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.
Yes, tomatoes are now officially ripening at a rapid speed in our Huerto, and apart from drying and preserving, we are eating them too!
If you head over to Cook, Eat, Live Vegetarian you´ll find a wonderful tomato and quinoa recipe which shows you how to slow roast the delicious summer tomatoes we have in Andalucía at the moment. The other night we were heading out for dinner, so on the way out I popped a couple of trays of tomatoes into the oven set at the lowest temperature, and when we got back about four and a half hours later I had perfect roasted tomatoes. The house smelt wonderful too!
The next morning I braved the heat of the oven and decided to make a tomato tart. You can also find another wonderful version over here at Sweet Pea´s Kitchen made with Heirloom Tomatoes.
I put greaseproof paper at the base of a loose bottomed tart tin (that always makes me giggle, it sounds a bit saucy!) and put the tomatoes in, cut side down.
Then I mixed 200 grams of my garlic and herb cream cheese with one egg and spread this over the tomatoes. Finally I covered the whole thing with a sheet of puff pastry and tucked all the edges in.
I cooked it at 180ºC for about 50 minutes, left it to cool slightly in the tin for 10 minutes then turned it out on a plate. You get a few lovely juices dripping out and it´s best served at room temperature.
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.....