Tag Archives: potatoes

Boulangère potatoes and man versus pigeon

It’s possibly not something you’ve tried, but it’s not easy to convince pigeons to move house. Especially if they’re luxuriating in the pigeon equivalent of a smallish, but charming château, and you’re trying to entice them into a one-bedroom flat with no balcony. Luckily, Luc loves a challenge, and we need their present accommodation to expand the wine-making cellar, so war has been declared. As Luc wearily explained to me that the pigeons were resisting the move, his hands were curled into determined fists, and he strode off punching the air and exclaiming ‘Je les aurai! Je les aurai!’ (I will get them! I will get them!)

Last week I received a copy of ‘International Hatchery Practice’ in the letterbox by mistake. At least I think it was by mistake. It is a very technical journal containing ‘practical information for better breading and hatching’. I thought that the article entitled ‘Chick Performance’ was rather open to interpretation, especially as it precedes articles about cockerels, fertility, and diseased eggs… Anyway, although it’s obviously quite gripping and very informative, I think I’ll resist taking out a subscription for the time-being.

Luc and a neighbour have taken to building and installing little wooden bridges everywhere (there were seven at last count). Although they are most welcome — they mean we can now cross our little rivers and streams without getting wet feet — I’m worried they might have become an addiction, as the last one crosses a dry ditch and is, as such, totally superfluous. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the rainy season when large puddles form; are they going to be able to resist temptation?

These potatoes are called bakers’ potatoes as, traditionally, they were given to the local baker to slow bake in his bread oven.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

800g potatoes, peeled

1 large onion

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

150ml chicken or vegetable stock

100ml cream

1 tablespoon olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Sprigs of rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare a gratin dish by coating with the olive oil. Slice the potatoes fairly thinly. Peel and chop the onion. Arrange a layer of potatoes over the base of the dish, followed by some onion, garlic and seasoning. Continue to layer the potatoes, onion and garlic and seasoning, finishing with a layer of potatoes. Pour the stock and cream over the top and add the sprigs of rosemary. Cook for about an hour, until the top layer is golden-brown.

Coral lentil potato cakes and a strangely obsequious dog


I never thought I would see the day that one of our animals proved too yielding; I’m used to them giving me a withering ‘WTF is your problem?’ look if ever dare to raise my voice. Even making allowance for his delicate psychological history, Hugo (over-cosseted, ergo neurotic labrador) surprised me yesterday. We had given him a bone which he immediately hid before checking for potential bone-stealing predators. Once satisfied the coast was clear, he returned to retrieve his ‘treasure’ to discover that the black hen had ‘borrowed’ it. Instead of, at very least, snarling dangerously in an attempt to intimidate her into giving it back, he just cocked his head to one side philosophically and sat down to watch her. Whilst I do admit that the sight of a hen chewing on a bone five times the size of her head is a sight to behold, I found myself almost urging him to ‘swing for her’. Of course, he was only doing to a ‘T’ exactly what we had spent weeks teaching him, which is : ‘even if they’re incredibly annoying, we don’t beat up, eat or even intimidate our fellow inmates.’ In the end, his pathetic expression won me over and I took the hen out on his behalf. He and the bone disappeared for the rest of the day.

These delicious patties contain protein in the form of lentils, but obviously no bones. My nerves are in shreds where bones are concerned for the time-being.

Ingredients (makes about eight patties):

120g coral lentils

3 medium-size potatoes

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1 teaspoon paprika

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

3 tablespoons chickpea flour

Boil and mash the potatoes and cook the lentils according to instructions. Drain the lentils well and mix into the potato mash. Fry the onion, garlic, red pepper and cumin seeds in a small amount of olive oil until soft (about ten minutes). Incorporate into potato and lentil mixture and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Form smallish round patties about 4 cm in diameter, coat them in the chickpea flour and set aside. Coat a largish frying pan with olive oil and a small amount of coconut oil and fry the patties on each side until golden brown, adding more oil if they appear too dry.

Reasons to love lentils:

Not only are they delicious and very versatile, lentils are also an excellent source of fibre and protein. They also contain iron, folate and potassium in high quantites. Lentils are gluten-free and last but not least, have a very low glycemic index…

Beware of the ferocious dog!