Tomato pasta

Everybody knows how to make a tomato pasta. And everybody has their own way of making it. Here is mine. Or one version of it, because of course there are several different ways of eating tomatoes or tomato sauce on pasta. Im not giving a formal recipe, it all comes down to taste and preference.

  • Start by making the sauce: Peel and slice 1 large onion. Fry in some olive oil until caramelized. Add one 400 g can of peeled tomatoes. Add one 200 g can of tomato coulis. Add two TBSP of balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon juice.. Season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes to reduce the sauce until thick.
  • Boil fresh or a packet of spaghetti for 4 people according to the instructions. Fresh pasta takes two minutes to be al dente. Drain and pour into a large serving bowl.
  • Pour the sauce ove the pasta. Shred a handful of basil leaves onto the pasta and drizzle with some olive oil.
  • Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Serves 4 people

Suggestions

  • I prefer to serve the tomato sauce with either fresh spaghetti or fresh linguine.
  • Add a tsp of sugar if you prefer a slightly sweeter sauce.
  • If you use fresh tomatoes, peel the tomatoes first and make the cooking time a bit longer.
  • You can also add some tomato paste to the sauce for a deeper tomato taste.

Winter in Provence.

Saint Saturnin les Apt. This is our town and here are a few images of it in winter. Provence is quiet in winter with most places closed. But that doesn’t take away from its beauty.

Village house

Village house in St Saturnin les apt

Joseph Talon, the father of Trufficulture

la mairie de St Saturnin les Apt

Spinach lasagna..and 1001 gardeners’ secrets.

I always think of lasagna as a true homy meal…served with a fresh green salad and a pungent vinaigrette and of course a crusty bread to sweep your plate…It can be served in a large oven-to-table dish, which is what I prefer with a lasagne. It can also be served in portion dishes, which makes it of course a bit more elegant.

Suggestions:

  • You can use any vegetable, but don’t use too big a variety. The same Golden three rule, as for any other decoration-, architect-, flower arranging- subject applies here too. Less says more.
  • Frozen spinach can be used instead of fresh. There is no exact measure…check your dish and measure how much veggies and sauce and cheese you would need.
  • Pasta sheets: Fresh or dried pasta sheets can be used but make sure to use enough liquid in the tomato/vegetable mixture for the pasta sheets to absorb. Pasta sheets can be cooked beforehand, which means more work!
  • I prefer only two layers of pasta and I end with a third layer of vegetbale and béchamel sauce. But if you like more pasta in your dish, make as many layers as you like by spreading the layers thinner.
  • Béchamel sauce: Heat 500 ml milk along with 5 parsley stems, 4 whole peppercorns, a small carrot, branch of thyme and 1 celery stick. Leave to infuse  and to cool completely. Make a roux in a saucepan by melting 1 heaped TBSP butter. Whisk in  1 heaped TBSP flour. Leave to cook on medium heat unitl it becomes frothy…about 3 minutes. Remove the herbs from the milk and add slowly to the butter mixture, while whisking the whole time. Leave on low heat and stir until thick. If your sauce is too thick, add a little milk. I like my sauce like thick cream. I definitly don’t want to plaster a house! Season to taste.
  • This is not a recipe where exact amounts are necessary. Add a little more spinach or less, add more courgettes or less..be interested in what you’re doing, taste and taste again.
  • I serve with a drizzling of olive oil…just to give that bit extra mediterranean touch…

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…1001 garders’ secrets –  Jean-Michel Groult…

As mentioned before, I love garden b0oks…well, all books for that matter…new ones, old ones, worn ones, impeccable ones, thick ones, thin ones, beautiful ones, ordinary ones and all topics…but for today I’ll stick to a little book that gives so much advice on simple gardening. Just 1001 tips to make work in the garden a pleasure. there are many books on the market, worldwide, in all languages, presenting the same. We have all come to a stage where we are forced to do simplify work, whether in a garden or elsehwere. And we have come to a stage where we are forced to consider healthier ways of gardening…letting go of the pesticides in favour of more natural ways…plants, prevention, insects, animals…

My garden is all set for autumn. I’m just waiting for the colours to deepen a bit more before taking some photos. And in a few weeks, I’ll be setting the garden up for winter – wrapping the pots and some plants, wrapping and storing all garden furniture, setting out some winter decorations. But more about that later.   For now there is still a lot of garden reading and writing going on and here is a little taste of a book that inspires gardening all year round.

So, why not get out to the bookstore and find a similar little book that inspires you to go for a greener, healthier but still beautiful and delighful garden, filled with colour and harvests, buzzing animal life and quiet moments of reflection.

All images below taken from the book, 1001 secrets de jardiniers.

…Simple and easy garden care…

* gone are the times where gardening was hard work to keep in tip top condition, even when being a natural garden. After all, we visit a garden to sow happiness, not difficulties. *

…à la cuisine…

* flavour above all else, wild plants, make vinegar!, store dried, cordon-bleu tricks *

…enhance your space…

* keep your garden seasonal, some interest in every seaon. let it breathe some freedom by breaking hard lines with freeflowing and -growing plants, leave some shrubs to grow high and shape onto arches hwich will give as much charm as climbing creepers. *

…baskets full of fruit and vegetables…

* what can be more gratifying thatn harvesting your own fresh fruit and vegetables? but it can be hard work and tiring as well if not simplified and made easy for yourself. *

… a green view…

* See the garden as you wouild see the interior of your home….walls with furniture and decorations and wall hangings. apply the same to your garden…not only a green lawn in an empty garden. See trees and shrubs and creepers and garden furniture as the decorations of your garden and keep it as aestethic as you would your house. *

…348 pages of secrets for a healthy, interesting and inspiring garden, simplified to do it the easy and environmently friendly way…

…à la prochaine!..

Ronelle