The Loire in June – and Cauliflowers.
We love our part of the Loire and, to may French people, it is known as ‘Le Jardin de France’ (the Garden of France), and much of France’s vegetable gardens, orchards, mushroom farms, roses and horticultural producers are situated in this rich and fertile region. June has always been a favourite time of the year for us. Generally hot, sunny days while the whole region is still vibrant green with ripening wheat fields adding splashes of gold scattered with red poppies. The sunken lanes and tracks which meander through hidden stone hamlets are decorated with a profusion of wild flowers. The vines have flowered and you can see the start of what will be this years bunches of grapes, whilst the vineyards themselves form bright green geometrical patterns over the slopes. And, floating above the countryside, are the calls of Cuckoos, Hoopoes, Blackbirds and Skylarks and a host of other orchestral members.
Our vegetable garden, like all the others in Le Puy Notre Dame, are starting to yield their produce. I have already harvested the first potatoes of the year, the old French variety “Belle de Fontenay”, dating back to the 1880’s. This variety is consistently chosen in trials to have the best taste and is resistant to mildew, at least in our climate. But my great success this year has been cauliflowers, an F1 variety called “Boris”, huge perfect white florets giving me bragging rights amongst the village, vegetable growing community, even my close friend and veggy competitor Robert has been surprised and has stopped banging on about his cauliflowers as he does most years! The next round will be tomatoes. To be fair there have been some problems this Spring caused by the early, unusual amount of rain, (in one night we had six weeks of average rainfall) and which has led to a profusion of snails which have caused huge setback for the basil plants and for lettuce and roquette although the hot sunshine has now resolved that problem and our guests are now enjoying eating the profusion of salad from the garden.
Here are some other shots of the garden and courtyard:-
Sheila’s take on our ‘guest recipe’ for roasted cauliflower which we sampled last year with Denise and Rod from Eugene, Oregan, USA.
It’s so simple, florets of cauliflower roasted in the oven with olive oil and sprinkled with curry and cumin, just delicious! Shown here with some roasted spuds mixed in too and rosemary au jardin.
Bon appetit et bon jardinage!