Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Almogrote Gomero

In my wanderings around the big world on the internet  I am still coming across blogs about life in Spain,  obviously those I am most interested in are the ones written about life and food and living in areas around here,  there are lots from all over Spain and the Spanish Isles here.   One or two caught my eye and I go back to read how they are doing,  one is written by a  family from Sydney  who have gone to live in Granada city for a year,  then I found - no idea where from - a blog about living in rural Andalucia,  which just about sums us up.

Some of these blogs are about life,  some include food stuff,  and those are the ones I go back to - someone elses ideas on what to do with what you grow,  how to preserve it,  cook it,  quick meals,  tapas.....  the list is endless.

Most of the ideas - as they are using what is most commonly grown and in season - are good ideas.  We have a tapas recipe book but the ingredients are not 'store cupboard' - at least,  not my store cupboard anyway.  And the point of tapas for me is something quick and available.

So when I read about Almogrote gomero  I thought yes,  got that, got that.....and so quick to make.  And so tasty.

From here

 Almogrote Gomero is  a traditional dish from La Gomera, an island of the Canaries. The name comes from Arabic “al mojrot”- cheese salsa. It is made of an aged goat cheese, or a mixture of the goat and sheep milk cheese. The cheese is made mainly from unpasteurized milk. There are many recipes for the Almogrote Gomero, but the main difference is only in a proportion of the ingredients.

So to basics,  you need 

100grams hard cheese,  in Spain that would typically be Manchega,  but we used cheddar.
1 tomato, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
chilli powder or a fresh one, chopped  - we used dried ground chillis, then tasted, then added more. 
pinch of salt...

and finally add the olive oil

Cube the cheese, put with the other ingredients into a food processor and whizz,  gradually adding the oil.  The more you whizz, the smoother it becomes,  the more oil you add the softer it is.  We whizzed till there were still some chunks,  I think with more oil and very smooth it would be a lovely dip with sticks of carrot,  celery and cucumber.  We ate most of it for lunch spread onto freshly made rolls.  Then finished it off for evening tapas.

The recipe was credited to Omar Allibhoy who has written a book called 'Tapas Revolution' which can be found on Amazon here

Happy eating and reading :)

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The point of a cactus

I'd really rather call this 'what is the point of a cactus'  as I'm not a cactus lover.  They don't do much do they,  they just sit in their pots,  don't need much attention,  waiting to spike me when I need to move them to clean.    We have huge prickly pear plants around here and agave,  also pots of aloe vera in the garden,  the prickly pears have beautiful flowers and  fruit late summer which some people like to eat,  but with care as they have very small but nasty prickles.  But as a house plant?  Why? 

But John has always like to have cactus plants and now he has an ally in our neighbour Mari-Carmen as she too likes cactus.  So much so that she has over 50 in her Granada house and has started to plant them here too,  outside in her flower beds.  I gave her strawberry plants for her garden,  more useful I think - at least you've got something to eat as well as flowers - and she gave us some cactus seedlings.  'Anytime you want any,  just help yourselves'  she said,  as one variety which seems to go up and up,  drops little nodules off the sides which root easily.  Another variety makes 'hijos'  (children / offspring)  which she just pulled away from the main plant for him. 

One day last summer Mari and Miguel took a trip down to El Ejido to visit a cactus garden centre,  Cactus Serrano,  and John asked her to get him a few plants if they had anything a bit different.  She came back with 4 for him,  one I'd describe more as a succulent than a cactus,  it definitely isn't prickly which is wonderful,  and it's a lovely colour too.

The others were basically round,  green and spiky.  One had yellow flowers,  in fact it still has which makes me wonder if it's real! 

They live on the outside, south facing windowsill of the dining room,  their  only protection is from the fly screen which is attached to the bars,  we are able to water them  from the inside.  So they sit there,  but recently one of the round ones produced some buds.  And more buds.  And more!  Now it has 12 buds and 3 gorgeous flowers.

Just look......

and look at those spikes :(

He has another collection which live outside as well,  but on the west facing 'sunset' terrace,  not round spiky ones but tall ones with little soft nodules,  as yet no flowers but maybe one day they too will do something spectacular.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

San Valentin.

St Valentine's day for us means our annual ITV inspection for the Polo,   a couple of years ago a new inspection centre opened just outside Orgiva,  about  a  45 minute drive for us and then,  because we are out we make the most of the day and do a shopping trip as well.  It isn't far from Orgiva to the autovia which links Granada and  Motril so we have a choice of shops.   Friday we decided to go down to Motril for lunch and a stock-up.

Glorious blue skies on Friday,  this was the view towards the Sierra Nevada as we drove along towards Orgiva....

Almond trees in the sunshine....

Looking across the valley towards Almegijar,

The ITV centre is smaller than the one in Motril,  it only has one testing lane and so is always quiet,  when we arrived a car was leaving,   a van was waiting and then there was us.

Orgiva is just a few minutes away, 

All done by midday,  with our sticker for 2014 in the windscreen,  we went on down to Motril for a quick bite to eat and some shopping.  We were hoping for inspiration for a Valentine's dinner -  there have been lots of adverts on  uk tv for meal deals - 2 courses for £10 or 3 for £20 including wine - but when we see these meals we think,  well we could cook that or we do cook that so it's not special.  But inspiration didn't come.  We eat quite well here,  we have the time to cook from scratch and we both enjoy cooking,  meat is good quality and if it's expensive such as beef or lamb,  then we buy less of it and less often.  So that makes it difficult to choose something 'different' for a special meal.

But there are things that we only see in big supermarkets,  I saw some big thick pork chops with the fat and rind still on,  meat is normally trimmed so much and I think it needs fat for flavour and to keep it moist while cooking.  So 2 big chops were the start, then John found some solomillo de Iberico de cerdo (pork fillet) which was very expensive per kilo but - and this is from the label - producción controlada - and it said it was ecological.  The meat itself was very pale and marbled with fat.  Add to that a selection of baby sausages and a chapata  (ciabatta bread)  and we had more than enough.  Except then we found a selection of small pastries for dessert.

The chops were tasty and juicy,  too many  sausages so we have some for brunch today,  too much bread so we have enough left for toast,  and the solomillo was marvellous.  Melt in the mouth meat.  The little pastries were good too,  followed by coffee with Baileys (or a Baileys taste-alike version)  and  all that cost just over 13 euros.

We bought some croissants for Saturday breakfast and even including our fast food lunch we only spent just over 25 euros.

PS:  This from Wikipedia:  The Iberian pig is a traditional breed,  native to the Iberian Peninsula. The high intramuscular fat is what produces the typical marbling; this, together with traditional feeding based on acorns, is what makes its ham taste so special.

And from an online meat company:   Iberico solomillo,  frozen,  600grams costs £35 which is 42 euros.  So our 268 grams for 5.62 euros wasn't expensive at all!   It's just when you see the price per kilo is 21 euros compared to pork chops at 5.75 a kilo then,  well lets just say there was a sharp intake of breath!                

Thanks to  for the picture of the meat.

Monday, 10 February 2014

White skies and snow.

There is a blizzard blowing out there right now -  we've just been out in it though only for a short  walk -  and I was very well wrapped up.   No blue skies today,  nor yesterday either,  completely white skies then as well.  But yesterday we were in the cloud most of the day,  then it got drizzly,  then windy,  then wet, in the evening it poured down and the wind howled all night.

Forecast of snow today and there were a few flakes blowing around first thing this morning,  blowing down from the north,  now it's a complete white-out but the snow isn't laying as the wind is too blustery.  We didn't go far for our walk,  only to send the overflow balsa water down to the river as we don't need it after last night's rain. 

Not the weather either for picking oranges,  I  picked last week and again on Saturday morning,  each time there were enough oranges to make a jug of juice for the fridge and a litre or so for the freezer.  When it stops snowing and the fruit is a bit warmer and drier then I'll get some more,  but picking cold fruit from wet dripping trees is not fun. 

One of the Paco's has been doing some serious tree pruning,  there are 3 mulberry trees in front of the ermita in Montenegro,  quite large and leafy usually,  giving lots of shade by the seats,  until now that is......

 first one tree was pruned heavily....

now the second has gone....not pretty are they?    but I'm sure they'll grow back in time for fiesta in May.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Writing under blue skies.

After five and a half years of writing under a sunny coloured heading,  I thought I'd like a change and as the sky is such a wonderful deep blue at this time of the year,  John has worked some wizardry and changed the heading and lettering to our sky colours.  We did look at a complete new style of blog but this old version lets us - actually him - change the colours of the headings and  background  - actually  anything on here that has a colour can be changed - that is if you understand where to look and what all the html stuff means.  Which I don't,  but he does so

now we are blue.

If you think it's nice say so!    It's good to get feedback :)

And today amongst other things,  we've siphoned wine into drink sized bottles - down from the 5 litre stored size.

Pruned yet more olive branches from the trees out by the pool so we can now see over them - the view is lovely but the trees were too high - now they are more of a windbreak than anything.  Olives?  About a dozen on that tree.

It rained last night - no idea where it came from - ok, yes out of the sky but when we went for a last walk  at 8.30ish the sky was clear, the stars were twinkling and the half moon lit up the pista enough not to need a torch.  But just an hour later it was raining!   Probably because I watered the pea beds yesterday and sent the overflow water from the main balsa round our land.. I'm sure that  if I hadn't watered it wouldn't have rained.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Pink, white and blue.

The almond blossom varies in colour from pink to white,  set against the blue sky it makes for a dramatic picture...   just a hint of a cloud behind.....

I took the dogs out for a sunny afternoon walk yesterday, we went  just past the cemetery at Yegen before turning back home.  In the distance looking to the south, was a big fire which had been burning for a few hours by then.  Presumably controlled as there were no sounds of sirens.   The road to Murtas is visible on the right,  snaking its way up and over the hill,  also  the pink and white blobs of  almond trees in bloom......

remember,  you can click on the photo if you want to see it full sized..

It's quite a craggy landscape either side of the pista to Yegen,  covered with scrub and bushes and rosemary,  then suddenly you come across three perfectly ploughed terraces of olive trees....

High up above us today the winds are swirling in all directions,  it's noisy down in the valley to the front of the house,   the wind that sounds like a train is out there too but towards the west,  huge clouds billowing along,  way down south -  there are wind warnings near the coast for today and the spaceship clouds are forming...

Still a lovely afternoon though,  just got back in from a shorter walk around the fuente,  we came across a couple of Paco's goats and now a sheep with them too. 

And a later photo......sunset tonight....currently hovering over Montenegro....

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Colours on a grey day

A few pretty flower pictures from around the garden taken yesterday.....

sweet violets

heavy-headed narcissi...

this succulent blooms almost all year round with pretty pink-tinged leaves

the almond blossom is coming out...

We hoped this would be our Christmas cactus but the bud is still growing,  maybe it'll be out for Easter.

Another almost-all-year-round flower.