Saturday, 17 December 2016

Bailey's Chocolate Chai Tea, a winter warmer

A boozy tea? I hear you asking, yes it is!  Why not?

Winter is in full swing now, and it’s no doubt the best time to be warming up with your favourite hot drinks, teas and infusions. Chai is probably one of the most famous and beloved drinks from the West to the East. Today there are many variations of the traditional Indian spiced tea blend.  It can be homemade to suit a particular taste or can be bought already made as loose tea or in bags.

I love a cup of tea, especially in the winter, I have endless cups of the brew throughout the day and night.
About a month ago I went to an event where they served was they called Hong Kong Chai, it was delicious welcome drink. Their version was non-alcoholic. 

I just adore Bailey's Chocolate, the Irish whisky and cream based liqueur married with a beautiful mix of chocolate. It's a rich, creamy drink great on its own or with ice.  But I decided to add to chai for a personal festive touch.

Bailey's Chocolate Chai Tea Recipe

serves: 2

400ml of hot water
2x bags of Black Tea
50ml of condensed milk
50ml of Bailey's chocolate or more if you wish!
1x black cardamon, crushed
1x star anise
2x cinnamon sticks
Dust of nutmeg

1)Brew the tea with the spices, except the nutmeg,  let it steep for 10 minutes. Discard the spices and mix in the condensed milk.
2)Add the Bailey's chocolate
3)Garnish with a cinnamon stick and dust of nutmeg and let it sit for a minute. Enjoy!

Disclosure : I was sent a bottle of Bailey's Chocolate to make a festive drink.  All options are my own.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Arbina, Taste of Spain in London

Tapas and Pintxos at Arbina

Central London has a myriad of places to eat. In fact, the concentration of good places to eat is staggering.  Arbina arrived quietly about two years ago in Fitzrovia bringing delicious Spanish fare to be good people of London.
Arbina is owned by Javier Lopez de Arbina, an incredibly passionate food and wine lover from Ribera del Duero and family roots in the Basque Country.  The restaurant menu is a reflexion of his heritage.
The list is well put together with highlights of the main Spanish dishes from all over the country but with focus on Basque fare, arroces (rice dishes) and paella. 

Other dishes on offer are Spanish stews, ideal for this time of the year in London;  roast suckling pig and lamb made to order - that is a brilliant suggestion for large groups and annual festive gatherings. They have a beautiful downstairs room for private dining and chef's table events.

The wine
This time the wine of choice was  Inurrieta  Quatrocientos, a red from the Navarra region, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Graciano, Garnacha and Merlot grapes. A dark red color,  elegant to the nose with keys of sweet and fruity aromas. It delivers a refined fragrant wine as a result of its barrel ageing. In the mouth, this wine is vibrant and well balanced, highlighting the excellent quality of its tannins.

The wine list is short and concise, with some good choices for all types of budgets.

Lunch at Arbina

Croquetas de Jamón at Arbina

Deep fried Padrón pepper, as expected delicious and Ham croquettes - one of my favourites Spanish nibbles - this one was crisp outside and creamy inside - appetising!
Gourmet Pintxo at Arbina
Gourmet Pintxo:  Mini wagyu burger with Sobrasada  (Mallorcan chorizo) rocket and  sweet pickled Piparra peppers
Huevos rotos

Huevos rotos - another delicious dish - Broken eggs with fried potatoes and Ibérico ham, a super simple everyday dish that just hit the spot

Mixed mushrooms with grilled honey Alioli - the wood and hearty meat and umami taste of the mushrooms just paired superbly with the sweet honey and light garlic mayo.
Deep fried Monte Enebro

Deep fried Monte Enebro goat cheese with green "mojo", a sauce made with coriander, parsley,  garlic, green pepper, good quality extra virgin olive oil and seasoning - this dish was so good! I liked all the contrasting flavours of the sweet 'chutney', the green sauce with the snow white crumbly goat cheese encased in breadcrumbs

Seafood Paella - I love rice and seafood, and this dish was all about the rice cooked to perfection on a delightful sofrito it has a slightly brown on the bottom of the paella dish - perfect! , and the serving of seafood was quite generous. There was also a pot of Aioli, which is not traditional but I added a dollop to my plate - divine!
The seafood selection was langoustines, squid, mussels and vegetables.

Leche Frita  (fried milk)
 Leche Frita  (fried milk)  above

This dessert was very sweet, but I like overly sweet things, so It was absolutely fine by me. Creamy eggless custard fried and dusted with sugar and cinnamon

Churros con chocolate
Fried pastry sprinkled with sugar served with very thick and hot chocolate sauce. A delightful as usual!

Serves lunch, dinner and drinks from Monday to Saturday- recommended.

110 Whitfield St, Kings Cross, London W1T 5ED

Disclosure: I was a guest of Arbina for review purposes. All views are my own.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

France: Picturesque Trentemoult


We discovered the small ancient village of fishermen called Trentemoult. Located south of Nantes with easy access by the Navibus from stop Gare Maritime in Nantes. Here we are in an ancient group of islands.  Trentemoult, however, gathered the majority of the population, and its name was commonly used to refer all Rézé Islands.

Opposite the lovely village, there is the port of Nantes. This strategic position occupied by the village in the 14th century the monopoly of fishing in the Lower Loire. In the 19th century, the workers settled in the village, near the shipyard where the worked. Fishing was gradually abandoned, and maritime trade took off. There are very distinguished beautiful mansions among the traditional dwellings of fishermen walking through the streets. These estates were owned by high hierarchy naval personnel, who by way of 'souvenir' brought palm trees and exotic plants we can see on their properties.   They thrived due to the mild micro-climate in the region.
It is a place for a  pleasant stroll, a stop for something to eat and drink. A place to enjoy and unwind with family and friends, to chat and observe the ever changing Loire under the sunset.
The residents have created a  stunningly picturesque community with narrow and intriguing alleyways,  colour houses,  and small restaurants with music and dancing.  The Nantes residents come to get away from city life.

The ancient village of Trentemoult lies in the suburbs of Rézé,  which stretches along the south of Nantes. It’s here that Jules Verne’s fictionary captain character lived.


Eating in Trentemoult

La Civelle
21 Quai Marcel Boissard Trentemoult
t: 33 (0)2 40 75 46 60

The view of the Loire with Nantes in the background is one of the reasons to visit this open-air restaurant by the water in Trentemoult (Rezé). LA Civelle translate into English means baby eels.  That was the local speciality many many years ago.
What to expect on the menu:  lobster, scallops, tiger prawns, langoustines or cuttlefish; fresh cod steaks, vegetables,  wild rice and diced vegetables. For the meat eaters crème de Serrano (ham) or filet of lamb, red meats including delicious steak tartare. All this served up in a décor of untreated wood and industrial lamps. Excellent selection of grands crus wines. It gets very lively around meal times.

White fish from the Loire, vegetables and butter sauce - light and delectable perfect for a lunch by the Loire

Steak Tartare and chips

Cafe Gourmand at La Civelle

This is gâteau Nantais : egg-less mixture of sugar, almonds, butter and Antilles rum- there's a lot of alcohol in this cake! So much so that it keeps in the cupboard for a month I was told!

Show stopper : Les Traditionnelles Profiteroles de Trentemoult  - choux, ice cream, Chantilly, and hot chocolate - you can't go wrong with this dessert!

How to get to Trentemoult 

The Navibus Loire provides a smooth and scenic crossing on the Loire. The boat leaves every 20 minutes (every 10 minutes in the rush hour) – crossing time:  10 minutes.
Single ticket 1,60€ (validity: one hour)
Free for Pass Nantes card holders

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X

Disclosure: I was a guest of Pays de La Loire Tourism Board  and ATOUT FRANCE on this trip. All views are my own.
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