Top 12 Awesome Things to do in Brittany

I love the lovely region of Brittany. It’s one of the great historic provinces of France, located in the northwest. It’s my most favorite place in France for so many reasons – great diversity and unique with its remarkable history and Celtic heritage, spectacular natural landscape, gorgeous beaches, and excellent cuisine. To me, even the most idyllic postcard perfect picture of Brittany does not do justice to the place.

Brittany

Typical flower in Brittany

There are so many activities for visitors to enjoy during a stay in Finisterre – meander through the countryside or organize a tour of any of the region’s historic place. Brittany is all about living the good life – nature, heritage, good food and cider, and incredible people. Personally, after a month of stay in Brittany, I found it incredibly difficult to leave.

Love this garden in Roscoff

Since Brittany is a popular location for family holidays in France, here’s my top 12 awesome things to see and do when you visit this impressive region:

1.Wander along Carnac’s long and mysterious rows of standing stones.

The magnificent collection of Standing Stones in Carnac is one of the most extraordinary sites of Brittany. While you can find isolated manmade standing stones scattered throughout the whole region, Carnac features miles and miles of aligned standing stone. It has been protected by UNESCO World Heritage since 1996. We went there with our friends to see the exceptional 6000 years old Neolithic sites and the largest megalithic sites in the world.

Carnac

Carnac

2. Visit the 2nd oldest manmade  monument in the world.

The great Cairn de Barnenez is truly amazing – big pile of stones (75m long, 28m wide, 8m high) and very old (about 7,000 years old) as it was built between 4,800 and 4,000 B.C on a hill overlooking the Bay of Morlaix. It is known as the oldest and largest megalithic burial chamber in Europe, and the second oldest manmade monument in the world.
Did you know? It is about 2,000 years older than the first step pyramid of Egypt and it is much bigger than Stonehenge in the UK.

Cairn de Barnenez

Cairn de Barnenez

3. Explore the beautiful castles.

If you are tired of laying in the sunshine, there are quite a few beautiful castles in Brittany to explore and enjoy. We have visited the following: The Château de Brest (Castle of Brest), which has about 1700 years of history, and considered as the oldest castle in the world still in use. The Château du Taureau (Castle of the Bull), a 16th century defensive castle (about 500 year old castle) which has a messy past but also had lots of different uses in its history. The 16th century Château de Kerjean (Castle of Kerjean), which was originally built as a home for the Barbier family. It was open to the public in 2005 after being restored in the early 21st century.

The Castle of Brest

The Castle of the Bull

The Castle of Kerjean

4. Discover the amazing churches and abbeys.

In Brittany, I love the ancient, massive and elaborately embellished Catholic parish churches. We have visited at least 6 parishes: The Le Folgoet Notre Dame Basilica of the Virgin Mary is a gem of Gothic Flamboyant architecture as it has stunning beautiful Gothic style towers and stunning stained glasses. The Saint Thegonnec Church is famous for its funerary chapel and triumphal arch. The Guimiliau church in the village of Guimiliau is populary known for having the largest calvaries in the region, which are sculpted with about 200 figures. The Chapelle Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle in the little town of Locronan is one of the 12 stages along the pilgrimage route called Grande Troménie. The 16th century Notre Dame de Croaz Batz in Roscoff is well-known for its unique elegant Renaissance style bell tower.  The Cathedrale of St Corentin in Quimper is lauded to be the most beautiful gothic building in Brittany with its majestic stained glass windows.

Le Folgoet Notre Dame Basilica of the Virgin Mary

Saint Thegonnec Church

Chapelle Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle

Notre Dame de Croaz Batz

Cathedrale of St Corentin

5. Amble in the medieval towns.

There are so many medieval towns scattered everywhere in Brittany. Walking through the narrow, winding medieval lanes is all part and parcel of Brittany’s charms. In fact, we had a beautiful walk in the famous town of Locronan which has been listed as a Historic Monument in 1924 and has been awarded the title of most beautiful village in France. Landerneau is another gorgeous medieval town known for its remarkable architectural heritage most specifically the Rohan Bridge, built in the 16th century and inhabited for more than 500 years.
Did you know? Rohan Bridge is the only bridge in Europe that has still people living on it up to these days.

The little town of Locronan

Behind me is the Rohan Bridge in Landerneau.

6. Stroll in Foret de Huelgoat.

I love the stunning landscape and enchanting views in Foret de Huelgoat. It is a charming place to visit for an easy good walk or a picnic. Just time it right with the weather and stroll around the forest for a wonderfully enchanting excursion. In there you can find a great “chaos”, a large collection of huge boulders left after a glacier has melted.

Huelgoat

Huelgoat

7. Hill walking in the Moors of Cragou.

Are you fed up with seaside views but still up for a walk? In a beautiful area in Brittany, not far away from the ocean and with a fabulous climate, lies the wild Moors of Cragou. It is a Reserve area and serves as a haven for the wildlife so that the animals and plants can reproduce. In this area, people are forbidden to build houses, buildings or roads. The rocks stand 282 m above the sea level and remain untouched by mankind, with the exception of a few brave hill-walkers.

Moors of Cragou

Moors of Cragou

8. Day trip to Brittany’s islands.

Apart from its quaint villages, historic towns and breathtaking countryside, Brittany is also known for its pretty islands where you can have a perfect and peaceful break. While we were in Brittany, we hopped to Ile de Batz, one of its beautiful islands. We had a fantastic time there and one of the activities that I would never forget was when we leisurely walked around the whole island while enjoying its superb landscape. Indeed, it’s an exotic gem.

The island of Batz

The island of Batz

The island of Batz

9. Enjoy the magnificent coastal scenery.

Who wouldn’t love wonderful coastal scenery with rich flora and fauna, solitary lighthouses, pretty harbors, dramatic cliffs, amazing rock formations sculpted by the waves? There, the Channel sea meets the Atlantic ocean. The coastal area around Pointe Saint Mathieu provides a splendid views of the coast and a walking area for those who are nature lovers. The extraordinary coastal hamlet of Meneham is notable for its 17th century coastguard’s cottage with a stone roof surrounded by great boulders that are also scattered along the Kerlouan coastline. I am sure you’ll be bewitched by the serene landscapes because everywhere you turn the view is beautiful.

Pointe Saint Mathieu

Kerlouan

Hamlet of Meneham

10. Laze at Brittany’s lovely beaches.

Brittany has loads of great sandy beaches. I noticed that they are rarely really crowded because the water is so cold. Personally, I love the beach, though! We usually go to the Pontusval and Keremma. In Pontusval you can see a lighthouse, the water is very clear and many rocks that have formed intriguing shapes are scattered everywhere, while in Keremma there’s a 6km line of sand dunes (slowly disappearing though L) and translucent water. There are many seaside activities and watersports to enjoy – sunbathing, swimming, fishing, shellfish gathering, diving, sailing, kayaking, etc. The beaches in Brittany are simply a must see!

Pontusval Beach

Pontusval

Keremma Beach

Kerlouan Beach

11. Smack Breton luscious food.

Another thing that you should not miss when you are in Brittany is to try their delicious food – oysters, crepe, Breton butter cake and many more. If you are an oyster lover you can find great oysters in Cancale, a small town in Brittany. Crepe is a traditional Breton food. There are sweet crepes which are made with wheat flour and savory crepes made with buckwheat flour. The Breton butter cake (Kouign Amann) is a rich, mouth-watering dessert made of dough, butter and sugar.

Crêpe Flambée

Breton butter cake (Kouign Amann)

12. Don’t forget to taste Cider.

Even though Brittany does not produce wine, it produces Cider which is considered as Breton’s traditional drink. It is usually drank from clay cups to bring out the earthy flavor of the cider.

Taste of Home: Chicken Cordon Bleu

The name Chicken Cordon Bleu, sounds so complicated and difficult but it is a simple dish and easy to make. It is a dish composed of chicken breasts, ham and cheese, where the ham and cheese are stacked on top of the chicken breast and rolled together then dredged in bread crumbs. It can either be fried or baked; personally, I prefer it baked.

My family and I love this dish so much – so traditional and so delicious that my boys just wolf it down.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

In this recipe, I prefer to use Emmental cheese for my cordon bleu because it does not taste too strong. I have also tried with special bacon (not fat) instead of ham, and seems like my family prefer a cordon bleu with bacon because it is tastier than with ham. Overall, the chicken is tender and juicy, and the bacon and Emmental are just epically cordon bleu.

For those who would like to try making cordon bleu, here’s my recipe. Please let me know what you think of it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pieces of boneless chicken breast.
  • 6 slices of pepper ham or 3 strips of bacon (not fat), slightly cooked and halves
  • 3 slices of Emmental cheese
  • 1 raw egg
  • 4 spoonful of melted salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • mustard
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • about ¼ teaspoon salt

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Methods:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius

Step 2: Prepare the butter-salt mixture.

  • Melt the butter. Once it is melted put it in a small bowl. Then add a pinch of salt, according to your taste. Mix it well.

Step 3: Prepare the egg mixture.

  • Crack and beat the egg in another pie plate. Add some mustard and a wee bit of salt according to your desired taste. Then set aside.

Step 4: Prepare the bread crumbs.

  • In a separate shallow dish, place the bread crumbs. Add a wee bit of salt. Mix thoroughly.

Step 5: Prepare the chicken.

  • Remove the tendon or tendon line and fat.
  • From the thick part of the chicken breast, cut it along the length.
  • Make sure the chicken is flat and the thickness is even so that it is easy to roll.

Step 6: Putting together

  • Brush the top with butter–salt mixture.
  • Sprinkle some ground black pepper.
  • Top the chicken breast with ham slices.
  • Put a slice of Emmental cheese on top of the ham.
  • Tightly roll the chicken breast from one end to the other end. Close the end of the chicken breast with a toothpick so that it will not roll back.
  • If there is still some butter-salt mixture left, combine it with the egg-butter-salt mixture. Whisk thoroughly.
  • Dip the chicken breasts in the egg-butter-salt mixture.
  • Coat with bread crumbs.
  • Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish.
  • Bake the chicken for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven.

Step 7: Slice, serve, share and enjoy!

Taste of Home: Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Chicken with creamy mushroom sauce is a rich dish that you can prepare for yourself, your family and friends for lunch or dinner. It’s a simple recipe that takes about 30 minutes to prepare. In fact, this dish is good for people who do not have that much time to spend on cooking.

Chicken with creamy mushroom sauce

In this recipe, the chicken is creamy, tender and juicy as the chicken breast is drenched in the most luscious, creamy, and hearty mushroom sauce, easily made from a few simple ingredients. You will need boneless chicken breast, fresh white button mushroom, fresh cream and cheddar cheese.

If I can’t find fresh white button mushroom in the supermarket, I replaced it with Bonduelle, it’s a good French tin mushroom. Before cooking, my family and I opted to sautéed the mushroom (fresh or tin) first without any oil or butter, slowly and over a gentle fire so that the water from it will seep out and it will just simmer in their liquid. As a result, it would taste good and not spongy and squishy.

Chicken with creamy mushroom sauce

Another thing I like about this recipe is that it’s great served up over pasta, steamed rice, mashed potatoes, biscuits, sautéed vegetables of your choice, toast, or whatever you like. And, to me, this creamy mushroom sauce is one of the easiest sauce I’ve had ever make.

For those who are craving for something creamy but easy-to-make dish – chicken with creamy mushroom sauce is just perfect for you.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pieces boneless chicken breast
  • 1 pack of white button mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium size onion, sliced
  • 6 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 20 cL cooking fresh cream
  • 2 spoonful chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoon of melted salted butter
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 ½ cup chicken broth
  • chicken powder
  • 2tablespoon of olive oil

Chicken with creamy mushroom sauce

Method:

Step 1: Prepare the chicken

  • Season boneless chicken breast with chicken powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Melt butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add chicken breast until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Step 2: Prepare the mushroom

  • In a pan, sauté the mushrooms slowly without any oil and butter above a gentle fire to evaporate the liquid from it so that it won’t taste too squishy.

Step 3: Prepare the mushroom sauce

  • In a separate pan, melt the butter.
  • Add onion and garlic. Stir occasionally until tender and browned, about 4 minutes.
  • Gradually, pour in the chicken broth. Stir.
  • Add the fresh cream. Stir. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cheese. Stir constantly.
  • Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook. Stir constantly until slightly thickened about 4 minutes.

Step 4: Putting together

  • Put-in the chicken into the mushroom sauce. In between, spoon some sauce over the top of the chicken. Cook for about 4 minutes.
  • Garnish the chicken with creamy sauce with parsley
  • Serve it immediately with sautéed baby carrots and beans (or any vegetables of your choice) in butter, steam rice, mashed potatoes, biscuits, toast or whatever you like.
  • Share and enjoy your delicious meal with your loved ones.

An afternoon at the Science Gallery and Science Discovery in Kids City.

Since our son is a little Science geek, we took him to the Science Gallery and Science Discovery at Kids City. The exhibits and activities there aim to explain how the world works.

@ the Science Gallery

Mirror

On the 8th floor is the Science Discovery. It has interactive science lab with more than 60 Science activities and experiments for children aged 12 years old and below.

George Peter assembled the different components of the parallel circuit.

Bravo, George Peter! You did it!

The Science Gallery is on the 9th floor. It contains experiments, displays, and activities that are really well thought out of fun such as human gyro, magnet display, hot air balloon experiment, high-wire bicycle, and electricity table.

Gravity Well – one of the activities he really enjoyed.

Learning about sounds.

Personally, I like it there because most of the exhibits are interactive. Not only the children will learn different things like gravity, sounds, the solar system, etc, but they’ll also be learning in the funniest way possible.

Learning about the solar system.

Conquered his fear of heights through the high-wire bicycle.

Alan tried the Human Gyro

A picture taken through color Kaleidoscope.

It is also safe to do the activities – they have trained staff and the equipment is new and mostly imported from Europe.

Colors

Colors

We spent about 2 hours in the Science Gallery and another 1.5 hours in the Science Discovery, and our son loved his time there. He was fascinated with all the displays and enjoyed all the activities. Certainly, it was a good place for him to relax and enjoy one of his afternoons in Phnom Penh.

Learned how wire buzzer works.

Having fun with the Bernoulli Blower.

Learning about the iris part of the eye.

Indeed, the Science Gallery and the Science Discovery in Kids City are enthralling learning facilities.

Learn more about sounds.

Learn more about sounds.

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • It is conveniently located in Sihanouk Boulevard, just beside Lucky Supermarket.
  • You have to pay for every activity.
  • Most of the activities are designed for children 12 years old and below.
  • It is open from 10AM to 8PM (Monday to Fridays) and from 9Am to 8PM for weekends and holidays.

Have you taken your child to the Science Gallery and Science Discovery in Kids City? What activity did your child enjoy the most?

Slide into Fun at Fantastic Water World

It’s a holiday and the heat is scorching! Luckily, we found a gem, so myself and my family decided to check out the Fantastic Water World in Phnom Penh.

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World looks like a miniature castle. It features a bumpy giant slide, spiral inner-tube rides, two giant-mechanical water buckets, slow-moving moat, climbing forts, slides for little ones and many more. There is also a café, children’s playroom, gym, change rooms, shops and seating areas inside the main building.

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

It is located inside Grand Phnom Penh International City, northern end of Hanoi Street. We went there by a tuktuk, and it took us about 40 minutes (from BKK 3, Phnom Penh ) to get there. We paid $20 for the round trip plus the waiting time.

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

The place is very nice. It was not crowded even though it was holiday. Everybody – children and adult alike were just having fun like small little kids. My boys splashed their hearts out as they took the slide of their life on the winding inner tubes rides. Plus, we’ve got some tan lines and we were able to watch the beautiful sun going down the horizon while we were having fun in the water. Overall, we all had a good, fun time and it was a great family day!

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

Certainly, Fantastic Water World is a good place for families with children and makes a great day out when you are looking to cool down! Grab your families and friends now and be ready to slide, splash and smile at Fantastic Water World!

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

Fantastic Water World

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • It is open from 9AM to 6PM.
  • The entrance fee is reasonable, $4 per person.
  • The locker costs 1 coin (1,000 Riel or $0.25).
  • No food and drinks allowed inside.

Taste of Home: Beef Lasagna

Lasagna is a rich Italian food that has captivated the hearts and taste buds of everyone in the world. It is made with alternate layers of pasta, garniture, Béchamel / White sauce, and cheese.

Beef Lasagna

In fact, Lasagna is one of the family’s favorite food, and everyone loves it!

It has everything – pasta, cheese, meat, veges. It is frickin’ awesome. It is divine. It looks good, tastes good, and can be made in so many different ways. It is also filling and smells like heaven when it is being cooked. It’s delicious and nutritious, and even better on the second day.

I tried to learn how to make lasagna from making pasta to putting all the ingredients together from Alan. At first, I thought it was so complicated, but when I tried it, I realized that it’s just easy although it takes a little practice and be familiar with the ingredients. I was very pleased and proud that I successfully make lasagna for myself and for my family as well.

Beef Lasagna

In this recipe, my family and I opted to use all fresh ingredients – from tomato sauce to pasta. It’s tastier and healthier! We also prefer to use good cheese, Emmental cheese being our favorite cheese for lasagna as it is not a strong-tasting cheese. For the sauce, my family and I find béchamel too strong and white sauce too tasteless, so we make our own version of sauce.

For those who would like to try to make it, here’s our version of Beef Lasagna recipe. Please let us know what you think about it.

Beef Lasagna fresh from the oven!

Ingredients for 12 servings:

  • 1.2 kg of minced beef
  • 4 kg of tomatoes
  • 500 g shallots
  • 200 g of butter
  • 200 g of Emmental cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • milk
  • flour
  • soy sauce
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • ground black pepper

Method:

The pasta
– Put some flour (about 200 grams) in a mixing bowl.
– Crack 2 eggs. Stir until they have mixed together.
– Add a bit of salt and about 10cL of water. Mix it again. Add flour bit by bit until you   obtain a mixture that is soft and non-sticky. Let it rest for about 1 hour.
– Roll it flat. Press your oven dish at the top of the flat pasta so that you can cut it to fit the oven dish.
– Let the pasta rest for about 12hrs in a clean dry place.

Rolling the pasta

Drying the pasta

The garniture
– Cut the tomatoes and shallots into thin slices.
– Put a few centiliters of water in a saucepan so that nothing gets burned.
– Mix the onions and tomatoes together in the same saucepan and cook the mixture for about one hour and a half over a medium fire. Stir often. Add a sprinkle of salt and soy sauce halfway through.
– Cook the minced beef in a frying pan with a bit of oil. Sprinkle with soy sauce and add a bit of black pepper. When it’s ready, mix it together with the tomatoes/onions.

Béchamel / White sauce
Personally, I find béchamel too strong and white sauce too tasteless, so this is what I do for lasagna:
– In a saucepan, melt about 200g of butter. Add about 100cL of water and 100cL of milk. Let it cook gently for a few minutes.
– Mix 5 table spoons of flour with water in a big glass or a tiny jar. Stir until the mixture is homogeneous.
– Put the water/flour mix into the pan and let it cook gently until it thickens. Stir continuously.

Beef Lasagna

Putting it together:
– Put half of garniture at the bottom of an oven dish. Put a layer of pasta on top. Put a layer of white sauce / béchamel on top. Put another layer of garniture on top. Another layer of pasta on top. One final layer of white sauce / béchamel on top.
– Put it into an oven pre-heated at 250 degree Celsius for about one hour. Then grate the cheese and sprinkle it on top. – Put it back in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Et voilà! Serve, share and enjoy your luscious Beef Lasagna!

Taste of Home: Chicken Afritada

Last Tuesday, we fancied a Filipino style meal. So, I decided to cook a Filipino stew called Chicken Afritada, which is highly influenced by Spanish stew.

Chicken Afritada without green peas

I learned how to cook this dish from my mom when I was in Grade 6. We love Chicken Afritada and here are the reasons why it certainly captured our attention:

  • The recipe is simple – it is easy as pie.
  • It is cooked in tomato sauce.
  • It is colorful and visually appealing.
  • It can be served either lunch or dinner.

Chicken Afritada with green peas

This is my mom’s version of Chicken Afritada. While the original recipe use tomato sauce, my family and I opted for fresh tomatoes – you’ll get a healthier and tastier flavor than when just simply using canned tomato sauce. I still use 2 spoonful of tomato paste, though just to balance the flavor. Also, I cook it slowly to obtain a thick and rich sauce. I think that’s the secret to get a terrifically amazing Chicken Afritada.

To me, recipes from the family are truly the sweetest. And, if you love stew, tomatoes and chicken – this recipe is perfect for you.

Chicken Afritada

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg of chicken thighs or boneless chicken breast
  • 2 medium size carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium size potatoes, washed, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 medium size onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, crunched and minced
  • 1 small size red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small size green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small can of green peas
  • 2 spoonful tomato paste
  • 1 Knorr chicken cube
  • 2 pieces dried bay leaves
  • ground Kampot black pepper, to taste
  • 750 mL water
  • olive oil

Method:

  1. Put olive oil in a cooking pot and heat it up.
  2. Put in garlic and onion and sauté.
  3. When onion gets soft (white color), put-in the chicken. Stir. Cook until lightly brown.
  4. Pour in the water. Cover. Boil for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add bay leaves, tomato paste and Knorr chicken cube.  Stir. Let it cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper, green peas and potatoes. Stir. Cover. Then it let cook for 30 minutes in a medium heat. Stir occasionally to make sure no scorched crust forms at the bottom of the pot.
  7. Add Kampot black pepper. Stir. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  8. Put it in a serving dish.
  9. Serve, share and savor this delicious Filipino chicken stew – Afritada with hot steamed rice!