Lulu and the green peas

Green peas and purple beans

On ira chez Louisa,” (We’ll go to Louisa’s house) I told Lulu as I was trying to get her ready.

Remove her pajamas. Brush her teeth. Dress.

Such straightforward activities in the day, I’ve quickly learned, even if simple, can take a long time. Oh yes they do…

I knew I shouldn’t make an issue of it. I didn’t want to focus my attention on it, reminding myself, as to help, that many of my mum friends also say that It always takes for ever to leave the house in the morning. Our little ones are persons with strong opinions.

But hints like Garden. Louisa. Outside. Soquette the cat. I knew these would work like magic.

Instantly, my words piqued Lulu’s interest. “Jardin ?” she repeated, looking excited.

The change happened right there. Lulu removed her pajamas without fuss. She brushed her teeth and agreed to the clothes we chose together. She even let me braid her hair.

She was ready.

So as promised, I drove her to her little friend’s house, to feed Soquette, sit in the little chairs at the back of the house, and then collect peas, tomatoes, zucchini and beans, since I am looking after my friends’ garden while they are vacationing in France.

And oh how much fun the two of us had that morning in Louisa’s garden!

We found beautifully sweet green peas, delicious cherry tomatoes and zucchini enormous in size. And as to the beans, I could not get over their dramatic deep purple color.

Lulu started to help with the beans but fairly quickly showed a strong preference for the peas. She was a champion at collecting them.

I found one!” she’d exclaim every time she’d spot a pod. “Open it please!” she’d add.

She was quick at making the peas disappear inside her mouth as soon as we added more in our white colander.

I was smiling while watching the scene. I couldn’t help but feel moved as I remembered my mother and I sitting in our garden in France when I was Lulu’s age. Every summer, we’d be sharing the exact same pea activity. I knew I used to be as skilled as Lulu at the eating part.

Tu m’en laisses pour le dîner de ce soir, d’accord?” (You will leave some for tonight’s dinner, ok?) I eventually told her.

Oui,” she replied casually without stopping to eat. She wasn’t listening.

She was enjoying a delicious mid-morning snack moment that I simply could not interrupt.

I’m doing it toute seule!” (I am doing it on my own!) she added proudly every once in a while, between peas.

It didn’t matter if there would not be many peas left. I was already thinking that dinner would revolve around the idea of a medley of spring greens.

Since I had fava beans and green asparagus from the market, I would steam them with the peas in a very simple way, and then I’d serve the veggies with millet and a vinaigrette with piquant.

It’s a dish I’ve prepared a lot this season. One that I absolutely love for the cheerful hues of green it offers on the plate. For its simplicity and freshness.

So that’s what we ate.

Lulu, in particular, was paying attention to the peas. “C’est toi qui les a ramassés,” (You picked them!) I told her when I served her some on her plate.

That immediately brought a happy look on her face.

She was carefully choosing each pea before bringing it to her mouth. Her engagement in her food showed that she was really enjoying it.

And by watching her and hearing words like I did it maman slip out of her mouth here and there, I knew she’d be talking about our morning at Louisa’s garden again. She’d be telling me about how much fun she had had when she ate the peas, when she tried to catch butterflies and when she petted Soquette the cat.

I knew that she had created a memory around all of these.

Give body to the vinaigrette with mustard, lemon and garlic; and tons of garden flavor with mixed herbs: dill, parsley and basil were the ones I chose.

Serve it with the steamed greens and millet, and ricotta salata and slices of prosciutto on the side.

Humble food that fits perfectly the mood of a hot summer day. And oh so delicious!

On another note, I was really honored this morning to find out–thank you Hilda and Keiko for letting me know–that the English newspaper The Independent chose La Tartine Gourmande as one of their 50 Best Food Wesbites. See the complete list to be inspired!

Millet with steamed spring greens and its lemon vinaigrette

Millet with steamed spring greens and its lemon vinaigrette

For 4 people

You need:

  • 1 cup dry millet
  • 1 cup fava beans
  • 1 cup shelled green peas
  • 16 green long asparagus stems

For the vinaigrette:

  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey-flavored mustard
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pistachio oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil, dill and parsley


  • Cook the millet and keep it warm on the side (I use 1 cup dry millet to 3 cups water or light chicken stock, with a pinch of salt).
  • Cook the fava beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Rinse them under cold water. Remove the bean carefully from each pod; set aside.
  • Steam the peas and asparagus stems for only 1 to 2 minutes and rinse them under cold water.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients in this order: sea salt and pepper, mustard, lemon juice, garlic. Emulsify with the oils.
  • Top the millet with the peas, asparagus and fava beans and serve with the vinaigrette. Add slices of ricotta salata and prosciutto for a more substantial meal.

    1. Lulu’s wide-eyed appreciation of the handpicked peas has reminded me what a gift the vegetables of these summer months are. I am curious about the honey-flavored mustard. Is that something you brought back from overseas or conjured up in your kitchen?

    2. La photo avec la cosse de pois ouverte me donne instantanément envie d’être dans ce jardin et de cueillir des pois avec Lulu ! Allez, je sors de mon pyjama et vais me brosser les dents… 😉

    3. It is so lovely to watch children take pleasure in the simplest things…reminds me to do so too! A big congrats on the Independent…well deserved!

    4. Thank you thank you! I actually love to eat raw peas myself 😉 I find it’s the best way to this day 😉

      Molly, I bought the mustard here in the US. Check in your grocery store. This one was purchased at a local farm nearby.

    5. I wish I could just jump into this post and snuggle with those peas.

      Yes, that’s a weird thing to say, I realize.

      But I HAVE TO BE ME.


    6. Your blog and stories are one of those few blogs that I can very quickly relate to since I too have a 2 year old girl and yes, she has a strong opinion about everything as well 🙂
      This is another one of your gorgeous, engaging and lovely post!

    7. What a magical post! The photos, the peas, your darling daughter…made me daydream for a bit of the beauty you can find in any garden, just delightful.

    8. Your pictures are so fresh and vibrant (as is the food)! I am always inviting my friend’s children to my garden for harvest because it makes me feel so happy and alive to see their enthusiasm. Congrats on the recognition you received today.

    9. How gorgeously sweet are the fresh new season peas! I love the addition of pistachio oil in the vinaigrette – delicious! And little Lulu looks so adorable! 😉

    10. I commend you on giving your daughter a rich and enchanting childhood. She will remember these precious moments far longer than the bland information fed to youngsters from watching uninspiring television. I simply loved this post.

    11. ha oui nos petites moitiés prennent du temps le matin, ça révasse!! c’est parfois bien dur de trouver des arguments pour les faire activer!
      Tu as bien de la chance de trouver encore des petits pois frais. La saison est passée trop vite par chez nous, meme pas deux semaines…
      A bientot

    12. Cru je ne lui ai pas fait goûté mais cuit la princesse adore les chiper entre deux doigts et les porter à la bouche je lui fais souvent des risotti ou pastasotti avec des petits pois et du curry.

    13. I love visiting your website. It brightens my day! Your photos are so delicately beautiful and your stories are inspiring and heart warming. Thank you and congratulations on being chosen to be on the list of 50 Best Food Websites!

    14. Dear Béa, I love visiting your website and I love the photos!! And I have a question: I don’t really like mustard, there is another ingredient to make the vinaigrette? Congrats for the 50 Best Food Websites!

    15. Congratulations on being named in The Independant. What an honor and a well deserved one. I must say that I have never eaten millet but am now intrigued by this dish.

    16. How pretty! So evocative and lovely images of summer. Why did my pea crop only yield half a cup? Feliciations on the Independent award – you deserve it!

    17. I recently discovered this blog. I was not a blog fan, until now. I thank Béa for giving us such beautiful pictures (little Lulu should be thanked too) and this warm and sensible text that remain in my mind as my own memories.

    18. Thank you everyone for your comments! Peas are too ephemeral, I agree. I wish the season lasted much longer. Had a few more today. Lulu ate them. But I sense it is getting to the end…sadly. Until next year!

    19. Les photos sont superbes! Ça me donne envie de me promener dans un jardin pour cueillir de belles choses de la nature! 🙂

    20. When I was a child I used to collect green peas with my grandma. They were so sweet and little and cute. Like children. Like Lulu. Like me and like you. Even if it’s just a memory, the magic of food makes past become present and true.

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