Sunday, 28 February 2010

I don't like to be bitter but ---

"Orange Crush!"
It's that time of year again. The time when good friends appear with bags of bumpy Seville Oranges!
Its very strange here in Spain because they don't seem to eat marmalade and the trees with Seville Oranges  are absolutely laden but in the main remain unpicked.
I keep promising myself to copy all the recipes I have on scraps of paper but as long as I can find them all usually works well. These are scruffier than usual!

All this talk of Seville oranges brought back such happy memories of our wonderful trip to Seville last year.

It's cathedral, the Catedral de Santa Maria is the largest Gothic Cathedral and third largest church in the world,
The Giralda tower. The Bell Tower of the Cathedral.
Thankfully an empty Bull Ring the Plaza de Toros.The oldest Bullring in Spain.

 And of course Oranges!

As we travel around the Orange Groves look so beautiful. Dark satin green adorned with bright orange baubles.
I fully admit that I know myself very well these days. I love an end product but don't relish too long a journey to get there! So its cut up the oranges and ----

Tip the whole lot into the whizzer. No finding the pips and muslin bags for me!
Whizz to the most wonderful gloopy mess and top with water. A good stir and then a rest awhile -- for the oranges and me. Overnight.Then simmer this wonderful mixture for 21/2 hours.I keep the pan lid on as I find it catches if I don't and that is a real pain.
Sterilise the clean jars in an oven set at 140 deg.
Add sugar -- some white,some soft brown and some demerara.
Simmer until the sugar is melted and then bring to the boil and cook until setting point.
The marmalade wrinkles a little bit when a sample is placed on a cold plate.
I like to add a cupfull of Brandy and the juice of 1 lemon when the marmalade is cooked,
Then bottle and squirrel away.
1 in a beautiful marmalade pot to remind me of Mum.
And 1 in a little jar for breakfast in bed.
So here is the recipe -- perhaps not for purists but I can promise a marmalade full of flavour to enjoy.
12 Seville Oranges
3 lbs of sugar
1 teacup of Brandy
The juice of 1 lemon.

Cut fruit and process in batches until roughly chopped.
Put in largw bowl. Cover with water and leave overnight
Bring to boli and simmer for 2 1/2 hours
Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to boil and cook until a light setting stage is reached. ( I don't like my marmalade too solid so I am quite brave here as it sets so much as it cools)
Add lemon juice and brandy. Stir well and bottle in very clean, hot sterilised jars.

2 Red Grapefruit
4 Lemons
2 large Jaffa Oranges
2 Seville Oranges

I have tried a lot of variations and all have been successful. I think the overnight soaking brings out the natural pectin. The inclusion of pips is really not a problem after such a long cooking period

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Almond trees in blossom and a spot of lunch!!

"It's a Wonderful World!"
We have had a busy few weeks here and some very bad weather so I was worried we had missed the Almond Trees in Blossom. I love to see it every year and never tire of its beauty. It reminds me of when the " littlies" used to screw up little bits of tissue and apply so much glue to their stick trees for the collages they made about Spring.
So off we went after an earlier than usual bit of exercise.
Almond trees have been grown in Andalucia for over 1000 years. Spain is now the second largest almond producer in the world. Second only to the U.S.A.It was introduced by the Moors and we live in one of Spains main Almond growing regions.
Legend has it that a Moorish Caliph first planted the hills around Cordoba with Almond Trees as a gift to his wife.
The nuts are widely used in Arab and Mediterranean cooking often in dishes with a moorish origin.
The harvest is often the excuse for a major celebration
So it was enjoy, but also get the camera out to capture the beauty!

It is always nice to do a round trip and of course its even better if you have a stop and try a new restaurant for a very leisurely lunch. Menu del Dias are really for the workers. A very reasonably priced lunch when they need a well earned break. However, we have found some wonderful places especially tucked away in villages away from the tourist routes. This one was no exception.

What a lunch all for 19 Euros!

We needed a little walk afterwards. Some lovely doors!

Then goodbye to Sorbas.

And home to crack some Almonds!

We shall resort to a small hammer and log but it is always worth the effort and they are considered to be one of the world's healthiest foods.
I thought you might like to try this tasty recipe

1/2 tsp Olive Oil
300g whole almonds ( soaked overnight and dried)
1 Garlic clove (crushed)
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp crushed chillies or 1/2 tsp chilli paste
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Natural Sugar.
Optional --- 28 g of Dried Toasted Coconut.

In a frying pan heat the oil to smoking point. 
Saute the almonds in med/hot oil for 5 minutes stirring very frequently.
Add the garlic,soy sauce, chillies or paste, spics and sugar. Toss with toasted coconut if using.
Turn off the heat and stand for 10 mins or 'til completely cooled

These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks.
Optional extra ingredients
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cardamon

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Pat is vague about the Chillies!!

Tuesdays are gardening days in Spain with lovely lunches in payment!! 
Today on the table was a jar of Hot Chilli Pickle Sauce made by my friend Pat. 
I had commented on it before so she had kindly written out the recipe for me titled-
 "Rather Vague Recipe for Chilli Pickle Sauce!!"
We love tasty food and sometimes a curry hits just the right spot!
We have a little Indian Restaurant near us where we go. After our last visit I thought about its name-
I remembered tucked in amongst our Cookery Books was The Far Eastern Odyssey by Rick Stein.

I actually love Cookery Books especially ones that are well illustrated.
This book has wonderful pictures, pictures that remind us of our trip to Thailand to visit Briony when she was travelling.
And on the first few pages chillies in huge piles

Red and Green.

Pat's recipe is rather vague because you might use dried chillies or you might use fresh chillies.
You might use very hot chillies or the chillies may be less fiery!
You might like more sugar or vinegar according to personal taste. I think you might be getting the picture.
But I was determined to go on my own Odyssey with chillies so-

I have been caught with chillies before and always remember the story of a little girl called Katie who made pies in her garden in Jakarta from fresh chillies!

So it was scoop the seeds out with a spoon and wear rubber gloves!

Always Garlic and a good dollop of ginger.

Whizz ! Add some white wine vinegar.

Add a layer of Lubrin Olive Oil. We helped pick those olives personally! Read a little more here!
And here we have it a jar of Chilli Pickle Sauce. It has been sampled and declared to have a kick that is not in any way vague!

If you would like the recipe I will post it but I can guarantee yours will not taste like Pat's or mine!!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

A little more -- " Love is something if you give it away !"
Still very much enjoying creating Lapacuddlyghans with no other purpose than to give them away.
This idea started a little while ago here
 As I work I wonder about the person-- baby, child, girl, boy, homeless or sick who might end up gaining comfort from something I have enjoyed making. 
Something I have made in the comfort of my home and then sending it many miles away not knowing where it will end up!
So here is the latest-- Lots of pinks and purples-- will a little girl have it to cuddle because most little girls like pink and purple or maybe a Mum will be given it to swaddle a baby girl in -- or will someone older be given it to comfort them if they are feeling lonely!
Wherever it goes it is sent with lots of love!
And I would love to have a picture of it when it reaches its destination!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Rain in Spain falls mainly on ----- us, this week!!!

"Lay Your Blanket on the Ground!"
A special week for us this week and one we have been looking forward to this Spring.
We love it when family and friends visit and almost always things go really smoothly, and this beautiful area of Spain shows itself off in its very best light.
But that was not to be this week.We had plans.Plans to go up to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and have a couple of days on the slopes.
Plans to do lots of walking by the sea and up in the mountains but the weather had plans all of its own.
So,sadly, the rain in Spain has fallen mainly on us.The winds have been so strong the ski resort has been closed.
However, as always things have positives to balance the negatives.
So, with so much time indoors  we have been able to keep in touch with the Winter Olympics.
Of course some crafting was on the cards.
A joint project for charity which has kept Charlotte and I busy all week.
A Lapacuddlyghan with a difference. A Babette pattern and a riot of colour. We ignored the fact that they are precious few true right angles and just concentrated how cheery and cuddly it will be.
Of course when the sun did shine we were quick to make the most of it and had a lovely time just up the coast from us at San Juan De Los Terreos.
And the sea looked beautiful.
On our last night together we went out for a meal and it was lovely.
So its "Hasta Luego" to Owen and Charlotte and thanks for being really chilled guests! 
I didn't take any pictures of the tissues at the departure gate!!
And there are no pictures of the sun and blue skies that travelled with us all the way back down the motorway to Turre!!! Or the shade temperature on the top Terrace.
Life can bowl some low balls sometimes but hopefully we will have lots more innings before too long.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Can It Be Nearly A Year Ago !!!?

" Memories!!"
A year ago we were very busy thinking about Owen and Charlotte's wedding day on the 23rd of  May.
The first of our three children to take the plunge!!
Even though we were as usual spending the winter in Spain we felt a real part of all the preparations.
Skype,email and messenger were busy with all the "tooing" and " froing" of ideas.
Charlotte, I know at times felt like she had found herself in a sweat shop. 
She made all the bridesmaids dresses and quietly planned so many small touches. 
Touches which all seemed to come together so effortlessly on their big day. 
A day which was so special and filled with happy memories.
Charlotte's family were so supportive in so many ways and a videographer was a special present.
As always things do not always go according to plan. And due many different circumstances the DVD itself was massively delayed.
However, Owen and Charlotte have just come to Spain to spend Spring half term week with us and packed in their suitcase was a copy of the wedding DVD for us to keep.
Well, of course it brought back so many happy memories.Truthfully the tissues were needed but what a very special reminder of a wonderful day.

To watch some of Charlotte & Owens wedding video/DVD ...Login at the following address:-
Username = Videovault
Password = Charlotte1
Once you've logged in, scroll down the page and then click on 'My Media'
This will take you to a page that shows you two wedding videos (1.The start of Charlotte and Owens wedding DVD, and 2. The Montage from the end)
Simply click on the video you want to watch to make it play.

And like the best films it is not over when it says The End-- keep looking to see some of the best moments.
Here are a few of my favourite moments and of course I am not at all biased!

Well soon a year will have passed and we will watch the Dvd many times I am sure !!