Recipe share: enjoy Banana Muffins as part of your delicious breakfast here at Sunflowers B&B, Gillingham, Dorset

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

|| I’ve been getting my bake on recently and experimenting with some new breakfast ideas, particularly involving gluten-free and vegetarian recipes.

Later this year, we have two separate sets of returning guests booked in for the same weekend. One guest particularly loves banana cake. And the other couple are gluten-free … so my mind turned as to how I could combine those twin facts into something delicious that everyone could eat and enjoy … and I landed upon these banana muffins.

Homemade banana and almond muffins

The original recipe is here on the BBC website, but I modified it in order to make it gluten-free for Jonathan and Sue. If you want to do the same, just swap out the flour and baking powder for gluten-free versions (I used Doves).

I also added an additional tablespoon of milk to the amount specified in the recipe, as gluten-free recipes can incline to be a little drier than their gluten-included siblings. And I exchanged the walnut topping for flaked almonds, as that’s what I had in my baking cupboard on the day I gave these a try.

My tasting panel (me, Steve and my mum!) enjoyed the muffins as they are or sliced into two and then buttered, and the BBC recipe suggests serving them with bowls of sliced banana, crème fraiche or yoghurt (The Dorset Dairy Company’s Greek-style would be perfect for this), runny honey and extra walnuts (or almonds).

Don’t forget – let me know if you’re gluten-free, vegetarian or have any other food preferences when you book – and if you want to try some of my home baking or any of the other recipes here on the blog, mention that too.

Enjoy a vegan breakfast as part of Veganuary 2018: special bed and breakfast vegan menu available, Gillingham, Dorset

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

Happy New Year!

In support of Veganuary 2018,  we’re launching a special vegan breakfast menu which will be available throughout January 2018 for anyone who requests it when they book directly with us.

Avocado on sourdough toast

We’re committed to providing delicious, fresh and cooked to order breakfast options for all of our guests and if you’re a vegan or fancy trying out some delicious plant-based food as part of this year’s Veganuary, that includes you! We have vegetarian, vegan and plant-based menu options on offer all year round (as well as gluten-free, dairy-free, low carb and paleo selections) but for January 2018,  here’s a couple of extra new things to try.


Our Veganuary options include:

  • Tofu Scramble: tofu scrambled with your choice of tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and spring onions
  • Porridge made with almond milk and served with fresh berries and maple syrup
  • Avocado on sourdough toast
  • A signature ‘Sunflowers’ parfait made with coconut or vanilla soya yoghurt, gluten-free oats, home-made fruit compote, topped with fresh berries and mint
  • The ‘Sunflowers’ Smoothie: banana, almond milk, cinnamon and mixed berries
Tal and mini parfaits
The ‘Sunflowers’ signature parfait – now available as dairy-free

Our regular vegan-friendly menu items are also always available – baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes or spinach in any combination you like, as well as cereals served with your choice of plant milks, dishes of fresh fruit or fruit compote and coconut or vanilla soya yoghurt.


We cook with olive or coconut oils and unsweetened almond and soya milks are available for breakfast and in the guest fridge as standard, year round. And we’ll replace the biscuits on the amenity tray in the bedrooms with vegan-friendly treats, too.

For more on Veganuary, please see their website and to book your vegan-friendly stay with us, please see our booking calendar – don’t forget to let us know that you’d like to try out the limited edition Veganuary menu when you book!

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

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little free extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.

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?



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.

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.



(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: 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.

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!)

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
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!

Enjoy a Delicious Dorset Breakfast – in photos!

Book securely and directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little extras – check availability here. Our online calendar is always up to date.


Breakfast, petit dejeuner, ontbijt, frukost, desayuno, brekkie – it’s half the reason you come to stay here! It’s also an important part of your experience and your time with us, so we want to make sure that you start your day with a great meal.

The highlight of the stay had to be Cleo’s cooking: she clearly loves what she does and is very good at it, offering a great variety of very yummy things at breakfast time! David, Sheffield

We are pleased to provide you with a variety of breakfast options during your stay with us. Our room rates include a wide range of lighter breakfast ideas or you can choose to upgrade to a more substantial full cooked breakfast. Upgrade when you book or decide when you arrive – the choice is yours.

We are also happy to provide gluten-free, dairy-free and de-caffeinated options upon request, such as gluten-free bread, almond and soy plant ‘milks’ and dairy free spread. Our porridge, cereals and dishes such as our very popular home-made Fruit, Oat and Yoghurt parfait can also be provided as gluten and/or dairy-free if required. Low-carb or Paleo? No problem – we can do that too.


Fruit, Oat & Yoghurt Parfaits – Tall or Mini

Continental Breakfast: choose from a selection of cold cereals (or porridge/oatmeal), warm pastries/toast, preserves, a cheese and ham platter, separate dishes of local Greek style yoghurt, fresh fruit or home-made fruit compote (based on seasonal availability) or one of our extremely popular Fruit, Oat and Yoghurt parfaits, available in either Tall or Mini sizes. Served with orange or apple juice and your choice of tea or coffee.

Light Bites: choose from a selection of cold cereals, followed by baked beans or baked, poached, fried or scrambled eggs with your choice of brown or white toast. Served with orange or apple juice and tea or coffee.

wp-image-1476631372Breakfast to Go: available Monday to Friday. Wrapped and ready for you to take away, with a napkin, a bottle of water and a warm sandwich of either bacon, egg or halloumi cheese (v). You are also welcome to grab a quick bowl of cold cereal and a glass of fruit juice if you have time.


The Full Cooked Dorset Breakfast, with creamy Scrambled Eggs

Perhaps the Full Cooked Dorset – eggs scrambled, poached or fried, local sausages and bacon (vegetarian sausages and halloumi cheese are available as vegetarian alternatives), tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans.


Trout Florentine: locally smoked Mere trout or smoked salmon, served on a toasted muffin, with wilted spinach and creamy scrambled eggs.

Or a fluffy Three Egg Omelette, filled with your choice of pancetta, cheese, mushrooms and tomatoes.


We currently offer –

Waffles, here with maple syrup and fresh berries

Toasted Waffles with a Warm Berry Compote, Maple Syrup and a Lemon Ricotta Cream pictured here

wp-image--447147263Oven Baked Frittata/Omelette, served with Roast Tomatoes and your choice of Spring Onion/Scallions, Pancetta/Bacon, Cheese, Mushrooms or Spinach – pictured here

wp-image-2005682089Oven Baked Stuffed French Toast with Banana, Honey and Almonds OR Orange and Cinnamon Croissant French Toast – pictured here

wp-1489938914742.jpgMixed Berry Croissant Bake (our most popular special – we’ll even add a candle for your birthday!)

wp-image-757820834Breakfast in a Mushrooma Portobello Mushroom stuffed with Pancetta and served with creamy Cheese and Chive Scrambled Eggs and Roast Tomatoes (request it without the pancetta for a vegetarian option)


Overnight Croque Monsieur with local Cheese and Ham; request it with a fried egg to convert it to a Croque Madame! 

wp-image-1681540541Mushroom, Halloumi Cheese and Tomato Stack – served on a toasted muffin (vegetarian; gluten-free muffin available)



Special Offer! August Bank Holiday 2017 – two night bed and breakfast deal in Gillingham, Dorset


STOP PRESS! Due to a cancellation,  we now have a two night break available (Friday 25th and Saturday 26th August) on the last Bank Holiday weekend of 2017. So, if you’re looking for a reason to visit beautiful Dorset and check out some of the famous ‘Sunflowers’ hospitality,  why not click now and book yourself into room one (Church View) for a two night stay?

The Special Offer is:

  • Two nights in our spacious Church View en-suite room, complete with lovely private bathroom, Freeview TV and DVD  player, fast wi-fi, complimentary tea, coffee, biscuits and bottled water
  • A  complimentary bottle of chilled Prosecco, which will be awaiting your arrival in the guest fridge
  • wp-image-234360413
    Dorset cooked breakfast

    A FREE upgrade for two people to one of our equally famous cooked breakfasts – choose from the Full Dorset, OR Smoked Trout and Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Hollandaise Sauce OR perhaps one of our weekend specials, such as Raspberry Chocolate Brioche Bake, Stuffed French Toast with Strawberries or even Breakfast in a Mushroom

  • Complimentary use of the hot tub – we provide fluffy robes and towels, just bring your swimsuits.

We only have ONE double room available for these dates (Friday 25th and Saturday 26th August) and when the offer’s gone,  that’s that – no more Bank Holidays until December! So please click now to book and we look forward to meeting you soon.

The dull bit:

  • This offer must be booked directly with us online via our secure reservations page. It doesn’t apply to bookings made via other channels.
  • It only applies to room 1 (Church View) for stays which include both 25th and 26th August 2017
  • However, room 2 is also currently available – you may also book this for a third member of your party if you wish
  • The Breakfast Upgrade is for two people for one breakfast service and can be taken on either Saturday or Sunday morning. 

Delicious Gillingham,Dorset breakfasts – announcing the launch of our new #breakfast menu plus a SPECIAL OFFER

bookDirectButton_01Book directly with us for the best price, delicious breakfasts and lots of little extras – check availability here.

* * * * * *

Breakfast, petit dejeuner, Früstück, ontbijt, frukost, desayuno, brekkie – it’s half the reason you come to stay here! It’s also an important part of your experience and your time with us, so we want to make sure that you start your day with a great meal.

wp-image--68261863We’ve always had great feedback on our breakfasts and enjoyed spoiling our guests with our legendary Special Sunday Breakfasts, but we’ve now launched a new menu which offers lots more choice, a much wider range of breakfast options (you can even get a Breakfast To Go if you need an early start on weekdays) as well as a mouth-watering range of weekend and celebration options. Check out the full menu here and start planning your visit.  We look forward to meeting you and cooking for you soon!

The full Dorset cooked breakfast

And there’s more.  To celebrate the launch of our great new menu, we’re making a Delicious Dorset Breakfast Offer: all direct bookings made during July 2017 (through our website) will receive a FREE UPGRADE to one of our special breakfasts during one morning of your stay. No codes, no catches, no minimum stay: just make your booking before midnight UK time on 31st July 2017 for any future date  and you’ll get a fabulous breakfast upgrade!

Breakfast doesn’t get more delicious than this. Don’t hang about – ready, steady, CLICK!

Flash Promotion! Special deals available on your bed and breakfast stay in Gillingham, Dorset!

special-offerHurry! It’s the last few days of our special Facebook promotion – your chance to book a stay with us and get a discount AND a breakfast upgrade!

(And if you’re wondering what a ‘Sunflowers’ breakfast looks like – check out some of these photos on our Facebook page).

You have until 30th June 2017 (midnight, UK time) to book a stay of two or more nights with us,  which you can take across any dates between now and the week before Christmas 2017.  There are no ‘black outs’ or unavailable dates; if the rooms are available on the calendar,  you can book and get the special offer.

Feeling hungry?

And what IS this special offer? Well, you’ll receive a discount AND a free upgrade to one of our legendary Dorset cooked breakfasts. And it doesn’t even need to be Sunday – any day of the week will be worthy of a Special Breakfast!

It’s so easy: just follow the booking link, choose your dates and rooms, click BOOK,  then add the discount code FACEBOOK17.

What are you waiting for? Ready, steady, click – we look forward to meeting you soon.

Terms and conditions:

  • Your stay must be booked by 30th June 2017 and taken before 22nd December 2017
  • It must be for a minimum of two nights
  • It must be booked and paid for via our secure website, using your debit or credit card.



Recipe share: Granola and Yoghurt Fruit Tart from the Dorset Dairy Co

DDC_granola fruit tart_May 2017
Photo credit – The Dorset Dairy Co

This weekend, we’ll be hosting several members of the same family who are all visiting Gillingham, Dorset in order to attend a 90th birthday party – isn’t that wonderful?

As always, my thoughts are turning towards ideas for my Special Sunday Breakfast and I think I’m going to make this lovely looking Granola and Yoghurt Fruit Tart, as created by our friends Alex and Dan at the nearby Dorset Dairy Co – doesn’t it look delicious?  I’ll probably top mine with blueberries, raspberries and strawberries – watch this space and look out for photos on our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

The ingredients for the granola tart are:

350g granola
5 tablespoons melted butter
60 ml honey
640g of the Dorset Dairy Co’s answer to Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fresh fruit, to top

And you can read the rest of the recipe here,  as well as lots of other delicious ways to use Dorset’s answer to Greek yoghurt in your cooking.

One tip I picked up from cookery guru Mary Berry as an easy way to combine all the ingredients to make a crumb (or granola) crust: use a large plastic bag! So for this recipe, I plan to add the granola to a bag and then bash it around a bit with a rolling pin to get the granola “chunks” to a more uniform size. I’ll then add the butter, honey and other ingredients to the bag and get everything coated before using the crumb mix to make the tart case.

FreetoBookDoes this recipe sound good to you? Make your booking online today and request it as part of your Dorset breakfast!

Book directly with us for the best prices when you visit Gillingham, Dorset!

FreetoBookWe are delighted to be able to share with you the news that we are now able to take online booking reservations through our site! Simply click the link that you’ll find on every page to see which rooms are available for your dates and how much your proposed stay will cost you.  You can even choose to add on optional extras,  such as a full cooked Dorset breakfast, weekday use of the hot tub or accommodation for your dog.

We also now take credit card bookings online and we guarantee that you will always get the best price by booking directly with us – as well as lots of little extras. Our reviews often refer to the “special little touches” that we love to share with our guests and you can look forward to experiencing some if not all of the following on your directly booked visit to ‘Sunflowers’:

Feedback from recent guest Tracey
  • A welcome drink upon arrival (tea, coffee etc), served with cake or biscuits (sometimes home-made – I love to bake!)
  • A wide choice of local teas and coffees on your in-room amenity tray
  • Bottled water
  • Chocolates
  • Fresh flowers in your room
  • One of our legendary ‘Special Sunday Breakfasts’ (if you’re here on a Sunday – although I did recently magic up a Special MONDAY Breakfast for regular returning guest Jordan!)
  • Breakfast options including dairy free, low carb and gluten free items upon request
  • Complimentary Prosecco if you’re celebrating – plus a card

Sunflowers Dorset_Prosecco in the hot tub

  • Fluffy pool towels and robes to use in the hot tub, and plastic drinkware for you to use on the legendary floating drinks tray
  • If you choose to eat in one evening, we’ll happily set the guest dining table for you with plates, glasses, napkins and candles: just ask
  • A guest fridge (stocked with fresh cow’s milk for your use – soya or almond milks also available)
  • A range of DVDs, toys and books for use by our mini guests (plus a stair gate, landing night light and in-room blackout blinds)
  • Complimentary dog treats for our canine visitors.

We try and be so much more than just somewhere to sleep and I’m always keen to think of new ways to improve and offer an even better bed and breakfast experience – so do please check out the new direct booking facility and come and see for yourselves!  If you’re in the UK – we have two more long Bank Holiday weekends coming up and some availability over those dates; why not check us out and make a booking? We’d love to meet you.