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…Meredith says, as she comes into the kitchen from the courtyard, clutching a plastic flower pot with 4 eggs nestling at the bottom.

“Omelettes!”.

“Where did you find them?”

“In the pigeonnier!”

Madame Arcarti*, our eccentric-looking hen,

has been keeping her ‘laying’ spot a secret since she ended her brooding marathon a couple of weeks ago. She’d sat on potentially fertile eggs brought over by our neighbour Flo for well over a month–to no avail.

This instinct to hatch out the young chicks is impressive, but borders on the obsessive. In the end–fearing for her well being (she barely took time out to eat)–Meredith gradually reduced the number of eggs available until there were none and our hen resumed her other instinct–which is indiscriminate weeding in the garden.

We began to wonder where she was laying, since there was no sign of an egg in the little hen house, one of her usual dropping zones!

Sketch by Hope James, illustrator of my cookbook

The pigeonnier, on the corner of the courtyard, is where three visiting hens, parked with us over the winter, had done their laying.

They are now happily relocated a few miles up the road, but Madame Arcati hadn’t forgotten!

Omelette with cheese and herbs

( from my book Delicious Dishes for Diabetics)

for 1

2 free range eggs

a little olive oil or butter if you prefer

1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan

a pinch of fresh herbs–chopped fine; parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, tarragon, chives–any one of these or a mixture

salt & pepper to taste

Heat your omelette pan gently before adding the oil or butter.

It should be hot when you add the eggs.

Whisk the eggs lightly in a bowl.

Add a little salt and pepper and a pinch of the herbs.

When you are ready to make the omelette add the oil or butter to the hot pan. (I always use olive oil.)

Add the egg mix and cook over a high heat.

With a wooden spoon tack round the circumference of the egg mix, releasing a little of the liquid each time to build a quilt-like texture to the cooking omelette.

Sprinkle on the cheese

Take the pan off the heat when you have a creamy and scrummy looking item that looks just cooked.

Fold it over as you like, sprinkle extra parmesan over it and serve immediately.

A green salad is all you need with it.

* Madame Arcarti is named after the meddling medium from Noel Coward’s play Blithe Spirit–played so memorably in the film by Margaret Rutherford.

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