Showing posts with label harbour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label harbour. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cork to Arcachon

Cork to Arcachon
Ravioli langoustine with Tomato Butter Sauce
Cork to Arcachon

Here we are in our townhouse in Arcachon, about 40 minutes from Bordeaux, after a long but very pleasant trip from Ringaskiddy, the highlight of which was perhaps another top class meal on board the Brittany Ferries ship, the Pont Aven.

We left Cork Harbour on Saturday. It was quite a lively stretch of water that afternoon. There were no liners at anchor but Cobh still looked resplendent in the sun. Tugboats, recently featured on the TV3 programme about the harbour, were busy berthing a tanker at Whitegate while the Pilot Launch moved right alongside to extract the local pilot from the Pont Aven after we had passed Roche’s Point.

We actually missed part of the journey down the harbour as we had to join the line to book our meal in Le Flora. Well worth it though, as you can see from the photos.

After a smooth crossing, including a drink with fellow blogger Karen Coakley (and her family), we arrived in Roscoff at 7.00am local time and got off about 40 minutes later. We had a meeting set with the keyholder in Arcachon for 5.30 and we arrived to meet Madame H. about seven minutes before that. Thank you Miss Sat-Nav, better known as Susie.

Harbour jinks
The house is quite large and very central, very close to the marina and the beaches. We took a walk that Sunday evening on the seafront and, while I have seen some huge marinas in France, I don't think I've ever seen so many pleasure craft in the one place.

On a very sunny Monday morning, we headed to the Centre Ville and wandered down to the pier from where the passengers boats depart for various trips on the Bassin, essentially a large inland sea that has a narrow “neck” to the Atlantic.

Fisherman's cottage in Andernos
I always advise people to do two things on arrival in a French town. Find the Tourist Office and find a good traiteur. We did both that first morning. Got lots of maps and brochures in the Tourist Office and bought lunch and dinner from the traiteur.

Arcachon marina
The traiteur is an institution in France. They have top quality ready made meals and snacks for sale. Sometimes you may eat straight away, sometimes you may have to reheat in the oven or microwave. For lunch we enjoyed a gorgeous Ham and Olive Cake and the main course at dinner was a beautiful Mousaka, that washed down with a bottle of red Graves.

On Brittany Ferries: Chicken w. aspargus,
Spicy Lamb and red wine.
Cheeseboard, Strawberry with pistachio cream, Grand Marnier Souffle

The dinner came at the end of a trip to the other side of the Bassin, to a town called Andernos Les Bains.  The Bassin is of course tidal and here at Andernos the effect is dramatic as some three quarters of the water flows away leaving many boats high and dry for hours. No wonder, it has a very long jetty - I read somewhere that it is the longest in France. Still, the resort is very very popular with families. And, as we left, there was a procession of fishing boats, coming up the channel as the tide started to return. There is a large fishing industry here, including all kinds of shellfish, so you can take it we’ll be eating some.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Food from the Wood

Woodland Walk and a Little Foraging
 A walk in the woods will never again have quite the same meaning after Saturday’s outing to Marlogue (near Cobh). It started off innocently enough, just the two of us and the dog and, maybe, an eye for Wild Garlic. But it ended up being a long day, though with very pleasant meal at its end.

Marlogue is unusual (a bit like Curraghbinny) in that you get some of Cork Harbour along with the walks through the trees. No sign of the elusive garlic though as we got into it. Then we walked off the main path and followed one down to the shore.
To see more pics from Marlogue
click here

A couple were paddling their canoes along the shallows and a forager was bent in concentration near the water’s edge. We went in his direction and exchanged a few words and he confirmed that he was collecting periwinkles, gathering them with his gloved hand into a five litre container. He must have been out all morning as, a few hundred yards up the beach, we saw his net sack loaded with the periwinkles, must have been ten kilo or more in it.

Didn’t expect to find any garlic on the shore but did come across a whole line of Sea Spinach or Beet (see photo below) growing strongly where the stones and pebbles met the area of grass and weeds that edged the wood.

Resumed the walk in the woods then but no joy, especially where the conifers grew as there was virtually nothing growing under them. Higher up the slopes, on the way back to the car park, where deciduous trees dominated, there was more by way of undergrowth and a few false alarms!
So, when I spotted some more white flowers somewhat off the track, I wasn't that keen but decided to make the check. This time my luck was in, though the Garlic hardly covered a square yard. Still plenty there for our purpose which was to make the pesto detailed in Wild Food, a recent book by Biddy White Lennon and Evan Doyle.

Back home, there was foraging of a different type to be done. A run to the local Supervalu and Aldi failed to find the pine nuts required but a slightly longer spin to Dunne’s in Ballyvolane was successful. On the way, a decision was made to also make the Wild Garlic, Leek and Potato Bake. The only snag was the book was at home – still the memory worked fairly well. We had all the ingredients and were ready for action.

All worked out well. The Pesto, one “with attitude” as the authors say, is excellent but the Bake, more like a Gratin really, is a really splendid dish and used in Doyle’s restaurant The Strawberry Tree. We used it with some John Dory. The book suggests using it with the “Sunday roast chicken, or as the first touch of spring to the last of the winter spuds or a great TV snack, when you have the munchies...”
Hey Pesto!

 The book is a 2013 publication and on sale. Check out O'Brien Press or if you forage in your local bookshop, you’re likely to find a copy. Then off to the woods with you!

To see more pics from this "trek", please click here
The Wild Garlic Bake, essentially layers of potato, leek and wild garlic.