>Lo Jardinièr’s green tomato jam



The tomatoes we picked the other day are ripening quite quickly, but there were still a lot of green ones for Lo Jardinièr to use to make green tomato jam.


Green tomato jam

2 kilos green tomatoes, 1 kilo brown sugar, juice and zest of 1 lemon, a pinch of salt.

Finely chop the tomatoes and mix with the sugar, salt and lemon.  Leave for 3 hours.  Bring to the boil and cook for about an hour, until it reaches setting point.  Bottle in sterilised jars.  This makes about 4 x 400 gm jars.

It’s very good with cheese, especially goats’ cheese.  We ate some for lunch today with toasted goats’ cheese and a salad made from chicory, blue cheese and bacon.

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>Winter salad / la salade d’hiver


I may have given the impression in my recent post on the changing shape of the garden – the garden changes shape – that there wasn’t much growing in the vegetable garden at the moment. But it’s just that winter crops grow lower than summer tomatoes, peppers and aubergines, they huddle near the ground for shelter, making the garden flatter. This morning it was cold, 3 degrees C, but we still managed to pick the ingredients for a salad from our garden:

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Salad of lettuce, rocket, chicory, spinach, sorrel, mizuna and oregano, all fresh from the garden today.

Une salade de laitue, roquette, endive, epinards, oseille, mizuna et oreganum, ramassés du jardin aujourd’hui.

Even in winter, we eat something from the garden every day. In the last week we’ve eaten leeks, turnips, chard, spinach, red cabbage, green cabbage, lettuce and mizuna.

Même en hiver, on mange quelque légumes du jardin chaque jour. Pendant la semaine dernière on a mangé: des poireaux, des navets, des épinards, des choux rouge et vert, de la laitue et du mizuna.

chard / blettes
rainbow chard_1_1 rainbow chard
mangetout peas
spinach / épinards
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broad beans / fèves

Some of the vegetables which are thriving in the garden in spite of the cold weather / quelques légumes qui poussent bien malgré le temps froid.

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the peas are germinating / les petits pois germent
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2nd crop of leeks doing well / 2ème récolte de poireaux poussent bien
the radishes taste good /
les radis sont bons
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and the red cabbage leaves are beautiful / et les feuilles du choux rouge sont belles

I love the summer vegetables best – tomatoes, aubergines, artichokes, courgettes – but even in December there are still plenty of good things in the garden!

J’aime les légumes de l’été – les tomates, les aubergines, les artichauts, les courgettes – mais même en décembre il y a plusiers de bonnes choses dans le jardin!

>Vous avez des tomates? / Have you got tomatoes?


When we first bought the garden we were still living in Wales most of the year so we couldn’t grow much. When other gardeners walked past while we were in our garden, they would say ‘Vous avez des tomates?’ although it was obvious from a quick glance that we hadn’t. We would say ‘non’ and a few minutes later the neighbour would be back with a bagful of tomatoes for us from his garden.

For the last couple of years we’ve been growing our own tomatoes, but during the summer we are still asked the same question – ‘Vous avez des tomates?’ I’ve realised now that it’s a question that means more than the words appear to say. Tomatoes are so important here, gardeners grow 50 or more plants – as we do – and preserve most of the crop for use during the winter. Tomatoes are an essential ingredient in Mediterranean food – no one can imagine living without them and we eat them in some form or another almost every day of the year. So this vital question really means – ‘Is everything going well for you?’

Autumn seems quite ominous, then, as the tomato plants die back and the few remaining fruits take longer and longer to ripen. Is everything going well now, I wonder? Well, yes, I think so.

In a garden there is always something new to pick and to grow whatever the season. We’re picking and enjoying the chicory which Lo Jardinièr has been earthing up since last month. It’s delicious in salads or griddled to serve with cheese or cured ham.

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We’ve harvested our olives. Friends and neighbours give us figs, chestnuts, pumpkins and pomegranates. Lo Jardinièr made this delicious jewelled rice, based on a recipe in Diana Henry’s Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, with one of the pomegranates.

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We still have some tomatoes (the black ones below were given to us by a neighbour, the rest are ours) and we can pick peppers, an aubergine, or small courgettes to cook on the barbecue for lunch in the garden, or to serve raw with hummus.

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And for the winter we have over 50 jars of tomato passata stored in the kitchen, so there’ll be no shortage this year.


Nous avons des tomates!