Sun Dried Tomatoes


The ingredients: all from our land.

We have just collected our first batch of home grown, sun dried tomatoes and laid out some fresh tomatoes which we picked this morning.


Fresh tomatoes laid out on plastic over a pallet

This is how we dried them:
We laid a sheet of plastic over a couple of wooden pallets and held this down with 4 lengths of wood.


Covered with netting

We cut the tomatoes in half and laid them out on the plastic and covered them in netting which we held down with 4 more lengths of wood and weighted the corners down with heavy stones.


After 6 days in the Andalucian sunshine they are ready for storing

Six days later we collected the dried tomatoes and preserved them in jars with our olive oil, garlic and rosemary from our finca.


Jar of sun dried tomatoes

We have grown far more tomatoes than we could possibly eat but it is not a commercial crop so this is a good way of preserving them for use later.

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Home Made Gazpacho


Gazpacho Andaluz

During the hot summer months in Andalucia there is nothing to beat a chilled bowl of Gazpacho Andaluz. I made this cold soup this morning using tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, garlic and olive oil from our finca. White wine vinegar and bread were the only ingredients not home produced.


Tomatoes from our finca


Peppers from our finca


4 ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped

2 green peppers, cored seeded and chopped

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

Chunk of white bread, crust removed, soaked in water  and squeezed dry

4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar


Cucumber from our finca


Garlic from our finca


Put the vegetables, garlic and bread into a blender until worked to a purée then add the oil and vinegar. Blend for a few seconds longer then put in the fridge to cool. Add salt to taste, stir well add a sprig of mint and serve chilled. You can add a garnish of finely chopped, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and croutons, served in separate bowls, to sprinkle on top.

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We are into summer now and every day is hot and sunny.


Street in Ohanes

On Saturday we decided to drive up to the little mountain town of Ohanes.


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Although only half an hours drive away it was cooler up there with temp in the high 20s which is not too hot for strolling around the town for an hour.


Rincon de Ohanes


Colourful flowers


More pots


Little doors ….


…. little windows


Narrow street in Ohanes

Ohanes is a typical town of La Alpujarra with narrow, cobbled streets lined with old cottages and town houses with wooden doors, little windows and pots of flowers outside.


Sierra de Gador from Ohanes

It also has great views of the Sierra Nevada above and Sierra de Gador opposite.

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La Barriada De Alcora


La Barriada de Alcora


Olive groves in La Barriada de Alcora

Ten days ago we took Mike and Tracy. who were staying with us, up to the pretty little hamlet of La Barriada de Alcora in the Sierra de Gador above Canjayar.


Pine forests above La Barriada de Alcora

We drove along a wide track above the village alongside forests of pine.


The Sierra Nevada

From here there are striking views of the Sierra Nevada with snow on the highest peaks and of the villages of La Alpujarra Almeriense below.


Looking across to Ohanes. Tracy taking photos.

The mountains are mostly covered in pine forests, with some olive groves, but where there are fewer trees, probably because of forest fires in recent years, there is a profusion of wild flowers, especially where the land has been ploughed up for the partridges.




White coris


White flax

I found this surprising so late in spring and was delighted to find examples of a very pretty scabious, not encountered before, and clumps of white coris, again unusual, and an abundance of white flax.



There was also a curious, dark lichen on the rocks.


Michael taking photos

Michael found some old lead mines to explore and with an eye trained to recognise minerals, found some interesting samples. He and Tracy spotted some fascinating birds and insects to photograph with their long lenses.

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Granada – The Albaicin and Sacromonte


The Alhambra from Sacromonte

We have just returned from spending a couple of nights in Granada. Here are some photos, taken by Digby, most of which are of the Albaicin and Sacromonte. The first photo is of the Alhambra from Sacromonte. It is not possible to take this view with a normal camera as it is seen through a wire fence but Digby managed to place the lens on his iPhone against a hole in the fence.


San Gregorio

This is San Gregorio, a church near the bottom of the Albaicin.


Below San Gregorio

Below San Gregorio is this bustling street of oriental and Arabic shops and tea rooms.


Shop in the Albaicin

This is typical of one of these shops with its colourful lanterns and clothes.


Calle Aguas de Albaicin

Near the top of the Albaicin is Calle Aguas de Albaicin which is typical of the narrow streets.


Calle Aguas de Albaicin

Here is another photo of this pretty street which has many little cafes and shops


Plaza Larga

This street opens out on to the busy little square, Plaza Larga.


San Bartolomé

Here is the church, San Bartolomé, at the top of the Albaicin with me in the foreground.


The Rio Darro from the Plaza Nueva

The Rio Darro runs along the bottom of the Albaicin. This photo, taken in the evening, is of the rio from the Plaza Nueva.


From the Carretera del Darro towards the Plaza Nueva

Looking in the opposite direction along the Carretera del Darro, back towards the Plaza Nueva, this photo was taken in the morning.


Carretera del Darro

The Carretera del Darro is lined with beautiful old buildings.


Carretera del Darro

The trees here cast their shadows over the cobbles in the spring sunshine.


Buildings alongside the Rio Darro

At the end of the Carretera del Darro is the Paseo Padre Manjón. This photo was taken from here looking back along the Rio Darro.


Building above the Darro

On the opposite bank, below the Alhambra, is this beautiful old building.


Cuesta Chapiz

At the end of the Paseo the road turns up the Cuesta Chapiz towards Sacromonte.


The countryside from Granada

Here is the edge of the city and this view is of the mountains  and countryside above Granada.


The Alhambra from Sacromonte

From Sacromonte there are good views of the Alhambra and quiet corners to relax in.


In front of a cave

This is the old gypsy quarter and there are many cave dwellings here. This is a photo of the patio in front of one.


Cave interior


Cave interior

Digby took these two photos of the interior of a cave.


Typical Sacromonte dwelling

A typical Sacromonte facade


Flower pots

Flower pots adorn the walls.


Sacromonte cat with the Alhambra behind

Cats sit on the walls in the sunshine.


Cuesta Gomérez

Back down in the city from the Plaza Nueva you can walk up to the Alhambra along the Cuesta Gomérez.


Puerta de las Granada

At the top of the street you can look back down to the city through the Puerta de las Granadas.


Sacromonte cat

We hope you enjoy these photos of Granada. They were all taken with an iPhone and the file size reduced so they can be quicker to view  but the quality is not bad.

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The Bodegas of Laujar and Market in Almócita


Laujar de Andarax through the vines

Yesterday morning we drove up to Laujar de Andarax. Here they have had more rain recently than we have in the lower valleys and the countryside was looking fresh and beautiful.


Wild Antirrhinum

Now spring is at its best up here and the roadsides were covered with wild flowers and bushes of blazing yellow broom.


The Sierra Nevada from Bodega Cepa Bosquet

This is the wine producing region of Almeria and we turned off up a lane through well- tended vineyards and olive groves to investigate two bodegas which we had not visited before.


Bodega Cepa Bosquet

The first bodega we visited was Cepa Bosquet. 


Laujar from Bodega Cepa Bosquet

This bodega is in a lovely setting below the Sierra de Gador with beautiful views of Laujar and the mountains. 


Shop and tasting house at Bodega Cepa Bosquet

In the shop we tasted some of their wines. We bought a 15 litre box of their clarete, which is the basic young wine which all the locals drink, and a couple of bottles of their white Macabeo.


Bodega Fuente Victoria

We then called at the Bodega Fuente Victoria which is closer to the main road.


Bodega Fuente Victoria

This is a smaller bodega but they also produce an excellent white wine which is a blend of Macabeo and Jaen Blanco. We bought a couple of bottles of this and a bottle of their red Tempranillo.


Street in Almócita

On the way back we called in at one of our favourite villages of La Alpujarra, Almócita.


Rincon in Almócita


Door in Almócita

Here are some photos of streets and rincones of this pretty little village.


Mural in Almócita

We have mentioned before the graffiti art and poems which have been painted and inscribed on many of the walls and houses. Here is the latest addition which is in support of the campaign against violence to women.


Street market

We were surprised to find a bustling street market set around the square and the attractive old church.


Serving customers

This reminded us of the rastrillos in the villages of the Cabo de Gata as it was mainly devoted to arts, crafts and produce.


Selling goat’s cheese ….


…. local beer

Stalls were selling local goats’ cheese and beer.


Live entertainment

There was also live entertainment.


The village bar, Almócita

There is a good little bar in the village which serves excellent tapas and wine from Laujar.


Music by the lovely old church

We had a very enjoyable morning but did not take the camera so these photos were taken with an iPhone.

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Our Garden In April


A view of the house and garden

Here are some photos taken of my garden yesterday.


Pots in front of the house

When we moved here last summer the house already had a lovely garden but it had been a little neglected. Over the last few months we have been trimming the shrubs and roses, making new arrangements and sowing seeds in the greenhouse to transplant into pots for summer colour.


This rose is heavily scented

We have an abundance of rose bushes. We severely pruned these in the winter and now they are full of bud. Next month they will all be in flower and will make a spectacular show but even now we have a few blooms. This is my favourite.

DSC04417aW.jpgHere is an arrangement of weathered bricks, collected from the riverbed, and terracotta pots which I assembled to display my cacti and succulents.


Cacti and geraniums

I like this display of geraniums, cacti and miniature roses.


Cement mixer

This is a old cement mixer bucket which I have planted with a climbing snail vine and trailing flowers. It should make a nice feature when the plants are in flower.


In front of the house

Climbing roses and wistaria decorate the pergola leading into the house. We have collection of pots containing lavender, cosmos daisies, calendulas, geraniums and many others in front.


Dappled sunlight


Shade under the trees

Trees provide shade and the dappled sunlight shining through the leaves creates some lovely shadows. The trees attract nesting birds and there is always birdsong to enjoy, including the nightingales along the river below the house.


Another aspect

Next month we will post some more photos of our garden which will be a blaze of colour then.


Swimming pool

We have also cleaned the swimming pool this week. It looks tempting but the water is still a little cold for swimming.


Habas, olive trees and the Sierra de Gador

On the land the vegetable patches are going well.  This is the optimum time of year for habas (broad beans) and we also have cauliflower, broccoli, chard, spinach, onions, garlic, radishes, beetroot and lettuce. We have planted tomatoes, peppers and aubergines for the summer.


Orange and blossom

The orange trees are full of blossom but still have some fruit left. We have been enjoying our own freshly squeezed orange juice for five months now and have enough fruit to keep us going until the end of May.


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