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Saturday, 21 May 2011


So, my trusty Apricot Tree has had another fantastic crop this year, I think it's possibly my most favourite tree in the garden.  When it blooms it's just beautiful

06.02.09 Apricot Blossom and Bee

This year I managed to crop seven carrier bags full of ripe apricots and there were still some left on the tree as I couldn't reach them all even with a ladder.  We have been testing them for about the last 10 days, and eventually we decided that they were ripe enough.  Fresh apricots are really quite tasty, but I prefer them cooked, it seems to bring out the flavour a lot more.

I frantically scoured the internet for ideas and managed to donate a few bags too, as the problem with apricots is they just don't keep for long once they are ripe and there are only so many tins of beer that can be slung out of the fridge to make room. 

Apricot Jam was of course an obvious choice, so I boiled up 6kg of apricots to 4kg of sugar, added a touch of lemon juice and let it bubble away until it very nearly reached 220 degreesPopped it in some jars and it is now sitting in a dark cupboard for a week.  Don't really know where I got that idea from, but I'm sure you're not meant to eat it straight away.  Will let you know later how it tasted.

Next up was Apricot Upside-Down Cake

Bloody delicious if I say so myself.  I found the recipe on


For topping
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 10 or 11 small (2- to 2 1/4-inch) fresh apricots (1 1/4 lb), halved lengthwise and pitted

For cake
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Special equipment: a 10-inchwell-seasoned cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet (at least 2 inches deep)


Preheat oven to 375°F.
Make topping:
Heat butter in skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter, then cook, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all of sugar will be melted). Remove skillet from heat and arrange apricot halves, cut sides down, close together on top of brown sugar.
Make cake batter:
Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt into a small bowl.
Beat together butter, sugar, and extracts in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 3 to 4 minutes with a handheld. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat until mixture is creamy and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beat just until combined.
Gently spoon batter over apricots and spread evenly.
Bake cake:
If your skillet isn't ovenproof, wrap handle with heavy-duty foil (or a double layer of regular foil) before baking. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Wearing oven mitts, immediately invert a large plate over skillet and, keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert cake onto plate. Carefully lift skillet off cake and, if necessary, replace any fruit that is stuck to bottom of skillet. Cool to warm or room temperature.

I followed the recipe as it is and if I make it again, which will probably be next year now, I would half the quantities of butter and sugar for the topping as there was far too much.

Next up, was "Apricocello", basically I have  scored into about a dozen apricots, popped them in a kilner jar and left them marinating in vodka.  In about 10 days time I shall remove the apricots, add a sugar syrup, bottle it and leave it in the dark for a further 10 daysHopefully at the end of this I should have an Apricot liquer.  Will definately report back.
My freezer is now crammed with lots of stewed apricots, ready to be eaten as compote, pies or crumbles with ice-cream and I still have a few raw ones in the fridge.  Phew!!!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Sunshine, Santos and Cerveza

So a sunny day dawned and with alarms set at 06.30 - and not a school day - we got ready for this years Romeria de San Isidro Labrador.  The patron saint of peasants and field workers or farmers, I always think he does rather well, as he at least gets taken out of the church for a day in the countryside.  Not many saints that can say that.

There were about 15 carrozas this year all decorated with palms and what not, a special mention has to go to these

Whose interpretation of a cow rather amused me.

Gotta love this guy who is always well prepared

This boat which was fantastic, but not quite in the homemade "spirit" of the other carozas.

And then there were these, who had managed to store all their beer and drums of water balloons on the same side of their trailer.  What can I say

It caused a bit of a traffic jam, and unfortunatey had to be abandoned in the street.  Such a shame after such a lot of hard work.

San Isidro was of course followed by the band

Who kept everybody dancing along

On arrival at the Hermita a mass was given

Followed by the Almuerzo

And cubatas

A lovely time was had by all and can't wait for next years.  ¡Viva San Isidro!

There are as normal loads more photos on my Flickr  If you are interested

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Deprocrastination List

Deprocrastination List

So, the girlies have been back for two days and I expect you are all "gagging" to know how I got on with my deprocrastination list.  The original list is in black, all extras and succeses are in red.  The failures are in blue :-(

De clutter my wardrobe Wardrobe and drawers all nicely organised and loads of old, tatty and worn out clothes rehomed or repurposed.

Clean out log burner and polish the glass Now just need to spring/summer up my fireplace.

Pedicure and manicure - it's coming up to sandal time :-) Fail :-(

Have a good garden tidy  Made a damn good start, front is looking very nice as is the side.  Need to weed and rotivate and then dog proof the back garden, so that I can start to plant out my seedlings.

Clean kitchen windows inside and out - Rain stopped play, although I did manage to clean some of them, they are now dirtied by the rain again - very groundhog.

Eat my 5-a-day  Mostly - aided by making a three/four or five fruit smoothie for breakfast.

Wash all bathroom tiles - a ladder is required for this - floor to ceiling - so not to be undertaken lightly!!!  Yuck is all I have to say on this subject!

Get ironing pile up to date  Get real!!!

Finish crocheting my rainbow bag  Done and Blogged

Make a cover for my Kindle  Done and Blogged

Get my craft on  Done and Blogged

Move girlies beds around and generally de junk their rooms too - so much easier when their not here ;-)  "Mum have you seen my......"  "Oh not for ages sweetheart, perhaps you've left it at Daddy's"  Titter titter. Fail, although I've sorted their wardrobes, I really need them here to dejunk too much.  Although it looks like junk to me, 'tis treasure to them.

Do lots of blogging  See above

Start Girlie 1's Bag

Stop Malodrous Cess Pit Smell in Bathroom  Done using a method so MacGyvery I can't possibly tell you about it.  No really.

Go carbooting
  Done and Blogged earlier

Seed half of bottom field for the ponies 

Fix fountain that has never worked in the 9+ years we have lived here

Scrape out nasty black grout in the bathroom and replace with new fresh white 

So, on the whole not too shabby, although not everything on my list was completed, I'm pretty impressed with my efforts.  What do you think?