Basque-ing in the sun!

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A flash back to our recent holiday . . . . . . .

My son is the shorter one!

From our base in Ciboure at the Hoteliere Residence du Golf (highly recommended), we were able to accommodate all our diverse needs to create a perfect holiday. Ciboure neighbours St. Jean de Luz, a few kilometres along the coast from Biarritz. The region is a great favourite of ours and one that we will continue to return to. For Jonathan, it has a great choice of golf courses and golf is his passion, so he is happy. So long as he has internet and golf, all is well. This time, he had golf, internet and a friend so we were left in peace to follow our own gourmet interests. And we made the most of the opportunity by exploring the region with visits to markets, small mountain villages, rural farms producing foie gras and towns along the coast. We were extremely lucky to have fabulous weather, given the region is prone to heavy bursts of rain, which always makes exploring and appreciating any location more enjoyable – and oh, what joy – the market at St Jean de Luz – held every Friday morning – was glorious and tantalised all our senses. The sight, a feast for the eyes, was colourful, bustling with activity and the smells as we passed the various stalls stimulated hunger (greed) despite a recently devoured breakfast of freshly baked flaky croissants and crusty baguette, heaped with oodles of ‘naughty’ butter (Normandy butter with sea salt crystals). As my son might say – lush! Anyway, back to the market. Here are some photos to help convey my story:
Paella – Basque Style – here is a recipe that I was given at the market – (it’s for eight people, but 5 of us managed to clear the dish).
1/2 chicken, 1/2 duck, 1/2 rabbit (I used pre cut portions), 24 cleaned mussels, 12 shell-on prawns, 300g smoked bacon pieces, 1 strong chorizo and 1 mild chorizo, 5 tomatoes,
2 red peppers, 4 cloves of garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, saffron, olive oil, a lemon, 500g of good quality rice. It’s a personal thing, but I take the meat off the bone.
Method: cut the meat into chunks, except the chorizos, and put them in the olive oil to cook until browned. Add in the chopped peppers and the bacon pieces. Add the quartered tomatoes, the chopped garlic and parsley, salt and pepper and a few strands of saffron. Add 1 litre of water. When it’s boiling, add the rice and cook for 20 minutes. During this time add anothe 1/2 litre of water, add the chorizo finely chopped, add the mussels and the prawns. Cook for a further 10 minutes and serve.
I wish I could waft the smells and sounds to you. I hope there are markets in heaven (I am assuming that I might go to Heaven!). Having purchased mountain cheeses, Bayonne cured ham (to comapare with the Spanish varieties), beautifully polished vegetables, fresh tuna (recipe to follow) and prawns, Charolais beef, sausison and stuffed peppers, we found a cafe in the market square and enjoyed delicious coffee and, as my waist line is living proof, more pastries. Oh, la la – very naughty but why not? Carpe Deum!
Armed with our treasures purchased at the market, we returned to the apartment to meet up with the boys – listened to their shot by shot account of their round of golf – and plan our feast for the evening.

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