North Norfolk Summer

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So what does Summer here in North Norfolk mean me to me…

Windows and doors wide open( catch the breeze), and eyes wide shut( hay fever).

The waft of honeysuckle and sweet peas in the air, and a froth of cow parsley and Valerian along the hedgerows.

Elderflower cordial /champagne /jelly-everything, oh and ice with everything too.

Barefoot on the wet grass, ( and the sound of the grass being cut and the whine of the strimmer), barefoot on the sand and that first dip of the toe in the icy sea.

The beach, early, late and in between. A different vista each time.Sand all over the house.

Flip flops, neon-painted toe-nails. Wearing white linen , kaftans ,and bright colours …

Yet more freckles.

Kicking off the bedclothes.

The drone of bees, Wimbledon on TV ,and the sound of a small plane flying low overhead.

The sun on your face, bare shoulders, bare everything, and the delicious smell of hot skin and sun cream.

The first strawberries, cherries, samphire,and making colourful, healthy salads.

Fresh crab and lobster, then more lobster.

The distant waft of other peoples barbecues.

Eating outside-bliss always.

Drinking on deck at the White Horse at Brancaster, a drink with a view.

Swooning at the view across the marshes to the se, and the whole sha-bang at Wiveton Hall Café.

`Summer Breeze` by the Isley Brothers. Summer is here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Riviera Style

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I have just bought this scrumptious book called, Nina St Tropez,Recipes from the South of France. Nina Parker is a talented London-based chef, who trained at Francesco Mazzei`s L`Anima, she has since worked as The Ledbury, Alain Ducasse`s Dorchester and Locanda Locatelli. In 2012 she launched her own catering business Nina:A Food Company.

This delightful book-lovely matt paper and gorgeous photographs, has mouth watering classic recipes from the South of France. Nina`s parents met in St Tropez and since then her family have continued to go to this beautiful little fishing town every year since she was born. The book is a personal food-themed journey around this seaside town and the surrounding area, and she is passionate about the Riveria style of cooking, strong fresh flavours and colourful food. Utterly delicious.

There is something so glamorous to me about the `South of France`, just those words  conjure up images to me of sunshine, and sports cars, and Brigitte Bardot, and old men playing boules in Place des Lices, and fabulous holiday clothes and sunshine. I know it`s a bit in your face now, and mega-yachty and packed beaches, but I my memories hark back to the 1960s, when I was a little girl and we did go on holiday to the `South of France`. I remember long drives down south in a boiling hot car, and the sound of crickets, the original blue and cream flip flops, the old 2CV bread van crammed with baguettes and pain au chocolat, plates of black cherries, mosquito bites and Ambre Solaire sun oil. And more latterly, fabulous lunches at Le Club 55, right on the beach. Oh so glam.

So this book is very evocative, capturing the essence of the South of France, and with a whole host of tempting dishes to make, which I will be doing, including Tarte a la blette a cardes de roses et aux legumes, Brochettes de Saint-Jacques et chorizo au thym, Beignets, Tarte au citron fruit de la passion, Peche Melba, and Crepes au babeurre , compote de cerises noires,et sirop d`Erable.  It`s must-buy!

Nina`s website :http://ninafood.com/

 

 

 

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Christabel`s Seaside Supper

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The fabulously gorgeous and clever cook Christabel Beeson, is launching the season with a pop-up `Seaside Supper`, and what promises to be a fantastic evening on Thursday 29th May at 7pm.

“I get a huge kick out of experimenting with unusual flavours and combinations, whilst at the same time, keeping things simple. Simplicity is what shone from my stage at the River Café-if you have quality ingredients, there is no need to tamper too much. I also worked at the famed Noma in Copenhagen, which was the most intense but rewarding experience, and one that really highlighted my passion.”

“I am very creative, and really get  stuck into the design side of my events too, so it is not just the food that will impress, but also the décor and setting. Attention to detail is something for which I have been strongly praised. I also curate bespoke private events for celebrations and corporates.”

 The Seaside hits London!

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Christabel, who has held many pop-up  suppers in glam locations, with themes such as the Secret Garden Brunch,The Mad Hatters Brunch and a Mexican Fiesta, is hosting her latest pop-up, the Seaside Supper- in a hip East End location. So book now and indulge in cocktails and seafood, and be wowed by her  delicious cooking , in a uniquely decorated location ( she is incredibly creative) and have some fun, fun, fun.

For the Seaside Supper, the quirky coastal artworks decorating the space,are by North Norfolk artist, Andrew Ruffhead ,of http://www.fish-and-ships.com

If you click this link below you can find out everything you need to know about how to book the supper, how to pay, and where to go!

  The ‘Christabel’s’ series of events are immersive, memorable dining experiences.. For more info, email: hello@christabels.org http://www.christabels.org

 

 

 

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50 shades of white

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Frigiliana is a pretty white village and municipality in the province of Málaga, Andalusia in southern Spain. The old district of the village was inhabited by the Moors and its name Mudéjar is used to describe the architectural style used by Arab craftsmen working in Christian territory. The quarter is made up of steep grey and white cobbled stone alleyways, winding past white houses resplendent with shocking pink Bougainvillea and hot red pelargoniums.
I love it because it`s so very white; a true `pueblo blanco`, and every time we go to our house in Spain we always spend time in Frigiliana, which is just fifteen minutes drive away. This time,( sadly you probably think!),I took lots of pictures of these small battered, white cubby holes which are on the wall by each of the front doors. They house water stopcocks and the electricity meters and I just-well, really liked them. Last visit I took pics of lots of blue front doors with their brass `Hand of Fatima` knockers, and it made me think that yes, Art really is in everything you see. I think I particularly love these little cameos, as the wooden doors remind me of the pieces of old fishing boat that clever artist husband uses to make his coastal artworks from. The peeling paint, bleached by the sun , each with a story behind it.

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Art for Cure

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Sally and Belinda

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Art for Cure is the brainchild of Belinda Gray and Sally Ball from Woodbridge.

They are great friends, great art and sculpture lovers, and women who have both been diagnosed in the last 18 months with breast cancer.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is shocking – not only do you have to  suddenly confront a treatment plan possible surgery , radiotherapy and chemotherapy but also face a risk to your mortality .

Breakthrough is the leading breast cancer research charity in the UK, fighting with its single-minded ambition to stop women (and a minority of men) dying from breast cancer. This charity needs to raise £20 million every year to support its essential research and women all over the UK are helping them achieve this colossal amount through their fund raising. We all know friends and family who have suffered with this frightening disease, by raising money for Breakthrough, with your help, we hope to help reach that ultimate goal of a cure.

Art for Cure was held this weekend at Belinda`s home, Bredfield House, near Woodbridge.

It was a wonderful mix of very special paintings, prints and sculpture indoors and out, from local and national artists, and opened with a fabulous private view party on Friday 2nd May , to which we went as Andrew Ruffhead ( clever artist husband) has nine pieces of work on sale. It was the most wonderful evening , in the most wonderful setting, helped by really lovely weather. 300 tickets to the Private View were sold , with another 100 people on a waiting list! Belinda and Sally and the Art for Cure committee had also managed to get some great sponsors on board, who gave much needed help to run this event and help with the inevitable costs incurred.

Everyone had obviously worked so hard and we met ( and sold to) some really interesting people-always good to meet a new crowd. Walking a round a stunning walled garden, glass of fizz in hand, jazz playing and amazing artworks to look at , made for one of those evenings that will be long remembered.

Any artworks remaining unsold after today, will be available to buy from the Art for Cure website, so do take a peek, and buy some great art in the knowledge that 50% of all monies taken will be going straight to this wonderful charity. there is also lots of info about each artist as well.

If you would like to make a donation you can also do that online. By yesterday ( Sunday ), they had sold over a £100,000 of art,which is fantastic, and when I have the final figures I will add them to this information so keep on looking!

http://artforcure.org.uk/.

PS Just heard that Art for Cure have exceeded their target of £50,000 and are now able to donate £101,30o to Breakthrough! Wow what an amazing achievement. Read more on their website: http: //artforcure.org.uk

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Beach huts, bacon sandwiches, and big blue skies

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We love the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea. Part of Holkham Estate, it is ten minutes drive along the coast from our house, and after the tootle down Beach road, you climb the wooden steps through the trees, and when you reach the top you will never tire of that `wow` moment, when you look out across vast sands, huge skies, and the higgledy piggledy colourful beach huts that fringe the beach, backed by sandy dunes and pine trees.

Wells is called thus, due to the natural springs that rise through the ground. To the west(and towards Holkham Bay) the beach stretches miles, and to the east it continues, but can be cut off by the tides. We have been three times this week, Easter Saturday early morning, with a  group of friends and two dogs .We walked and walked, and talked and talked, and smugly congratulated ourselves  on how lucky we are to have chosen to live in this lovely place. The weather that morning was , well `ish` sunny and warm, then breezy and threatening to turn into something more grim. It didn’t luckily , at least not whilst we were there, but we were very keen to head for the Beach Café for coffee when we descended the steps with windblown faces and raggedy hair. Unfortunately said Café didn`t open until 10am –tut tut, I can`t think why, especially on an Easter holiday Saturday, they certainly missed a trick, but we repaired to the Victoria Inn at Holkham to warm up around the large table in the bar.

The Wednesday after Easter saw us heading back to the beach. This time at 6pm on a very sunny, very warm , very big blue skied evening to meet a family for whom lovely artist husband had been making two quirky signs for their beach hut. Armed with a small step ladder-paparazzi style, various drills and screwdrivers and the essential bottle of Prosecco, we hit the beach , dog in tow. What a fabulous evening. After much discussion on where said signage should go, and the general opinion that the beach hut should now be painted white to show them off properly, and many many photos taken( cue Boden fashion -shoot styling), we settled down to once again revel in the fact that we were on the beach in the sun, drinking wine on a Tuesday evening. Harry the Lurcher dug a hole-a rather large one, the five children jumped in and out of it and us six adults just sat and looked out to sea. I decided then that I really do want a beach hut. And when we got home I started googling madly. There are several available. At a price. Of course. So not just yet, but I look forward to the day when I can call one home, oh and decorating it of course. Loving the union jack painted beach hut by the way-it`s been done beautifully.

What is sad is that there are many huts along the beach in Wells that are truly neglected. I don`t expect them all to look as though they have just been featured in Coast magazine,(oh go on then, I do really), but so many are falling down, rotting and looking well, just sad. I am sure there should  be some clause that insists that they are well maintained .

A beach hut is a great idea for a base during a day on the beach ,and you can store all your beach paraphernalia there, as to avoid lugging baskets, and rugs and buckets and spades with you each time you visit, with the added bonus of somewhere to make tea, boil an egg, heat up soup, or even cook a lobster if you so please. We left the beach that evening with roses in our cheeks, and once again looking at (our) world through rose-coloured sunglasses.

This morning,Sunday , we were up with the lark , bacon grilled, rolls cut, flask of milky coffee made, and we headed to the beach with my sister and family, who have been staying with us for le weekend. I thought they had been to this particular beach before, but apparently not, and it was great to see them have the `wow` moment too. My nine year old nephew, a hardy soul, wore shorts, shirt sleeves and bare feet, shrieking about how soft the sand was. Coming from a small town in Surrey, the beach  is even more of a treat to him. Another glorious morning, with us initially being the only people there.

And after the  bacon sandwiches had been devoured, the coffee glugged, and another rather large hole dug by the dog, we headed out to the dunes that divide the beach from the channel of water that can surprise you by rushing in to the sound of the siren when the tide turns….

These two huge dunes are somewhat diminished from what they once were,by the raging storms of last December, but are gradually rising out of the sands once again , giving you a great place to stop and wait awhile. We did so. Watching the seagulls, a small plane circling overhead-love that sound, many, many dogs rushing round, nephew playing long jump, and us just loving it all. So it was with gloomy faces that we had to head back , but we brought -as always, a great reminder home with us. Sand. Lots of it. I swear it exfoliates the sealant we put on our pamment tiles in the kitchen, swirling it around as we and the dog  go about our daily doings. But no matter. My sister and I were saying how some people just don`t `get` the beach, think it too messy , too `sandy`and so on. But as she said memories of sand in our sandwiches (and everywhere else!) has been a rite of passage to us lot.

But we love it , and having a car ( and house) full of sand goes with the territory when you live here, and I wouldn`t have it any other way.

http://www.wells-guide.co.uk/beach.htm

http://www.beach-huts.com/beach-huts-for-sale-town-wells-next-the-sea.php

http://www.holkham.co.uk/html/beach_cafe.html

 

 



 

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Wonderful Wood Fired Pizzas at Wiveton Cafe

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Artist Andrew Ruffhead and owner of Wiveton Desmond MacCarthy

Artist Andrew Ruffhead and owner of Wiveton Desmond MacCarthy

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Andrew and Café shop manager Emma

Andrew and Café shop manager Emma

 

The wonderful Wiveton Farm Café has just reopened for the season. Last night their Wood Fired Pizza Oven was launched, and we and a group of friends were there to sample the first of the pizzas. We love Wiveton. It`s bright, contemporary in style, a fun place to visit, fabulous views over the marsh to the sea, and of course the best food.

There is something for everyone this season, and they have been working very hard over the winter to bring more ways to enjoy North Norfolk`s produce at Wiveton, with Pizzas served Monday to Thursday from 4.pm-6.30 pm, suppers Friday and Saturday, and their famed Tapas night the last Friday and Saturday of the month. This is on top of their usual fruit picking, breakfasts, lunch, tea ,coffee and cakes ,and new for 2014 the Blakeney`s Farmers Market on the second Saturday of each month. Keep up-I think you need to write this all down in your diary!

Wiveton has evolved so much since the conversion of owner Desmond MacCarthy`s tractor shed into the cafe seven years ago. But the ethos remains the same, and they continue to strive to provide the best seasonal dishes, sourced right there on the farm, or from the excellent local community, such as asparagus, eggs, raspberries, samphire, lobster and crab.

The new pizza oven ( blessed by the local vicar no less!),is fantastic idea, cooking these delicious thin crispy numbers in between 90 seconds and three minutes, would you believe, so they are freshly made, cooked in a jiffy , giving a new meaning to fast food.

We sampled one of each -Tomato, mozzarella and basil, Fruit Pig Chorizo and oregano, Goats Cheese, red onion marmalade and thyme and Anchovy, caper, oregano and mozzarella. All fab.( well actually I am not a fan of anchovies so avoided that one -but my husband and friends loved it as it was to their delight very heavy on the anchovies).

The perfect quick supper with a bottle ( or two ?) of wine. I am sure the pizza night will be packed in the summer months with families keen to feed the children early after a long beach day.They have also enclosed what was a sort of outside eating area next to the café and added heaters so it will work all year round, so well done to all at Wiveton.

One suggestion is that they do a `Wiveton Pizza`,maybe with seasonal vegetable, pesto and mozzarella-taking advantage of what`s fresh on the farm and it would become the signature pizza…..

Desmond was there to welcome us, as was his lovely dog Teddy, and we had a quick nose in the new pizza `kitchen as well .Andrew Ruffhead ( best husband) has always exhibited his Fish and Ships Coastal Art at Wiveton each year( this year his exhibition is in the Café from July 27th-August 31st), and also sells a small range of his artworks and prints in the revamped Café shop, so we put our head around the door to say hello to the new shop manager the lovely Emma.

So all very happy that we can enjoy the lovely drive along the coast road to Wiveton Café once more, and revel in the view, the food, and the atmosphere, and hopefully sit outside in the hot sunshine again.

Tel; 01263 740515   http://www.wivetonhall.co.uk/
http://www.fish-and-ships.com

 

 

 

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