A day by the beach, cockel and French bean chowder

Fishing boats and sunrise

Lately we had a bit of a mini heatwave. It doesn’t happen here too often so it is a bit of a treat. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of a day by the sea. The sun rises over the beach and it is just gorgeous. All I need to do it set my alarm and actually get out of bed.I have to admit that I am not up when the sun goes up very often but every now and then it is worth it. The world is so still and the first rays of sunshine are stunning.


Sunrise over Deal pier

Sunrise over Deal beach

Fishermans tools in the sunrise

Fishing boat on Deal beach

flowers in the sunrise on the beach


The dogs enjoyed the morning walk even if they took longer to wake up than me!


dogs on the beach


As I was walking home I saw a rose. It had just passed it prime but was holding on to the petals and it was so beautiful.


beautiful rose


We had breakfast in the garden, the sun was shining and decided to head for Dungeness for the day. Dungeness is a strange but beautiful place. Everything is overpowered by a massive nuclear plant. There are a few scattered houses around, most of them look like second homes but not all. The beach is vast and you can see old boats, old, crumbling shacks, winches and other things related to the sea. The winds and time has worn them and the place has a bit if an eerie feeling about it.

We brought lunch and walked across the beach. It looked so close and it was so far! Luckily we had a lovely lunch and I tool some photos on the way back.


Whilst taking the photographs I couldn’t help but wonder who, seemingly just left them on the beach, if they meant to never come back or if circumstances stopped them from returning.


Winch on Dungeness beach


abandoned boat on Dungeness beach


It was a wonderfully sun drenched and truly warm day (a bit of a treat) and I knew it had to be fish for dinner. Inspired by the day I went to the fishmonger and got some cockels.




Cockels are related to clams and I thought they would be perfect in a chowder. I didn’t want to use cream so I opted for coconut milk and I added French beans as the garden is full of them!


Cockel and French bean chowder 

preparation time 5 minutes 

cooking time 20 minutes 

serves 2


  • 1 cup of cockels, shelled
  • 1 tin of lighter coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 potatoes,medium size
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 handful of French beans
  • salt & pepper to taste

Rinse the cockels to make sure there is no sand in them and let them drain. Peel and cube the potato. Place coconut milk in a pan and add potato and onion. Bring to a boil and let simmer for five minutes. Add the fish sauce, Shaoxing rice wine and half of the lemon juice. Add soy sauce and taste. Add the cockels and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and then gently mash the potatoes. Taste again and serve with fresh parsley and lemon zest. If you want to bulk up the meal add some bread on the side and enjoy.


cockel and French bean chowder


We ate the chowder and were so happy to have enjoyed a perfect day on the beach, it is quite rare around here!















11 Responses to “A day by the beach, cockel and French bean chowder”
  1. Loretta says:

    Just lovely Petra, love the sunrise at the beach, but you’re right, you need an alarm clock to make sure you haven’t missed it. I love cockles too, and your chowder sounds delicious. A mini heatwave, yes, it looks like it finally got up there. We were in England in July visiting my family, and brrrr it was so cold, thought that was unusual for July.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Loretta
      I almost didn’t get up but it is always worth it! I couldn’t stop taking photographs!
      Cockels are so great and they are super cheap as well, just perfect and quick in a chowder. The summer hasn’t been to warm and well, all heatwaves seems to be mini! Ha ha just as well as any weather, too hot or cold brings a lot of infrastructure to a stand still, but we do appreciate it! I hope you had a good time in the UK despite the weather! 🙂

  2. Really beautiful photo’s Petra and how nice that you were able to spend time at the beach. Thats all we’ve had here is hot humid awful weather so I long for some of the cooler temps you experience. Your chowder is lovely and sounds delicious.I don’t think I’ve ever had a cockle.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Suzanne
      Thank you! The day was an absolute treat! It has been much cooler lately but I hope for a few more beach days before winter comes. I was in a shop today and they were just putting up the Christmas cards! Way too early I think!
      Cockels are very similar to clams. I almost never see clams for sale here but the fishmonger always has cockels and they make a great chowder! 🙂

  3. Nancy says:

    Stunning photos, Petra! So beautiful. The older I get, the earlier I rise and I must say the sunrises make it the perfect way to start a day. Though, I do believe, eating a bowl of your delicious chowder while watching the sun set would be quite perfect too!

    • petra08 says:

      hi Nancy
      It was a gorgeous sunrise and I couldn’t stop snapping photos! I love the fishing boats on the beach as well, they always add something interesting and it is a fishing fleet so we get local fish all year round!
      I like your idea of eating the chowder at sunset, Might need to find a spot and watch the sun set over dinner! Great idea 🙂

  4. jackcollier7 says:

    Great pictures and a great recipe. Kudos ❤ ❤ ❤

  5. How lovely, such beautiful shots 🙂 and I love your doggies xx

    • petra08 says:

      hi Elaine
      I love atmosphere that early in the morning, everything is so still and I am glad actually got out of bed!
      The little dogs loved it but demanded some sofa time together when we got home after getting up way earlier than they are used to! 🙂 xx

      • Ha ha! We are up early every single day and whilst it’s the holidays and I don’t need to get Ben to school, Bob and I get out walking as early as possible, I love it! Like you say, it’s so still and quiet, and so beautiful 🙂

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