Celia's blog

Musings on life in Lodeve, Languedoc

Sunset, moonlight and aubergine caviar

Posted by celiahukins on 28/08/2011

We arrived at Montpellier airport from Birmingham on a Friday evening. Around the Place de la Comédie were stalls for the Estivales – an event which happens every Friday in the Summer with lots of wine and local produce. We bought glasses for 4 euros each; these entitled us to try 3 different wines. One we found was Puech Auger, which I’d come across at the Montpeyroux wine tasting I went to in May and was as good as I remembered. After the wine we slept well and after the usual petit déjeuner outside the station at Chez Paul we caught the 8.30 bus to Lodève. We reached Lodève in time for a look round the market and a glass of rose (why not?) before walking up the hill to the house.

We needed to stock up with food; I wanted to see what local produce was available at this time, bearing in mind that this was what we might be eating in the future years when our vegetable patch is operational. I went to the greengrocers in Lodève who sell produce from their farm in Gignac. They had aubergines, peppers, cucumber and courgettes. The aubergines were 1 euro the kilo, which meant that I bought 3 for just under a euro. This gave me an opportunity to make aubergine caviar, which we had previously only had in tubs from SuperU.

Elizabeth David thinks aubergine caviar is “sometimes rather idiotically so called”. Well she may have a point but I can recommend it anyway. I haven’t found the ideal recipe yet (If I do I’ll post it), but the principle is this – cook your aubergines until you can scoop out the flesh from within the skin. I did this by roasting them in the oven, studded with garlic, basted in olive oil and wrapped in foil, or there are various other options (boil, grill etc). You then puree the flesh with some chopped skinned tomatoes and add chopped onion, parsley, basil and whatever spices you fancy – cumin, curry? We enjoyed it cold as a starter with a Sancho baguette – if you don’t live near Sanchos then just use the nicest bread you can find around.

There were a few pears on our pear tree – they don’t taste of much but when stewed gently in Muscat with blackberries from the garden they made a good dessert served with crème fraiche.

Eating outside in the cool of the evening, we linger over another glass of wine or a Muscat, watch the bats and wait for the Pole Star and the Great Bear to appear in the sky

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