Monday, 28 January 2013

The French Way

Last week me and my family took hit the Alps for a week of skiing, there was a fresh dumping of snow, the air was crisp, and the sky was blue, it was a fantastic week. We enjoyed copious amounts of food and wine, which is what we do best, and I will be writing all about it shortly. This post however is about the drive home, and the amazing restaurant we stumbled across.
Driving to the Alps is admittedly not my favourite thing to do, on the way there I am  simply too excited to get on the slopes, and on the way back I am too anxious to get back to my comfy bed, and have cuddles with my doggies. Our lunch stop however did indeed make the journey far more bearable and remind me why I love france their food - the last french supper as it were.
After six hours in the car, cramped legs and rumbling stomaches we pulled off the A1 and drove into the to Saint Denis, and saw a restaurant that was open - one happy family!! Based on the appearance of the town we were not expecting anything too fancy, however to our surprise the place was charming, the tables were simply laid with white table cloths and large wine glasses (which I filled immediately with a large crisp glass of there house Chablis which was just what I needed). The place smelt delicious, which really got our tummies excited.
The waiter brought us a lovely plate of nibbles while we looked at our menus, all of which were exceptionally tasty my favourite were the cheese twists, which I must attempt to make myself.
Next out was an amuse bouche - petit pois with fromage frais (pea and cream cheese). More English restaurants should do this in my opinion.
We decided against starters as we still had a lot of driving to do and skipped straight to the mains.
I had the 'Médaillons de Lotte en risotto aux Morilles' - translation, mushroom risotto with monkfish, and it was divine, just what I needed, delicate but filling and definitely hit the spot.
I did however manage to make enough room to pinch a few mouthfuls of my sisters 'Filet de Boeuf cuit selon votre Goût et son beignet de foie gras' and all you need translating from that is - amazing melt in your mouth fillet steak... yum yum!
These little bits of goodness were such a lovely touch, a frozen pallet cleanser of grapefruit and melon, which you then dipped in sugar.
and for the deserts...
Crème au Caramel et Brochette de Banane Flambèe (Flambeed in Rum... nom nom)
Tarte Soufflée au chocolat moelleux, glace vanille - melting chocolate magic in the mouth... I can still taste it now!!
Comme un Paris Brest glace a la noisette, et chocolat chaud - a large profiterole with a twist, the hazelnut ice cream for the centre was delicious.
Fondant de pommes au caramel d'orange Crème cannelle... I didn't actually get to try any of this as my mother had gobbled it up, but it was apparently delicious.
and because we hadn't eaten enough... a tray of homemade goodies (I may have taken some for the road).
If your planning a drive through France, I would recommend Le Moulin Brûlé as a refuelling spot, it is also a B&B incase you eat too much and need to slip into a food coma...

Festive Period

Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year, mainly due to spending three whole weeks at home. Enjoying the fantastic company of family and friends, and of course, ALL THE FOOD... more food and drink than I probably consume throughout the rest of the year, thank goodness baggy Christmas jumpers are fashionably acceptable.
When I first get home for Christmas, I have a ritual that according to my mother started when me and my little sister used to break up from school for the holidays. This ritual includes spending the first day home in our pyjamas, thats right... ALL day. Sat in front of the fire, cuddling our doggies, watching our favourite christmas movies (Miracle of 34th Street and The Santa Clause are compulsory). Whilst drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate (however these days its mums home made mulled wine...) Perfection.
With my duvet day out the way i could finally begin to get into the christmas spirit. The run up to Christmas day always seems like a blur, last minute shopping, hair dying, food prepping, present wrapping, and most importantly mince pie making... I personally could eat mince pies all year round, however I don't for health reasons. So in order to compensate for my depravity throughout the rest of the year, I have one with breakfast, lunch, and dinner over Christmas...
My mothers first batch ran out rather quickly so it was my turn in the kitchen... I am a firm believer when it comes to food, that homemade is best (even if you take some shortcuts...)
Here is my cheat way of doing 24 mince pies;
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F
  • Grab some ready roll puff pastry
  • Using pastry cutters; 24 large (for the bottom) and 24 small (for the lid) and place in a shallow patty tins
  • Mix together some mince meat mixed with an extra splash of brandy / cognac
  • Fill each with just over a teaspoon of the mix
  • Pop the lids on
  • Egg wash and pierce with a sharp knife
  • Then into the oven and wait 15-20 minutes (however stay near the oven to keep and eye on them)
  • Once done leave to cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with some icing sugar
  • Stick the kettle on and enjoy the lovely taste of Christmas...
Time to whip up another batch before January comes...

Day at the Polo

"The Sport of Kings"
I have never been to a Polo match before, and truth be told I know very little about the sport, but I wasn't going let that put me off. I jumped on the internet to learn some basic jargon and rules so i wasn't too clueless as to what was going on. Packed up a picnic and some bottles of bubbly and off we popped to Cirencester Park Polo Club.
The Club is situated within The Bathurst Estate and is all beautifully maintained, the setting certainly added to the occasion, as it is one of the most historic polo grounds in England.
The company helped make the day special too... (From Left) Dad, Finn, Gordon, and my Mummy. We settled on a spot to ensure optimum viewing experience, got stuck into our picnic, and the Polo started shortly afterwards.
The game itself was fast, exciting, and slightly more aggressive than I anticipated, however, it was the Cheltenham Cup Final, so the pressure was on. After the first chukka (quarter) I got to grips with the rules, and really got into the game.
We also got involved with the "Divot Stamping".
After 3 matches, lots of eating, drinking and laughing, the sun began to set and we headed home. I would greatly recommend for everyone to go to a Polo Match, all you need is a picnic and some brilliant company to ensure a fantastic day out.
For upcoming matches at Cirencester Park Polo Club visit their website here.

Twenty One

My twenties are now upon me, and there are so many things i want to do before the "best years of my life" pass me by. I plan to use this Blog to document my adventures, experiences, and day to day happenings.
So where best to start than my entrance into adulthood: My Twenty First Birthday Party.
I have never been one for over the top birthday parties, as far as i'm concerned you should be with your nearest and dearest, drinking lots of champagne and eating cake... so thats exactly what we did.
Cupcakes - Red Velvet, Banoffee, Earl Gray, and Vanilla
Cupcakes - Red Velvet, Banoffee, Earl Grey, and Vanilla
My mother baked everything from scratch.

Melting Moments, Whoopie Pies, and Scones
Melting Moments, Whoopie Pies, and Scones
It was such a lovely occasion, and the sun was shining all day long.
I didn't win at coquet though...