Thursday, 22 July 2010

Taking a break….


Taking an enforced break from blogging ….. back soon.

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Turkish Kandil Dolma peppers, left, straight from the garden; right, stuffed with rice, pine nuts and raisins – the recipe will be on the Mediterranean cuisine blog very soon.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Sounds of summer - 3

La Fête Nationale

The traditional fireworks are held in Gabian on the 13th, just after dark on the evening before the holiday.

The fireworks are launched from a small island in the river, lighting up the walls of the old village while crowds of people, the children carrying lanterns, watch from the bridge.

Tonight, if the thunderstorms hold off, we’ll eat paella in the open air and dance through the evening.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

La Fête vigneronne at Faugères

Sunday morning wine tasting in a village of balconies and bunting:

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A theatrical entrance to the old village whose narrow streets were filled with the stalls of wine producers, cheese makers, biscuit, cake and honey sellers, charcuterie producers and throngs of people tasting all this in the heat.  We found and bought some familiar produce – goats’ cheese from Mas Rolland – and tasted wines we’d not tasted before from Domaine du Météore at Cabrerolles and  Domaine Alquier at Faugères and bought rosé from Domaine Ballicioni at Autignac and Chateau des Peyregrandes at Roquessels (next door to Chateau des Adouzes where we buy wine regularly, but we’ve never ventured here before).  A completely new discovery, to us, was the Saffron syrup from the Tarn region of south-western France, which can be added to white wine to make Saffron kir and can also be used in cooking gambas or duck.  The kir we tasted at the stall tasted wonderfully spicy.


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Crowded narrow streets and, right, a traditional still making fine de Faugères.

Our own harvest, and promise for the future

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From the garden this morning:  Aubergines, a bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet onions, courgettes and beans.  And, right, a small pumpkin on a huge plant, just beginning to grow.  Aubergine and courgette slices fried in olive oil and sprinkled with thyme and chopped garlic went well with Mas Rolland goats’ cheeses for supper.

Friday, 9 July 2010

First tomatoes!

We’ve been watching several of our Languedocienne tomatoes turning red and ripening over the past few days and today we picked the first four.  What a treat it was to have a salad for lunch made with tomatoes, basil and garlic from the garden and arbequine olive oil from the Moulin du Mas St Pierre which we bought when we visited in April.

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A cicada case and rampant pumpkin plants

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When cicadas hatch out they crawl up onto a high plant or branch and emerge from these casings.  Lo Jardinièr found one today.  By the time he’d fetched the camera the cicada had flown off, but the casing was left.  Our pumpkin plants are making a bid to take over the whole garden – compare this with the extent of the plants only eleven days ago!  We’ve been watering the garden ever other day (economising a bit on other years when we’ve watered every day, and the plants still seem to be getting enough), and during two days in between waterings earlier this week the plants had completely covered the hosepipe, growing about half a metre.  We’re hoping to have some nice big pumpkins in the autumn, and the butternut squash plants seem to have settled in well too.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Nearly there ….


The sea is warming up and we swam at Portiragnes-plage today.


I think this Languedocienne tomato will be the winner.  Will it be ready to pick tomorrow, or the day after ….?

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Our one Kandil dolma pepper plant (the others didn’t germinate) has five good-sized peppers on it.  We picked our first Bari cucumber (from seeds given to us by Kate at Vegetable Vagabond and that came to us via Australia and south-western France from Bari in Italy).  It was wonderfully crisp and crunchy.  There are lots more coming and we’re looking forward to them.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Lunch in the garden while the tomatoes ripen ….

It was too hot to do much apart from water and eat lunch in the garden today – up to 35 degrees C.

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Grilled courgettes and aubergine
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Some of our Languedocienne tomatoes are showing signs of ripening.

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A swallowtail butterfly

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It was hard to photograph as it flitted from one lavender flower to another.


A conversation about a locust

DSC04828 Chaiselongue: There’s a locust – I’m going to photograph it and then I want you to kill it.
Click, click.
Lo Jardinièr: It’s only a small one….
Chaiselongue: And how do you think they get bigger?
Lo Jardinièr: By eating our aubergine plants.
Chaiselongue: Exactly.
I’m so glad he can kill them, as I don’t like doing it – they’re very crunchy!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The sound of summer - 2

Swifts in the place at twilight:

The cicadas in the garden are in yesterday’s post.