Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

The Scintillating Isles of Scilly – A Flying Visit – Plane & Simple

Isles of Scilly Airport View

As I peered out of the plane and the Isles of Scilly first came into view, my heart leapt. I fell in love with these beautiful verdant islands bobbing in a scintillating turquoise sea when I first set foot there at the age of twelve. I couldn’t believe it was already five years since my last visit. I’ve said it before and no doubt will say it again, time has a habit of running away with you. This trip was a flying visit, literally.

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A Scilly Post: Fig, Almond & Choc Chip Honey Flapjacks

 
 

Our celebratory trip to the Isles of Scilly this year, taken as our annual holiday, was utterly and completely glorious. Good walking, a bit of pampering and relaxation and delicious food in a quiet and beautiful location was what we were after and that is exactly what we got. The weather wasn’t too bad either. We only got three days of drizzle and mists and the rest of our week was near unbroken sunshine – not bad for this part of the world.

View from Samson Hill Cottage
Cromwell’s Castle, Tresco
Rocky islet, Bryher
Our last night

We’ve been promising ourselves a trip to the Scilly Isles for years. I went to Bryher on a school camping trip when I was twelve and fell in love with the island then. I’d never been back and CT had never been at all despite all the botanical delights to be seen there. If it hadn’t been for Issy of Clotted Cream Diaries, I very much doubt we’d have made it this year either. Issy is Scillonian born and this year left her life here on the mainland to go home and set up an eco B&B which just happened to be on the island of Bryher. What with significant birthdays to celebrate and total exhaustion to alleviate, the call was just too strong.

 
One of many roadside stalls with honesty box, St Agnes
Get your pizzas here

The Scilly Isles are made up of many islands, but only five of them are inhabited. Bryher is the smallest, but also the least developed with a particularly wild moorland quality, which made me feel right at home. We managed to visit all five islands whilst we were there and although Bryher remains my favourite, we were both taken with St Martin’s and St Agnes as well. One of the great delights was the virtual absence of motorised road traffic – bliss. We found the Scilly Isles in general to be very laid back and the people friendly – it was like stepping back in time and reminded us of our six months spent in New Zealand back in the 90s.

Scilly rock art on Bryher
Weather forecasting on St Agnes
Boys and their toys! Tresco
Gaia, Tresco Abbey Gardens
Last resting place of Harold Wilson, St Mary’s

Samson Hill Cottage is the last dwelling on the sheltered side of the island, so it was wonderfully quiet and secluded. Overlooking Tresco, we had a stunning view of the sometimes turquoise waters. On the day of our arrival, we were welcomed with a huge cream tea, with local clotted cream and jam and a pile of scones made by Issy, which we scoffed in the garden. As well as a fabulous breakfast with more menu choices than I’ve ever seen and using as much local produce as possible, we also enjoyed three evening meals. Each afternoon when we returned from our various outings, we’d find a piece of delicious homemade cake in our room. Goodness me, Issy’s double chocolate brownies were something else, in fact they were so good, I forgot to take a picture. In addition to the B&B, Issy and her husband Gareth also do two pizza nights a week from their wood fired pizza oven in the garden. Despite our feeling of repleteness, we couldn’t resist a pizza on our last evening and we are so glad we indulged. Oh, did I mention the fudge? We had a packet of locally made fudge (which just happened to be made by Issy’s mum) left in our room on a couple of occasions too.

Sweetcorn Fritters, one of the many vegetarian breakfast options available
CT raring to get started on the Full Scillonian
Issy’s homemade pain au chocolat – what’s left of it anyway
Scilly pea soup with goat’s cheese & croutons
Couldn’t resist this cheeseboard with four Cornish cheeses – who needs dessert?
Not on the menu – Portuguese Man-of-war, all washed up with nowhere to go

As well as the chocolate brownies and pain au chocolat, we did have a couple of other chocolate indulgences whilst visiting the other islands. Sadly the chocolates, handmade on St Agnes, were not available on our visit, but luckily the island had chocolate ice-cream, made with Jersey and Ayrshire clotted cream. It was the best ice-cream I’ve had in a very long time – thick, creamy and rich. It worked really well with the, ahem, “bonus” scoop of rose geranium – a complete revelation.

 
Troytown Farm Ice Cream

So with all that food, lunch and sometimes dinner was hardly a priority for us. Quite honestly, the flapjacks I made before I left were not really needed, but they did come in useful on the long boat trips to and from Scilly and allayed any possible hunger pangs that arose during the day whilst we were out walking. I think we’ve come back two stone heavier than when we left.

Fig, Almond & Chocolate Chip Honey Flapjacks
 
  • Melted 125g unsalted butter in a large pan with a heaped tbsp of Cornish runny honey.
  • Stirred in 75g demerara sugar.
  • Stirred in 280g rolled oats.
  • Added 50g chopped dried figs, 50g chopped almonds and 25g dark 70% chocolate chips.
  • Stirred until all incorporated.
  • Pressed into a 9 x7 inch tin and scattered with sesame seeds.
  • Baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
  • Allowed to cool, then cut into 12 rectangles.
For other flapjack inspiration using chocolate, take a peek some of the other flapjacks I’ve made.
 

Laura from How to Cook Good Food has wisely chosen figs as this month’s One Ingredient, an excellent challenge that she co-hosts with Working London Mummy. I do like figs.

Homemade by Fleur is doing a flapjack challenge, so I couldn’t resist entering these figgy delights, even though it is a little late in the day (11/10/12).

 

Getting Greedy in Ghent

Ghent

Chocolate Reviews, Travel | 7th September 2010 | By

There is so much to say about the wonderful city of Ghent, I hardly know where to begin. It’s a city about the size of Plymouth (where I work) and it couldn’t be more different. It’s flat for a start!  Flat, of course, makes it nice and easy for cycling and it was truly wonderful to see so many cyclists scooting about – how I miss my bike.  This combined with the many cobbled streets acted as a form of traffic calming and presumably a car deterrent – so much of the old city was car free – bliss.

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