Store cupboard essentials

On yet another rainy day, Lo Jardinièr and I talked as we were eating a lovely lunch of pizza left over from yesterday when he made it, accompanied by a salad of grated carrot (not from the garden) and slices of green and yellow pepper (from the garden).  As we often do, we remarked on how easy it is to make delicious food so long as we have certain basic essentials in the store cupboard and fridge.

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There are ingredients we would never be without, some of which are so essential I haven’t included them in the photo: rice, pasta, the tomato purée we make at least 50 jars of every summer and which last us through the winter and spring until we have fresh tomatoes in the garden again……salt and pepper too, of course.  But apart from these, here are a few others: capers (although when I can find them I prefer the salted ones to these in brine); anchovy fillets; olive oil (of course); raisins or currants; chorizo; garlic (again, of course!); piments d’Espelette or other paprika peppers, fresh or dried); lemon; black olives; bay leaves (and other fresh herbs as available in the garden, thyme, rosemary, basil…..).  Even if we have no other meat or vegetables we can always make something tasty to eat with these.

And as I write this I remember other essentials we almost always have in the cupboard: red and white wine, tinned chickpeas and haricot beans, tahina, walnuts, spices – coriander and cumin especially – and so much else.  But these in the picture are the basics.

For the photo I put all these in a dish which for me is another essential as it’s been in my family almost as long as I can remember.  It was made in Sicily and my mother bought it in Benghazi soon after we moved there in the 1950s. She passed it on to me after she had used it many times especially, as I remember, for rice salads when we had big family parties.

>Cold wet garden, tapas at home for my 100th post / Un jardin froid et les tapas chez nous

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For nearly a week we’ve had grey skies. Today it’s raining and sleeting. Usually here it’s cold, but clear and bright at this time of the year. We haven’t been able to do any work in the garden, although we did manage our traditional aperitif in the garden on Christmas day, with a brief moment of sunshine.

Pour presqu’une semaine il a fait gris. Aujourd’hui il pleut et un peu de neige fondue tombe de temps en temps. Comme d’habitude ici à cette saison il fait froid, mais clair. Nous n’avons pas pu faire aucun travail au jardin, mais on a pris l’apéritif au jardin le jour de Noel, pendant un petit moment de soleil.

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It’s strange to see olive leaves covered in rain / c’est bizzare de voir les feuilles d’olivier couvertes de pluie.

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Yesterday we went to Grau d’Agde and the sea was grey and rough. / Hier on est allé au Grau d’Agde et la mer était gris et agitée.

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Not the usual view of the Mediterranean!

At home in the evening we cheered ourselves up with a meal of tapas and North African pastries: / Chez nous le soir on s’est remonté le moral avec un repas de tapas et de patisseries maghrébines:

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sheep’s cheese and anchovies
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cured ham and artichoke hearts
stuffed peppers_1_1 Spanish red peppers stuffed with potato and salt cod nafrican pastries_1_1
Almond, apricot, fig and walnut pastries.

>Fish from the market / poissons du marché

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Today its grey, cloudy, autumnal, a day for the market and the kitchen rather than the garden. We bought fresh anchovies for lunch – a rare treat – and a bream for Lo Jardinièr. We ate the anchovies with salsa made from tomatoes, capers, basil and sweet onion.



Aujourdhui il y a des nuages gris dautomne, le temps pour aller au marché et pour cuisiner plutôt que le jardin. Nous avons acheté des anchois pour notre déjeuner – un plaisir rare – et une dorade pour Lo Jardinièr. Nous avons mangé les anchois avec une salsa de tomates, câpres, basilique et oignon doux.

And a glass of muscat sec (dry muscat) from the Domaine des Pascales in Gabian went very well with this meal.

Et un verre du muscat sec du Domaine des Pascales à Gabian a accompagné très bien ce repas.



Click here for the recipes

Cliquez ici pour les recettes









From now on I shall put the recipes on a new blog – at mediterranean-food.blogspot.com – to make it easier to find them.



À partir daujourdhui je mettrai les recettes dans un nouveau blog –

mediterranean-food.blogspot.com – pour les faire plus facile à trouver.



We sowed seeds for celery and some salad plants which Kate brought us – which we hope will make salads and soups during the autumn and winter.



Nous avons semé des graines de céleri et de salades pour les salades et les soupes de lautomn et lhiver.

And a friend has given us some chestnuts which well roast in the oven this evening. Well keep some to cook on the barbecue when the weather improves.





Et un ami nous a donné des châtaignes que nous ferons cuire au four ce soir. Nous en garderons quelques-unes pour griller sur le barbecue quand le temps fera mieux.