When we went to Le Grau d’Agde the other day we stopped on the way home at one of the many roadside fruit and vegetable stalls that are set up in summer to catch the holidaymakers, especially, but also the locals. Many of them sell produce grown in fields within sight of the stall and they all sell very good value fruit and vegetables, mostly of excellent quality, but also some real bargains if you want damaged fruit to make jam with. We bought this platter of about 5 kilos of good quality ripe apricots for 6 euros. As we can’t possible eat them all before the get over-ripe we made jam with some of them and froze some as granita.
My very simple recipe for granita is to stone the fruit and then process it in the food processor until the fruit is chopped into small pieces but not completely smooth. For 1.5 kilo of fruit (about 1.75 kilo with stones) I added the juice of a lemon. I made a sugar syrup by bringing to the boil 400 ml of water and 700 grams of sugar until the sugar dissolved, let it cool a bit then added it to the fruit purée, put it all into freezer containers and into the freezer. I take it out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving and garnish it with mint leaves.
And the tomatoes……
Yesterday evening in the garden I noticed that one of the Languedocian tomatoes seems to be starting to change colour, becoming slightly yellow rather than green on its way to red – or is it just my imagination?
All the tomatoes are doing well with what looks like a very good crop on plants of all the varieties. I’m especially pleased with the Languedocians, which are adapted to conditions in this area, and the Turkish pink variety, grown from seeds sent to me by beste. The tomatoes on these plants are said to reach 1 kilo in weight and these ones look as though they’re well on their way towards that!
The marigolds in the left-hand corner of the picture were given to us by our neighbour as he uses them along his rows of tomatoes to prevent pests. They appear to prevent aphids, not a problem I’ve noticed with tomato plants, but they look pretty anyway!
Une chemise de cigale
The empty casings from which cicada nymphs emerge after spending at least two years underground are called ‘chemises’ in French, cicada’s shirts. I found this on one of the posts supporting our aubergine plants:
By the time they emerge from their chemises they have developed wings and they fly away, the males to spend the rest of the summer making their characteristic cricket-like buzzing whenever the temperature reaches 26 C or more.
We came home from the garden to a supper which I’d prepared earlier – baked cuttlefish with capers, olives and potatoes. I’ve posted the recipe on my Food from the Mediterranean blog.