Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rain, Rain and Rain but Sunshine on my Plate

It has been raining, raining and raining here in Provence. I really can't remember ever having had such a cold and wet May and I feel especially sorry for all our visitors to Provence who came here looking for sunshine and poppy fields and landed in a total washout. The weather forecast promises sunshine and rising temperatures for tomorrow but taking into account how often they get it wrong I thought I'd better get myself some sunshine on a plate. This "Tian de Légumes de Soleil" (Tian of sunkissed vegetables) is just that and a perfect aside to some BBQ'd lambchops.

The word Tian in this Provençal recipe refers to the round earthenware dish it is prepared in. You need 4 zucchini, 2 eggplants, 6 tomatoes, one sweet onion, 3 cloves garlic, herbes de Provence, salt and pepper, olive oil and 300g or 1 cup of thick tomatoe sauce (coulis de tomate).
First of all you take two of the prettiest zucchini and two or three of the firmest tomatoes and cut them in even rounds.  Set aside. Take all the rest of the veg and cut them into smallish cubes. Finely chop the garlic. Add some olive oil to a pan and gently fry all the vegetable cubes, then add the tomato coulis. Leave to gently braise for about 10 minutes, then pour this mixture into the tian. Season well and cover with the tomato and zucchini rounds. Scatter with some Herbes de Provence and sprinkle with some olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven (180°C/356°F)
Talking about Herbes de Provence: As long as you have some needles of fresh rosemary and a few sprigs of fresh thyme all you need to do is pick the little leaves off the thyme and chop them together with the rosemary needles into a very fine powder - the idea is to have the taste but not to bite on rosemary. These "Herbes de Provence" are much better than any of the dried stuff you can buy.
Gotta go now and put my Tian into the oven - and I really hope to remember to take a picture of the baked Tian this time round....

Et voilà - Tian fresh out of the oven

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's Poppy Season in Provence

It is poppy season in Provence - along the roads, in the meadows, even in the vineyards - right now those little red flowers pop up all over the place. Here today, gone tomorrow - they are so pretty , they just make everyone smile.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Best Birthday Card - Ever

Isn't this just the best birthday card ever? Sent to me by my dear brother who always manages to find real special ones. And I didn't even know I was panicking already.....
Now just in case I might be infringing on any copyright laws here these are the wonderfully creative people who publish these cards: bluebell33
Also many thanks to all of you who sent me birthday greetings - how very sweet of you!