Sunday, 26 May 2013

Pensees de Boulevard de la Liberte

It's been 24 hours since we arrived here in France and so far the weather has been kind, as have the tides and the food shopping. It's been suggested that I change the blog name as we are not in Short Lane this week, hence the post title. Renting an apartment that has a stonking view of the beach is good nourishment to someone who lives to make pictures of the sea. Today I must have taken at least 24 photos, which would be kind of normal, except that we have come here every year since I was pregnant with my 5-year-old so have probably already got images of every possible weather condition and tidal level. But somehow this year, having spent so much time recently on all things artistic, my brain is trying to capture every inch with a frame around it, which is of course impossible. To make the perfect picture of this place you would need a frame about 6 feet wide and 8 inches high, if you don't want to get too much sky in it or overshadow it with too much foreground. As soon as I arrived I was also gutted I hadn't brought some of my sea pictures to sell. People roll along here, plenty on a Sunday afternoon, and a few a day during the week, from Belgium, other areas in France or occasionally Germany (and maybe once a week in all the time we have spent here a fellow English family who try to keep its distance and pretend to blend in, as do we) and they come to wander up and down watching the sea (nothing else here to do) and I can't help feeling some of my sea scenes would go down a treat. I also am positive that the apartment we stay in would be enriched by one. Maybe next year I might remember to pack a few and be brave enough to give it a go. Anyway here is a taster of what we have seen today...

Food so far has been great: brown shrimps with mayonnaise, pate, hachis parmentier (the French version of cottage pie but so much classier, with the smoothest mashed potato seasoned perfectly with a hint of nutmeg and breadcrumbs, parsley and gruyere on the top, available from good local butchers ready made in foil tins - when would you ever trust an English butcher to rustle up a really quality ready-made meal?) and the next step on my everlasting quest to find the best ever coffee ├ęclair in all of France. I have also been sampling cheeses with a more critical eye than usual (or I suppose that should be critical taste buds?). A friend has asked me to bring back 6 or so cheeses for her French husband. He has left the choice with me, which is a great honour and a very enjoyable challenge but at the same time quite nerve-wracking. An English person buying French cheeses for a Frenchman? Since when did the French ever entrust anyone English with any culinary responsibility? There are a couple of local ones of great repute (and a great foul stench and a mouth full of flavour) that will go on the list - Maroilles and Boulette d'Avesnes, and there is one oddity that I was thinking of getting and weirdly I got a text from them asking for it last night: Cancoillotte, which is basically a plastic pot full of the oozy bit you would normally expect to get inside a really ripe soft French cheese if you ripped the rind off - just serve yourself a spoonful! But the final three are more troublesome. I will let you know the rest as the week goes on. Any suggestions?

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