>Beans and more beans and rain / Les haricots et encore d’haricots et la pluie

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It’s lucky that we finished planting out our tomatoes, peppers and aubergines at the beginning of this week.  Since then we have had unusually cold wet weather and haven’t been able to do much work in the garden.  We have been able to pick broad beans and peas, though.  More than we can possibly eat.  We’ve given them away, frozen them and eaten them every day.

Heureusement nous avons planté les tomates, les poivrons et les aubergines au commencement de cette semaine.  Depuis lundi il a fait froid et il a plu.  Nous n’avons pas pu jardiner.  Mais nous avons ramassé les fèves et les pois.  Plus qu’on peut manger.  Nous les avons donnés à nos amis, nous les avons congelés, et nous les avons mangés tous les jours.

broad bean crop_1_1

The broad beans have done really well this year.  Yesterday we picked nearly 4 kilos.  We’ve cooked them with artichokes (a favourite recipe of mine), we’ve cooked them and eaten them with olive oil and garlic, we’ve frozen some and we’re making a salad of beans, potatoes (from the garden), sweet onions and parsley to take on a picnic in a vineyard with our Occitan group tomorrow.

Hier on a ramassé presque 4 kilos de fèves.  Ils ont poussé très bien cette année.  Nous les avons cuits avec les artichauts, nous les avons mangés à l’ail et à l’huile d’olive, et on fera une salade des fèves, des pommes de terre (du jardin), de l’oignon doux et du persil pour une picque-nicque dans les vignes avec le Cercle occitan demain.

rain_1_1

 

Yesterday it rained … and rained.

Hier il a plu … et il a plu.

 

 

 

Today it was good to go to the garden in the sun and find that the irises were still in flower, the vines are about to flower, the palm tree has a new leaf.

Aujourd’hui c’était bien aller au jardin au soleil pour trouver que les iris fleurissent toujours, les vignes sont sour la pointe de fleurir, le palmier a une nouvelle feuille.

purple irises_1_1 vine flowers_1_1 palm leaf_1_1

Some of our apricots have fallen in the wind and rain before they are ripe, but I’ve cooked them with sugar and put them in a pilaf.  They tasted wonderful, although not as good as fresh ripe apricots.

Quelques abricots sont tombés dans le vent et la pluie avant de mûrir.  Je les ai cuits au sucre et je les ai mis dans un pilaf.  Ils ont un gout très bon, mais ils ne sont pas si bon que les abricots mûrs et frais.

We picked wild vine leaves near the garden and I’ve made dolmas (stuffed vine leaves) for the picnic tomorrow.  The recipe is on the Mediterranean cuisine blog.  / J’ai fait les dolmas (les feuilles de vignes farcies) pour le picque-nicque demain.  La recette et sur le blog Mediterranean cuisine.

dolmas heading_1

And mussels again … / et les moules encore

stuffed mussels_1_1

There was some rice left over when I’d made the dolmas so we used it to stuff mussels which we ate with tomato sauce.

Il y a resté du riz après que j’ai fait les dolmas.  Donc, j’ai fait des moules farcies qu’on a mangé à la sauce tomate.

thyme   butterflies_1_1 thyme   small butterfly_1 These butterflies – up to about 10 at a time – were attracted to the thyme flowers.

>Food from weeds

>Purslane

Thanks to citygardeners recent post Ive realised that the plants which grow as weeds all over our garden are purslane (Portulaca oleracea) and are edible.

Richard Mabey in Food for Free and Roger Phillips in Wild Food mention sea purslane. The variety which grows in our garden must be related to this, but it doesnt need damp conditions. In fact, it grows everywhere, whether on parts of the plot that we water or on dry paths and uncultivated areas.

I made a salad of the leaves, salt and pepper, lime juice, olive oil and some pieces of roquefort. The purslane leaves dont have a lot of flavour, but provide a nice crunchy texture with the tangy cheese.

Roquefort and purslane salad

Vine leaves

Ive always loved dolmas (stuffed vine leaves) ever since I lived in Turkey, and Ive made them with packets or jars of vine leaves. Here, where were surrounded by vines, it seems ridiculous to buy the leaves, so I decided to try making dolmas with fresh leaves. I used wild ones which grow near the garden and picked the younger, fresher-looking ones.

Dolmas

(quantities depend on how many leaves you have and how big they are)

vine leaves

rice

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 onion

pine kernels

raisins or currants

juniper berries (I used these because I like the flavour, but you can season the dolmas with parsley, dill, cumin, paprika or a mix of these spices and herbs)

Put the leaves in boiling water for a few minutes. Some recipes say you should cut the stem off first, but I find that leaving the stem on makes it easier to handle them once theyre cooked and tend to stick together.

Heat a cupful of rice in olive oil in a pan then cover the rice with water and add salt, bring the water to the boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes then turn the heat off. The rice shouldnt be completely cooked as it will cook in the vine leaves.

In another pan sauté the chopped onion in olive oil, trying not let it brown, then add a tablespoonful of pine kernels and one of raisins and about a dozen chopped juniper berries. Mix these with the rice.

Cut the stems off the leaves, and remove the central vein if it seems tough. Put a spoonful of the rice mixture in the centre of each leaf and roll them up into parcels. Arrange them tightly in a pan, put a saucer or plate over them to keep them in place, and add enough water to cover them. Add some lemon juice and some white wine, too, if you like.

Simmer them gently for about 50 minutes and leave to cool. Remove carefully from the pan, sprinkle with lemon juice and serve as a meze or one of a selection of hors doeuvres.


It’s quite difficult to make the parcels – these were the four tidiest ones I made!

You can also make them with minced lamb – just add the lamb to the rice mixture. If you have any of the rice mixture left over it can be used to stuff peppers or tomatoes.