Friday, 27 August 2010

Mediterranean diet

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Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco have applied to the UN for world heritage status for the Mediterranean diet (although these are not the only countries bordering the Mediterranean and with similar ingredients) and a decision will be made in November.  According to an article in the Guardian this week, a spokesman for an Italian farmers’ group said: ‘Not only is this culture, but it also makes you live longer and better.’  There have been many claims for the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, particularly for its combination of olive oil, garlic, fresh vegetables and fish.  And, of course, red wine is supposed to be healthy too, in moderation.

Here in the Languedoc we eat what would be described as a Mediterranean diet, in my case because I love all its constituents and because it is what is available locally.  For me, local food is important… so where does this leave those who don’t live in a country where aubergines and wine grapes grow?  When I was in Wales earlier this summer I found that most of the tomatoes I ate were completely tasteless and usually unripe.  Maybe in countries further north it is better to eat tasty vegetables, varieties which are suited to the climate.  Everyone can enjoy olive oil and wine, but then there is the problem of transporting food long distances, with all the environmental damage that can do.  I don’t know what the solution is for those who live further away from the Mediterranean, those people must make their own choices, all I know is that one of the great pleasures of my life is the diet that is readily available to me here.

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Nardello and Corno di toro peppers from the garden and figs from a friend’s tree by the river near the village, all picked this morning.

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Lucques olives on our tree and Cardinale grapes ripening on our vine – the birds have left us a few!

Our lunch today:

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Terrine of joue, pig’s cheek, bought from the charcuterie stall in the village market, carrot salad (not very Mediterranean, perhaps, but it seemed to go with the terrine), cherry tomatoes from the garden, rosé wine from the Domaine des Pascales in the village and some of the figs we picked this morning.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A busy week

It’s been a busy week with time only to water the garden and harvest vegetables to eat:

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One of our Nardello plants is producing yellow rather than red peppers – they’re all very sweet.  The larger pepper is a Red Marconi. Espelette and Chorizo peppers harvested and threaded onto strings for drying in the sun.

 

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Kandil dolma peppers and tomatoes stuffed with rice, pine nuts, raisins and oregano. Grilled aubergine, green and red peppers.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Harvesting

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This weekend 18.6 kilos of Roma tomatoes (and some aubergines) became ….

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22 jars of tomato puree and 3 jars of aubergine pickle.

The pumpkins keep on growing …

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from small (just over a month ago) to large and ripening – what a transformation!

 

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The grapes are ripening, too.  These are in a vineyard at nearby Roquessels where we went to buy our favourite wine from the Domaine d’Estève.  Behind the sunflower, the olives are visible – a good crop even on this tree which I pruned quite hard in January.

Although it’s still summer, with temperatures of up to 30 degrees C during the day, there is a noticeable change in the weather from mid-August – cooler in the evenings, and the sun is lower.  There are plenty of good things to look forward to in autumn and winter, though.

Another mussel dish

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We’ve missed eating mussels while we were away so as soon as the van arrived from Bouzigues on Saturday morning we bought some and ate them with pasta and a glass of rosé wine.  We cooked the mussels in wine and then shelled most of them and added fried lardons, garlic, olive oil, chopped fresh tomatoes and basil leaves.

Friday, 13 August 2010

It’s good to be home

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We’re home again after three weeks away. We’d planned just a one-week break but had to leave unexpectedly a fortnight earlier because of a sudden death in the family, so after a sad time it’s very cheering to come home to a wonderful harvest of aubergines, peppers and tomatoes, thanks to our neighbour who watered the garden for us. We’ve got a busy weekend ahead now making tomato puree to store for the winter because the Roma tomatoes are just waiting to be picked.





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and two delicious salads

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A Greek salad, left, made with cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onions from the garden and feta cheese and black olives. On the right, tomato, Red Marconi pepper and basil salad.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Homesick…

for the south.  Aberystwyth on a grey day:

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DSC05315 DSC05322 ……………………………..and a few grapes!

Looking forward to being home soon.