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food

Life Indoors: 5 Ingredients 5 Meals

By April 23, 2020 Editor's Picks, INSPIRATION
21st APR 5 Ingredients 5 Meals19 (1)

Are you loving or loathing cooking these days? Many will be truly enjoying the extra time to focus on cooking new creations in the kitchen while others may find their patience running thin and wishing they could go to a restaurant. Whether you fall into the love or loathe category, everyone could use some help in the recipe department. On days when you’re looking for something simple and delicious but lack inspiration, here are 5 recipes that are quick and easy and only require 5 ingredients!  Let us know how you go!

 

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1. Salmon and Spinach Gratin with Creamy Potatoes 

600 gms Irish Potatoes
800gm of Spinach
5 Smoked salmon fillets
300ml of Double Cream
15g Unsalted Butter

Peel and chop your potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt and potatoes into the water and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the potatoes and set aside. Add a tablespoon of butter to a frying pan at medium heat, then add the spinach, a pinch of salt and pepper and turn lightly until the spinach is wilted. Ensure that the the spinach does not get too wet.  Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. Add the spinach, potatoes and salmon to a large baking dish, arranging them so that potatoes and spinach are on the base of the dish and the salmon is sitting on top. Heat the double cream in a saucepan adding salt and pepper. Stir well and then pour the all the contents over the salmon and potatoes. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and the cream has got a golden hue to it. Serve and enjoy.

 

cooked-noodles-on-white-wicker-plate

2. Black Bean Broccoli and Chicken Stir fry

240 grams of chicken breast
3 tbsp black bean sauce
Half cup broccoli (You could also replace this with sweet peppers or chopped kale)
3 tbsp peanuts (roughly chopped)
200 grams egg noodles

Chop up the chicken breast into half an inch chunks. Do the same with your broccoli or other vegetable of choice. Boil a pot of water and when it comes to the boil, add the egg noodles to the pot for 2 minutes then drain and set aside. Add some oil to your wok or frying pan and lightly fry the chicken until cooked through, then set aside. Then lightly stir-fry the broccoli (or preferred vegetable) for 2 minutes before adding the chicken, noodles and 80% of the peanuts back into the wok. Pour in the black bean sauce and ensure you toss the noodles well so that they are well coated and the ingredients are evenly distributed. Serve the noodles with a sprinkling of peanuts on top as a garnish.

 

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 3. Squash and Coconut Curry

500gm Squash
1 tin Coconut Milk
3 tbsp Curry Paste of your choice
1 tin of chickpeas
Small bunch of Coriander stalks

Chop the squash into half an inch chunks. Heat a frying pan with a 2 teaspoons of oil and then add your curry paste. Then add the squash and chickpeas to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the tin of coconut milk and once the milk is bubbling, cover the frying pan, turn down to low heat and cook for 20-25 minutes until the squash is thoroughly cooked and the coconut milk has thickened. Roughly chop the coriander and sprinkle on top then, serve on its own or with rice. Easy and delicious!

Sweet Potatoes on a Cutting Board

4. Sweet Potato & Beans Chilli

3 Sweet Potatoes (peeled and cut into half inch chunks)
1 tin of Kidney beans or black beans
1 large white onion
1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
Vegetable Stock cube

Finely chop the onion and then saute in a frying pan until soft. Mix vegetable stock cube with 3/4 of a cup of hot water and add the chilli powder. Add more or less chilli depending on how hot you like it. Add the sweet potatoes to the frying pan and then pour the vegetable stock over the dish. Cover and cook until the potatoes have softened, then add the tin of black beans. Let the ingredients summer and reduce down. Optional extras include a squeeze of lime and roughly chopped coriander to amp up the flavour. Either way, this is a tasty and filling dish that can be served on its own or with rice or tortilla chips.

 

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5. Hummus
Tin of Chickpeas
3 tbsp Olive oil
3 tbsp Tahini (if unavailable you can also use 4 tbsp sesame oil or 3 tbsp natural smooth peanut butter)
3 Garlic cloves
Salt and Pepper to taste

Making hummus is very simple. Chop the garlic finely or mince it in a garlic crusher. Add all the ingredients into a blender and whiz them all together until you have your desired consistency. Some people prefer their hummus very smooth while others want a bit more texture.  Serve as a side to your main meal or eat as a healthy snack alongside sliced raw vegetables or crackers.

 


 

This post is part of a Les 100 Ciels blog series titled, Life Indoors. Each week we will be posting on a range of topics to inspire you as you carry on your life from indoors. With the Covid-19 virus spreading around the world, the vast majority of us will be living vastly quieter lives and it is clear that now more than ever before, the importance of focusing on our shared humanity and community is integral. We are committed to continue to engage and support our community. If there is any topic you’d like us to write about, do get in touch and we’ll include it on our blog if we can. With love, The Les 100 Ciels Team

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Life Indoors: Self Care

By March 27, 2020 INSPIRATION
25th MAR Self Care 2

Have you ever heard the advice on an aeroplane to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others? This advice is a good example of the fundamentals of Self Care. A far cry from self indulgence and narcissism, self care is in fact a sure fire way to ensure you are well enough in yourself to freely give others the time and energy that they deserve. It is also less about something you have to do and more about a way of life. The days ahead of self quarantine, welcome a unique opportunity to put self care into practice. What self care looks like is a personal expression of what you need in your daily life to thrive. It is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones and a combination of practices which involve the mind, body and soul. Here are some suggestions for ways to self care that you may be missing in your life.

sleep 1

Get your zzzzs

Sleep is one of the most important ways to take care of the body. It is easy to fall into unhealthy sleep patterns when spending days and nights indoors. Staying up very late and getting little sleep, or sleeping for a number of hours during the day can have a negative impact on the body, such as sleep deprivation, insomnia and a host of illnesses linked to a lack of sleep. In bestselling book, Why we sleep, Matthew Walker explains how our circadian rhythm (our internal body clock, following the 24 hour cycle of night and day) differs from person to person and the importance of working with your body to get the rest you need. With many people shuttered indoors for the next few weeks, there is a unique opportunity to tap into your own rhythm and understand how your body works. With a better understanding of your body’s needs for rest and activity, you can have a lasting positive impact on your physical and mental health.

 

Yoga with car

Move

Exercise goes hand in hand with sleep and can improve the mood and ensure the body works optimally. While everyone’s exercise needs differ based on their lifestyle and body, taking some form of activity everyday is a good idea for all of us. If you are new to exercising at home, it can be overwhelming when faced with the decision of what exercise to do.  There are so many options online, how do you choose? Cardio or strength training, yoga or aerobics? This can work as a mental block to exercising. We recommend trying out a different form of exercise for just 10 minutes everyday. Once you have a feel for a few forms of exercise, you can hone in on one that you like and tailor a weekly exercise plan to suit you. It also helps a lot to workout with someone in your household or take advantage of technology and virtually meet with a friend. If you’re not sure where to look, here are some suggestions for social media channels to try. Some of them are hosting live public sessions that you can join, if you miss going to group activity sessions.  

Yoga: Youtube channel, Yoga with Adriene

Dance aerobics: Instagram, @Forward_Space

 Strength Training/Cardio: Instagram, @basecampfitness

 Mindful

Stay Present

There is a lot of worrying happening in the world right now.  It is so easy for thoughts to spin off into the past or project anxieties into the future.  Mindfulness meditation is a simple way to ground yourself in the present. Many find the prospect of meditating daunting, but you can try the simple act of sitting quietly and concentrating on your breathing. Follow your breath in and out to draw your mind to what is happening in the moment. Another way to be more present, is to try to tune in 100% to the task at hand. For example, taking a shower or preparing a meal. Instead of multi-tasking or spending the entire time thinking about what else you have to do, focus on the activity at hand. Take in the sights, sounds, sensations, and smells of the moment. This is a wonderful practice to slow your thoughts right down, relieve stress and bring a sense of stillness.

Suggested sites for more inspiration:

Instagram: @inscape

Apps: Headspace

Eggs

Eat Well

By consciously watching what you eat you are caring for yourself from the inside out, ensuring you stay healthy and ward off illness. Aim to consume a variety of nutritious foods from different food groups in your day. Don’t stress if present circumstances mean that you can’t shop for your optimum ingredients. There are tons of recipes available online to try out so take this opportunity to be creative and try out some new meal ideas. If you are looking for recipes, here are a few accounts that we follow:

Instagram: The Minimalist Baker @minimalbaker

Jamie Oliver’s Youtube channel is dedicated to eating well during the coronavirus pandemic

Selfcare

Pamper Yourself

Pampering yourself does not strictly mean a manicure or giving yourself an at home spa session (although we love those things and do recommend them!). Pampering yourself in a broader sense, simply means doing more of what makes you happy. If this is curling up and reading a book, watching a rerun of your favourite TV show, taking a bath or even re-organising your wardrobe – do it. Reserve a slot of time when you can take some time for yourself, even if its just for five minutes.

Here are some of our favourite pampering ideas:
1. At home Face Scrubs
2.Take on a DIY project. There are lots of ideas for projects on instagram profile @ABeautifulMess 

3. Watch some stand up comedy. We love Amy Schumer’s Netflix special
4. Keep a Journal. Here is some lovely stationery from Nappa Dori
5. Share your love of books and join an online Book Club like Page Turners

Line in the sand

Set boundaries

If you struggle to say no or are you are concerned you are overstretching yourself, then you need to set better boundaries for yourself. This could be about any area of your life from work, friends, family and even exercise and food. Good boundaries are there to ensure we keep ourselves ticking over in a steady and secure way.  If you are wondering how to go about setting boundaries, you’re not alone and we could write a whole blogpost on this topic (let us know in the comments section if you are interested in this).
A good place to start is to become more self aware and trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. It’s that simple. Once you establish what your boundaries are, it will take some practice for you to master being clear about them with those around you and even with yourself. It can be difficult to say no, but ultimately those who care about you will respect your needs if calmly and respectfully explained. Lastly, accept that you won’t always get it right, but every attempt at living within your boundaries takes you a step closer to a more balanced and positive life. 

We hope you find these ideas useful. What are your acts of self care?  Comment below or on our social media channels to let us know what you do to take care of yourself or what you thought of the ideas above. We’re all in this together and it is through sharing more with our community that we will find new ways of coping and coming out on the other side of this unprecedented time in a better space. Be well! 


 

This post is part of a Les 100 Ciels blog series titled, Life Indoors. Each week we will be posting on a range of topics to inspire you as you carry on your life from indoors. With the Covid-19 virus spreading around the world, the vast majority of us will be living vastly quieter lives and it is clear that now more than ever before, the importance of focusing on our shared humanity and community is integral. We are committed to continue to engage and support our community. If there is any topic you’d like us to write about, do get in touch and we’ll include it on our blog if we can. With love, The Les 100 Ciels Team

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Summer Dishes

By August 16, 2019 Editor's Picks, IN THE MEDIA, INSPIRATION
12th-AUG-Blogpost-Summer-Dishes-2

When the weather is hot and humidity soars, eating can sometimes feel like a chore, especially when your recipe repertoire is full of dishes that leave you feeling hotter than your were! At this point, it’s good to have a little recipe refresher and seek out some inspiration from some of the best summer food friendly meals around. Here are a few of our favourites to get you inspired!

 

watermelon

Watermelon and Feta Salad

One of our all time favourite foods for a starter is watermelon and feta salad. This is so simple to make and is always a welcome start to a summer meal with friends.

Ingredients
Half a large watermelon
Feta Cheese
Mint leaves
1/2 red onion
tbsp Olive oil
Pinch of Salt

Instructions
Scope out of the watermelon and cut into cubes about an inch thick and then cube the feta into slightly smaller pieces. Chop red onion roughly (chop into smaller pieces if preferred). Tear up mint leaves and add all ingredients into a bowl, tossing lightly with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. For extra ‘wow’ factor, retain the watermelon shell and once all the salad ingredients are well combined, transfer it back into the watermelon shell for a delicious and impressive starter!

 

 Sommer-Gazpacho

Gazpacho

Gazpacho is essentially a cold soup, which for some can be off-putting at first, but if given a chance, this dish is brimming with flavour and is so refreshing in summer that we could not leave it off our list. Use your ripest tomatoes and give it a try- we’re sure you will love it!

Ingredients
7 ripe Tomatoes
3 Cloves Garlic
1 red onion
1/2 cucumber peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Parsley or basil for garnish (dependent on preference)

Instructions
Chop up all the ingredients and place in the blender. Add your olive oil and vinegar and blend all ingredients into a puree. Leave the mixture in a covered bowl to stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Strain the puree through a mesh sieve and place the mixture in the fridge to cool. When thoroughly cool, pour gazpacho into bowls and serve with lightly chopped basil garnish. Tip: Prepare gazpacho a day in advance so flavours can develop fully.

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Salmon Fritters with Citrus Creme Fraiche

Salmon fritters are the perfect comfort food when a heartier meal is desired that still feels light enough to eat on a hot day. The citrus dip is the perfect partner to the dish to keep it all feeling light and fresh.

Ingredients
8 Smoked salmon slices
Spring onion (chopped finely)
1/2 onion (chopped finely)
1/2 cup flour
1 large egg beaten
1 /2 cup creme fraiche
1 large lemon
oil for frying
rocket for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Break up salmon slices and mix together with onion,  flour and egg in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a frying pan. Parcel out 1 tablespoon sized portions of the salmon batter and flatten in hand. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side and then take out of frying pan and place on absorbent paper. Repeat until all batter has been fried. Cut lemon and squeeze into a bowl. Add creme fraiche, spring onion and mix until all are well combined. Serve salmon fritters on a serving tray on a bed of rocket with extra smoked salmon slice and a dollop of citrus creme fraiche.

 

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Spinach & Tomato Quiche

A quiche and salad on a warm day is something of a British summer institution. Eat your quiche piping hot or have it cold from the fridge as a yummy leftover.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach leaves 
4 large eggs
2/33 cup milk
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese (or other cheese of your choice- feta cheese is also very nice)
1-2 medium tomatoes (cubed)
2 cloves garlic
mixed bag of lettuce
Store bought easy roll puff pastry (can also use short crust pastry)
1 Egg white (beaten)
salt and pepper
 to taste

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Unroll your pastry and lay out on a 10 inch pie dish making sure to pull it up and over the edges of dish. Wilt the spinach with the olive oil in a hot pan adding salt and pepper to taste. Add the spinach into the pie dish and then add in half the grated cheese. Beat the eggs and add the milk and crushed garlic. Pour this on to the spinach and then add the chopped tomatoes on to the top of the mixture. Finish off with a layer of the rest of the cheese. Layer a beaten egg-white wash over the edges of the pastry to ensure it bakes golden brown.  Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until a fork comes out clean from the centre of the quiche. Serve with a side of green salad tossed lightly in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.

 

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Vietnames Spring Rolls

Add an asian flavour to your summer with these spring rolls that are so delicious you won’t want to share them with anyone! They are also so easy to make yet look impressive when prepared so you are sure to delight and surprise your guests with your skills in the kitchen!

Ingredients
Firm tofu
Rice paper wrappers
1/2 head of cobb lettuce
1/2 a cucumber
2 Carrots grated
Spring Onion
Fresh mint, coriander, thai basil

For dipping sauce
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 tsp chilli sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped peanuts

Instructions
Chop your cucumber and tofu into 1.5cm depth strips and about 4-5cm long. Chop the lettuce and all your herbs finely. Dip the rice paper in a bowl of warm water for 3 seconds ensuring it is fully submerged. It should come out of the water slightly firm so that you can easily lay it flat on to a ceramic plate. Starting at the edge of the rice paper closest to you, add all your fillings in very small amounts. If you have too much filling, it will be difficult to roll and the fillings will easily fall out. Once you have added all your fillings, pick up the edge of your paper closest to you and roll it tightly over the filling. Repeat until you have the desired number of rolls. For the dip, pour all the ingredients into a small bowl and stir vigorously. Place rolls on a serving dish with the bowl of dipping sauce.

 

We hope this has given you a few ideas for summer dishes. If you try them out, do let us know how you found them!

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When Style meets Recipe – Winter season

By October 24, 2018 INSPIRATION
Blog Cover
 
The intersection of colour, taste, texture and fabrics.
 

Fashion has always been a source of beauty, aesthetics and craftsmanship, and a natural extension of this is the sculptural and artistic forms that can food can take.  Just like fashion, culinary trends develop season after season, with new colours, shades and textures. And just like a white shirt can be classic and timeless many dishes are go-to meals that are comforting,  delicious or even evocative of childhood.

This week, we explore this union of style and food and bring together some of our most loved Winter styles with a selection of fresh and easy-to-cook recipes for the upcoming winter and christmas period! Let us know what you think!


Petra Chunky Cashmere Roll Neck
Inspiring our
Warming pumpkin soup with chickpea and salvia sage topping
 
 

Style meets recipe FW18 Artboard 1

dede

Instructions: Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the leek, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, oregano and if preferred some chilli powder. Cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Then bring your pot to boil, add the stock, pumpkin and the chickpeas. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.  For a nice creamy soup, blend the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Top with sour cream and sprinkle with salvia for a perfect finish!

 


 Jordan Pink Colour Block Jumper
Inspiring our
Gravad lax- Cured Beetroot and Salmon
 
 

Style meets recipe FW18 Artboard 2

drdr

Instructions: Blitz the beetroots, orange, lemon zest and berries in a food processor until you get a fairly smooth paste. Transfer this to a bowl and stir in the rock salt and sugar. Pour in the gin and give it a good mix. Lay the side of salmon skin-side down on a large baking tray and slowly pour over the beetroot cure with a spatula. Wrap the salmon in a double layer of greaseproof paper then wrap it tightly with cling film and place it in the fridge for 24 hours.

The next day, take the salmon out of the fridge and carefully unwrap it so you can rinse off the cure. Wash it with some cold water. For the second herb cure, mix together the chopped herbs and gin then slather it onto the salmon using your hands. Wrap it again with a double layer of greaseproof paper, then a tight layer of cling film. Pop the salmon back in the fridge for another 24 hours.

The next day your salmon will be perfectly cured and ready to eat. Simply slice the salmon as finely as you can and serve it cold! Delicious!

 


 Arancia Long Line Cashmere Cardigan
Inspiring our
Peach and Blueberry Tart
 
 

Style meets recipe FW18 Artboard 3

 dwdw

Instructions: Roll your pastry out. Using a sharp knife, score the dough to form a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the border with 1 tablespoon coarse sugar. Refrigerate for 10 minutes then bake for 10-15 minutes or until pastry is puffed up  and golden brown. In the meantime, in a large bowl, gently toss peach slices and blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and salt. Use another bowl to whip together the softened cream cheese and the sugar using a hand mixer on medium speed. Gently spread the cream cheese in a thin layer over crust inside border. Top the crust with fruit mixture and arrange as desired. Bake until fruit is tender, about 15-20 minutes. In a small bowl, vigorously stir together apricot preserves and water until thinned. Brush crust and fruit with preserves. Return to oven 1-2 minutes until lightly caramelized. You can serve this delicious tart warm or at room temperature.

 


 Alise Loose Camel Jumper
Inspiring our
Scrumptious Banana Bread
 
 

Style meets recipe FW18 Artboard 4

 dfdf

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), and butter a 4×8 inch bread pan. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas. Then add  in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 350°F (175°C). Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove the banana bread from the pan and let it cool completely. Slice and serve!

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When style meets recipe – Summer season

By June 7, 2018 INSPIRATION
rrr
The intersection of colour, taste, texture and fabrics.

The world of food is constantly changing, as is the world of fashion. These two themes run close to each other and fashion’s obsession with food is becoming a fast-growing source of inspiration. One of the most interesting aspects is how food and fashion influence and filter through society in similar ways.

“Food, like fashion, is driven by trends, seasonality and the occasional gust of hype”, Lee Tran Lam, Food writer for Vogue.

Both can be described as a form of art and have the ability to push people to experiment, be inventive, creative and express themselves.  You go to a restaurant and by doing so, express who you are or perhaps who you aim to be. It is the same with clothes.  But it is also a form of connection and socialization: how many times do we end up talking about our new dinner spots or sharing the new recipes we have discovered online?

Fashion has always been identified as a source of beauty, aesthetics and craftsmanship, and a natural extension of this is the sculptural and artistic forms that can food can take.  Just like fashion, culinary trends develop season after season, with new colours, shades and textures. And similarly, as a white shirt can be classic and timeless many dishes are go-to meals that are comforting,  delicious or even evocative of your childhood.

This week, we explore this union of style and food and bring together some of our most loved Summer styles with a selection of fresh and easy-to-cook recipes for the upcoming summer period! Let us know what you think!

salad

des

Instructions: Heat a spoon of oil in a flat frying pan, slice the aubergine and fry them for 8 minutes each side, until they start to brown. Do the same with the halloumi and prepare a bowl with spinach on a side. Chop both the fried halloumi and the aubergine into small cubes and scatter over the salad with the pomegranate seeds and finish with some yoghurt dressing. Top with salt, pepper and mint leaves for the perfect summer salad!

pimms

des2

Instructions: Fill a jug with ice and lemonade and top it up with Pimm’s liquor. Then chop some strawberries, oranges, cucumber and berries and add them into the jug together with fresh mint leaves. Stir gently and serve immediately or chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

penne

des3

Instructions: Heat a spoon of oil in a deep pan, chop half a shallot and let it fry for a couple of minutes until soft. Cut some tomatoes and add them to the pan together with the shallots and let them cook until they start to soften. Bring water to the boil, add the pasta and some coarse salt and simmer for 8 minutes. Once ready, drain the pasta and pour it in the pan, together with fresh ricotta, basil leaves and black pepper, then mix well and gently until the cheese has melted. Serve warm.

merimngur

des 4

Instructions: Pre-heat oven to 300°F. Drop the raspberries and sugar in a food processor and mix until liquefied.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place egg whites and sugar in a bowl and mix vigorously until the meringue is stiff.  Drizzle half of the raspberry sauce over the mixture and fold gently to combine.  Dollop some mixture on to the prepared baking sheet, ensuring the meringues are roughly the same size, then bake for 25 mins. Once cooked, turn the oven off and leave them to rest for about 2 hours.

ice l

des 5

Instructions: Fill 1/3 of the ice lolly moulds with the edible flowers. Pour 0.5 lt of Elderflower syrup and two parts water into a jug and mix. Pour the liquid carefully into the lolly moulds. Seal the top of the moulds and place them in the freezer for at least one day. To remove the lollies from the moulds, hold them under warm water for a moment, which will make it easier to remove them. Serve immediately.

Yves Saint Laurent once said, “All elements of life follow a certain style,” but there’s one thing that never goes out of fashion, and that’s good food.

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A journey to Marrakesh

By May 3, 2018 Travel
bahia-palace-marrakech-8

This week, Camilla, our Commercial & E-Commerce Assistant, is our guest blogger, sharing with us her recent trip to Morocco:

 The juxtaposition between utter madness and totally serenity.

For many travellers, the ancient city of Marrakesh (often Marrakech) is the first stop on a journey through Morocco and an absolute “must see” destination. Surrounded by the often snow-capped High Atlas Mountains, this bustling metropolitan oasis has everything a traveller could want, from crowded markets (souks) to narrow streets, where history literally comes alive around every corner. A few minutes in the Red city (named so for the red colour of the earth used for its walls) are enough to make you realise you have entered a different world. In Marrakesh there are many ways of either getting lost or finding oneself: in the streets and curves of the medina quarter, the flavours of traditional food cooked in tagines, the beauty of temple doors, the freshness of the gardens and the surprises of the ancient Moorish culture.

A labyrinth of aromas and colours

The history is present in the Medina of Marrakesh, a UNESCO heritage site, and it is really easy to get lost in this labyrinth of old buildings, crowded markets and alleys, so make sure you bring a good map! The souks are definitely the main attraction here, where everything is for sale: clothes, shoes, spices, but get ready to negotiate! It is part of Moroccan tradition and shop owners would find it strange to sell something without discussing the price! The Tanneries are also worth a visit, but be prepared to cover your nose as the smell of the untreated hides is quite strong. Don’t be discouraged by reviews that the area is scary, just be aware of where you are heading to! Also, an interesting spot I would recommend is Mellah, or the old Jewish neighbourhood, characterized by its wood shops, colourful spices and much quieter owners.

Riads, terraces and culture

The breath taking landscape of Marrakesh can be easily seen from the many terraces that encircle the Medina, through the different hours of the day. In the morning, I would suggest to start your day with a typical Maroccan breakfast served on your Riad’s terrace, for a total free stress experience. But what is a Riad? Riad means “garden” but it is applied to town houses built round a central courtyard. Following the Islamic idea of privacy and inward reflection, a Riad usually only have a few rooms (ours, The Riad le J, had 4) with no windows facing the outside. Following a visit to the stunning Jardin Majorelle, stop for lunch at Café des epices for a stunning view over the crowded Place des Epices, it really worth the wait!. After an afternoon spent visiting the main attractions such as Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace and the oldest koranic school – Ben Youssef Madrasa, walk north and ask for a mint tea at Le grand balcon du café glacier, a relaxing café where you can admire the never ending life in the main square, Jemaa El Fna. To conclude, have a romantic dinner at Le Nomad restaurant, but ask to be seated on the top terrace!

Marrakesh has so much to offer, with days and nights made of pure magic and should definitely be included as one of the most hectic but fascinating people-watching places in the country.

marrakesh

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