Monday, 18 April 2011

A week by the sea

Auntie Anne has recently returned from a self catering holiday and it seems like a good idea to let you know what was packed for the trip - and why.  We always take a hamper with us so that we don't have to
worry too much about finding something to eat in an area we haven't got to know yet.
The trip was for a week at the seaside and we checked before we went that there would be a good supply of seafood. Sorry to anyone who doesn't like ocean fodder - this will be a distinctly fishy post!

The supplies box contained:
tin of tomatoes
bottle of easy drinking red wine
bottle of dry white wine
small bottle of olive oil
small bottle of cooking oil
small bottle of white wine vinegar
dried mixed herbs
curry powder
dried chilli flakes
'longlife' orange juice  (aka UHT)
pack of dried spaghetti (or other pasta shapes if you like)
jar of cockles
tin of olives with garlic
'longlife' milk
jar of marmalade
jar of home made chutney

We also checked what was left in the house that wouldn't last the week. So there was some fresh food in
the box too. We took an onion and a couple of tomatoes and the remains of a head of garlic with us.
There was also a carrot or two and a large courgette.

On the journey we found a grocer's and bought a bunch of flat leaved parsley, a large lemon, some
cucumber, button mushrooms, loaf of bread and some fresh fruit.

First night we were there we hadn't found the local pub yet (and it didn't serve food when we DID find
it) so we made spaghetti vongole.   You can buy proper vongole with their shells still on if you like but you don't have to.  In a smallish pan put some finely chopped onion and a bit of cooking oil, a crushed garlic clove or two and a pinch of dried chilli flakes. Sweat the onion until it starts to turn transparent and throw in a couple of chopped tomatoes. stir it round a bit and add a good glug of white wine. Drain and rinse the cockles then chuck them into the mix.

Meanwhile boil some pasta. When it's done, pour it in the pan with the rest of the mix and stir it round a couple of times. Turn into a couple of large, warm bowls and sprinkle it with chopped parsley,

The following morning, breakfast consisted of a fresh fruit platter with coffee and toast and marmalade.

That day we visited the local fish market and came back with big raw prawns, small smoked prawns, a couple of scallops, roll mops, potted shrimps and a crab. So dinner was easy. Seafood selection. Fry the big prawns in butter and garlic. Clean and slice the scallops crosswise to give you flat disks of meat. (The fishmonger will clean them for you if you don't know how.)  Fry with sliced mushrooms and some garlic.
Smoked prawns in a dish. Crab on a plate. Roll mops on a plate. Potted shrimps warmed up and served in a small heatproof dish. Chunks of bread, butter, tomato salad, cucumber salad. Lemon wedges. Help yourselves.

Leftover crab
There was some crab left. So I bought a small pot of cream and another bottle of white wine. Chop half an onion and boil it in a good slug of white wine to remove the alcohol and reduce to about half the volume. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of curry powder then lower the heat. Stir in the crabmeat - don't let it boil now. Finish it with some cream and a sprinkling of parsley.  Chunks of bread and butter. Yummy!

The carrots ended up being grated and turned into a salad to accompany some local cheeses. The courgette was sliced thinly, steamed for a few minutes, plunged into cold water, drained, then dressed with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, white wine vinegar and a pinch of dried herbs, salt and pepper.

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