are short of time you can replace the Toblerone cupcakes with store-bought sponge fingers or trifle sponges instead for equally delicious results. I hope you enjoy my take on this classic layered dessert.

    FOR THE CUPCAKES:

    115 g/generous ½ cup caster/granulated sugar

    115 g/1 stick butter, softened

    2 UK large/US extra-large eggs

    100 g/¾ cup self-raising/self-rising flour

    30 g/⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    80 g/3 oz. Toblerone, chopped into chunks

    FOR THE CREAM:

    500 g/1 lb. 2 oz. mascarpone cheese

    500 ml/2 cups crème fraîche or sour cream

    3 tablespoons icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted

    TO ASSEMBLE:

    2 tablespoons instant coffee powder

    150 ml/⅔ cup amaretto liqueur

    200 g/7 oz. Toblerone, chopped unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

    12-hole muffin pan, lined with cupcake cases

    large glass bowl

    SERVES 8–10

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

    Begin by making the cupcakes. Whisk together the sugar and butter until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold gently to incorporate. Half fill each cupcake case with the cake mixture. Divide the chunks of Toblerone between the cupcakes, placing them in the centre of each case, and then cover with a spoonful of the remaining cake batter. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes until the cupcakes are firm to touch and spring back when pressed with a finger. Set aside to cool, then remove the cases.

    Dissolve the instant coffee in a shallow bowl with 250 ml/1 cup boiling water. Pour in the amaretto and leave to cool. While the coffee mixture is cooling, make the cream by whisking together the mascarpone, crème fraîche and icing/confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl.

    Soak half of the cupcakes in the coffee mixture. It is best to do this one at a time as the cupcakes can become soggy if they are in the liquid too long. You want them to absorb some of the liquid but still retain their shape. Place half the cakes on the bottom of the trifle dish, pressing them down with a spoon so that the cupcakes make a layer over the bottom of the dish.

    To assemble, sprinkle over half the chopped Toblerone and dust with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh sieve/strainer. Spoon half the mascarpone mixture over the top and dust with another layer of sifted cocoa powder. Soak the remaining sponges, as before, in the coffee mixture and place on top of the cocoa layer. Cover with the remaining Toblerone and dust with another cocoa layer. Spoon in the remaining mascarpone mixture and spread out in an even layer and dust with more cocoa. Chill in the fridge, preferably overnight, to enable the flavours to develop. This dessert will store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

    Layered Desserts by Hannah Miles is available here.

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

  • Posted on December 30, 2015

    Happy New Year!!

    Happy New Year!! We hope 2015 has been a good year for you all and that 2016 brings successes, health, and happiness. For our part, we’ve published some beautiful books this year, and have loved sharing them with you, and hope to do much more of the same in the coming 12 months. For now though, we’re looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve with our friends and families, and hopefully one or two of these champagne cocktails!

    Kir Royal

    The most classic of cocktails, fabulous as an aperitif.

    2 tablespoons crème de cassis

    1 bottle sparkling wine or Champagne

    MAKES 6

    Divide the cassis among 6 glasses then top up with champagne. It’s one of the most simple yet delicious cocktails.

    Rossini

    A great variation on the Bellini, the Rossini can be spiced up with a little Chambord and a dash of orange bitters – two of a bartender’s favourite ingredients.

    15 ml/½ oz. raspberry purée

    1 barspoon Chambord (optional)

    2 dashes of orange bitters

    Champagne, to top up

    Add the purée, Chambord (if using) and bitters to a champagne flute and top gently with champagne. Stir gently and serve.

    Or for something really special, try The Curious Bartender’s

    Champagne Gin Fizz

    For the Lemon & Lime Gomme

    50g/2 oz. lemon zest

    40g/1⅓ oz. lime zest

    270ml/9 oz. water

    600g/1 lb. 5 oz. sugar

    30ml/1 oz. vodka

    3g citric acid

    2g malic acid

    Sous vide the lemon and lime zest with the water at 60ºC/140ºF for 2 hours. Filter the liquid through muslin cheesecloth, then transfer it to a saucepan. Add the sugar, and heat until the sugar has dissolved, then add the vodka and acids. Bottle and refrigerate until required.

    For the Champagne Gin Fizz

    400ml/13½ oz. water

    10g/1⁄3 oz. Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne yeast brand

    170ml/5¾ oz. Tanqueray London dry gin

    90ml/3 oz. ‘lemon & Lime gomme’

    Orange flower water, to serve

    MAKES 6

    Heat 100 ml/3⅓ oz. of the water to 35ºC/95ºF. Add the yeast, stir fast, then set aside for 5 minutes. Mix the gin, Lemon & Lime Gomme and remaining water in a large mixing bowl. Pour the yeast into the bowl and whisk vigourously to fully aerate the drink. Once fully mixed, transfer the mixture to a sterilized champagne bottle and apply the cork and cage. Store at around 30ºC/86ºF for 9 days, then put in the fridge, standing up, for a further 2 days.

    To serve, spritz chilled Champagne flutes with orange flower water and fill to the brim!

    These recipes are taken from (in order):

    Winter Cabin Cooking by Lizzie Kamenetzky, available here.

    The Pocket Book of Cocktails, available to pre-order here.

    The Curious Bartender by Tristan Stephenson, available here.

    Make sure you don't miss any of our news and delicious recipes in 2016 by signing up to The Pantry! Happy New Year!


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, christmas, drinks, Tristan Stephenson, cocktail, 2015, champagne, The Curious Bartender

  • Posted on December 24, 2015

    Merry Christmas!!

    Just a short one today folks, to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Ryland Peters & Small and CICO Books!

    photograph © Villager Jim


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, christmas, photos, 2015, Villager Jim, Labradorable

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