Whoopie! We are the Bed and Breakfast of the Year! How exciting is that? This is what we were awarded at the Welsh Hospitality Awards in Cardiff recently. This follows on from our recent award winning of Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast in the recent Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards. What a time we are having!
Well, we did it! Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast, for the third awards ceremony in succession. What a great honour to be judged by three independent persons, one being the County Council, tasting all that’s on offer on your menu and comparing you to their peers and declaring you as ‘Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast’.
Bearing in mind that in Pembrokeshire, there are close to 1000 accommodation providers, with many offering really great breakfasts, local produce and homemade, it makes the award very dear.
Well, it’s nearly upon us-Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards! The Award Ceremony is on this Thursday coming and the excitement is palpable. It’s been a struggle to get enough tickets for the awards, which is great, that so many people want to attend, and I am pleased that yesterday I managed to get the last ticket I was wanting to get. We are only a small team, but I wanted as many as possible to come, as, this year, one of the awards we are finalists for is ‘Best Customer Service Team’, so I thought it very appropriate that as many of the ‘team’ come along. And by that, I don’t just mean those that actively work in the B&B, but those that help and support me from the sidelines, that no-one ever gets to know about. It’s a great way to show those that matter, how much they matter.
Halloween has come and gone and the next adventure is Fireworks on Bonfire night, here at Herbie(local speak for Herbrandston). We set our display for Halloween in the hallway and we carved our pumpkin-I like the traditional designs for pumpkins, rather than the great designs that are out there now! I think next year we should have a staff Pumpkin Carving Competition and get the guests to judge. I will try to carve out a pumpkin with the design of our logo too- I think that would look great. Coming back to the village and November 5th, here, at Herbie, the community council who work tirelessly for the village, arrange a bonfire night and a firework display in the village Sports field.
It is apple season, it’s apples galore here at Fields Lodge and we have apple chutney coming out of our ears. We have 2 apple trees in our garden, one struggling to beat the elements in the rear garden, getting battered by the prevailing winds, with no shelter, and another, nicely nestled in amongst way too many shrubs. One of it’s roots got upturned when it fell following some wind, but it’s recovered, and although the quite substantial root is exposed, and really a bit of a trip hazard(thankfully, it’s not a used pathway), the tree has rallied and bears ever such a lot of fruit.
Then at the bottom of our lane (there are only 3 houses on our lane which goes down to the creek), we have our neighbours at Beacon Hill, who seem to have an endless supply of apples at this time of year, and any surplus they have, end up at the back door of Fields Lodge. It’s not so much a tooth fairy that delivers them but an ‘apple fairy’! Quite often I come back from my daily shopping to find another delivery. Infact, we’re finding it hard to keep on top of them!
I love using produce from our doorstep, there’s something about homegrown, no chemicals, just good clear salty sea air and our very lovely red earth, particular to Sandy Haven. They make for an excellent ingredient with which to start any number of recipes.
We are presently making Apple Chutney to go as an accompaniment to our Welsh Rarebit breakfast dish. As you know, if you are a regular reader, I am not a fan of the white stuff known as sugar, and so I do try to utilise something a bit more healthy, as I think it’s pretty well known now that sugar is not at all good for you-no nutrients at all, loads of calories and pretty addictive. There is much debate as to what is the best thing to use, I think pretty much everyone says that stevia is ok, but I find it leaves me with a ‘sweetener’ aftertaste and I find it burns in cooking quite easily. What I have trialled in our apple chutney recipe is Xylitol, derived from the bark of the birch tree. You can pretty much use it as a direct substitute for sugar and it apparently doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. The only downside to using this, is it costs a fortune when compared to sugar-43p versus £12!. So, I am making a very expensive batch of apple chutney, but I just can’t bring myself to use sugar.
I will try a batch made with dates as the sugar substitute next, but of course, these are high in sugars, but at least they’re natural and you will be getting the fibre from the fruit also. Plus also, with the apples and the raisins, there’s already plenty of sugars in there!
So, if you’d like my current recipe:
2Kg Apples, peeled, cored and cubed
750g Xylitol (or sugar/sugar substitute)
2 Onions finely chopped
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp salt
700ml Cider Vinegar
It’s dead simple-put it all in a pot bring to the boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes or until the apples are soft. Leave to cool and then decant into sterilised jars. Then enjoy!
To know more about the redstone at Sandy Haven click here and to know more about Sandy Haven Beach click here
Yesterday was the judging day for the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards. These awards are held approximately every 2 years, and over the last few years, we have been very successful in winning Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast on 2 successive occasions. We have also won awards in the Best Serviced Accommodation category and for this year, both categories were being judged on the same day.
Woo-hoo….. we have been listed as Finalists in a few categories in the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards. This year their main sponsor is the Milford Waterfront Development, and within that the individual categories are then sponsored by other organisations. Individuals from these organisations are usually the judges for the various categories.
Well, here’s the gossip from this week in the B&B, we have been quite busy(as always!).
We have the lovely Nia, who has recently started, is now honing her culinary skills and is practising cooking our tasty breakfast dishes. She has had a personal achievement this week- she has passed her Driving Test! There’ll be no stopping her now!
The strawberries have arrived at Haverfordwest Farmers Market! Springfields farm at Manorbier have been cultivating their own strawberries for years, and they’re the best strawberries you can buy-in my opinion.
We are very fortunate to have ‘Pembrokeshire’ coffee on offer here for our guests. The coffee has been awarded the Pembrokeshire Produce Certification Mark. And How??? I hear you asking, do we manage to grow coffee in Pembrokeshire?? Well, it’s not grown in Pembrokeshire, but it is roasted in Pembrokeshire, and that is what allows it to be called Pembrokeshire Coffee! We pride ourselves on bringing our guests as much of Pembrokeshire as possible.
Yaaay! Milford Fish Festival is nearly here. It starts on Saturday 25th June at Milford Fish Docks and Milford Marina, and is the beginning of festivities that make up Pembrokeshire Fish Week- an award winning festival and one of the great food festivals in the UK.
I’m busy in the kitchen today cooking up all sorts of goodies for this weekends’ guests. In the oven I have mixed berries reducing to a compote ready to make sugar free chia jam, low carb bread baking and yoghurt making on the kitchen top. To add to this, vegetarian sausage making and some low carb, sugar free cake bites for when the sweet tooth descends. It may sound a lot to be going on, but it’s quite a normal day in this B&B.
The season lasts from April to the end of July roughly, and during that time Skomer Island is home to one of the largest populations of Puffins in the world. The Puffins come to Skomer to breed. Skomer Island is an ideal place for them as there are no land predators here, so the pufflings can be hatched and tended to in relative safety. May and early June, are for me, the best times to visit Skomer as this is the time when all the bluebells are out, turning the island into a carpet of blue-it is truly magical at this time.
Gluten Free in Pembrokeshire-there’s a move towards it definately. Here at our Bed and Breakfast in Pembrokeshire, we offer a good range of Gluten Free options-bread, sausages, cereals, cakes, health bars, ketchup-all Gluten Free. Many of you that have been following my posts will know that I am on a quest to eat more healthily. One of those strands of thought is to be Gluten Free. I have had various intolerance tests over the years and gluten has always come up as a ‘red’, plus I do feel unwell after eating too much of it-which isn’t hard these days, as gluten is in nearly everything that is processed.
Pembrokeshire Beaches-what are the best 5 beaches?? What a question to answer, if you asked 10 people, you’d have 10 different answers. There are over 50 beaches on the Pembrokeshire Coast and I’ve been to most, I think there’s still one or two that I’m yet to visit. You tend to get your favourites and then stick to them!
Well, here are my five with my own personal reasons for choosing them:
In support of World Health Day (7th April 2016), I thought it would be appropriate to share some of what we do here to promote health.
As some of you may know, I am attempting to eat more healthily, cut down on sugar(well remove it really!), avoid wheat and gluten and generally follow the thinking that is coming out of research as to what constitutes a healthy diet, which is not necessarily what is coming out as advice from the NHS and the government. It’s not their fault, I think the NHS is such a huge ship, it takes a long time to change course, as opposed to us individuals who in comparison are little speed boats, and can zip around in a flash! That’s my way of thinking, anyway.
The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company is one of our local producers, producing superb ‘sea’ fayre. We LOVE using local produce and producers here at Fields Lodge. We pride ourselves on providing the best experience we can of the lovely food available here in Pembrokeshire.
Walking in Winter in Pembrokeshire is as good as pleasure as in the summertime-the coast takes on a moody veil and the weather is sure to make you feel alive. So, as long as you are well prepared, there’s no need to leave walking until the sun comes out!
Walking in Winter Checklist
Personally I do not advocate walking when the weather is bad-howling rain and gales, but I think there’s nothing nicer than a fresh winter morning for a walk across the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which, just so happens to be on our doorstep. And, as it is winter, you do need to take a few extra precautions, just incase the weather does change quickly.
New Dawn Organic Skin Care products are one of the amenities we provide to guests with our pleasure. We wanted to offer toiletries in our rooms that offered a sense of place, that were good for your body, organic and offered uplift to body and soul. Dawn and Andrew who handmake the products are extremely local, being only a short drive away, so we are lucky to have such quality on our doorstep.