Howdy chums, hope your weekend is going with a swing. All is good here in French France and our trip is well and truly underway. We’ve been blessed with some unusually warm weather this far north for October so making the most and topping up the tan a bit.
I won’t dwell on Honfleur too much as I covered it at the end of last trip BUT if you get half a chance you really should visit. It is just so charismatic, albeit somewhat geared up for tourism. We adore it. It always kick starts our trips. We keep trying to take another route from Calais but the van seems to know it’s own way here. By car, it’s a very simple blast from the tunnel, around 170 miles on easy roads. If you would rather ferry, the Port of Le Havre is only about 15 minutes away. Would be a fabulous spot for a short break. Lots of chic little hotels to choose from. Air B and Bs too if that’s your preference. What are you waiting for (Jo Eyre!!). There is plenty to keep you busy, galleries, quirky museums, a few funky boutiques for you ladies and endless quality eateries. Lose yourself in the myriad of medieval streets and squares. You can sit around Le Basin early evening enjoying a glass of chilled wine while the sun sets and just people watch. The Parisienne weekenders fascinate me. Cousin Annie bought me a super book before we left UK. It’s very appropriate. I must re-read it. I could sit here all day and just listen to the antique Carousel!
Honfleur in short has everything we need. We arrived just in time for the Wednesday street market. Saturdays are better but I’m not complaining. Had a mooch around with my basket and bought what I needed for supper. Love the sights and smells of a market. The rich colours of the autumn produce are inspiring. They make me want to cook! I stopped off at the harbour where you can buy fresh fish and scallops directly from the boats most mornings. The fishermen’s wives deftly fillet the fish while you watch. There’s also ‘Hippocamp’ indoor fish market daily by the water.
Hubby has requested posh fish pie for dinner tonight. How can I refuse? I collected my ingredients. Scallops or Coquilles as they are known around these parts. They don’t come any fresher. Some large Crevettes, smoked salmon and a few mussels. Told you it was posh. How to do it Helen McLoughlin will ask. First I sweated down some chopped, de-seeded cherry tomatoes and a couple of large handfuls of spinach with chopped shallots, garlic and a slug of white wine. Season according to taste with Seasalt and black pepper. Add the roughly chopped fish and some cubed courgette, the zest of half a lemon and the juice. Cook through for a few minutes. The stock needs to be bubbling. Stir in some double cream and plenty of grated Parmesan. Warm through just until it thickens up (don’t allow it to boil). Removed from heat and transfer to a casserole dish. Cover the top with boiled, fork-crushed (not quite mashed) potatoes mixed with a decent knob of Brittany butter with Seasalt crystals and chopped dill or parsley if you prefer. Bake for about 15/20 minutes then serve with Asparagus, peas or baby carrots. Delish. I often do it with sea bass instead of smoked salmon.
Time to get the maps out and start plotting again. Our route from here is as yet undecided. St. Malo would be a natural progression, another place I absolutely love and never like to miss.
Will sign off now chaps and get on with my planning. Lots to do. Hope you all have a great weekend. Check in with you once we reach our next destination. Much love to you all. Hope Ive given you some food for thought (even if it’s only fish pie 😉). Mwah mwah 💋 💋 (one for each cheek, it’s very French you know!!). TTFN