Matthias and I are curled up inside Sorrel Cottage, what must be now our new favourite B&B.
We’re finally on our honeymoon. We’re in Scotland, on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. We’ve decided to embark on an 8 day cycling adventure, exploring this beautiful rugged, hilly and isolated cluster of Islands of Northern Europe.
So far we’ve been awed by the stunning scenery here. Yesterday we had gorgeous weather, unlike anything we expected – typically windy and rainy, even at the height of summer – and lulling us into a false sense of security. We’ve stayed in some cute towns, some cosy B&Bs, but none like this one.
After 90km in the saddle today, on a mostly grey and windy day, the last hour of cycling towards the ferry from Berneray on North Uist, was wet and rainy. We arrived an hour before the ferry was due to depart, and sat ourselves down in the waiting ‘room’ (shack) whilst we waited to catch our ride. Cold and wet, we soon warmed up a bit on the ferry, and furthermore at the restaurant over dinner and a glass of red at the wharf. But soon enough, we realise we must return to the saddle to peddle a further 3km down the road to find our bed for the night. Back out in the rain, it was even harder bearing the weather after having warmed up and relaxed a little with the wine.
Doubtful we would find our little B&B as we squinted through the wet, we finally came round a corner and down a hill, to see a charming cottage with a hand painted sign out front – Sorrel Cottage. We rapped on the door and the owner Paula exclaimed upon opening, ‘Wet cyclists!’ Our new friend quickly ushered us in and before our eyes lay the kind of B&B we’d been hoping to find, but the first of it’s kind so far on this trip. A beautiful room with a view – tastefully decorated with an equally beautiful en suite. Our own private lounge room, complete with tweed blankets, hot chocolate and ginger biscuits, and yet another stunning view. A hot shower and a cosy bed.
Funny how the small things can evoke such gratitude in us!
- olive oil
- 2-3 eschallots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1/2 jap pumpkin, peeled and cubed
- 3cm ginger, peeled and very finely sliced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- small (170ml) can coconut milk, if desired
- 1 cup red or black quinoa
Add quinoa to a small saucepan with 2 cups of stock. Slowly cook over a low-medium heat whilst the rest of the soup is being prepared. Once cooked (should still be slightly crunchy, yet fully expanded), set aside until the soup is ready.
Heat a large splash of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add eschallots, celery and leek. Cook for 5 mins, stirring continuously. Add pumpkin, ginger and garlic, cooking for a further 3-5 minutes. Add remaining stock to cover the vegetables, and season if desired with salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil. Once boiling, quickly reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. The pumpkin should now be tender. Leave on a low heat, purée with a kitchen hand blender. Finally, stir through the cooked quinoa, and add coconut milk if desired, then serve.
If you’re looking for something a little more hearty, check out our delicious lentil soup.