Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Bergerac Jazz Orchestra

We were very privileged to host the Bergerac Jazz Orchestra from the Dordogne  area of France earlier this month.
Ally an old girlfriend of ours phoned in January to say that she was planning a trip for the band and could we put them up for a night in June. Since losing her husband 10 years ago she is now in a new found relationship in France with Francis a talented saxophonist in the band. She was  planning a tour of  The Highlands and Islands and apart from playing in Applecross and Mallaig they would be visiting most of the Islay Whisky Distilleries too.
I jumped at the chance to ask them if they could play at the village hall where the annual fund raising barbecue was scheduled to take place and voila on the 7th June we had a most entertaining afternoon in our sleepy village of Kilchrenan.
It was the first time for most of the band members to set foot out of France and to travel over the channel. Hopefully their tour was an impressionable one.
I know it will remain in our  memories for a very long time.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Our Enviromental Policy

At Roineabhal we value that our clients choose to be here for the stunning surrounding countryside and wildlife, as well as the local fare.  We therefore attempt to run our business in an environmentally friendly manner.
Firstly, the produce for our delicious – and award winning! – breakfasts, shortbread and platters are 80% locally sourced including fruit, herbs and vegetables from our own garden.
We make our own savoury and sweet jams, pickles and pestos etc.
Our jam jars are recycled and reused for new batches of preserves.
We source local produce and Fair Trade, wherever and whenever we can.  We encourage guests to do the same.
Freeze surplus fruit and veg.
We welcome our swallows, heron, squirrels, roe deer, occasional otters and woodpeckers, and encourage as many other wildlife into the garden as we can. We provide bird feeders alongside many fruited shrubs including holly, cotoneaster, and rowan berries. We have cultivated different areas in our 1 ½ acre garden to incorporate a wild meadow area behind the vegetable garden, a pond and marshy area at the bottom of our front lawn, as well as have a river beside the house and hardwood trees lining our drive.
Bird books and Binoculars are supplied for those keen on spotting our latest ‘visitors’.
We provide walking and cycling information, with covered verandas for cycle storage.
Roger has been a committee member of Loch Awe Improvement Association for many years which works tirelessly to keep Loch Awe well stocked with fish and litter free.
We provide glass bottles with filtered water on our hospitality trays, as well as small kettles for making tea and coffee reducing the amount of electricity used.
We try to recycle all glass, metal, cans, plastic, paper, batteries and print cartridges.
Compostable household waste goes into the large compost bins along with the leaves, and our grass cuttings in the compost tumbler.
All our cleaning products are eco-friendly, including washing up and laundry liquid.
We use micro-fibre cloths along with recycled rags.
We closely monitor our oil, gas and electricity, and use low energy light bulbs.
Roger services the boilers regularly along with all our other white goods and garden equipment.
We use internet based marketing - we print no marketing literature.
As most of our business is via internet and return visitors, we are able to e-mail the majority of our guest with booking, confirmations and directions.
Paper for the printer is from sustainably managed resources or recycled.
Working in a more sustainable way, reducing our carbon footprint, minimising our impact on the environment and encouraging our guests to do the same, does not mean we compromise on the comfort or the 4 Star Quality which we offer everyone at Roineabhal.
Please remember we have a responsibility to look after the environment for the future generations. Help us to help you to help our environment. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Lost Valley in Glencoe.

We are lucky to be situated in such an amazingly beautiful part of the world and to have access to get to many interesting and exciting places.

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At least once a year Roger and I venture into the Lost Valley in Glencoe . A one and a half hour climb beside The Three Sisters in Glencoe. It's not a long walk or extremely high but it always fails to disappoint.

Last November we managed to introduce our friends from a small hamlet named Les Pouey near Tarbes in the South West of France to the trek . Coincidently there is also a similar ( Lost Valley) Valle Perdu in The Pyrenees situated  near Gavernie close to their home.

Apart from it's beauty it is the legend too which gives it this Shangri-la feeling. It was a famous refuge for  the survivors and their cattle of the notorious Glencoe Massacre.

If you do decide to venture there do make sure you wear some good waterproof climbing boots, apart from having to scramble a little you have to ford the burn near to the top


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Making Marmalade

Everyone knows that January and February are the months to make marmalade but in truth the only marmalade which this really refers to is Orange Seville Marmalade. This is due to the fruit being  available in the shops and it's short season
However there are so many other marmalade recipes out there such as grapefruit, lime, and lemon. We don’t even have to stick to citrus; my father’s favourite marmalade was ginger. These other fruits
are always available year round and with the wide world web being accessible to everyone it is so easy to find a recipe to suit.
I have a very old recipe book for preserves which has been on my shelf all my married life and which I inherited from an elderly aunt of my husbands. Its back cover is in need of repair and it is badly splattered from my annual attempts of producing this delicious amber nectar.
Although this year I played about with a few recipes and tried a much easier method of cooking the fruit whole for 2 hours and found that it was less troublesome than all my previous efforts.

Seville and Orange Marmalade

3 1bs Seville oranges
Juice of 2 lemons
5 1bs of golden granulated warmed
2 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger grated

Place washed whole fruit in preserving pan with enough water to cover, bring to boil cover and cook for 2 hours.
Remove the fruit and cool. I actually boiled the fruit and left it to cool overnight.
Cut the oranges in half, put the pips and fibrous bits into a small saucepan with some of the reserved liquid and boil for 10 minutes, cut the peel into thin strips.
Combine all the strained and reserved liquid back into the preserving pan. You should have 2¾ pints adding more water if needed. Add the peel and ginger along with the lemon juice and bring to the boil.
Add the sugar and bring to the boil stirring. Keep to a steady boil until setting point is reached about 20 minutes.
Pot into hot sterilised jars , cover and store in a dry cool place.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Happy New Year!


Its January!  The house looks bare after all the adornment of the Festivities.
The preparations of filling the fridge and freezer, finding a Christmas tree, ordering the Turkey, hanging the decorations,  getting everyone to midnight mass, and cooking Christmas dinner was as usual, squeezed into just a few days.
We managed to find a couple of days of relaxation before starting to organise our Hogmanay 'get together'. Friends brought food and drink along this year which helped alleviate things. Roger along with Ben found time to cut up a beech tree which had blown down in one of the many high winds we suffered in December. So the cellar is well stocked with firewood.
Apart from hosting friends and family from 9 p.m onwards the girls sang a couple of songs and my mother managed, aged 93, to recite some excellent poetry before we all attempted to sing Auld Lang Syne. By the time 2 a.m arrived most of our party guests had left - leaving the family and some overnight guests to tidy up.
On New Years Day we joined our neighbours for  their annual party and watched a brave few jump into Loch Awe. I may add that they ran back to shore quicker than I had ever witnessed before but they vouched the water temperature was warmer than most years.
It has been great to see all the children and to have them home. This year they have been a great help and as well as all the prepping they were here to clear up too.
The bookings are coming in now and it wont be long before the season is in full swing again.   Meanwhile we have a couple of months to try and get all those odd jobs done.
We have had our full share of wet and windy weather and now look forward to some cold crisp sunny days.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Foraging for Mushrooms


Foraging for Mushrooms

It's mushroom season! The anticipation of discovering a copious crop while on our daily walk with MacDuff is so great that you can't help but grab a basket and a knife on your way out the door. Foraging for other common varieties such  as chicken in the woods, shaggy ink caps and amethyst deceivers is always so exciting.  We are always lucky to find chanterelles and hedgehogs ( the fungi not the prickly mammal) to eat in a risotto or with a plate of pasta. Friends walking in Glencoe brought me some wonderful ceps the other day.  Wild mushrooms are so versatile, I sometimes  add  them to a stew or to an omelette depending on what takes my fancy that day.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Open from 23rd March - November 

11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Saturday

1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday (free day)


By  lots of fund raising, hard work and determination of the volunteers and staff at Dunollie, our local town of Oban  is now offering a wonderful new venue.

Visit the ruined Dunollie Castle with views looking over Oban Bay and to the Isle of Kerrera beyond. Discover the 1745 House which has been newly made into a museum housing a collection belonging to the once very powerful Clan MacDougall, a fascinating family with so many tales to tell. There is also the willow garden designed by Grum Kathedralen which you can find while wandering the castle grounds.