Tag Archives: breakfast

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Recipe

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Recipe

We’re big fans of cinnamon here at Hopton House. My husband is particularly keen.  Normally I can’t tempt Jess & Rob with a fresh baked sweet bread in the morning, but they both make an exception for this.

OK it’s got a lot of sugar in it, but I’m a firm believer in enjoying everything in moderation. If you’re trying to cut down on refined sugar than leave out the cinnamon swirl mix and make it with honey instead of sugar.

It also tastes very good as a gluten free cake. Make with gluten free self raising flour and gluten free baking powder. Add an extra tablespoon of buttermilk as gluten free flour absorbs more liquid.

You  make it in a 1lb loaf tin  & it needs to be completely cool before cutting.  If you don’t have time to bake it for 45 minutes and cool it before cutting, you can make it as 6 muffins, cooking for about 20 minutes at 20 degrees higher oven temp and no cutting required.

This is  incredibly easy to make as it’s one of those cinnamon swirl banana bread mixes where you just bung everything into the mixer. It also lasts quite well so can be cooked the day before. Or you can double the mix and make 2 loaves and put one in the freezer.

Makes 1 lb loaf

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Ingredients

  • 50g coconut oil ( use sunflower oil or softened butter if you prefer )
  • 90g soft brown sugar ( caster sugar or honey – if using honey only use 60g )
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 110g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp buttermilk ( you can happily substitute 1 tbsp milk or 1 natural yoghurt as who wants to open a whole buttermilk carton for 1 tbsp but it does create a fluffier result )

Cinnamon Swirl Mix

  • 4 tbsp of white sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C ( or 150 degrees for a fan oven ). Put all of the banana bread ingredients ( not the cinnamon swirl mix ingredients these are added separately ) into a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer on high for 2 minutes. Combine the white sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

Line a 1lb loaf tin with a loaf liner. Put half of the mix into the lined tin. Take a 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon swirl mix then sprinkle over the wet  mix. You’re looking to have the mix completely covered with sugar & cinnamon. Then add the remaining wet banana bread mix to the tin and finish off with the rest of the sugar cinnamon mix.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes till they’re firm to touch. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t brown too much.

If you have any remaining sugar & cinnamon mix you can store it in a airtight jar for next time ( or sprinkle some on your porridge in the morning )


An easy cinnamon swirl banana bread recipe. It's moist and delicious and easy to adapt to make it gluten free or with no refined sugar Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread (3)

Maple Oat Ginger Scones

I discovered ginger scones when we stayed in a B&B in Maine quite a few years ago. I added them to the breakfast menu here and they were very popular, but for some reason I’ve not made them for a while.

I tried them out on the breakfast table again last week and they proved very popular. So much so that I was asked for the recipe. So here it is!

American breakfast scones are different to the traditional English scone. They are much flakier – almost like a thick but lighter shortbread biscuit. They contain no egg but are made with double cream. In my opinion they need to be eaten, still warm, from the oven.

One of the great things about these scones for a busy B&B owner is that they can be frozen and cooked from frozen. So you can make up a big batch, freeze them on a tray and then pop them into a bag in the freezer. Just take one or 2 out of the freezer when you need them.

These scones are a slightly different version of my original ginger scones as they contain maple syrup and porridge oats.

Maple Oat Ginger Scones, east to bake and perfect for breakfast at our Shropshire B&B


  • 400g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 65g porridge oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 170g cold diced butter
  • 90ml maple syrup
  • 180ml double cream

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, porridge oats and ginger in a mixing bowl and mix well together. Then rub in the butter till it resembles biggest breadcrumbs. I use my kitchenaid to do this but it’s easy to do by hand.

Add the cream and maple syrup and mix till it forms a dough but don’t over beat.

Maple Oat Ginger Scone Recipe - Shropshire Bed and Breakfast

Put the dough out onto a floured surface and fold it in half several times.

Roll it out to a dough about 2cm thick then, using a cookie cutter in your choice of size, cut out the scones.

Brush with maple syrup and sprinkle with a few oats then put in an oven heated to 180 degrees C ( fan oven ) and bake for 16-18 minutes.

If you want to freeze, put the individual scones on a baking tray ( without the extra maple syrup and oats )  and place in a freezer till frozen, then put into a plastic bag and put back in the freezer. Bake from frozen, brushing first with the maple syrup and oats.


Cosy Winter Retreat – 4 Reasons Why I Love Winter

I’ve been a bit quiet online recently.  Mr B&B brought back a rather nasty cold virus from one of his trips down to the South East and it’s taken me 2 weeks to recover. Luckily the B&B has been quite quiet so I’ve been able to rest once the breakfasts have been served and the rooms tidied.

I’m actually very good at and enjoy  taking things easy.  Unlike Mr B&B who can’t sit down for 5 minutes. Even when he’s watching a rugby match, he’ll pause it and pop outside for 30 minutes to cut up some logs or scythe a bit of the meadow. I think I was probably a dormouse in a former life.

4 Things I Love About Winter

1. Snuggling Down on the Sofa

A walk up the lane towards Hopton Titterhill in Shropshire on a winter's day

I do like it, when the weather turns wet and windy and when all my chores are done, when I can just settle down on the sofa snuggled up in a throw, preferably accompanied by a dog or 2. Either just watching the weather or indulging in…..

2. Reading a Good Book

My favourite authors all seem to publish their latest books at this time of year. I’ve just finished reading Philippa Gregory’s book on Katherine Parr ( the 3rd book on Katherine Parr I’ve read this year ), I’m currently reading Bernard Cornwell’s latest and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Phil Rickman’s next Merrily novel.

Phil Rickman is a local author who has written a whole series of books about an exorcist vicar based in Herefordshire. You may have seen it televised as Midwinter of the Spirit on ITV recently.

I love Mr Rickman’s books and have read them all 3 times now. Despite the rather bizarre sounding subject matter, I do find them to be my favourite winter comfort read.

They’re also mostly based in Herefordshire and Wales and sometimes Shropshire. Mr B&B and I have done several tours of places he’s mentioned.

We’ve got a big library of books for guests to borrow.

3. A Long Cold Walk

A walk round Ludlow castle in Shropshire in Winter


I think autumn and winter are my favourite time for walking. I love the colours we have here in Autumn, but I also love Winter when the trees have lost their leaves. There are those amazing cold frosty days with clear blue skies. Just don a scarf,, hat coat and gloves and  you’re ready to go. But I also love to walk when it’s dark and misty and drizzly ( odd I know ). Ludlow is an amazing place to walk on a dark mizzly day. Walking by the river and round the castle is so atmospheric and is perfect topped up with the most amazing carrot cake and hot chocolate at the Green Café.

Hot Chocolate and carrot Cake at the the green cafe in Ludlow



4. Taking a Long Hot Bath


If you’ve stayed at Hopton House, you’ve probably worked out I love my baths. All our rooms have big double ended baths and bubble bath.

I do love to sink into a bath on a cold wet day, especially after that cold wet dog walk,  for a couple of hours with one of my books.

Hopton House, for your cosy winter retreat

Buttermilk Blueberry & Lime Scones

I’m always overtaken with an uncontrollable urge to bake something for breakfast the morning after watching the Great British Bake Off ( GBBO). Unfortunately most of my B&B  guests have filled up on fruit, bircher muesli, toast and full Shropshire breakfast, so don’t touch the baked goods, but when a girl’s got to bake she’s got to bake.

For some reason I’ve been thinking about making blueberry scones for some time. Scones are a big thing for breakfast in America, but they tend to be shorter crispier beast than the traditional English scone.

These scones are a version of the traditional scone we get in the UK, but with the addition of blueberries and lime zest. They are not too sweet and the lime zest isn’t overpowering but somehow enhances them.

You can use fresh or frozen blueberries. I use buttermilk in most of my baking – it really does make a difference. If you don’t have buttermilk you can use milk with a teaspoon of lime ( or lemon juice ) added a few minutes before you use it.


  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 40g cold butter diced into small cubes
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 140 ml buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 50g blueberries
  • zest of a lime


Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C or fan 200 degrees.

Place some baking parchment or silicon sheet on a baking tray.

Mix the flour and baking powder together, then rub in the butter till it resembles fine breadcrumbs ( I always do this in my mixer as I’m an incredibly lazy cook ).

Stir the sugar and lime zest into the flour mix then, in a small separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Pour the buttermilk mixture gradually into the flour mix, mixing gently together. You’re looking for a soft, not sticky dough, so you may not need all of the liquid. Be careful not to overmix.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and fold it in half a few times. Pour the blueberries on top and fold it over a few more times.

I don’t bother with a rolling pin, just press out the dough with my hand till it’s about 3cm thick. Then using a cutter cut out your scones. A round 7 cm cutter will give you about 6 scones. Pull any bits of dough together and press out again so you get the maximum number of scones out of your dough.

Put the scones on the baking tray and brush with leftover buttermilk/egg mix. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes. You’re looking for a nice golden brown top and a well risen scone.

Best eaten warm!

How to bake the best blueberry scones ever
How to bake the best blueberry scones ever