A Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Parmesan & Rosemary Biscuits

As September settles in, everyone seems to gather round home life, school life and (for the lucky ones) university life. Congrats to all new and returning students, make the most of it!
I love gathering my friends around for a fuss-fee, catch up session, this time of the year. I'm desperately trying to avoid calling it "afternoon tea" so let's call it "coffee and nibbles, with a side of bubbles".  
These Parmesan & Rosemary biscuits are perfect, little savoury bites that can be prepared in advance. The parmesan and rosemary flavours develop slowly and I saw my guests' faces light up after a few bites. 
I found the recipe on Pinterest from The view From Great Island, alongside the idea of a gorgeous Smörgåstårta - Swedish, all in one sandwich cake. I ended up building my gathering around these two recipes. 
I am more of a savoury person, even with tea or coffee, hence I made the savouries and bought the cakes. 
A Baker's Dozen - Parmesan & Rosemary Biscuits
1 1/2 (one and a half) cups of all purpose flour
1/2 (half) cup of slightly salted butter (softened but not melted)
2 spoonfuls of finely chopped rosemary
1 cup of grated parmesan
A pinch of salt & cracked black pepper 
1/4 (a quarter) of a cup of lukewarm water
Fresh herbs for decorating - Sage & Rosemary (Thyme and Oregano would also work)
Cling film
Parchment Paper
It's easy as one-two-three:
One - Place the flour, butter, chopped rosemary, parmesan, salt and pepper in a deep bowl.
Work with your fingers to create breadcrumbs by incorporating the butter in with the dry ingredients.
Then add a tablespoon of lukewarm water and use the bottom of you palm to bring the breadcrumbs together, into firm, dough-like consistency.  
It will be dry at first, keep adding as much lukewarm water as needed, until you have a uniform dough that has absorbed all dry bits from the bowl.
Alternatively - place all ingredients (including the water) in a mixer with the dough hook and let it do all the work for you until you have a firm dough ball.
Mould the dough in a big ball and flatten with you hands, to create a small, thick, disc.
Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.
Two - Take the cold dough out of the fridge, unwrap it and place on a dry surface like marble, or even a wooden chopping board.
Use a rolling pin to spread the dough out to all directions, allowing for 1 centimetre (1/3 inch) thickness. You'll only need a couple of rolls to achieve this and the dough will crack on the sides - it's fine. 
Place the rosemary stems or sage leaves, around the dough. Roll over with the rolling pin one last time, towards one direction only. With a cookie cutter, cut out your biscuits and place on parchment paper.
Collect and mould all the left-over dough in a ball and repeat step "Two", until you've used it all up. 
It makes 12- 14 cookies.
Three - Bake in 180C for 10-15 minutes, until the biscuits turn blondish; 
they'll keep cooking in the middle after you've taken them out of the oven.

Summer Pampering at the Gallivant, Camber Sands

As the UK summer is coming to an end, let me leave you with some sweet photos of summer days spent on the coast of east Sussex.
It's been a brilliant summer, hasn't it? The sun showed up and stayed on our shores for the whole summer!
I was spending a couple of days down in Rye, on a girlie road trip back in July.
Camber Sands is 20 minutes drive from Rye and boasts spectacular, endless, sandy beaches. I keep asking myself why life doesn't evolve more around the coast, we are an island after all. Camber Sands is almost unspoilt, there are a handful of cafes on the beach, but that's about it.
On the way to the beach there are a few pubs and the typical beach-side fryers, but the sand dunes are so high that there is no sight of the sea and no breeze, not very appealing.
{Fryer - typically a fish & chips shop, serving anything fried and/or pickled. Scampi, fishcakes, chicken nuggets, saveloy and off course cheesy chips!}
I'll tell you what's appealing though - the Gallivant. (check availability)

Lounging around the Gallivant with a cold coffee 
The Gallivant
...is a boutique hotel, hidden behind the towering sand dunes, off Camber Sands beach.
It looks like it belongs in LA, a one-storey, honey coloured building, with sparse greenery on the front.
Inside, it's so different. The lounge wraps around a fireplace and on the far end it borders a huge walk-round bar. On one side there is a little nook with build-in sofas for lounging, reading and general snoozing. The décor is New England coastal home crossed with Cotswolds shabby chic.  
The decked patio opens on the side, next to the restaurant. The restaurant here is well-known and is worth a visit. It was early and really, really hot so we didn't eat at the Gallivant, but we did enjoy cold coffees in the sun.
I know it's hard to maintain greenery so close to the sea, but I would have loved more green around this decked area. I suppose this is probably best for evening drinks under the summer stars.
The rooms
... are whitewashed and have little private seating areas outside, surrounded by lavender bushes. We didn't stay there, but on our way tot he Hut, I peaked through a couple of open doors. They looked peaceful, bright and relaxing.
The Hut
...They don't have spa per say; but they have a Hut.
A very picturesque hut for that matter, where spa treatments take place. To get to it, we navigated the back garden, an oasis of lavender bushes, dotted with colourful deck chairs.
The therapist was very polite, relaxed and took the full time required for each treatment. There was absolutely no rush around the whole hotel. Although it was one of the hottest days of the year, I thought that the Hut would be boiling inside, but no. It had a cool, Scandi feel. 

Now on to the beach!
Camber Sands is this huge stretch of sandy beach on the East Sussex coast. You can cross the road from the Gallivant, climb over the sand dunes and find yourself on the beach, but we drove, because we were heading home straight after.
We navigated the usual sea-side shop maze on our way to the beach and then....wow!
So. Many. People.
I have never seen such a congregation on an English beach. We go to Brighton and Dorset every summer and the beaches get busy, but nothing like that. 
There were whole families who looked like they had brought their whole household along, the kitchen sink... and then some! It made me giggle. There were food places, inflatables' shops and all kind of beach-paraphernalia pop-ups available...why do people feel the need to bring so much stuff with them?
Anyway, we brought nothing! We walked across the edge of the sea, splashing away, trying to move away from the hordes of people and eventually spread my shawl on the sand and lied in the sun.
Now here's another first for me: I have spent half my life in UK, yet it was the first time I sunbathed, on the beach, in a swimming suit!
Let me explain, usually people go to the beach fully dressed, because it's never hot enough, for long enough, to feel warm enough, to sunbathe in you swimsuit.
So chuffed!


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