Recipe share: how to make Kerry Apple Cake

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Dorset apples

Hello, autumn – the days are growing shorter, the trees are shedding their leaves onto my lawn and my neighbours are kindly leaving bags of windfall apples at their gates, free to anyone who cares to take them home.

This time last year, I shared a recipe for the very popular local Dorset Apple Cake, as made by my friend Debbie – give it a try, it’s delicious! And for 2017, here’s another recipe for an apple cake,  this time from Ireland.

Earlier this month, we took a short holiday of our own and spent a few days in Ireland – my family home and a place which is very dear to me. While we were there, I took a class at the highly recommended Dingle Cookery School and so spent the day with owner Muireann and chef Caroline, learning to make scones, traditional Irish brown soda bread, Dingle (lamb and vegetable) pies with hot water crust pastry, a locally caught fish dish with seasonal greens in a thyme dressing and finally – Kerry Apple Cake.

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Kerry Apple Cake

The cake is quite similar to the Dorset variety but has the addition, as you can see from my photo (taken on the day) of flaked almonds on the top. It’s absolutely delicious and is lovely cold or warm with some fresh whipped cream. Here’s Muireann’s recipe, shared with permission – enjoy.

You will need:

225g self-raising flour
110g sugar
110g butter, softened and cubed
4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of Demerera sugar
25g flaked almonds

A 9″ deep greased tin

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C

Cream together the butter and sugar; beat in the eggs one at a time and add the milk. Sieve and fold in the flour. Stir in the peeled and sliced apples.

The mixture should be quite wet, like a thick batter; if a little dry, add a splash more milk.

Place in a cake tin and top with the flaked almonds and the brown sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

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.

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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!

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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!

Recipe share: a delicious gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast idea

One of the many businesses who call Gillingham, Dorset home is the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of the prestigious Great Taste awards (the world’s largest and most trusted food and drink awards, so a pretty Big Deal).  We are honoured to be on their preferred list of accommodation providers and we host members of their judging panel when they travel to Gillingham to blind taste test the widest range of food and drink you could possibly imagine.

We recently met a judge who was here to judge the “free from” category of foods and as she was herself gluten-free and her  travelling companion was dairy-free,  so was my breakfast offering!  Here’s the overnight oats dish I made for them – quantities used may vary, based on the containers that you use, but this is what I did for two portions.  The great thing with this recipe is that it can be flexed so many ways, based on people’s preferences; use regular oats instead of gluten-free,  cow’s milk yoghurt instead of soya or coconut, switch around the fruits.

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Gluten and dairy-free overnight oats

Gluten and Dairy-Free Overnight Oats – serves 2

60g gluten-free oatmeal
200ml vanilla flavoured soya yoghurt
150g mixed berries, with a few reserved for decoration

Method: the night before, take two tall glass containers (I used sundae glasses) and fill them with layers of yoghurt, oats and fruit, ending with a layer of yoghurt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The following morning,  remove from the ‘fridge about an hour before you wish to serve or eat the dish. Top with a layer of fresh fruit and perhaps a sprinkle of cinnamon.

I was delighted that our guests loved it and they kindly left us this feedback:

We stayed at Sunflowers Bed & Breakfast Dorset for one night and were impressed with such high standards and the warm welcome. Thanks for going to so much trouble to cater for our gluten free and dairy free diets. A magnificent breakfast! We know where to stay when we return to Dorset!

Do you also have special dietary needs or preferences? No problem – just let us know when you book and we’ll happily cater for you – right down to the chocolates and treats we provide in the guest rooms.

Recipe share: Lorraine Pascale’s blueberry and limoncello drizzle cake

British Summer Time 2017 has now arrived in Gillingham, Dorset – hurrah for longer days and lots of delicious, fresh, local produce, including berries, asparagus and new potatoes.

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Home made limoncello

I’m always on the look out for new-to-me cake recipes and so I was delighted to see this recipe by TV cook Lorraine Pascale shared in local paper the Dorset Echo; I love to cook with fruit and I am still working my way through what feels like gallons of home made limoncello as made and bottled by me before Christmas!

The ingredients for the blueberry and limoncello drizzle cake are:

For the sponge:
Spray oil
125g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
100g ‘Greek’ yogurt (I’ll be using the Dorset version from my friends at The Dorset Dairy Company)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250g self-raising flour
4 egg whites
2tsp baking powder
½tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of two unwaxed lemons
200g blueberries

For the topping:
50g icing sugar, sifted
2tbsp limoncello (or lemon juice)

And the remainder of the recipe is available on the Dorset Echo’s site.

Let me know if you like the sound of the cake and I promise to bake it for you when you come and stay at ‘Sunflowers’!

Recipe share: A Warm Salad of Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas (vegan)

welcome-to-sunflowers-dorsetHere’s our new leaflet, which sums up in one handy piece of A5 exactly what you can expect to see and find when you stay here at ‘Sunflowers’ – what do you think?  It was designed and printed for me by graphic designer wizard Kevin of Wyke Print Solutions and I am really pleased with it!  Please feel free to right click on the image and save a copy.

In other news, we recently hosted a charming gentleman who stayed with us for one night – a Sunday – and arrived so late (and in horrible winter weather) that he wasn’t readily able to source a vegan evening meal. I settled him into the guest dining room with a glass of wine and made him this warm salad of roasted cauliflower and chickpeas. When I posted the photo on my Facebook page,  lots of people asked for the recipe, so here it is.

wp-1488373921719.jpgIngredients (makes 2/3 servings)

1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into even sized florets
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus  more for serving
Coarse salt, to taste
80g tahini paste
Juice of a lemon

Chopped parsley, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Add the cauliflower florets and a pinch of the salt to a large saucepan of boiling water and cook on a high heat for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 250C/230C fan/gas 9. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Remove the cauliflower from the pan with a slotted spoon and arrange on the baking tray. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt. Roast for 25 minutes, or until parts of the cauliflower have turned golden brown.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the tahini paste, 120ml water, the lemon juice and a pinch of salt, until smooth.
  5. Remove the cauliflower from the oven, cut the florets into 2 cm thick slices and place in a large serving bowl. Gently mix together the drained chickpeas, cauliflower pieces and half the tahini sauce. Serve with the rest of the sauce and a further tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. Enjoy!

I love to make and serve warm salads – let me know in the comments if you try this one out and if you can suggest other recipes!

A Dorset breakfast recipe: layered raspberry granola pots

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Breakfast – Gillingham, Dorset style!

I recently made these cute little fruity breakfast pots and posted the picture on social media – where they very quickly became one of my most popular posts. Lots of people asked for the recipe in the comments,  so here it is for you to make and enjoy at home – or to have made for you by me when you come and stay at Sunflowers!

I love to cook and really (really) enjoy making special breakfasts,  either because people are celebrating or to accommodate different dietary preferences or food allergies. I have some guests booked in for February who eat a paleo diet, so I am currently researching delicious grain and dairy-free options for them; I’ve also recently catered for vegan, nut free and low carb guests. So do please just let me know what you need when you book – and I’m sure we’ll be able to create something delicious for you.

Just to whet your appetite – here’s a few photos on Facebook of previous breakfasts.

Recipe: raspberry granola breakfast pots – serves 4

200g fresh or frozen raspberries (or your berries of choice – I think this would work beautifully with blueberries or fresh strawberries)
8 tablespoons of granola (I like to use Dorset Cereals’ version!)
250g cream cheese
100g Greek yoghurt (from the lovely Dorset Dairy Co in my case – see my blog post from last year at their launch event)
2 tablespoons of runny honey
Mint leaves, to garnish

4 ramekins or small glass dishes

Method:

  • Divide the granola equally between the four dishes.
  • Using an electric mixer, whisk together the cream cheese, yoghurt and honey. Spoon over the granola to create a lovely creamy layer, then cover each pot with cling film and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve.
  • To serve: remove the cling film and add an even layer of fresh or defrosted berries to each pot. Garnish with mint leaves and serve.

Enjoy! And feel free to request this when you book – I’d love to make it as part of your Dorset breakfast.

Happy New Year from Gillingham, Dorset!

wp-1483517050541.jpgHappy New Year! We hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year break.

We were fully booked from December 30th and had five wonderful guests staying with us, who took advantage of our special New Year package and enjoyed  complimentary cocktails in the hot tub (I made a big jug of Poinsettias – here’s the recipe), a very special New Year’s Day breakfast (pictured: triple cheese strata, local sausages and oven roasted tomatoes) and a late check out.

Both sets of guests had dinner on New Year’s Eve at our local restaurant South Street Kitchen and came home raving about their delicious food and cocktails!

Sharon was kind enough to leave us this feedback:

We spent two nights at this lovely B&B for New Year’s and it was the best experience we’ve had. Cleo and Steve were so welcoming and the rooms made us feel right at home! The beds were very comfy and the rooms had everything you need for a pleasant stay. The breakfast was delicious, as Cleo had invested the thought and time to bring in local produce for us to try and on New Year’s Day she even made us a very yummy cooked breakfast. We were very happy to discover the beautiful, quaint town of Lyme Regis and have a nice dinner at South Street Kitchen in Gillingham, which is 10 minutes walking distance away from the B&B – which was all recommended by Cleo, for which we are very grateful.

Peggy the dog is the cutest ever and we were so pleased with how well she got on with our daughter who is two. Not only that, but Cleo even thought about providing some books, DVDs and toys for Amelie (our daughter) to enjoy. The hot tub was definitely one of the highlights of our trip – we can not fault this place in any way and will definitely be returning when Amelie is older and then she can sign the guest book too. Thank you so much again for everything, Cleo, Steve and Peggy :).

wp-1483525435233.jpgAnd the second photo for today is the guest book review in both French and Italian from Florien and Claudia!

My goal for 2017 is to continue to host lots of lovely guests from all around the world and we are off to a flying start so far; our first visitor of the new year drove here (with his dog!) from Holland and we already have guests from Portugal and Belgium booked in. So, whoever and wherever you are as you read this – here’s to a wonderful 2017 and we look forward to hearing from you when you’re ready to make your booking!

 

 

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!