New Tour – Bohemian Rhapsody – Delights of the Czech Republic

Here at Leger Holidays we have just unveiled a new holiday, Bohemian Rhapsody – Delights of the Czech Republic Tour.

This Tour allows our customers to explore the highlights of the Czech Republic, including the capital Prague ‘City of 100 Spires’. We also include excursion to many spa towns of the western Bohemia and not forgetting the Baroque treasure if Cesky Krumlov in southern Bohemia.

The 9 day break includes some truly amazing places. We also offer the chance to visit the popular spa resort of Karlovy Vary. There are twelve hot thermal springs all of which are still  in use. The town is also known for its hand-made glass. A recommendation whilst there is to visit the famous Moser glass factory.
The following day includes a visit to the second largest spa town in the Czech Republic, Marianske Lazne. Time is provided for you to take in the immaculate gardens before continuing on to the fortress town of Cesky Krumlov.
Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is nestled on the banks of the Vltava River. In the centre of the medieval city there are many well preserved buildings and stunning architecture. To guarantee customers see the very best of Cesky Krumov there will also be an optional city tour available.

Delights of the Czech Republic Tour
Medieval buildings of Cesky Krumlov

Our tour also visits the home of Budweiser beer, Cesky Budejovice better known as ‘Budweis’. The tour continues on to Tabor; Czech Republic’s most favourite tourist spot.
Before heading back to Belgium and completing your return leg of your holiday we visit Prague. This excursions includes a guided walking tour of the ‘Golden Town’.  The walk introduces our customers to the splendid architecture of Prague Old Town. The huge castle is a must along with a relaxing drink in Wenceslas Square.

Delights of the Czech Republic Tour
Old Town, Prague

For more information or to book this tour, please visit our Bohemian Rhapsody – Delights of the Czech Republic Tour page.
Ever visited the Czech Republic? We would love to hear about your travels in the comment sections below.

The Chelsea Flower Show

With the Chelsea Flower Show getting underway next week, I thought I’d take a look at the history behind this annual event and have a look at what attracts so many visitors year after year.

The Chelsea Flower Show is held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in Chelsea, London. The show was formally known as the Great Spring Show, and is known as the most famous flower show in the UK attracting visitors from all over the world.
The flower show was first held in Chelsea in 1912, as a one off event but as the location was such a success it has stayed there almost every year since.
The show has up to 157,000 visitors each year, and all tickets must be bought in advance. The duration of the show was originally four days but from 2005 onwards it was increased to five. Members of the Royal Family attend a preview day each year as the royal patronage of the RHS (Royal Hortical Society).
There are five award categories at the event. They are:
Flora – Gardens and floral exhibitions
Hogg – Exhibits of Trees
Knightian – Exhibits of vegetables, including herbs
Lindley – Exhibits of special educational or scientific interest
Grenfell – Exhibits of Pictures, photographs floral arrangements and floristry.
Other awards are known as the Special Awards, which include Best Show Garden Award, Best City Garden Award, RHS Junior Display Trophy and many more.
The Chelsea Flower Show is included on our Chelsea Flower Show, Henley and Oxford Tour, for more information or to book your place for next years event please visit our website.
If you have been to the show before, we would love to hear your experience please leave your comments section below.

A taste of South-east Europe: Cevapcici

Walking around the streets of Mostar, the smell of wood-burning fires and food charring on open grills wafted through the air… it smelled SO good. The smell was Ćevapčići – the local dish, and I just had to try some.

There are different versions of this dish around south-eastern Europe, usually served with chopped onions, ajvar (a spicy relish made of peppers, aubergine and garlic– pronounced ‘eye-var’) and a flatbread (similar to a pitta bread) known as lepinje.
Why not try making Ćevapčići – pronounced ‘chewapchiechie’ – for yourself with this easy recipe?
To make 6-8 Ćevapčići you will need:
▪    200g Minced Beef
▪    200g Minced Lamb
▪    200g Minced Pork
▪    200g Minced Turkey
(use all of the above meats, or a combination a couple of them)
▪    1 onion, finely chopped
▪    3 cloves garlic, crushed
▪    1 green chilli, finely chopped
▪    1 egg white, beaten
▪    1 teaspoon paprika
▪    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Method 1:
▪    Mix the meat together and set to one side.
▪    Saute the chopped onions in a little bit of oil.
▪    Add the crushed garlic.
▪    Add the onions and garlic mixture to the meat.
▪    Add beaten egg white and paprika.
▪    Mix well.
▪    Form into sausage shapes.
▪    Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight)
▪    Pan fry until nicely browned on all sides
OR… even easier…
Method 2:
▪    Combine all ingredients and form into 3 or 4-inch long sausages.
▪    Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight).
▪    Cook slowly until well browned, turning often.

Leave the Cevapcici in the fridge overnight before cooking.
Leave the Cevapcici in the fridge overnight before cooking.

And now, for the ajvar:
▪    5 red peppers
▪    1 medium aubergine
▪    3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
▪    1-2 tablespoon vinegar
▪    1 teaspoon paprika
▪    Salt and pepper to taste
Preparing the ajvar
Preparing the ajvar

▪    Cut the aubergine in half, length ways.
▪    Please peppers and aubergine cut-side face down in the oven until the pepper skins start to blister and go black.
▪    Place blacked peppers in a bowl and cover with cling film to let them steam.
▪    When the aubergine is soft in the middle, scoop out the flesh and discard any large seeds. Mash or chop it (depending how chunky you’d like your ajvar) and mix in the garlic.
▪    Once the peppers are cool, peel off the blackened skin and chop finely.
▪    Add this to the aubergine and garlic mixture, then add the vinegar, paprika and salt and pepper.
▪    Serve chilled.
Spice it up: add chopped chillies if you’d prefer it to have a bit of a kick!
Serve your Ćevapčići with chopped, raw onion, ajvar and flat/pitta bread.
Ćevapčići served with ajvar, onions and pitta bread – just the way I tried it in Mostar!
Ćevapčići served with ajvar, onions and pitta bread – just the way I tried it in Mostar!

Have you tried Ćevapčići?
Try this recipe and let us know how you get on.

A Moroccan Tagine Recipe

Moroccan Tagine Recipe – Lamb with Orange and Chickpeas
A tagine pot is a unique type of ceramic or clay cookware which is designed for slow cooking and is popular in Morocco.
The bottom of the tagine is a wide, circular, shallow dish used for both cooking and serving, while the top is distinctively shaped into a rounded dome or cone and is designed to keep the moisture in.
Typically, tagine meals are a rich stew of meat, chicken, or fish, and most often includes vegetables or fruit, salted or preserved lemons, giving a unique flavour and then served on a bed of couscous, rice or bread.
Traditionally, you arrange the food and the meat in the middle and you pile the vegetables around it. You then put the lid on and leave to cook slowly over a charcoal stove (or in a conventional oven to you and me).
What you’ll need
Preparation time 25 minutes, plus overnight soaking (unless you buy already soaked chick peas in a tin like I do)
Cooking time 2 1/2 hours

225g (71/2oz) chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (unless you buy ready soaked chick peas)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground turmeric
½ teaspoon saffron threads
1.5kg (3lb) shoulder of lamb, trimmed of all fat and cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) cubes
2 onions, roughly chopped
¾ Pint of lamb stock in boiling water
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
12 pitted black olives, sliced
½ lemon squeezed juices
½ orange squeezed juices
6 tablespoons chopped coriander
Salt and pepper

How to cook – the easy way
Combine all the ingredients above into the tagine and stir well. You can brown off the lamb and onions first if you wish but for ease I just put them in the pot with the rest of the ingredients. Squeeze in the juices of half a lemon and half an orange.  Only stir in half the coriander, using the remainder to garnish.

It’s so easy to do and looks amazing when presented in the middle of your table of guests.

Heroes Return – Ray Wilton

Heroes Return

There are a few National Lottery syndicates here at Leger HQ, as I’m sure there are at workplaces across the country. There’s many a happy conversation about what we’d do if we won, the trips we’d take and who would and who wouldn’t give up work.

Even though week after week we never hit the jackpot (£10 doesn’t go far between eight of you), one of the best things about the lottery is all the worthwhile causes it helps to support. A staggering £29bn has been raised since it launched almost 20 years ago.
One of the activities it helps to fund is particularly close to our heart the Heroes Return Grant, taking veterans back to the places where they fought during the Second World War.
On one of our February D-Day Landings battlefield tours we were joined by a film crew from the BBC’s National Lottery Saturday night TV programme. They were following a lovely veteran called Ray Wilton, along with his daughter Debbie Cox and grandson Alex. Ray was a member of the Royal Navy in WWII, joining as a telegraphist in 1943. He took part in the D-Day landings at Gold Beach on 6th June 1944, where he served on a motor launch, leading the 50th Northumbrian Division on initial landing. This visit was the first time Ray had returned in almost 70 years. As well as Gold Beach he also visited Pegasus Bridge and other key sites in Normandy linked to the landings.
Ray explains what it was like returning. “It was very emotional,” he said. “Although it looked very different – it was a crisp, sunny February day as opposed to the fierce storm of June 1944 – the memories soon came flooding back. I could remember vividly those brave young men who died on that memorable day.
“The highlight of the tour for me was visiting the Arromanches Museum and signing their visitor book, being presented with a veteran’s medal and having a wonderful welcome from the French curator there. She was in tears as she gave me the medal and thanked me for ‘liberating her country’.”
Debbie Cox, Ray’s daughter, added: “It was an emotional but uplifting experience. With my son there too, it was wonderful to have the three generations sharing the experience together. It was a privilege to pay our respects to the fallen. The film crew were very sensitive and extremely professional and we thoroughly enjoyed their company, along with that of the coach drivers, tour guide and fellow passengers, who were a varied group of all ages. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and planned an excellent and varied tour which appealed to dad as a veteran, as well as people with an interest in the war.”
Tony Lea was the specialist battlefield guide on the tour. He commented: “It was obviously very emotional for Ray and his family, but something they felt it was extremely important to do. What people often don’t realise is that for those who fought, this visit back so many decades later can be like finding the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle. My experience is that veterans often don’t know how the roles they played fit into the bigger picture of the war or the battle. They can be left with questions on why they were there and as part of a visit I will explain to them the wider story which can bring about a new understanding for them.
“Whenever we have a veteran on a tour, we will try and work around their personal experience, helping them to visit places which were important to them and weaving it into everything else that was happening at the same time. It’s fascinating to have the opportunity to speak to someone who was actually there and other visitors on the tour often find it invaluable and extremely moving to share their experience with someone who has that personal perspective.”
Ray’s story as shown on the ‘National Lottery: In it to win it’ programme can be seen on Youtube  Part 1 and Part 2 .