Recipe share: home made mixed berry compote – as served for breakfast at Sunflowers BnB, Gillingham, Dorset

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Sunflowers fruit and yoghurt breakfast parfait

This home made fruit compote recipe is so versatile! I like to use it (as shown here) as one of the layers in my signature ‘Sunflowers’ breakfast parfait; it also pairs beautifully in a breakfast bowl with Dorset’s answer to Greek yoghurt from The Dorset Dairy Company – or you could try a spoonful on your porridge.  I’m sure it counts as one of your five a day too, and it can be made sugar-free – so why not make yourself a batch to try?

 

HOME MADE MIXED BERRY COMPOTE

For a portion with two good servings:

2 cups of fresh or frozen mixed berries
2 tablespoons Stevia (or golden granulated sugar, if you prefer, to taste)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add all the ingredients to a medium sized saucepan; stir and then bring to the boil.

Allow to simmer for around 20 minutes.

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Home made mixed berry compote

Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and then, depending on how thick you’d like the compote to be, either: press through a seive (this creates a very smooth compote, good for use in desserts, drizzling over ice cream and so on) OR use a stick blender to whizz the fruit to your desired consistency OR do as I do and gently press with a potato masher – this means that you can control the consistency and thus leave a mixture of whole and pureed fruit pieces.

 

Enjoy!

(This is just one of many delicious breakfast options – remember that we’re currently running a special offer: just use the discount code WINTER when you book online and you can treat yourself to your choice of breakfast upgrades during your November or December 2017 stay with us.)

Recipe share: delicious Parmesan Shortbreads, made for my B&B guests here in Gillingham, Dorset!

Warning: these tasty little savoury biscuits are so extremely easy to make BUT so extremely addictive that I don’t recommend making them if you’re on a diet, trying to cut down on snacking or feeling like you ought to avoid cheese. Or carbs.

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Parmesan Shortbreads

If, however,  none of the above apply, then here’s the recipe, originally published in Nigella Lawson’s Italian inspired recipe book Nigellissima.  I last made Parmesan Shortbreads a few weeks ago and served them to my weekend guests with some complimentary Prosecco; they were a huge hit and are the perfect thing to offer with a welcome drink.

I make the dough in the mixer, then roll it out and chill in the fridge for a few hours. Then simply slice, bake and serve.  So, so good.  Consider yourself warned!

20171005_175629.jpgIngredients:

  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 75 grams grated Parmesan cheese
  • 100 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk

And here’s the rest of the recipe.

20171006_130157.jpgLike the look of these? Request them when you book and I’ll happily make you a batch to say “Welcome to Sunflowers” when you check in!

Recipe share: Stuffed French Toast with Bananas, Honey and Almonds – a guest favourite at Sunflowers Bed and Breakfast, Gillingham, Dorset

This recipe, which currently appears on our Weekend Special Breakfasts menu, is inspired by a “traditional” (ie, made in a frying pan) French toast recipe from the mighty Jamie Oliver; his version contains pecan nuts rather than almonds and is fried, not baked.

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Stuffed French Toast with Bananas, Honey and Almonds (c) Sunflowers BnB Dorset

My ‘Sunflowers’ interpretation is made in advance, left overnight and then oven baked the following morning; it creates a beautifully light and fluffy “stuffed” dish and looks amazing when the bread starts to rise and puff up in the oven. I usually make an individual serving, as shown in the first photo, but to make it for two people, I’d make it in a 22cm diameter dish, as pictured in the second photo.

(This image shows a two person serving of my Orange Croissant Baked French Toast –  another very popular Weekend Special; please comment below if you’d like me to share this recipe!)

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Orange Croissant French Toast (c) Sunflowers BnB Dorset

Stuffed French Toast with Bananas, Honey and Almonds is extremely popular as a Weekend Special and I’ve been repeatedly asked for the recipe by both guests and social media followers, so here it is – my own version of:

Stuffed French Toast with Bananas, Honey and Almonds

Serves two

8 small slices of white sliced bread (use gluten-free bread to make this GF friendly)
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
50g flaked almonds
Honey
4 large eggs
2 cups of full fat milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Oil or butter to grease the baking dish

To serve: crème fraiche, maple syrup, fresh berries

The night before:

Select an oven-proof baking dish measuring 22cms in diameter. Use a small brush and oil or melted butter to coat the inside to prevent the bread sticking.

Take your 8 small slices of bread and spread each slice with honey.  Add the sliced banana to 4 of the slices, then sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Top each slice with a slice of bread in order to make 4 sandwiches. Cut each one into four triangles.

To make the custard: beat together 4 eggs, then add the milk and cinnamon and beat again.

Arrange the 16 mini sandwich triangles in your baking dish, then pour the egg custard mixture over, making sure that all the bread is completely covered. Use a fork to press the bread down. Cover with foil and refrigerate.

The next morning:

Remove the dish from the ‘fridge. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan. Remove the foil and then bake in the oven for 45 minutes, taking care in the last 15 minutes that the top of the bread doesn’t scorch – if this is looking likely, loosely cover the dish with foil.

Serve with separate small dishes of crème fraiche, maple syrup and your choice of fresh berries.

Like the look of this? Request it when you book!

Vegetarian, dairy-free or gluten-free breakfasts in Gillingham, Dorset? No problem!

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Congratulations!

Last weekend,  we were honoured to play host to Sally, Chris and their blended family upon the occasion of Sally and Chris’s Gillingham wedding – here are the bride and groom, standing outside ‘Sunflowers’ before they left for the Town Hall!

(Incidentally,  in the language of flowers, sunflowers represent “longevity” – I’ve always thought that this was a lovely sentiment to be connected to a marriage and so when Steve and I got married,  we gave each of our guests a small packet of sunflower seeds and asked them to plant them and send us the pictures; we were lucky enough to receive photos of sunflowers grown in many different gardens for quite a few years.)

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Gluten and dairy free raspberry and lemon cake

Sally and Chris are also gluten, dairy and soya free,  so I was able to flex my breakfast muscles and make sure that our breakfasts were suitable for them.  This meant serving up gluten free bread, non-dairy spread, almond milk and coconut yoghurt,  as well as my home made fruit compote. And because I love to bake,  I also tried my hand at a dairy and gluten free cake which I served upon arrival – it’s a raspberry and lemon cake from the book Simply Nigella and it was really good. I’ve never made a dairy free cake before but this recipe was both delicious and very easy – I will definitely make it again and may try it as a different variant next time, perhaps with blueberries and orange?

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Good morning!

My standard breakfasts are all vegetarian,  but sausage or bacon may sometimes make an appearance (although can very easily be substituted or replaced) in one of the “Special Breakfasts” which I enjoy whipping up from time to time. Check out my Facebook album for more  food photos to tempt you and whet your appetite.

So, when you book your Dorset bed and breakfast stay with us,  please do let us know if you have food allergies or preferences – I’m sure I’ll be able to prepare something delicious for your breakfast!

How to make limoncello

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Home made limoncello

Continuing the blog theme of cooking with fruit … I am currently in the process of making my own limoncello, both to use as an ingredient in cocktails at home and to bottle to give away as Christmas presents.

Limoncello has always been one of my favourite liqueurs – it’s a lovely, lemon infused spirit, which is Italian in origin and can be used in lots of ways. I love it as a drink and my mum uses it to make an absolutely delicious blueberry and lemon tart (I’ll post the recipe here if enough people ask me to!).

I  decided to have a go at making it myself after I had trouble finding it in the supermarket – “how hard can it be?” I  thought. And sure enough,  it is quite straightforward; you just need time and patience.

Taking a Very Sharp Peeler,  all you do is zest about a dozen lemons and then leave the peelings to marinate in vodka for as long as possible. I set mine to infuse on November 5th and the jars pictured here are now sitting peacefully in a dark cupboard, allowing alcohol and alchemy to turn them into limoncello. In about a week’s time,  I will strain the liquid and then complete the process outlined here to add sugar syrup and bottle the resulting sunshiney liqueur.

So, any guests who visit us after Christmas – ask to try my home made limoncello.  As we say in Ireland: slainte!

 

 

How to make Dorset Apple Cake

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Dorset Tea

Apples are so plentiful at this time of the year that they are often given away for free! Many of my neighbours have a basket of windfall apples available at their gate,  with a sign inviting passers by to help themselves.

One of our beautiful county’s most famous recipes is for Dorset Apple Cake – I often like to serve it to my guests upon arrival,  accompanied (of course) by a pot of lovely Dorset Tea.  It’s delicious served either cold or warm, with a dollop of whipped or clotted cream.

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Dorset Apple Cake – pairs beautifully with – everything!

My friend Debbie posted this fantastic photo of her homemade Dorset Apple Cake on her @platespotsandpans Instagram feed the other day and I’m sharing it here with her permission. She used a recipe from Delicious magazine and the ingredients you will need are:

  • 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 450g Bramley apples
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 225g caster sugar, plus extra for dredging
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar

The rest of the recipe is here – thanks, Debbie!