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Biking & Baking in Las Alpujarras

We've been in Spain for over 4 years now - plus 4 motorbikes - and a horse - join us for the ride!

Autumn colours
18 November 2011 @ 21:02

Autumn has definitely arrived, with beautiful tall, yellow poplar trees in the valleys , russet-coloured maples high on the hillsides and the jewel-like kaki and persimmon fruits glowing amongst them all. We have had some rain but that just brings the green back into the grasses and small oak trees, and the next morning is as sunny and clear as usual. Most of us have changed into our winter clothes, bringing out jackets and boots, but Steve is still in summer mode - longish shorts and a T-shirt - which fills everyone with outrage and envy! 'Que fuerte!' is the Spanish reaction. 'Que loco!' is mine!

The towns are quieter now, and the markets, but we enjoy it when the tourists have gone away. If the weather is good we are planning a walk above Berchules this weekend, and maybe a trip on the VFR to Cabo de Gata in early December. I took the c90 on a trip towards Trevelez to get some more chestnuts, but probably won't ride it much now until summer. And the summer mesh jackets can all be put away - we're into full-on textiles or leathers, full-face helmets, warmer gloves and long leather boots now. There were a lot of 'the boys' out last Sunday and we look for local meets on the MC Alikates website...concentraciones moteras...which is pretty reliable.

We have a whole lot of tomatoes that need using up, green, pink and a few red ones, so I have done a chutney that is very acceptable even though the ingredients are a bit strange! It was a case of using what I had (with thanks to Nigel Slater for the quantities). Here goes:

900g tomatoes, mixed green, pink and red

350g onions, red or white

90g raisins or dates or prunes (all stoned, could be a mixture of dried fruits)

250g light muscovado sugar

1 medium sized, hot red chilli or 1/2 red pepper

1 tsp salt

2 tsp black mustard seeds

300ml white wine vinegar

Chop the tomatoes into smallish pieces and discard any dodgy bits - then weigh them for the 900g. Chop the onions and dried fruit and the chilli/red pepper. Throw almost everything into a large, heavy-based pan, just keeping the ripest red tomatoes back for a while. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring occasionally, then simmer for 1 hour at least, adding the ripe tomatoes towards the end. It should all achieve a soft, treacly consistency.

Prepare 3 or 4 1lb jars as you would for jam, stir and then ladle the mixture in. Seal immediately and leave to cool. The chutney tastes better after about a month (Xmas time!) but we have already devoured one jar with cold meats and strong cheese. Delicious! It could probably be made with a sugar alternative as well.

This is making me hungry! It's about time for supper so I think we'll go for spaghetti, our own ratatouille sauce and some decent Grano Padano cheese (from LIDL) grated on top...



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