Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Normandy – part 7

After our stroll along the Veules River and the sites of Veules-les-Roses it was time for lunch. On our way down we had noticed that many of the restaurants along the coast had already closed down for winter. There was one place, however, in the village of Quiberville flashing a big neon sign, indicating that the hotel-restaurant ‘L’Huitrière’ was ‘OPEN’.

'L'Huitrière' in Quiberville

The building looked like a sixties seaside boarding house, with a bar, a brasserie and a restaurant. The Menu card read:

Aujourd’hui (Today)
Hareng mariné ou fumé (Marinated or smoked herring)
Petit sale aux lentilles (slab of salted bacon with lentils)
12 euros

There were several cars parked in front of the building and inside we saw the waiter rushing around. We walked in and asked the young man behind the bar whether it was possible to have just a snack … not an entire menu. “Of course”, he replied and showed us to table in the bar section.

In the next room – the brasserie – a dozen of people were having the daily special. The marinated herring looked very appetizing, and my friend asked the waiter if he could just have the herring with some baguette, without the main course. This turned out to be no problem for our friendly waiter, who then enquired whether I would be having the herring too. As I’m not very fond of fish bones, and herrings are known for their many tiny bones – not unlike trout – I declined and ordered smoked salmon with warm toasted bread. We also ordered half a litre of dry white wine.

While we were waiting for our meal to be served, we looked around and discovered a large picture frame containing several faded black and white photographs of what looked like scenes from the Allied Invasion on the Normandy coast on June 6th, 1944. This slightly puzzled us as the invasion took place much further south along the coast. We took a closer look and saw that it concerned images of the Raid on Dieppe on August 19th, 1942. During this catastrophic attack 4,384 of the 6,068, mainly Canadian infantry soldiers, who tried to land on the beaches in and around Dieppe were killed, while none of the military objectives was accomplished.

On the seafront in Dieppe a monument has been erected to commemorate the soldiers that died that day in 1942. It consists of a metal column with a hole in the shape of a maple leaf. On August 19th, at the exact hour of day that the first troops tried to get on land, the sun shines through the hole, illuminating a metal plaque on the ground, on which another maple leaf is engraved. A moving and fitting tribute to the many soldiers who were killed during that fatale raid! We actually visited the monument last year during a day trip to Dieppe whilst staying in the Somme Bay.

While we were still looking at the faded photos the waiter brought our meal. The herring had been marinated in white wine with slices of carrot and onion and some spices. My friend said it was very good. My smoked salmon was tender and juicy and not too salty. The (nameless) white wine was very nice too.

By the time we had finished our meal, a small crowd had gathered on the seafront. Curious to know what was going on, we paid the waiter and went out to join the people who were obviously waiting for something …

(to be continued)



Ken Broadhurst said...

Martine, that sounds like such a nice place and such a good lunch. Wish Walt and I could have been there. I can't wait to hear what everybody was waiting to see.

ladybird said...

Ken, The food was simple and honest, but great. As for the rest ... I'll post the last part of our Normandy adventure tomorrow!

Leon and Sue Sims said...

I love salmon and I should say that Sue cooks it beautifully with a mango/avacado/red onion and parsley salsa washed down with a crisp dry white......Sue, whats for dinner tonight?????
Enjoying your Normandy adventure heaps...

ladybird said...

Hi Leon, That salmon sounds delicious! Please ask Sue whether I can have the recipe (salsa included) ? Martine

Leon and Sue Sims said...

Hi Martine,
For the salmon, I lightly coat the salmon with paprika and then coat in olive oil and leave for a little while. Then skin side down in a hot pan until the skin is crispy and then put it in a hottish oven for about 8 - 10 mins, depending on the thickness of the fillet. It needs to be pretty thick for this timing.
For the salsa, dice an avocado, a mango, half a small red onion, a heap of parsley and a little fresh basil. Add some red wine vinegar and a little olive oil. Squeeze some fresh lime over the top. Yummo. I often serve it with scalloped potatoes.
One of our favourites, I hope it's nice for you.

ladybird said...

Hi Sue, Thank you for your quick response. Can't wait to surprise my friends and family with this out of the ordinary dish. I'm sure it'll be a big success. Thanks again and enjoy your weekend! Martine