Well, they say there´s no rest for the wicked, and no sooner was I back home than I was out digging up chilli plants and other sad looking vegetables. It´s been a fantastic year for the chillies, I have grown five varieties, although I don´t know really what they´re called. Long chillies, medium chillies in red and yellow, round chillies and tiny ones which are probably cayenne. Anyway, it´s a lot of chillies.
This is about two thirds of the crop, the rest have already been pickled, frozen, dried or made into sweet chilli dipping sauce. Check out this amazing recipe from Natalie at Cook Eat Live Vegetarian. I´m also going to try Fati´s recipe here later this week.
I spent a happy couple of hours putting my sewing skills to use in rather a different way. Using strong cotton thread and my own special patented (!) stitch, I strung a couple of hundred chillies up to dry in the sun. If the weather turns bad, I´ll hang them up in the shed where it´s nice and dry.
When we moved to the house three and a half years ago we planted our lemon three which this year finally took off and started producing lemons. It´s gone a little mad now but we´ve been advised not to prune it until May.
Fortunately we now have lemons which have very kindly decided to turn yellow.
And new flowers every new moon.
Then, just to take us by surprise, although I think it knew its days were numbered, our Bougainvillea finally decided to stop looking like a dead twig and make our garden look Mediterranean.
So the roses decided to join in.
The garden seems to think it´s spring, so “shhhh” don´t say a word and for goodness sake don´t tell it it´s really autumn.
Big Man and I are trying to shed a few kilos. He´s not my Big Man for nothing you know! He has a very big heart, which is good, the waistlines (his and mine) could do with a little streamlining though. In Spain, if you go on a diet at this time of year, they call it “Plan Bikini”. The thought of either us in anything other than a large, stout bathing costume or trunks would be enough to scare anyone, but we´re trying to be sensible.
Being sensible doesn´t have to mean dull though, and I cooked up this delicious (no fat) sauce to go with some grilled fish. It would taste just as good though with grilled meat or vegetables. Probably not so good with grilled bananas though! I like my sauce quite spicy, but you can make it as hot (or not) as you like.
Two cups of peeled, chopped tomatoes (or used tinned)
A teaspoon of salt
A good few grinds of black pepper
One tablespoon of brown sugar
Two tablespoons of white wine vinegar
A teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Hot chili powder to taste (I used 2 teaspoons of hit, smoked pimentón)
Dried chili flakes to taste (I used two birds eye chilies, crumbled)
Put everything into a saucepan, bring to the boil them simmer for 5 minutes and that´s it. Serve hot or cold.
Makes enough for several meals and will keep in the fridge for a week, or you can freeze. Bet it doesn´t last long enough though!
So in 2016 I turned 50. I was in Italy for my 21st, 30th and 40th. To keep this birthday tradition going I always knew I'd be in Italy for my 50! This blog starts with my 5 week adventure in Puglia but my love affair with Italy continues.....