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Tag Archives: video
  • Posted on June 9, 2016

    World Gin Day

    Here at RPS and CICO Books towers we are very appreciative of gin so naturally we are very excited about Tristan Stephenson’s new book,  The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace. An ice cold G&T with a zingy garnish is pretty hard to beat in our books but sometimes the occasion calls for something a little fancier and if World Gin Day on Saturday 11 June isn’t such an occasion, we don’t know what is...We’ll be celebrating with a Clover Club and we think you should too! Check out the video of Tristan making the drink at his bar, the Worship Street Whistling Shop, and then shake up your new favourite cocktail using the recipe below. Cheers!

    Clover Club


    250 g/ 2 cups fresh raspberries

    2 g/ 1/16 oz. salt

    250 g/ 1¼ cups caster/superfine sugar

    250 ml/1 cup water

    Toss the raspberries in the salt and sugar then place in a 1-litre (35-fl. oz.) mason jar (you can also use a zip-lock bag) and pop it in the fridge overnight. In the morning add the water to the jar. Using a temperature probe, bring a saucepan of water up to 50°C (122°F) and turn the temperature right down so that it holds there. Pop the mason jar in the water and leave it for 2 hours, giving it the occasional wiggle. When the 2 hours are up, carefully remove the jar then strain the contents through a sieve/strainer. You may need to strain a second time using muslin/cheesecloth. To prolong the lifespan of your syrup it’s often useful to add a splash of gin or vodka. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.


    40 ml/1 ½ fl. oz. gin (Darnley’s view or any gin with a spicy kick)

    15 ml/ ½ fl. oz lemon juice

    15 ml/ ½ fl. oz raspberry syrup

    15 ml/ ½ fl. oz martini extra dry vermouth

    15 g/ ½ oz. egg white

    Shake all the ingredients with ice then strain into a separate mixing glass or shaker and shake again with no ice. This ‘dry shake’ has the effect of whipping air into the cocktail. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and drink it quickly. You can leave the egg white out if you prefer, but it adds a lovely sherbet effect to the palate.­­

    The Curious Bartender's Gin Palace by Tristan Stephenson is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with drinks, event, recipe for the weekend, Tristan Stephenson, video, quick, gin, world gin day, 2016, The Curious Bartender

  • Posted on March 24, 2016

    Crafting With Mason Jars blog tour

    We’re sure we don’t need to tell you that we love a bit of upcycling here at CICO Books towers. Whether you’re the sort of person that looks at a wooden crate and thinks ‘Hmm, what can I turn this into’ or you prefer to work on a much smaller scale, we’ve got books with great ideas for you. Latest to add to your upcycling bookshelf is Crafting With Mason Jars by Hester Van Overbeek. This is Hester’s second book for us, after Furniture Hacks last year (you can read more about that book here) and it is absolutely packed with ideas for upcycling the humble glass jar.  We celebrated the launch with a lovely blog tour last week. Just look at all the blogs we had taking part.

    We started the week with Apartment Apothecary who shared some of her favourite projects from the book, including this lovely oil lamp.

    Day two saw us pay a visit to Clare Nicolson’s blog, Full Time Fiesta where she’d had a go at making the Wall-Mounted Vase. How lovely do the flowers look against her block colour backdrop?

    Photograph by Clare Nicolson

    A Playful Day reviewed the book on Day 3 of the blog tour summing up: For me, this is the joy of Hester's book: a project for everyone’ and celebrating with a blood orange cocktail – a delightfully seasonal take on one of Hester’s picnic ideas. So lovely!

    We followed this with a look at Tinkered Treasures favourite projects from the book, including the totally instagrammable picnic in a jar. We know we’ll be doing a lot of this over the summer!

    Last but by no means least, we finished up a beautiful blog tour with a post at Claireabellemakes, who followed Hester’s instructions for making your own mason jar candle. How gorgeous does Crafting With Mason Jars look when it’s lit by candlelight?

    Photograph by Claireabellemakes

    We’ve had a lovely week celebrating a beautiful and innovative book and are looking forward to seeing some more makes from this book! Just to tickle your creative tastebuds, our most recent #MakeOnMonday was Hester’s tutorial for the Coffee Cup Jar – perfect for summer camping trips! Find the project over on our MAKE YouTube Channel.

    Crafting With Mason Jars by Hester van Overbeek is available here. Unless stated otherwise, all photographs are by James Gardiner.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with handmade, upcycling, video, photos, blog tour, 2016

  • Posted on December 5, 2015

    Christmas Stocking Cards

    The festive spirit has well and truly kicked in at RPS and CICO Book Towers and we’ve got a new Jen and Polly MAKE… video tutorial to prove it! This weekend is the perfect time to start making cards with the kids and we just love this one! Click the image to take you to the video, and the instructions are below. Happy making!

    Christmas Stocking Cards

    Give a Christmas stocking with a difference. These cards will add festive cheer to any mantelpiece. Using a traditional Christmas color scheme of red and white, they make the perfect card for a child but will be equally loved by adults, too. Use store-bought giftwrap papers or decorate plain red and white card with adhesive stickers. The addition of ribbon and braid finishes the cards off beautifully.


    Stocking template (download here)



    Thin red and white card

    Red and white circular stickers

    Red and white patterned giftwrap

    Glue stick

    Red crepe paper

    Sewing needle and red thread

    Fast-drying, high-tack craft glue

    Selection of buttons, braids and ribbons

    Rotary hole punch

    Print the stocking template (download here). Using the template, draw and cut out stocking shapes from the white and red card.

    For the spotted stockings, stick circular stickers randomly all over one side of the card stocking. Alternatively, draw around the template onto patterned paper and cut out. Glue this onto a plain card stocking with glue stick.

    Decorate the tops of the stockings with lengths of ribbon and braid, adding a ribbon bow or buttons if desired.

    Using the hole punch, make a hole in the top corner of the stocking. Cut a 6-in. (15-cm) length of thin red ribbon and thread it through the hole. Tie a neat knot in the ribbon and trim the ends to even them.

    Give the card to your friend!

    Alternatively, for the ruffle stockings, cut a 12 x 1-in. (30.5 x 2.5-cm) strip of crepe paper. Stitch along one long edge, securing the thread with a knot at the start. Pleat the paper as you go by gathering it until it measures 4⅜ in. (11 cm). Finish with a few stitches or a knot.

    Cut out a cuff from either red or white card (the opposite color to the main stocking). Apply craft glue along the bottom of the cuff and glue the crepe paper ruffle along this, if using.

    Glue the cuff onto the stocking.

    This project is adapted from Hand-Crafted Cards which is available here. For more festive inspiration, check out our new Christmas Pinterest board!

    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK and was tagged with christmas, homemade, handmade, school holidays, kids, video, 2015

  • Posted on November 23, 2015

    Miranda's Turkey Tips!

    The centre-piece of most British and American Christmas and Thanksgiving tables, the Roast Turkey is a stalwart of our celebration food today but did you know that turkeys were first domesticated in Central and South America? In her latest book, Modern Meat Kitchen, Miranda Ballard shares the quintessential Roast Turkey recipe, with everything you’ll need to ensure a juicy roast. You can download our Roast Turkey recipe card, and make sure you’re subscribed to The Pantry as we’ll be sharing lots of recipes and ideas for all the trimmings in the coming weeks – you can subscribe here. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas will follow quickly after, so we chatted to Miranda to get her top Turkey tips on making the most of your roast!

    A Turkey Crown is a great option for a smaller gathering. The smallest free range whole turkey will still be over 4kg, enough for 8 people, so it’s a lot of leftovers for two or four people. However, it’s better value to order a whole turkey and remove the legs yourself – just follow the principles Miranda shows in her How to Portion a Chicken video over on The Pantry YouTube Channel. You could then pop the legs in the freezer to have roast turkey legs another time or debone and dice them to make a casserole or stir fry.

    You might have heard of brining a turkey - basically soaking it in a salted and seasoned tub of water overnight. A really well-farmed bird should never dry out, even with the most basic attention to roasting it, but if you want to really ensure that it’s as moist as you can possibly make it, brining is a good idea. Just find something big enough (some people use the sink - or bath!) and fill with water, two large handfuls of salt and then as much seasoning as you like - bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, garlic, juniper, black pepper, mustard seeds, cloves... You can add red wine or port too. Just chuck it all in, soak the turkey overnight and then shake dry before stuffing/roasting.

    The Bronze turkey has become very popular in the UK in the last 10 years. This is partly because of the increased awareness and value of free range farming. The traditional white turkey actually prefers to stay indoors, very rarely venturing out even if the barn doesn’t have side walls, whereas the bronze turkey likes to roam and explore and behave more ‘free range’. Just ask your turkey supplier - “did it eat what it wanted to eat and do what it wanted to do?”

    And if that wasn’t enough turkey for you, we recommend you give this a watch! If you gobble at a turkey, it’ll gobble back. We know you laughed too!

    Modern Meat Kitchen by Miranda Ballard is available here, and don't forget to sign up to The Pantry for more festive foodie ideas and recipes!

    This post was posted in Featured, Interviews, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, chicken, homemade, savoury, video, 2015

  • Posted on October 26, 2015

    Half term at the Zoo!

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

    A Party of Penguins

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

    You will need

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

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


    Small scissors

    General-purpose scissors


    Yellow, white, and black paint




    Fine black felt-tip pen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Make Your Own Zoo by Tracey Radford is available here.

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

  • Posted on September 30, 2015

    Real Cinnamon Buns

    Is there really anything better than the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns... Apart from, perhaps, the taste of them?! With Cinnamon Roll Day in Sweden this Sunday and the recent launch of the fantastic new cooking and baking book, The Scandi Kitchen by Brontë Aurell, we couldn’t resist sharing Brontë’s traditional and simple recipe.

    Cinnamon Roll

    And, as a special treat, we have a brilliant video tutorial over on The Pantry where Brontë shows you how to twist the perfect cinnamon roll. Now, we’re not about to criticise the simple rolling technique of making these buns which results in something like the picture above (and is clearly very tasty!), but to ensure the delicious cinnamon flavours go right through the dough then check out the video and discover how to achieve a real Scandinavian twist on your buns... seriously, you won't believe how simple this method is either!

    How to twist a Cinnamon Bun video tutorial

    13 g/2 ½ teaspoons dried/active dry yeast or 25 g/1 oz. fresh yeast *(see below)

    250 ml/1 cup whole milk, heated to 36–37°C (97–99°F)

    80 g/ ¾ stick butter, melted and cooled slightly

    40 g/3 tablespoons caster/granulated sugar

    400–500 g/3–3 2/3cups white strong/bread flour

    2 teaspoons ground cardamom

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 egg, beaten

    plain/all-purpose flour, to dust the work surface



    80 g/½ stick plus 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

    1 teaspoon plain/all-purpose flour

    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

    ½ teaspoon ground cardamom

    ½ teaspoon vanilla sugar

    80 g/¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

    egg, for brushing




    nibbed ‘pearl’ sugar or chopped, toasted nuts


    2 baking sheets, greased and lined with baking parchment

    MAKES 16


    *If using fresh yeast, add the warm milk to a mixing bowl and add the yeast; stir until dissolved, then pour into the bowl of the food mixer.

    **3 tablespoons golden/light corn syrup and 6 tablespoons water, heated in a saucepan


    how to twist a cinnamon roll

    Pour the warm milk into a bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and whisk together. Cover with clingfilm/plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to become bubbly. Pour into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Start the machine and add the cooled, melted butter. Allow to combine with the yeast for 1 minute or so, then add the sugar. Allow to combine for 1 minute.

    In a separate bowl, weigh out 400 g/3 cups of the flour, add the cardamom and salt and mix together. Start adding the flour and spices into the milk mixture, bit by bit. Add half the beaten egg. Keep kneading for 5 minutes. You may need to add more flour – you want the mixture to end up a bit sticky, but not so much that it sticks to your finger if you poke it. It is better not to add too much flour as this will result in dry buns. You can always add more later.

    Once mixed, leave the dough in a bowl and cover with a dish towel or clingfilm/plastic wrap. Allow to rise for around 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

    Dust the table top with flour and turn out the dough. Knead the dough with your hands and work in more flour if needed. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 40 x 50 cm/16 x 20 in. rectangle.

    In a bowl, add the butter, spices and sugars and mix together well. Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough.

    Carefully roll the dough lengthways into a long roll. Using a sharp knife, cut 16 slices. (Or follow the video tutorial to give your cinnamon buns a real twist!)

    Place the swirls onto the baking sheets (not too close as they will rise further). Leave to prove under a dish towel for 30 minutes.

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

    Brush each bun lightly with egg and pop the buns into the preheated oven to bake for around 10–12 minutes. Watch the buns as they bake: they can go dark very quickly and you may also need to move the buns around in the oven if they are not baking evenly.

    When golden, remove from the oven. Brush the buns lightly with the warmed syrup then decorate with the nibbed ‘pearl’ sugar or chopped, toasted nuts. Immediately place a damp, clean dish towel on top for a few minutes to prevent the buns from going dry.

    The Scandi Kitchen

    The Scandi Kitchen by Brontë Aurell is available here or, if you haven't seen it yet, then check out our video chat with Brontë to hear about the café, the book and how she loves to bake for her family!

    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, Videos, What's new and was tagged with baking, cinnamon, brunch, video, sweet, 2015, video tutorial, Scandinavian

  • Posted on June 12, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend

    We’ve had a fun Friday today. We’ve posted the first in a new series of videos on our Youtube channel, The Pantry, called Jen and Polly Chat… (although our Rights Assistant has just pointed out, we really missed a trick by not calling them Jolly Chats!) We’ll be posting one a month, talking about new books, and recipes we’re excited for. This month we’re all about Summer Recipes. You can watch the video here, and to celebrate we’re sharing a recipe from one of the books we talk about: The Salad Bowl by Nicola Graimes.

    If you have any comments, advice or ideas about what you'd like to see in future Jen and Polly Chat... videos, please let us know by commenting on the video, or on Facebook or Twitter.

    Puy lentils, grapefruit & feta cheese with harissa dressing

    Harissa, the fiery North African spice paste, adds both colour and flavour to the dressing for this substantial Puy lentil salad. Oranges can be substituted for the grapefruit, if you prefer a slightly sweeter fruit. Serve with warm flatbreads on the side.

    250 g/9 oz. dried Puy lentils

    60 g/2 oz. watercress, tough stalks removed, separated into small sprigs

    60 g/2 oz. baby spinach leaves, tough stalks trimmed

    1 pink or red grapefruit, peeled, pith removed and segmented

    1 small red onion, diced a handful of mixed sprouted beans

    200 g/7 oz. feta cheese, cubed


    5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

    1 teaspoon harissa paste

    sea salt and freshly

    ground black pepper

    Serves 4

    Put the lentils in a pan and cover with plenty of water.

    Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, part-covered, for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer the lentils to a serving bowl.

    Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the dressing, season and set aside.

    Add the watercress and spinach to the serving bowl.

    Remove the membrane from the grapefruit segments over a dish and add the segments to the salad. Pour any juice from the grapefruit into the dressing.

    Add the onion and mixed bean sprouts and pour the dressing over. Toss the salad until thoroughly combined and sprinkle the feta over before serving.


    The French Puy lentil with its dusky, blue-grey marbled skin is ideal for salads as it keeps its shape after cooking.

    Adding lentils to a salad is an easy way to add substance, turning it into a complete meal, especially when  partnered with oily fish, lamb, poultry, eggs or cheese.

    The Salad Bowl by Nicola Graimes is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, Videos, What's new and was tagged with lentils, salad, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, vegetarian, video, Nicola Graimes, 2015, healthy

  • Posted on March 11, 2015

    Make a Mother's Day Tea Card!

    With Mother’s Day only a few days away, there’s still time for the kids to hand make a thoughtful card to surprise mum on Sunday morning. So today we have a video tutorial showing them how to make a card that is perfect for tea loving mums. This fun card can be personalised with their favourite colours and stickers, and is really simple to make! Simply click on the video below to watch the tutorial.

    Video Tutorial for Kids: How to make a tea card!

    Polly and I had great fun making several of these tea cards and have sent them around the office to the biggest tea drinkers! So if the kids are enjoying the cutting, sticking, colouring, and stickering, then they can always make a few to send out to their grandparents, teachers, and friends, whenever an occasion arises! Have fun kids and we hope you make it a very happy Mother’s Day!

    Photo of Polly and Jen's tea cup cards

    More fun activities for kids!

    This project was taken from the new book, More Boredom Busters, by Caroline Fernandez, which includes over 50 awesome activities for children aged 7years +. The ideas all use simple materials found around the home or classroom and include great step-by-step instructions so that they are super easy to follow!

    Caroline is officially launching her book with a Twitter chat, including lots of fun ideas to keep the kids entertained over Spring break (or in preparation for the Easter holidays in the UK!) and a chance to win a copy of the book, so make sure you're there to join in. Details:

    Thursday Mar 12

    12-1pm ET (4-5pm GMT)


    TOPIC: How to keep kids busy during Spring break

    More Boredom Busters by Caroline Fernandez

    For more information about the book and to see what other sorts of crafts and activities there are for kids to get stuck into, then please click here.

    This post was posted in Craft Projects, UK, Videos, What's new and was tagged with handmade, Mother's Day, gift, school holidays, cico kidz, crafts for kids, kids, simple, video, paper crafts, 2015

  • Posted on October 10, 2014

    Don't go down to the woods today...

    It’s a bit crochet crazy in the office this week - we’ve been enjoying this cute little video full of crochet characters, we’ve got a Fairytale Crochet giveaway on Twitter, and Nicki Trench’s Crochet Basics is our current book of the week - so we thought it was only fair to share a crochet project with you today!

    A lot of you have voted Hansel and Gretel as your favourite fairytale, so we’ve picked this adorable pair for you to make. The book also includes instructions to make the accompanying scenery for each fairytale, so if Hansel and Gretel look a little lonely then they might just need a wicked witch, a gingerbread cottage and a garden to stand with (or run away from!)


    Hansel and Gretel

    Hansel and Gretel are brother and sister; they are quick to make and can be customized to your own wishes. I have made free standing figures but you could easily make cute egg cosies or finger puppets by omitting the skirt base and stitching a simple lining inside – if so, work Hansel’s bottom half as for Gretel.


    Skill level: **



    Gretel – 10cm (4in) tall

    Hansel – 11.5cm (4½in) tall


    You will need


    • DK (light worsted) yarn:

    Oddments of yellow (A), flesh ton or peach (B) and silver-green (F)

    10g (3/8oz) each of red (C) and pink (D)

    • Scraps of coloured felt in greens and pinks
    • 2.5cm (1in) square of cream felt
    • Heart shape button



    • DK (light worsted) yarn:

    10 g (3/8oz) of brown (A), yellow (C), green (D) and red (E)

    Oddments of flesh tone or peach (B) and silver-green (F)



    • 3mm (US D/3) crochet hook
    • Removable stitch marker
    • Tapestry needle
    • Embroidery thread or 2ply yarn in bright colours



    blo                        back loop only

    ch                          chain

    cont                      continue

    dc                          double crochet

    dc2tog                  double crochet two sts together

    dtr                         double treble

    htr                         half treble

    pm                         place marker

    ss                           slip stitch

    st(s)                      stitch(es)

    tr                           treble

    rep                        repeat

    rem                      remaining

    yrh                        yarn round hook






    Using yarn B, 2ch, 6dc in 2nd ch, ss in first dc tojoin, pm.

    Round 1: 2dc in each st around. (12 sts)

    Rounds 2–5: Dc around. (12 sts)

    Fill head with toy stuffing.

    Round 6: [Dc2tog] 6 times. (6 sts)

    Fasten off yarn B.



    Round 7: Join yarn C at st marker, dc(blo)around. (6 sts)

    Round 8: 2dc in each st around, ss in first dc tojoin. (12 sts)

    Rounds 9–10: Dc around. Fasten off yarn C.



    Round 11: Join yarn D at st marker, 3ch (countsas 1tr now and throughout), 1tr at base of ch, 2trin each st to end. (24 sts)

    Round 12: 3ch, tr around.

    Round 13: Rep Round 9. (24 sts)

    Fasten off yarn D.

    Round 14: Join yarn F at st marker, 1ch, dcaround, ss in first dc to join. (24 sts)

    Round 15: [5ch, miss 2 sts, ss in next st] 12times. (12 ch loops)

    Fasten off yarn F.


    Skirt base

    Base ring: Using yarn C, 2ch, 6dc in 2nd ch, ss infirst dc to join. (6 sts)

    Round 1: 3ch, 1tr in base of ch, 2tr in each staround. (12 sts)

    Round 2:1ch, 2dc in each st around. (24 sts)

    Fasten off yarn C, leaving a 15cm (6in) tail.



    Fill bodice and skirt with toy stuffing. Use tail of Skirt Base to attach to inside skirt to contain the stuffing.



    Using yarn A, 2ch, 6dc in 2nd ch from hook, ss infirst dc to join, pm.

    Round 1: 2dc in each st around. (12 sts)

    Round 2: [1htr, 1tr, 3dtr in next st, 1tr, 1htr, ss innext st] twice.

    Fasten off A.



    Cut 15cm (6in) length of yarn A, fold in half andput hook in fold, insert hook through end of dtrin Round 2, ss through dtr and 5ch using doublethickness of A. Tie off and trim both ends of yarnto make a plait. Rep for other plait.

    Use tail of yarn A to attach hair to head.


    Flower in hair:

    Insert hook into surface of hair at one side, using yarn D, yrh and draw through loop, 5ch, ss inbase of ch, 3ch, ss in base of ch. Fasten off andweave in ends.

    Stitch a tiny green felt leaf next to flower.



    For embroidery stitches see pages 122–123 and page 124 for making faces. Use French knots and black or brown yarn for eyes and peach for the nose. Make two tiny red stitches for a mouth and use cross stitch in pink to make 2 rosy cheeks.



    Follow the instructions on page 125; I have given Gretel long red sleeves but you can use anycolour or sleeve length you like.



    Stitch cream piece of felt onto front of the skirt, shaping the bottom so it’s rounded. Use a contrasting thread to stitch a tiny patch of felt onto skirt at side of the apron.






    Using yarn B, 2ch, 6dc in 2nd ch, ss in first dc to join, pm.

    Round 1: 2dc in each st around. (12 sts)

    Rounds 2–5: Dc around. (12 sts)

    Fill head with toy stuffing.

    Round 6: [Dc2tog] 6 times. (6 sts)

    Fasten off yarn B.

    Round 7: Join yarn C at st marker, dc around. (6sts)

    Round 8: 2dc in each st around. (12 sts)

    Rounds 9–11: Dc around. Fasten off yarn C.

    Fill body with toy stuffing.



    Round 12: Join yarn D at st marker, dc(blo)around. (12 sts)

    Round 13: [2dc in next st, 1dc] 6 times. (18 sts)



    Round 14: Miss 8 sts, insert hook into next st,yrh, draw yarn through both loops on hook, 8dc (makes first leg).

    Round 15: 8dc.

    Round 16: [Dc2tog, 1dc] twice, dc2tog. (6 sts)

    Fasten off yarn, leaving a 10cm (4in) tail.

    Rejoin yarn to second leg-hole. Dc one round, then rep Rounds 15 and 16.

    Fasten off.



    Round 1: Using yarn A, 2ch, 6dc in 2nd ch fromhook, ss in first dc to join, pm. (6 sts)

    Round 2: 2dc in each st around. (12 sts)

    Round 3: Ch3, 1htr in next st, 1tr in each of next 6 sts, 1htr (leave rem 4 sts unworked).

    Fasten off, leaving a 7.5cm (3in) end and set aside.



    Round 1: Using yarn E, 2ch, 6dc in first ch, ss infirst dc to join, pm.

    Round 2: 2dc in each st around. (12 sts)

    Row 3: 3ch, 3tr in next st, ss in next st, leaving rem 9 sts unworked.

    Fasten off.



    To make the wired legs and arms follow the instructions on page 125, using yarns B and C to wrap arms, E for legs and A for feet. Stitch hair and cap to top of head, using the yarn tails.



    Using yarn D, ss in any st at left-hand side front of Round 12, 12ch, take ch over shoulder, ss in any st on right-hand side of back. Fasten off yarn. Rep on other side to make second brace.

    To make lederhosen, embroider a chain stitch from right brace to left in a straight line. Weave in ends.



    Embroider eyes, nose as for Gretel, use a brownor neutral thread to embroider the mouth.


    We hope you enjoy the project and don't forget to head over to Twitter for a chance to win the book!


    Fairytale Crochet by Louise Tyler is available to pre-order now.


    Have a lovely weekend everyone and let's all go crochet crazy!

    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Craft Projects, Featured, Featured, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with handmade, Nicki Trench, video, 2014, Fairytale Crochet, Louise Tyler

  • Posted on October 2, 2014

    Natural Food Kitchen on World Vegetarian Day!

    Today is World Vegetarian Day and we wanted to celebrate in two ways! Firstly, we have a preview into Jordan Bourke’s wonderful new book The Natural Food Kitchen. This is full of gorgeous recipes from all around the world, all in Jordan’s signature indulgent yet healthy style. There’s some lovely meat and fish recipes, but more importantly (at least on World Vegetarian Day!) there are heaps of beautiful recipes showcasing the best in seasonal veg. So, with all this in mind, we thought we’d share this recipe for pan-fried chickpea fritters. Perfect for lunch or with a great salad as a more substantial meal, we’re sure you’ll love these as much as we do!

    Here’s the video, and scroll down for the recipe. Don’t say we’re not good to you!

    pan-fried chickpea fritters


    Simple and quick, these are perfect for a light lunch, or as a casual appetizer. You can also experiment a little, by adding in or substituting your favourite herbs or spices. Corn and little chunks of chorizo are a delicious alternative to the chickpeas.

    2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
    250 g soy or Greek yogurt
    1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
    sea salt
    120 g spelt flour (white or wholegrain)
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    170 ml rice, soy or dairy milk
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    400-g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    100 g red onion, finely chopped
    1 small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
    1 small handful coriander, finely chopped
    olive or vegetable oil, for frying
    1 spring onion, finely sliced diagonally
    extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
    Makes 16

    In a dry frying pan, gently fry the cumin seeds over a medium heat until aromatic. Pound ½ of them to a powder using a pestle and mortar, and keep the other ½ to one side. In a bowl, combine together the ground cumin, chilli flakes, yogurt, maple syrup and a good pinch of sea salt. Set to one side.
    Place the flour and baking powder in a large bowl, slowly whisk in the rice, soy or dairy milk and beaten egg, until well combined with no lumps. Add in the chickpeas, red onion, almost all of the herbs, remaining cumin seeds, ¾ teaspoon sea salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Stir together to combine.

    Place 1 tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and set over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 level tablespoons of batter for each fritter and flatten into little rounds. Fry in batches, without overcrowding the frying pan, for about 5 minutes, turning once, until they are golden brown and cooked through.

    To serve, pile the fritters up on individual plates and scatter over the sliced spring onions and extra parsley. Serve with a green salad. Finally, drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil. Spoon the set-aside yogurt mixture over the top or serve it in a bowl on the side.



    The Natural Food Kitchen by Jordan Bourke is available here.

    So whatever you're planning for dinner, make it meat-free and celebrate World Vegetarian Day with us!

    This post was posted in Recipes, UK, Videos, What's new, What's new and was tagged with vegan, Jordan Bourke, chickpeas, vegetarian, veg, video, 2014, World Vegetarian Day, Natural Food Kitchen

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