In the garden
Tomato flavoured sparkling water rolls

Went to U3A book group yesterday. I sort of enjoyed the book we read, but it was a bit of a ghost story and I’m not too keen on those. I did, however, buy a new science fantasy book in Waterstones when we were in Newcastle and am enjoying it hugely. It’s a new author to me, Markus Heitz, and it was the first book of a series called The Dwarves. Just the kind of nonsense I like. In fact, I’m enjoying it so much, I have ordered the remaining 3 books in the series from Amazon. The 1p second hand versions. I don’t particularly like reading on an e-reader, but even if I did, I would have bought these as physical books as both my brother and my Mum like to read this kind of thing, and a friend has also asked for a loan. Can’t do that with an e-book!

Our local library always has two books on a shelf by the desk that  they are recommending. I picked up two a few weeks ago. A Year In The Village Of Eternity by Tracey Lawson was one of them. It’s a true account of Tracey’s life when she moved to Campodimele in Italy. Tracey has set it as a typical year in the life of the village, rotating about the things that people eat. Campodimele has particularly long lived residents, hence the title, and has wonderful descriptions of what they eat and some lovely recipes. It sounds a fantastic way to live. Close to the rhythms of nature, growing and harvesting much of what you eat. All your neighbours being as obsessed with food as you are (speaking for myself here!) And everything cooked from scratch at home. Fresh mountain air, lots of exercise.  No wonder they live a long time!

Have you been watching the programme on aging? One of the things they talk about is a population in Okinawa, Japan, I think it was. Their staple is a vegetable, purple yam. The anthocyanins that make it purple are very protective against all kinds of things and it is thought that that protectiveness contributes a lot to the longevity of residents. So I have been looking for purple things to eat – raisins, beetroot, purple versions of peppers and carrots, red cabbage. And aubergines. Lots of recipes for aubergines. Including this lovely one from Campodimele, aubergines preserved in oil. I thought it might encourage us to have more of them if I can add them to other things in this form.

Aubergines preserved in oil

The second book I picked up from the library recommendation shelf was Tarte Tatin by Susan Loomis. This is a similar tale to the Campodimele one. Susan is American and moved to the town of Louviers, northwest of Paris and set up a cooking school. This is the second instalment of that process and is about Susan, her family and her life there whilst setting up the school.

More lovely recipes, and  another wonderful sounding way of life. My favourite ones from this book, are these two. Olive cookies and orange wine.

Olive Cookies

Orange Wine

I want go to that school, On Rue Tatin, but at $3,500 for 5 days, it is very expensive and I’m not sure I could justify that much!!.

At the U3A book group, the convener had several plastic pots of dried goods that were surplus to requirements. So I now have containers of mixed soup pulses, mung beans, wheatgerm and a handful of dried dates to add to my store cupboard. I’ll soon find a use for those 🙂


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In the garden
Tomato flavoured sparkling water rolls