Category Archives: Tips

6 great afternoon tea recipes.

6 great afternoon tea recipes. ( You need a day off)

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Mention Lemon drizzle cake and you will either get a joyful response or you will be told where to stick it. But for some reason the universal love of cake will force the nay-sayer into having a small slice and they will like it as much as the lemon cake lover.

Here is a great lemon cake recipe for you to try.

You will need…

250g unsalted butter

250g caster sugar

4 eggs

zest and juice of one lemon

250g self raising flour

juice of three lemons

85g caster sugar

Combine your very soft butter with the sugar and mix until its well incorporated and light and fluffy. Add your eggs one at a time, with a portion of flour with each one and then finally incorporate the lemon juice and zest.

Spoon your batter into a greased loaf or round cake tin, and bake for 35-45 minutes in the middle of the oven. While it’s baking make the lemon drizzle glaze!
Combine your lemon juice with the sugar and stir until dissolved.

Once your cake it out of the oven and almost completely cool, poke a few holes in it gently using a fork and then brush over the lemon drizzle glaze and let it soak in.

Chocolate cake

There are hundreds of chocolate cakes and there is a reason for that. They are blooming great. Despite being the enemy of the waist we estimate 1.36 million are eaten in the Alps alone each season.

Try this simple Chocolate cake recipe that we found.

You will need…

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

2 cups sugar

3/4 cups good cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

 

Instructions

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the

bowl and mix until combined.

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Cookies

The best cooki recipe that I ever found was on the side of a French cookie recipe. I have since lost it and then found it. It is currently lost again. So here is the second best cookie recipe I have ever found. Thanks Nigella.

You will need…

100 grams butter

140 grams brown sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup (or golden syrup)

1 egg (straight out of the fridge)

200 grams plain flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch of salt

½ vanilla pod (seeds only, or 1 packet of vanilla sugar)

200 grams white chocolate (chips or finely chopped)

Method

In a bowl over a pan of simmering water melt the butter, brown sugar and syrup. In another bowl mix the flour, salt, vanilla and baking powder. Beat the egg into the butter mixture, followed by the flour mix. Cool in the fridge for an hour while the oven preheats to 175°C. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Into the cooled dough mix the chocolate chips. With gloved hands shape walnut-sized balls out of the dough, place them on the baking sheets and flatten them slightly. Be careful to leave space between them, about an inch or 3 cm should be enough.

Bake for 12-15 min. They should look done but still be soft. Don’t place the baking sheet too high in the oven, or the white chocolate might catch. A bit of caramelization is expected and desired but burned chocolate isn’t a nice thing.

After taking the cookies out of the oven, leave them on the baking sheet for 2 min, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Millionaire shortbread

Shortbread, caramel and chocolate, what is not to like. Also you get to pretend you are eating something that only rich people can afford to eat. It is the L’Oreal of afternoon tea, because you are worth it.

Have a go at making it yourself, you cheapskate.

Shortbread Ingredients:
125g (5oz) butter (at room temperature)
50g (2oz) caster sugar
175g (7oz plain flour)

Topping Ingredients:
400g condensed milk
50g (2oz) butter
50g (2oz) soft brown sugar
150g (6oz) chocolate

Mix the butter and sugar together

Add the flour and mix to form a dough
Press the dough into a baking tin (approx 23cm square)
Bake at 190°C (Gas mark 5) for 20 minutes
Leave to cool

Meanwhile make the topping:

Pour the condensed milk into a pan and add butter and sugar
Boil gently for 5 minutes stirring continuouslyuntil it forms a caramel consistency
Pour the topping over the shortbread and place in the fridge to set
Once set, melt the chocolate either in the microwave (on full power for approx 60 secs) or place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. Pour melted chocolate over the topping
Place it in the fridge or a cool place and leave it to set
Cut into squares and serve

 

Ginger Bread Men

They taste great but they also act as a secret voodoo doll. Who are you thinking of as you bite the head of, or snap the arms. What no one? It is just me? Opps. In years to come this will be quoted back to me in a court of law.

Make your own ginger bread voodoo doll.

350g plain flour

175g soft brown sugar

100g butter or margarine

1 egg

1 ½ tsp ginger

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Vanilla essence

4 tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4

Put the flour, butter, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl. Mix it all together with fingertips until crumbly. Add sugar, syrup and egg and mix until it forms a firm pastry mix.

Using the rolling pin, roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick. Make sure the surface and the rolling pin are well dusted with flour. Cut out the shapes with a knife and/or pastry cutter

Place the cut out pastry on a greased or non-stick baking tray, each 2cm apart to allow for them spreading out.

Put the baking trays in the pre-heated oven. Remove after 10 minutes (check after 8 minutes).

 

Fruit Muffins

All I am going to say is – Part of your five a day.

Make some for your health kick this recipe comes from weightwatcher too!
2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 cup(s) whole wheat flour
2/3 cup(s) uncooked wheat bran
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup(s) regular butter, softened
2/3 cup(s) unpacked light brown sugar, or turbindo sugar
1 large egg(s)
1 cup(s) buttermilk
1 cup(s) raisins, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 12-hole muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, wheat bran, salt, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, cream butter with sugar until sugar is dissolved; add egg and beat thoroughly. Add 1/3 of bran mixture and 1/3 cup of buttermilk; mix until just combined. Repeat, alternating, with remaining bran mixture and buttermilk; fold in raisins.

Fill each prepared muffin hole about 2/3’s full with batter; place in middle of oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or cooled. Yields 1 muffin per serving.

 


Catching a plane

You have your received your ticket and are ready to go on your ski holiday. You have thought about all the exciting things such as your ski apparel, packing your swimsuit for the jacuzzi and booking the gold ski hire. What you have put off organising is how you will be getting to the airport. Well, it isn’t as exciting as dreaming about the food you are going to get fed in your chalet, is it? So we thought we might see if we can help, with a guide to getting to the airport.

Before you set off it is always worth checking the travel news in case there is some unavoidable incident that may affect you. Weather is often a likely culprit so watch out for heavy snowfall and keep an eye on any active volcanoes. This sort of thing will be flagged up on local or national news. It is very rare that you won’t be able to fly. If you have a feeling that your plane could be grounded then you can check on the carrier’s website or call them, the number should be on the ticket or e-ticket. A quick tip: if you are collecting someone from an airport after they have been selfish enough to holiday without you, you can check for delays on the airport website now, just go to the live arrivals page.

 Driving

The impending deadline of a departing plane can cause a great deal of pre-holiday stress so avoid that feeing by planning ahead. If you are motoring to the airport check for traffic delays before you set off, that way you can avoid any jams and reduce the tension in the car. If you haven’t been to the airport before plan your route ahead of time. Make sure you have filled the car with fuel. Also, as you are heading off on a ski holiday it is likely to be cold when you set off, so make sure you have a way of de-icing the car.

Parking

It makes sense to pre book you’re parking, as it saves time and money. As we fly out of Manchester and Gatwick we recommend using these operators. Each parking company offers a different service. Some will park your car and have it ready for your arrival and others will require you to remember where you left it. I would like to say that no one in the world ever has remembered where they parked their car, without writing it down.

Train

If you book far enough in advance you could get a great deal and save money on getting to the airport. The other good thing about the train is that if you are on an afternoon flight you could have a cheeky glass of wine to help the journey along. We fly from Manchester and Gatwick and the trains go into the hub of the airport, which means that you don’t need to drag your luggage a long way.

 


The Rules of Table Alpine Table Tennis

The Rules of Table Alpine Table Tennis

It seems fitting that you should be able to get your Table Tennis fix when out in the Alps and staying in a chalet. After all, it was invented over at a dinner party and was originally played with a wine cork as the ball. So where can you play this? Well if you are planning a ski holiday to Meribel then you may want to consider the Chalet Serpolet, as not only does it have a sauna and hot tub it also has a games room complete with a Table Tennis table.

The game has seen a major resurgence since its inception in the 1880s, as an after dinner game played with books for nets and rackets. Its recent popularity has come from many sources. Thousands of people took an interest in it when it appeared in the 1994 movie Forest Gump. It was also a ratings winner in the 2012 summer Olympics despite the Chinese dominance of the game. Also as part of the Olympic legacy, 100’s of outdoor tables have been put into our parks and recreation areas. Also, many Table Tennis themed bars such as Ping in Earls Court have popped up, not as part of the Olympic legacy.

So let’s imagine that you have never heard of Table Tennis, Ping Pong or Wiff Waff before and you have booked into stay at the Serpolet. You will probably want to know the basics and the rules.

ping

What you need to know.

Equipment
To play you will need a racket or paddle as it is also known. A ball and a 9 ft long by 5 ft wide table with a 6 inch net to divide the table up. All of these items are available in the games room of our chalet Serpolet.

How to Play

Deciding the serve.

This is done by the toss of a coin.

Serving
To serve you must throw the ball up into the air, which must be at least the height of the net. You must then hit the ball so that it bounces first in the servers court and then in the opponents, without hitting the net.

Returning shot
When returning the serve the receiver must send the ball back before it bounces a second time in their side of the court. The returner must not hit it into their side of the table or the net.

Let
A let is allowed if the ball touches the net in service or when the player receiving the service is not ready to receive the serve.

How to score points
Points get scored when a rally is concluded in one of the following ways: The return of service fails; The ball is hit and does not touch the table on the opponents side; One of the players obstructs the ball; The ball is struck twice by the same player; A point is awarded to you if the competition hits the ball with the wrong side of the bat; If the opposition moves the table or net during play; You opponent is awarded a point if you touch the table with your non-playing hand.

The winner is the person who scores 11 points first. In the event that both players reach 10 points then the game is played until one person has a lead of 2 points. If you are playing a match then you should play to the best of 5 or 7

Who serves and from what end?
At the beginning of each game the players change ends. The services is decided rotated every two serves, this is regardless of who won the last point.

If you should choose you can also play a doubles game. The rules effectively remain the same with some additions

Doubles rules
When serving the play must go diagonally as the table is divided up into 4 quarters, this means the server must serve from the right hand side of the table to the left hand side. During play each team member must hit the ball in an alternating pattern. When the service is changed the receiver becomes the server and the partner of the server becomes the receiver.

Sometimes a match may go on a long time, especially if you are a novice. This could be annoying if you have a deadline, such as Canapés and wine being served at 7.30 or the ski lifts opening and it is a fresh powder day. The good news is that there is speedy version of the game. Sadly this only really benefits those of us that can have a rally of more than 13 returns.

Obviously Ping Pong is no substitute for getting on the mountains and skiing, but it can provide you with a lot of entertainment in the evening. That is once you have finished in the hot tub or jacuzzi.

Check out the that Chalet Serpolet here.

 

 

 


How to make your ski holiday even better

How to make your ski holiday even better

For most people the summer is a ski free time.  Unless you head to one of Europe’s glaciers such as the Grand Mott in Tignes or the Glacier Paradise in Zermatt. Some of us may head down under and take on the slopes of New Zealand and Australia. The rest of us may try and head to the nearest snow dome but unless it is next door you are unlikely to go regularly.  As we all know, unless you do something frequently you lose your edge a bit and as we just pointed out, regularly skiing out of season is a bit tough. What we can do is keep fit for skiing, ready for the winter.

The joy of skiing comes from the outdoor environment and the perceived interaction with nature at its most extreme. There are obviously other joys to the sport and the activities that make up your ski holiday, but being outside and being active are the most attractive. So what are the best substitutes for an outdoors summer, getting out in nature as well as keeping fit and strengthening the muscles that you will use when back out skiing on the slopes next winter?

There are two sports that fill all the above requirements; cycling and walking. The great thing about these two activities is that they are good cardiovascular workouts and help to work your core and leg strength. When you go skiing you use these muscles all the time. If you lack these strengths then you will get tired quickly and along with the draining effect that the altitude can have on your body, injuries can easily happen. Whether you do or don’t exercise regularly you should consider adding these two pursuits to your summer schedule.

Cycling is growing in popularity ever since the Wiggins win of the Tour de France and the outstanding achievements of the Great British cycling team
at the London Olympics in the summer of 2012. So why not jump on the band wagon and improve your fitness for next winter. There are so many varieties of cycling so you will probably find one that suits you and like skiing there are also different levels of extremeness. The options for you will depend on where you live but you will probably have the options to take part in Mountain Biking, BMX, Road Riding or if you do fancy the indoors, you could head to the local Velodrome. If you don’t have the time to fit cycling into your busy life then you could try using your bike to commute to work.

So why is cycling such a good exercise companion for skiing? Cycling will use your quad muscles which are key for a long day on the mountain. Cycling, unlike skiing, has a low impact on your knees, by exercising this way your knees will not wear out so fast and you can enjoy many years of skiing.  Cycling can also be tailored to feel like a day’s skiing. When we are on the piste we will use short burst of energy then periods of rest. This can easily be recreated on a bicycle and will be the perfect aerobic workout.

Walking is also a great workout and has many of the benefits that cycling has, when preparing yourself for your favourite winter activity. What we are not talking about is a stroll to the shops or the pub. We are talking about hiking, which by definition means walking a long distance. The UK is full of beautiful places to go walking and a beautiful view is a great reward. A long hike will work your core and leg muscles, you can also take walking poles to help with upper body strength, ski poles work just as well.

The best thing about walking is that it can be relatively inexpensive and can form part of a long weekend or mini break. If you really wanted to you could even head out to the Alps in the summer and try out the thousands of walking routes that are in the ski resorts. One important thing to remember when planning a walk if you want the best exercise, you need to add in some hilly routes. This is great as it will lead you to walking in some of the best places in the UK. Try the following places for some great hikes Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, Peak District, South Downs, South and North Wales, North Yorkshire Moors, Yorkshire Dales, Galloway, Northumberland and the Scottish Highlands.

Whichever way you plan on staying fit make sure you stay safe and always use the correct equipment. If you are planning to start cycling then there are clubs you can join. Make sure you always wear a helmet when out on your bike. Walking can be dangerous too, if you are planning a long walk then make sure you register your route and take enough provisions. Why not set yourself some goals. There are lots of walking events around the country of varying lengths that you could train for such as the Startreck Challenge in Devon. The same goes for cycling, one great event to be part of is the London to Brighton cycle ride that raises money for the British Heart Foundation.

Get fit in the summer and make your ski holiday even better.


Tip of the week #7

Take a gangway with one “adaptor plug” to be able to plug in your all your needs in your bedroom, chargers, phones, iPods, iPads, laptops, hair-dryers, hair straighteners the list is endless!

 

plug


How to stay safe on the slopes

How to stay safe on the slopes

How many of you know that there is a code of conduct for all slope users? In 2002 the Federation International de Ski (FIS) introduced a code that all skiers, snowboarder, telemarkers and all other disciplines should follow. Take our short quiz to see how much you know.

Quick FIS ski code quiz

Question #1: Which side can you overtake on?Question #2: According to the FIS what does respect for others mean?

Question #3: Where should you not stop on a piste?

Question #4: If you witness an accident what must you do?

Question #5: Where must you look before starting to ski on a piste?

How did you get on? You really should have scored 100% in that quiz. However, whatever your score you should still refresh your memory of what is in the code of conduct for skiers and snowboarders.

Respect for others – Every mountain user must conduct them self in a manner that does not prejudice or endangers others.

Skiing or snowboarding within your ability and conditions – At all times you must be in control of your movements allowing for the conditions and traffic on the piste.

Choice of route – The person on the slope below has the right of way. This means the uphill skier or snowboarder must choose a route that does not endanger the person below.

Overtaking – Overtaking is permitted from any direction. The person that is overtaking must allow enough space should the other person perform a voluntary or involuntary movement.

Entering or starting to ski on a piste – When entering a piste or starting to ski or snowboard from a stationary position on a piste, you must look up and down the slope and make sure it is safe to move.

Stopping on the slopes – Unless it is unavoidable you must never stop in a narrow section of the piste or in a place where there is restricted visibility. Should you fall at any point you should move to the side of the run when it is safe to do so.

Walking – Should you find the need to walk up or down the mountain you should do so at the side of the slope.

Follow signs and marking – Please take notice and follow directions on all signs and information boards.

Help others – you are duty bound to assist where possible at any accident involving fellow slope users.

Identification – If you witness an accident or are involved in one you must identify yourself and exchange details.

This code will help you and others stay safe on the mountains. So please follow them and make sure you have a safe and enjoyable holiday.


Tip of the week #6

Following the huge amount of snow that has fallen in the ThreeValleys we thought POWDER tips would be appropriate.

~ If you are skiing:
Make sure you make a positive pole plant in powder. It gives you timing and rhythm and is an essential part of off piste skiing.

~If you are snowboarding:
Lean back, keep the front tip out of the snow. That back leg will ache a little if you are doing it properly. Use the balls of your feet more for turning. A lot like surfing!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-9A0BPhkYs

POW POW POW – enjoy and remember to always be safe!


Tip of the week #5

Safety on the slopes – Essential bits of equipment for the off piste skier or boarder.

Avalanche airbag – all airbags have a handle located on one of the shoulder straps for activating the airbag, if you are even caught in an avalanche you will pull on the handle which causes the airbag to inflate and will keep you from going under.

Transceiver – An avalanche transceiver can be used to receive a signal from a possible avalanche victim, it will allow you to quickly pinpoint their location in the snow and dig them out ASAP.

Avalanche probe – Avalanche probes help you pinpoint the exact location of an avalanche victim and to measure the burial depth.

A shovel. for off piste

We have done a little research, the best combined price we could find was around £900 

It may sound a lot but remember you can’t put a price on a life.


Tip of the week #4

How to survive a whiteout/bad visibility on the slopes this season!

When visibility is poor on the slopes, it’s not just about the nerves, you just cannot see where you are going, it can be dangerous and frightening.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: That the piste poles on the right hand side of the piste all have orange tips. So stay close and move down from one to the next, keeping to the left of these “orange” poles. If you stay to the left of the right side poles you will ALWAYS be on the piste. How do you think the experienced appear so calm, it’s not easy for anyone in poor visibility.

 whiteout


Tip of the week #3

Pre-book your ski hire online for Meribel or La Tania, when staying in one of our chalets and you can get up to 30% discount. Delivery service offered by all the companies we use. Please feel free to ask for more information.

2586347 The Skier


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