We rose to glorious sunshine and blues skies and were lucky enough to enjoy this weather all week long. To make the most of the beautiful morning, we ate breakfast in the garden and soaked up some rays with a good book.
I prepared a refreshing and simple breakfast of sliced orange and apple with natural yoghurt and Rude Health The Ultimate Granola. This indulgently healthy granola is multigrain and blended with honey and date syrup for a subtly sweet flavour. This sets off the crunchy roasted almonds, hazelnuts and puffed amaranth for an irresistible granola like no other.
Later on, we spent the afternoon exploring the countryside by bike.
We stopped by a lake for a rest and to fuel up on Rude Health The Beetroot bars. These fudgy textured bars are blended with dates, almonds and beetroot and are great as a mid afternoon snack or pre/post workout boost.
As a family, time spent on the beach is so precious… it is only a handful of days a year that we manage to spend by the ocean. In the past we have had typical British weather … rain. But this holiday we were so fortunate with days of glorious heat and sunshine… that we didn’t want to be anywhere else.
Days were spent getting up early, and heading to the beach before breakfast, staying until just after lunch. Then heading off to a cooling garden somewhere and then back to the beach for a BBQ and sundowners.
Eating inside was not an option. So this meant carefully planning our daily menu and thinking of quick and simple meals to feed starving children and evening suppers that were worthy of such a glorious setting.
Breakfast. We took our small gas burner, a frying pan and fried bacon for butties… using soft rolls and lots of ketchup. The smell of it cooking wafting across the waves bought many an envious look from ravenous surfers! Dan took his Kelly Kettle to the beach, so within minutes we had hot boiling water and a good cup of tea… perfect.
Lunch. A packed affair. Ham and tomato rolls, cheese and cucumber sandwiches. Crisps and fruit. Ice cold water. All kept cool in our cool box with many frozen ice packs for company. I prefer to use a hard sided cool box as it’s easier to clean, stays upright (no sloppy spillage into the sand) and the lid can be used as a table.
Dinner. A BBQ whilst watching the sunset. We opted for using disposable BBQ’s purely because it’s lighter to carry along the beach… and with all the other stuff we have to carry (food, wine, body boards, buckets & spades) a small, light BBQ was the best option.
So what did we eat…
Asparagus spears wrapped in pancetta or bacon
Thick slices of Halloumi
Chipolata sausages with a soft roll & ketchup
Corn on the cob
Salmon foil parcels
Hummus & carrot sticks
Cold beers, crisp rose wine & apple juice for the boys.
Salmon Parcels (one per person)
Salmon Fillet pieces
Slice of Lemon
Salt & Pepper
Cut foil into squares and drizzle with olive oil (to prevent the salmon from sticking).
Place salmon onto the square. Place slice of lemon on top. Season.
Scrunch the foil around the salmon so it forms a little bag. This allows the fish to steam.
Place on to BBQ and let it cook for 15 mins.. or until the fish is cooked through.
I found that quick simple food that needed little preparation time was the best. In the morning before I left for the beach, I quickly made the lunch and prepped the evening meal and left it in the fridge so all we had to do was to swing by the cottage and pick it up on route back to the beach.
We absolutely love cooking outside. Do you? What recipes do you use? I would love to know. If the sunshine returns I am sure we will head to the coast, as I want to do this all over again!
This beautiful blog post was written by Lou Archell who has an amazing blog called Little Green Shed. Check it out it is awesome. All the photos were also taken by Lou Archell who retains their copyright.
We were en route from Ourigane in the Atlas Mountains to the walled town of Taroudant.
Getting there was something else – a road that just wound up and up on hair pin bends. At the top we stopped at this bare bricked building which to our surprise served lunch. It was simple and delicious.
A starter – salad of red onions, parsley, tomatoes, lemon juice and oil, followed by Berber omlettes cooked in tagines with lovely peppers and tomatoes, followed by almond biscuits and the sweetest Moroccon oranges (which were growing everywhere).
Light houses always seem to feel like they are on the edge of the earth. It was a spectacular way to spend a birthday afternoon.Made even more spectacular when punctuated with fresh crab sandwiches and a glass of prosecco.To make the crab sandwiches, it is way nicer to bring all the ingredients and make them in situ as opposed to preparing them before. Yes it does mean you have to carry large heavy objects like a pepper grinder but I promise it is worth it in the end.
You will need a bunch of flat leaf parsley (cut some of the stalk in too to give it a nice crunch)
some fresh lemons
cracked black pepper
celery seed Halen Mon sea salt (since we were on the island of Mon)
extra virgin olive oil
fresh crab – we mixed it half brown meat and half white meat
a little mayonnaise
and some cress to garnish
Mix up the crab meat with chopped parsley, salt, pepper, mayo, and a dash of lemon. Make your sandwiches with fresh brown bread and unsalted butter. Wash down with a nice glass of prosecco.
Hold the hand of the person you came with and make sure you appreciate how lucky you are.And then cycle home through the woods.
A stylish birthday celebration in central London starts at dusk with an Amaretto sour.
Ice a plenty
4 fresh lemons
Homemade sugar syrup
2 shots Amaretto
Shake everything except the ice in a kilner jar for ease (particularly useful when you’re in Trafalgar Square) Taste with your thumb over a straw and add more lemon, Amaretto or syrup depending on your mood.
Serve over serious amounts of ice and admire the view of the giant purple cockerel.
Breakfast for two (and a bit) on a beautiful cloudless day. The sun is rare in this hemisphere at this time of year so needs to be cherished when it makes an appearance. There is no better way to cherish something than with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Scramble your eggs over a low heat with plenty of good butter, add the salmon and then trim chives on top. Chives should always be trimmed with scissors, never cut on a board. This keeps in all their flavour instead of leaving it on the board.
A table for two on an empty beach looking over Cardigan Bay.
Followed by a pot of cardamom coffee, we like it sweet and strong. Crush your cardamoms with a teaspoon to release their flavour, allow 2 per person.
Breakfast is at its best when shared with your best friends.
Pacific Banh Mi.
Banh Mi are a culinary mongrel. Most cuisines are littered with them, especially those of colonial decent, but something special happened when the French and Vietnamese threw their cuisines in the same hat.
Ho Chi Minh City has a ridiculously high concentration of perfectly buttery and crisp croissants and the dish Bo Kho seamlessly throws together beef or lamb, yellow bean paste, potatoes, lemongrass and green beans, to be eaten with a warm, freshly baked baguette. The Vietnamese were doing fusion food ever before it became a confusion.
Their greatest hit, though, is Banh Mi. The freshest, tastiest sandwich you could ever imagine stuffing into your face. The term actually refers to the bread, the baguette to be precise, but has come to mean the sandwich as a whole. In a perfect example of necessity being the mother of all invention a Vietnamese genius one day took a French baguette and stuffed it with an array of ingredients at hand. It’s delicious, flexible and easy to eat. No wonder it took off.
The Banh Mi usually contains prawns and some form of pork, which could be roast pork belly, grilled sausage or a coarse pork pate. It should always have cucumber, coriander, mayonnaise and an element of chilli.
It can get seriously messy if you overstuff the baguette but that just makes the beach the perfect place to eat one. Drop some? Who cares? The seagulls certainly don’t. Spill chilli mayonnaise down your front? Have a swim.
I like eating and I like beaches so it’s no surprise that I should seriously enjoy eating on the seashore. Crab curries, whole mackerel poached in seawater, Devonshire scones and mussels cooked on a driftwood fire have all been some memorable favourites.
Luckily for me, my partner also shares this, the simplest of pleasures. We are lucky enough to live on a paradise island in the South Pacific so beaches are ten a penny.
I wanted to seriously luxe up our Banh Mi so instead of prawns, I opted for crayfish or spiny lobster. Regular lobster, crayfish or indeed prawns would all be just as enjoyable and I omitted any pork element to save and savour the delicate flavour of crayfish.
Most chefs would have you believe that the first job of this recipe would be to get your snorkel on and free dive for the crayfish.
I bought mine from a very nice Chinese man at the central fish market who sang while repeatedly dipping his net into the large tank of crayfish as I chirped my chorus of “no, a bigger one, a much bigger one’
Your first job is to cook the crayfish and if you’ve bought a live one, which I hope you have, that means killing it. I put mine into the freezer for twenty minutes. That puts it into a state of deep, hibernation like sleep. Then I drop it into a very large pot of boiling, salted water. The bigger the pot the better and if you’re near a beach, salt water is the best cooking medium for shellfish there is. Perfectly seasoning it every time.
For an average sized crayfish or lobster of around 500g you want to give it seven minutes cooking time.
When done, don’t be tempted to plunge it into cold water to speed it’s cooling process; it is not a green vegetable. The shock of the cold water will most likely toughen the flesh and almost certainly waterlog it. Instead, allow it to cool naturally at room temperature. This advice applies equally to crab, lobster and langoustine. Your supper will be all the sweeter for it.
Crayfish Banh Mi for two.
One live crayfish.
One fresh baguette.
Mayonnaise (I prefer Kewpie)
One tablespoon of fish sauce, squid brand if available.
One tablespoon of olive oil.
One teaspoon of palm sugar or soft brown sugar if unavailable.
One fresh green chilli, shredded and soaked in ice water for an hour or two.
Two spring onions, shredded and soaked in ice water for an hour or two.
A handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped or torn.
A half a handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn.
Five or six Vietnamese mint leaves, also roughly chopped or torn.
Two handfuls of crisp, crunchy leaves such endive or iceberg lettuce.
Half a handful of red peanuts, toasted and smashed to smithereens in a pestle and mortar.
One beach, empty of all other people and preferably with one setting sun.
Cook your crayfish as per the instructions above, allow to cool then remove the meat from the shell and chop, dice or slice as per your preference. Season with a little salt but not too much, remember, it was cooked in salted water!
Slice your baguette down the middle as if it were a hotdog bun, liberally apply mayonnaise and fill with the crayfish meat.
Juice the lime and mix together with the fish sauce, olive oil and sugar, toss the rest of the ingredients together in this dressing and stuff into the baguette on top of the crayfish.
Cut the baguette into two equal or unequal portions depending on your dining partner.
Eat, enjoy, swim. Repeat as necessary.