Tag Archives: spanish finca

Caqui, on and off the tree

The calix is the most distinctive part of the caqui/persimmon/sharon fruit, staying attached to the fruit after harvesting and remaining on the ground after the rest of the fruit has been eaten or decayed. In botanical terms, the fruit is actually a berry [as is the tomato] and has a high glucose content. Some fruits are more astringent than others, containing a high level of tannins, but it is these fruits, unpalatable when under-ripe, which are the sweetest when fully-ripe. If you can lift the calix away easily, the fruit is ready for eating. If you want to speed up the ripening process, try wrapping the fruit in paper and putting in the sun for several days.

5 to remember
el calix – the calix
adjunto/a – attached
más distintivo/a – most distinctive
un alto contenido de glucosa – a high glucose content
astringente – astringent

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Caqui, on & off the tree: persimmon #trees in the #secretvalley in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1R3

Harissa salmon salad

This recipe can be made two ways: quickly by opening two tins and a jar, or more leisurely by poaching a salmon fillet, making your own harissa paste and cooking lentils. It is a creamy spicy salad which can be made hot hot if preferred by increasing the amount of red chilli added, and can even be served hot in winter.

Serves 4
4 new potatoes, cut into ½ cm dice
1 tin 400g brown lentils
120g 0% fat natural Greek yogurt
1 tbsp harissa chilli paste
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Large handful of fresh parsley [we added fresh chives]
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 200g tin of wild red salmon, flaked [we used freshly poached salmon]
Freshly ground black pepper

Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile cook the lentils if using dried, or heat the tinned lentils in a saucepan.

To make the dressing: combine the yogurt with the harissa and garlic.

When you are ready to eat, fold the dressing into the lentils, add the onion, herbs, chilli and potatoes. Season to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl, and scatter salmon flakes over the top.

If you like this, try:-
A Super Green Salad
Smoky Spring Onions and Asparagus with Lime
Cauliflower Salad with Spinach Yogurt

5 to remember
desecado – deseeded
la pasta de harissa – the harissa paste
combinar – to combine
cuando estes listo – when you are ready
dispersar – to scatter

 

This recipe is by TV chef Anthony Worrall-Thompson.
‘The Essential Diabetes Cookbook’ by Antony Worrall Thompson [UK: Kyle Books]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Warm & spicy harissa salmon salad #Recipe by @AntonyWT via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-27H

Walnuts, almost ready

The walnuts are almost ready, the husks are splitting and the nut is visible inside. They haven’t fallen from the trees yet though, so perhaps there is another week to wait.

Harvesting is simple: just pick them from the ground where they have fallen. To check for ripeness, open a nut: if the tissue between the kernel and the shell is brown, they’re ripe. If a good few have fallen, the rest may fall too if you give the tree a shake [do it the Spanish way and spread an old blanket or sheet on the ground first].

The next step is to remove the husks. Wear gloves to do this, as the tannins will stain your hands brown. Once the husks are removed, wash the shells with a high-pressure hose. Inspect the nuts and discard any with discoloured or cracked shells. Lay them in the sunshine to dry. Before storing, open a few to test for dryness. If you can open the shell easily with a nutcracker, and the nut inside can be broken in two, they are ready to eat.

Walnuts will keep in their shells for several months. If storing the shelled nuts, keep them in an airtight container.

For recipes including walnuts, try:-
Lighter Brownies
Walnut Teabread
Roasted Cauliflower Salad

5 to remember
las cáscaras – the husks
visible – visible
la madurez de – the ripeness of
el núcleo – the kernel
los taninos – the tannins

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The #walnuts are almost ready to harvest #nature http://wp.me/p3dYp6-256 via @Spanish_Valley

Abundance in the huerta

The huerta is at its messiest now as unpicked veggies bolt and plants get leggy. There are still veggies to be picked however, tomatoes are lingering beneath heavy branches collapsed onto the earth.

Tomatoes the size of small melons, which make excellent tomato sauce, squirrelled away in the freezer for a winter’s day when we long for the warmth of a summer day. Wrinkled, over-ripe vegetables are piled up, destined for Pablo’s pigs. Once the last vegetable is picked, the huerta will be ploughed into the earth again and so the cycle leading to next summer’s vegetables begins.

5 to remember
en su más sucio – at its messiest
zanquilargo – leggy
arrugado – wrinkled
ser arado – to be ploughed
el ciclo – the cycle

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Overflowing with abundance: the veggie patch in September #secretvalley #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-27i

After the almond harvest

I didn’t know, did you, that the almond nut is actually called a ‘drupe’ which grows from the tree’s fertilised flowers. The drupe has a leathery hull which surrounds the nut, furry, giving it the look of an unripe peach. When this outer husk dries and splits, it is time to harvest the almonds which for us is August.

I remember our first time in Spain, waking up early one August morning to a knocking sound in the distant hills. Mystified, we got out the binoculars and watched two men in an orchard. They were behaving oddly, knocking the trees with long sticks. I now realize that the method for harvesting almonds is similar to that of olives: spread a tarpaulin or net beneath the tree, whack the tree with a stick so the nuts fall.

Harvest here is over for the year, a few drupes still hang on the trees as a reminder that we missed a few.

Try these recipes featuring almonds:-
Hybrid Crumble
A Super Green Salad
Rice Pudding with Almonds

5 to remember
un casco – a hull
correoso – leathery
es tiempo de – it is time to
los binoculares – the binoculars
desconcertado – mystified

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
After the almond #harvest in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-275

Spicy butternut salad

This started off as a simple healthy salad, one of Deliciously Ella’s recipes. And then it got complicated. There was a bunch of asparagus to eat up, so that went in. When I was picking the rocket from a pot on the terrace, I noticed the oregano was looking good so I picked some of that for the dressing. The quantity of this recipe in the book serves 4, but after a morning of tennis and gardening we were starving. So I used the whole butternut. And then I realized there was no protein in the salad, so I added a small jar of chickpeas.

So it started off as an Ella salad, and ended up as a Sandra one. Oh, and I made a mistake with the dressing. I misread ‘tamari’ and put in tahini instead. It was delicious. Next time we eat this, I’ll try it with tamari.

Serves 4
1 large butternut squash [about 1kg]
Olive oil
1 tbsp pimenton [I used ½ dulce, ½ picante]
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs [I used thyme, basil, sage and parsley]
2 bags of rocket [about 150g]
180g pitted olives [I used green Spanish olives with the stones in]
2 avocados [I only had one]
Asparagus, cooked and cooled [optional]
Small jar of chickpeas, drained and rinsed [optional]
For the dressing:-
1 tbsp tamari [or tahini!]
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh oregano [optional]

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C] Peel the butternut squash, slice into bit-sized pieces. Place the pieces on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, then the paprika/pimenton and dried herbs. Mix everything well so it is all coated in seasonings.

Bake the squash for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once it is cooked, it should be soft when tested with the tip of a knife, remove it from the oven and set aside to cool. If you tip it into a clean bowl, remember to scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the baking tray.

To make the dressing: whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl, add a little salt and pepper to taste.

Next, to assemble the salad. I layered in the serving bowl as follows: rocket, chickpeas, asparagus, olives, avocado then butternut.

Drizzle the dressing over the top, then toss gently before serving. If you like this, try:-
Smoky spring onions and asparagus with lime
Red onion & cheese scones
Trempó: a salad from Mallorca

5 to remember
se complicó – it got complicated
el tenis – the tennis
la jardinería – the gardening
estaba delicioso – it was delicious
armar – to assemble

 

This recipe is from Deliciously Ella by Ella Mills [UK: Yellow Kite]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Butternut + pimenton + avocado salad #Recipe by @DeliciouslyElla via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-25N

Año si año no

Some fruit trees have a tendency to bear a greater-than-average crop one year, followed by a lower-than-average crop the next. This pattern is known as ‘alternate bearing’ or ‘biennial bearing’ although Pablo calls this año si año no or ‘year yes year no’. So far our olive harvest has borne out this pattern, though our trees are young and have been harvested for only two years.

There is a theory that by giving the olive tree excessive nutrients in its first two years of life, alternate bearing can be minimized. This was not our experience. However summer pruning and perfect irrigation can make a difference, though we have not yet tried these techniques. Looking at the trees, this year is a yes year.

5 to remember
una tendencia – a tendency
este patrón – this pattern
rodamiento alterno – alternate bearing
bienal – biennial
una teoría– a theory

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Año si año no: growing #olives in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-26X