They’re a little later than usual this year because of the cold spring we’ve had, but our first broad beans, picked today, were delicious eaten simply, simmered for four minutes in salted water, drained and served with olive oil, chopped garlic and fresh mint. I ate some of them raw and they were good like that as well since they were so young and tender.
On the way back from the garden on a detour through the vineyards to the north of the village I saw a pair of hoopoes on the ground among the vines. They’re very difficult to photograph, I’ve found, because they’re very shy. As they flew away I grabbed my camera and did what I could. This was the best of a blurry lot, showing the beautiful markings across the wings:
I don’t make many cakes and puddings, usually preferring fresh fruit for dessert, but sometimes all the ingredients come together to make one irresistible suggestion and this is what happened this morning. I’d bought some very good-value ground almonds (in the supermarket, too, where I don’t usually buy much food) that had been ground with the skins left on them so they looked nicely natural and speckled with dark brown flecks. At the market this morning the fruit grower from Fouzilhon, the tiny village just up the hill from here, was there setting out his punnets of strawberries at half the price of the other market stall and locally grown. And we had some cut pieces of pear that had proved unripe in the fridge. So I made a cake base with 100 grams of flour, 100 grams of ground almonds, 75 grams of sugar, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, two eggs and two tablespoons of olive oil, whizzed up in the food processor and put into a cake tin, then baked for 20 minutes in the oven at 200 C. While it was cooking I poached the peeled slices of pear in white wine and sugar to make a syrup and cut some of the strawberries in half. Once the cake was ready and had cooled a little, I assembled it all and poured over the syrup.