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Salmon with Tomato, Fennel and Olive Salad

June 10, 2013

This was a winner on day charter last week so I thought I’d share it with you all. It takes a bit of preparation but is definitely worth it.

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Ingredients for 4:

  • 2 large fennel bulbs with fronds attached
  • 6 ripe tomatoes
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 100g/4oz black olives, pitted
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

How to:

  • Pick off the fronds from the fennel and set aside.
  • Using a mandlin or very sharp knife, slice the fennel as thinly as possible.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and have a bowl of iced water ready.
  • Tip the fennel into the boiling water and leave for 30 seconds.
  • Drain well and place quickly into the iced water.
  • Roughly chop the tomatoes. Put a sieve over a large bowl and squeeze the seeds and juice from the tomatoes by hand. 
  • Get rid if the seeds but keep the juice and chopped tomatoes.
  • Into the juice add the lemon zest and juice, olive oil and a good pinch of salt.
  • Stir well.
  • Drain the fennel from the iced water and add to the juices along with the olives, capers and tomato pieces.
  • Mix well and set aside.
  • Heat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
  • Rub the salmon fillets with the vegetable oil and salt and pepper.
  • Heat a frying pan and place the fillets skin side down in the pan.
  • Cook for 7 minutes and then transfer to the oven for a further 3 minutes.
  • Mix the parsley through the salad.
  • Arrange on 4 plates then carefully lift the salmon from the pan and sit on top, skin side up.
  • Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve.
Crispy-skinned salmon with fennel and tomato salad

Crispy-skinned salmon with fennel and tomato salad

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Family Sailing: La Turbie, French Riviera

June 7, 2013

Being stuck in a port has its advantages and yesterday we locked up First Essential and took a trip up the mountains to the Roman village of La Turbie. Getting there is no mean feat without a car and involved a bus to Monaco, anther bus up the wiggly mountain road, a different bus with an Italian driver back down the wiggly road to Monaco, a bus back to the boat, a lot of guess work and a bit of luck! However, it was definitely worth it.

The trophy

The trophy

La Turbie was famous in Roman times for its monument, The Trophy of Augustus built by Augustus to celebrate his victory over the Ligurian tribes (45 in total). Louis XIV destroyed most of the trophy in the 18th Century and the stone was used to build the surrounding houses in the village. The ruins were then used as a quarry but when the County of Nice became part of France in 1860, the trophy was listed as an historic monument and plans for restoration began. It was restored to its current state by the end of 1933 by Formigé.

Restored columns

Restored columns

Inner structure

Inner structure

Standing tall

Standing tall

The trophy was built on the highest point of the Via Julia which Augustus had built to facilitate trading with Gaul. It overlooks San Remo in Italy on the East side and all the way down to the Esterel massif in the West, a symbol of the power and protection afforded by Rome.

The view to Italy

The view to Italy

Looking down to the Esterel massif

Looking down to the Esterel massif

The town itself is interesting and the old town has its own little bit of history. A small house on a famous street claims to be where Napoleon slept for a night and also the shelter of the Prince of Monaco during the Castelan Siege!

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The Prince stayed here!

The Prince stayed here!

 

Napoleon slept here!

Napoleon slept here!

The house in the street

The house in the street

 

Although not as big as the neighbouring town of Eze, La Turbie has many more inhabitants and is less geared towards tourists. We had a delicious lunch at very reasonable prices in the town square where the market had been that morning. We also found the bakery and sampled an unusual local pastry. They had a choice of fillings; pistache, citron, vanille, Nutella, cappucino… I resisted the Nutella and went for vanilla. They were delicious and I have no idea what they are called!

Yummy!

Yummy!

We also had a look in the church and were treated to a private concert! An octet of two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons and 2 French horns were having a run through of their programme for the following night. It was certainly an unexpected treat.

Private concert for two!

Private concert for two!

A fabulous town for exploring, enjoying the views, and a bit of history.

The church

The church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Sailing: Summer’s Arrived on the French Riviera

June 3, 2013

The sun is out, the rain has gone, the snow has stopped falling on the hills and the French are smiling again! Yes, Summer has arrived on the Riviera and just like that the scarves are no longer needed and the air conditioning is getting a good workout!

Villefranche in the sun

Villefranche in the sun

Sadly my successful week last week has been succeeded by a very mixed weekl! Although the weather has improved, which is a major bonus, we are currently stuck in Beaulieu port. Now, I know there’s nothing to complain about being in Beaulieu, and some would say we’ve got the cheapest B and B around, however, when it’s flat calm outside, you really wish you could anchor! Recently we received a letter from our engine manufacturer suggesting we need some maintenance doing to the engine mounts as they’ve discovered a fault with them. Now, our engine is just two years old and has been maintained as per the warranty instructions so when you get a letter like this it’s a bit worrying! On inspection there was no problem, but this week, the faulty mounts have surpassed themselves and we now have an engine suspended on not very much!

Broken engine mount

Broken engine mount

For those of you who are like me and have no real interest in engines, the big nut in the picture should be on the end of the screw! Anyway – although it looks bad, the maintenance guys are coming this week to fix the problem and give us our annual service and all in the name of warranty!

Being stuck has its advantages; we decided to explore a bit further afield and headed inland yesterday to the village of La Turbie. We made it as far as Nice and the right bus stop but then, being Sunday, the bus didn’t turn up! We will be going this week however as I would really like to explore it! Instead, we had a pizza on Nice beach followed by an ice cream from the famous Fenocchio’s. On our return to Beaulieu, we decided to head to the church for a free concert of Jazz and spirituals by a group called Clam Chowder. Their version of Wade in the Water and Let’s Do It were fantastic!

Phil's birthday

Phil’s birthday

This week saw Phil turn 33! I made him a special cake with all his favourite things: marble chocolate and vanilla cake and chocolate and hazlenut icing! I felt rather sick after eating mine! So hopefully this week we’ll be seeing some friends on another boat ‘Kinsale’, and some friends from home in Cannes. Until then, we’re at the mercy of Offshore Services and their engine repair skills!

Family Sailing: A day out on the sea

May 29, 2013

I’ve had a pretty successful week this week by all accounts and am feeling rather proud of myself!

The view from my port hole

The view from my port hole

Having left Beaulieu port to anchor in the bay we had rather a lot of wind. But trusting in our anchoring skills, we held fast and I even managed to sleep a full night’s sleep without getting up every hour to see that we were ok! I was rewarded for my good sleeping with this beautiful sunrise at 5.30am! Needless to say that Phil didn’t see it!!

Not so nice!

Not so nice!

As you can see from this picture we’ve had very changeable weather this week and have had to keep a good look out. We’ve avoided most rain and surprisingly the forecast thunder and lightning has not materialised yet!

Sail-by-the-wind jellyfish

Sail-by-the-wind jellyfish

Another success this week has been the identifying of these rather odd looking creatures. We first saw them last year on our way to Italy but didn’t think much of it and assumed they were some sort of spillage from a ship. However, this year they are in France and there are millions of them. So, making use of the kids fishing nets, I investigated further whilst at anchor. I got a couple of tingly fingers when I touched the bottom of them thinking they looked like sea anemones and it wasn’t long before some kind soul identified them as ‘sail-by-the-wind’ jellyfish, a relative of the Portugese Man of War!

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We also completed our first day charter with Elegant Address this week – another success. We had a lovely family on board for the day. We took them over to the Iles de Lerins for a wander round the beautiful Saint Honorat, the monastery and the fort before serving a delicious lunch back on First Essential. Another little cruise later, sadly under engine as there was no wind, and we were back at Juan les Pins and the champagne came out. A lovely day and we’re looking forward to doing some more.

A lovely family day out

A lovely family day out

We’re having fun trying out some contenders for this year’s menu and so far we’re having lots of success! We’ve tried some mixed canapé plates with little endive, blue cheese, walnut and honey mouthfuls, sun-dried tomato plamiers and prosciutto and rocket rolls.

Canapés

Canapés

We’ve tried a new main course consisting of crispy-skinned salmon with a fennel and tomato salad.

Crispy-skinned salmon with fennel and tomato salad

Crispy-skinned salmon with fennel and tomato salad

And finally a new twist on a delicous dessert: coconut panna cotta, which I served with dark chocolate drops and orange and lemon shortbread.

Coconut Panna Cotta

Coconut Panna Cotta

We’re now in Beaulieu port again hiding from another gale but the sun is shining and the washing dried in less than an hour!! Next week we’re off back towards Cannes to meet up with some friends and do some work! Here’s hoping the French have all been good, said their prayers and the weatherman is kind and gives us a break in the wind!

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If you’d like to join us this June, call us now 0845 653 0126 or email us info@essentialsailing.com to take advantage of our late booking deals.

 

How to…Prevent Sun Stroke On Board

May 20, 2013

Now I know it’s been a long time since my last ‘How to’ topic but I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to write about. Next to seasickness, sun stroke and heat stroke are probably high on the list of unwanted but preventable ailments when on board a boat.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

Here at Essential Sailing we do a lot of things to help you avoid getting to the state of the above gentleman!

We provide you with as much water as you can drink – we carry over 1000 litres of drinking water in our 3 water tanks as well as plenty of bottled water.

Drink Water!

Phil is a bit of a water demon and will press a bottle of water into your hands at every given opportunity! Even I drink it, and I really don’t like water, whether it’s drinking it or swimming in it, but I will admit you feel much better if you drink it and if David Beckham says do it – well then – who am I  to argue?!

The human body looses a lot of moisture in warm temperatures, especially those more accustomed to British climates, and this fluid needs to be replaced steadily throughout the day. A glass of wine or two at lunch is fine, but remember to drink water too!

We also provide lots of cool, shaded areas for relaxing in out of the midday sun. Lunch is always served under our fabulous bimini with the windscreen down for a gentle cooling breeze.

It’s also important to wear a hat. Whether it’s a big floppy sun shade, a straw boater, or an Aussie cork rimmed posh one, a hat will help to keep you cool as well as protect your eyes from the glare of the sun. You should also combine a hat with some wraparound style sunglasses.

The perfect shade

The perfect shade

Of course there’s always the sea for a quick dip to cool down…

The bow is available for catching those rays on comfortable cushions but as well as water and a hat it’s important to remember the highest protection sunscreen you can find. I wear factor 50+ every day on my face as well as at least factor 20 everywhere else when I’m in the sun. If you’re worried about getting  tan to prove you’ve been to the sun, don’t worry – you’ll still be tanned even through the sunscreen. And remember it’s not just sunburn you’re protecting yourself from but skin cancer too.

Comfy cushions

Comfy cushions

Here on board First Essential we also have a great air-con system that will keep the inside of the yacht cool for the evenings and fans for the night.

So remember: to enjoy your holiday without getting sun/heat stroke make sure you:

  • drink lots of water
  • wear a hat
  • wear sunglasses
  • keep cool
  • use sun screen

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Sun-dried Tomato and Rosemary Palmiers

May 19, 2013

These are a delicious little number to impress your friends with and they’re so easy to make! Definitely best made just before you need them.

IMG_2809Ingredients:

  • 1 ready rolled pack of puff pastry
  • 1 jar of sundried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to gas 5/200 C
  • Unroll the pastry and scatter with the chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • Sprinkle over the rosemary and some salt and pepper
  • Cut into strips about 1/2 cm wide
  • Roll each strip from both ends to meet in the middle
  • Place on a baking tray and brush with the beaten egg
  • Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until puffed and golden
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little more salt or parmesan if you’re feeling decadent!

Serve warm or cold.

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Family Sailing: The Riviera and a Golden Tortoise

May 17, 2013

We have had a truly fabulous couple of weeks down in St Tropez bay. The sun shone almost every day and we only had a couple of nights of very strong wind – but luckily for us we were hiding in Port Grimaud.

A beautiful rainbow over St Tropez

A beautiful rainbow over St Tropez

We’ve explored old Grimaud on foot and by petit train, pretended to be the king and queen in the castle, found a pretty little nature trail with a river that has natural jacuzzis and slides to play in. The Spring flowers are all blooming and the roadsides are covered with bright red poppies.

Beautiful old Grimaud castle

Beautiful old Grimaud castle

We’ve fought off pirates, although they kept coming back for more, and strangely we miss them now! See more from their holiday on their own blog: A pirate’s holiday

Pirates on the starboard bow

Pirates on the starboard bow

I’ve definitely eaten too many pizzas, but Elvis’ van was definitely worth it! We’ve visited St Tropez, just 3 times! It wasn’t so good with the Harley Davidson’s making a lot of noise but the next time was good for the market and the ice cream the last time was definitely worth stopping for!

St Tropez style

St Tropez style

So now we’ve moved up to the East end of the Riviera where all the action is this month. We’re currently in the middle of the Cannes Film Festival where ‘Gatsby’ has been a huge hit and Leonardo has been spotted strutting his stuff! We’re holding on for the Grand Prix coming to Monte Carlo next week – it just so conveniently ties in with Phil’s birthday but we’ve never made it and this year is looking doubtful with a last minute booking looking likely!

Beaulieu sur Mer looking lovely

Beaulieu sur Mer looking lovely

Beaulieu is where we hiding out the very unsettled weather and even in the storms it still manages to look fabulous! Of course the stunning buildings and gardens help a lot and this ‘little’ chappy is no exception…

A golden tortoise?!

A golden tortoise?!

Bookings are looking very promising for the summer so if you’re thinking of a break with us, whether it’s for 3 nights or a week, get in touch soon so you don’t miss out.

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