The beginning of summer?

I always feel that once we have the tomatoes planted out in the garden I can believe that summer will come.  This weekend we spent a couple of mornings putting up the canes for the first 32 plants and planted out 16 – 4 coeur de boeuf, 4 ananas, 4 Andes, and 4 of a variety that we unwittingly created from cross-fertilisation two years ago and that I’ve named Gabian breakfast because each fruit is just the right size for one person to rub on bread, Spanish-style, at breakfast.



Putting up the cane frames for the tomatoes – luckily we have a constant supply from the bamboo that grows at the end of the garden.

These Languedocian and Roma plants will be the next to be put out in the garden:


The peppers have been very slow to grow this year and need a bit more warmth and nurturing on the balcony before they can fend for themselves outside:


After our work in the garden yesterday morning we came home to a good Sunday lunch of pot-roasted pigeon with polenta, loosely based on, or maybe I should say inspired by, Nigel Slater’s recipe in the Observer.  Instead of marsala and grapes I used some figs that I’d conserved in Armagnac a couple of years ago and these flavours were wonderfully rich with the pigeon.  I also added garlic (as I usually do), lardons and oregano.  I had a small fire in the pan when I thought it was all simmering nicely and put the lid on, but the alcohol hadn’t all burned off so the pan filled with flames.  I wished I’d had the camera ready because it looked quite spectacular!

pot-roasted pigeon

I bought the pigeon at one of the two excellent butcher’s shops in Roujan – Franck Perez – and while I was there I asked Mme Perez how she felt the new supermarket that has just opened on the outskirts of the village would affect their trade.  She seemed to think it will be all right because people will always want proper meat from a proper butcher even if everyone does have to go to supermarkets to buy washing powder etc.  I hope she’s right.  The other butcher, which I think is slightly less excellent, will have a shop inside the new supermarket, so clearly they think that’s where there future lies.  I shall continue going to Franck Perez because he sells such good meat.

13 thoughts on “The beginning of summer?

    • We’ll have to see whether the breakfast tomatoes grow in the same way this year – you never know what will happen with these cross-fertilisations! And yes, I worry too about small businesses here, and everywhere. I wish more people appreciated what they have to offer rather than the sameness of supermarkets.

  1. I hope there are enough like-minded people who will continue to patronize that butcher. So many here have closed and I’m very fortunate to live quite close to one that remains. Even so, the butchers are aging and I see no apprentice being groomed to take over. The times, they are a-changing.

  2. Rub on bread, Spanish style? Can you say a little more about that? I have never seen any such thing, and it does sound like something I might be able to execute (unlike the cooking). I imagine bread. Tomato slices. Quarters? Halves? And rubbing. Sounds rather messy. There must be some secret I’m not getting.

    • It’s best done with crusty baguette-type bread. Roughly cut or tear along the centre so that each half has a crust. Lightly toast or grill the cut side. Cut a tomato in half and rub the flesh onto the toasted bread. Most of the flesh will come off the peel, leaving a delicious coating on the bread. Easy! Add some salt and olive oil. In Mediterranean Spain this is used instead of butter, a habit I’ve adopted.

      • Mmmmm, sounds wonderful. I think I could actually do this! I’ve used smooshed avocado as butter, but this sounds more wonderful–not for a few months, though.

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