Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

6 Nov

Last night was 5th November, Bonfire Night. It´s a night much celebrated in the UK with bonfires, fireworks and all sorts of lovely outdoor parties and food.

Of course, here in Andalucía it´s a day like any other.  But for us, it was marked in a small way by lighting our fire for the first time this autumn.  We´ve been lucky, the evenings are turning chilly but are still mild enough for a warm sweater and an extra glass of wine to be enough to keep you warm through the evening.

Yesterday, though, Big Man decided it was time to have a fire, so he got it going with dry wood we had left from last year.  We still have to bring up a big stock of wood from the olives to get us through the winter.  Because the wood was so dry the fire was soon blazing away and I popped out to see a neighbour for an hour or two.

I got back a while later to find another neighbour happily settled in with Big Man, the fire crackling away and very jolly atmosphere filled the room along with the scent of olive wood.

They were in the process of carrying out some serious scientific research – which wine goes best with roasted chestnuts?  In order to ensure they were being completely thorough there was a bottle each of dry, semi sweet and dessert wine.  Because they are tidy boys, they had even put a cover on the table to protect it…as you can see, it was a very glamorous newspaper.  Honestly, we really are such classy folk up our mountain!

Anyway, we ate chestnuts, drank the wine, and to be honest I can´t actually remember which wine one was nicest…I´ll leave it to you to carry out your own research.

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49 Responses to “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”

  1. Mad Dog November 6, 2011 at 16:15 #

    Fantastic and what a worthy research project too! I suspect Fino would be good with chestnuts.

    • chicaandaluza November 6, 2011 at 16:20 #

      We forgot that, and red wine…we may have to repeat the experiment for more conclusive results!

  2. spicegirlfla November 6, 2011 at 16:21 #

    This sounds like so much fun! I think I’m going to create my own Bonfire Night! I’ll have to wait to at least December in hopes of cooler weather! So, on the open fire, how long do you roast the chestnuts? and what do you use to hold them? questions, questions…!!

    • chicaandaluza November 6, 2011 at 16:36 #

      I should have said – we have a three legged trivet which stands over the glowing embers, then a deep drying pan with holes at the bottom (they sell them here, but my dad made one in London by making holes in an old frying pan with a hammer and a nail!). It has a long handle and they cook for about 10 mins. You slit them first then put them over the heat and they go all toasty brown and the skin splits open..then they´re ready!

      • ceciliag November 6, 2011 at 16:40 #

        thank you for this too! I could probably get john to make one! c

      • chicaandaluza November 6, 2011 at 17:02 #

        Bet he could…and the tattier the pan the better :)

  3. ceciliag November 6, 2011 at 16:39 #

    That sounds so perfect, visiting with a neighbour while another neighbour pops in. i envy you having friends like that and then the lovely chestnuts and the wine plonked on a newspaper.. superb!! thank goodness you took the photos early on!

    • chicaandaluza November 6, 2011 at 17:02 #

      We´re mostly pretty lucky with our neighbours (especialy when it comes to veggie exchanges anc chicken a dog looking after!). Big Man took the photos, bless. He know I´d probably want them!

  4. Food,Photography & France November 6, 2011 at 16:41 #

    No question – you guys are doing it right. On the other hand I have to say that however often I have photographed chestnuts picturesquely cooking on a fire, I still open tins of the shelled ones for cooking. Shelling chestnuts is akin to a subtle torture of gently sliding splinters under the finger nails into the soft sensitive flesh. Very Torquemada,

    • chicaandaluza November 6, 2011 at 17:03 #

      It can be painful peeling chestnuts! And roasted chestnuts tend to go hard as they cool down. Boiled are better for cooking, but even then peeling can be a challenge. Am still on the look out for a good chesnut purée recipe….

  5. TheDorsetFinca November 6, 2011 at 17:27 #

    What a fantastic experiment to do… I’m sure that there are loads of other hypotheses to test as well, that would follow on the theme of ‘which wine goes best with……….’ :)

    • chicaandaluza November 6, 2011 at 17:31 #

      I may have to apply for a scholarship to write a thesis on this….!

  6. JamieAnne November 6, 2011 at 18:09 #

    Remember, remember the 5th of November.

    Lovely looking chestnuts!

  7. serenityinthestorm November 6, 2011 at 18:19 #

    Mmmmm…. I love roasted chestnuts!! What a cozy sounding evening. :-)

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:33 #

      It was fabulous…moreso for not being planned!

  8. ChgoJohn November 6, 2011 at 18:47 #

    Chestnuts in our house was a sure sign that the holidays were here. When I was in college, street vendors sold them and we bought a bag, poured its contents into our coat pockets, and used them as hand warmers if we had a long commute to our next class.I rarely buy them these days but seeing them never ceases to bring a smile. :)

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:34 #

      I have the same memories and the smell of them cooking on the streets is wonderful. I was amazed to see them here in Malaga and Granada too…I guess I foolishly thought it was just a very British thing!

  9. chaiselongue1 November 6, 2011 at 19:07 #

    Such a wonderful autumn treat, whatever wine you drink with them! Better than fireworks.

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:34 #

      I should have got out some indoor sparklers I have … had forgotten all about them!

  10. thefooddoctor November 6, 2011 at 19:28 #

    Chestnuts! I love them!
    no luck with roasting them on an open fire, but they still taste heavenly cooked in the oven

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:35 #

      Still good in the oven, I agree and I even like them boiled…all soft, sweet and creamy.

  11. Evie November 6, 2011 at 23:18 #

    Sounds like a pretty perfect evening. Don’t you just love conducting research?!

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:36 #

      Wish I could remember a bit more of how the research went ;)

  12. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide November 7, 2011 at 00:18 #

    Sounds like my kind of research.

  13. Tandy November 7, 2011 at 08:36 #

    love the research! I am not sure why we have Guy Fawkes in SA but we do and the fireworks went on last night as well :)

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:37 #

      How funny – must have been a British influence. Anyway, hope you had fun!

  14. gardenfreshtomatoes November 7, 2011 at 13:21 #

    The smell of roasting chestnuts transports me back to Paris…love ‘em!

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:40 #

      Oh yes, cold frosty days and nights, the bustle of those oh so chic people and warm chestnuts!

  15. Rachel November 7, 2011 at 14:00 #

    I’m jealous! Are the chestnuts from your property? I’ve gathered them in France, and I can get them here in the shops sometimes but they are dear so they’re a real treat. Mmmm… they make a wonderful stuffing/side with fennel if you have enough (and don’t eat them all!)

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:42 #

      No, although they do grow in other villages locally, just not ours. The season is short, but luckily they are not expensive. Currently about 4 euro a kilo….bargain!

  16. thecompletecookbook November 7, 2011 at 16:02 #

    What a fun post Tanya – love that you are dedicated to doing the research! :-) Mandy

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:44 #

      You can´t call me a slacker in that department!

  17. Bluejellybeans November 7, 2011 at 18:07 #

    ¡Qué divertido!

  18. Karen November 7, 2011 at 18:29 #

    We have had a few research projects like that before and as you, the results sometimes are not so clear.

    • chicaandaluza November 8, 2011 at 10:45 #

      We may have to repeat to clarify the findings!

  19. Michi November 9, 2011 at 13:47 #

    I going to the center and seeing the chestnuts roast over open grill fires. It reminds me that it’s that time of year. :)

  20. ReFashionista November 9, 2011 at 21:43 #

    How nice! The Fella and I will have to set up a fire pit of some sort in our backyard and have a chestnut-roasting get together. Complete with wine tasting! :)

  21. sportsglutton November 9, 2011 at 23:31 #

    Something is wrong with me as I’ve never roasted chestnuts before!

    • chicaandaluza November 10, 2011 at 09:48 #

      You can do them on the bbq too – get out there and get roasting!

  22. Fired Up Cooking SA November 11, 2011 at 12:10 #

    I’ve often read about roasted chestnuts, wish I knew what they tasted like!

    • chicaandaluza November 11, 2011 at 12:19 #

      Your comment makes me realise that I still do take some things for granted – never really thought that some people would never have tasted the! Well, to me they taste of autumn bonfires, hot sweet honey, toasted nuts and a cold winter´s walk through the leaves :)

      • Fired Up Cooking SA November 11, 2011 at 13:48 #

        WOW! Sounds like I would love them!! Thanks for that gorgeous description :)

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