Wounded soldier

This cicada sat on the cushion of our terrace sofa for a long time. Is his leg broken? He is certainly holding it at an odd angle. 

He sat without moving, which suggests shock or some sort of trauma. I sat for a while and watched him. When I turned away, he was gone.

5 to remember
herido/a – wounded
un soldado – a solidier
una cirgarra – a cicada
una pierna rota – a broken leg
alguna clase de – some sort of

Just peachy

When you have a glut of fruit, the single thing that gobbles up fruit the quickest is jam. So, one morning our kitchen became a peach jam production line. We’ve discovered it is best to make jam in small batches in a large saucepan, we arrived at this discovery after one burnt jam pan, various spoiled batches and lots of wasted fruit. KISS: Keep it simple/small, Stupid. jam on toast 23-7-14orange – close-up 22-7-14This is a Marguerite Patten recipe for Peach and Orange Jam. The addition of the orange helps the jam to set.

Makes 750g/1⅔lb jam

550g peaches
2 oranges
2 tbsp lemon juice
450g sugar

As always when making jam or chutney, pre-prepare your sterilised jar so it is ready-to-go.

To prepare the peaches, peel and remove the stone. Cut the fruit into small dice. prepared peaches  22-7-14Finely grate the rind of two oranges. Halve the fruit and scoop out the orange pulp, avoiding pips, pith and skin.

Put the peaches with the orange rind and pulp into a saucepan. Add the lemon juice. Simmer until the fruit is soft.

Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until dissolved. jam bubbling in pan  22-7-14Raise the heat and boil rapidly until setting point is reached. testing the set 22-7-14Spoon into hot sterilised jars, and seal. peach jam in jar 22-7-14About setting point: some jams reach setting point in three to five minutes, especially if you are making a small amount. Always remove the pan from the heat while testing for setting. Spoon a little boiling jam onto a cold plate. Allow the preserve to become cool, then push it with your finger. If the top has set, and the preserve wrinkles when you touch it, it is set. If it wrinkles only slightly, return the pan to the heat and boil it for another one or two minutes before re-testing.

If you have lots of plums, try Marguerite Patten’s plum jam recipe here.

5 to remember
una superabundancia – a glut
una linea de producción – a production line
una cantidad – a batch
la pulpa – the pulp
el descubrimiento – the discovery

The Basic Basics Jams, Preserves and Chutneys handbook by Marguerite Patten 20-7-14


‘The Basic Basics Jams, Preserves and Chutneys Handbook’ by Marguerite Patten [pub. Grub Street]

Black and white mystery beetle

Looked what we fished out of the swimming pool this morning. Dead. 4cm long, a pretty black and white mottled pattern on his back. We’ve never seen his like before, both in terms of size and pattern. Beautiful. If he was alive, we would never have seen his design, he would have flown by with a buzz. beetle2 23-7-145 to remember
un escarabajo – a beetle
el misterio – the mystery
muerto/a – dead
manchado/a – mottled
el diseño – the pattern

Woodpecker activity?

Holes in a tree, it has to be a woodpecker. Right? woodpecker holes1 1-7-15Possibly yes:-
What else can it be? woodpecker holes2 1-7-15Possibly no:-
We haven’t heard a woodpecker drumming this close to the house, normally the sounds seems to come from the opposite side of the valley;
The holes are very uniform. woodpecker holes3 1-7-15After a little online research, my conclusion is Yes. In fact the uniformity of holes is a clear indication of woodpeckers, though our holes are in fact rather small. I just wish we’d seen them!

5 to remember
bastante – rather/quite
una indicación – an indication
normalmente – normally
igual – uniform/the same/regular
mi conclusión – my conclusion

Apricot and peach compost crumble

The orchard is aching with fruit this year, so it’s a good excuse to try this Nigel Slater crumble. Its title, ‘Compost Crumble’, does not do it justice although [in the way of the best stir-fries] it tastes best with the odd mixture of fruit leftover in the fruit bowl and too soft or damaged to eat whole, rather than fruit specially purchased. crumble topping on a spoon 21-7-14an apricot 21-7-14900g any kind of fruit
Juice of one lemon
100g granulated sugar
For the topping:-
200g plain flour
100g unsalted butter
100g Demerara sugar
A handful of jumbo oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaked almonds [anything you have to hand, or bits that need using up from your cupboard]

a peach 21-7-14Heat the oven to 180C/200C.

First prepare the fruit. Core and chop into chunks of the same size.

Place the fruit and lemon juice in a medium-sized pan, and add the granulated sugar. Cook on a medium heat until the fruit starts to soften and releases its juices, about 10 minutes.

If you have soft fruit to use up – strawberries, raspberries etc – add them to the pan now, and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat, and spoon the fruit mixture into a large baking dish. poached fruit in the dish 21-7-14While the fruit is cooking, make the crumble topping. Place the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Rub together with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add your chosen mixture of oats and seeds, plus the Demerara sugar, and stir to combine. crumble topping - close-up 21-7-14Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the fruit. This dish can be made to this stage one day ahead, or frozen like this for up to one month. ready to go into the oven 21-7-14Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

If you are cooking it from frozen, add 15 minutes extra cooking time. plateful - close-up 21-7-145 to remember
el abono – the compost
semillas de sésamo – sesame seeds
de más – extra
de congelado/a – from frozen
burbujeando – bubbling