Monday 3 March 2014

A day out



An early morning in Rye.

Last week, Séan and I took a trip to Rye. It’s an hour and a half or so from London, and in those miles we swapped London brick for black-and-white timbers, shrieking sirens for squawking gulls, organic quinoa muffins for homemade Victoria sponge.

I don’t drive and, with the advent of SatNav am no longer called on to assist in the misery of navigation, so I gaze out of the window reading the road signs – local names Peasmarsh, Appledore, Pett, Guestling and Winchelsea, rolling around on my tongue, soft and sweet like honey.

We had the good fortune to be there in Scallop Week so we ate scallops for lunch in a little café and brought some more home to cook for dinner.

I don’t know about you, but around about now – the mornings are lighter, afternoons linger, I dare sometimes walk the dog without wearing a hat – I have had quite enough of brown food. All of those stews, daubes, braises and casseroles which were so appealing only a few weeks’ ago no longer appeal. Something sparky. Bright colours. Fresh. So I made this salsa almost as soon as I got through the door. It takes only a few minutes or so and is very good.


Church Square


Stained glass window, St Mary the Virgin Church


A more modest window. This lovely bookshop is, indeed, minute.


A pretty display of succulents in someone’s front window. I’m never knowingly undernosy.


I find myself in agreement with this sign in one of Rye’s many antique shops.


The fishmonger and game dealers’ where we bought our scallops.


Scallops with mango and avocado salsa


This serves 2

3 spring onions, white and pale green part only, finely chopped
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 small red chilli
½ small cucumber, diced
Small handful coriander, tough stalks discarded, roughly chopped
1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
Juice of a lime
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

As many scallops as you think you can eat - we went for 5 each
A bit of oil, a dab of butter
Wedges of lime to serve

To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients, season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside while you cook the scallops.

Pat the scallops dry with kitchen paper. You can cut the coral off if you prefer. I don’t. I think it looks pretty, I like the taste and I’m not running a restaurant where such pernickertyness seems important.

Warm a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Melt the butter and oil together. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and put them in the pan. The pan shouldn’t be crowded; do them in two pans if necessary. Fry for a couple of minutes until golden then turn and cook for a couple of minutes more. The most important thing is not to overcook them.

Serve the scallops immediately with some of the salsa and wedges of lime.


  1. It's many years since I've visited Rye and very pleasing to see that little has changed. Window peering a favourite hobby of mine too.

  2. Rye looks just as I remember it. Such pretty little houses. I think I may give the salsa a go but without the scallops. I don't eat sea food apart from fish! It looks very tasty though with all the zingy colours. x

  3. Rye looks a lovely place, very quaint. I'd love to visit sometime. I've never had scallops or known how to cook them. Must try them

  4. Southbournegardens - I am a hopeless window peerer. One of the (many) good things about having a dog is that you can stroll along at a snail's pace, pretending that it's because the dog needs to sniff everything in his path. Of course, he does but you also get the chance for a good nose into people's windows and lives.
    Simone, You could certainly serve the salsa with fish or zingy grilled meats.
    Margaret, It is a very pretty place and certainly worth a visit.

  5. Rye is only a few miles from us and we often catch the train so we can enjoy a glass of wine over lunch. Rye never disappoints. I love it. Elinor x

  6. We spent a holiday in Rye a couple of years ago. I loved it. Some great antique places too.

  7. Love Rye. We spent a week staying at Camber Sands a couple of years ago. All those antique shops and book shops - heaven. And Winchelsea is fascinating. We wandered around there one evening. I'm sure the locals thought we were casing the joint but the buildings and gardens were stunning. Although it did have a slight Truman Show air about it.


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