Merry Christmas everyone!

The Christmas Tree
I wish everyone a fantastic Christmas and festive season and all the best for 2014. May all your dreams and wishes come true. xxx

The Steam Packet in Littlehampton

Flan
I continue with the previously mentioned wonderful aunt and uncle and a wonderful meal we had at a little pub restaurant in their hometown of Littlehampton. It's downtown on the banks of the Arun River and is really super. English pubs have so much atmosphere – it's like being at home, but with staff. I love it.

Another lunch at Brasserie Capoul

Thai beef salad
My wonderful aunty Wendles and uncle Peter stayed with us this last week for another memorable holiday – we definitely won’t forget The Energiser Bunny dancing at The Husbands 50th birthday party! Thank you Peter for getting everyone onto the dance floor. My great mate, Deirdre, said the dancing looked like a scene from Jungle Book…I think you had to have been there.

Lunch at Brasserie Capoul, Toulouse

One of the deelicious desserts
This is a wonderful brasserie in Place Wilson, Toulouse, which I visited in May with my mates Debs, Sal and Lynn. Lynn, an old friend (time not age you cheeky buggers) from America spent two fun-filled weeks (or at least I think so!) with me in May of this year –and yes, I know that's 3 months ago. Don't get me going on the Snail Trail again...

Snail Facial Anyone?

This could be you!
I am absolutely serious. There is really such a thing as a Snail Facial. And it costs $100 plus. What will they think of next? Bird poo facials? Actually...more about that later. I happened upon an article in the Telegraph which featured this sticky story. (Photo by: viewthevibe.com/big-in-japan-snail-facials )

How many snails can YOU eat?

My impressive list of snails eaten!
23531 snails for 480 people. That's 49 snails per person. I ate 50 so someone got 1 too few. Sorry. Welcome to the St. Elix d'Astarac Escargolade. Allow me to embellish but at a slightly faster rate than said (deelicious) animal. Oh come on, you didn't really expect to get away with no snail jokes now did you.

Tomatoes stuffed with pesto and prawns

Tomato basket
This recipe falls into the totally easy and magnificently impressive section. Three ingredients, 10 minutes tops of work and you have a starter that will knock the socks off your friends. If this is a good thing or a bad thing depends entirely on the foot hygiene level of your friends…

Now that's what I call a Proper Steak

(Today's recipe: How to cook a really big steak)
Gabi, Anja, Joerg and Micha enjoying the braai and sunshine
We met two amazing couples in Portugal and spent a wonderful week together eating, drinking, chatting and forming a bond for life. We met up near Olhao in the Algarves where we were parked right on the banks of the Rio Formosa. They harvest salt there and we harvested wild asparagus and almonds too.

Trees and Ron

Trees and Zorah
(Todays recipe: Green beans and coconut milk)
We met a delightful Dutch couple and she has a really interesting name. It's spelt Trees but pronounced Trace. Ron and Trees spend many months of the year traveling around Europe and Morocco in their camping car. We spent a couple of weeks traveling together and had an absolute blast, laughing and joking together. A lot of the jokes are a bit naughty so I shall spare you the details – sorry!

Gibraltar and Naomi

Naomi with The Rock
That many people bring their dogs along in their camper van is a given, but a dog and a 90kg Vietnamese pot-bellied pig?! I must admit that when I first saw her, I thought I might have to give the Tapas Trails a miss for a while. A pig. In a camper van. Yeah, and pigs can fly.