Thursday, 22 August 2013

Where do fish come from?

Our trip to Normandy was full of lovely surprises as we stumbled on unexpected events; saw glimpses of village life and were treated to the kindness of locals time and time again.

Headed to find a beach, we meandered into a tiny fishing village in search of lunch.  But arriving in the dead zone between 12 ad 2pm we thought we were out of luck with all the shops and tabacs firmly closed.

We stumbled on a make-shift marquee near the sea-front, and although they were evidently packing up, two kindly old dears rustled us up a feast of pate baguettes and cans of Orangina, and we ambled down to the sea front.


A quick dip in the sea, and some pebble collecting took place before a big hullabaloo started around us.  It was clear there was something happening, and we eventually found out we were in the midst of the annual sea-fishing contest where the menfolk proudly hunted and gathered, vying for cups and trophies.

The boats started to appear on the horizon and soon a huge crowd had gathered to ooh and ahh at their catches.  Men in tight trunks proudly puffed their chests as they hauled their crates of fish off the boats for weighing.




We asked whether it was possible to buy some.  A Gallic shrug of the shoulders and a "Non" was at first disappointing, until we realised that they wouldn't sell them, but would happily give their silvery mackerel away.


Seasoned viewers of this spectacle produced plastic bags and some even had cool bags, but we hastily improvised with a pair of wet swimming trunks and a towel, carefully wrapping the bounty up and driving it home next to the air con vent in the car, before transferring to ice cold water.


A quick lesson from Google saw the Old Man deftly gut and clean the fish, and then they were put securely in the fish griller and popped on the barbecue.




The crispy, charred skin and the delicate sea salty flesh was delicious and could hardly have been any fresher - a great way for Ruby to see that fish doesn't always come in frozen rectangles covered in breadcrumbs.

As we'd been sent a selection of BBQ equipment from Sainsbury's we also tried out the sausage cage - not so good for the skinny offerings the French seem to favour, but I suspect perfect for a hearty British banger, where your sausages can be easily browned all over without the risk of losing them to the burning coals.  We also had some burgers which we cooked on the barbecue plank.  I can't say I was a huge fan of this method. There were no instructions with the product but my foodie friends informed me that I should first soak it in juice or alcohol (a couple of bottles of French beer obliged), then cook the meat on top.  It was like a little burger funeral pyre, but they were taking too long to cook through to the middle so we abandoned it! Maybe one for those with more patience!





Disclosure: We were sent the BBQ equipment by Sainsbury's to try out.  The mackerel came with no strings attached.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

21 comments:

  1. ooooh that fish looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fish? By men in tight pants? Ding Dong!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fresh Fish For Free From France - Fantastique!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Best alliterative comment ever! x

      Delete
  4. Love the picture of you and your daughter on the pebble beach but do think that the fish griller looks super cool! I need one in my life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thanks - she was doing her best "look I've got no teeth smile" and I was doing my best "look at my milk bottle legs" pose.

      The fish griller is ace - even acer with free fish! x

      Delete
  5. WOW!! the whole thing looks delicious and how kind they just gave their wares x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't believe that they just gave it away, so kind!

      Delete
  6. Gosh not sure I could debone it and stuff - well done! We had fun fishing recently but caught nothing we could actually cook!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I passed that delicate operation over to the Old Man!

      Delete
  7. I love everything about this - I love how this fishing competition just happened out of the blue and we've experienced hospitable French people too on our last visit - no where open for lunch but someone took pity with a couple of baguettes and ham. And isn't google just great for EVERYTHING!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was such a cool day, I loved it! x

      Delete
  8. Ohhh that's brilliant. How amazing to be given fresh fish like that.

    I love the look of those bbq tools as well. Off to pin to my BBQ pinterest board!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thanks for pinning, that's kind. By the way, did they mess with Pinterest while I was away? It's all different :0(

      Delete
  9. Can't beat fresh mackeril on the BBQ and they are surprisingly OK to gut. Looks like a fun day. Ruby is looking so happy with you there even with a front tooth missing! Thanks for joining me on Country Kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a fab day thanks Fiona. Ruby has lost both her front teeth, I can't believe how fast she's growing up :0(

      Delete
  10. You write so beautifully Liz! (and nice that you can squeeze in a picture of a bronzed Gallic chest too!). I'm rediscovering the joys of eating fish after so many years of being a veggie, but have yet to have any freshly caught like this. Looks amazing.

    ReplyDelete