Sandra has taken our washing from the machine, hung it out and returned it neatly pressed on the bed. She is such a beautiful person. Quiet and gentle, hardly creating a ripple as she prepares a meal or encourages the children. Though she is shy, her English is very good and she picks up subtle meanings and translates for Marco with ease. I walk around the garden and see where they have had courgettes and tomatoes planted but there are a lot of weeds. Very busy lives they both have and I explain to Sandra how she can plant next spring without digging all the weeds by placing wet newspaper over and pea straw. She seems very interested so I will send her some pictures as examples. She tells me Marco loved our garden and how the back deck had built in seats along it and he wants to do the same on their terrace.
Marco has gone to a meeting and while he’s away we plan our next move. We are supposed to go to Barcelona but find out the track has a problem after flooding and we can’t go until Monday so Gilbert books a couple of nights in Perpignan and we are to leave tomorrow at ten.
I tell Sandra I want to watch her cook so I can learn and she smiles shyly. Her Mother is a great cook she tells me and shows me a cold soup her Mother has sent over for us. They are concerned because I did not eat all the duck heart on kebab sticks at the restaurant, nor all the foie grae last night nor all the duck breast Marco seared either side so it was beautifully rare. I tell them Gilbert loves duck but I not so much. They have gone into great detail explaining how the ducks are force fed to fatten and what a delicacy it is. I tell them I have enjoyed the taste but I can’t eat a lot as it is a bit rich for me so I can only have a little. They had planned roast chicken for tonight and they want to change the menu now to something I would like but I say that chicken will be fine, and fine it is.
First course is the tomato and garlic soup served cold and here is the recipe. I will certainly be trying this at home.
1kg tomatoes, peeled and seeded
250g of bread with crust removed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Half. Glass of olive oil (normal glass)
Add a little water if the mixture is too thick and Refrigerate. Serve with crusty bread of course.
We follow that with lightly seared chicken liver, salted on crusty bread. I take a bite and though it is tasty I leave on the side. Marco moves it off my plate and says he can see I don’t like. Haha!
For main course she has roasted a chicken to a crispy outside skin with whole roasted garlic cloves and served with mushrooms that they had preserved Sent from my iPad
For dessert we have ‘Millasson’
Blend together 2 cups of milk, 1 egg, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour and a flavour essence. She adds a moroccan essence of orange flower. Blend till it resembles a batter and pour into a well greased flan dish and bake in an oven at 180 degrees for around 30 minutes till set. It can be served cooled simply with a sprinkle of icing sugar or with berries. It is a nice end. We say no to the cheese tonight as we are full!
I think I have learned here that meals can be simple and flavoursome. We always loved Mums cooking. It was like meat and seven veg rather than the expected three veg and layered with home made gravies or sauces, but here I see less is more. I like this style of cooking. Flavours subtly layered. Three small courses and a meal finished with a specialty cheese rather a feast.
After dinner Marco asks what are our plans for tomorrow and we tell him what we have booked. He’s a bit cross that we didn’t ask him or wait for him to help us as he had ideas that are much better. He wanted us to stay a couple more nights. We were silly not waiting, I have to agree but once Gilbert has a task it’s all go and it is all booked now. Marco gives us a good telling off. I guess we are used to being independent. Sorry Marco.