The Isle of Man in the spring sun

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The Tower of Refuge in Douglas Bay

A few weeks ago we paid a far too brief trip to the Isle of Man, where my parents live. After a long and horrible winter, we were lucky to catch the sun with perfect crisp days. Sadly, some of the lambs and sheep weren’t so lucky and many had perished on the mountains due to late and heavy snowfall – we saw several corpses while running up Slieu Whallian. Here are some photos of the coast, hills, and a lovely fast hack out from Ballachurry Stables to Ramsey Beach for some great canters! The photos outside were all taken with my little Panasonic yet they have come out surprisingly well. More photos from last summer here.

The Isle of Man is also famous for its Queen Scallops or ‘Queenies’ as they are known locally. They are tiny little scallops which are wonderfully sweet. I have included a gnocchi and Queenie recipe below. Next year we will try to coordinate our visit with the annual Queenie festival!

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Douglas Harbour

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The view along the Marine Drive from Douglas

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The gorse in all its coconut scented glory

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King Cups in Port Soderick Glen

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Ballachurry House

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At the end of a canter on Ramsey Beach

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One of the luckier sheep who made it through the winter with her lamb

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The view from South Barrule over to Cronk

My Queenies and gnocchi recipe

Ingredients for 4 – approximately:

– 200-400g Queenies (Queen Scallops)

– 500g Gnocchi

– 100-200g bacon – finely chopped

– several shallots and lots of garlic

– spring onions or parsley for garnish

– creme fraiche and or cream

– a glass of white wine

Fry off the bacon until it is crispy – remove and strain off the fat. With a little bit of the fat, fry off the shallots and then garlic. Separately pan fry the queenies in batches very quickly at a high heat so the outsides start to brown/caramelize slightly. Remove from pan. Back to the shallot and garlic pan – re-add the bacon then add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and add creme fraiche or cream or a mix of both. At this point the gnocchi should be added to boiling water. When the gnocchi are ready re-add the queenies just to heat through and mix in with the sauce. Mix the gnocchi (after being drained when they all float to the top) into the creamy queenie sauce and then garnish with chopped spring onions or parsley. Serve with steamed or roasted asparagus, if in season, or just a salad with a lemon vinagrette dressing.

Manx Queenies

Manx Queenies

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Queenies and gnocchi in a bacon, garlic, cream sauce

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Roasted asparagus

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