it’s not the thought, it’s the gift…


Small gifts of vegetables are always welcome in our kitchen. We lack the room needed to grow them ourselves but, most of all, we lack the will power. Being surrounded by horticultural magicians, it’s clear that any effort on our part to compete would only be shaming. Whilst the markets are empty of good tomatoes, those on our neighbours’ vines are still red, ripe and delicious. Some are even still green. I noticed a very sporty broom stick parked in their garage which leads me to believe that paranormal planting is afoot. Not so much Covent Garden as Coven Garden.

We benefit from simple, thoughtful food gifts as well as the bewitched bounty of which I will speak more later. Meanwhile, our daughter had left us some courgettes and red peppers which led me to open my folder of “mean to do” recipes. As expected, the first recipe that came to light was Rachel Khoo’s Soufflée Omelette. In the complete version, the omelette is served with an eggless piperade basquaise the main ingredient of which is red peppers. As luck would have it, or maybe through the agency of local necromancy, the next recipe that revealed itself was Courgette Flans.recipe_courgette_flans2Returning for a moment to more mysterious matters. As I was chopping small wood for fire lighting this morning, I noticed my neighbour in the vicinity, no doubt enchanting frogs to leave their legs at the door and return when they’ve grown new and better ones. I thought garlic would come in handy with Walpurgis nearly upon us and asked if I could buy a “tete” from her. The word “buy” didn’t go down at all well, so I had to settle for “give”. Our grammatical differences were happily settled without recourse to my being transformed into a bat and she advised me that the garlic would appear in due course…which it did.



About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, Baking, Cheese, Cookery Writers, Cooking, courgette, courgette flan, Digital photography, Eggs, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Humour, peppers, Photographic Prints, Photography, photography course, Rachel Khoo, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to it’s not the thought, it’s the gift…

  1. Mad Dog says:

    That looks absolutely stunning! There must be witchcraft afoot in Kent too – my farmer still has a few red tomatoes every week. Perhaps it has something to do with Halloween coming up 🙂
    I think you might enjoy this video for DiverXo in Madrid:

    …and the NYT review:

    Having watched the video I think the El Glotón at €200 might be well worth it 🙂

  2. Gerlinde says:

    Your blog and photos are stunning and the recipe looks good. Something I have not done before. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Michelle says:

    Love the juxtaposition in the final photo. If you could just throw in something springlike, you’d have covered all the bases! (The food looks great, too.)

  4. For some reason, I cannot picture you chopping firewood…I think we need a photo of that next time.

  5. Amanda says:

    I love kitchen gifts too. Beautiful photos.

  6. cecilia says:

    and i have two courgettes on the kitchen table right now, the last of them unfortunately – the frosts killed the plants while i was away.. so sad when the fresh veg is gone.. i will make these little flans today, with corn starch tho, is that the same as maizena?.. c

    On Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 8:45 AM, Food, Photography & France wrote:

    > Food,Photography & France posted: ” Small gifts of vegetables are > always welcome in our kitchen. We lack the room needed to grow them > ourselves but, most of all, we lack the will power. Being surrounded by > horticultural magicians, it’s clear that any effort on our part to compete > would “

  7. lulu says:

    Your neighbor may not have wanted to give up the garlic because he/she was saving it to ward off vampires. Tis the season you know.

  8. Gardenproduceisthebestshitever! Especially when it gets paid its dues and turned into something like this.
    Witchcraft or no witchcraft, me likey 🙂

  9. platedujour says:

    I think Roger we should have a little conversion about this infinity of yours, and the light and this something on your pictures. Any time I look at your pictures I’m thinking how long it’s going to take to get there…just don’t tell me it’s the infinity 😀

  10. Francesca says:

    The question has been answered re constarch, as I too was wondering what Maizena was and thinking it might be some kind of fine cornmeal. The word Maizena seems appropriate in a discussion of broomsticks and spells though- a little ‘z’ transforms this word. Good neighbours to have.

  11. Conor Bofin says:

    Lovely and thought provoking as ever. Delicious looking garlic. A lot of the stuff I brought back is beginning to turn.

  12. Fresh fruits and vegetables always make lovely and thoughtful gifts and so much more delicious than any others!

  13. it’s always such a delight to visit here. You have a way of transforming the moments of life into particles filled with light and grace and always a dash of humour which seems particularly needed in this sad world of ours. So I thank you for doing what you do.

  14. Eha says:

    Nice recipe, Roger! You can’t get Rachel Khoo nor eggs out of your mind it seems! And, for some odd reason [hmmm!] I could not get Heston Blumenthal nor the six new Barcelona restaurants of the Adria Brothers in Barcelona out of my mind reading your repartee with Mad re David Munoz . . . are there lady curmudgeons ’cause I might qualify 🙂 !!

  15. Having just spent an evening with three French speakers, I can understand how this happened. Blasted iTranslate turned “je moine du vin rouge” into “I monk red wine.”

  16. Sally says:

    Almost too overawed to leave my few words due to previous erudite and witty comments. Need some sort of magical guidance perhaps.

  17. Aha – the witching hour is almost upon us. Hang on to that garlic and stay safe 😉

  18. My kids love these. It’s the only way my son likes courgettes. 🙂 I first saw it on the Manger blog but I imagine this lovely dish finds its way onto many a plate.

  19. EllaDee says:

    The politics of neighbour commerce… we offer to pay, they say no but what exchange in kind is appropriate if/when the lingering debt is called…

  20. Karen says:

    Little gifts from a gardening neighbor put to good use.

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