Archive | August, 2011

A Holiday in Normandy

30 Aug

We had a fabulous holiday in Normandy, seeing as many of the sites as we could squeeze into our few days.

We saw a lot of the D-Day landing things.  Utah Beach and its monuments and museum:

The American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, near Omaha Beach:

The village of Sainte-Mère-Église, with its church spire from which a paratrooper hung for hours after getting his parachute entangled (that would be Red Buttons in The Longest Day!):

And, finally, the remains of Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches:

It wasn’t all history and seriousness, though. We also had time for some non-war-related things. We saw the Bayeux Tapestry and also had a wander around lovely Bayeux, including a visit to the cathedral:

My favourite day included a visit to Beuvron-en-Auge, a village on the Cider Route. We had a few degustations and came home with a car boot laden with Calvados and Pommeau. Beuvron was definitely one of the prettiest little towns I’ve ever seen:

We also did a bit of shopping at the Isigny Ste. Mère dairy cooperative. Isigny, very near where we were staying, is famous for its dairy products, particularly butter. And, oh, that fame is deserved. My favourite was the very sinful one with salt crystals in it.

And we even had time for a brocante and a day on the beach:

It was my first trip to Normandy, but I know it won’t be my last. There’s so much more to see, so I’m glad we saved a few things for our next visit.


Le Chateau de Monfreville

29 Aug

Last week we spent a few days camping in Normandy at le Chateau de Monfreville, a superb little campsite in the Calvados countryside.

With 20 acres of land and only 12 pitches for tents (plus two roulottes) but no caravans or camper vans, it’s never crowded.

Paul and Zoe, who own the chateau, have ponies, a donkey, a lovely dog, two cats, some sheep and loads of ducks, geese, chickens and quail, so there’s always company of the furry and feathered variety. My husband and Hector the dog formed a particularly strong bond, perhaps due to the treats that were constantly being tossed Hector’s way.

Our tent was next to the field so Bert the donkey became a close friend.

We were also in the perfect spot to see the glorious sunrises.

One day, the roulottes were both empty, so I took the opportunity to take some sneaky pictures.

One night a week, there’s a family style moules frites meal in one of the barns. Everyone brings a bottle (or two) and gets to know each other, which is absolutely lovely.

Paul and Zoe grow a lot of their own vegetables, all of which can be bought in the little shop in one of the out-buildings. There’s an honesty box for shopping for organic veg, eggs, milk, etc.

There’s a swimming pond, complete with fish and frogs, on the site.

One of the nicest things about the site was that cars aren’t allowed. You park up in a field on the other side of the chateau, and all your gear is brought down to your pitch by an ancient tractor.

And, best of all, every evening, Paul comes round to each tent taking bakery orders for the morning. Then, as if by magic, fresh croissants, brioche, etc. appear outside your tent early the next day.

It was a wonderful holiday and I think we’ll be going back next year!

Cornish Food Market

12 Aug

Lately I’ve been ordering from Cornish Food Market and am absolutely delighted by them!

They source fresh, seasonal food from local Cornish producers and their prices are really competitive. Plus, they deliver free of charge. You can’t beat that!

They also sell amazing cheeses, cut to order and beautifully packaged:

You can also order ordinary things from them – they sell cereal, jam, tinned things, baking supplies, cleaning products, etc. There’s really no need to ever set foot in a supermarket again.

But I particularly like the ‘special’ things that I don’t see anywhere else. This week I ordered edible flowers (which were lovely scattered over a salad) and purple carrots:

I roasted the carrots with olive oil, garlic and rosemary and they were delicious.

Also on offer is sustainable fish from Newlyn, Padstow, Fowey and St. Ives; Spanish treats from Falmouth’s Courtyard Deli; fresh Indian curries made by Ruby June; and breads from the incredible Baker Tom (a personal favourite of mine).

*Special offer this week: English jamming plums, only £1 a punnet!

St. Michael’s Mount

10 Aug

Going over to the Mount is something we never seem to do, even though it’s right on our doorstep. But this week, I did go over and it was lovely!

We took the boat from Marazion:

And then had a good wander around the Mount. We discovered you can spend a happy couple of hours there without actually paying admission or going up to the top. And with the boat fare at only £1.50, it’s a cheap day out!

The café is rather nice, especially if you sit outside:

The island was quite crowded, so I think I’d like to go back in the winter when nobody’s around. Queen Victoria had the right idea in 1846. She came in September:

By the time we were ready to leave, the tide was out, so we were able to walk back over the causeway. Obviously a lot of others had the same idea:

I was quite taken with the  notion that we were walking on the seabed.

A lovely place which is definitely worth another visit.

Chocolate & Orange Jam

8 Aug

My sister-in-law, who lives in Spain, brought us a jar of Chocolate & Orange Jam when she came to visit last week. It’s made by Chocolat Factory, and it’s heavenly – lovely bitter orange and very rich chocolate.

So far, it’s been consumed for breakfast on a flaky croissant and for dessert on top of good vanilla ice cream. Any other suggestions?

And now I just need to work out a recipe so I can have it all the time, because that one jar is not going to last long!