Jul 23 2004

July: Harvest begins

Trug2

The June sun baked down on us in an unseasonable heatwave. The grass turned brown and the sprinkler whirred endlessly as I struggled to keep vegetables and flowers alive. Frequent seed sowings in the polytunnel failed as seedlings fried as they germinated! And then the weather changed. Storms raged for days on end. Rain and wind lashed the valley. Paul sailed to France, and I struggled through the gale force winds to check the sheep on the top of the hill. The dogs were even reluctant to join me.
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Jul 23 2004

pickling vegetables

Picklesveg2

It never ceases to surprise me how simple it is to pickle vegetables. The real trick as with all food is to use really fresh produce; young fresh vegetables, good quality white wine or cider vinegar. Buy freshly prepared >strong>spices, not ones that have been sitting on the shelf since last year!. A really good airtight seal on all jars is also essential..
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Jun 25 2004

New Fish Quay, Brixham

beamers_at_dawn
Beamers at dawn

It is 3.50 a.m. and the first birds are just beginning to sing. I climb out of bed, rub my eyes, quieten the startled dog and jump into the clothes I have been instructed to wear: jeans, tea shirt, sweater, white coat, baseball hat and Wellington boots. A quick cup of coffee while I load films into three cameras, I’m not taking any chances, then into the car and off to the Old Telephone Exchange. Mark Lobb is already there. It’s 4.45. If we leave now we will be in good time for the fish quay at Brixham. Too early, though, for the ferry over the river, so we must take the long way round.
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Jun 25 2004

Cooking fish; Sea Bass, Bourride and more

Evelyne has just been to stay!! I ordered Sea Bass from Mark. It was wonderful!

I oiled some tin foil, placed the fish, covered in fennel fronds, on it, drizzled over Pernod and, wrapping the fish up tight in the foil, I baked it for 20 minutes in a hot oven. I served it with Evelyn’s’ Hollandaise sauce, new potatoes and a salad from the garden. Quite delicious!
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Jun 10 2004

Letter from Brittany. June 2004

wild-food2-019

Dear Sally,

I do not know where to start! You are right, that funny weather makes Dame Nature upside down! Or is it the old time coming back? A lot of cold and snow last winter, and a real wonderful spring going on…The garden in La Ville Doualan is equally wonderful.
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Jun 10 2004

Oysters, Courgettes and Escargots

oyster

Oyster soup

6 small new leeks
2 small courgettes
1 handful of fresh coriander
3 oysters per person
crème fraiche
1 coffee spoon of curry
1 litter of chicken stock
sea salt, black pepper
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May 18 2004

Heatwave in May

appleblossom
Apple blossom
Suddenly we are catapulted into an early summer. The temperature is soaring and it’s still only May! What will follow I wonder. Apple blossom gleams against the blue sky and the wild spring flowers bake in the sun. Maybe the unusual heat will set the seeds wonderfully for next year.

I am finding it very hard to share Evelyne’s enthusiasm for stinging nettles (see Letter from Brittany, May 2004 ) having been stung so ferociously over the last few days as I tried to stop them over running the valley. I’m not even inclined to do them the honour of cooking them! Delicious though I know they are!
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May 18 2004

Birthday Cake

cakemix
The strawberries in the garden are in flower but no fruit yet so I’m afraid I cheated and bought lots and lots to go with the Polenta Almond and Lemon Cake I made for a friend’s birthday last week. The crunchiness of the cake goes so well with the delicious luxuriousness of strawberries and cream.
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May 06 2004

Letter from Brittany, May 2004

cristemarine2

Dear Sally,

Here, in La Ville Doualan, spring is just starting to point out his nose. I found a lot of traces of snails but the rim of the shells are still soft which means it is the period of reproduction and we have to wait one good month before eating them! I will give you the recipe next month.
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May 06 2004

Scallops, Criste Marine and Nettles

cooked-christ-marine

Carpacio of scallops
Carve the scallops (the white and the pink) in very thin slices with a good carving knife. Lay the slices on a flat dish. Cover them with a little olive oil, salt, a mix of green and pink peppercorns and a lot of coriander leaves cut in small pieces.
Prepare the carpacio 2 hours before the meal.
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