How I Fell In Love With Copenhagen


"To travel is to live" - Hans Christian Andersen


If we think about it logically, visiting a foreign country for the first time is quite a daunting prospect. A different climate, a different currency, a different language, a different travel system, different foods, different customs; a completely different way of life. Yet despite all these differences, many of us are becoming creatures of travel, with statistics showing that on average we each venture abroad 1.4 times per year.

There's a lot to be said for travelling. It's like learning how to live all over again, only with a pre-requisite of knowing how to get by in the world. Seeing how different societies function opens our minds and our hearts to new experiences and teaches us to believe that anything is possible. The world is your oyster, they say - and it really is.

I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions but this year, I made a promise to myself that 2017 was going to be a year of travel. To go places that I've never been before, to find inspiration in everything, to live just that little bit more. Let's face it, life's too short to stay in one place and I'm not going to be a 20-something-year-old with minimal responsibilities forever. I'm sure I'll have to take life seriously at some point in the near future.

So last month, my boyfriend and I decided to put our busy London lives on hold and hop on a plane to Copenhagen; the city of fairytales. Within hours of landing, I'd fallen in love and here's how the city stole my heart.


We Dined Like Danes

If you read my blog often, you will know how important food is to me. One of the things I love most about travelling is getting to experience another country's food at its best - and Copenhagen didn't disappoint. It's all about small plates and 5-course taster menus in Copenhagen where the quality of the ingredients is pivotal.



One of our favourite restaurants in Copenhagen was Spuntino, located in the vibrant Vesterbro district. A contemporary setting hidden amongst a canopy of trees creates a unique dining experience where you can enjoy a little taste of modern Italy with a Danish twist.

A small space albeit full of personality, Spuntino serves dishes to satisfy a creative mind. Our culinary adventure began with scallop carpaccio served with a bergamot, poppy seed and lemon dressing. Along the way, we tucked into slow roasted beets with blood orange sauce, cavatelli carbonara with house-cured guanciale and poached cod loin with potato and buttermilk puree, turnips and radishes. Our feast ended - only too soon - with a mandarin orange sorbet served with seed, oat and quinoa granola.

This place really knows how to tickle your fancy!




Another fabulous restaurant we stumbled across was Restaurant Cofoco, a secluded basement space  designed with simplicity and style in mind. Influenced by both Scandinavian and Southern European cuisine, Cofoco's menu offers a selection of culturally unique dishes.

Again, we opted for a 5-course taster menu (when in Copenhagen!) and our tastebuds were treated to an array of fresh and fragrant flavours. First, we dined on a cerviche of flounder with celery, pea juice, walnut mayo and grapes. Next, we slurped on a warming mussel soup with trout roe, apple, pickled tapioca and croutons. Then came a dish devoted entirely to a grilled carrot which was absolutely divine, another delicious poached cod dish and for dessert, a beetroot sorbet with crumbled cocoa.

The way to my heart is definitely through my stomach and Copenhagen's food filled mine with butterflies.




Frederiksborg Castle Is An Absolute Dream

A short train ride from Copenhagen Central Station, Frederiksborg Castle stands gracefully in the Danish district of Hillerød, surrounded by peaceful waters, acres of stunning grounds and its Baroque Gardens. With so much beauty, prominence and personality, the 17th Century castle itself is an architectural dream and to make it even more extraordinary, housed inside is The Museum of National History.

Now you don't need to be a history buff to appreciate all that the castle and the museum has to offer; the visuals speak for itself. With 4 floors bursting with portraits, knowledge, art, furniture and historical artefacts, there is a room for everyone to enjoy.




The Award-Winning Cocktails At Curfew

You may be wondering how cocktails can make you fall in love with a city. Well, let me explain; Curfew's cocktails aren't just cocktails. They're expertly crafted alcoholic experiences, with creativity at the forefront of each composition, that allow you to fully lose yourself in the cosy speakeasy-style bar.

Tucked neatly down an unimposing side street in Vesterbro, it's a place that is quietly confident, oozing style and sophistication but in the least pretentious way possible. The atmosphere is electric yet strangely familiar; the sound of passionate bar tenders creating their art and the gentle buzz of people is all underscored by soulful jazz, chinking glasses and habitual happiness.

With several award-winning cocktails on their extensive menu, it's difficult to choose which cocktails will accentuate your evening as they all sound so tempting. As a gin lover, my favourites were the Unfaithful and the Little Dragon but don't let that stop you from drinking the entire menu!




Nyhavn

Come rain or shine, Nyhavn is picture perfect. Beautifully bold houses, steeped in history and painted in the prettiest of pastels, line the port that was once home to sailors, ladies of the night, alehouses and Hans Christian Andersen.

Today, Nyhavn is up there with one of the most Instagram-able tourist destinations I've ever seen in real life (if you've ever witnessed people taking pictures of themselves touching the Leaning Tower of Pisa in any way, then you'll understand exactly what I'm talking about) and home to some of the most exclusive (and expensive) cafes, bars and restaurants in Copenhagen.

Even in freezing temperatures, the harbour is bursting with life so take a bimble along Nyhavn and I can guarantee you'll be inspired like the great artists before you.


The King's Garden

Right in the centre of Copenhagen, amongst the hustle and bustle of city dwellers and travellers alike, there's a unexpected place of peace and serenity; The King's Garden. True to its Renaissance style, the gardens are home to knowledgeable trees, huge flowerbeds and a multitude of sculptures. Overlooked by Rosenborg Castle, the gardens are often called Rosenborg Gardens and proudly stand as the oldest royal gardens in Denmark.

It's a beautiful place regardless of the weather and one where you can wander aimlessly and ponder life without interruption. Wherever I am in the world, it's the places inspired by nature which always steal my heart.






Have you been to Copenhagen?


Veganuary: Matcha Chia Pudding


Whatever time of the day it is, you can bet I'm thinking about food.

As I approach the wrong side of 25, I'm becoming more and more conscious of how I'm fuelling my body. For me, eating well isn't about striving for the 'perfect' body. It's about caring for my body from the inside out and I'm slowly beginning to understand how my body deals with being well-nourished compared to when it's pumped with junk.

I'd be lying if I said that I always eat clean. I try to as best as I can but it's not always convenient and you know, cake. So that's when being prepared and knowing your own body comes in handy. When I think ahead to my next meal, I can make sure I've got the time, the mindset and the ingredients to prepare it and I nearly always choose a healthier option (unless it's a calculated I'm-going-to-stuff-my-face-with-everything kind of day).

It's when my heart overrules my head that I make not-so-good food decisions. Ironically, these are often the times that I'm feeling vulnerable and should be filling my body with nutrients but of course, logic goes straight out the window and I end up neglecting the foods that makes me feel good.

Which brings me back to preparation. Having a catalogue of quick, easy, nutritious recipes available to you at your disposal makes meal times faff-free and purposeful (body + good food = healthy body). As we approach the end of Veganuary, I'd like to share with you a recipe for one of my favourite vegan treats - chia pudding.

What I like about chia pudding is that there are no restrictions. It can be whatever it wants to be (breakfast, dessert, a snack) and it's so easy to make, so delicious and so versatile that you never feel like you're eating the same thing. In this recipe, I've added organic matcha green tea powder for an extra nutritional boost and topped it with a selection of fruit, seeds and nuts.

One chia pudding doesn't fit all so get experimenting and see what flavour combinations work for you!

Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon of Indigo Herbs Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of maple syrup (optional)
6 tablespoons of chia seeds
Toppings of your choice

Method
1. Blend the milk, matcha powder, vanilla and maple syrup together in a blender until smooth.
2. Pour the liquid over the chia seeds and stir thoroughly.
3. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes and then stir again. Repeat this for 15 minutes to stop the chia seeds from sticking together.
3. Allow the mixture to completely rest for at least an hour (or overnight in the fridge if possible).
4. Stir the mixture once more and top with your favourite fruit, seeds or nuts.
5. Enjoy! Or store in an air tight container and eat within 3 days.



Something For The Weekend: Gliffaes Country House Hotel


"Not all those who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien 

Life may be full of endless opportunities, mind-blowing experiences and breath-taking adventures but it also comes with its stresses. As much as we strive to live the 'perfect' life, it's not always plain sailing. Above many other things, life can be demanding, unsettling and complicated so when it begins to take its toll on our health and wellbeing, it's nice to know that we're able to put the world on hold, escape to a place of peace and clear our minds for a day or two. 

With the skies at our disposal, it's often more convenient to hop on a plane to somewhere far far removed from our normal environment - with guaranteed sunshine, idyllic landscapes and a slower pace of life - that we forget that there are so many beautiful places here in the UK that can offer the same respite as a faraway fairytale.  

Recently, my boyfriend and I decided that we'd leave the hustle and bustle of London and venture to Wales for a weekend in the countryside. After a 3hr 30min journey, we arrived at Gliffaes Country House Hotel, which was to be our home from home for the night. 


Located in the heart of the Brecon Beacons and the Black mountains, Gliffaes Country House Hotel is a family-owned Victorian manor house set in 33 acres of gorgeous grounds, overlooking the River Usk. As well as being the idea spot for fishing, Gliffaes offers guests the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the hotel in a variety of ways. Whether its hiking, reading, eating or sleeping, Gliffaes Country House Hotel is the perfect place to sit back, relax and truly feel at home.


With 23 individually decorated bedrooms, each room is designed for maximum comfort and relaxation: a large king-sized bed, a spacious bathroom, bathrobes, a stunning view, space to sit and reflect and Wi-Fi. Beautifully furnished in traditional country style, Gliffaes remains true to its charming heritage while providing guests with a sprinkling of modern amenities that make for a comfortable stay. 


After enjoying the comforts of our room and watching the sun set behind the hills, we headed down to the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail in front of the log fire. With a small but perfectly formed cocktail menu, beers on tap and an extensive wine list, there's a drink for everyone at Gliffaes and reason to enjoy the warmth and familiarity of the sitting room before dining in the main restaurant.


Whether you're a guest of the hotel or in the area looking for somewhere to dine, the restaurant at Gliffaes offers an exquisite fine dining experience with a menu composed entirely of seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.

The dining room is furnished in theme with the rest of the house and establishes a considerably formal ambience with an intimate setting, neatly pressed tablecloths, immaculately presented waiters and minimal noise.


After settling into our table and demolishing the homemade sun-dried tomato and herb bread, we placed our order and eagerly awaited more delights from Head Chef Karl Cheetham - and we were not disappointed.

Each course was perfectly presented with interesting composition and big flavours. It is clear that the chefs at Gliffaes have an innate passion for food, which makes dining even more pleasant. My favourite course was the Trio of Salmon starter, which consisted of a salmon and cream cheese roulade, smoked salmon and salmon terrine. Fresh, light and flavoursome, the starter set the standard for an exceptional three course meal and a truly pleasant evening. 

Starter: Trio of Salmon
Main: Curried Rainbow Trout
Dessert: Chocolate Fondant
The overal experience at Gliffaes Country House Hotel is wonderful. The staff are incredibly efficient and friendly, the guests are considerate and each room offers genuine comfort. It may not be the most glamorous hotel, tt may not be packed out every night and it may be in the middle of nowhere but it definitely feels like home.

If you're looking for a pastoral countryside hotel peppered with luxurious elements and a passion for good food, Gliffaes Country House Hotel is the perfect choice. The location, the hotel and the dining experience combine to leave you relaxed, well-rested and ready to take on the world again. 



For more information on room rates and availability, visit www.gliffaeshotel.com

Christmas Cakes: Cinnamon Spiced Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting


With only one week to go until Christmas Day, I'm already dreaming of all the delicious food I'm going to be making (and eating) over the festive holidays. So much so that today, I whipped up a batch of these lovely cinnamon spiced cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to fill my home with a bit of Christmas Spirit.

This year, I've taken on the responsibility of cooking Christmas dinner for 20 at my boyfriend's family home. It will be the first time that I've actually cooked Christmas dinner (or cooked for that many people at once) and I'm rather looking forward to it.

The kitchen has become one of my favourite places over the last few years so I can't wait to spend the final days of 2016 cooking up a storm with a gin and tonic in hand. Armed with a fridge full of tasty, traditional Christmas foods, I can't wait to get my fabulously tacky Christmas apron on and put on a spiffingly-good spread!

What I'm most looking forward to is doing Christmas dinner my way (inspired by my wonderful mother, of course). Homemade soup, fresh bread, cold starters, a hearty main featuring every single seasonal vegetable at its best, followed by a selection of desserts; my tastebuds are tingling at the thought!

But before I spill all of my Christmas dinner secrets, I'll leave you with the recipe for my cinnamon spiced cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Delicious, moist, fragrant and sprinkled with traditional Christmas spices, these cupcakes are the perfect festive treat to bake and share with your loved ones and to really get you in the mood for Christmas.

Happy baking and Merry Christmas!


Ingredients (makes 16 cupcakes)
200g of plain wholemeal flour
200g of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
160g of unsalted butter
160ml of soya milk
Orange zest

For the icing:
300g of icing sugar
50g of unsalted butter
125g of cream cheese
Walnuts to decorate

Method
1.  Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3 / 170 degrees C.
2. Sift all of the dry ingredients (wholemeal flour, dark brown sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt) into a bowl and combine
3. Add the cubed butter and mix until the mixture resembles sand.
4. Add the eggs, one by one and mix in the maple syrup.
5. Add the soya milk, vanilla extract and zest and beat together until the batter is smooth.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
7. Cool completely before frosting.
8. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter together using an electric whisk until completely mixed.
9. Add the cream cheese and continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
10. Pipe the icing onto each cupcake and garnish with chopped walnuts.
12. Share with family and friends and enjoy the taste of Christmas!

© Rosie Romance

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