L'eau des Collines (The Water of the Hills) is the collective name for two brilliant novels set in Provence: Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. They are best known now as the inspiration for two French language films of the same name, made in the 1980s. The films are beautiful, but the novels are sublime. Zelda likes to re-read them at least every few years.
The cassoulet is a famous French 'peasant dish'. It must be made with white beans but then whatever meat is available is traditionally added. Why not, therefore, add vegetarian alternatives, if the finished dish tastes great?
2tbsp olive oil
2 slices vegetarian bacon, defrosted if frozen
2 vegetarian sausages
1 quorn fillet or 50g chicken-style pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
300ml vegetable stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed
1tsp dried thyme
2tbsp tomato puree
½tsp smoked paprika
100g coarse breadcrumbs
2 bay leaves
In a large ovenproof pan, heat 1tbsp of the oil and fry the bacon. Remove from the pan and cut into pieces.
Add the rest of the oil and cook the pepper and onion until it starts to soften.
Cut the sausages and quorn fillet into chunks and add to the pan as well. Stir together until all are slightly browned but not burnt.
Top up with the stock, add the tomato puree, thyme, paprika and bay leaves and mix all together well, over a low heat.