Sonia

Sonia

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Articoli di Sonia

Aperitivo al Foyer Giardino del Four Seasons Hotel Milano

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Appuntamento di lusso primaverile nel giardino segreto racchiuso dalle mura di un ex-convento cinquecentesco, oggi siamo nel pieno del quadrilatero della moda milanese: il giardino del Four Seasons Hotel apre i suoi scorci finora riservati esclusivamente agli ospiti dell’hotel e ci accoglie per l’aperitivo.

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Attraverso la hall scendiamo nel Foyer Giardino, un accogliente ambiente parzialmente al coperto decorato con fiori freschi, candele e lampadari di cristalli.

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Si tratta della parte più viva del Foyer, al centro uno schermo con un video d’impatto che mostra il mixologist Luca Marcellini mentre prepara alcuni degli esclusivi cocktails che potremo gustare nella lunga estate milanese.
Ci avviciniamo per provare un “Cool Mule”, a base di Vodka Zubrowka, lime, sciroppo jasmine e ginger beer, sormontato da una fettina di ananas essiccato. Dopo paio di finger food a base di tonno fresco saliamo la scalinata adornata di gelsomino e candele che ci conduce al giardino superiore.

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Scopriamo uno spazio verde, probabilmente l’ex-chiostro, piacevolmente arredato con gazebo e poltroncine dove rilassarsi e fare quattro chiacchiere lontano dalla musica. Si può anche passeggiare lungo il sentiero che costeggia il prato, ed è quello che facciamo mentre guardiamo le opere d’arte in mostra nel giardino.
Ci accomodiamo su un divanetto in angolo appartato per raccontarci la giornata mentre sorseggiamo il secondo cocktail proposto per l’occasione, uno “Spring Mood on…” perfetto per la giornata soleggiata e un po’ ventosa. A base di Tequila Patròn Anejo, liquore Strega, succo di ananas, lime e liquore all’arancia Solerno è un vero e proprio invito alla bella stagione.

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Ritorniamo al piano di sotto e assaggiamo altri finger food sedendoci nella parte più interna del Foyer, al chiuso. Sembra di stare in un giardino esotico, circondate da fiori freschi, orchidee e lanterne accese, ma quello che più colpisce sono i lampadari di cristalli che riflettono le luci delle candele in una danza ipnotica.

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Il Foyer Giardino ospiterà per tutta l’estate diverse serate a tema proponendo ogni martedì sera un incontro speciale con un produttore differente tra cui Vodka Mamont il 21 aprile, Martin Miller’s Gin il 5 maggio, Millonario Rum Solera 15 Reserva Especial il 19 maggio.

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L’elenco completo degli appuntamenti è disponibile qui, il Foyer resta aperto fino a fine settembre.

Best: l’allestimento del Foyer interno, l’ambiente confortevole del giardino superiore, i due cocktail proposti
Per: 
rilassarsi dopo il lavoro o lo shopping in Montenapoleone
Indirizzo: 
 Via Gesù 6/8,  Milano www.fourseasons.com/it/milan/

Articolo a cura di: Chiara Bettaglio, foodandcrafts.it

Where to stay in London: Charing Cross

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Being a tourist in my own city is something that I really love to do. The chance to stay out late exploring it, without worrying about the Tube or how to get home is very nice. Nobody really drives in Central London and people from abroad often don’t get how it is even possible to go on a night out, without using a car. :)
A few weeks ago I was so lucky to be given exactly that sort of experience, when I was invited to spend a night at Amba Hotels’ Charing Cross branch.

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We arrived at Amba Hotel before 7pm and we were welcomed by a friendly team and 2 glasses of Prosecco, such a great start of the weekend isn’t it?!

The hotel is housed in a beautiful, grade II-listed building, but despite the historical setting, it offers modern services and rooms.

After the check-in I spent an hour in the Junior suite which has an amazing view on the Charing Cross neighbourhood, taking photos of and enjoying some more Prosecco, courtesy of the amazing Amba team. Can you spot, in the opening photo, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the National Gallery?

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We then went for dinner at The Terrace, the in-house dining venue with a spectacular view of the Strand below, where we tried a typical English meal: I went for a pan-fried sea bass and lemon meringue tart, whereas Giuliano chose a buccleuch sirloin steak followed by a warm chocolate fondant.

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The next morning I spent about an hour in the Hotel gym, just to feel less guilty about the gigantic breakfast I had, which was one of my favourite parts of this brief “staycation”. Let me tell you more about it!

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It’s served at The Terrace and to be honest I couldn’t find anything that I was craving for and wasn’t available: fresh fruits, lots of cereals, sausages, soy milk, veggies and a great selection of pastries…

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Address: The Strand, London WC2N 5HX

Top treat: the staff, very friendly and helpful (both with us and the tourists) and the breakfast, highly recommended!

Cost: Room – Studio suite with breakfast from £372. Dinner based on our choices around £60 for 2 people.

The wow factor: The location! The hotel has an incredibly central position, right above the Tube and the Train Station, which is incredible considering how quiet the rom was.

WiFi: WiFi is complimentary and apparently the hotel has the fastest WiFi in the world.

Amenities in the room: Smart TVs, USB sockets by the bed, magazines, Nespresso coffee machine, free of charge minibar and iPad in each room. You don’t get all of that very often…

 

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I would definitely recommend the Hotel for both its central location and the services. Let me know your thoughts if you happen to visit it!

Disclaimer: we were guests of Amba Hotels, but hopefully you’ll trust this post is about my honest opinion. For more information about the hotel visit the official website.

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Focaccia tostata con verdure

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Domenica, 4 del mattino, appena usciti dalla discoteca locale. Siamo in coda di fronte al panificio vicino alla piazza del mercato a Sestri, aspettando che il panettiere finisca di cuocere la focaccia e la possa vendere ai tanti come me in coda per una colazione molto mattiniera.
Ricordo il profumo e il sapore della focaccia appena cotta come se fosse ieri, è proprio vero che l’olfatto è uno dei sensi più forti che possediamo.

—- Fine ricordo —-

:-) Approfittando delle vacanze pasquali in Liguria ho fatto scorta di focaccia a colazione, ma ho voluto provare un’alternativa valida sia per l’aperitivo che per un picnic sui prati, che ne pensate?

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Ingredienti per 2 persone

  • Un pezzo di focaccia tagliata a metà (vedere la foto per la dimensione – unita’ di misura per i genovesi slerfa :))
  • 2 pomodori tagliati a fette sottili, io ho usato il perino ma potete usare anche la qualità ciliegino adattando la dose
  • Gran Mugello Ubaldino, formaggio di latte vaccino a pasta compatta della fattoria Il Palagiaccio
  • Una manciata  di spinaci lavati e dal quale avrete eliminato la parte dura
  • 1 o 2 uova biologiche
  • 1 spicchio d’aglio
  • Origano, sale

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Preriscaldare il grill a temperatura medio-alta. Tostare la focaccia per un paio di minuti e quindi sfregarla con l’aglio.

Bollire gli spinaci in pentola in acqua salata per 3-5 minuti, io ne ho tenuti un paio da parte come decorazione. Quindi immergere immediatamente gli spinaci cotti in una ciotola riempita con acqua fredda e ghiaccio. Questo trucco interromperà la cottura e sarà in grado di mantenere il colore verde e brillante degli spinaci.

Spargere sulla focaccia tostata i pomodorini precedentemente conditi con olio, sale e abbondante origano; gli spinaci, delle scaglie sottili di Gran Mugello Ubaldino e aggiungete un uovo al centro. Terminare con un’ulteriore spolverata di Gran Mugello Ubaldino e infornare sotto il grill per circa 8-10 minuti fino a che l’uovo non e’ pronto.

Da gustare subito!

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Thai cuisine: lime and chilli cured courgettes and prawns

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A few weeks ago I have been invited to try a healthy cooking workshop at the Smart School of Cookery located in the stunning St Katharine Docks.
Day after day I am more into an active lifestyle and healthy cuisine and I couldn’t wait to learn more about some Thai dishes, including Asian vegetable broth, seared prawn skewers and chicken curry with sticky rice. The class was hosted by LV= who believes in doing everything we can to get on board with healthy living.

Here are the recipes I loved the most. There are a lot of ingredients that we should include in our daily diet: ginger, garlic, veggies and fish help burning fat and improving our overall health.

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Lime and chilli cured courgettes

Ribbon courgette with a veg peeler and marinade them for 3 mins in:

  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped chilli

Seasoning

  • 1  tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 1  tablespoon of garlic paste

Stir-fry in a pan with the rocket and serve.

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Asian prawns

3 medium raw tiger prawns per person marinated for 3 minutes in:

  • 2 tsp of finely chopped chilli, garlic and grated ginger
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 1  tablespoon of turmeric
  • 1  tablespoon of rapeseed oil

Stir-fry the prawns in a pan with rocket and courgettes and serve.

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Gigi’s Mayfair – Review

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English Version only

Last weekend we visited Gigi’s, a new Mayfair restaurant, for a late lunch.

The restaurant is tucked away in a quiet corner just off Bond Street station, it serves Italian food with a modern twist under the direction of Head Chef Ivan Simeoli. Ivan is a world class Chef that worked with some of the best like Massimo Bottura at the Osteria Francescana in Modena, just to name one. Since last December you can enjoy Ivan’s cooking at Gigi’s.

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We were welcomed at our table with a bread basket, salt baked root vegetables and 2 glasses of Pinot Gris, then we went straight for the à la carte winter menu. This is what we had:

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Starters

  • 62 degree egg with girolles, green tomatoes and crispy Parma ham
  • Roasted octopus with borlotti beans and flamed onion broth

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The first dish is a clever tribute to the traditional English breakfast. The egg, cooked at 62 degrees for an hour, remains soft and melts on the girolles, its delicate flavour joined pleasantly by the salty sweetness of the Parma ham.

The octopus is stunning, butter tender, it conveys the broth and the beans. You are reminded of an earthy meal cooked on an open fire, the flavours are bold without being heavy. We were expecting something not too far from the classic Italian octopus recipes, and were surprised.

Pasta

  • Ravioli with Amalfi lemon and buffalo ricotta
  • Flamed leeks tortelli with vegetable charcoal – from the vegetarian menu

The Ravioli is one of Ivan’s signature dishes. It may sound like a cliché, but the delicate lemon flavour gave me an instant flashback of a Vespa ride I had years ago, while on holiday near Sorrento. If Ivan wanted us to experience some sensory memories of his childhood, he definitely succeeded.

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Main

  • South coast turbot with savoy cabbage, charcoal oil and sorrel
  • Salt marsh lamb with heritage carrots, sheep’s milk and crunchy shallots

Salt marsh lambs graze on pastures that are regularly covered by the sea, eating grasses that confer a light saline flavour to the meat. The dish itself is delicious, without that sometimes overpowering character of lamb. Gigi’s source their lambs locally, which is always commendable.

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Dessert

  • Gigi’s signature tiramisu
  • Chocolate Mondrian, a tribute to the Dutch painter

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I believe the photos speak for themselves. :-)

In addition to the great food, Gigi’s has a large selection of wines and cocktails and there’s a live DJ at night, from Thursday to Saturday.

Having lunch at Gigi’s has been a great experience for us. We were surprised multiple times and had fun trying to trace our Italian culinary roots very well disguised in a world class and modern menu. It’s also worth mentioning that none of the dishes felt pretentious or overdone. Chef Ivan experience and technique is apparent, but always put to the service of his cooking.

Top treat: for Sonia was the ravioli, for Giuliano the octopus.
Address: 22 Woodstock St, London W1C 2AR www.gigismayfair.com
Cost: based on our choices above around £60 per person
The wow factor: the central location, the dessert presentation and the design books available around the restaurant.

Disclaimer: we were guests of Gigi’s, but hopefully you’ll trust this post is about an honestly enjoyable afternoon.

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