>August harvest and preserving tomatoes / La récolte d’août et conserver les tomates


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Yesterday’s harvest. The Borlotti beans are infested with some kind of grub and we had to throw away about a third of them. I cooked the good ones and put them into a tomato sauce which we’ll eat cold as a salad tomorrow. I’ve made the Roma tomatoes into tomato purée, using the method I used last year. It saves space on the shelves since two big trays of chopped tomatoes were reduced down to five jars.

Le récolte d’hier. Les haricots Borlotti ont une sorte de larve dedans et on a dû en jéter un tiers. Je les ai cuits et les ai mis dans une sauce tomate pour manger fraiche comme une salade demain. J’ai fait de la purée de tomate avec les Romas, la mème recette de l’année dernière.


I made chutney with the courgettes, using a recipe from MaryAthenes’ blog, which you can eat with meat or cheese like a vegetable. I just cut the courgette and onion into pieces, added spices – cinnamon and paprika – and sugar and a jar of last year’s tomato passata, covered with red wine vinegar and simmered it for about an hour, then put it into sterilised jars. I made a similar chutney using the aubergines.

J’ai fait du chutney en utilisant la recette du blog de MaryAthenes, qu’on peut manger comme un légume avec de la viande ou du fromage. J’ai fait un chutney pareil avec les aubergines.

Chillies / Piments rouges

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The red chillies are hanging in the sun to dry. / Les piments rouges sont suspendus pour secher au soleil.

Mussels again / Les moules encore

Tonight we had mussels with Roquefort cheese. We cooked them as usual in a little white wine with some sprigs of thyme and savory, then added chopped Roquefort, some chopped garlic and crème fraiche. They were very good. I had red wine from Roquessels with them, Lo Jardinièr had rosé wine from Gabian.

Ce soir nous avons mangé des moules au Roquefort. Nous les avons cuites comme d’habitude avec un peu de vin blanc et des brins de thym et de sariette. Puis nous avons ajouté du Roquefort coupé en petits morceaux, de l’ail haché et de la crème fraiche. C’était très bon.


For dessert, the melon in the photo above, with a glass of muscat wine. / Pour dessert, le melon dans le photo dessus, accompagné d’un verre de vin de muscat.

The Guardian environment blog has returned to the question I linked to last week, of whether organic food is nutritionally better than non-organic. After this evening’s supper I am even more convinced than ever that locally grown and produced, sustainable food tastes better and that, as well as the effect of what I eat on the environment, is what matters to me. No food which was full of pesticides and had been transported around the world could ever taste as good as these local mussels, local cheese, local wine and fruit we grew in our garden.

>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!



Following our problem with too many courgettes a couple of weeks ago, we now have another nice problem – a lot of aubergines!  /  Suite à notre problème de trop de courgettes il y a deux semaines, maintenant nous avons un autre bon problème – beaucoup d’aubergines!


They’re difficult to photograph … / elles sont difficile de photographer …

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but on five plants we have about 45 aubergines of different sizes.  /  Mais sur cinq plants nous avons vers 45 aubergines de differents grosseurs.

They’re the tastiest we’ve ever grown and we’re eating them fried, frittered, barbecued and puréed to make baba ganoush.  Now that the tomatoes are ripening we’ll be making jars of ratatouille or chichoumeille to store for the winter.  /  Elles sont les plus savoureuses que nous avons jamais cultivé et nous les mangeons poelées, grillées, en beignets et en purée pour faire le baba ganoush.  Les tomates murissent maintenant donc on va faire la ratatouille ou chichoumeille en bocaux pour garder pour l’hiver.

DSC07501 The cherry and yellow pear tomatoes look good in a bowlful of Occitan colours!  /  Les tomates cerises et jaune poire sont bonnes dans un bol plein de couleurs occitanes!



Last week I picked our first Borlotti beans to add to a salad (the recipe is on the Mediterranean cuisine blog).  I think I picked some of them too early, though, as the beans hadn’t developed their speckled appearance.

La semaine dernière j’ai ramassé les premiers haricots Borlotti pour ajouter à une salade (la recette est sur le blog de la cuisine mediterranéenne). Mais je les ai ramassés trop tôt,

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The pods should look like the one above rather than the greener one below.  / Les cosses doivent être comme celle au dessus, pas plus verte comme l’autre.

One thing we won’t be doing with any of our produce is wasting it or throwing it away.  Our friend Drew who comments on this blog sometimes has sent me a link to a horrifying collection of photographs on the Guardian website which show some of the food which is thrown away every day.  What a terrible waste!  Anything we can’t eat we give away, freeze or preserve in some way.  One photo which made me exclaim out loud showed tomatoes, courgettes and peppers thrown out by an organic shop in Sussex – ‘Why not make ratatouille?’ I shouted at the screen!  I think that especially when you grow your own food you value it more because you know the effort that has gone in to producing it.  But it’s ingrained in me – my ancestors on both my parents’ sides of the family were poor country people who couldn’t afford to waste food.  I still have my great-grandmother’s wooden bread board with the words ‘Waste not’ carved around the border.

>Spanish breakfast in the garden / Un petit déjeuner espagnol au jardin



The tomatoes are ripening and the best time of day to work in the garden is the early morning before it gets too hot.  This morning in the garden we picked tomatoes straight from the plants to make the breakfast we’ve had in Catalunya and in Andalucia: peeled, chopped tomatoes with salt and olive oil on bread.  A wonderful start to the day!

Les tomates murissent et la meilleure heure du jour pour travailler au jardin est le matin avant qu’il fait trop chaud.  Ce matin nous avons ramassé des tomates pour faire le petit déjeuner que nous avons mangé en Catalogne et en Andalucia: des tomates pelées et hachées avec du sel et de l’huile d’olive sur des tranches de pain.

Today’s harvest / La récolte d’aujourd’hui

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Haricot beans, courgettes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and aubergines.  The Ananas tomato on the left above weighed 430 grams.

Plane trees update / Les platanes – mise à jour

There are rumours that it may be even worse than we feared and that the felling of plane trees in the village is part of a wider plan to cut down all the plane trees in the Hérault and Aude départements.  There will be a meeting next week to discuss the situation and what we can do about it.

On dit que peut-être c’est pire que nous avons craint et qu’il y a un project d’abattre tous les platanes dans l’Hérault et l’Aude.  Un réunion aura lieu la semaine prochaine pour discuter ce qu’on peut faire.

>Beetles update / Mise à jour des scarabées


Most of the beetles have disappeared, just a few tiny ones remain, and the Borlotti beans look fine and are growing fast. / La plupart des scarabées sont disparus et les haricots Borlottis sont biens et poussent vite.


Maybe these beetles were good ones / Peut-être ces scarabées sont bons.


The haricot beans are growing well too / Les haricots verts poussent bien aussi.

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A salad from the garden today: courgette, cucumber, Lezignan onion, garlic and oregano, and today’s harvest of courgettes and beans. / Une salade du jardin aujourd’hui: courgette, concombre, oignon de Lezignan, ail et oreganum, et la récolte d’aujourd’hui: courgettes et haricots verts.

And something I can’t post on the blog – last week we heard a single cicada in the almond tree in the next garden. Since then we’ve heard their summer chorus all around the garden and in the plane trees along the roads.

Les cigales ont commencé à chanter.

If you haven’t heard them before listen to the sound here:

Cicada / cigale A group of them in a line of trees make a very loud noise! It’s the sound of the south which they are said to make when the temperature is above 26 degrees C.

>Good or bad? / Bon ou mauvais?


I found these beetles on our Borlotti bean pods. They didn’t seem to be eating the beans. Does anyone know whether they’re good or bad?

Est-ce que vous savez si ces scarabées sont bons ou mauvais?


The bees are good, I know, and so is the lavender / les abeilles sont bonnes, je le sais, et aussie la lavande.

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And the oleander flower are lovely, smell wonderful but the whole plant is deadly poisonous / Et les fleurs du laurier rose sont jolies, il sent très bon, mais le plant entier est vénéneux.

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>The garden in June / Le jardin en juin


Today has been the hottest day of the year so far, over 30 degrees C at midday, so how is everything doing in the garden? / Aujourd’hui on a eu la journée la plus chaude de l’année jusqu’à ici. Donc, comment va le jardin?

The leek flower has finally come out / La fleur de poireau s’est finalement ouvert.

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We hope it will provide us with a lot of seed / Nous éspèrons que cette fleur nous donnerons beaucoup de semences.


The olives are growing – these ones on our Lucque tree, the first year it has had olives on it.

Les olives poussent sur le Lucque. Ces sont son ses premiers olives.

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We have beans on the haricots (Beurre and Purple King) and the Borlottis (left above). / Nous avons des haricots verts (Beurre et Purple King) et Borlotti (gauche).

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The peppers and tomatoes are growing / Les poivrons et les tomates poussent ….


and the grapes /

et les raisins.

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The garlic heads are small but better than last year / Les têtes d’ail sont petites, mais mieux que l’année dernière.

We’re eating courgettes every day and I stuffed some of the flowers with mint to cook on the barbecue. / On mange les courgettes tous les jours et j’ai fait des fleurs de courgette farcies à la menthe.

The stream from the spring is still running well, so we have plenty of water – we hope it continues. / Le ruisseau de la source coule bien toujours, donc on a beaucoup d’eau – on éspère que ça continuera.

Any failures? Well, yes. The pepper plants we grew from seed haven’t grown well at all and we’ve had to buy plants. Everyone here says the same. A lot of our bean plants, especially the climbing ones have been eaten by birds as they germinated. We’re protecting the new sowings with straw now and that seems to be working.

>Summer’s here! / L’été est arrivé


Olive flowers / les fleurs d’olivier

At last, after a long cold spring, summer has arrived, with the temperature in the high 20s centigrade, and of course the need to water every day. / Enfin, après un printemps long et froid, l’été est arrivé, la temperature monte et on a besoin d’arroser chaque jour.

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The roses are out and so are the lizards / Les roses sortent et aussi les lézards.

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The borlotti beans are climbing and the cucumber plants are flowering / Les haricots grimpent et les concombres fleurissent.
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We’ve picked the last artichokes (a sad moment for me) and the new potatoes are ready to eat. / Nous avons ramassé les derniers artichauts et les pommes de terre précoce sont prêtes à manger.

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The tomato plants are doing well and the November sowing of broad beans are nearly over – we’re saving these for seed as the variety, Seville, has given us a wonderful crop.
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Our first courgette and first pepper have appeared. / La première courgette et le premier poivron ont apparu.

>First artichoke and first cuckoo / Le premier artichaut et le premier coucou


first artichoke_1_1 Today is a very important day for a blog called Olives and Artichokes: the first artichoke of the season has begun to grow.

Aujourd’hui c’est un jour très important pour le blog Olives and Artichokes: le premier artichaut de la saison a commencé à pousser.

And while we were in the garden today we heard a cuckoo for the first time this year.  /  Et quand nous étions au jardin nous avons entendu un coucou pour la première fois cette année.

We didn’t just sit there admiring our artichoke and listening to the cuckoo, though.  We sowed climbing beans too.

Growing climbing beans around terracotta pots / Cultiver les haricots grimpants autour des pots en terrcuite

We’ve decided to use the terracotta pot watering system which Kate at Hills and Plains Seedsavers recommended and which we used successfully for haricot beans last year.  We’re getting plenty of rain at the moment but we know that in a few weeks’ time it may be very difficult to get enough water into the ground.  This method seems to work really well as the water seeps gradually into the earth through the terracotta.

Nous avons decidé de utiliser le système d’arrosage des pots en terrecuite que Kate à Hills and Plains Seedsavers a conseillé et que nous avons utilisé pour les haricots verts l’année dernière.

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We made two rows of five pots, each surrounded by a ‘wigwam’ of six canes.  We’ll cover the pots with old tiles to prevent evaporation.

On a fait deux lignes de cinq pots, avec un ‘wigwam’ de six cannes autour de chacun.  On couvrira les pots avec des vieux carreaux pour éviter l’évaporation.

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We sowed one row of Smeraldo, a green mangetout variety and one row of Borlotti beans / on a semé une ligne de Smeraldo, une variété vert mangetout, et une ligne de Borlotti.

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The climbing rose is looking very pretty now.

La rose grimpante est très jolie maintenant.