Two dishes in one

When I was in the butcher’s buying the lamb chops we had for Sunday lunch I saw a kind of sausage I hadn’t seen there before: saucisson à cuire pistaché Lyonnais à l’ancienne.  Well, I can never resist anything new, especially if it has pistachios in it and especially if it’s a traditional recipe, à l’ancienne, so I asked Mme Perez how she would cook it.  First, she said it should be boiled in water.  Could you add vegetables to make a soup at the same time, I asked.  Oh, yes, she said, that’s what I’d do.  So that’s what I did yesterday.

soup sausage1

I chopped some carrots, half a fennel bulb, some garlic and a large potato and put them all in a pan with some herbs and the sausage, brought it to the boil and simmered for 35 minutes.  I took the sausage out but continued cooking the vegetables for a little longer as they weren’t quite soft enough for soup.  If you were going to eat them as a vegetable they would have been fine with the same cooking time as the sausage.  Then I left it all overnight in the fridge, although it could have been eaten straight away.

soup - 1

We decided to liquidise the soup and eat it with croutons as a first course – it was a lovely tasty soup, fennel flavoured, thick and smooth.  The sausage was cold, of course, so I sliced it, peeled it and we ate it with potatoes roasted in duck fat as our second course.

Lyonnais sausage

Lyonnais sausage with potatoes

While we were eating it we remembered that we’d had a similar Lyonnais sausage cooked in brioche as a first course at Le Train Bleu, the ornately decorated restaurant in the Gare de Lyon in Paris.  This restaurant was built in 1900, in elaborate art nouveau style, with painted ceilings by three different painters, ‘Paris’ by Flameng, ‘Lyon’ by Debufe and ‘Marseille’ by Saint-Pierre, representing the main cities served by the station from which ‘le train bleu’ travelled to the Mediterranean.  It’s a rather over-the-top style for me and Lo Jardinièr, and it’s hardly a station café, with the tasting menu costing 98 euros per person, but once, a few years ago when we were coming home from Paris, we did treat ourselves to the ‘quick’ menu which I think cost about 50 euros then.  It was a memorable experience!  But we enjoyed our Lyonnais sausage today, too, in rather more relaxed surroundings.

It’s worth having a look at the restaurant’s website – here – if you haven’t been there.

>Foire au gras and pruning the olive tree


The foire au gras this weekend in Roujan is the beginning of the Christmas season.  People here don’t send cards, give as many presents or shop as determinedly as those in other countries, but food, as always, is important.  The foire au gras (which translates into English as ‘fat fair’, but this doesn’t sound so good), is a chance to buy foie gras, cured duck breast, whole ducks, wine, cured sausages …. all the delicious foods that are part of Christmas meals in this area, and all directly from the producers.

DSC00099-1 DSC00092

The fair is held in the village hall and sports hall, a very modern setting for a traditional event.  Outside there were cheese, shellfish and vegetables stalls and amusements for children.  Inside there were rows of craft stalls and, most importantly, the wine and food producers’ stands.

DSC00097 DSC00095

We bought a duck and some foie gras from M. Gaubert of Camp Grand in the Aveyron, who was eager to talk about his produce and give advice about cooking and serving it.  We also tasted for the first time (and bought) some excellent wines from Domaine Bonian at nearby Pouzolles.  Some say that this is an expensive way to buy these products, but I would much prefer to pay a little extra and buy from the producers, talk to them and taste, rather than buying anonymously in a supermarket.

Some people, too, I know, have reservations about foie gras production, but I think that when it is properly produced it is not cruel, unlike the mass-produced battery-farmed chicken, eggs and pork which are eaten by so many.

Pruning the olive tree

A couple of weeks ago we harvested the olives from the older and slightly larger of our two olive trees.   This tree was one we bought without thinking too much about it, soon after we bought the garden, as we wanted to plant one as soon as possible.  It has always been rather straggly and was in need of a good prune, which I did this morning.  The aim when pruning olive trees is to have space in the centre with the branches spreading outwards and this is what I’ve tried to do.

DSC00125 Before pruning . . . DSC00127

. . . and after.

Pruning like this may mean a smaller crop next year, but it should make a better shaped tree for the future.

DSC00135 I’ve taken the fresher, newer leaves to dry because I want to try olive leaf tea.  The other branches will make a good start for the fire the next time we light the barbecue.

Today’s harvest

DSC00129 Tiny parsnips and carrots (some of which were given to us by our neighbours in exchange for some parsnips, which they’d never tried before), the last of the aubergines and, hiding behind the bowl, some radishes.  We’re also picking salad leaves almost every day now.



DSC00133 And what is this doing here?  Anemones aren’t supposed to flower until the spring, but this one seems to have been fooled by the warm weather we’ve been having lately.

>A perfect Sunday lunch / Un déjeuner parfait du dimanche


One of many, of course ….



A glass of rosé from Domaine des Pascales in Gabian, cucumber from the garden, carrots from our neighbour’s garden and olives (from a shop). / Un verre du vin rosé du Domaine des Pascales, Gabian, du concombre de notre jardin, des carrottes du jardin de notre voisin et des olives (achetées dans un magasin).

First course / entrée


Sweetcorn from our neighbour’s garden grilled on charcoal – the photo of the cooked ones didn’t come out very well, so here they are as they came off the plant). / Du maïs du jardin de notre voisin.

Main course / plat principal


Barbecued lamb chops and courgettes, cucumber and yogurt salad with red wine from Domaine Estève at Roquessels. / Côtes d’agneau et courgettes grillées, salade de concombre et du yaourt et du vin rouge du Domaine Estève, Roquessels.

Salad / salade


Borlotti beans, sweet onion and tomato salad. / Salade d’haricots Borlotti, oignon doux et tomates.

Cheese / fromage


Goats’ cheese from Mas Rolland, near Gabian. / Fromage de chèvre de Mas Rolland, près de Gabian.

And a little desert / et un petit dessert


A friend gave me the fruit from her small citrus tree – not a kumquat, but a bit like it – which I crystallised and dried in the oven. / Une amie m’a donné les fruit de son petit orangier – pas le kumquat, mais qui le rassemble un peu – que j’ai fait confire.

A very good lunch after we’d spent the morning bottling tomato sauce and making tomato purée for the winter. It’s nice to see the shelves filling up with jars again!

>Carrots and parsnips / Les carottes et les panais


One of my favourite Welsh dishes is stwnts, mashed carrots and parsnips.  We’ve never been very successful with growing either of these vegetables, but we thought we’d try this year.  We’re lucky to have some help in the garden at the moment because our daughter, La Jardinièra, is staying with us and she and Lo Jardinièr prepared a bed for me to sow the seeds in.

Un de mes plats gallois favoris est le stwnts, les carottes et les panais écrasés.  Nous n’avons pas réussis avec ces légumes, mais on a decidé d’éssayer cette année.  En ce moment heureusement nous avons de l’aide dans le jardin parce que notre fille, La Jardinièra, passe quelques jours avec nous.   Avec Lo Jardinièr elle a préparé la terre pour semer les carrottes et les panais.

carrot bed 1_1_1 carrot bed 2_1_1_1

They sifted the soil and mixed it with some compost and sand.  / Ils ont tamisé la terre et l’ont mélangée avec du compost et de la sable.

We followed the advice of one of our gardening neighbours: the day before we soaked the seeds in water. /  Nous avons suivi l’avis d’un voisin: la veille nous avons trempé les semences.

carrot seeds soaking_1_1_1 parsnip seeds soaking_1_1


carrots   parsnips 1_1_1 carrots   parsnips 2_1_1
carrots   parsnips 3_1_1 carrots   parsnips 4_1_1

We mixed the seed with sand and then broadcast it in wide rows, then covered them lightly.  /  On a mélangé les semences avec la sable et puis on les a semée à la volée.  Puis on les a couvertes légèrement.

We’ll see whether they grow! / On vera si elles poussera!

Another spring salad in the garden / Une salade du printemps du jardin encore

another spring salad_1_1 

Broad bean leaves, sorrel, wild rocket, parsley, spinach, oregano.  /  Feuilles de fèves, oseille, roquette sauvage, persil, épinards, oreganum.