Monthly Archives: November 2016

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Aroma’s “scent” from nature – starting your fragrant garden

With summer comes gardens in full bloom, bursts of colour and an appeal to the senses.

For those feeling weighed down,  it is time to revive yourself in time for the holiday season, so that you feel fresh and energised to enjoy a well-deserved break.

Working in the garden is not only rewarding, it is also a health factor. With weeding, watering, trimming, planting and mowing, one can get a daily dose of exercise in a fun and stress-free way. The garden may also serve as a rejuvenator as it can provide aromatic fragrances from certain herbs and flowers that reduce anxiety and stress, which has been known to be the underlying cause of a number of emotional and physical disorders such as depression, heart attack, anxiety and more.

If you have not yet planted aromatic flowers or herbs, you may find that this is the perfect time to create your perfect fragrant garden, whether it is within your large garden, a small pot-planted garden on the patio where you have your morning tea, a vertical garden on a flat balcony, or near a bench you have placed in the garden where you enjoy reading a book.

Here are Four of the most common type of herbs and flowers with aromatic benefits for you to plant in your garden:

  • Lavender: Both the leaves and the flowers give off a strong and relaxing scent. The benefits of having this herb in your garden is that it promotes relaxation and has a calming effect.
  • Mint: Has a strong, delicious scent. The smell of mint leaves is said to boost memory and alertness. Mint leaves can also be ingested and assists with nausea, digestion and respiratory disorders.
  • Rose: These beautiful flowers can produce a sweet scent. Oftentimes people put their nose to the petals to smell the scent. This is said to be beneficial as it uplifts the mood, and soothes anxiety. The aromatherapy oils derived from roses also fade scarring and help create a more youthful appearance. Rose water is also produced from roses and has healing and antioxidant properties.
  • Grass: Floral fragrance benefits can also come from the unlikely of sources. The smell of freshly cut grass is also believed to relieve stress. “Researchers have discovered that a chemical released by a mown lawn makes people feel happy and relaxed, and could prevent mental decline in old age” (According to telegraph.co.uk).

So this summer, reward yourself by spending time in the garden and feel relaxed, rejuvenated and back to your good, energised self so that you can enjoy more of life.

For those who have never visited Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. On first glance, you will find strategically placed lavender and other herbs and flowers around their gardens to give the Hotel a calming appeal. Apart from the wonderful colours, sights and smells, one will also hear birds chirping and insects buzzing about from flower to flower, which is one of the treats of being outdoors.

At Granny Mouse Spa, a range of aromatherapy oils, inspired by their gardens, are used in their Signature Treatment – The Infinity of Beauty and Indulgence. This treatment combines an invigorating full body salt, fresh lavender and Rosemary scrub, detoxifying seaweed wrap on the back, a rebalancing CSpa Facial as well as an aromatherapy massage using essential oils such as peppermint, lavender and lemon

In each room, guests are welcomed by the scent of lavender and sandalwood, a soothing combination omitted from bath salts purchased locally. Sprigs of lavender cut from the gardens are also placed in the rooms to encourage relaxation.

Information provided by the Granny Mouse Country House & Spa Gardening and Spa team,  thealternativedaily.com and telegraph.co.uk.

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Eating in or eating out this festive season – Granny Mouse have got you covered!

Opting to eat in this festive season or hosting a festive dinner party and looking for a delicious hearty meal to impress; Culinary Artist Kirstie du Toit from Granny Mouse Country House & Spa provides her favourite Beef & Vegetable Casserole that is tasty, easy to prepare, cook and plate with ingredients you are likely to find in your pantry cupboard.

Ingredients:

2.5kg    Beef Cubes, Boneless

2          White Onions, Finely Chopped

1Tbsp   Garlic, Minced

1Cup     Oil

600ml   White Wine

600ml   Beef Stock

3Tbsp   Tomato Paste

2Tbsp   Rosemary & Thyme, Chopped

            Salt, to taste

            Pepper, to taste

500g     Baby Potatoes, Peeled and Halved

            Vegetables of your choice

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot on a low heat. Throw the finely chopped onions in fry until soft. (Setting the stove to a low heat allows less chance of burning the onions and the sweet juices to expel from the onions correctly)
  1. Then, add in the garlic and herbs and cook out for 5min. Ensure the herbs and garlic do not turn a dark colour, as this will give off a bitter taste.
  2. Then cut the beef cubes to the same size and drop them in the pot
  3. Turn the heat up the slightly to get some colour on the meat
  4. As soon as the meat has some colour on it, pour in the wine and stock and once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30min, before adding in the baby potatoes and cook for another 30min on low heat.
  5. Once the meat is soft, add the tomato paste and cook for a further 10min on a high heat
  6. If you want your sauce to be more of a thick consistency, add slurry, this is equal parts hot melted butter and flour mixed together then poured into the pot. Mix well to make sure there are no lumps
  7. Now you can add any vegetables that you desire, baby marrow, carrots, green beans, etc
  8. Cook until all your vegetables are soft and taste to check the seasoning, adjust as desired
  9. Serve with herbed basmati rice or freshly baked bread

Cooking a delicious meal has never been easier and with a minimal amount of pots used, you are sure to have the food ready and dishes washed before your guests arrive.

If you are hosting a Christmas dinner why not decorate the table accordingly. Add some festive crackers, and colour coordinate baubles in a glass jar as well as serviettes in each glass to add some flair.

You may even take it further by creating place cards, lighting a few candles and playing a few ice-breakers or board games for entertainment.

However if you are looking to eat out this Christmas, why not book at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa.

View the Christmas Menu here http://grannymouse.co.za/about-2/