Friday 1 November 2019

Well, I’m sitting here writing this last post for my well-loved food blog. I really have enjoyed my time inventing recipes, following them, not following them! There have been some catastrophes (the chocolate tube things for a World Cup Party, for example) but there have also been one successes: I still use the Herby Summer Lamb Stew recipe!

Looking back through the stats, I’m amazed how many people still visit the the last two days there have been over 60 page views, people searching out recipes, reading the latest post, etc. I’m not getting rid of my love as even I still use it as a recipe index, but any of my new, food related posts will now be over on my more family style blog under the Bon Appétit tab at the top. I’d love you to come with me over well as continuing the food and recipes, I also write a monthly piece called ‘Meet, Make & Munch’ giving ideas as to where to go, what you might like to make or cook, and what or where to eat. It’s fun, I promise! I’d love you to transfer to the new blog and follow me there would be great to take you with me and continue on our journey!

As well as The Chimney House, I also have a Facebook page with a few more bits and pieces and incidentals!

I began Dire Bon Appetit in January’s now November 2019 so it’s had a pretty good run, I’d say. Things change, evolve and grow, and the food blog has become part of an ever bigger, ever expanding life. With two smallish children, a three day a week teaching job and a husband who runs I simply didn’t have the time needed to do it justice. But now, a once a month post is just about manageable, and if I get more done then that’s great. A family-style blog works well for me at the moment, with food still playing a pretty big part of it!

So pop on over, write me comment, tell me who you are...I’d love to keep in touch!

And thank you...for the last 11 years.

If things didn’t change, we wouldn’t have butterflies.

Merlotti x

Holiday Lunches

There is nothing I like better than a lunch on holiday. With a little family, it means that you can stay in for the evening and the children can get into pjs etc and we can play a few family games before a slightly later bedtime. But it also means they’re not sitting in a restaurant waiting for a late dinner when they’re worn out, thus leading to whingey, grumpy behaviour (from them, and, in turn, me!)

So lunch out it is. We usually just about manage to get out of the apartment around 10/11am, meaning we arrive in time for lunch! Perfect. We have a look around the village, a browse in the shops or a wander along the beach before finding a restaurant. Actually, we usually know which one we’re going to here in Nice before setting out, and our day tends to be planned around it! We have a few firm favourites which never disappoint. Most offer a Menu du Jour which is set and a fixed price, often including main, dessert and, sometimes, a drink usually for between €15 and €20. For just the Plat du Jour (dish of the day) it’s around €10-€12 and there’s usually a small choice of three or four dishes. 

We’ve long learnt that this is often the best, not mention the cheapest option. Our 8 year old usually chooses a piece of fish with rice or chips, or a bowl of pasta whilst the two year old shares everyone’s. 

Most of our restaurants are not actually in Nice itself, but a short drive outside. One is in the middle of the university area hidden between’d never find it if you didn’t know about it! And none have instagram, few have Facebook, and none need either. No self promotion necessary; the quality of food and cooking literally speaks for itself. 

First we visited Cagnes-sur-Mer and ate at a Moroccan restaurant on the corner of the ‘front’. It produces the most amazing tagines and cous cous, all served in big sharing bowls from which you help your self and make up your own bowl. Alongside is a small bowl of flavoured chickpeas and some harissa. My husband had a lamb and apricot tagine, I had merguez cous cous. You help yourself to Cous Cous, pop on the sausages, ladle on some delicious carrot and courgette stock/soup and garnish with the  chickpeas and harissa. There is a chalk board with several ‘plats du jour’ all for €10...often there is something for everyone on here: a couscous, a meat, two fish and a pasta. The restaurant is called ‘San Marino’ and if you’re visiting, get there early!

Next on the ‘list’ was the restaurant on the port at St Laurent du Var, Paradis Marin. We’ve been visiting here for many years now and recently, the whole stretch of restaurants along the port has had a facelift with the kitchens, insides and outsides being redone. There are many to choose from but we tend to return here time after time. Again, we opt for the menu du jour for €18 which is a main course, plus a cafe gourmande for dessert, and includes a glass of wine or a beer. This time it was Merlu with a light hoisin sauce served with rice. The cafe gourmande is my favourite dessert as you get a few ‘tiny’ tasters of puddings, plus an espresso. Perfect! David had the menu at around €24, and choose moules, steak and iles flotants. F had a fillet of sea bass with frites and cc shared everything. They even brought the girls a little free taster dessert! 

Another great find, recommended by French friends, is hidden away next to the voie rapide by-pass. You’d never find it by accident ... you just have to know! And by the time we left yesterday, it was super busy inside with a vibrant, Thursday lunchtime atmosphere. We were the only ones mad enough to sit outside on the terrasse as it was still lovely and warm. There is a brilliant menu, and when you had a Mose at what others were eating, huge plates of sharing pasta, meaty, tasty brochettes and many other choices. We all had the menu again, this time priced at €16.90. It was an Italian cheese made with cow’s milk, baked with pine nuts and honey, and lots of bread to dip! Mains were a simple tomato pasta with pecorino...f had a bowl of this too and shared with cc: they only charged €8 for this and it was equally as large as our main portion)...with a chocolate mousse for dessert. Again, the girls also had a mousse each but they just charged for one on the bill. Booking is vital here. It was really busy on just a usual, workday, Thursday lunchtime. You’ll find it on Rue Robert Schuman and it’s called La Locanda, specialising in homemade Italian deliciousness! 

Today is going to be a choice in Antibes. Usually we would go to Square Sud, a large French brasserie on one of the main squares, but having looked into reviews, we might opt for a little french place called Cote Terroir. I’ll let you know via fb which we chose!
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