Our friends Paul and Rache invited us to spend New Years with them in Le Touquet, France (in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region). We caught the SeaFrance ferry from Dover to Calais on the 30th and drove south along the coast to their house. That evening we walked along the main street of Le Touquet and the road to the city hall which was decorated simply, but beautifully, in hundreds of twinkling white and light yellow lights strung through the trees. It was understated yet the most beautiful holiday decorations I've ever seen. I was too mesmerized to take any photos, which I was a disappointed about later (in fact I didn't take many photos this trip at all). To get in from the freezing cold we stopped in Café Leffe and ordered espresso and crêpe sucres and walked back on the seafront. Later we ate at Au Diamant Rose where I had the Crabe au Gratin and Filet de Boeuf Béarnaise.
Macsen with my godson Zander.
The next day we drove to the Auchan in Boulogne to pick up ingredients for dinner.
For New Year's Eve we cooked moule marinières for a starter and daube de boeuf à la bourguignonne (braised beef in a red wine jus, shallots, purée potatoes and wild mushrooms) which came out great (quality French ingredients make allllll the difference). I can't remember how much champagne and wine we drank, but I do vaguely remember singing karaoke and ringing up my parents and grandparents to wish them a "happy new year" when it was 3pm for them. For those of you who received "Bonne Année" cards, I hope my writing was legible. :)
We woke up to snow on New Year's Day.
1/2 baby + 1/2 baby = Zander!
Back to England.
I think so. :) He's the best behaved baby, only 3 months old and he's already been to France twice. He was even in an Indian Restaurant at 1 week old and he was completely quiet. His parents are very laid back people, I think he picks up on that.
Not sure if you have one near you, but if you're ever in a hurry and want mussels Waitrose has some really good boil-in-the-bag moules mariniere (with cream). We were dubious when we first tried them, but they turned out to be excellent... we now buy them if it's late and we don't have time to cook as it only takes about 5 mins.
I love seeing the foods you talk about in your posts. This last holiday, I tried to get the family going on the idea of lovely foods during the holidays. They didn't find the idea appealing. ;)
Funny (in a not ha-ha way) to think that you can do things like do the ferry dover/calais thing as part of your life. I took that ferry ride once on a visit, years back. That probably won't happen again, or if it does not for a long time!