Saturday, October 23, 2010

Iznajar Feria

Lots of colourful flamenco dresses

It’s amazing how the time goes around as here we are heading for the close of October
The weather has been gorgeous all month although we have decided to stop the courtyard cinemas as the evenings are a little chilly now. Time now for  log fires and central heating in the evenings.

Lots to do here as I’ve just picked a load of quinces which I am going to preserve for next year, the olives have been partially picked and are already soaking in water to get rid of the bitterness. Also we've picked loads of pomegranates down at the Mill so that means I can get down to the hard work of shelling them all and making some pomegranate molasses for next year's courses. This is, of course in between Nick and ourselves working on some long sessions as he takes shots as we prepare platefuls of luscious food for the cookbook which is finally taking shape.
                                                                                                                              We really enjoyed the agricultural fair in Tapia this year.                                                                                                               There had been heavy clouds just before the fair and everyone thought the worst, but the clouds rolled away and the sun stayed with us. So all the tents went up and we had a great display of local cheeses, dried fruits, mountain hams, olive oils, and some lovely goats, not to mention all the agricultural machinery on display. I’ll have some photos but at the moment they are too large and I have to process them down to jpgs.

Meantime here are some photos of the feria in Iznajar just recently, which we also enjoyed - lots of music and so many different flamenco dresses. The noise of everyone talking was quite unbelievable, and at times made the brass bands hard to hear!

My Hero!!
ready to party!
Even the little ones dress up
Everyone headed down the hill for the ceremonies
Saludos from still sunny Spain to you all
Mike and Lari

Friday, October 8, 2010

October in Andalucia

The weather is now just perfect – bluest of  blue skies and the atmosphere as clear as a bell. There is just a tinge of cool in the evening now and we have to have a blanket handy for the evenings when we have our courtyard cinema after/or during supper. The evening are getting darker sooner now and dusk begins at 8, so we can start watching then and stand a chance of getting a reasonably early night. Last night we watched one of the Foyle’s War series, which we love.
So, earlier in the month we went down to Ronda with Nick and Amanda to search out a new winery. We found a lovely one and are looking forward to taking our cooking group round there in April.  It’s in an old monastery which was set up to look after the wounded when the Catholics finally took Ronda back from the Moors in 1489. It has a great history, and after being privately owned and finally abandoned it was taken over by the present owners who took it over in 1989 and are restoring it bit by bit as they produce some lovely wines. There is a great sense of peace about the building, being set in the high cliff face overlooking the great plain below, where the grapes are grown

In the old chapel the stainless steel vats are now producing lovely wine
Nick and Amanda and ourselves going round the grounds of the bodega

 The black grapes on the start of their journey
More pics soon
Mike and Lari

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Back to Spain

Hello there -
Better late than never I suppose - we're having so much fun here we thought we should share it

It was a very warm evening when we arrived at Malaga almost 24 hours after we had left our home in Walnut Grove. We went straight to El Molino in our hire car where Nick and Amanda were closing down their Friends week with a birthday party for Josh. It was great fun chatting and relaxing over a glass of wine, and we went back at about midnight to unload our suitcases only to find that there was no water, and boy, we really needed a shower, but that, apparently, was not meant to be….. read on tomorrow!
Sept 3
So we found a full kettle of water and managed to clean our teeth, get a quick lick and a promise, and crashed out. Saturday morning – we woke at about 6 and started unpacking, The re-learning curve was beginning -  have to make a note to always have scissors to hand when we have breakfast outside in the courtyard, so that we can cut a bunch of fresh, very sweet, grapes from the vine above us. We went over to the Mill for coffee and. Nick has phoned about the water for us. They say it will be back on soon.
So now we’re off to shop for the weekend and it’s hot outside

Get back and, miracle of miracles, the water’s on. Quick salad lunch and I make a quick dressing with a handful of fresh-picked from the courtyard -parsley, tarragon, basil with some grainy mustard, salt, pepper, honey, cider vinegar and a good splurge of tangy extra virgin oil. We sit and enjoy the shade in the courtyard, under the vines, looking out at our two laden orange trees and the distant view of Fuente. Washing up – have to take care with the solar hot water when washing up as it’s too hot, but it’s free hot water from now on! Then we take a great and luxurious shower together after an hours’ zizz. I think we’re settling back in.
Sept 4
All our figs seems to be ripe now and most of them had fallen before we got here, giving the ground a heady, sweet smell, so we must work hard and pick the rest as we’ll need some for photographing for the cookbook.   This is the day for unpacking and trying not to turn the ( immaculate when we arrived) house into a tip. We’ve been enjoying sleeping in the cooler downstairs bedroom and we’re both wishing that we had the pool already installed as it’s still very hot today again. So today it’s a simple roast game-hens and potatoes for lunch and a snack for supper. Courtyard cinema tonight with the family- so it’s The Jungle Book I’ve just been informed by Josh.

I will carry on with this diary asap and hopefully put some photos in - at the moment they are too high in pixels to put in.

So, All the best from Lari and myself