Most of these will be jam by this evening, although we’ll leave out the best ones to eat as they are. I’m thinking of trying to dry some of them – I’ll let you know how I get on with what will be my first attempt. To make the jam we’ll cut the figs into large pieces, quarters of the smaller ones, eighths of the bigger ones, mix them with two-thirds their weight of sugar and leave them for a few hours until the sugar dissolves. Then put them in a large saucepan with the juice of a lemon, bring to the boil and simmer until the jam sets when you put a spoonful onto a plate – this can take an hour or more. Bottle the jam and enjoy it all winter!
The aubergines in the garden are slowing down a bit now, but there are still plenty of smaller ones, perfect for making Ambrosiana’s eggplant stacks. I made these for lunch today and they were delicious. I altered the recipe slightly to suit the Midi (and what I had in the fridge) by replacing the crème fraîche with goats’ cheese – hope you don’t mind, Ambrosiana!
The pepper plants are still producing wonderful quantities of red peppers and we’re enjoying them at almost every meal. Yesterday evening Lo Jardinièr made a deliciously peppery (but not hot) poulet basquaise, chicken in white wine and sweet red pepper sauce with some pieces of chorizo added to it. I’ve been finding as many different ways as I can to preserve the different varieties:
Here, from left to right, are jars of: pickled long sweet red peppers and bell yellow peppers, simmered until tender in wine vinegar and sugar with bay leaves; sweet red peppers cut into chunks and packed raw into jars then covered with white spirit vinegar, with a teaspoon of salt and a dessert spoon of sugar added to each jar. In front of the jars is one of the many strings of piment d’Espelette that I’ve made to hang around the house to dry. I didn’t put them outside earlier in the summer because the sun was too strong and would burn them, but I think they could go outside now.
Here are some of the other paprika peppers in various stages of drying:
Some of these, the smoother-shaped ones, are piment d’Espelette, and the mixed string in the centre includes chorizo peppers (spicy but not hot at all) and a new yellow variety we seem to have created and which I think is a cross between chorizo and kolaska peppers.