Local Heart, Global Soul

July 27, 2013

Sea Asparagus is Samphire …and Vinegar Gets A Kick!

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone,FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

From my last Summer’s Diary: We are taking “Velvetine” our Singaporean friend on a whirlwind tour, she barely got her feet onto Dutch soil when we bundled her into a rented people carrier van and headed via Belgium, France and via the channel tunnel to England.

We are spending the night with some friends of ours in Folkestone and they’ve bought us to Bob’s Seafood kiosk at the harbour, which featured in yesterday’s post.

It’s as mystifying to me why the English put vinegar on their french fries as it is to the English why the Dutch put mayonnaise on theirs…  but today my visiting Foodie Friend and I saw something that may completely vindicate this strange habit.

The vinegar at Bob’s Seafood has been infused with chilies!

If I were French it would be Oh La La… this place has surely found a way to make vinegar very very interesting indeed. We were so busy enjoying the fishy dishes we completely forgot to be bold enough to ask for the recipe, but if some of my other infusion recipes are anything to go by, the just plain simple method is probably the best… I’d hazard a guess at it being: Vinegar + Chilies + some decent infusion time!

The harbour at Folkestone is also very much a working fishing port as well as a tourist attraction.

There are  shops for daily caught fresh fish along the quay and our Singaporean friend is very keen to sample a local delicacy:  Samphire Himself really likes Samphire every now and again but I know relatively little about it so looked up Wikipedia:

“Samphire is a name given to a number of distinct edible plants that grow in some coastal areas. Rock samphire, Crithmum maritimum is a coastal species with white flowers that grows in the United Kingdom.

This is probably the species mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear. Golden samphire, Inula crithmoides is a coastal species with yellow flowers that grows across Eurasia. Marsh samphire is another name given to the edible glassworts, genus Salicornia. Samphire is commonly used to describe plants from the Australian genus of succulent coastal plants Tecticornia, and from the cosmopolitan genus Sarcocornia.

Originally “sampiere”, a corruption of the French “Saint Pierre” (Saint Peter), samphire was named for the patron saint of fishermen because all of the original plants with its name grow in rocky salt-sprayed regions along the sea coast of northern Europe or in its coastal marsh areas. It is sometimes called sea asparagus or sea pickle. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In Norfolk it is commonly called sampha [sam-fa]. In North Wales, especially along the River Dee’s marshes, it has always been known as sampkin.

All the plants bearing the name are annuals that begin growing in late autumn and vegetate throughout the winter until the first warm weather arrives.

Then the first stems and internodes form, and by mid-spring the plant measures 6 to 8 cm. Marsh samphire ashes were used to make soap and glass (hence its other old English name, “glasswort”).

In the 14th century glassmakers located their workshops near regions where this plant grew, since it was so closely linked to their trade. Samphires of all kinds have long been eaten in England.

The leaves were gathered early in the year and pickled or eaten in salads with oil and vinegar.

It is mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear: Half-way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade! (Act IV, Scene VI). This refers to the dangers involved in collecting rock samphire on sea cliffs.

Marsh samphire (Salicornia bigelovii) is being investigated as a potential biodiesel source that can be grown in coastal areas where conventional crops cannot be grown. Samphire is gaining popularity in the UK, being served more often in restaurants as an accompaniment to fish dishes, and is also found more often in supermarkets. On the west coast of Canada the plant is known as “Sea Asparagus” and is served in restaurants and specialty markets.

I like to see that the fish is caught by their own boat and then sold on the quayside of the harbour… as far as buying your food as close as possible to the source, you can hardly get fewer “food miles/kilometers” than this!  At the end of the harbour area is a bridge, the low arches of which we need to go under ro get back into the town. Then it’s one last look around and a few quick views of the harbour before we head away. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

around Folkstone 1s (Small)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samphire

July 25, 2013

At the Harbour Unloading Commences as We Enjoy the View…

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer we scooped up our Singaporean friend “Velvetinenut” after she landed at the Dutch airport of Schipol and within 12 hours had hit the road on the start of a travel adventure.

Luckily for her jet-lag, after a swift trip across the English channel we stayed several nights with friends in Folkestone and the weather has turned from the rain we’ve all had for months to a serious 28C (82F) so even adjusting to the cold hasn’t been an issue.

Today we will be cooking dinner for our hosts, so have been shopping and will be spending some time in the kitchen, but the rest of the day is to be enjoyed too so one of our hosts is talking us to one of his favourite haunts.

We find ourselves in the harbour, where there are plenty of people out enjoying the sunshine and lots of business for local establishments.

Little Mr. , followed by Himself sprints off down the boat ramp to get this fingers and toes wet in the sea, the rest of us stay on the quayside above and enjoy the view of boats and people. Little Mr. is forced to evacuate the boat ramp by the arrival of vehicles coming to meet fishermen coming to bring in their early morning catch, but we have a ringside seat as we lazily watch other people work hard in the hot sun.

The air is filled with seagulls looking for any tasty morsel going free (or if luck have it,  even ones that are not) and during the course of the proceedings a few of them get lucky: although they also had to contend with an onslaught of fellow seagull thieves whilst trying to escape to a quieter spot to eat their ill gotten gains.

The sunlight is sparkling on the water… it’s a stunning day to be enjoying the view…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 24, 2013

Roaming Around Folkestone…

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone,Folkestone — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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These are my journal entries detailing our last summer’s adventures.  Family Kiwidutch and our friend Velvetine are staying with our friends in Folkestone, their home is just a fifteen minute drive or so from the Channel Tunnel so it’s an easy end to today’s journey. We  settle in at the house but need to pick up some  groceries,  so combine this with a roaming tour of the town, checking out the beautiful buildings and local scene. Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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