keeping a lid on it…


I dislike fridge door stickers a lot. They, like limpets on a boat’s bottom, appear out of nowhere and multiply. Fridge door stickers, limpets and flies may well come from the same family. Summer time is indeed here and the living is easy but it is not little babies that are spreading their wings it’s a monstrous horde of flies and I….I am bored of the flies. Keeping flies off the food while cooking demands the skills of a retiarius …I enter the kitchen to the roar of the extractor and washing machine to be confronted by a host of flies…. moving silently on the balls of my feet around the arena kitchen, armed with nothing but a fly swat and net, I relentlessly dispatch winged opponents one after another yet on they come: mine not to question why, mine but to kill a fly. There is an edge to cooking with, should I say in the company of, flies; an edge that does not allow an unguarded moment, an edge that demands that one forgoes the pleasure of self congratulation on taking a shimmering gold frittata from the oven,  an edge that demands that a lid be put on it at once, an edge that says that nothing edible may be left uncovered for a moment.  My summer kitchen has become a culinary seraglio wherein reside warm tarts and frittatas, veiled odalisques beneath their protective nets which reveal to the inquisitive eye but a diffused and featureless image  save for those unguarded moments when a net is left carelessly drawn aside as in the lewd picture above.

Frittatas are much of a muchness meaning that their muchness depends on how well balanced were the ingredients and seasonings, how good were the eggs and how patient was the cook. The frittata that is the subject of this piece would not have seen the light of that summer’s evening but for our neighbour’s generous and unexpected gift of six fresh eggs, an extraordinarily favourable exchange rate, in return for our donation of a bag of stale bread to be gnawed on and pecked at by her, soon to be dinner, rabbits and chickens.

Courgette, thyme and Parmesan frittata
This particular version, which used all six eggs, fed two hungry people. I’m not sure if that’s too many eggs for two people but if you think it is, use less.
Slice a large courgette into rounds, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook them in butter in a frying pan until they soften and start to take colour. Meanwhile beat the eggs in a large bowl…season and add fresh thyme leaves and a generous grating of fresh Parmesan. Pour the egg mixture over the courgettes and gently push the edges with a wooden spatula to let more of the mixture touch the hot base of the pan. Leave the pan on a low heat for 5 or 6 minutes, kill any flies that come near, and then put the pan into the middle of a preheated oven at 190C. Watch through the oven door and take it out when it looks right to you. Serve at room temperature with a green salad…..small chunks of parboiled new potatoes, roasted in olive oil with some unpeeled garlic cloves and then sprinkled generously with finely chopped fresh parsley are also very good.

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 2017, Cheese, Cooking, courgette, Courgette, Digital photography, Eggs, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, French countryside, Herbs and Spices, Parmesan, parmesan frittata, Photography, photography course, Recipes, Salad, Still life, Thyme, thyme, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to keeping a lid on it…

  1. Ardys says:

    Sometimes I can’t believe coincidences. Just sat down with my dinner and thought I’d read your post. My dinner is baked courgette omelette 🙂 Yours is prettier.

  2. The Millers Tale says:

    Flies are dreadful here too, attracted by the 14 day-old rubbish in domestic wheelie bins. I have quarantined ours well beyond the house and ordered a fly curtain. Aesthetics be damned.

  3. Roger, I have the solution for you. OI have ordered a small (for msll will be sufficient colony of swallows to be delivered to and installed in your kitchen. You might lose a little top-of-the-cupboard space, but will gain from seeing these agile creatures darting about eliminating the flies. A small amount of bird poop on the tarte tartin is, I think, a small price to pay. Of course once the flies have been exterminated there is the small problem of feeding the birds and their offspring, but you are a resourceful fellow and no doubt will think of something. Loosing Molly the cat on them would be poor form. I hope this helps. James

  4. Mad Dog says:

    That looks delicious – I’m quite fond of a frittata and its cousin the tortilla. I recommend installing screen doors and screens on the windows. They work wonders in the Southern States and Australia. Otherwise, feed the cat a bit less – most cats love to torture insects 😉

    • Michelle says:

      Can one of you all explain to me why screens never caught on in Europe? I have never understood that.

    • That’s a good idea and we do indeed have them here…..I just don’t have the money! The screen doors are tricky any way as we don’t have any sort of porch, meaning the doors are flush to the outside of the building. Molly just look at flies and I can see him thinking “not much meat on that”:)

      • Mad Dog says:

        In the meantime, you can get little half window screens on a sprung wooden frame, which fit a lot of windows…
        I taught a kitten in Australia to chase flies by lifting her up to where they were perched on the ceiling. Fly catching became her favourite game, though it’s probably too late for Molly 😉

      • We can get kits for windows here but it’s such a game as every window in the house is a different size…as are the doors! The Velux are all the same but Velux fly excluders are beyond my budget. In the end…you live with it. Molly is much happier attacking my feet as I lay sleeping than he would be hunting flies:)

  5. One of the few things I’ll miss when we move back are window screens to keep the flies out! I know fruit flies like apple cider vinegar and then they drown in it, wonder if that would get other flies.

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