Saturday, 17 October 2015

Jabalies and little cakes from nuns

Last week, Mark and I had some extra leisure time as some friends from the UK came to stay with us. It was so nice to relax with good friends and 'touch base' with people we know well and enjoy being with. We had a couple of lovely walks together in the mountains, went to see a flamenco show in Granada and generally had some nice chilling time. 

On the Saturday morning, there was audible commotion on our neighbours' adjoining land. It started with their dogs barking, the neighbours' raised voices and two sounds of gunshots. We went out soon after this as we intended to spend the afternoon sightseeing in Granada before seeing a flamenco show, so we didn't get time to ask the neighbours what was happening. 

Whilst spending the afternoon in Granada, we walked up from the Plaza Nueva to the Albaicin, where the flamenco was to take place later. On the way, we entered the grounds of a monastery that was open. In one corner was a door, Hobbit-sized, with a notice that read 'hay dulces artesanias' (hand-made goodies). Now it just happened that I had seen this on 'Jamie (Oliver) does Andalucia' when he called at a convent in Ronda. In order to get the goodies off the nuns, you had to ring the bell at the side of the door, which we did. A voice then spoke out of the wall (???) asking us to pull the little door open, which we also did. We were then confronted by a wooden alcove with empty shelves. A little voice from the other side of the alcove asked 'Si?', to which we enquired whether they had any 'dulces artesanias'. The wooden shelves then spun around and a selection of different cakes appeared. We made our choice, asked for 'embutidos de chocolate' (chocolate pastries) and the shelves promptly spun back again to the empty ones. We paid the money by placing it on the empty shelves and the shelves then revolved for a final time with our selection packaged up for us in a plastic bag!!! Of course all this time I had a firm stereotype in my head of an old nun dressed in a black and white habit, spending her days sitting the other side of the door! I was amused by the final bit of the conversation with her because by discussing amongst ourselves what pastries we should buy it was clear that we were English. The little voice asked us for the money in Spanish and then very clearly said 'Four - fifty!'. I'm not sure if the pastries were hand-made by the nuns or not; I am trying hard to do away with my vision of an army of nuns wearing cooking aprons and making cakes in a rustic kitchen! However, the chocolate pastries were gorgeous! Thank you, Jamie Oliver, for telling me about this custom!

The mystery of what had happened at our neighbours' was not clear until the next morning when we went out walking and asked him what had happened. He told us that four jabalies (wild boars) had been on his land and he had cornered and shot one. Although this may seem brutal, these animals are, to quote the author Chris Stewart, on the increase and do phenomenal damage to crops, trees and land. Another neighbour has taken the boar and it is no doubt being very well appreciated at the dinner table as I write!

Mark has a tomato glut going on. I say it is Mark's glut, as raw tomatoes are one of the few foods I cannot eat!

Yesterday, when Mark was in town, I got up to mischief and harvested a load of pomegranates with the intention of making juice. When they are very ripe the fruits split open to reveal the ruby red interior. I left the split fruits on the tree for the birds and insects to enjoy. 

Pomegranate prepared for juicing. The pith and membrane are very bitter, so the more you remove the less of a bitter aftertaste! 

Pomegranate juice. It took me 4 hours to produce 4 litres. 

Beautifully sweet pomegranate juice. As it was so labour-intensive to produce, we won't be necking it back from a tumbler. Wine glass amounts only! (The strawberry on the table was divided very carefully between us).

Chestnuts we collected on our mountain walk with friends. I may try to make chestnut soup.

Not ours! We do have an avocado but it hasn't fruited this year. These avocados were given to us by our kind neighbour. Bring on the guacamole!

Also a gift from our neighbour, a bowl of persimmons (kaki fruits). We have been eating them on our muesli for breakfast. They taste lovely.

Doin' the Sphinx.

After our lovely rest, we are now well back into the swing of ticking off a list of jobs, some one-off tasks to get our home straighter, and some seasonal things that we'll be repeating at some time in the future. 

The fruits and vegetables, including me and Mark, are continuing to do well under the beautiful Spanish sun. Here is a little resume of their progress....

The oranges are starting to turn orange!

The majestic purple aubergines, who had broken off the summer romance, have returned to flower and fruit. You teasers, you!

The stealthy green pointed peppers keep on giving.

Mark's tomato thicket.

The thirsty French beans. Banana leaf photo-bombing top left.

The secretive potatoes.

The eager broad-beans

.......and we brassicas deserve a mention!

The smouldering chillies: strong, silent types.

Also, not yet in the line-up and still awaiting their Equity cards are:  leeks, beetroot, lettuce, radish, spinach, carrots, peas, mangetout, strawberries and, last but not least, the shy onions! I do hope there is enough water to support all these: we are starting to recycle domestic water just in case!


1 comment:

  1. Tony at the zoo and I are really enjoying your blog and adventures. Regards to Mark also ☺