Petit pois dip with mint and goats cheese and garden stories.

It is time for nature. For long walks. For the garden. Double digging and planting. For pruning and sowing. And for observing. After a hard winter, nature is on the verge of exploding into its exuberant spring plumage. To harmonize with the new growth and hope springing up all around, I wanted something green. Petits pois came to mind with its vibrant green .   I call it a dip, but it is a spread, a paté, a guacamole, a tapenade too… I added Maroccan mint, some freshly sprouted seeds, soft goats cheese; it is early spring on a bruschetta. Nothing more can be said.

  • In a next post, we’ll talk a little about sprouting seeds, which is something we all should be doing at our homes!

Suggestions:

  • Instead of serving the dip on bread, it can be served in individual small glasses or bowls and eaten with a spoon as a starter and some bread on the side.
  • Or serve as a little salad on a bed of young spinach leaves.
  • Add some dried currants for a little sweetness.
  • Use other vegetables like fava beans or a mixture of the two.
  • Consider also crushed steamed broccoli or steamed courgettes.
  • Don’t skimp on the mint.
  • Some mayonnaise or cream can be added to the mixture to give it more of a dip texture. Serve with carrot and celery sticks.
  • Serve with toasted bread slices or fresh crusty baguette slices.


Let’s put winter with its deep conversation and full bodied Cabernets and hypnotic fireplaces behind for a while. Let’s move outside to the stories of nature. To the optimistic nesting of the gulls on the Loire islands. To the plunging flights of the swallows. The fearless circling of the eagles. Let’s focus on the delicate entrance of the apple blossom.  The almond blossom. Let’s admire the elegance of the magnolia and not shy away from the shameless flirtation of the sweeping wildflowers.

From the beginning of time, man had been entranced by nature. Living by it, dying by it. Cursing by it, loving by it. We live by it force every day. 

…it is only when you start to garden, probably after 50 – that you realize something important happens every day – Geoffrey B Charlesworth…


I can’t pass by a book on garden stories.  Some day I’ll share one of my own stories from my garden journal. But for now, I’d like to share four of my favorite garden story books. (The lovely bookmarks you see in the following images, was a gift from  la belle Monique)

…A growing gardener by Abbie Zabar. Delightful sketches about her garden on the rooftop, with delightful  accompanying drawings, a feast for the eye and an enrichment for the soul!…

Les affranchis jardiniers by Annick Bertrand-Gillen…..a couple living the simple  way, providing for themselves from nature, doing it all the biological way. I adore this book.We experience a bit of their life with them, their garden and home and it gives us envy to follow in their footsteps. A beautiful life. A beautiful garden, open to the public in summer….

Simple pleasures of the garden by Susannah Seton…...a collection of stories and recipes, quotes and tips for every season. This is a book to be read outside in the shade of the walnut, or curled up by the fireplace, or in the splendor of autumn by the riverside, it makes you love every season.

True nature by Barbara Bash…..a writer/illustrator taking solitary retreats, living close to nature with only her thoughts and art and her journal. I received this as a gift from a good friend an fellow artist, the very creative Lindsay who sent it to me when I was not in the best of places. It was wonderful food for my thoughts then and still is!

… welcoming spring…

And last but not least…have a spring inspired look at Jain’s day inthe country!

Don’t throw outt the water you’ve used to boil your eggs in. They are rich in mineral salts…use it to water your plants with.

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25 responses

  1. A simple, beautiful and perfect recipe for the season, and a gorgeous picture to feast the eyes on!

    25/03/2010 at 13:11

  2. Vraiment tu m’as mis larme à l’oeil~

    En plus de ta superbe recette fraiche et sa petite carte recette aquarelle….Tu partages des pensées de printemps et jardinage..ainsi que tes belles photos..

    Je dois admettre qu’en voyant le titre ” Les Affranchis Jardiniers”..j’ai tout de suite pensé a toi et ton mari..
    Et puis en voyant le mari tresser les cheveux de sa femme..♥
    et mes petits souvenirs..ce fut la petite larme à l’oeil.
    Tu es remplie de talents..
    Tu rirais.. le seul format de produits poissonniers dans une boîte quasi~ jolie ..trouvé à mon magasin du coin..des sardines Britanniques/Irlandaises..La date d’expiration semblait être 2009..étampée sur la boîte! Belle présentation..pour un de mes gendres qui lit les dates avec une loupe:)

    A venir!!

    Merçi..tout est splendide.

    25/03/2010 at 13:46

  3. Thanks for this tasty recipe & for those lovely prints & tips!

    I allways enjoy your lovely posts!

    25/03/2010 at 18:13

  4. I always enjoy reading how people move from one season to the next.

    25/03/2010 at 18:56

  5. Thanks for all the lovely things on your post Ronell! My husband and I love your quote of Geoffrey B Charlesworth….. Arno (my husband) has started a fruit and veggie garden over a year ago and told me all the wonderful lessons of life he has learnt from gardening……

    My créme fraîche came out delicious and we are having the salmon tonight…..can’t wait!

    25/03/2010 at 19:06

  6. Wonderful tips Ronell!!! I never new that about the egg water. so interesting. lovely books, recipes and sketches!

    25/03/2010 at 23:06

  7. Oh lala where oh where did my post go?
    I had thanked you for this lovely billet..I had said it was uncanny how some of our things matched!

    I told you that I had une larme à l’oeil..reading it..♥
    I had remarked(in French) that the book of Les Affranchis Jardiniers reminded me of you and your husband..and how I loved him braiding her hair.
    The quote..the chalkboard..

    La recette avec l’aquarelle correspondante..

    I love peas.Pine nuts.. baguette..etc..

    My little sardine story revolves around the only cute tins available at my corner store w/ and expiration date marked 2009 right ON the cute tin..I have a son-in-law that checks dates:(

    They are the Irish/British imported ones..
    I will be on a mission as soon as I can..We have hundreds of stores.. a bit away..one walking distance..that’s the one I checked..
    Thanks for the beauty…of it all~

    This post will bore you if ever the one I typed this morning resurfaces..

    I do tend to repeat myself though..so it’s just getting to know me a bit more..in my true way:)

    26/03/2010 at 00:46

  8. sue

    Wow–this post was a feast for all the senses, Ronell! I love it. Great food, beautiful presentation, and these books and lovely bookmarks are gorgeous. What a delight. I’m so ready to make that recipe: it sounds delicious. Gardening, lovely books, beautiful art, good food…all of these are good for the soul as well. Happy spring, Ronel!

    26/03/2010 at 01:07

  9. sue

    ps
    whoops–I misspelled your name–hit the “submit” key a tad too soon, Ronell–sorry!

    26/03/2010 at 01:08

  10. I love the garden quote on the black board, it is so true! The picture of the man plaiting the woman’s hair is priceless(I assume it is not yours). I am ready though for fireplaces and full bodies reds!!! Happy spring and the recipe is on the list for this weekend….

    26/03/2010 at 04:57

  11. This is so neat! Your photo, drawings, text and then a review of books to boot! What a treat! I confess I have never been much interested in peas but now after reading you I am thinking of changing this mindset! Also love “Les apprentis jardiniers”

    26/03/2010 at 16:29

  12. Mm, super delicate. I just moved to Paris and I’m trying to learn how to cook some French food, so your blog is really great for me!

    27/03/2010 at 08:49

  13. Hey, this looks delicious. And, yes, we all should be growing food. I just planted an organic garden not too long ago for my Mother, and soon I will have one here. Can’t wait for your ‘sprouting seeds’ post…

    27/03/2010 at 15:17

  14. Your dear friend Gillian introduced me to you wonderful blog – I’m excited to have a new, gentle spot to visit with someone that loves goats cheese! Awesome!

    28/03/2010 at 01:08

  15. Ronelle, your posts always inspire me. I had just bought fresh peas, and have been spending long days in my garden, tidying it up and setting out young seedlings. Reading your blog is like sitting down with a cup of fresh tea with a friend and admiring the day’s work.

    31/03/2010 at 06:40

  16. Tes photos sont aussi belles que tes recettes illustrées … Chez toi aussi,le printemps arrive et c’est tant mieux ! ;o)
    BIsous
    Hélène

    01/04/2010 at 09:04

  17. Abbie Zabar’s book is one of my very favorites! I’ll have to check out your other suggestions.

    02/04/2010 at 22:28

  18. Oh les petis pois frais! quel délice! elle m’a l’air délicieuse ta tartine, c’est vrai que rien n’est plus relaxant que de jardiner, c’est le moment vu que le printemps arrive à petits pas, il a eu du mal à sortir cette année on dirait!

    03/04/2010 at 06:06

  19. thank you for your visits and comments and encouraging thoughts…also those who send their support and encouragemtn by email…I appreciate every one!
    ronell

    03/04/2010 at 17:33

  20. The idea to serve it in a verrine is brilliant!
    LL

    04/04/2010 at 18:04

  21. I will try to do this at home :) I do hope I can!

    05/04/2010 at 16:25

  22. Maramara

    I enjoy your posts! I’m brushing up on my French cooking, studying French too on Babbel.com (http://www.babbel.com).
    They have a lot of food vocabulary there. It’s cool to learn the cooking and language in tandem.

    06/04/2010 at 13:19

  23. Absolutely mouthwatering!

    10/05/2010 at 17:46

  24. Pingback: Foodbuzz 24×24: Lusty Month of May Springtime Jazz Feast • Taste With The Eyes • where the image is meant to titillate and inspire the cook

  25. I came here via Taste with the Eyes and I am so glad I did! The recipe has me enthralled and the spring peas are just coming in! I am putting that garden quote everywhere. It is so wonderfully true!

    01/06/2010 at 14:38

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