Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Let's go to the coast

Yesterday we decided we needed a day out on the coast. It's easy to forget we live in a coastal county, we're about 2 hours drive from the sea. A search through our extensive collection of books of walks found a circular route through the sandlings and along the River Alde to Snape – just the thing! (click on the map to enlarge it)

It was a glorious day to be striding out along the sandy paths lined with gorse bushes with their yellow coconut scented flowers. Our guide book was written when Rendlesham forest had been flattened by the 1987 hurricane, it described 'views across to the river' – these were now behind tall conifers and silver birches, 20 years of forest regeneration.

The middle section of the route was along the River Alde with views all the way to Snape Maltings. Flocks of waders and ducks were on the shallow estuary, from time to time some took to the air calling reedy, piping notes. This is one of the traditional wherries with its brown sail – the sort of boat that sailed in and out of the east coast estuaries and rivers carrying all sort of goods.

After our walk we drove to the nearby coastal town of Aldeburgh. Of course we had fish and chips, eaten straight from the paper bag while sitting on the sea wall.

There are loads of tempting shopping opportunities at Snape Maltings and in Aldeburgh – so what did we buy . . . pottery from the gallery at the Malting? a dress from the designer clothes shop in Aldeburgh?

No – I resisted! A jar of pickled onions from a table outside a little terraced house and this beautiful line caught cod from one of the fisherman's huts on the beach.

We'd never bought a 'whole' cod before and here was the opportunity to cook the very best quality fish. I consulted my copy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Cookbook, he recommended cooking the head with generous quantities of fresh herbs . . .

and some chopped onion in 750ml water with 250ml white wine . . .

The tender white flesh from the head was served 'a la Hugh' with mashed potato and a drizzle of a fruity olive oil – no further pictures 'cos we were too busy licking our fingers and saying mmmmmmmm yum!

The fillets will make three more delicious dinners and there's a litre of excellent stock for soup or a risotto. Oh I wish I lived nearer the sea, we'd do this every week!


  1. All sounds great - wish I was there :O)


  2. Fish and chips eaten out of the paper is the best! :)

    I just love it when people sell things on little tables in front of there houses.

  3. We are nearer to the coast than you are - it's not so picturesque though!

    My favourite souvenir from a day out is something to eat. Sounds like you have memories still to come for several good meals.

  4. oh--yum, yum! better a fresh fish than pottery.

  5. What a grand day out! And a great reminder we have some of the finest food in the world right here.

  6. Oh delicious, both the chippy fish and that marvellous beast peeping at us from your post. Hugh can always be relied upon for a good rustic recipe. I sent you an email of thanks for your blackberry tips but I thibk it went astray between cumbria and cambs. Emma x

  7. Now that's what I call real food! I go to a little fish shop on the beach at Selsey Bill - Straight out of the sea and into the shop! Enjoy!

  8. What a great walk! I lived in East Anglia as a small child, and my father was an avid railway modeller. He spent years making detailed models of Snape Maltings and the area around, and we were forever being walked around there to get new photos and measurements!

  9. That sounds like a truly great day out.

    Very interested in the way you cooked the cod head!

  10. It's ages since we've been to Snape maltings and Aldeburgh - that area is particularly fabulous at this time of year, I think. Must plan a trip there soon ...

  11. Oh, I wish you'd told me you were going - I'd have come too! I love that area. Which fish and chip shop did you go for, the one nearest the sea? That's my favourite one.

    Your cod looks superb, were his cheeks tasty?

  12. when I first glanced at the photo of the wherrie it appeared like a giant toothpick-thin woman doing a dance on the boat :)
    That cod must have tasted fantastic!

  13. Hi Dinzie - I bet you have some great days out on the coast in NZ!

    Hi Karen - definitely the best place to buy pickles and jam ;-)

    Veg Heaven - the cod definitely made the trip worth while!

    Petoskystone - it was delicious!

    Threadspider - definitely, we should celebrate it!

    Emma - H F-W is my kind of cook - big pots good ingredients cooked simply :-)

    Matron - I've never been to Selsey Bill, I'll check it out.

    Danielle B - golly, that was quite a project! You must know that walk in minute detail!

    CS - the meat from the cod's cheeks and forehead is sweet and delicious!

    Dottycookie - definitely worth an adventure.

    Hi Toffeeapple - we were too impatient to wait for the F&C Shop by the sea to open! So we bought our bags of haddock and chips from the Golden Galleon and then took them down the the sea wall to eat.

    Hi Diane - She's the Snape Giantess and she dances on her boat at noon each day ;-)

    Good to hear from you (I'd lost track of your blog)



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