Tag Archives: Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa

Festive Wines

Christmas is fast approaching and last minute preparations are well under way to make sure we are all ready here at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa.

I am busy putting the finishing touches to the wine list for the festive season. As I was doing it, I thought I would share with you a few wines I think you must try.

White

2011 Môreson, Miss Molly, Kitchen Thief, Sauvignon Blanc, Coastal Region, SA
£22.00 – special price for December

A beautiful rich, dry style of Sauvignon Blanc. It has underlying flavours of tropical fruits and granny smith apples. This wine goes wonderfully with foods such as salads, turkey, white meat and sauces. Great to drink with a starter or with the Christmas main course.

Red

2008, Moreson, Miss Molly, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Coastal Region, SA
£22.00 – special price for December.

This is a fresh, ripe red wine with concentrated red fruits. Full bodied with oak overtones ending in a soft dry finish. Matches well with red meats such as beef and lamb but also would go nicely with turkey.

So have a try of these wines at home or here in the Winepress at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa and let me know your feedback.

Chris Neeves, Beverage Manager Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa

Five tips to pick the perfect venue for your conference

5 Tips on Picking Your Conference Venue

Facilities

Every conference is different, which is why it’s important to find out about a venue’s facilities before selecting a venue for your conference or meeting. As well as adequate meeting spaces, some hotels as such Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa, will have the benefit of a spa that can be used by all residents at no extra cost. Having a golf course nearby or grounds to be able to organise team activities can also be a benefit.

Location, Location, Location

One of the main reasons a venue is chosen is its location. That’s why choosing a venue that is accessible by car and public transport is ideal. Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa is located on the A339, close to the M4 (Jct 13) and is a 10 minute taxi journey from Newbury station.

Catering

When attending a conference you expect there to be a good variety of food and for everyone’s needs to be catered for. From breakfast to snacks, lunch and dinner, all of these are important. If you can why not visit the location, see the menus and ask if there is flexibility for dietaries and special requests.

Quality

High standards are so important. Try to speak to friends family that may have visited the location before and ask for their feedback. Review sites such as Tripadvisor can also be a helpful resource.

Dedicated Coordinator

It is much easier to plan an event or conference if you can liaise with one person. Elements of your event will not be missed if you know you will have one point of contact at the venue. Try and meet the organiser in advance to go through the planning if you are able to.

Here at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa we offer a wide range of high quality conference facilities. 111 bedrooms, private car parking, award winning restaurant, 18 hole golf course and a state of the art Spa & Health Club. We offer dedicated and specialist coordinators onsite who will look after you and your needs. For more information, please see our website: http://www.donningtonvalley.co.uk/meetings.asp or contact the hotel directly on 01635 551199.

Our Guide to Hip Raises

This exercise will work your glutes, hamstrings, your core and lower back muscles. Before you give it a go, look at the teaching points below.

  • Lie on your back on the mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor

  • Raise your hips off the floor so that your body is in a straight line from knees to shoulders

  • Pause for 3 seconds in this positioning before lowering your hips back down to the floor

This is a great excercise you can do at home to firm up your hips and glutes, why not give it a go?

For more information on the Health Club at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa, and to try our 6 week membership offer see our website for detailshttp://www.donningtonvalley.co.uk/spa_trialmembership.asp

The Dumbbell Split Squat

An easy free weights exercise that targets the three major muscle groups in your lower body, your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Here’s how to perform the exercise safely.

  • Pick up a pair of dumbbells and hold them by your side
  • Take a big step forward so you are standing in a split stance
  • Your front foot should be flat to the floor, with the heel on your back foot raised off the floor
  • Lower your back leg until your knee is just off the floor
  • Pause at the bottom of the movement before pushing yourself back up to the standing position

Complete all your reps on the same leg before swapping over to work the other leg.

If you would like more information on these exercises or to book an

appointment with a personal trainer call 01635 551188

Recipe: A Raspberry Summer Dessert

Try making this delicious dessert at home and enjoy al-fresco on a wonderful summer’s evening or pop down to Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa and our experienced dessert chefs will whip one up for you.

Local farm raspberries, white chocolate milles feuille, black pepper tuile and raspberry reduction

Ingredients

Crispy vanilla sponge:

2 whole eggs
42g caster sugar
½ vanilla pod
45g plain flour

White chocolate filling (mousse):

165ml double cream
20g caster sugar
80g white chocolate

Black pepper tuile (a thin, crisp biscuit):

17g soft butter
17g icing sugar
1 egg white
18g plain flour
A very small tbsp crushed black pepper

Raspberry reduction:

84g fresh raspberries
46g caster sugar
34 ml water
1 tsp glucose

Method (serves 4):

CRISPY VANILLA SPONGE:

1. Heat the oven to 170c
2. Whip the whole eggs with caster sugar to soft peaks
3. Split the vanilla pod with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds
4. Add the vanilla seeds to the egg and sugar mixture and gently fold in the plain flour
5. Put baking paper on a baking tray and spread the mixture evenly on it
6. Bake it at 170c for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

WHITE CHOCOLATE FILLING ( MOUSSE):

1. Whip the double cream with caster sugar
2. Melt the white chocolate in a bain-marie (hot-water bath)
3. Fold the cream into the white chocolate quickly and gently to ensure that the maximum amount of air is retained in the mixture.

BLACK PEPPER TUILE:

1. Beat the soft butter with icing sugar until smooth
2. Add the egg white and mix in well
3. Sieve the flour and fold into the mixture with the black pepper until combined.
4. Bake at 200°Cuntil golden brown, about 6-8minutes. (Do not under bake)
5.  Upon removal from oven, use a metal spatula to lift the cookies of the tray, and place on a rolling pin to obtain the tuile shape or place upside down in a tuile sheet.

Raspberry reduction:

1. Boil the fresh raspberries with water, caster sugar and glucose to 110c in a pan
Cool it down pass through a seive.

Assemble the dish by placing a layer of the white chocolate mousse between rectangles of the sponge. Top with a row of fresh raspberries and the tuile biscuit. Dot some of the raspberry reduction on the plate and serve.

Enjoy!
Abraham, Head Pastry Chef

Visit our website for Alfresco dining at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa

Wedding Planning Tips

  1.  Work out your budget, and stick to it or you will fall in love with all the things you can’t have!
  2.  Think about your guest list – who do you really have to have, who would you like if possible and who will be happy with an evening invite. It will make finding a suitable room at  your prospective venues much easier if you have a minimum number
  3. Make a list of things you think you want and don’t want in a venue – there is no point looking around a venue for a candle lit wedding breakfast if they don’t allow candles
  4. Make a list of all the parts of the wedding package or items that you will want on your day, you don’t want to be paying for elements you don’t want
  5. Ask for a bespoke quote based on your items so you can see the full costs of your plans and don’t be afraid to ask to have it re-calculated if you want to add items in or take them  out
  6. When trying on your dress sit down – you need to be able to eat that amazing 3 course meal you have paid for 
  7.  Try the food at your venue, you cannot be expected to pay for food for all your guests without having either eaten in the restaurant or had a menu tasting
  8. Tailor your menu to what you want, you have every right to change it to make it perfect for you and your guests tastes
  9. Don’t stress about the weather! If the forecast isn’t bright sunshine then be prepared to work with it and have fun – have some pretty umbrellas at the ready and some wellies for some fun photos – your photographer doesn’t need to stay dry!
  10.  Remember that if you are having a civil ceremony or partnership, that the venue is not allowed to book the registrar. You should contact them as soon as possible to book this directly with them, without them it is not legal!

If you are searching for a wedding venue in Berkshire why not call 01635 568106 and book an appointment with Beth Willis, our wedding co-ordinator at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa.

Donnington Valley Hotel Wedding Fair – Sunday 25th September – FREE

Meet Beth, over 25 wedding experts and be treated to a VIP tour of the venue. For further information, please visit:
http://www.donningtonvalley.co.uk/events_sepoct.asp

A Summer Coffee Cocktail

Coffee plays a crucial role in today’s modern society. In 2004, coffee was the top agricultural export in twelve countries. The coffee we use here at Donnington is Lavazza, an Italian roasted bean. Although coffee was not invented in Italy, coffee is very much part of the Italian culture.

Although coffee is traditionally served as a hot drink, it’s also a great ingredient for a perfect summer cocktail. Here at Donnington Valley we have our own range of cocktails named after Greek gods in keeping with name of our main bar, Bacchus bar.  Our coffee of the month is coffee cocktail Hades, a cool coffee digestive.

Hades is known as King of the Underworld, and the hidden wealth of the Earth and brother to Zeus.

How to make Hades.
50ml – Baileys
25ml – milk
25ml – cream
1 shot – Lavazza espresso shot
25ml – Jameson’s Whisky

Shake all ingredients together and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with chocolate powder and a coffee bean.

Why not stop by the bar at Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa and try this or one of our other coctails? www.donningtonvalley.co.uk

Quick question for you coffee lovers what is the rarest and most expensive cups of coffee in the world?

A) Kopi Luwak

Rob Smith
Bar Manager

Tone Up For The Summer

Here are some effective exercises to get your abs in shape this summer.

Bicycle CrunchBicycle Crunch

  1. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground
  2. Put your hands beside your head
  3. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle motion
  4. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee
  5. Breathe evenly throughout the exercise
  6. To make it easier, keep your feet flat on the floor and go through the bicycle motion one leg at a time.

Long Arm Crunch

  1. Lie on your back with your arms over your head with hands clasped and arms close to your ears
  2. Keep your knees bent with feet flat on the floor
  3. Contract your abs and lift your shoulder blades off the floor.
  4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps
  5. An easier option is to keep hands on your temples.

We have a wide range of membership options available and many popular classes at Donnington Valley Health Club and Spa. Take a look at our website for more information.

Home to PGA Professionals

Donnington Valley Golf Club is home to a selected group of PGA Professionals on hand at the pro shop, offering expert advice on purchases, and hints and tips on how to improve your game. This week, one of our pros, Dieter Strohbach, offers us his top ten tips for an improved game:

  1. Make sure you have good posture
  2. Correct your grip if incorrect, you will never see a good golfer with a bad grip
  3. Always aim where you want the ball to go
  4. Swing easy, don’t try and beat the ball into submission
  5. Great impact with the ball will encourage great shots
  6. Hold your finish position as this will ensure good balance
  7. Balance, rhythm and timing are key
  8. Look after your clubs and they will look after you
  9. A good pair of shoes is a must.  If your feet are sore, you won’t play well
  10. Practice, lessons and more practice will revolutionize your game.

If you would like more expert advice, stop by the pro shop on your next visit to Donnington Valley Golf Club and enquire about our fitting service and group or individual tuition.

The Season of Asparagus and Strawberries

Be sure to make the most of summer foods while they’re in season. Read on to find out more about two of my summer favourites, asparagus and strawberries.

Asparagus
British asparagus has a short season and is available from May to June. With this in mind it is well worth making the most of this lovely intense savoury flavour whilst it is at its best. Apart from being delicious, asparagus has high levels of vitamins A and C, iron and potassium, perfect for a healthy lifestyle.

If the spears are quite large simply break off the larger end of the spear and throw the woody ends away. Asparagus will naturally break where the woody stems give way to the tender part of the vegetable. You can use this marvellous vegetable for a starter, light lunch or incorporate it into a main meal. One of my favourites, which we make here in the Winepress, is simply to grill the asparagus and serve with a garlic mayonnaise. The simple preparation enhances the flavour of this wonderful ingredient, making it a wonderful seasonal treat. Alternatively why not try using asparagus in a creamy risotto or in a salad with bacon and salad leaves topped with a poached egg.

Strawberries

The arrival of the first British strawberries into the kitchen always brings a smile to my face. For me they are a true taste of summer.

Strawberries have been a key ingredient for classic British summer foods for many years. Desserts such as Eton Mess, summer pudding and the classic strawberries and cream are a few to mention. To get the very best flavour, I recommend eating them at room temperature, or even placing them in the sun for an hour or so, as this brings out their natural sweet flavour and colour.

As a delicious indulgent treat, I like to dip whole strawberries into melted dark chocolate and set aside until firm. You could serve these as petit fours for a dinner party or for children’s parties.

Strawberries need not be confined to the dessert menu, why not thinly slice strawberries and place them over a summer salad – delicious! Using a little balsamic vinegar or freshly ground black pepper enhances their fresh flavour. Make the most of these seasons’ strawberries and enjoy them in as many ways as possible, easy to do as they are so versatile. Why not let us know about any unusual combinations you have tried.

Why not pop over to Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa and let us prepare a mouthwatering meal using the best seasonal ingredients.

Mesut Sen
Sous Chef at Donnginton Valley Hotel and Spa