Friday, May 28, 2010
So selfish of the ash cloud to disappear just when you need it
Tomorrow morning we've an hours drive to Nice, then a flight home. I can't moan about it though; we've had two weeks of non-stop sun, delicious lunches in hilltop villages and I've got finally got the baby eating tomatoes. Which is just as well, as we have about 70 plants started at home and if they all come to fruition our place will be like The Day of the Triffids.
Last year our tomato plants were in shock with the crap weather and they only grew fruit very late in the summer. Things were looking bad; miserable green fruit that was beginning to rot on the branches. After pulling long faces and pointing out the approaching catastrophe, Philip stepped in and saved the day; making a fantastic chutney from the green tomatoes which we still have preserved in jars. It has a lovely bitter sweetness that is fabulous with a cheese board or splattered on top of toast.
Eating local dishes here has pushed plenty of ideas my way which I'll try out at home; artichokes with aioli (aioli - egg yolks, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt), roasted peppers with capers (all on a big tray in the oven until they soften together), plenty of caprese salad and a delicious casserole fruits de mer which I ate at a lovely place the other day - essentially a fish pie but with a lightness and freshness that is typical of the fish from Marseille.
When we had friends to stay we bought some faux filet (sirloin) at the village butchers, threw it on the barbeque with some rosemary and thyme from the garden, accompanied by a big salad and plenty of local rosé. It's easy to do really simple dishes because the quality of food here is so high. I could cry at leaving but it's okay - next week I'm winning the Wednesday night lotto and will be back here permanently.