New Covent Garden Soup Recipes  

September 25th, 2016
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Sykes Cottages recently teamed up with New Covent Garden Soup to offer a prize for their Great British Soup Competition. The competition was a fantastic success and New Covent Garden Soup received some delicious recipes from customers all over the UK. As the competition runner up and winner of the Sykes Cottages prize, we thought we’d share Lucy Haughey’s recipe for ‘Carrot, ginger & coconut soup’ with you.

Lucy’s ‘Carrot, ginger & coconut soup’

This yummy recipe for four people takes just 10 minutes to prepare and a further 20 minutes to cook. When speaking to Lucy about her recipe, she advised adding big floating cheese-topped croutons to the soup when serving.

Ingredients

  • 500ml chicken or veg stock
  • 6 chopped carrots
  • 2 grated garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped sweet potato
  • 1 chopped large white onion
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • Nugget of fresh ginger
  • Coriander
  • Seasoning

Method

  1. Add all the vegetables to a large pan, pour in the stock and seasoning and simmer until soft.
  2. Once soft, blitz all the ingredients together.
  3. Pour into four separate bowls, add some coconut milk and chopped coriander before serving.

Click here to view Lucy’s original recipe.

As well as Lucy’s tasty recipe, there were also several other recipes we couldn’t wait to try! We’ve included some of our favourites below but to see all the recipes entered into Great British Soup Competition please click here.

Mama Manuela’s ‘Chicken and almond soup’

Image from New Covent Garden Soup website.

Image from New Covent Garden Soup website.

This family favourite has a wonderful Mediterranean feel and is perfect for four people. The recipe will take around 40 minutes to make and is inspired by Mama Manuela’s Spanish heritage.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 litre of water
  • 1 large chicken breast (diced)
  • 1 small celery stick
  • 1 hand full of toasted almonds (crushed)
  • 1 hand full of barley

Method

  1. Add the oil to a pan and fry the garlic.
  2. Remove the garlic and set to one side. Add the diced chicken and fry until golden brown.
  3. Poor a litre of water into a sauce pan with the diced celery, barley and almonds. Cook until barley is ready.
  4. Add the chicken and garlic before serving with toasted bread and butter.

Click here to view Mama Manuela’s original recipe. 

Hayley’s ‘Spiced pumpkin and garlic’

Hayley’s heartwarming soup recipe will serve up to four people and takes around an hour to make. Hayley discovered this yummy recipe when she bought a Halloween pumpkin and wasn’t sure what to do with it. For an extra treat she advises topping with crumbled stilton and crispy bacon before serving.

Ingredients

  • Half a medium pumpkin
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp All spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cut the pumpkin and onions into chunks and halve the head of garlic. Place on a baking try and roast in the middle of the oven at 200c for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the veg stock in a pan.
  3. Blitz the roasted onion and pumpkin together in a processor. Squeeze in the roasted garlic and give the mixture another quick blitz.
  4. Add the spices and pumpkin mixture to the stock and combine together.
  5. Roast the pumpkin seeds and add to the top of the soup before serving.

Click here to view Hayley’s original recipe.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her husband.

Walk of the Month: Tom Gill to Tarn Hows

September 18th, 2016
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For September’s edition of Walk of the Month, we’re heading to the mesmerising landscape of the Lake District to one of the most-visited beauty spots in the area, Tarn Hows. Many holidaymakers drive to Tarn Hows but if you’re a seasoned walker and fancy a bit of a challenge, this route will reward you with spectacular scenery and views across Wetherlam and Coniston Old Man too.

The walk:

This dog-friendly 1.6 mile route will take around an hour to complete. Although don’t be fooled by the short length of time it takes- this route is demanding with steep terrain, some uneven paths and rock scrambling required. It is not suitable for those with limited mobility or novice fell-walkers but it is well worth the challenge for the more experienced.

The route:

The route begins at the car park at Tom Gill, Mary Glen Bridge. From here, head past the ticket machine and cross the wooden bridge. Go through the gate and follow the narrow path alongside the gill. Here, the path climbs up a rocky section before crossing the gill-side with the beck below. The Tom Gill waterfall is best viewed from the path as it ascends on the left-hand side.

Stay on the left-hand side of the gill, passing a gate and following the path. Make sure you take due care on the rocky sections as you approach Tarn Hows. Then take a right on the main track through the gates.

As you reach this majestic lake, stop in front of the bench at the three-way junction and take the path on the far left along the edge of the tarn. Follow the path as it ascends uphill and past some trees on your left. When you reach a T junction, head right continuing uphill towards the road. Follow the path alongside the road, bearing left until you reach the junction with the road, opposite the car park.

Here, turn right and head along the road towards Coniston, passing a cattle grid. Follow this round for a quarter of a mile as it winds its way down, offering stunning views across Yewdale. At the junction, take the track on the right through the gates marked ‘Tarn Hows Cottage’. With the wall on your left and the views on your right, continue to follow the track towards the cottage.

As the track bends to the right, go through the gate past the front of the cottage and out through another gate into the fields. Turn left and follow the wall downhill. At the end of the wall, go through the small gate and continue down the slope keeping the hedge to your right. You’ll then need to go through another small gate in the hedgerow and turn left downhill.

Once you’ve reached the bottom of the hill, turn right along the edge of the field with Yew Tree Farm (which was used in the film, Miss Potter) on the opposite side of the road. Head out of the field, through the gate and over the wooden bridge back into the car park.

To view the full route map, please click here.

Book a holiday cottage in the Lake District

If you’re planning your own trip to Tarn Hows, make sure you take a look at our handpicked collection of holiday cottages in the Lake District. We’ve over 850 cottages to choose from and we’d be delighted to help you find the perfect property for your holiday.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Sykes’ Famous Places: Roald Dahl

September 11th, 2016
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Roald Dahl Day is fast approaching and to help celebrate 100 years since the birth of this extraordinary author, we’re taking a look at some of the places he made famous. From James and the Giant Peach to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, join us as we discover some of the locations that helped inspire Roald Dahl’s magical tales.

Llandaff

Image of Llandaff Cathedral by Archangel12 - CC 2.0

Image of Llandaff Cathedral by Archangel12CC 2.0

Roald Dahl was born at Villa Marie, now known as Ty Gwyn, in Llandaff on September 13th 1916. His parents were Norwegian and his father was in the Shipbroker business. The family moved away from the city for some time but moved back after the loss of his father and sister. During his time in Llandaff, Roald attended the Llandaff Cathedral School and spent afternoons gazing through the window of the sweetshop. The owner of this sweetshop is said to have inspired the character of Mrs Pratchett from Roald Dahl’s ‘Boy’.

The historic city of Llandaff lies to the north of Cardiff city centre and offers a perfect base for exploring the city. Visitors to Llandaff can make the most of the village atmosphere whilst exploring the area’s many historic features, including the magnificent cathedral and welcoming high street. Whilst in the city why not stop by the site of the old sweetshop, now a Chinese takeaway? Outside you will find a lovely blue plaque which was unveiled in September 2009 to commemorate the life and work of Roald Dahl.

Repton

Image of Repton School by Paul Buckingham - CC 2.0

Image of Repton School by Paul BuckinghamCC 2.0

Roald Dahl came to Repton in January 1930 to study at Repton School. He stayed in Repton as a boarder for four and a half years before moving on to live with his family in Bexley in July 1934. Whilst at school in Repton, Roald lived at the Priory on High Street and took part in blind tasting events for Cadbury. Repton School alumni like to think that memories of these blind tastings inspired the author when writing his famous story, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

Repton is a wonderful village to visit with plenty to see and do in the local area. Located on the Trent Valley in Derbyshire, this village is not only home to beautiful scenery and architecture but a fascinating history too. The village dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and is known for being the place where Christianity was first preached in the midlands. When visiting the village, guests are advised to visit the village church and the remains of the old Repton Priory.

Great Missenden

Image of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre by David Hillas - CC 2.0

Image of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre by David HillasCC 2.0

In July 1954, Roald Dahl and his wife Pat bought Little Whitefield Cottage in Great Missenden. The couple moved in and spent the duration of their married life here. It was from Great Missenden that Roald Dahl wrote many of his famous stories including ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, ‘The BFG’ and ‘Danny Champion of the World’. In 1990, when Roald Dahl passed away, he was buried at the Church of St Peter and Paul in Great Missenden. His grave can be found near the memorial bench under the tree.

Great Missenden is a must visit for all Roald Dahl Fans. The village is home to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre where visitors can explore three interactive galleries and put their imagination to the test with the range of activities on offer. When the sun is shining, there are also a number of wonderful walks and trails available from the village. Whilst out walking, visitors will pass many iconic buildings and places that inspired Roald Dahl’s stories.

If you fancy exploring any of the places made famous by Roald Dahl then be sure to visit the Sykes Cottages website where you will find a selection of fantastic self-catering properties to choose from.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her husband.

Walk of the Month: Marloes Peninsula Coastal Walk

August 28th, 2016
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As another month comes to a close, we’ve decided to celebrate the great British weather and get out and about with August’s edition of Walk of the Month. This month, we’re heading to South Wales for a walk that takes in some of the best scenery that the Pembrokeshire coast has to offer. From the captivating sea views to the playful wildlife, this walk is ideal for an afternoon outing this summer.

The Walk:

This four mile circular route can take up to two hours to complete but we would advise allowing extra time to make the most of the views and fresh sea air. The terrain is relatively easy going with some rugged paths, gradients and steps, so please wear sensible footwear. There is a car park at the start of the walk for those travelling by car, and toilet facilities so you can freshen up before heading off.

The Route:

Begin your walk from the Marloes Sands car park. Make your way to the south end of the car park then turn right by the emergency phone and follow the signs for the toilets. Continue past the toilets, along the lane passing Marloes Mere; be sure to keep an eye out here for a glimpse of the wetland birds. Once you have passed the Mere, turn left and head for the coast path.

When you reach the coast path you will see Marloes Sands but turn right and head towards Gateholm Islands instead. You’ll soon come level with Gateholm, Skokholm should be ahead of you with Skomer coming into view on your right very soon, making this a perfect place to stop for a family photo.

Continue along the coastal path through an Iron Age fort. Make sure to stop here and admire the dramatic sedimentary rock formations that can be found along the coast. As you follow the coast path round, keep an eye out for Skomer Island and Midland Isle which will shortly come into view before reaching a footbridge.

At the footbridge take the right fork down the valley, towards Martin’s Haven. Go through the gate which leads to the road and turn left towards Martin’s Haven and the Skomer embarkation point. Before reaching the beach, follow the coast post right and up the steps. The path will continue east and you can enjoy views across St Bride’s Bay towards Newgale, the Solva Coast, St David’s Peninsula and Ramsey Island.

When you’ve walked just over a mile, leave the coastal path and turn right through a self-closing gate at a West Hook Farm National Trust omega sign. Cross the fields here and head towards the road. Once you’ve reached the road, turn left and follow it past the farm turning right by two semi-detached cottages. Walk down the track which leads back to the car park.

To view the full route map, please click here.

Book a holiday cottage in Pembrokeshire

Priory Cottage (Ref. 915079), in Saundersfoot

Priory Cottage (Ref. 915079), in Saundersfoot

Whether you’re looking for a cosy escape for two or a large group getaway for up to 21, our selection of over 300 Pembrokeshire cottages are ideal for walking holidays. As well as the wonderful Welsh scenery and atmosphere, many of our cottages also boast extra features such as WiFi, hot tubs and swimming pools. For more information on these spectacular cottages simply visit our Pembrokeshire cottages page or call our reservations team on 01244 356695.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her husband.

Last Minute Cottages for August Bank Holiday

August 21st, 2016
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If you’ve no plans for the August bank holiday yet, have you considered booking a last minute getaway? We still have some fantastic holiday cottages available over the bank holiday weekend that would be the perfect places to make the most of your time off. Take a look at some of our available properties below:

Fell View Stables Cottage, Yorkshire Dales

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

This pretty upside-down cottage, renovated from old farm buildings, is nestled in the beautiful old village of East Witton in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Fell View Stables Cottage sleeps up to for guests, making it perfect for two couples or a small family to enjoy the bank holiday in. There are plenty of scenic walks from the doorstep and an award-winning gastro pub serving real ales and good food is just two minutes’ walk from the property.

Elephant House, Scottish Highlands

Holiday cottage in Scotland

Elephant House is an architect-designed property built using locally-sourced and sustainable materials. This lovely cottage is bright and spacious with beautiful woodland views from many of the windows. The surrounding land has its own wildlife pond and a fantastic converted bus which acts as a wonderfully quirky summerhouse. The property owners provide a daily supply of fresh produce including homemade bread and freshly-laid eggs meaning that you can spend a relaxing weekend holed up here with your loved one, without even having to leave the house!

Hook Norton Barn, Oxfordshire

Holiday cottage in Oxfordshire

This idyllic barn conversion will make for a wonderful romantic retreat this bank holiday. Close to the picturesque village of Hook Norton with its thatched cottages, historic buildings and real ale brewery, Hook Norton Barn is a luxury bolthole for those looking for a countryside break. The property itself has plenty of stunning original features such as beams, exposed stone walls and a fascinating glass-covered well in the floor of the living area. The Cotswolds are on your doorstep and the striking city of Oxford is just 25 miles away.

To view all of our self catering cottages available for the August bank holiday weekend, please visit our website. Alternatively, you can give our expert holiday advisors a call on 01244 356695 and they’ll help you find the perfect property to spend your bank holiday in.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.