Sunday, 11 August 2013


As I prepare for a visit to France I am thinking 'langoustines'...
The only time that I eat them is on a ferry crossing or at home in Brittany. Although once I arrived at the restaurant on the Bretagne to find that there were no langoustines left. I plucked up the courage to ask a waiter "Excuse me, are there any more langoustines please?" and he smiled and said that he would go and check. Well, I waited for a long five minutes and he didn't return so, feeling foolish for having stood there like Oliver with an empty gruel bowl, I  backed away from the buffet blushing with embarrassment and returned to my table with only a few prawns and a limp lettuce leaf. 
In France it took me a long time to tackle the purchase, cooking and consumption of something still breathing...

Lobsters were too much for me to tackle, much as I adore devouring their sweet, tender flesh, especially accompanied by French fries and mayonnaise and washed down with copious quantities of ice-cold beer

So one day my good friend C. chose langoustines for my initiation into the art of cooking live food

(Supper was also a kindly gesture aimed at helping to mend my newly-broken heart.)

Food will do it every time!

Such pretty colours, such interesting eyes, such freshness, such still-crawling!

So, into the pot of boiling water....

A few of them twitched alarmingly but S. reassured me that they were just indulging in a few random reflex reactions and felt nothing

I was not convinced but...

After two minutes of lively boiling and a good rinse under cold water they were ready

We consumed vast quantities with slices of fresh bread (there is no other kind in France) liberally spread with good Brittany butter, fresh mayonnaise and a glass of white wine

The next morning at the local market...

After several café crèmes with the English friends that I unexpectedly encountered as I was slinking into the cafe, intent on a quiet coffee and a good read, I set off shopping

Walking straight past the van that serves 'English fish and chips' to homesick Ex-Pats...
Past one fish stall that is adequate but not the best...
And up to the one parked in front of La Maison de la Presse

I ordered 10 live langoustines and a lemon sole, filleted bien sûr...

The evidence, langoustines boiling on my stove ------->

With buttered organic baguette and homemade mayonnaise the langoustines were my lunch

Petit à petit I am crawling towards cooking that first lobster

Maybe this time...


  1. It's really difficult to cook live food, which makes no sense for anyone who is not a vegetarian!

    1. Indeed. I do think that I should be prepared to kill anything that I wish to eat but if I can't skill a lobster...

      Although, if I knew that I could do it quickly and with a minimum of pain/stress to the lobster I may feel differently

  2. Actually RR, it does make sense. I am not a vegetarian, yet I could not cook live food. It's a question of perceived suffering, whether or not suffering occurs. Even vegetarians kill, even if it is only plantlife. Furthermore, many products consumed or used by vegetarians result from killing even if at second hand. It does highlight one of the very real ethical problems facing a caring individual.

  3. I am not brave enough to do this, but a few days before your post, I read about someone hypnotizing the lobster and then stabbing it.
    Read about this here - - after scrolling fairly far down.

    1. Can you picture the scene?
      Me, in my French kitchen with a lobster...
      "Look into my eyes...
      You are feeling sleepy..."

      I'm willing to try it but I think I'd stop short of the stabbing part :)

  4. Our oldest son came home last night after a week in France. His first time there ever. He phoned me just as his plane landed, screaming with enthusiasm :-)

    I would love to come and cook with you.

  5. I am so happy that your son likes France :)
    One day we will cook together in my kitchen in Brittany, I am hoping that you can cope with live lobsters, I can handle the langoustines. It will be such fun!


Hello! Your comments are welcome and appreciated