Chicken pie in El Puerto

The gas feed to our fridge stopped working a couple of weeks ago and we got it fixed in Anglet, near Bayonne (details below of the highly recommended Dometic engineer). The unexpected bonus is that the ignition for the gas oven and grill now works (we used to have to light it with a match and it took ages to catch) and it seems to be more efficient, so I decide to bake a chicken pie.

We camp near the wide, sandy beach of Playa Puntilla on the west side of El Puerto de Santa Maria. It’s 23 degrees with a cloudless blue sky. We do all the things that people on holiday do… have lunch at a beach side bar, sunbathe, swim in the still-warm sea. It’s lovely for a while, but what we’ve found we really really like is the feeling that we’re not so much on holiday as moving our home (Gertie) from place to place with a different view each time we open the door. Eating home-cooked food definitely reinforces this feeling and we cook at least four days out of seven. Gertie is equipped with a gas grill and oven and a three-ring gas hob. We also have a slow cooker and a Cadac barbecue, with griddle, hotplate, wok and pizza stone. In Burgos we bought a good, heavy paella pan for six Euros which fits the Cadac perfectly (Cadac’s own brand paella pan costs £45.75. Ha ha! Smug or what?)

El Puerto de Santa Maria is more interesting than it looks at first sight, by the way. The quirky Museo Municipal has some interesting archaeological exhibits and there are two sherry bodegas which offer guided tours. Plaza de Espana is in the heart of the old town and is dominated by the Iglesia Mayor Prioral. It’s a pleasant place to while away an hour or so, people watching.

So, back to the chicken pie. What with a potentially erratic oven, the use of an empty wine bottle as a rolling pin and the consumption of two large glasses of delicious Tinto de Verano (summer wine, recipe below) it’s something of a miracle that it’s edible. Luckily, we’re both ravenous by the time I get it to the table and although the pastry is a bit burned in places, it’s tasty.  I think the trick is to rotate whatever’s being baked a quarter turn every few minutes, so cakes are off limits.  Should do a good roast though.

Notes for campers:  The fridge was repaired by Save’Me, 4 Rue de L’Industrie, Anglet. We found them on the Dometic website.

We stayed at the Camping Playa las Dunas campsite at Playa Puntilla. They’re in the ASCI guide. We paid €18 per night including electric hook up. It’s a very large, popular site but this is probably because there’s no competition. It suited us for a few days but we wouldn’t have wanted to stay any longer. The restaurant and snack bar are good. Warning: The site is touted as being very convenient for the ferry to Cadiz but you should be aware that it’s a good twenty-five to thirty minute walk to the terminal.  Possibly a problem for those with mobility issues.

Tinto de Verano (Summer wine): One third cheap red wine, two thirds gaseosa or lemonade, a slice of lemon and lots of ice.


Ikea on a Saturday…argggh!

Gertie's new laptop standI love Gertie so much that today I sacrifice my Saturday morning and go to Ikea at Lakeside. This is not something you will usually hear me say.  Normally I would, to use John’s quite disgusting expression, rather eat my own earwax (forgive me, he’s from Birmingham), but instead at 8.30 this morning I am eating frukost in the Restaurang, although not the meatballs, you have to draw the line somewhere.

We’ve taken Gertie’s huge table out.  It’s given us a lot more room but nowhere to put cups, glasses, laptop etc. Then someone on the excellent Hymer Owners Group Facebook page said we should check out a laptop stand, which looks good on the Ikea website.  It costs £15 and they will deliver for £7.00. Ha! Way too easy.

What we do instead is go to the store.  We spend £124.05.  We buy: the laptop stand, an artificial sage plant, a pot for the artificial sage plant, two glass cafe latte cup thingys, some stuff you put under rugs to stop them slipping, a bedside cupboard, two packs of napkins, three spotlight ceiling sets, seven bulbs for the ceiling sets, a doormat, a wooden chopping block and a metal sieve.  The only things we actually need are the laptop stand and the napkins.

You know that bit in Father Ted when all the priests get lost in the lingerie section? That’s me in Fjällsta Florvåg.  After seeing the same room setup for the fourth time I realise that I’m lost and can’t find John.  Ring him. No reception in the blodig place.  It’s beginning to fill up with people who are walking like zombies.  It’s a strange phenomenon I’ve noticed before. A slow, ambling, aimless gait.  I’m in the kitchen bit now and feel like whacking my way through them with a stekpanna.  And then I find him.  I’m not going again for at least the next ten years, Gertie or no Gertie.