It always seems nothing short of a miracle when tomato seeds saved from last summer germinate like this, and a further miracle (I hope) when they go on to produce this summer’s crop. All nine varieties are growing well nine days after sowing. And now the pepper seeds, sown a week ago, have started to germinate too. The new season is on its way.
And the last of last summer – we started eating the last of our Chilean ‘smashing pumpkins’ today, roasting part of it to eat with cuisse de canard confit. I cheated a bit with the duck confit, starting with fresh duck legs and slow-roasting them in their own fat with olive oil and herbs added, covered with foil for about 3 hours and then uncovered and drained from their fat to brown. Just like the real thing!
Of course, it’s essential to have a glass of red wine with this dish, following the rules of what is known as the French paradox: that people in the south-west of France eat a lot of duck fat but still have long healthy lives because they drink red wine with it. I’m not going to argue with that.
Our cheese course was very local – Mas Rolland demi-sec and cendré (coated in wood ash) goats’ cheeses, which also go well with the local red Faugères.