Saturday, 16 November 2013
The first frost always heralds the fast approching Truffle season here in the Perigord.
Last night the thermometre dipped to zero for the first time and soon many of the weekly food markets will offer the prized Tuber Melanosporum in varying amounts. Yours for anything up to 900 euro a kilo - though you need not spend anything like that - thrift is the name of the game here. That truffle sitting in amongst the eggs will impart its earthiness right through the shell to the yolk in around 24 hours, such is the pervasiveness of its trufly perfume.
But to welcome the start of the truffle season is to say au revoir to many other champignons as frost and winter weather draw their time to a close.
This mushroom season's final hurrah seems to be large quantities of Pieds de Mouton and Trompettes de Mort together with the last Cepes, for which you'll always pay a bit more as their rarity value increases!
I bought about a kilo of the black trumpets this morning for seven euros the lot. I reckon that's a steal.
Dinner tonight, a fine chicken from the Landes, mushroom pilaf and a buttery, chickeny jus, laced with tarragon.
Saturday, 5 October 2013
Saturday is market day in Saralat, the nigh on perfect jewel in the Perigourdine crown. If your ever there, be sure to look up above the eye line and admire the perfectly preserved medieval architecture.
Cheer up love.
Thursday, 3 October 2013
Russet tones of panicum 'Squaw', tails of pennisetum 'Karley rose', clumps of skyward reaching calamagrostis 'Karl foerster' - I never fail to love early October.
I have no idea which helenium this is. The yellow is stunning however and has gone on for months. It copes with it dryish too - bravo whatever you are. Panicum 'Northwind' is a star. Verbena bonariensis a thug. There's is nothing that self seeds so profusely in my garden, to the point of distraction as it's an ongoing battle weeding out the seedlings which race away to flower in September and early October.
Sedum 'Matrona' with its red stems is undeniably beautiful, but in all honesty though I find good old 'Autumn joy' just as attractive at this time of year.
Another contender for the most prolific self seeder award - along with fennel - is the magnificent gaura lindheirmeri. The original white form does the best for me, 'Siskiyou pink' seems to have shyed away, reverted to white or whatever. Anyway, nay matter, the blanc is positively frothing and busting the 1.5 metre mark.
Perovskia and aster 'Fricatii' are slowing down. Fricart's aster was in bloom way back in July so is good for four months or so.
The grass has 'greened' up again down by the river and is so much better for that! Amongst the green of the ferns below, somehow, in the deepest shade a fig has seeded itself. Vigorously growing away, who says fig needs full sun. Seems perfectly happy though unlikely to fruit where it is. Fig, by the way, is another addition to the prolific self seeders list. I frequently pull them from crevices and unusual corners.
Sedums, sempervivums and jovibarba.
The Pampass has 'pamped' again. I'm so glad they've made a recovery after being 'hammered' in the Grand Froid of two years ago. I reckon they'll be in full swing in another year or so. That's miscanthus sinensis 'Juli' to the right.
It's a big beast stretching 7 feet high and as much wide.
Miscanthus s. 'Malepartus' isn't quite as impressive as I imagined it would be. It's only year two, so next year maybe.
Friday, 20 September 2013
In the fields that flank the Route du Sorcier between Les Eyzies and Le Bugue, the tobacco harvest is well underway. I doubt that Nicotiana has many years left as a crop - for obvious reasons - but once it was big business here, possibly the biggest. Such was its importance to this area, there is even a museum in Bergerac dedicated to the 'weed', but note, as in common with all public places in France, no smoking allowed inside!
I found this photo (courtesy of Panoramio) of one of the many paintings inside the museum. Dating back to the 19th century and it's plain to see; ahh to smoke, what a spiffy chap it makes.
I dare say that scenes such as above, tobacco hung to dry, was a much more prevalent part of the landscape.
Tobacco's not so rare with me. Nicotiana sylvestris, which I grow on a 'corner' down by the river, comes alive as daylight slips into dusk. Being moth pollinated it's evening scented too.
Self seeded into a crack in the terrace below, the pink of what has to be a seedling from nicotiana mutablis is nigh on perfect. It first appeared last year and so I left it. It has volunteered again this year, so again, I'll leave it.
Monday, 26 August 2013
There was four or five hours steady rain yesterday, useful rain, everything's better for it following a hot and dry July and August.
There were people in the woods this morning. Lot's of people, at the crack of dawn and all on a misson to find the king of mushrooms, the Cepe, Porcini to the Italians, Penny Bun to you and me. The flipside of a wet Sunday afternoon is a mushroom harvest early this morning which until now has been in short supply this late Summer.
Boletus edulis fetch a high price in the markets of Paris or London, but in the Dordogne you can find them for free if you know where and what to look for.
There'll be other mushrooms too.
Maybe Safron Milkcap, which sound so much better when called Lactaire Délicieux or possibly Orange de Bordeaux.
All in all, mushroom season is slowly getting underway. These are all pictures from the archives but next market I visit, I'll take the camera.
Sunday, 28 July 2013
A lull in the heat today. After a seemingly endless run of 35 degree days, today is a pleasant 28C with lower humidity before the heat builds again as hot air moves up from North Africa and Spain - a Spanish 'plume', which'll likely give us a 40 degree day by the end of the week!
Ah to be near cooling water, like the 'canal' at les Jardins de Sardy, near Castillon-la-Bataille at the western edge of the Dordogne.