Recipe share: Peach and Almond Cake with Cheesecake Frosting – an afternoon teatime treat in Gillingham, Dorset

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


I love to bake and I  always try to magic up a delicious cake when I know we have a house full of guests arriving.

This recipe is a tray bake topped with fresh sliced peaches (although I used nectarines in the photos shown here – just as delicious!)  and finished off with a cream cheese, cheesecake style flavoured icing and toasted flaked almonds. It’s perfect with a cup of Dorset tea or coffee at the end of a long journey.

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The recipe is available on the Waitrose website and I’m always happy to bake it upon request – just let me know when you book!

 

Let’s do brunch! New ‘weekend’ menu available in Gillingham, Dorset

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

|| Who doesn’t love a bit of brunch at the weekend? I love checking new brunch spots and dishes wherever I am and our newly launched ‘weekend’ brunch menu reflects some of our favourites, as well as some new ideas.

(We first tried out the Parmesan French Toast as an Easter Weekend special and it proved to be so popular that we’ve decided it’s earned a place on the regular menu!)

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Parmesan French Toast, Spoilt Pig bacon, roasted tomatoes

Brunch items are available from 8.30am onwards on Saturdays, Sundays, Bank Holiday Mondays and by request if you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other event.

And also … fancy a lazy morning on the day you check out? Enjoy two Brunch items and a late check out (to 12 noon) for just £20.00. Please ask!

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Let’s do brunch!

Our current Brunch suggestions are:

Toasted Waffles with a Berry Compote, Maple Syrup and Lemon Cream

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and your choice of either Toast or a Toasted Muffin

Parmesan French Toast with a side order of Bacon or Veggie Sausages

Build Your Own Benedict – Eggs Benedict how you like it: combine a Toasted Muffin, two Poached Eggs and your choice from Wilted Spinach, Hollandaise Sauce and either Bacon or Smoked Salmon

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)

Mushroom, Halloumi Cheese and Tomato Stack – served on a Toasted Muffin (vegetarian)

We look forward to meeting you and cooking brunch for you soon!

Light evening meals now available at Gillingham, Dorset’s popular bed and breakfast!

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.


You asked, we listened!  And in response to great feedback on our breakfasts and to many requests and suggestions,  we are now offering a small menu of light evening snacks!

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Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, ‘Sunflowers’ style

Our Delicious Dorset Evening Snacks are available between 5.00pm and 8.00pm on Sunday to Thursday evenings and are cooked to order and served in the private dining room. As many of the local restaurant options are closed on Sunday and Monday evenings,  the new menu is already proving to be very popular!

All items can be ordered and paid for during your stay and you can request a free copy of the menu in PDF format when you book if you wish to take a look or order in advance.

The menu includes:

  • Sandwiches, made on your choice of brown or white bread, served with crisps; choose from:
    • Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
    • Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato
  • Poached or Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon [pictured here]
  • Your choice from the Light Bites menu:Scrambled/Poached/Baked Eggs or Baked Beans on Toast – all available with your choices of cheese, ham and fresh tomatoes
  • Pasta Bake with Oven Roasted Vegetables, topped with Halloumi Cheese (v)
  • Pea, Pancetta and Parmesan Risotto with a Truffle Oil Drizzle [with mushrooms instead of pancetta for a vegetarian option]
  • Home made Mixed Fruit Fool, served with Dorset Shortbread Biscuits

All options include a jug of filtered ice water, and freshly brewed local tea or coffee to follow your meal.

We look forward to cooking for you soon!

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.

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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
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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: 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: 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!

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.

STANDARD BREAKFAST OPTIONS: 

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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.

OR UPGRADE TO ONE OF OUR DELICIOUS FULL COOKED BREAKFASTS:

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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.

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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 –

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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)

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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)

 

 

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.

Dorset Food and Drink – Foodie Cycling routes: on the doorstep here in Gillingham, Dorset #dorsetpedals 

Dorset Pedal bannerTalk about a match made in heaven – the clever people at the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty website have put together eight food routes which encourage you to use “Dorset Pedal Power” to ‘explore the culinary delights our lovely county has to offer’.

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.

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Recent guests Jenny and Tom at the start of their Dorset cycling holiday!

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.