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Stephen Harris: how to make pissaladière and channel the taste of the Mediterranean

Stephen Harris' pissaladière
As the weather grows warmer, we reach for bold, sun-spiked flavours... Credit: ANDREW TWORT AND ANNIE HUDSON

The first time I saw Provence I was travelling around Europe for a month with an InterRail ticket. Our first stop was Paris; we then boarded a train at Gare de Lyon which ran overnight to the Côte d’Azur, our final destination being Nice. The trick on these long trips was to spend the night on the train, thus saving on the price of a campsite or hostel.

I could sleep anywhere back then, and I was probably the last on the train to wake up. But when I did, I was immediately struck by a change in the light. Everyone on the train was at the window, and when I joined them I understood why.

The sky was brilliant blue – a colour rarely seen even in an English summer – but it was the earth that struck me. Brick red and lots of it: it looked like a painting, and that strange feeling hit me of being somewhere new but very familiar at the same time.

This was the first time I had been south to the Mediterranean...

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