This morning almost felt wintry, so cold in the garden that it seemed unlikely that any more peppers would ripen, the plants drooping and slightly frosted looking. I picked all the green and half-red ones I could find, brought them home, saved the bigger ones to cook over the next few days and pickled the rest using a recipe that worked well last year: I mixed half quantities of white wine vinegar and water – how much depends on how many peppers you have but I made about 500 ml in all, adding two cups of sugar, a couple of bay leaves and some sprigs of rosemary. Once the liquid was boiling I added the peppers and let them simmer for about 10 minutes then packed them into sterilised jars. I wedged the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs on top to stop the peppers rising to the surface when I added the cooking liquid to the jars. The peppers will keep for months like this and, drained with a little olive oil added to them, make a good addition to tapas during the winter.

I sowed broad beans this morning for a spring crop – it’s always good to have started the next year in the garden.

Pickled peppers


This year we’ve grown a lot of kolaska peppers (the red ones in this photo) because we enjoyed their sweet, spicy flavour so much last year.  At the end of last season we were left with green ones that weren’t going to have time to ripen so I pickled them.  Yesterday I tried pickling some red ones to make it easier for my daughter and her partner to take some back to Wales with them.  The yellow ones seem to be an unintended (but welcome and tasty) cross between the kolaskas and chorizo peppers.


I brought to the boil a mixture of half vinegar (cider vinegar because I’d run out of wine vinegar) and water and added some sugar, some sprigs of rosemary and a few bay leaves.  I used 250 ml vinegar, 250 ml water and 100 grams of sugar – you need enough to cover the peppers but not too much.  I simmered them for about 10 minutes until the peppers were cooked but not too soft, packed the peppers into jars and covered with the vinegar mix.  They make a good tapas dish and should keep for months, but my daughter says they’ll be eaten quite quickly.


>Last of the peppers and more olives / Les derniers poivrons et encore d’olives


Today we picked all the remaining green peppers, most of them quite small, but any night now the temperature may drop below freezing and we’d lose them all. I’ve pickled the smallest ones whole in a mix of 1 cup white wine, 1 cup red wine vinegar, 1 cup of sugar, with bay leaves and thyme. I’ll fry the three bigger ones with some onion and tomato as a vegetable dish for our supper tonight.

last of the peppers_1_1 peppers pickled_1_1

Aujourd’hui nous avons ramassé tous les poivrons qui restaient. La plupart étaient petits, mais à cettte saison la température peut tomber au-dessous de zéro et nous en perdrions tous. J’en ai conservé les plus petits entiers dans un mélange d’une tasse de vin blanc, une tasse de vinaigre de vin rouge et une tasse de sucre, avec des feuilles de laurier sauce et thym. Je vais sauter les trois poivrons plus gros avec d’oignon et de tomates pour notre dîner ce soir.

More olives! / Encore d’olives!

Lucques olives_1_1
Lucques olives
small olives_1_1
Small olives – could be Tanche (Nyons variety) or Arbequina (a Spanish variety)

Some kind friends have given us several kilos of their olives, mostly Lucques and a bowlful of tiny black ones which may be Tanches – the variety which is grown in Nyons in Provence – or Arbequinas, a Spanish variety of small olive. They are all soaking in spring water while we look for enough big jars to pickle them in.

Des amis très gentils nous ont donnés quelques kilos de leurs olives, des Lucques et un bol d’olives noires très petites qui peut-être sont des Tanches – la varieté de Nyons en Provence – ou des Arbequinas, une varieté espagnole d’olive petite. Je les trempent dans l’eau de source pendant qu’on cherche assez de grands bocaux pour les conserver.

Lemon tree / Le citronier

In the garden today I sowed peas while Lo Jardinièr made a space for our lemon tree in a sunny corner of the garden. It was getting too big for its pot, so we’ve planted it in the ground in a sheltered spot with stakes around it so that we can easily cover it to protect it from cold weather. I hope it will be all right – it has our first three lemons on it, one of which is ripening!

lemon tree_1_1_1 1st lemon ripening_1_1

Aujourd’hui au jardin j’ai semé des petits pois, pendant que Lo Jardinièr a arraché les mauvaises herbes pour créer une place pour notre citronier dans un coin ensoleillé du jardin. C’était trop grand pour le pot, donc nous l’avons planté dans la terre dans un endroit à l’abri du vent. Lo Jardinièr a mis des pieux autour du citronier pour le proteger du temps froid. J’éspère qu’il va bien – il a nos premiers trois citrons, un de lesquels mûrit!

According to Hugh Latymer in The Mediterranean Gardener, the lemon tree is much less hardy than the orange tree and can stand temperatures down to only -3 C. It can get colder than that here occasionally, but we hope to be able to protect our tree by wrapping it when very cold weather is forecast.

Selon Hugh Latymer dans The Mediterranean Gardener, le citronier est moins résistant au froid que l’orangier et peut supporter une température de -3 C. Il fait plus froid que ça ici de temps en temps, mais on éspère de le protéger avec de la voile d’hivernage quand il fait très froid.

>Stolen peppers / poivrons volés


Im angry. And sad. Yesterday we had about twenty peppers (capsicums) growing, nice big ones which were turning red. I was leaving them to ripen. A few more days, I thought, and theyll be perfect. This evening they werent there. Someone had climbed over our fence and taken them all. Just a few small green ones remain.

It seems a betrayal of the spirit of the gardens that someone could do this, although we know it has happened before to others


Je suis en colère. Et je suis triste. Hier nous avions environ vingt poivrons qui poussaient, des beaux gros poivrons qui devenaient rouges. Je les lessais mûrir. Quelques jours de plus, jai pensé, et ils seront parfait. Ce soir ils netaient pas là. Quelquun a sauté la clôture et les volé. Il nen y reste que quelques petits verts.

This morning I used the peppers I picked yesterday as part of a giardiniera – Italian pickled vegetables.


4 small artichokes / petits artichauts

2 green or red peppers / poivrons rouges ou verts

8 long green sweet peppers / poivrons verts longues

2 red chilli peppers / piments rouge

1 aubergine

4 carrots / carrottes

1 courgette

12 cloves garlic / gousses d’ail

750 ml vinegar (preferably white wine vinegar) / vinaigre blanc

500 ml water or white wine

bay leaves, rosemary, thyme / feuilles de laurier sauce / romarin / thym

12 peppercorns / grains de poivre

12 juniper berries / baies de genévrier


50 g sugar

Remove the outer leaves of the artichokes and quarter. Leave the long green peppers, the chilli peppers and the garlic whole. Slice the other vegetables. Bring the vinegar, water/wine and sugar to the boil and add the vegetables and the herbs and spices. Simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes until the vegetables have softened but still keep their shape and crispness. Put in a sterilised jar. I had some dried cherry tomatoes so I added these to the mix in the jar. The pickles can be eaten straight away or can be kept for several months.

We tried some straight away and they were a nice sharp accompaniment for some aubergine fritters.

Enlevez les feuilles extérieures des artichauts and coupez-les en quatre. Laissez entiers les poivrons longues doux, les piments rouges et l’ail. Coupez les autres légumes en tranches. Faites bouiller le vinaigre, l’eau / le vin et le sucre et ajoutez les légumes et les herbes et épices. Faites cuire à feux doux pour 20 – 30 minutes. Mettez les légumes dans un bocal sterilisé et couvrez-les du vinaigre et vin. J’avais des tomates cerises séchées, donc je les ai ajouté au melange dans le bocal. On peut manger la giardiniera toute tout de suite, ou on peut la garder pour quelques mois.