Friday, 3 October 2008

Kate's visit / La visite de Kate

Our few days with the Vegetable Vagabond have passed incredibly quickly and now she has moved on to Mas du Diable. It's been wonderful to spend time with someone who is as excited as we are about our garden and about food and eating!

On Wednesday Kate was as eager as we were to go to the market. We bought squid and I made paella on the barbecue, adding our best green pepper, some haricots verts and some tomatoes from the garden.

Le séjour de la Vagabonde des Légumes est passé très vite et aujourd'hui elle est partie au Mas du Diable. C'était génial - passer du temps avec quelqu'une qui a autant d'enthousiasme que nous pour notre jardin, pour l'alimentation et pour manger!

Mercredi Kate était aussi désireuse que nous d'aller au marché. Nous avons acheté des encornets et j'ai cuit une paella au barbecue. J'ai ajouté notre meilleur poivron vert, des haricots verts et des tomates du jardin.

Kate planted the mizuna (Asian salad leaf) seedlings we'd grown from seeds sent to us by Laura from Mas du Diable. Kate suggested putting them between the cabbages which she'd also helped us plant out.

Kate a planté des plants de mizuna (salade d'Asie) qui ont poussé des semis que Laura nous a envoyé. Kate a suggeré qu'ils iraient bien parmi les choux qu'elle nous a aidé planter.

And when our neighbour unexpectedly gave us two cherry tree suckers Kate helped with planting those too.

Et quand notre voisine nous a donné deux petits guiniers Kate nous a aidé les planter aussi.

Membrillo / pâte de coing / quince paste

Kate worked in the kitchen too - the time had come to cook the quinces we'd picked a few days before, so Kate cut up the fruit. We boiled the pieces in water until they were tender and then I put them through a mouli légumes to separate the fruit purée from the skins.

Kate a travaillé dans la cuisine aussi - le temps était arrivé pour cuire les coings que nous avions ramasser quelques jours avant, donc Kate les a coupé. Nous les avons fait cuire jusqu'à ce qu'ils aient été tendre et puis je les ai passé par le mouli légumes pour séparer la purée de fruit de la peau.

We then added the same weight of sugar and simmered the purée until it darkened and thickened.

Puis nous avons ajouté le même poids de sucre et nous avons fait cuire à feu doux pour faire une purée sombre et épaisse.

Then I spread the purée in a layer about 1 cm thick on grease-proof paper in a baking tray and put it in a low oven (100° C) for a few hours. When it had dried I cut it in pieces about 10 cm x 10 cm. You can keep this for months, wrapped in grease-proof paper in a cool place. It's delicious with cheese.

Puis il faut l'étaler d'une épaisseur de 1 cm sur du papier cuisson dans une plaque de four et la mettre au four très doux (100° C) pour quelques heures. Quand elle a seché, coupez-la en morceaux de 10 cm x 10 cm. On peut les garder pour quelques mois au frais, emballés dans le papier cuisson. C'est delicieux avec le fromage.

Olives and artichokes and Italian mussels / Olives et artichauts et moules à l'italienne

On Kate's last evening with us I thought she should eat olives and artichokes!

La dernière soirée de la visite de Kate, j'ai pensé qu'elle a dû manger des olives et des artichauts!

But first we had oysters from Bouzigues and a glass of Picpoul de Pinet, the white wine made nearby which goes perfectly with oysters.

D'abord on a mangé des huitres de Bouzigues avec un verre de Picpoul de Pinet, le vin blanc qui accompagne parfaitement les huitres.

Then Kate made one of her favourite mussel dishes - delicious Italian mussels (recipe here).

Puis Kate a préparé un de ses plats de moules favoris - moules à l
'italienne (recette ici) - delicieux!

We've enjoyed our few days with Kate enormously and we've got so much out of it. We've all spent the time talking about gardening and food, and about writing about gardening and food - all so important for Kate, Lo Jardinièr and me. We've exchanged ideas, laughed, eaten, persuaded Kate to try the local wine as well as her favourite limoncello and got to know each other really well. We even managed a swim in the sea - Kate's first in the Mediterranean. Her trip was a great idea and it is linking all of us food-growing bloggers - Ian of Kitchen Garden in France brought her here, so we've met him too, and now she's gone on to Mas du Diable, taking some of the quince paste we made to Laura. Oh, and I mustn't finish without mentioning the wine Ian brought us from Perigord, made by his friend Bernard, Clos de Castelau 2005, a lovely warm Bergerac red, a bottle of which we've already enjoyed with Kate.

Kate has written about her stay in Gabian, as well as the rest of her trip, on Hills and Plains Seedsavers.

Olives update

A couple of weeks ago I was worried that our olives were damaged and afraid that we might have an infestation of Dacus olea. Talking to friends about their olives which also have small marks on the skins and are ripening, I realised that what we had was hail damage from the storm at the beginning of September. This means the olives aren't as pretty as they should be, but they'll be fine to eat - all 36 of them!

We'll be harvesting them soon.

PS Waste not ....

I saved the water we'd boiled the quinces in because it looked good and the friend who had given us the quinces had said you could use it to make jam. There was about a litre of it and I simply added a kilo of sugar and simmered until it was reduced to a thick dark red syrup. This made two jars and a leftover bowl full of quince jelly. We tried it tonight with some St Nectaire fermier cheese and it was lovely.


Anonymous said...

Now I'm inspired to scrabble around the bottom of the garden looking for my Quinces. I've never really known what to do with them before. No doubt when I find them they will have been nibbled.

chaiselongue said...

easygardener: I hope you find your quinces! Even if they've been nibbled by grubs you can still cut the good bits off and use those. It's worth it!

Maggie said...

It all sounds wonderful. I love stewed quinces and quince jelly.
Sounds like you all had great fun.

Anonymous said...

I like the recipe for quince jelly, I will try it

(if you have this comment twice delete it, I had some problems with my connection before :P)

Kate said...

Thank you so much for your hospitality and I really enjoyed my time in your lovely, cosy home. I so loved getting into your garden and I feel we have become great friends. I look forward to many more times spent sharing a laugh and some home-made meals together over the years. Happy gardening....I hope the things I planted grow strong and healthy for you.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Quince paste Teleri. The sample kate brought with her was demolished with some ewe's cheese from Spain and it was delicious - a fine ensemble.
We haven't got many quinces this year but just enough to make our traditional membrillo as a christmas treat for R's dad.