Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Thoughts from Loctudy

Life is good at the moment. We are eating the best food that I can think of, the weather is just perfect for messing about on the beach with a dip in the sea every few hours and we haven't had to think of organising outings yet other than for topping up our food levels. Just to give you a feel, this is the view from the house:-
Well that is at high tide; this is the view at low tide:-
We can see the Glenan islands on the horizon, and the sea is near enough when the tide is high for us to hear it in our beds. The dark rocks on the left are covered in two things: seaweed and further away mussels, hundreds and thousands of them, big and juicy and luscious. My six year old and I picked some yesterday and cooked them up. I was studiously ignoring the fact that nobody else was gathering them and also ignoring the old "R in the month" adage (it must be Arrrgust). At the back of my mind I had visions as I was cooking them in their garlic, butter and wine of having to get up in the night to a puke-covered child but all was good and they are some of the most delicious mussels we've ever eaten.
There is so much to be glad of here. It feels quite stupid to be writing about some supermarket-bought tomatoes but just look at these and then look me in the eye and tell me they don't excite you:-
I started off just using them in salads but then they came into their own with some dressing, a hint of garlic, some buffalo mozzarella (sorry it wasn't something French, some mild goat's cheese would have been great too) and some fresh basil torn up. And a crispy fresh baguette to mop up the juices.
Other things to be glad about:-
  • Swimming in the sea. At all times of the day. With children or without. With slightly bemused (and melodramatic about the cold) husband or not. Most of all first thing in the morning when it feels like I'm the only person for miles, really bracing cold water to wake me up, some energetic swimming then floating flat on my back absolutely still listening to the womblike watery noises in my ears and looking up at a deep blue sky with the occasional wispy cloud.
  • Langoustines. God they are good. To be able to go a mile down the road and buy them alive and fresh off the boats at 5.30 in the evening, then get home and cook them (2 minutes in a big pan of boiling water with a handful of salt, just cover with a lid really quickly so you don't have to see them waving for help) to eat with mayonnaise, a baguette and something cold and alcoholic from the fridge is just magnificent.
  • French markets. So much amazing produce, so little time. So many things to see. So many things to eat. I wish I could show you more photos but the internet connection is not up to it. 
  • Kouign Amann: the Breton speciality, a kind of cross between a cake, a doughy croissant and a toffee, who could imagine a better combination of butter, sugar and flour? I would be so fat if I lived here.
  • Spending most of the day in nothing but a swimming costume. It's kind of liberating. There is definitely something quite good about getting halfway through cooking your ratatouille (with ingredients all bought at Le Guilvinec market) and realising you are still wearing your swimwear.
More to come soon, but only if I can get our internet connection to behave better. Maybe there is a reason to go home.

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