Loving our French neighbours …. but not the cold wind along the channel!

23 Feb

Life has been getting in the way generally the last few weeks. It hasn’t left much time for posting or visiting your blogs, but I’m playing catch up this week.

Last week we managed a speedy hop over the channel. Well, under the channel, to be more precise as we travelled via the Eurotunnel. We spent a night in Boulogne-Sur-Mer and stayed in the old town – very picturesque but I can’t get the photos off my phone to show you. We also stocked up on lots of wonderful wine, cheese and other delicious goodies like all good Englishers on a “booze cruise”. So many wonderful things to choose from and I had to smile as I bought some freshly sliced beef carpaccio – thin slices of raw beef which I served over a salad with griddled asparagus and drizzled with lemon oil. (If you want a chuckle at my not so successful attempt at making octopus carpaccio, take a look at this post).

Carpaccio (4)

I was smiling because in England a few weeks ago with some pals we went to a Steak Grill and one of us ordered a burger which they wanted served rare. “Sorry” we were told “local restrictions only allow us to serve minced beef when it is cooked through”. Couldn’t they rely on the quality of the beef they buy and their suppliers we asked? “Legislation” we were told. So a finger up to whoever in England decides how we should eat our meat, and a big round of applause to our French cousins for letting us make our own choices.

Beachy Head (3)

In an effort to work off some of the cheese calories we had consumed, yesterday we took the pups off to nearby Beachy Head for a walk.

Beachy Head (4)

Perhaps not such a good idea to visit this beautiful headland with amazing views across the south coast on quite such a windy day, but (as my granny used to say), it certainly blew the cobwebs away!



52 Responses to “Loving our French neighbours …. but not the cold wind along the channel!”

  1. cookinginsens February 23, 2015 at 20:02 #

    Of course in England and the U.S. they hesitate when asked to serve their meat rare! Maybe God doesn’t know what their sources are but they do. Bleah.

    • Chica Andaluza February 23, 2015 at 20:06 #

      Scary isn’t it? At least I have a great butcher here who rears and butchers his own meat so it’s safe and tastes amazing. It surely can’t be that difficult for restaurants and supermarkets to find suppliers like this….bleah indeed!

      • abdunnavi February 25, 2015 at 12:58 #

        seems to delicious
        like curry goat

  2. Mad Dog February 23, 2015 at 21:19 #

    I used to love booze cruises to France and Boulogne in particular. The market on Saturdays is very good ( I think they sold live rabbits for the pot) and there’s (or hopefully still is) a wonderful fish shop to the left (as you look uphill) which has a restaurant at the back – I remember the fish being amazing and it was cheap! You have reminded me though, of a hilarious article I read in the Sunday Times, back in 2013, which says that French expats here prefer London to France (well London is France’s sixth largest city):
    You won’t be able to read the whole article unless you subscribe… but I scanned it back in the day, so I’ll send you a copy 😉

    • Chica Andaluza February 23, 2015 at 21:30 #

      We went on a school trip to Boulogne for the day, supposedly to improve our French (how on earth would that have been possible in a few hours?!) but really for the teachers to get boozed up over lunch! Boulogne is really different to how I remember, but we stayed in a hotel looking out to the Cathedral and had a few really nice meals. Service was great in the evening but at lunch time it was a bit more “laid back” shall we say. Having said that, when they do eventually get to you, you are the waiter’s main concern, and as long as you know that’s how it is, it’s fine 😉 So much choice in the supermarkets and little local shops….my fridge is still bursting!

      • Mad Dog February 23, 2015 at 21:37 #

        Brilliant! I’ve had some excellent trips to Boulogne and had good service in restaurants too.
        I had a hilarious experience about 18 years ago, inside a Boulogne restaurant in the days when I smoked. An English woman complained to the waiter about people smoking inside and he told her she should sit outside if she didn’t like it! Now I haven’t had a cigarette in about 13 years and I do think it’s nicer not to have smoking while eating. How times have changed. I remember almost everyone smoking in the 70s and cigarettes cost 45p a packet!

      • Chica Andaluza February 23, 2015 at 21:43 #

        Sounds like our bars in Spain in the evenings – all the smokers light up because they know none of the inspectors work late! Big Man has now been a non smoker since 1st September last year – so proud of him!! When I did smoke though (never that much) I did enjoy that cigarette at the end of a meal L

      • Mad Dog February 23, 2015 at 21:48 #

        Well done Big Man! I was the same – a cigarette after dinner was part of the meal. I’ve noticed a huge uptake in nicotine vaporisers amongst my friends in Barcelona – probably down to price and the fact that they are allowed indoors…

      • Chica Andaluza February 23, 2015 at 23:24 #

        Yes, we noticed them too even in our little village – people say they don’t want to pay any mores taxes to the government!

      • Mad Dog February 23, 2015 at 23:49 #

        I can’t say I blame them 😉

      • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2015 at 08:05 #


  3. bitsandbreadcrumbs February 23, 2015 at 23:03 #

    Booze cruise…I love that! Looks like a beautiful beach town and some fine carpaccio. Here in the States, they just post a warning on the menu that consumption of raw seafood or uncooked meat can cause illness…and leave it up to you to decide, thank goodness. I’d be very depressed if I couldn’t eat raw oysters or carpaccio. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 23, 2015 at 23:26 #

      Now that sounds like a much more sensible solution. There are places that will serve raw food, but not everywhere in England it seems L

  4. 76sanfermo February 23, 2015 at 23:21 #

    Love your photos and your carpaccio…

    I didn’t know about those restrictions in UK!
    Our restaurants don’t follow any rules,I’m told!

    • Chica Andaluza February 23, 2015 at 23:27 #

      I don’t think it’s all restaurants, just some…but it seems they are the ones closest to us right now L

  5. Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 24, 2015 at 05:00 #

    I agree, meat should be served as you want it, and not decided upon by some law. Glad you had a great time away and I admire you for walking the pups in the wind and cold 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2015 at 08:06 #

      Thanks Tandy – don’t think the pups were over impressed with the weather either…must be their Spanish blood!

  6. Eha February 24, 2015 at 05:59 #

    Don’t worry about locality! About a year ago I was in a local private hospital for about a week: roast beef on the menu: disgustingly and totally well done – when I managed to ‘squeak’ it was a case ‘Oh, Mrs Carr – we are not allowed to serve anything but well done!’ Sent from Australia 🙂 !

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2015 at 08:07 #

      Clearly the world has gone bonkers…..well, I think we knew that already 😉

  7. TheDorsetFinca February 24, 2015 at 07:49 #

    There’s nothing better than a hop across the channel… I start thinking about the food weeks before any planned trip! I once came back with a bag full of ‘traditional’ French jams, cheeses and bread from a local supermarket only to find that they were widely stocked in Tesco in England and not really that traditional – or French?! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2015 at 08:08 #

      Ha ha – I know what you mean! Sometimes you can find the most exciting and exotic things in Lidl or in a small local store. And many things were cheaper in England we noticed – buy hey, it was a nice little break J

  8. thecompletebook February 24, 2015 at 09:18 #

    Hmm, I would not be impressed being told I have to have my meat cooked the way the infamous they say.
    I run in wind that blew the cobwebs away just yesterday although it was somewhat warmer here in Maputo.
    Have a beautiful day Tanya.
    Mandy xo

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2015 at 09:35 #

      Too right Mandy! And running in warm wind sounds much nicer than the cold blasts we endured 😉

  9. chef mimi February 24, 2015 at 15:04 #

    How lucky you are to pop over to France! The US is the same way about rare or even medium rare beef, but it’s not really well controlled, because at better restaurants you can get rarer hamburgers. I only know because my husband orders them often. All throughout our UK and Ireland travels, he ordered burgers, which was silly, because he was always disappointed. But it’s the texture that’s different than here. Like you said, it’s minced beef – it almost feels like there’s a filler in it, so even if the burgers are medium-rare, they’re dry. does that make sense? Not juicy. Oh well, I guess Americans know how to cookone thing well!!!

    • chef mimi February 24, 2015 at 15:05 #

      what i meant t say isn’t that americans cook burgers well, it’s just that we have access to really good beef. sorry, just waking up!!!

      • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2015 at 10:05 #

        Ha ha – got it! Thanks Chef Mimi J

  10. narf77 February 24, 2015 at 20:47 #

    I think we shared a granny Ms Chica ;). Seriously, so much is being taken out of our hands now. If we want to kill ourselves eating raw meat it’s our sodding business! Same goes for raw milk. We can’t buy or use raw milk or raw milk products here in Australia. None of that glorious raw milk cheese with all of it’s probiotic glory for we Aussies. It is apparently MUCH better to munch on highly processed cheeses, and our health will suffer if we try to eat them au Naturale… you have to pressure cook the life out of veggies, scrub everything with Dettol to make it ‘safe’ and I would just like to know who is making these decisions about what is and isn’t ‘good for us’ and what is their agenda? I love that you were bolshie with that carpaccio. Life is a series of small opportunities to choose and to rebel. Viva la revolution! 😉

    • Chica Andaluza February 25, 2015 at 10:04 #

      Vive la revolution – I’m up there on the ramparts waving my flag!!!

  11. TheQuiltMeister February 24, 2015 at 21:30 #

    You can’t eliminate everything potentially risky from your lives, it’s just a nonsense. Judging by your food Chica, I’m not really sure why you bother with restaurants anyway!

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2015 at 22:38 #

      Thank you Mr QuiltMeister for such a lovely comment!

  12. Frugal Hausfrau February 25, 2015 at 06:06 #

    This sounds like a great time, but I had to laugh because my Grandma used to say the same thing. She grew up and lived in Iowa.

  13. Karen February 25, 2015 at 22:55 #

    How lovely that you got to cross the channel…I think I would need to tow a trailer if I could do that. Your salad of carpaccio looks delicious. New Hampshire is known as the live free or die state so eating a rare burger is OK. If you cross the border into Massachusetts, your burger has to be well cook. Such is this crazy world we are living in now. Sorry I haven’t been by, we had to get out of the snow and cold for a while.

    • Chica Andaluza February 26, 2015 at 14:10 #

      Luckily we have a big car and we packed it full! Hope you’re staying warm J

  14. restlessjo February 26, 2015 at 23:14 #

    I was out walking on the north east coast on Monday and it was a very bad idea, Tanya. The wind had us bent double, and then there was a flurry of snow! Yearning for the Algarve 😦

    • Chica Andaluza February 26, 2015 at 23:21 #

      Eek – snow too L Yearning for Andalucía here!

  15. Maulana Angga February 27, 2015 at 09:05 #

    Nice pict and nice adventure.

  16. Promenade Claire March 2, 2015 at 08:02 #

    Can’t serve Burgers rare – what strange land do we inhabit? Lovely to see Beach Head, its ages since I got up there!

    • Chica Andaluza March 2, 2015 at 09:01 #

      Hi Claire – I love my meat rare, so mostly eat it at home when I can be sure that it’s come from a good butcher and I can cook it how I like it! we’ll be heady back to Beachy Head, but not until the wind drops 😉 Hope all is well with you x

      • Promenade Claire March 2, 2015 at 09:23 #

        Yeah all is good – a day at home today so I might even manage to get to my neglected allotment! Hope you have a great week x

      • Chica Andaluza March 2, 2015 at 10:00 #

        Have a good day Claire!

  17. Sandal Boneka March 24, 2015 at 17:59 #

    way sabil try typical food is the most cool and do not make us bored

  18. Burhan April 20, 2015 at 03:31 #

    The food of where,? it looks like I have never seen it ..

  19. Raden June 1, 2015 at 20:00 #

    the food seemed to be using too much meat contain cholesterol

  20. obatherbalpalingmurah September 3, 2015 at 10:54 #

    wow ……
    beautiful beaches , I feel it like a beach in Indonesia : D
    Indonesia thousand island beach

    • Chica Andaluza September 3, 2015 at 12:13 #

      This little bit of Indonesia I saw (Bali) was stunning!

  21. Saiful Bahri September 14, 2015 at 06:28 #

    O ya ever to Lombok? Together with the beauty of Bali there is even a beach on Lombok Island is more beautiful than Bali. namely Senggigi Beach and Gili Trawangan . And That special food recipes traveler?

  22. Burhan October 27, 2015 at 16:07 #

    if we need relaxasing, that scent is good for us

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