Food, Producers

Bacon

Just before lockdown I made my first attempt at home curing. No pictures from that, but it was pretty good,  so I decided to have another go.

Just to make sure it wasn’t beginner’s luck.

I bought another pork loin from the Wee Pig Company who raise free range pigs on their croft at Kilmore. Their own bacon is a regular on our breakfast menu at Sheiling.

Anyway, as it was just the two of us we roasted half the loin and cured the rest.

I used this  recipe from the School of Artisan Food.

Cure: 50grams per kg of meat made up of

25grams soft dark brown sugar

25grams salt.

And that’s all there is to it!

We’ve been very impressed and plan on adding it to our breakfast menu.

I’ve also wondered about using maple syrup in the cure for a slightly different taste.

What’s most important is starting from a really good product, after that it’s just a matter of time.

IMG_1914

But all good things are worth waiting for.

Like our guests, and we’ll be here for you when you can come back.

Caroline x

Food, Interiors

Ooops!

We ate all the cake! Actually, it was a pudding. And a delicious one.  So much so that it was all eaten up before I remembered to take a picture. It was called Torta de Laranja and if you’d like to have a go yourself you can find the recipe here,  it’s flour free so good if you’ve been having trouble finding that.

Strangely enough I didn’t find the recipe on a cookery page but posted in a gardening group I belong to!

 

Here are some pictures of a cake I made for Easter, I don’t often bake (or make puddings) just for the two of us – I’m too greedy and could easily polish off most of a cake on my own, so it’s too risky. But it’s nice to have a treat now and again.

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that was my last jar of Paradise Kitchen jam*

And there’s some of my favourite chocolate olive oil*** cake (it’s also flour free) and breakfast goodies here**

 

* Unfortunately Paradise Kitchen closed last year, but Kate has given George some jam making tips so that’s part of his lockdown homework.

 

Good luck with the recipes if you try them.

 

Caroline  x

 

**Giulia Giannetti photography

Sarah Beattie Food on Facebook

***Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, Nigella Lawson

 

Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

It’s not business as usual

It’s another lovely sunny day, it was the Spring equinox yesterday,  and a week tonight the clocks will go forward marking the start of British Summer Time. On Thursday I saw the first lamb locally – though I think it would have been an unexpectedly early arrival. It’s the time of year when I start thinking about welcoming our guests.

IMG_4780

Sorry not just now

But not this year.  Please follow government and NHS advice and don’t think about travelling, don’t ignore the restrictions. I appreciate that it might seem tempting to escape the cities in search of isolation in the Highlands but it will cause chaos in rural communities.

I’m often asked about life here on Seil,  “idyllic” is often mentioned, and yes, we are very lucky to live here, we have beautiful surroundings, clean air and a wonderful community.

IMG_0055

Spring bulbs, a “thank you” from friends a few years back, still going strong

But It’s going to be a hard time here too. So many people earn their living from tourism and hospitality and have seen their jobs disappear overnight. But you can help. Eventually the restrictions will be lifted and we’ll be able to welcome you back. In the meantime, if you can,  and I know many people have lost their jobs too, think about buying vouchers and mail-order items. That way there’s a better  chance they will still be  here when you can come back.

Everything* takes longer to get here, we pay extra for our online orders;  never mind the bridge we’re an island when it comes to delivery charges.  Don’t get me wrong,  we might complain about these things in the pub, but we do love living here.  But at the moment the pubs, as well as all the cafes, restaurants, museums and other attractions  are  closed.

We’re half an hour from  our local district hospital but our nearest  intensive care unit is nearly three hours away in Glasgow.  Our  health centre is great, but it’s designed to cope with our small population. They’ll happily treat emergencies among summer visitors but can’t cope with large increases in patients.

Our local producers and shops are working hard to maintain supplies and make sure we have food and access to it, but our supermarkets are struggling too. We love serving you our freshly baked bread, but flour has disappeared from the shelves – perhaps in a future post I can share how we’ve been utilising less common ingredients?

 

Here are a few Seil and Easdale businesses who are selling vouchers:

The Fisherman’s Kitchen

Sealife Adventures

Seafari

the Puffer Bar and Restaurant, Easdale

 

Wherever you are, stay safe and follow the guidelines.

very cute Bramble pic

 

Caroline, George and Bramble

*Not the actual post, we have a remarkable postal service, occasionally it seems as if things arrive even before I’ve sent them.

Food, Plastic Waste, Tourism, Uncategorized

Looking forward, looking back

January,  named for two headed Janus,  who could look forward to the future while reviewing the past.  As we’ve headed into the “twenties” the papers have been full of reviews of the decade and thoughts for the future. It gave me quite a shock to realise that we’ve been in business for half of that time, so what has happened over the past five years?

We opened our doors at the end of July 2015 with just the one room, Nancy.

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“Nancy” as she looked then 

We continued the next summer, still with the one room but with a few cosmetic changes and plans for expansion.

bedroom 3

new lights and blanket for 2016

And then in September packed up the old kitchen ready for its demolition and replacement

Our cooking options shrank somewhat

and we became very familiar with these…

paint

By the end of July 2017 we were ready to reopen with Nancy

new chair and  bedside tables

 

being joined by Flora

Flora, our suite with private bathroom and sitting room

Over the next couple of years we’ve updated, introducing more Welsh textiles to Nancy; the room is named for my Welsh  mother.

Developed our baking reportoires..

Moved to larger less wasteful toiletries

Lomond Soap

and continued having fun

toast glasses

hosting lots of lovely guests

 

Some things never change, January is still the month for these

Seville oranges

resulting in lots of this

marmalade

2018 vintage

2020 batch

and the 2020 batch

Which I think gets better every year.

So looking ahead over the next couple of months we’ll be digging out those paintbrushes to get everything looking fresh and lovely to begin welcoming you again.

Happy New Year

Caroline, George and Bramble xxx

Looking both ways up and down the Sound

Food, Uncategorized

Lemon Curd

Lots of guests have asked George for the recipe for his lemon curd, (and who can blame them, it’s delicious). We didn’t have a copy written down but as promised here it is:

Ingredients

4 lemons

50g unsalted butter

100g Caster sugar

4 free range eggs

Method

Squeeze the juice of the 4 lemons.

Melt the butter in a dish over a pan of simmering water.

Add the lemon juice and sugar and stir until dissolved.

Beat the eggs and add them to the mixture in the pan – slowly. Keep stirring the mixture as you add the eggs.

Once the beaten eggs are fully incorporated, leave the bowl over the pan of hot water and stir occasionally. After about 20 minutes the mixture will thicken.

While you are waiting for this sterilise your jars in the oven at

120 degrees Centigrade for 10 minutes.

Once the mixture has thickened pour it into your jars and seal them. The curd will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or more.*

You can also use a mixture of lemons and limes.

*if you can resist it!

Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

Taking a breath(er)

We’ve had a very busy summer, met lots of lovely guests,

thank you cards and notes from our guest book

 

 

cooked many breakfast and baked a whole lot of cake.

 

 

Now it’s time to take a breath. The season isn’t quite over there are still guests to greet but change is in the air.  Autumn activities are starting on the island, regular classes resuming and the morning walk changes colour every day. We’ve enjoyed a few days of September sunshine (though not today)

 

It’s time to celebrate birthdays, meet up with friends and family, become tourists ourselves. It’s also time for work, maintenance and redecoration where needed. We will be open on request over the Autumn and Winter period and there’s still lots to enjoy, perhaps Oban Winter Festival in November? The weather may get colder (and wetter) but you’ll get a warm welcome at Sheiling.

Caroline x

 

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, Plastic Waste, Uncategorized

No washday blues….

Once  again we had blue skies and sunshine on Monday. This time our day out was not entirely leisure related, we were heading down to Cardross to pick up our bathroom supplies from the lovely Lomond Soap Company,  but more of that later.

Enroute we had a coffee at our regular haunt Brambles,  Inveraray.  The loch was looking particularly beautiful and we had a quick walk around the shops too.

 

Refreshed we continued on to Cardross to pick up shower gel, hand wash and lotion from Corrie at Lomond Soap. I’d been searching for a supplier for a while and researched the company after using their products in a cafe.  All products are palm oil and animal fat free, they don’t dry out your skin and smell yummy too, I chose Citrus and  Rosemary for the Sheiling bathrooms. They will be available in refillable large dispensers to avoid the plastic waste from lots of little bottles.

 

As well as her range of soaps, gels and lotions Corrie has some lovely home and gift products in her shop. It’s on the main street in Cardross and well worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Before heading home we called in to the larger town of Helensburgh, home to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House, as well as a good range of shops and cafes. We had a late lunch at Sugar Boat where I’d first been impressed by Lomond Soap. It’s a stylish , friendly cafe/bistro which is also dog friendly in the bar area.

Today it’s raining, but that doesn’t matter as I’ve got some work to do…….

soap

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

Monday blues, but not the bad kind

Two weeks ago  we had our trip down to Kintyre, today and last Monday we stayed a little closer to home and enjoyed what our beautiful neighbouring islands have to offer.

Seil has ferry links to two of the other Slate islands, last week we took the “big” ferry (it takes cars) over to  Luing. We weren’t lucky enough to see the dolphins* we’d spotted on our last visit but the view is beautiful even without cetaceans.

at south cuan

We drove up to Cullipool for a walk along the shore and lunch at The Atlantic Islands Centre.  Bramble loves it there, not only is she welcome at the centre but there are sooooooo many stones to chase on the beach.

Today we took the little ferry (passengers only) to Easdale our nearer neighbour. It’s a great place for dog walking as there aren’t any cars. We took the paths around the old quarries and climbed to its highest point  (not that high, around 38 metres). After that it was back to the friendly Puffer Bar and Restaurant for coffee and a scone. Dogs aren’t allowed in the tearoom but are welcome in the bar, there’s also plenty of seating outside, which is where we enjoyed our drinks today.

 

So will we get another “Blue Monday” next week? Fingers crossed.

 

*when I  didn’t have my camera

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, History, Tourism

Enjoying a day out

Even though we escaped the worst of the recent storms and wintry weather we haven’t really travelled very far from home recently. So it was nice to have a little day out yesterday.

We headed south down Loch Fyne to the beautiful Kintyre peninsula. We had a quick stop in Tarbert to stretch our (and Bramble’s) legs and then on along the coast towards Campbeltown.

We stopped short of Campbeltown at Glenbarr where Glenbarr Stores has a  cafe serving delicious locally sourced food, garden centre and farmshop (as well as the Post Office)

 

We even got a look at their lovely B&B rooms, it’s nice to see what other B&Bs are like. It would be a great spot to explore what Kintyre has to offer.

We continued south to Campbeltown where you can find the newly restored Picture House ,  one of the oldest surviving cinemas in the country, next to Campbeltown museum which we’d visited on another trip.  We decide not to indulge our inner Paul Mccartney  by continuing down to the Mull of Kintyre but headed over to the east side taking the sometimes switchback B road to Saddell with its ancient stones and beautiful beach*

We all enjoyed a walk there, but Bramble most of all.

Licky b

Kintyre is a fairly long day out from Sheiling BnB but well worth it;  or maybe spend more of your time exploring beautiful Argyll and take a few days there too.  A road trip to rival the North Coast 500?

 

*park in the village and walk down past Saddell Castle.

Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

Mmmmmmmarmalade

We’re just back from a short break in sunny Tenerife where the trees were full of oranges and bananas.

 

It’s been a bit chillier here in Argyll

snowy scene

So I was pleased to find a little reminder of Spanish sunshine in our local deli. *

These.

Seville oranges

Seville oranges, perfect for marmalade. So MrS** has been busy chopping, paring, boiling and generally filling the kitchen with delicious smells.

And lots of jars of this.

Which means there’ll be plenty for our guests to enjoy later on in the year.

As long as I don’t do too much “quality control”

marmalade on toast

Caroline x

*Kitchen Garden, Oban

**MrS(heiling) aka George.