Boutique style bed and breakfast in the heart of the beautiful Dorset Blackmore Vale – a B&B with en-suite rooms, parking, wi-fi, a covered hot tub and delicious breakfasts. Family friendly, dogs welcome, 5* reviews, easy online booking for the best prices and lots of little free extras.
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.
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!
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.
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 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
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.
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.
STANDARD BREAKFAST OPTIONS:
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.
Breakfast 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.
OR UPGRADE TO ONE OF OUR DELICIOUS FULL COOKED BREAKFASTS:
Perhaps theFull 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.
AND AT WEEKENDS, HOLIDAYS OR IF YOU’RE CELEBRATING – HOW ABOUT ONE OF OUR SPECIALS?
We currently offer –
Toasted Waffles with a Warm Berry Compote, Maple Syrup and a Lemon Ricotta Cream –pictured here
Oven Baked Frittata/Omelette, served with Roast Tomatoes and your choice of Spring Onion/Scallions, Pancetta/Bacon, Cheese,Mushrooms or Spinach – pictured here
Oven Baked Stuffed French Toast with Banana, Honey and AlmondsOROrange and Cinnamon Croissant French Toast – pictured here
Mixed Berry Croissant Bake(our most popular special – we’ll even add a candle for your birthday!)
Breakfast in a Mushroom – a 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!
Mushroom, Halloumi Cheese and Tomato Stack – served on a toasted muffin(vegetarian; gluten-free muffin available)
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.
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.
Or, in other words – go for a bike ride around some stunning countryside, pausing as you do so to admire the view and take refreshment at some suggested eating and drinking spots.
Gillingham lies at the northern edge of route four, ‘Shaftesbury and the Blackmore Vale’, described here:
“Explore the Blackmore Vale, described by Thomas Hardy as ‘The Vale of Little Dairies’. Slow right down with this tranquil ride through the Blackmore Vale. Still a very rural area of dairy farms, you can relax and enjoy the seemingly endless landscape of lively hedgerows, lush fields and … lots of cows! The puff – or push – up to Shaftesbury is well worth the effort. Take a break to get your breath back on Gold Hill, with its vast views over the Vale. Then onto Turnbull’s cheese shop to appreciate all those dairy farms first hand, including our delicious Dorset Blue Vinny Cheese.”
Download the map and full list of suggested foodie stopping points here (PDF) and plan to take the full route of twenty miles or a more leisurely version of three miles. Two of our favourite foodie spots are listed on the map: The Udder Farm Shop at East Stour (where you can buy Dorset’s answer to Greek yoghurt, as made by our friends at The Dorset Dairy Co) and the Orchard Park farm shop and deli here in Gillingham.
And please click here to book your bed and breakfast stay in Gillingham, Dorset – cyclists are very welcome and we can store your bicycles for you overnight in our secure, locked garage.