…any day now.
Benji’s hovering over the grapes, ready to pick what will be a very late harvest… it’s about three weeks later than previous years.
And he has a (very enthusiastic) little helper, checking on sugar levels.
Thrills and spillage in the home of Kat (& Benjamin Darnault Wines) in Minervois, South of France
A little mini update from the vineyards…
‘Les Vendanges’ (harvest) will begin remarkably late for us this year, with picking beginning as late as one week from now. Yes we’re enjoying beautiful sunny days in these first few days of September, but the grapes are having a hard time ripening due to 2013’s fairly cool Spring and late Summer. Waiting waiting waiting. Benji’s getting those annual, pre-
mens vendanges nerves and I’m keeping food on the table…
But even if the grapes aren’t all sweet and ripe for the picking, there is some ripe fruit to be had… After an evening’s inspection of the vignes (vines), we’ve been tucking into the wild mures (blackberries) out the back!…
And hey Dad, Happy Birthday!!….
OK straight up. I love drinking.
And I love this woman.
She likes drinking too –
“My illustrious career with the bottle began with the person my mother used to refer to somewhat hopefully as ‘your naughty friend’, Lisa Jenkins, implying that without Lisa’s influence I would probably have spent my downtime cross-stitching and nursing sick orphans”… – Marieke Hardy, ‘You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead’
And she is so hellishly cheeky. I loved this book. It’s beautiful, funny, poignant, sexy, delirious, profound – and so, so WRONG.
Hey, hey it’s time for some more sights from around our ‘hood!
Phew, I hope you got through that!
I was on the phone to Mum and Dad last week and mentioned that I’d just cooked up some Milk Pork – ‘Porc au Lait’ – for the next day’s dinner. It’s funny, these conversations about food are always totally out of whack with our time zones. It was 11pm my time and 8.30am the following morning, their time. Normally it’s me cleaning up the breakfast dishes as Dad explains with excitement what he’s got on the stove for dinner.
I’ve never served them Porc au Lait but I know they’d love it. It ticks all our family’s favourite food boxes: MEAT, lots of sauce, herbs, garlic and the required ‘three veg’ – and it is easy to prepare. It’s one of those old-fashioned French dishes that is simply delicious comfort food. My husband and mother-in-law showed me how to cook this years ago and I can’t count how many times I’ve prepared it since. We had the poker men for dinner + a few UK visitors and it went down a treat with the new ‘Boulevard Napoleon‘ wines – white and red.
1.5kg roll of roasting pork – preferably of shoulder (fillet is drier and less fat, don’t want that)
1 litre full cream milk
2 large onions, sliced
6 carrots, cut into in large chunks
8 potatoes, as above
8 small turnips, as above
4-5 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme
bunch fresh sage (about 10-12 leaves)
2 sprigs rosemary
Fry up the onions in heavy cast iron pot with a big chunk of butter (30-40g) and a little olive oil, until golden.
Add the roll of pork and brown on each side over medium -high heat.
When the meat is almost all browned, add the garlic and salt, pepper to taste. I find garlic burns very easily, so I add it near the end of the browning.
Pour over the milk (meat should be 3/4 covered, if not add more ) and add the herbs.
Cover with lid and let simmer for an hour.
Add the carrots and turnips and keep simmering for another hour.
Add potatoes and keep simmering until they are tender.
Serve with lashings of dijon mustard on the side and a big white or red wine!
N.B. If this is prepared the night before eating, I don’t add any of the vegetables until the next day.
And. I cook this for a few hours, the longer the better. I like it when the meat falls apart. A lot of recipes cook it for less though, and you keep the form of the pork roll and then slice it. As the French would say, ‘as you want’…