Tag Archives: spain

The Day We Helped With The Olive Harvesting

16 Nov

Our friends Andrew & Margarita have an olive grove. Some of the trees are really old and some of them they have planted themselves 10 years ago “to fill in the gaps”. About this time every year they ask for volunteers to help with the olive harvesting and in return you receive a bottle of gorgeous green, organic, first press olive oil that you helped to harvest. How fabulous is that!

This is one of the older trees, isn’t it beautiful? Apparently you can tell the age of an olive tree by counting the number of people who can stand around its base holding hands. Its 100 years for every person. Some of these trees are over 500 years old. You can understand the great sense of privilege & responsibility Andrew & Margarita feel to be looking after these trees. Most of the trees they have are of the “Manzanilla” variety.

This is our friend Chris and Rufus walking down to the olive grove. Look at the view, and we had perfect weather for it, such a beautiful day..

There are two main ways to harvest the olives. The first way we used for the trees with less olives was with a kind of bib/basket hanging round your neck to catch the olives as you pick them with your hands.

Here I am with Rufus modelling the olive catcher..!!

This is The Washer Up, Chris & Ole demonstrating the other method, for trees with more olives. A large net is placed on the ground around the trunk of the olive tree to catch all the olives as you rake them off the branches.

The olives fall onto the net and, when the whole tree has been harvested, the net is collected up, so that the olives are all in one area.

This is The Washer Up with Andrew picking out any twigs and leaves from the olives..

The olives are then tipped into crates. I love the colours, you just don’t expect olives to be so bright and candy coloured..

The Washer Up, up the tree to get the highest olives down with the little rake.

At 2 pm Margarita prepared a lovely lunch for everyone which included an Olive Tapenade aperitivo which was delicious. I don’t usually like tapenade (or olives!) but this was really good, it tasted  more like a pesto because of all the fresh herbs she used in it.

Margarita always serves a jug of water with fresh mint from their garden which I think is a beautiful idea, one I will be using in the future definitely!

Margaritas Black Olive Tapenade

  • prepared black olives
  • garlic
  • lots of fresh herbs (margarita used basil and sage I think)
  • fish sauce (or salt)
  • really good olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a food processor or use a stick blender and pulse until smooth- ish. I haven’t included measurements for this recipe as I don’t know them and anyway I think that tapenade, like pesto, is one of those recipes that you feel & taste as you go along and create to your own taste.

Here is Margarita and the rest of  “The Olive Harvesters” enjoying a fabulous lunch on the sunny terrace. As well as the tapenade Margarita cooked a lovely Pumpkin, Chickpea & Acelgas Stew using the pumpkin & acelgas (chard) from their vegetable plot. The pumpkin she used was a variety called “Onion” beacuse that’s what it looks like. It has a bright orange flesh and delicious texture and flavour when cooked. She added a little pimenton picante (hot paprika) to spice it up a little which was perfect.

For dessert we had some fresh Moscatel grapes from the vine. The grapes have been covered in newspaper to protect them from flies etc.

The grapes were sweet and delicious, the perfect end to a lovely lunch and a brilliant day, thanks Andrew & Margarita. I can’t wait to try the olive oil that we helped to harvest, expect lots of dishes using extra virgin olive oil coming up ..!

While Walking in the Forest Today….

28 Oct

I decided to take Rufus on a different walk today. From our roof terrace you can see the pine forests on the mountain. The beautiful bright green trees seem to invite you in. So we went ….

The Washer Up on the roof. When he is not washing up he paints things. Last year we had so much rain that the whole house leaked so he is trying to seal & paint everyting so we don’t get any leaks or damp this year. Last year the damp got into our wardrobe and green mould started growing on my shoes! This year I’m not taking any chances I have taken a little tip from my mother and put all my shoes in see-through plastic shoe boxes. They won’t get damp again and also I can see all my shoes, some of which I have never worn, its fantastic!!

It it wrong that this makes me happy? That’s just the high heels by the way the flat shoes are still in their cardboard boxes. These get special treatment….

Anyway back to the walking, its a bit of a steep climb to get up there but the view and the smell of pine when you do, brings your breathing back to normal!

I just love the contrast of the trees. Seen from above they are green, alive, soft & duvet like, then from underneath they are silvery grey, dry and bare.

This is the view down one of the firebreaks between the trees, towards the town with beeehives in the middle. There is strange mixture of the noises of  bees buzzing and the electric pylon crackling…

I love this picture of Rufus looking very regal on a carpet of yellow flowers……..

It is really difficult to get your dog to stay still for a nice photo together. We both have scrunched faces..

He won’t look at the camera..

Usually when I am walking I get inspiration from what I see growing. Recipes suggest themselves to me. Today we saw lots of wild mushrooms growing in the forest. They really are amazing things to look at..

Don’t worry I’m not going to cook with these as I have absolutely no idea what they are, they look great though..

I Love Mushrooms…

A Heart Shaped Mushroom!

The idea for a Wild Mushroom & Goat’s Cheese Lasagne is forming in my brain. Must be the stinky goat shack….

I am thinking of homemade wholemeal lasgane layered with wild mushrooms cooked with onion, thyme & parsley and a goats cheese bechamel sauce. Its a shame I can’t work the honey from the beehives in there as well. Or maybe I can..

See tomorrow’s post for the finished recipe …

Walking To The Waterfall

21 Oct

This is the stunning waterfall that we eventually found in an area of our town called Barranco Blanco which translates as White Ravine. I have been there before with our Spanish waitress Meri and thought it would be a good idea to show The Washer Up as he has never been. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember exactly where it was but I knew the general area, a bit like when I can’t remember where I’ve parked the car!

Apparently this is the waterfall used in the Timotei adverts in the eighties. I don’t know how they got all their equipment down there beacause we found it hard enough on our own just with the dog.

Crossing The Stream

The dog makes it look easy doesn’t he. Well this was one of the detours we took whilst trying to find the waterfall, it turned out we were going the wrong way anyway but it was quite an adventure…

Action Shot!

The thing is you can hear it but you can’t work out how to get there, I remember it being slightly diificult to get to but not this bad. Eventually we make it after several attempts and the dog falling in…

We Made It

It was definitely worth the effort though, it is beautiful and most people don’t know that it’s there, which is kind of nice you get it all to yourself especially at this time of year.

I couldn’t tell you how to get there though…. I think finding it is part of the adventure and what makes it so special.

This tree marks the spot…………

Beautiful Late Summer Flowers

7 Oct

 The weather has started to cool down here a bit now so it is like Spring again. Every morning we take our dog Rufus for a walk in the “campo” and the flowers are just so amazing at the moment I thought I would share some of the colour & beauty with you..

Rufus

Hibiscus

Yellow Hibiscus

Beautiful Bouganvilla

Orange Bouganvilla

Seed Pods

Palm & Fragrant Nardos

Pretty White Flower

Stunning Fan Flowers

Gerbera

 As you can see I don’t know what most of them are called but they are just so bright & beautiful right now. The magenta pink fan like flowers are amazing & the white flowers on the palm (Nardos) smell gorgeous a mixture of Jasmin & Honeysuckle. We also collected some of the seed pods in the picture to see if we can grow them even though we don’t know what they are. Even the dead weeds look beautiful…

Beautiful Weed Seed Pod

Dried Thistle & Rufus

On The Road

By the way, I do realise how lucky I am to be able to walk the dog through this stunning countryside. It’s a great way to start the day, you see the seasons change and every day there is something different and wonderful to look at.

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