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Picnic in the Dordogne

If you’re still following along with our travels in the Dordogne – thank you!  You are very patient, but I do hope that you are enjoying it or gleaning some information if you are planning a trip there yourself.  I find personal blogs one of the best ways to find information about a new place we are travelling to, they are so much more insightful that generic tourist websites.

So, every morning that we got ready to leave our lovely little gite, we had this little friend to help…

Holiday in the Dordogne

Hehe, isn’t she sweet?

Little French dog

A leisurely morning was spent finishing up spelt sourdough bread spread with local honey, and picking up provisions from the market at Excideuil.  This was a very good market, spread out along a long street and up to a square.

Market at Excideuil

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Broad beans, peas and crispy ham on bread

Ok, so I’m trying really hard to get our French trip written up, but there’s so much I want to share that I’m still working on it when I have the time.  It will come, I promise.  With it very damp and grey outside (and on Midsummer!) I wanted to share our cheerful, warm, sunny evening meal last night which we made and ate on our allotment.

This is by far my favourite thing to do at the moment – cook and eat at the allotment.  I wish moments like that would never end.  We wanted to recreate a meal we made in France, which was broad beans and beans tossed with crispy ham and loaded onto slithers of fresh bread.

Broad beans and peas

I adore the repetitive but satisfying business of podding peas and broad beans – some might find it mind numbingly boring, but I love it.  After they’d all been podded, we blanched them in a pan of boiling water over the camping stove and then quickly cooled them down was cold water.  Next I spent ages more slipping the broad beans out of their silvery green coats.

Cooking at the allotment

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Better late than never – some images and a ‘how to’ for making a delicious dinner of wilted lettuce with broad beans and a ham omelette.

You cook the spring onions in a little butter, then add halved Baby Gem Lettuces to the pan before covering with vegetable stock.

To this you add pre-cooked broad beans and freshly podded peas, a little seasoning and let it all simmer together for a few minutes. 

You can stir in a few mint leaves before serving, but basically that’s it!  The full recipe is here.

It was recommended that this was delicious eaten with ‘old fashioned English ham’ so we ate this with a ham omelette.

As promised, and as always, a simple recipe for a delicious meal.  A salad of lettuce, peas and ham inspired by Nigel Slater

If you’re a regular reader, you will have realised by now that original recipes always get changed in our house.  Sometimes you don’t always have all the ingredients at home or it’s not sensible to go out buying them all.  Sometimes you must make do and create new recipes from substitute ingredients.  This is the joy of cooking that I love.

A yummy way to use up a lettuce glut as we have.  You can’t beat the taste of homegrown lettuce and local peas.  The homemade French dressing recipe to follow.

A salad of lettuce, peas and ham

Fresh peas straight from their pod
A couple of slices of free range ham (thicker is better here)
Baby gem lettuces
A hunk of good quality white bread
A piece of Jarsleburg cheese
Homemade French dressing

Pod your peas and place in a bowl. 

Wash and slice your baby gem lettuces – add to the peas.

Shread the ham and cut the cheese into cubes.  Add these to the peas and lettuce.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a fry pan.  Tear up the soft inners of the bread (no crusts).  Once the oil is hot, add the pieces of bread and fry until golden.

Add the crispy bread to the salad and drizzle over homemade French dressing – you can add a little cream to the standard dressing if you wish, something that Nigel’s recipe calls for.

This week is all about eating lettuce.  We have some lovely gem lettuces that I’ve grown in the garden, but they are all starting to go wild and therefore we need to eat them – and soon!

So we got out the recipe books and here’s what we came up with…

So far we’ve eaten a salad of lettuce, peas and ham; wilted lettuce with broad beans which we teamed up with a quick ham omelette; and the lettuce risotto became a barley risotto with lettuce, pea tendrils, spring onions and peas.

Recipes to follow later this week, but here’s a sneak peek…

A salad of  lettuce, peas and ham

Wilted lettuce with broad beans and a ham omelette

Barley risotto with lettuce, pea tendrils, spring onions and peas

Mr Rigg rustled up some homemade pizzas last night to enjoy in the garden for dinner.  This incredible heatwave we’re experiencing in England this weekend has rendered us useless – the heat is just too heavy to do much of anything.

We used our tried and tested Jamie Oliver pizza dough recipe which can be found here.   I made a simple tomato sauce: some sliced garlic cooked gently in olive oil, a sprinkle of dried wild oregano, add a tin of blitzed up cherry tomatoes, and season with salt, pepper and Agave syrup or honey if a little extra sweetness wanted/needed.

After the pizzas were cooked in a hot oven topped with the homemade tomato sauce and grated mozzarella we wandered down to the bottom of the garden in search of some extras.

We garnished our pizzas with some baby salad leaves, a sprinkle of chive flowers and some shreds of proscuitto.  Sliced into wedges on a wooden board to share – no cutlery needed. 

I wish the weekend would never end.

Parsley, ham potato salad

Lunch today was made up from what was found in the fridge, and as always these turn out to be the best meals.  A delicious lunch of capers, parsley, ham and new potato salad…

Peeled, boiled and cooled new potatoes.  Chopped into chunks.  A couple of teaspoons of mayonnaise, a spoonful of capers chopped, and another spoonful of whole grain mustard. 

A handful of torn flat leaf parsley and some shredded ham (my favourite kind – Focolare Italian herb ham from Barbakan).  Mix in some salt and pepper to taste. 

Store cupboard ploughmans

Sometimes, even on a weekend you can’t be bothered cooking or don’t have the energy.  Having things lying around in the fridge or cupboards that can make a tasty meal is essential and ensures you can eat well without trying too hard.

So here you have it:

Ploughmans

Store cupboard ploughmans

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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