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Recipe: Beef And Guinness Stew

Beef And Guinness Stew
A classic Irish dish, perfect for cold autumn evening! Serves four.
  • 200ml of Guinness
  • 400g beef, diced into one inch chunks
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 1 large carrot - diced
  • 1 large celery - diced
  • 1 large parsnip - diced
  • 1 litre of beef stock
  • sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
  • champ potato (creamed mash potato and Spring Onion)

Irish beef stew

  1. Stir fry the beef, add the vegetables and cook until tender. 
  2. Then pour the guinness, and reduce by half.  
  3. Add the beef stock and herbs and simmer very slowly for between half an hour and an hour and a half.  
  4. Serve with the champ potato and honey roast carrot and parsnip.

Tip: Stew is always better made one day in advance.


Recipe: Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
Easy and versatile recipe which has stood the test of time as an Irish classic.


  • 500g (1lb) white flour, preferably unbleached
  • 1 level teaspoon salt
  • 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 350-400ml buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 190*C.  
  2. Grease and flour a loaf tin.  
  3. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.  
  4. Add the buttermilk, and then whisk in the egg and honey.  
  5. Form a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and then pour in the wet mixture.  
  6. Add a little extra flour if you find the dough is too wet and sticky.  
  7. Using a wooden spoon, bring the mixture together to form a dough.  
  8. Shape into a rough oval and place in the loaf tin.  
  9. Sprinkle with a little flour on top and bake in the oven for 35 minutes.  

irish bread

Allow to cool before slicing and enjoying with a little butter
Tip: Add in chopped spinach or even some grated cheddarfor an additional tasty flavour

Portugal - Bike tour: The Douro Valley

We are currently working with the Portugese Tourism Commission and will be offering a new tour in Portugal in 2018/19.  Stand by for more information. 
Portugal - Bike tour: The Douro Valley
It was, in 1756, the first demarcated and regulated wine region in the world.  The wild slopes of the valley transformed themselves, through the work of generations, in terraces to plant the vines that produce the famous Port, excellent DOC Douro wine, sparkling wine and Muscat. 

This impressive landscape was considered World Heritage by the UNESCO in 2001, as a living evolving cultural landscape - the Douro Valley.  In the Valley of the river Douro and its tributaries, the harmonious interaction between Man and Nature coexists with another, possibly more natural or derelict - the one of the National Parks of Douro International, of Alvão or, yet even further, the Geopark of Arouca.

The River Douro flows from the Spanish border to the east of Porto and, depending on the time of the year, its slopes may be decorated with Almond or Cherry blossom trees.
Here are some of our recommendations for a visit to the Douro Valley.
 douro valley
Visit the Douro Museum in Régua or the Casa de Mateus Foundation in Vila Real and the many quintas that produce Port Wine and Douro Wine thanks to the microclimate in the Valley.  If you are coming in Harvest Labour season, you can witness the grapes being picked or explore the Douro International Natural Park (85000 ha) and the Alvão Natural Park (7220 ha).  Located in the Upper Douro, Vila Nova de Foz Cõa saw its name cross borders due to the discovery of its Paleolithic open air Rock Art.  These rocks are estimated to be over 20000 years old.  As World Heritage, this form of prehistoric art got much fame and currently is one of the reasons tourists visit.  The art covers an area of 17km.

The Rock Art of Côa Valley and the Archeological Park, Douro International Natural Park and the Alvão Natural Park, the Douro Valley, The Douro Museum, the Côa Museum, Monuments, the harvest, gastronomy and wine, the Douro cruises, the Casa de Mateus Foundation, the Monastery of Salzedas and the Shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remédio are all worth further exploration if you have the time.

For those of you interested in exploring the rich gastronomic culture of the region, you could do worse by trying the traditional recipes accompanied by the highly respected Wines in quintas or in the excellent local restaurants.

Scotland - Glasgow Attractions, Hotels and Restaurants

Scotland - Glasgow Attractions, Hotels and Restaurants

Glasgow is the other of the two biggest and intriguing cities in Scotland. Its rich history and contribution to the world over the centuries demonstrates Glasgow is a city which has always punched above its weight. No trip to Glasgow is complete without a kilt of MacGregor & MacDuff. Our intern, Mark Zwerus, named a few attractions, hotels and restaurants.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has over 8000 outstanding works from almost every famous artist in the world. You can walk around yourself or take a guided tour or an audio tour to get more information about the artist or the works. 
The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel
As the name suggests, the Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel is situated on the river Clyde. This very modern building tells the tales of our current ways of transport and how it got to the current state. Walk among the very first trains or take a look at the first bicycles.
City Chambers
In the center, on George’s Square, are the City Chambers. They still serve as the town hall even though they are over 100 years old. The interior reflects this perfectly as the building is furnished like it would have been 100 years ago. The tour guides are very enthusiastic and share everything with great interest.
 glasgow chambers
Scotland Street School Museum
Designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh, The Scotland Street School Museum is one of the city’s architectural highlights. It tells the story of the rapid evolution and development of Scottish schools in the 20th century with a particular focus on classrooms and subjects
Tennents Wellpark Brewery
Tennents welcomes you into their very first, and still operational, brewery to take a look behind the scenes of a 450 year old beer. They take you on a tour through time to experience their exquisite brewing from long ago to the present day. See the machines up close while the tour guides explain what the machines do and how they evolved over the years.
Grand Central Hotel 
Grand Central Hotel is a four star hotel in the middle of the city and every attraction in the city is within walking distance. The interior focusses mainly on elegance and that is clearly noticeable from the moment you set foot in the hotel. The rooms are exactly like that, very attractive and well appointed.
ABode Glasgow
The four star ABode hotel is located within a roman building with lots of pillars. It is situated in the lively city center. The lobby is elegant and the old fashioned elevator is an exquisite touch. The rooms are very well decorated and very relaxing to make sure you can have the best experience.
 ABode hotel
The Sandyford Hotel
The Sandyford Hotel is a three star hotel and very close to the city centre. The rooms are decorated in a modern style and the lobby is appealing. The pillars in the middle of the lobby contribute to the style of the hotel. As an alternative to walking to and from the hotel, the HopOn bus stops just outside the hotel.
Blythswood Square
Glasgow is Edinburgh's edgier brother and, as such to stay in a Georgian townhouse, in the former red-light district, could make for an interesting dinner party conversation in the future.  Once the clubhouse of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, that spirit lives on in the hotel's chandeliered common areas, while bedrooms feature a blood red lampshade in the window - a cheeky nod to the neighbourhood's history.
Two Fat Ladies At The Buttery
The Two Fat Ladies A The Buttery offers more than a quirky name. The quality of the food is sublime (the roast supreme is one of my favourites) and the service is outstanding. The atmosphere is very pleasant and the waiters are dressed in traditional clothing.
The Western Club Restaurant
The Western Club is extraordinarily luxurious. The food is fantastic and I highly recommend the sirloin of Buccleuch beef. The quiet atmosphere makes this the ideal place for a calm and peaceful dinner in the city center of Glasgow.
Hutchesons City Grill
Located inside a converted hospital, Hutchesons City Grill lets you eat your meal in style. The atmosphere is very relaxed and soothing and the knowledgeable staff put their heart and soul into the food, which is mostly beef.

Scotland - Edinburgh Attractions, Hotels and Restaurants

Scotland - Edinburgh Attractions, Hotels and Restaurants
Scotland offers a lot of highlights in its cities. The most known city is without a doubt Edinburgh. This thrilling big city has so many amazing attractions that you almost can’t go to Scotland without seeing Edinburgh. In this blog, our intern Mark Zwerus, who has been in the city numerous times,  will share his recommendations with you.

Top attractions in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Scotland. This magnificent castle is absolutely worth the visit as it houses the National Museum of War, the Crown Jewels and the Royal Palace and many more attractions all related to the history of Scotland and its residents.
National museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland exhibits treasures found from all over the world and tells the story of global history. The museum has nine galleries, each with their own theme and with treasures on exhibition.
 national museum of scotland
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse houses a museum where you can learn everything about the Scottish royal families and their legacy. The Great Gallery houses portraits of the family painted by Jacob de Wet.
The Royal Mile
Located in the centre of Old Town, this road, that is exactly one Scottish mile (which is longer than an Imperial Mile) long, leads from Edinburgh Castle to the palace of Holyroodhouse. The road features many architecturally significant buildings and shops where you can buy typical Scottish whiskey or a kilt and much more.
The Whisky Experience
On the Royal Mile, you will find the Whisky Experience. You can take a tour through time and see the development of Scotch whisky and see the huge collection of different whiskies all kept there. Or you can become proficient in making whisky during the trainings they give. Afterwards you can try all different kinds of whisky for yourself in the restaurant. 

The Howard
The Howard offers exceptional service and very large, comfortable and old-fashioned rooms. The five star hotel is within walking distance of the buzzing centre and Stockbridge.
  the howard
The Bonham
The Bonham Hotel oozes Scottish charm and culture and is within walking distance of the city centre. The exterior conceals the traditional interior of the hotel. The rooms in this four star hotel are modern with a classical finishing touch to make them look unique.
The Old Waverley
The Old Waverley is a very centrally located three star hotel in the middle of New Town (the new part of the city). The hotel’s restaurant is well regarded and has a relaxing vibe, even in the buzzing center. The rooms are above three star standards and very comfortable. The location of the hotel also offers a great view of Old Town’s skyline at night.
The Balmoral
In Edinburgh your address is everything, is what you realise as you navigate your way through one of the city's most prestigious, The Balmoral - at the confluence of the old town and the new.  Part of the Rocco Forte collection, it boasts 188 grand suites. You eat one of the best meals in their Michelin-starred restaurant, and experienced Scottish sophistication at its best with the hotel's collection of over 400 Scottish whiskies.

The Table
Enjoy high quality Scottish food in a relaxed atmosphere in The Table. The delicious dishes such as specialties like wild venison with parsley from the Scottish Highlands are prepared as you talk and interact with the friendly chef who enjoys sharing his passion with you.
 the table 2
Forage And Chatter
Forage And Chatter is a restaurant with outstanding staff and food. The wild duck they serve is excellent and the presentation is top quality. Furthermore, the restaurant has a soothing and peaceful atmosphere and feels really picturesque in as large a city as Edinburgh.
Thanks to these 3 goofballs for their invaluable assistance, insights, unique perspectives,…

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