Posts Tagged ‘elizabeth david’

To Giroussens–the red brick village in the Tarn with a magnificent view and the clay that makes pottery–for the annual ceramics fair [foire].


The last weekend in April every year potters and ceramic artists from all over Europe come to this small village perched on a bluff above the river Agout to display and sell.


The normally sleepy streets are a-bustle with late arrivals setting up and punters scanning the stalls on a gentle walk-through before lunch.


The village’s dignified chateau sits above it all, now depending for its authority on tradition, as the shuttered windows show no signs of life.


The work varies from the practical to the fanciful




…and caters to all tastes!


Stalls stacked with salad bowls and all manner of tableware…


…stand next to elaborate sculptures in clay some of which might frighten the neighbors on a visit.


The village was a regular lunch stop for us in the early days when we lived the double life of a home in London and this new adventure in the Tarn.

A quarter of a century ago–the early flight from Heathrow to Toulouse would give us time to make the restaurant L’Echauguette (watchtower) for a late-ish lunch.

The Maitre d’  in his navy blazer with brass buttons ran Front of House with a steely discipline, learned in the military perhaps and his talented wife made a meal that Elizabeth David* would have been happy to find on her travels 40 years earlier.

We always looked forward to lunch at l’Echauguette and we always arrived at the house here with a package or two of pottery, wrapped with care in newspaper, purchased after lunch from Martine Lévêque, the village’s resident potter.

Most of it is still in daily use, much loved by one and all!


Yesterday we added some more from a different potter (Martine is retired now), wrapped with equal care.


It carried this evening’s pasta!


Sadly the old soldier and his wife sold up–and the restaurant is new hands.

Elizabeth David would not be so happy today!

Though after an undistinguished lunch she’d have found other things to amuse her as she scanned the stalls for treasure.




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Words to yesterday’s pictures!

This is a classic Mediterranean dish and everyone has a way to do it– as is clear from the comments left after yesterday’s Wordless Blog.

(I want to try a courgette parmegiagno this week–where the courgettes/zucchini are griddled as aubergines/eggplants are in the classic dish and then as here mixed with tomato and cheese).

Italian style because it’s inspired by a Marcella Hazan version and is a little different to the Elizabeth David’s French gratin in Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.

  • Prepare 3 good size courgettes/zucchinitop and tail them and slice them thin–a food mixer appliance does this nicely.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the sliced courgettes, a chopped garlic clove and half a teaspoon of salt. 

  • Turn everything over several times to coat the vegetables lightly in the oil.
  • Cook on a low heat until the courgettes are wilted.

  • Set the courgettes/zucchini aside.
  • Make a quick tomato sauce with
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1k/2lbs fresh tomatoes–cored and roughly chopped or 2 large tins of tomatoes–drained of their juice and roughly chopped.
  • 2 garlic cloves–peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • A few basil leaves–chopped.

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic.
  • Soften it briefly–being careful not to let it brown too much or burn.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook over a high heat–stirring often–until the loose liquid has evaporated and little pock marks appear on the surface.
  • If you can part the Red Searunning a spoon through it–it’s done.
  • Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil.
  • Grate 3 to 4 tablespoons (about 40gms) parmesan cheese.
  • Heat the oven to 200C/450F.
  • Smear the base of an oven proof baking dish of suitable size with some of the tomato sauce.

  • Then cover this with a layer of courgettes/zucchini.

  • Season lightly with salt and pepper and sprinkle a layer of parmesan.

  • And repeat the layering, starting with a layer of tomatoes.
  • (Not forgetting to season lightly at each layer.)

  • Topping it off with the last of the parmesan.
  • Put the dish high in the oven for about 20 minutes or until it displays an inviting crispy brown top.

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