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

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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!

 

Recipe share: home made traditional Irish brown soda bread – a delicious part of your bed and breakfast stay in Dorset!

Book your Dorset bed and breakfast stay 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.


Enjoy a little taste of Ireland here in Dorset with this traditional Irish recipe for home-made brown soda bread – as taught to me at the Dingle Cookery School in Co. Kerry last year when I attended one of their cookery master classes.

Don’t forget to request it when you book so that I can bake a fresh loaf for you!

Ingredients

300g brown/wholemeal flour
200g plain white flour
80g porridge oats/oatmeal (separated into 70g and 10g)
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda, sieved
A generous pinch of salt
300 – 400 ml buttermilk (the exact amount will vary, dependent on the dryness of your ingredients and the humidity in the air. I know this sounds crazy but it’s true; I need more buttermilk when I bake this bread in Dorset than I do in Ireland, where the climate is damper!)

Method

  • Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C/180 fan
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, reserving 10g of the porridge oats.
  • Using a wooden spoon, add the buttermilk until the mixture sticks together in a stiff porridge consistency.
  • Turn out onto a floured tray and shape into a flat, circular loaf around 3″ deep and 8″ across. Use the handle of the wooden spoon to make the traditional cross in the top. Sprinkle with the remaining oatmeal.
  • Alternative baking shape: use a 2lb loaf tin (this will require additional cooking time)
  • Bake for c. 30 minutes. Check that the bread is cooked by putting a skewer into the centre of the loaf and if it comes out dry, the bread is done. If wet, the loaf needs a few more minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack – although the bread is delicious when warm, let it cool down a bit or else it will crumble when sliced.
  • ENJOY!

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.

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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.

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.

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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: 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!

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!

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: Granola and Yoghurt Fruit Tart from the Dorset Dairy Co

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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’:

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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.