The beginning of summer?

I always feel that once we have the tomatoes planted out in the garden I can believe that summer will come.  This weekend we spent a couple of mornings putting up the canes for the first 32 plants and planted out 16 – 4 coeur de boeuf, 4 ananas, 4 Andes, and 4 of a variety that we unwittingly created from cross-fertilisation two years ago and that I’ve named Gabian breakfast because each fruit is just the right size for one person to rub on bread, Spanish-style, at breakfast.

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Putting up the cane frames for the tomatoes – luckily we have a constant supply from the bamboo that grows at the end of the garden.

These Languedocian and Roma plants will be the next to be put out in the garden:

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The peppers have been very slow to grow this year and need a bit more warmth and nurturing on the balcony before they can fend for themselves outside:

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After our work in the garden yesterday morning we came home to a good Sunday lunch of pot-roasted pigeon with polenta, loosely based on, or maybe I should say inspired by, Nigel Slater’s recipe in the Observer.  Instead of marsala and grapes I used some figs that I’d conserved in Armagnac a couple of years ago and these flavours were wonderfully rich with the pigeon.  I also added garlic (as I usually do), lardons and oregano.  I had a small fire in the pan when I thought it was all simmering nicely and put the lid on, but the alcohol hadn’t all burned off so the pan filled with flames.  I wished I’d had the camera ready because it looked quite spectacular!

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I bought the pigeon at one of the two excellent butcher’s shops in Roujan – Franck Perez – and while I was there I asked Mme Perez how she felt the new supermarket that has just opened on the outskirts of the village would affect their trade.  She seemed to think it will be all right because people will always want proper meat from a proper butcher even if everyone does have to go to supermarkets to buy washing powder etc.  I hope she’s right.  The other butcher, which I think is slightly less excellent, will have a shop inside the new supermarket, so clearly they think that’s where there future lies.  I shall continue going to Franck Perez because he sells such good meat.