Autumn Days and Autumn Nights – Apple and Blackberry Pudding

The days are getting shorter, the sun still shines most of the time but not with the intensity of summer. The air smells different, fresher, more invigorating. It’s time to finish off doing things you meant to do in summer and plan for the next few months.

Time to enjoy autumn fruits like prickly pears…

Chumbos (2)

Big Man and I haven’t had the great summer we had hoped for in Spain this year. That’s the way life goes sometimes. You just have to accept it and move on.  We hadn’t had a single chance to go to the beach, so at the end of last week we made it happen. Granted, we didn’t get down there until lunch time, but luck was on our side and a beachfront table at one of our favourite Chiringuitos (beach restaurants) became available as we arrived.

Beach 12 Sep (8)

Perfect, time to relax with a bottle of chilled white wine, a mix of deep fried fish and some peppers and a plate of little pieces of grilled monkfish.

Beach 12 Sep (5)

After a reviving coffee it was time for a gentle snooze down by the sea, listening to the waves and the distant sounds of murmered conversations.

What a difference a day makes, the next day Up the Mountain was grey and misty with low clouds lurking around the house.

VIstas 13 Sep (10)

A day that made me wish the blackberries here were still going strong, as they had been in England. A little bag of about 2 cups of blackberries had been picked on a seaside walk in England Down by the Sea and turned into a delicious autumn pudding.

Blackberry & Apple Pudding (3)

Apple and Blackberry Pudding

  • 2 cups of blackberries (approx.) washed, two small apples peeled and thinly sliced and both fruits mixed together and sprinkled with about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of self raising flour, a pinch of salt and quarter of a cup of sugar mixed together in one bowl
  • 1 large egg, a teaspoon of vanilla essence, a quarter of a cup of oil and a quarter of a cup of natural yogurt beaten together until well mixed.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well, if the mixture is very stiff, add a tablespoon full of milk.

Mix the cake mix into the fruit and pour into an ovenproof dish. Bake at 180º for about 30 minutes or until a skewer poked into the centre of the pudding comes out clean and the top is slightly browned.

Blackberry & Apple Pudding (1)

Serve with cream and/or ice cream whilst making sure your dog does not sneak up on you and pinch a mouthful.

It´s Chumbo time – Prickly Pears are here!

 

For anyone not in the know about prickly pears, or chumbos as they are called here, check out my chapter Swimming Pools and Prickly Pears…you´ll be enlightened.

We love prickly pears, such a delicious fruit with a super short season of about 6 weeks. Collecting them probably classifies as a dangerous sport, and the old men seem to be the experts as this.  Finding the ideal patch of prickly pears can be as closely guarded a secret as where to find truffles.

I guess they are an acquired taste, but if you do ever find them (ready prepared or not) I can highly recommend them.

Big Man and I count the days until the first sighting of prickly pears which are turning from green to a blush pink.  An early morning start is recommended, as the prickles are less “prickly” having been softened in the cool of the night.

A good brush in the dirt first with a plant that grows near the chumberos, called altabaca, then a hose down and another roughing up with a broom…and you´re ready to peel. 

Speedy peeling

Two people are needed for this part.  One to peel and the other to lift the chumbos off the skin and put them into a container.

Mind the prickles

What a relief when you get to the end of the bucket of chumbos as you can put the fruit in the fridge to chill nicely and then get your tweezers out to remove those pesky little spines which, inevitably, will have found their way into your fingers.

Nearly done...

Then you can either just gorge on them straight from the fridge or have a little tapas session with some jamon, cheese and cold melon….oh, and wine of course!