The Movie: A Good Year
An unusual sidestep for Russell Crowe in terms of lead roles. Crowe plays ‘Max’, a city banker on verge of a career disaster through too many deals and a lot of bravado. Not knowing whether to stay or run, Max discovers he has inherited a vineyard (cue fantastic scenery and rustic France) from his uncle, (Albert Finney) who appears in flashbacks. Max had spent many long and happy times with his uncle at the villa after his parents died.
Max shoots off to France somewhat reluctantly to discover that the house has also been left with an in situ grumpy housekeeper, a ‘dodgy’ vineyard and a wheeler-dealer vineyard inspector. Max really just wants to sell up and get back to his life in London, but love interest in the shape of the ever-gorgeous Marion Cotillard (Fanny), a local café owner, intrigues him after a disastrous start and a feisty French female that he is not used to after women falling at his feet.
There has to be something else – and there is. A young American girl (Christie, played by Abbie Cornish) turns up claiming to be related to the family. Max is suspicious and makes her most unwelcome, so after a period of time she leaves and Max sells the villa. Returning to London he is offered promotion, but suddenly everything gels and he returns to Provence. You can probably guess what happens next!
Available on: Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Netflix (DVD only)
The Menu: Provence Stuffed Peppers
Provence has many food influences, based on local produce but with Italian and Moorish additions. Stuffed vegetables or ‘petit farcis’ are featured on most menus in various style, all equally as delicious.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 3oz rice, cooked per packet instructions
- 1 large red and 1 large yellow pepper, halved, but leave stalks on, seeds and core removed
- 2oz goats cheese, crumbled
- 1 zucchini, finely chopped
- 2oz handful cherry tomatoes, quartered (Can use semi-dried tomatoes)
- 1oz pine nuts, toasted
- Handful black olives, roughly chopped
- 2tbsp shredded basil
- Seasoning to taste
- Heat oven to 400°F/Gas mark 6.
- Put the peppers on a plate and microwave on medium for around 5 minutes, until almost soft. Place on a baking tray, cut-side up.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice as per packet instructions. Drain thoroughly.
- Mix through the olive oil. Mix in the olives, goats cheese, pine nuts, tomatoes and basil, and season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Load the stuffing into the pepper halves and bake for around 10-12 minutes.
- Serve with a side salad or tossed green salad.