A Slice of Paradise

watermelon paradise

There really is no other way to describe the British Virgin Islands. Located in the Caribbean seas, this small but perfectly formed group of islands is truly amazing. I feel so fortunate to have family living there as it has given me a chance to explore an idyllic corner of the world I am sure I would otherwise never have found.

The BVI is a bit of a sailing mecca, and in the summer months (our winter) the bays are flooded with stunning yachts, owned and chartered, all making their way leisurely from one stunning island to the next. The sailing community bring the Caribbean ports alive at night, and there is no shortage of amazing places to dock for the night and relax.

Visiting the BVI is really all about island hopping, something you can do plenty of from Tortola, the island which has been my base for the past eight, glorious, sun-filled days.

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Tortola itself has an exciting menagerie of places to explore, and you can happily your time staying on days on island and not be bored. These views are fairly standard and in January you can expect a lot of sun, sand and sea, just as the postcards promised you.

We spent a lot of time pottering around the island, and found more than a few yummy eateries. We enjoyed Sunday brunch at Frenchmans, dinner and Fish ‘n Lime, and lunch and cocktails the Sugar Mill beach front restaurant.

I should mention brunch at Frenchmans was not just an eggs any way you like them affair… A cocktail and three courses are standard on a Sunday at this particular eatery, so it was a good job we weren’t in a hurry.

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A passion fruit Bellini was the only way forward for me.

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Fresh waffles with bacon and maple syrup, perfectly seared steak with a zingy hollandaise sauce, poached eggs with potato rosti (which was unbelievably tasty) and fish cakes were just some of the dishes we enjoyed.

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Then a creamy chocolate mouse and cheesecake to finish us off!

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After brunch we rolled down to the decking on the beach and set up camp for a couple of hours.

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Now let’s go slightly further afield and hop across to Marina Cay. This picture perfect island is located a short 10 minute ferry ride across from Trellis Bay on Tortola.

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Marina Cay is also home to the love story of Robb & Rodie White, a young couple who met in the BVI in the 1930’s, fell in love and decided to build a house on Marina Cay, making them the first people to inhabit the island. Today the house still stands, along with a classic Pussers Restaurant where you can enjoy some top notch food, including a lovely lobster and mango salad, some rum cocktails and then spend the rest of the day relaxing on the sandy shores in front of the restaurant.

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Like what you see? More BVI bliss coming in my next couple of posts…

Summer is getting roasty toasty

Sunshine and toes

There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a good Sunday roast throughout the summer months. You just need to swap your Yorkshire puddings and bread sauce for some crunchy salad leaves and a light gravy and you’re good to go.

Last weekend Mr F&P whipped up an awesome summer roast – it was just what I felt like after a busy weekend in Glasgow, and it fed us for a few days to follow too.

roast chicken side view

Just look at that incredible crispy skin!

roast chicken birds-eye view

He cooked up this impressive chicken with lots of butter, garlic, fresh rosemary & lemon. Mix a good dollop of butter, some crushed garlic, chopped rosemary and lemon juice together in a bowl, and brush over your bird. Don’t be stingy either, get it all on there, you don’t want your chicken to dry out in the oven. I like the skin to go really, really crispy and rubbing a good amount of salt on the chicken skin first will help you get there.

Look out a decent roasting dish and place your chicken on top of a bed of onions, chopped into quarters, and whatever else you’d like to roast – we had some carrots on the go with ours, but sweet peppers would be equally delicious. Remember to brush your veggies with a tiny bit of olive oil first.

How long you cook the chicken depends on the weight. This roast timer on the BBC website will give you all the timings and temperatures you need.

Next up, my favourite part, the roast potatoes. These are so easy to do. Just cover the potatoes in a good glug of quality olive oil and sprinkle plenty of rock salt over them, then pop them in the oven for 40-50mins. A little side note on oil – I can always find this olive oil in my nearest supermarket, and it’s great on salads or to cook with.  It’s worth remembering there are so many great, independent producers around these days, like Summer Harvest Oils, from Perthshire, who do a variety of rapeseed oils and dressings.

roast potatoes

Let’s get a close up of a few of those little pots…

roast potatoes close up

When your chicken is done and the potatoes are ready, simply serve with some fresh salad leaves and whatever else you fancy. I’m a bit obsessed with avocado at the moment, so that features in a lot of my salads dishes these days, but some ripe tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber did a fine job last weekend.  Fingers crossed it’s sunny and set up camp outside, sip on a chilled glass of vino blanco and tuck in! The juices in the bottom of the roasting dish make a lovely light gravy to go over the chicken, and don’t forget to get plenty of that yummy, crispy skin…

roast chicken plate

roast chicken plate 2

Oohhh look at those delicious roasted onions and that crispy, garlicky, crunchy skin…

roast chicken crispy skin

The big bonus? Make this on a Sunday and you can enjoy some amazing chicken salads and for the next few days at work, making all your colleagues super envious and looking totally together and healthy at work. It’s rare for me, but being that organised on a Monday feels amazing, try it for yourselves!