Le Tour, Le Veg, Le Pays de Galle….

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So lovely to have a sunny Friday and we are at home. Rocket had called earlier in the week, from Wales, to say he had found a delightful, tiny butcher shop in Usk, South Wales. It’s called N.D. Lewis & Sons, it’s one of those places that is worth a mention.

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Rocket bought some lamb chops, from Neil, he brought them home for us (he also bought some of the home made pork pies, sausage rolls, steak and kidney pies and steak and onion pies for the journey home and apparently they were mighty fine and enjoyed by all four in the car! Rocket confessed to feeling like Alison Moyet though – said he was “All pied out!”)

Back to the tale.

I had gathered together a collection of veg…

It was such a rare really hot day I’d been thinking about Elizabeth David recipes we’ve done in France. With ‘TheTour’ about to start up in Yorkshire, I was thinking about our life in in the Pyrenees, a region synonymous with that great event. The Tour has passed through out local town of Lannemezan, it’s very exciting to be on the Pyreneean ‘stage’.

When down in France I’ve done ED’s veg stewed in olive oil so many times, the late summer glut of tomatoes and aubergines meaning it is such great supper just in a bowl with some crusty bread. The tomatoes are often gifted from our neighbours who grow, quite frankly, the best tomatoes in the world – in my opinion…

I scanned some Julia Childs books, but didn’t find what I was looking for. I looked on line, in a way Rocket said I was searching for those one pot dishes I love that are really autumnal, not meant for high summer.

  • Eventually, we decided to layer the various veg we had, sliced, with garlic, olive oil, lemon zest and lemon thyme. We wanted the sour saltiness of cheese which originally was Feta but which we ended up making it halloumi, scattered over at the end of cooking.IMG_1482

Now, quantities will depend on what you have, you can vary the veg in this, it also depends on whether serving it as a main or a side etc. It was a substantial side dish for us. We used approximately ½ aubergine, 1/ 2 red onion, 3 tomatoes, ½ courgette, ½ yellow pepper, jarred roasted peppers about 3 slices. Use a variety for this type of veg, layered up, the key things being olive oil, seasoning, lemon zest, thyme, and garlic

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So, we sliced and layered all the veg

We mixed the layers and in between each veg layer we scattered grated garlic, lemon zest salt and freshly ground black pepper, along with plenty of olive oil, this is like ratatouille in that the veg needs the oil, so don’t be shy with it .

When done, cover in foil and bake long and low, we did a 2 ½ hours on gas 2 …

Then we took it out of the oven, removed the foil, and put slices of halloumi on top – then popped it under the grill….

Next we griddled the lamp chops. That had been lightly seasoned (they were so good they needed nothing else) and served it a with a few saffron potatoes.IMG_0589

The veg works hot, room temp or chilled, which makes it very versatile…

By the way, I read an article by someone earlier today when I was searching for that which I was seeking… it said Elizabeth David expected people to have a basic understanding of cooking and so her recipes weren’t great if you didn’t have this …Perhaps that’s true and who we like as food writers is very personal but I do think you need to put her writing into the context of the time and just listen really carefully…

Obviously I’m not a chef of any kind, I just like to share ideas about what to have for dinner or to enjoy with friends, I like the journey, the chewing over of things in general….

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