A New Oasis in Hanoi

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Always on the look out for new fun venues in Hanoi, the new West Lake Station in Tay Ho is one of the best with its garden oasis, pool table, great food by French chef, craft beer and wine, wood fired pizza oven and awesome music!!!

22728824_1993367560942475_1805190416122346124_nWest Lake Station is a new Bar-Pub-Bistro (just opened) located at 24 To Ngoc Van Tay Ho.

It has a peaceful cozy garden where you can relax and chill night and day and if you love having a drink with friends together with a good game of pool this is the perfect place.
WLS offers you a ‘casual-fine dining menu’ with daily specials…. Be curious, be adventurous as everyday they will change…. I’ve had some wonderful food here, it’s a great for lunch or dinner with every dish carefully prepared by their French female chef.
WLS also offers you fresh and tasty wood fired oven pizza, as well as weekly and monthly specials regularly updated on their restaurant standee or Facebook page.
I’d recommend enjoying a bottle of craft beer, great wines or spirits around the pool table or in the garden while listening to awesome music from the worldwide web radio station.
WLS could soon become your next FAV venue…

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VISIT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR UPDATES AND EVENTS

WestLakeStation-Facebook

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Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary – 14 bears – 10 bear bile farms – 4 days – 1 incredible rescue team

GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN VIETNAM

Vietnam Animal Asia Rescue Team CILEZVfWcAAhfkL

Nestled in the mountain jungles of Tam Dao national park is Animal Asia’s bear sanctuary. Here you can see the most beautiful Moon bears which are native to Vietnam. Each bear has a sad story tell, years and years kept in a tiny cage unable to move around, fed on gruel, and kept for bear bile extraction. Some bears are caged as cubs and never released, many are kept caged for up to 30 years. Most farmed bears are starved and dehydrated, and suffer from multiple diseases. Fortunately the Vietnamese government has outlawed bear farming and slowly the authorities are negotiating their release to Animal Asia’s sanctuary,

Animals Asia will begin the mass evacuation of captive bears from Vietnam’s Quang Ninh province – on Tuesday 23rd June, with at least 14 bears to be freed from the illegal bile trade.
The 14 moon bears are presently spread out over 10 farms in the region, which is home to World Heritage site Halong Bay. Animals Asia’s expects the rescue to continue for four days, concluding on Friday 26th.
Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:
“We’ve been working since 2007 to end bear bile farming in Halong Bay – pushing year after year to educate tourists against the use of bear bile and working with the local authorities to build a relationship. That has intensified since late last year when we started pushing hard for a remit to rescue these long-suffering animals. We are relieved that the first large scale transfer of bears can now finally take place.

FROM THISebbf_home_304x160.1a00231ee896ee0be2d1e32a9adb51eb

TO THIS ourwor-endbearbilefarming-sanctuaries-vietnamesanctuarty-banner.cfc43686593cd03628122be418cfae13

You can follow the latest rescue live over the next 4 days http://bit.ly/h2hTimeline

You can visit the rescued bears living in bear paradise at the sanctuary https://www.animalsasia.org/intl/our-work/end-bear-bile-farming/what-we-do/bear-sanctuaries/vietnam-bear-sanctuary/vietnam-bear-sanctuary.html

Gerard Bertrand 6 Course Wine&Dine in Hanoi

We are pleased to invite you to our next Wine & Dine event on the Friday 15th of May.

Our Chef “Benjamin Rascalou” has designed for this special occasion a 6-course fine-dining menu including 3 starters, a roasted camembert and a selection of chocolate delicacies for the final touch. The master piece, a marinated Australian Prime be
f Tenderloin in 5 peppers, will be served for main.

Each course will be paired by a different wine from “Gerard Bertrand”, one of the most renowned wine maker of South-West France, including their famous and excellent “Cigalus” and “l’Hospitalitas” (See tasting notes attached).
To know more about Gerard Bertrand, please visit is website: http://www.gerard-bertrand.com/en

Come to enjoy yourself with a delightful and unique epicurean experience at La Badiane for only 2,100,000VND / person. (Please be informed, the number of guests is limited to 25 so we highly encourage you to book as soon as possible if you would like to join us)

Reservation:
Email: florent.labadiane@gmail.com or labadianehanoi@yahoo.fr
Tel: (04) 39.42.45.09

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Cinghiale in dolceforte – Wild Boar in Red Wine and Bitter Chocolate

chinghiale

This traditional Tuscan recipe dates back to the early 1500s, evolving between the Renaissence and the Baroque. Cinghiale in Dolceforte is a complex dish involving nearly twenty ingredients, creating multiple layers of flavor. It’s a great supper dish for cold weather, or a very impressive dinner party main dish, and it can be served with Creamy Polenta. The dish has an exuberant layering of flavors and use of candied fruits, nuts, bitter  chocolate and red wine, Italian chefs often prefer using half and half: Port and Tuscan red wine for cooking, and the choice of a Tuscan red wine to drink with this dish in an interesting one,  Un Chianti Classico oppure, perché no?, un Brunello di Montalcino…. From Chianti Classico to Brunello di Montalcino….. Read Darren Gall’s wine choices…

The Blood Of Jove: http://www.urban-flavours.com/2014/12/the-blood-of-jove/sfondo_bdv_tignanello_0-630x367

THE RECIPE

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Ingredients

  • MARINADE:
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • STEW:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried red chili pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 g) prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds wild boar, (if unavailable: stew beef, pork shoulder or other game meat, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • (Strained marinade liquid; see above)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dried prunes, coarsely chopped (plumped in a small amount of warm water, then drained well)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon raisins (plumped in a small amount of warm water, then drained well)
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), grated
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly parsley leaves, finely chopped, for garnish
Preparation

For the marinade:

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, bring all of the marinade ingredients to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool completely. Submerge the chopped raw meat in the marinade and refrigerate, covered, for 48 hours.

Strain the meat and vegetables out of the liquid (retaining the marinade liquid). Separate meat from vegetables and discard vegetables and bay leaf.

For the stew:

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the garlic in the olive oil just until it turns lightly golden. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute until vegetables are softened and onion is transparent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chili pepper flakes and saute for another 30 seconds. Stir in the prosciutto and saute for about 1 minute.

Pat the pieces of meat with a paper towel until dried well, then add to the pot and stir just until browned. Pour in the strained marinade liquid and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the bay leaf. prunes and sugar and return to a simmer. Cover and let simmer over low heat until meat is very tender, about 2 hours.

When meat is tender, stir in the orange zest, raisins, pine nuts, and grated chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and all ingredients are well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as necessary.

Serve over creamy bowls of polenta, sprinkled with finely chopped fresh parsley or nipitella.

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Buon appetito da Jess Andrenelli

Bun Cha with good company – Hanoi’s Cat Cafés

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In Asia, there’s a growing demand for quirky cat cafés where customers can enjoy coffee and cake while petting adorable kitties. Once considered a mainly Japanese phenomenon, Cat Cafes are now spreading across the globe. A number of feline-friendly cafes have opened in Europe and the U.S.

Lauren Pears – the founder of London’s first Cat Cafe – said demand is going to increase. “As cities become more densely populated – and the option to have a pet is less likely – of course cat cafes are going to be more popular,” “Cats have a very special relationship with humans, and if you can’t get that at home, people are going to look elsewhere.”

I’ve discovered a fabulous Cat Café here in Hanoi… Actually it’s more of a café cum restaurant in To Ngoc Van near the Sedona Suites… Here, it’s Bun Cha, which has what it takes to shake Pho off its perch as Vietnam’s most-loved dish.  Small, fragrant minced-pork patties grilled over charcoal, then delivered to your table with bowls of hot broth, round rice noodles (bun), loads of herbs, chopped chilli and garlic, and a platter of Nem Cua Be (crisp spring rolls stuffed with crab meat). You dip the pork and the spring rolls in the broth in a multi-textured frenzy of freshness, tang, smoke and scorch…Plus you get the sweet kitty as extra company, Ahh this Hanoi Cat Café is the best…

 

Rigatoni al Granchio – Recipe

Rigatoni sugo granchi

This recipe celebrates all that is delicious about crab. The combined sweetness of the crab and tomatoes is a great flavour match for the fresh, aniseedy kick of the fennel.

 

olive oil
2 large fennel bulbs
4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, stalks finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 lemons
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
250 g cherry tomatoes, on the vine
500 g rigatoni, dried or fresh
250 g undressed brown crabmeat, from sustainable sources
250 g white crabmeat, from sustainable sources

 

Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Peel and finely chop the outer layers of the fennel. Set the leafy tops and inner hearts aside to make a salad later. Add the chopped fennel and garlic to the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until soft.

Add the parsley stalks, chilli flakes, cinnamon and fennel seeds to the pan and fry for 2–3 minutes. Finely grate in the zest from your 2 lemons (reserve the lemons) and add the tinned tomatoes. Sit the cherry tomatoes, vines and all, on top to poach. Cover, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

While the pasta and sauce are cooking away, crack on with the salad. Push the reserved fennel hearts and one of the zested lemons through the thinnest slicing attachment on your food processor – or use a mandolin (or a knife). Tip into a bowl and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the reserved fennel tops and gently toss with your fingers. Put aside until you’re ready to serve.

Check the tomato sauce – it should look rich and glossy and the tomatoes should be soft and squashy. Carefully pick out and discard the vine, leaving the tomatoes in the pan. Gently stir in the brown crabmeat and let it heat up.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of cooking water, then gently fold it through the ragù with the white crabmeat, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Serve the pasta on a lovely big platter with the fennel salad bang on top so you can mix and toss the two together as you serve. Chop the remaining lemon into wedges and serve on the side for squeezing over. The mix of flavours is a knockout!

BUON APPETITO!!!!

Recipe – Sarde in Saor – an antipasto with fresh sardines

One of my favourite Italian antipasti, perfect for an aperitif is sarde in saor – fried fresh sardine fillets marinated in softly cooked white onions, usually with vinegar, raisins and pine nuts, all preferably prepared the day before serving. sarde-in-saor-feature-101

The sharpness of the vinegar wakens the tastebuds, while the sweetness of the odd raisin here or there and the creamy nuttiness of the pine nuts balances the sourness. It is the ultimate sweet and sour, or agrodolce, dish.

Sarde in Saor
12 fresh sardines, cleaned, heads and backbone removed and butterflied
Flour for dusting
Vegetable, seed or olive oil for frying
Some white wine
a handful of raisins
1 white onion
250 ml of white wine vinegar
1 clove, ground or crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground or crushed
freshly ground black pepper
a handful of pine nuts
Dust the sardine fillets in flour and deep fry in plenty of oil until golden and crisp. Season with salt and set aside on some paper towel to drain until needed.
Soak the raisins in some white wine to soften them. Meanwhile, slice the white onion finely and saute gently in some olive oil until they are transparent, then add the vinegar, pepper and spices. Let it cook for a few minutes then remove from heat.
In a small terrine or deep dish, place a layer of sardines, top them with some of the onions, some of the raisins (drained) and pine nuts, and continue layering until the sardines are used up, then top with a layer of onions, raisins, pine nuts and finish with the vinegar sauce poured over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate at least 24 hours before serving.
Serve as part of an antipasto, together with a selection of olives and crostini. These are best eaten at room temperature, removing from the fridge a couple of hours beforehand.

Il faro culinary tour to the Cinque Terre Liguria

 

 

Cinque Terre cuisine has not changed much, thanks to the fact that its inhabitants love the traditional dishes. It is a simple cuisine, based on fish and vegetables from the hillsides.
Cinque Terre cuisine pays special attention to the correct use of spices and aromatic herbs that naturally grow here: rosmary, thyme, marjoram, sage, borrage and a fantastic basil are just a few exemples.
Raviloli di Porro e Pesto, with fresh basil and pine nuts, polpo all’inferno, octopus cooked with bay leaves, marjoran, tomato, and chili pepper and many other fabulous dishes.

 

From the 7th to the 13th of July – Arrivederci.

liguria