Panier of Plenty

July 2015

Welcome to the visual diary for July. This page will be updated throughout the month…

The first courgette

The first courgette

Ist July. Canicule Ratatouille

As temperatures continue to reach towards 40°c, the rhythm of life must change to adapt. It is 2.30pm, a little after ‘l’heure de la sieste’. Instead of resting after an early start and the morning’s work at the fromagerie, I have been preparing dinner before the afternoon sun floods into the kitchen. The heatwave has brought a sudden ripening and abundance of summer vegetables: I have been given the first courgettes of the season (and just started to pick my own), I have plump tomatoes at hand, red capsicum, aubergines, thyme, oregano and basil…

Preparing vegatables

Preparing vegatables

In the cast-iron casserole

In the cast-iron casserole

Another variety

Another variety

Runner beans

Runner beans

Lavender perfuming the potager

Lavender perfuming the potager

The garden border

The garden border

At home in Céret (my little garden is down the path from the fromagerie at Mas Coste, L’Albère) I can usually enjoy the terrace at lunchtime, but it is too hot at present. New flowering plants are thriving in the heat, but I only emerge after the sun has dipped behind the distant ranges…

On the terrace

On the terrace

Happy in the heat

Happy in the heat

Friday 3rd, full moon

Early morning, Friday 3rd, full moon

Under the parasol…

Lunch on the terrace

Lunch on the terrace

Thursday July 9th. Tending to the garden after cheese making has finished…

Down the path, to pick a cucumber

Down the path, to pick a cucumber

Up the path, Mas Coste

Up the path, Mas Coste

A surprise, the first melon has appeared

A surprise, the first melon has appeared

July 9th. Cucumber and Goat’s Curd Salad

Peel and thinly slice cucumber. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and leave around 20 minutes (I leave it in a sieve). Wash and pat dry. Crumble or spoon the curd (depending on the texture), add freshly chopped mint, a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, ground pepper.

Cucumber and fresh goat's curd

Cucumber and fresh goat’s curd

Saturday 11th. This Saturday’s market is small as the Féria has taken over the heart of Céret. Happy to find a few of my favourite producers…

Back from market...

Back from market

14th July. Fireworks were set off last night, a little early! We spent the morning visiting animals (horses, dogs, pigs and fish) and walked to sit by the river, in the shade of a giant tilleul…

Enjoying the forest, L'Albère

Enjoying the forest, L’Albère

15th July. Hot again… cicadas fill the air. Picked the first haricots verts. Fried zucchini flowers, stuffed with mint and goat’s cheese.

This morning's harvest

This morning’s harvest

An afternoon in Perpignan

An afternoon in Perpignan

Thursday's harvest

Thursday’s lunch

Thursday 16th July. A brocante in the Place de la Rébublique, at the end of my street…

A treasured artist's painting box

A treasured artist’s painting box

To accompany the chickens

To accompany the chickens

I have had ‘eggcup’ (coquetier) on my shopping list for a while and this is an original, stamped with a code. It is just perfect as we eat at the kitchen table and listen to the chickens clucking below the window…

View at 7am

View at 7am

Clouds clinging to the hills

Clouds clinging to the hills

Canigou invisible

Canigou invisible

On the way to work, above clouds

On the way to work, above clouds

Friday 17th July. Misty and humid… so long since we’ve seen grey skies that they are a welcome change. More beans to pick today – a handful! And the first (of many) tomatoes. One of the joys of being a fromagère is bringing home a selection of chèvre for the weekend…

chèvre: frais, demi-sec et sec

chèvre: frais, demi-sec et sec

Peaches that are apricot inside

Peaches that are apricot inside

Saturday 18th July. More festivities in La Place de la République (at the end of my street) this weekend…

Cobla, Saturday 18th

Cobla, Saturday 18th

Festival de Sardanes

Festival de Sardanes

Hand-made pork mincemeat from the Mas Coste charcuterie weekend earlier this year, became ‘legumes farci’…

Preparing the stuffing

Preparing the stuffing

Courgettes from my garden

Courgettes from my garden

On the bbq, instead of oven

On the bbq, instead of oven

Served with rice

Served with rice

Panier, Monday 20th July. My garden grows all weekend without my supervision – I always water it on a friday and miraculously the humidity is retained in the soil, even with the current ‘heatwave’. Water pumped from the river floods the tunnel system made by taupes (moles) and therefore creates a reservoir! After a handful of beans last week there are suddenly dozens…

As yet, a mystery variety

As yet, a mystery variety

Beans now in abundance

Beans now in abundance

Panier, Tuesday 21st July. More beans… more courgette flowers… and plums and apricots from the Mas Coste orchard…

Last lettuce (all flowering)

Last lettuce (all flowering)

Picking fruit after cheese-making

Picking fruit after cheese-making

A quick lunch, stuffed with chèvre

A quick lunch, stuffed with chèvre

23rd July. Perpignan becomes host to a soirée of music, street performance and theatre each thursday…

23nd July,' Jeudi's de Perpignan'

23nd July,’ Jeudi’s de Perpignan’

Flamenco from Seville

Flamenco from Seville

Stilt walkers preparing

Stilt walkers preparing

Transfixed watching a theatre group

Transfixed watching a theatre group

Perpignan canal at dusk

Perpignan canal at dusk

With an abundance of zucchini flowers, I am experimenting with the ‘coating’… with little time to spare when I get home for lunch, I have found they are delicious stuffed with fresh goat’s cheese (since I always have this on hand!) and mint (also tried basil). I dip them in beaten egg, roll them in flour and deep fry them in very hot sunflower oil. I could make a batter with beaten egg whites folded in, or tempura, but this is so quick and seems to work. I tried adding fine chapelure (breadcrumbs) which add colour and change the texture, but found this dominated and they loose their delicacy…

Courgette flowers, again

Zucchini flowers, again

With breadcrumbs

With fine breadcrumbs

Chèvre and mint

Chèvre and mint

Accompanied by a rosé

Accompanied by a rosé

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2 thoughts on “July 2015

  1. fiona on said:

    absolutely breathtaking Vivienne ! I feel like I am with you .xx

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