Monday, 14 September 2015

A Taste of Newbridge at The Celtic Manor

Eton Mess, Meringue, Newbridge on Usk, The Celtic Manor Resort

From garden to plate in a matter of minutes, The Celtic Manor's Newbridge on Usk team delight guests with the freshest of ingredients where ever possible.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting this rural retreat to learn how the Newbridge on Usk team achieve this with a tour and hands-on masterclass.

Looking for some dinner inspiration? Read on for tempting tips and recipes from my experience.

Newbridge on Usk, The Celtic Manor, Exterior

Newbridge on Usk is located north of the main hotel and golf course. Surrounded by rolling hills and overlooking the river, it's perfectly positioned for a relaxing and refined dining experience.

The Celtic Manor Golf Course, Winter
View approaching Newbridge on Usk (01/2015).

You may already be aware of my other visit to Newbridge on Usk back in January when I experienced their scrumptious cream tea.

Behind an outdoor seating area lies their garden where courgettes, apples, pumpkins and more can be picked and prepared for serving in no time. 
August may have been rather wet around this part of the world, but at least everything now looks ripe and rosy! 

Apple tree, Kitchen Garden, Newbridge on Usk
Newbridge on usk outside, seating area, kitchen garden

Newbridge on Usk is located near the end of the river's tidal current meaning salmon fish thrive in this area. The Resort also offers fishing trips for enthusiasts around here.

Newbridge on Usk, olives, nuts
Newbridge on Usk, interior
Newbridge on Usk, Interior view, The Celtic Manor
The warm and inviting interior.

The Garden to Plate demonstration started with Head Chef Adam making the most scrumptious Eton Mess I've come to taste! No, really! 

Using a variety of textures and flavours for each meringue, the dessert was a very light and luscious treat.

Meringues, Newbridge on Usk, Cooking Masterclass

If you'd like to try making meringue, here's a simple recipe with some tips from the Chef:

ITALIAN MERINGUE:
- 300g Caster Sugar
- 25g Liquid Glucose
- 4 Egg Whites
- 60g Water

Food masterclass, Newbridge on Usk, meringue

Firstly; the sugar, water and glucose are put into a saucepan on a medium heat and brought to boil.
The egg whites are whisked in a food mixer when the syrup reaches 110°c (check with a temperature probe if you try this at home).

Adam mentioned temperature is crucial to the meringues texture, so when the syrup reached 118°c it was slowly poured into the stiffened egg whites and whisked until cool.

Piping bag, meringues, cooking demonstration

Finally, the mixture is put into a piping bag and squeezed through. This can be made up to a day before use if necessary.

Meringues, blowtorch
Eton Mess, Edible Flowers, Cucumber flowers, Strawberry soup, Dessert, The Celtic Manor

Adding the torched, crispy meringues to a plate, Adam finished the dessert with a few fresh strawberries, a drizzle of strawberry soup and edible flowers like the yellow cucumber petals.

French and turkish delight meringues were also added to give the dish more depth and flavour. The turkish delight one's are made with rose water and red or pink food colouring.

Eton Mess, Edible Flowers, Strawberry Soup, Dessert
Meringue, Dessert, Turkish Delight, The Celtic Manor, Taste Testing
From crumbly to creamy, the variety of textures is tantalising right?!

Digesting my delicious dessert sample, Ronan (the Newbridge on Usk Manager) began a cocktail making class, explaining they brew their own unique mixtures on site.
It's great to hear they source many of their quality products locally, starting of course in their own garden.

Their passion and commitment to this is inspiring!

Spiced Rum, Cocktail making

The 'Newbridge Spiced Rum' is jarred for up to a week or more to enhance the warm flavours of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Strawberry, cocktail making, masterclass, The Celtic Manor

For those already missing summer, the 'Newbridge Summer Fizz' is like a sunny June afternoon in a glass with it's tarragon gin, strawberries and chilled prosecco. 

Summer fizz, gin, prosecco

A staple drink for many is the mojito, and the Newbridge team have this down to an art!

INGREDIENTS:
- 50ml mojito rum
- 1/2 lime in wedges
- 6 mint leaves
- Dash sugar syrup
- Soda
- Crushed ice

Mojito, mint leaves, muddling, cocktails

First you muddle the lime, rum and sugar syrup in glass before bruising the mint leaves (clap firmly between your hands) and add it to the glass.
I'm told this helps release the oils that contain the flavour without overpowering the beverage through crushing/muddling.

Mojito, The Celtic Manor

Crushed ice is then added to the glass and lightly stirred before topping with soda water. Yes it was very refreshing!

I was joined by a few fellow bloggers for this event, Kacie "The Rare Welsh Bit" (and her friend Sarah), Leanne "A Slice of My Life Wales" and Sarah "Hills & Daffodils" who, like me, were invited to give cocktail making a try.

Cocktail class, Masterclass, The Celtic Manor, Blogger Event

Rolling up my sleeves I tried the 'Newbridge South Seas' - containing spiced rum, red wine, lemon juice and lemonade. It's an usual concoction, however totally works. I'd recommend trying if you pay Newbridge on Usk a visit!
Hamper, The Celtic Manor, Infusions, Bread

I was very grateful to takeaway some bread and bottled mixtures to continue my cocktail making adventures at home!

For now my last taste of Newbridge was dunked into some homemade soup, but I look forward to revisiting soon for dinner and sharing more pictures on my social media pages.

Bread, soup, The Celtic Manor

So dessert and drinks are sorted... what about dinner? See my other masterclass at The Celtic Manor featuring a salt baked crusted lamb by clicking here

My experience (including food and drinks) was complimentary. Opinions are my own
Thanks again to The Celtic Manor Resort for inviting me, and the Newbridge on Usk team for hosting an inspiring and insightful event.

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