>Home again / Le retour


Wales was beautiful as always, damp and green with lovely autumn leaves turning deep orange and red. Gardens with grassy paths and a cold grey lake surrounded by marshy land, mud and cranberry plants.

Le Pays de Galles était toujours beau, humide et vert avec des belles feuilles d’automne qui tournent en orange et rouge foncé. Des jardins avec leurs allées herbeuses et un lac froid et gris entouré de marécage, de boue et de canneberges.

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A carefully tended vegetable garden / un potager bien entretenu Welsh lake and moorland
Un lac gallois entouré de lande

As soon as we arrived home in Gabian we were eager to see how the garden was. Our neighbour would have watered if needed, but he didn’t have to. We were pleased to find tomatoes still ripening, as well as peppers, courgettes, and one aubergine.

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Peppers still growing and flowering / les poivrons poussent et fleurissent encore Rainbow chard just beating the snails
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Leeks planted in August – nearly ready to eat / des poireaux plantés en août Leeks planted by Kate at end of September – doing well, thanks Kate! / des poireaux plantés au fin de septembre


and a basket of tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and an aubergine

et un panier de tomates, poivrons, courgettes et une aubergine

We’ve a busy weekend ahead, sowing garlic, broad beans and peas … more on these later.

>Kate’s visit / La visite de Kate


Our few days with the Vegetable Vagabond have passed incredibly quickly and now she has moved on to Mas du Diable. Its been wonderful to spend time with someone who is as excited as we are about our garden and about food and eating!

On Wednesday Kate was as eager as we were to go to the market. We bought squid and I made paella on the barbecue, adding our best green pepper, some haricots verts and some tomatoes from the garden.

Le séjour de la Vagabonde des Légumes est passé très vite et aujourdhui elle est partie au Mas du Diable. Cétait génial – passer du temps avec quelquune qui a autant denthousiasme que nous pour notre jardin, pour lalimentation et pour manger!

Mercredi Kate était aussi désireuse que nous daller au marché. Nous avons acheté des encornets et jai cuit une paella au barbecue. Jai ajouté notre meilleur poivron vert, des haricots verts et des tomates du jardin.

Kate planted the mizuna (Asian salad leaf) seedlings wed grown from seeds sent to us by Laura from Mas du Diable. Kate suggested putting them between the cabbages which shed also helped us plant out.

Kate a planté des plants de mizuna (salade dAsie) qui ont poussé des semis que Laura nous a envoyé. Kate a suggeré quils iraient bien parmi les choux quelle nous a aidé planter.

And when our neighbour unexpectedly gave us two cherry tree suckers Kate helped with planting those too.

Et quand notre voisine nous a donné deux petits guiniers Kate nous a aidé les planter aussi.

Membrillo / pâte de coing / quince paste

Kate worked in the kitchen too – the time had come to cook the quinces wed picked a few days before, so Kate cut up the fruit. We boiled the pieces in water until they were tender and then I put them through a mouli légumes to separate the fruit purée from the skins.

Kate a travaillé dans la cuisine aussi – le temps était arrivé pour cuire les coings que nous avions ramasser quelques jours avant, donc Kate les a coupé. Nous les avons fait cuire jusquà ce quils aient été tendre et puis je les ai passé par le mouli légumes pour séparer la purée de fruit de la peau.

We then added the same weight of sugar and simmered the purée until it darkened and thickened.

Puis nous avons ajouté le même poids de sucre et nous avons fait cuire à feu doux pour faire une purée sombre et épaisse.

Then I spread the purée in a layer about 1 cm thick on grease-proof paper in a baking tray and put it in a low oven (100° C) for a few hours. When it had dried I cut it in pieces about 10 cm x 10 cm. You can keep this for months, wrapped in grease-proof paper in a cool place. Its delicious with cheese.

Puis il faut létaler dune épaisseur de 1 cm sur du papier cuisson dans une plaque de four et la mettre au four très doux (100° C) pour quelques heures. Quand elle a seché, coupez-la en morceaux de 10 cm x 10 cm. On peut les garder pour quelques mois au frais, emballés dans le papier cuisson. Cest delicieux avec le fromage.

Olives and artichokes and Italian mussels / Olives et artichauts et moules à litalienne

On Kates last evening with us I thought she should eat olives and artichokes!

La dernière soirée de la visite de Kate, jai pensé quelle a dû manger des olives et des artichauts!

But first we had oysters from Bouzigues and a glass of Picpoul de Pinet, the white wine made nearby which goes perfectly with oysters.

D’abord on a mangé des huitres de Bouzigues avec un verre de Picpoul de Pinet, le vin blanc qui accompagne parfaitement les huitres.

Then Kate made one of her favourite mussel dishes – delicious Italian mussels (recipe here).

Puis Kate a préparé un de ses plats de moules favoris – moules à l
italienne (recette ici) – delicieux!

Weve enjoyed our few days with Kate enormously and weve got so much out of it. Weve all spent the time talking about gardening and food, and about writing about gardening and food – all so important for Kate, Lo Jardinièr and me. Weve exchanged ideas, laughed, eaten, persuaded Kate to try the local wine as well as her favourite limoncello and got to know each other really well. We even managed a swim in the sea – Kates first in the Mediterranean. Her trip was a great idea and it is linking all of us food-growing bloggers – Ian of Kitchen Garden in France brought her here, so weve met him too, and now shes gone on to Mas du Diable, taking some of the quince paste we made to Laura. Oh, and I mustnt finish without mentioning the wine Ian brought us from Perigord, made by his friend Bernard, Clos de Castelau 2005, a lovely warm Bergerac red, a bottle of which weve already enjoyed with Kate.

Kate has written about her stay in Gabian, as well as the rest of her trip, on Hills and Plains Seedsavers.

Olives update

A couple of weeks ago I was worried that our olives were damaged and afraid that we might have an infestation of Dacus olea. Talking to friends about their olives which also have small marks on the skins and are ripening, I realised that what we had was hail damage from the storm at the beginning of September. This means the olives aren’t as pretty as they should be, but they’ll be fine to eat – all 36 of them!

We’ll be harvesting them soon.

PS Waste not ….

I saved the water we’d boiled the quinces in because it looked good and the friend who had given us the quinces had said you could use it to make jam. There was about a litre of it and I simply added a kilo of sugar and simmered until it was reduced to a thick dark red syrup. This made two jars and a leftover bowl full of quince jelly. We tried it tonight with some St Nectaire fermier cheese and it was lovely.

>Bon voyage, Kate!

>In a few days’ time Kate of Hills and Plains Seedsavers in Australia will be leaving Adelaide on a round-the-world trip to visit some of us food-growing bloggers in Asia, Europe and North America – so many different climates, cuisines and conditions for gardening! She’ll garden, cook, eat and drink with us and we’ll have lots to talk about. We’re looking forward to her visit to Gabian, and to hearing all about the Voyage of the Vegetable Vagabond, on the blog and from her when she arrives. You can find her itinerary on the Hills and Plains blog – here.

Dans quelques jours Kate, du blog Hills and Plains Seedsavers en Australie, partira d’Adelaide pour voyager autour du monde pour visiter quelques bloggers qui cultivent leurs potagers en Asie, Europe et Amerique du Nord – tant de climats differents, de cuisines variées et de conditions differentes pour jardiner! Elle va jardiner, cuisiner, manger et boire avec nous et il y aura beaucoup d’en parler avec elle. Nous attendons avec impatience sa visite à Gabian et ses nouvelles du Voyage de la Vagabonde des Légumes, sur le blog et d’elle quand elle arrive. Vous pouvez trouver son itinéraire sur le blog Hills and Plains – ici.