The potager shed

The potager shed


Welcome to my blog. This is just my personal garden and food diary. I’m a flexitarian, vegetarian at home, but more flexible when with friends. I’m trying to grow our own food so we leave a lighter footprint on this precious planet.

Over the past six years I have been transforming a one acre former vineyard on a steep hill into a garden. There are distinct areas; an 80m2 vegetable garden, a small orchard, a pond and a sunken path flanked by two long mixed borders.

We are in a small hamlet near Faugères in the Occitanie (formerly Languedoc) region of France. Our soil is rocky schist. Summer temperatures can reach 40℃ and in winter sink as low as -10℃. Water comes rarely but is diluvial when it does.


A bean feast of Moroccan flavours

A bean feast of Moroccan flavours

We currently have lots of new potatoes, carrots, onions and peas coming out of the kitchen garden. Ali thinks they are so delicious that we should have them on their own but, as I’m the cook, I felt we should at least try to have a more balanced supper. Hence the following protein-filled dish. I made it up once I thought about available ingredients and it proved delicious so I thought I’d include it here.

For two people plus leftovers. Oven on 160 fan, 180 ordinary & 5.5 gas

What’s in it?

2 large sweet red peppers

1 large sweet white onion, chopped

400 gms tinned red kidney beans, drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Ground pepper

Pomegranate molasses

Balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon mixed Moroccan spices - ground coriander, cumin, mace, cayenne, allspice, turmeric, clove, cinammon


How’s it made?

A couple of hours before

Put the two whole sweet red peppers into the oven for around 40 minutes or until the skin is black. Turn the oven off and leave the oven door shut and get on with other things.

35 minutes before serving

Sauté the chopped onion in olive oil until softened

Add in the Moroccan spices & cook for 3 or 4 minutes

Meanwhile peel the skin off the cooked red pepper, remove the pips and stalk. Slice into bits. You don’t need to be at all precise about it.

Chuck in the tin of kidney beans, a gloop or two of pomegranate molasses and about a dessert spoon of balsamic vinegar and simmer gently for 20 minutes or so. Check the seasoning and adjust.

Tear some coriander to decorate the top

To serve

I served this with home-grown new potatoes, carrots & peas, along with garlic scapes (flower stalks picked before flowering) which I cooked in butter. All drizzled with melted butter. Divine. You could add garlic to the bean dish, but as I was serving garlic scapes I didn’t feel it needed any more.

Intense blackcurrant jelly

Intense blackcurrant jelly

Productive workshop

Productive workshop