Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ty’n Rhos – 3 for 2 Nights

We all enjoy having a lovely hotel break once in a while. It’s a chance to escape from your usual daily tasks and to spend a couple of days relaxing in a tranquil hotel room. It’s even better when you manage to get a great deal on your hotel break – and Ty’n Rhos can offer you just that.
The Ty’n Rhos is a five star boutique hotel near Snowdonia. Situated within the peaceful Welsh countryside, it’s a beautiful place to spend a few days relaxing in. You can sit back in comfort in front of their cosy log fire whilst taking in the lush meadow views of the surrounding Caernarfon countryside.

Take a few books and unwind, or perhaps bring your winter woollies if you fancy a crisp walk around the local area whilst you’re visiting. There are plenty of natural sights and activities to try near Ty’n Rhos, so don’t let the winter weather put you off exploring this lovely Welsh region.
The Ty’n Rhos has a really fantastic offer on their rooms at the moment. If you book two nights – you’ll get a third night included for free. This offer is applicable on all of their double, twin and king rooms. There’s more great news with this offer – you’ll also have a full Welsh breakfast and a three course dinner each morning and night included in the price from their fabulous fine dining restaurant in caernarfon.
The Ty’n Rhos restaurant is known to serve up some very tasty dishes. Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, their menus are truly mouth-watering. Anglesey pork, wild mushroom risotto and Welsh beef fillet are a few of the mains you might expect to see on their indulgent daily menus.
With Christmas coming up, booking a luxury 3 night break in the Ty’n Rhos would make a wonderful surprise gift for someone who deserves a treat this year.
This offer is available between the 1st November 2016 and the 28th February 2017 (with the exception of dates between the 24th December and the 2nd of January).

Friday, November 25, 2016

Why You Should Dress Your Dog Up in Winter?

Why some may at first think the idea of dressing your dog up being an unusual idea, it actually makes perfect sense as a responsible dog owner. Particularly during the colder months, many will choose designer dog clothes, not only as fashion statement for their pooch but to keep them warm and dry during those bitterly cold walks.

Why your dog should wear clothes?
Whilst some owners argue that a dog acclimatises and become accustomed to certain weather, this is simply not true. Just like humans, dogs too need to wrap up and keep warm more so, as they are not built to cope with such weather. Many forget that dogs have their own origins in which they have been built for. The Siberian husky for example, is built for subarctic conditions, whilst the Chihuahua coming from Mexico would be adapted for the warmer weather. With this in mind, you should add some extra layers on your pet so that you are still able to walk them as well keep them warm.

How do you know when your pet should wear a jacket?
When it's rainy wet weather altogether, your pet’s body temperature is more likely to drop. Although this might be welcomed in summer, it won’t be in autumn or winter when the weather is already cool. If your dog is normally happy to be outside and he or she has recently been hesitant when they first step outside, it’s time to purchase a dog coat or jacket. If your dog is shivering then you should consider bringing them back into the warmth as soon as you can until they have appropriate clothing.

What kind of jacket should I buy?
It’s really up to you. Some might prefer a waterproof jacket whist others might opt for something woolly and warm for breeds with a thinner coat. Although many will have the perceptions that designer dog coats are very flamboyant and unsuitable for everyday use, many today actually very practical. The Teddy Maximus dog coat is a luxurious example that has been created with winter conditions in mind. The outer cotton is waxed to safeguard from rain and whilst the thick, layered cotton helps to protect your dog from the wind. If you want something a bit warmer, you can certainly opt for a woolly or cashmere jumper to add that extra layer of warmth.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Groes Inn: New Owners, Same Principles

The Groes Inn, Conwy. Barney Approved.

Since learning that the Groes Inn – an astounding Hotel in Conwy and an excellent example of the amazing customer service, excellent food and luxurious atmosphere North Wales hotels have to offer - has been purchased by family brewery business JW Lees, we couldn’t resist taking a sneak peek at the way that the Groes Inn is running nowadays.

We admit freely that we were a little concerned about the fact that the Groes Inn happened to have been purchased. In our minds, we envisioned the beautiful traditional interiors being gutted, the vines removed from the outside of the building and a trendy wine bar to have been standing in it’s place.

That’s not the Groes Inn whatsoever, and we’re delighted to say that it’s still not the case. We were delighted to arrive to the same building as ever (where our 4 year old Wheaten Terrier, Barney, was as welcome as he’s ever been, and settled beside the fire as if nothing had happened at all!)  

We found that their ale selection is still rather extensive, and that they’re indeed doing an excellent selection of seasonal food. We hunkered down in their charming bar, and got to sampling the Groes Inn’s brand new food. Favourites such as Bury black pudding with streaky bacon and a poached egg, with a round of toast were still on the menu. We blinked, and indeed ordered one.

It tasted delicious, the flavour of the black pudding and the bacon were strong and complimented each other perfectly, and the poached egg was done to perfection. We had to ask. At this point, we absolutely had to ask about the chef. How could someone be replaced and food of the same quality be brought out? Did this mean that the Groes Inn had a nefarious secret such as serving frozen and reheated faire, and that they had done so all along?

It was nothing of the sort.

The bacon and black pudding didn’t taste frozen, for a start - I was duly informed by my co-diner. And I had to concede that. There's absolutely no way anything as delicious and flavoursome as that could possibly be ready-made and churned out.
Thankfully, we were (helpfully) informed by the serving staff that the Groes Inn had retained all of it’s staff since the purchase, and that not a single soul had been cast aside. In short, it was the same chef now that prepared our food as had way back when we visited this gorgeous inn in the heat of August. The staff, as well, were very keen to keep the old – as evidenced by the suggestion of doggie beer for Barney, who no doubt was now starting to wonder where his was... as he enjoyed it so much last time.

We asked if anything in particular was different since the purchase - after all the Groes Inn was still very dog friendly, still had the same locals, the same charm, the same staff... something had to have changed, surely. We found that JW Lees had made a small changes to the menu. We decided to try something new, and elected for a battered fillet of haddock in JW Lees ale batter with tartar sauce, thick cut chips (which, to be fair, were more like slabs) and mushy peas.

My co-diner remarked that he'd seen something similar in the form of a Groes Ale batter on something before, on his very many visits to the Groes Inn. The JW Lees batter was, in a word... Astounding. Everything was perfect, beyond so, and while I'm quite guilty of giving Barney quite a few handfuls under the table, I was selfish. Poor Barney had to nurse his doggie beer. We found the portion sizes to be more than generous, in addition. While in the past the only part of the Groes Inn viewed as not stellar was portion size, we’re sure that JW Lees’ portions will be enough to satisfy even the hungriest of their (no doubt) very many patrons from here on out.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Subscription Boxes for The Kitchen Dweller

Subscription boxes for the kitchen dweller

Whether you’re a lover of cooking or simply just enjoy spending time in your kitchen, we’ve compiled a list of subscription boxes that kitchen lovers are going crazy for. The treats you’ll get will not only make you want to spend more time in your kitchen, but will make for the perfect Instagram snap. Here what kitchen fitters Anglesey talking about:

London tea club – When you join the London Tea Club at £10 a month, you’ll be asked to build a profile of your favourite flavours so you’ll be sure to receive something you love. Not just any tea, this is tea at its finest – bring it right back to its roots of naturally flavoured and dried, loose ingredients. You’ll receive three batches of tea, each housed in their very own test tube which certainly adds a scientific yet magical feel to the tea making process!

Vinoa Wine and Beer52 – The Vinoa Wine sampler is a great way to grow your palette. Try a bit of everything before finding your favourite and ordering by the bottle. Each month offers a varied sample giving you the opportunity to try something new without the cost. When it comes to craft beer, you certainly don’t get the same amount of choice in the supermarket as you do with wine. Beer52 will bring you the 8 most original beers out there right now for £24.

World Spice – If you’re a fan of broad flavours from all over the world then a three month subscription from ‘The Spicery’ might be just the thing for you. This three month subscription is asteel at the total price of £22.  Each box contains the spices to make a meal to feed four people with a varied selection for a starter, a main or dessert.

Bloomon – Anyone who adores unusual and distinctive flower bouquets knows just how expensive they can be. Well, you'll be glad to know that Bloomon are able to hook you up with an original bunch from as little as £20.95. You won’t have received anything like them before, offering up something truly unique to what’s available on the high street. With an option for a matching vase to suit the size of each colourful bunch, your kitchen won’t have looked better!

The Roastery – The subscription lets you choose distinctive blends of coffee, freshly roasted, ground and delivered to your door. The roastery say that their subscription ensures that your subscription is the best way to enjoy fresh coffee, as it's meant to be drank (from £6).

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Christmas Recipes: The Groes Inn’s Potted Pigeon!

Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat. (Or pigeon in this case.) The Groes Inn, an absolutely charming hotel in Conwy have been well known by visitors to the region as well as locals alike as a fantastic destination for foodies for many years, thanks to it’s love of simplicity, and high-quality but unpretentious menus.

The Groes Inn wholeheartedly believe in good, decent and honest food, as well as the usage of products which are from North Wales to ensure that you’ll enjoy the very best this beautiful region has to offer. We’re delighted to announce that the Groes Inn have entrusted us with their very own recipe for potted pigeon – which we feel would be the perfect starter for Christmas Day.

Every recipe should serve 6-10 people, so the whole family should be on their way to culinary heaven, thanks to this hearty dish directly from the Groes Inn’s talented chef.

  •         Six whole pigeons, prepared and plucked.
  •         Salt
  •         One garlic bulb
  •         Fifteen chopped and fresh leaves of sage
  •         Three bay leaves
  •         100ml of light or pale ale
  •         Two tablespoons of madeira
  •         A pinch of ground mace
  •         Black pepper
  •         Butter

You’ll begin by sprinkling the prepared and plucked pigeons with salt. Then, you’ll gently pick them up and place them within a casserole dish along with the garlic bulb, sage leaves, bay leaves and then you’ll pour the ale upon the mixture.

The Groes Inn’s Chef advised us that you are welcome to use whichever pigeon you would like, though they themselves favour using Denbigh pigeons due to their better flavour. As for type of ale, you are more than welcome to use whichever you would like, but they like to make this dish extra special with a splash of their very own Groes Ale.   

Whatever pigeon and ale you decide to use, get a lid on the mixture and pop it into a preheated oven, at 110C. Leave the mixture to cook until the meat is nice and tender, and falling off the bone in around 1-2 hours. When that’s smelling good, carefully remove the casserole dish from the oven – and drain off (but remember to keep!) the liquid. Be careful as you remove the bay leaves from the mixture. When it’s cooled off, remove the skin and bones from the pigeons, and shred the meat.

Place the meat into a bowl and mash your remaining garlic with the madeira, mace and pepper. There’s no right or wrong amounts to use – just a lot of tasting until you find what works for you!  Add the liquid you should have saved earlier, and gently mix it together until it’s nice and creamy. Finally, place it in a jar and drizzle a little melted butter in before serving.

This dish is perfect with toast, and should be the perfect Christmas starter for all of your family this year. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

What’s the difference between regular wine and natural wines?

It has been argued that natural wine has a better taste than regular wine by its very nature. It contains fewer or no additives which impact its flavour and often means that you’ll be getting the best of the vineyard in your bottle. Of course, for a natural fruit that hasn’t been influenced in any way by chemicals is going to produce a fuller flavour than any product that has been engineered and preserved. Growing such grapes without the use of chemicals is a skill in itself, requiring a farmer who understands what it takes to produce the best grapes.

This biggest benefit natural wine will have is on your health. Regular wine contains vineyard chemicals (pesticides) to keep the bugs at bay. Whist many say that these won’t cause harm in small qualities, they certainly won’t do any good for you. Unfortunately, grapes can’t be washed prior to their use due to the machines that often damage the grape skins during harvesting so this means the pesticides used will be present in the final product.  

Later in the winemaking process, preservatives (sulphites) are added to help keep the wine last longer due to its antibacterial properties. Unknowingly, some drinkers can be allergic or sensitive to these sulphites which means a hangover would be much more significant for them. Sulphites are measured in ‘parts per million’ (PPM) and most 750ml bottles of regular wine will contain up to 250ppm, leaving the drinker headachy the next day.

Although the cost of a natural bottle of wine will be higher, they are generally better value for money due to getting more of the vineyard in your  The mark up of natural wine is often governed by the appellation system, which is said to be an indicator of the quality of its vineyard. However, many natural winemakers will operate outside this system and are still outstanding value.  

Natural wine is a product of sustainable agriculture, not using pesticides to deter wildlife in the area. It is important to bear in mind that in order to create an organic product the land must be chemical free for a number of years prior in order to qualify. Therefore it requires a very committed farmer to create an organic wine, where a where the vineyard can be susceptible to environmental conditions such as weather changes and pests.