August is Harvest Time in Galicia
Just in the middle of the hottest time of the year is when I have to start preserving my crops for the coming year. Luckily for me my kitchen has 70cm thick stone walls which keep it cool in summer… until I have the oven and the hob on of course. Then it becomes my own personal steamy sauna.
The tomatoes are a little late this year as I didn’t sow them until the end of March what with one thing and another. I save the seed from the best specimens each year to grow the next. This means I am never 100% sure what will come up. This year I have a number of very sturdy looking plants with masses of long plum tomatoes hanging down. Perfect for sauce. And that is what I am doing this week.
I cook down the tomatoes, add olive oil, vinegar, sugar and seasoning then pour the thickened sauce into sterile jars. This way we have ready-made tomato sauce for the following 12 months. So much nicer than bought and not a chemical in sight.
I have had a good crop of elderberries this year too. Last year the ants attacked the tree and we got nary a single berry off so I’m making the most of this year’s crop to make an elderberry cordial. It is excellent cold mixed with cava as an elderberry version of Kir Royale or as a hot toddy in winter. Almost worth getting frozen for. Talking of frozen it’s pretty good poured over ice cream too. If you would like the recipe just drop me a line and I’ll be happy to oblige.
For the first time since we arrived here 13 years ago, the plums have failed me. Not one single plum from my six different varieties. That is exceptionally sad as the plums are usually turned into fruit vinegar, ketchup (much nicer than tomato ketchup to my mind) chutneys, and jam. Luckily I always overproduce each year for just such an event so we won’t be running out of chutney just yet.
I have found over the years that every year my allotment excels in one product and fails dismally in another. This year has been the best I’ve had for onions ever! I had 172 onions pulled and strung, not one bolted and only two were eaten by my ‘beast’ which nibbles its way through my root crops on a regular basis. Some of the onions are monsters as you can see from the photo above. In fact, so excited was I with the crop that I decided to set a little competition for you…
Just read to the end of this newsletter for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart.
Talking of Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart. And, let’s face it I have to at least once in a blog… I have been amazed at the lovely reactions I’ve had to my book and the wonderful reviews on Amazon and Goodreads from the UK to the US and Australia. I have even had my story told in a couple of newspapers. The links are below if you missed them!!
This week I have published my short story prequel Camino on Amazon too. It’s a quick light read and only 99p/99c. Even better, if you click my ‘subscribe now’ button at the bottom of my webpage you will get it for free, gratis, nada!
If you have read Plum or Camino I’d love to hear from you and if you have time to put a review on Amazon or Goodreads I’d be very grateful. Reviews make such a difference to Indie authors. If you have already put a review up then a GREAT BIG THANK-YOU!
So to the competition: In the photo above I’m carrying a chain of the largest of this year’s onions. There are some big devils there but how much does the string of onions weigh? To give you an idea, I’m 5’2”… that helped didn’t it?!!
Email me your best guess to firstname.lastname@example.org and the closest answer will receive a free copy of my eBook to read or gift to a friend. I will announce the winner and the correct weight in next month’s newsletter.
In the meantime put your thinking caps on and enjoy the rest of your summer