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Posts Tagged ‘almond’

Reaching up

September 5, 2016 Leave a comment
Almonds split open and ready

Almonds split open and ready

There are a lot of almonds this year and the tree has grown quite tall.

They’re so nice and easy to pick – once you get your hand to them.

I’ve been doing it in dribs and drabs and now have just the highest ones left which I may be reduced to knocking down with a pole.

So far I’ve picked and hulled 467 (it’s a tradition of mine to count almonds). The record is 650 – all from one tree.

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Almond blossom

March 26, 2013 Leave a comment
Almond blossom

An almond flower

 

It rained on and off all day today.

The orchard blossom seems to have gone on hold apart from one tree, the almond tree.

It’s the nearest to the house so I’ve watched it opening its blossom steadily.

I took this photo when the weather was better and there was only one small spray in bloom.

Ripe almonds

August 15, 2012 2 comments

Almonds peeping through their outer casing

The almonds always take me by surprise when they’re ready to pick, which is indicated by their grey-green velvety outer casing splitting open.

This time I think it may be the wet followed by the dry which has precipitated it.

I was walking past the tree this evening, on my way to pick another lot of damsons, when I saw them.

Almonds are a pleasure to pick. They just twist off the twig without resistance.

I picked a hundred and then it got dark.

Categories: Gardening Tags: , , , , ,

Cherries galore

July 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Ripe wild cherries

Wild cherries, that is.

There are 2 main places where productive wild cherry trees grow. One is by the ‘blue pig’ water tank.

The other is in the dell behind the house where there’s a thicket of them. The bright fruits dangling off the slender branches look like a depiction of paradise.

Going into the dell isn’t paradise, though. It’s a hot-bed of aggressive and determined horseflies. I go down there liberally coated with insect repellent and wearing a headscarf to stop them going in my ears. I return with at least one bite per square inch of exposed flesh.

Wild cherries have attitude. Their juice turns your fingers crimson when you handle them and their flavour is pronounced. They are very good to cook with and turn everything pink.

Picked cherries

Stoned cherries

Cherry and almond cake!

The recipe below makes roughly 3 of these cakes.  Clive is the cook in the family – I just eat it.

Clive’s recipe for wild cherry and almond cake

Ingredients
 
400g Plain flour *
250ml Sunflower oil *
300g Sugar *
400g Fresh cherries of which about 100ml is juice
50g Almonds
1tbsp Bicarbonate of soda *
1tbsp Baking powder *
1 heaped tsp Salt *
3 Eggs *
Butter (to grease)
 
Method
 
Put all the starred ingredients into a bowl, add cherry juice (but not cherries) and mix thoroughly.
Grease baking dish with butter
Stir cherries into mix
Pour mix into greased tin
Top with almonds
Bake in the centre of a very cool oven (180C or less) for 30 to 45 minutes

Perfume of pink oleanders

June 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Two sorts of pink oleander have grown together along the drive. The form of the flower is different and the scent is also different.

2 sorts of oleander, similar but not the same

It makes me wish I was a creator of perfumes, able to detect different proportions of ingredients and identify the ‘layers’ in a perfume.

In my amateur opinion, the smell of both types of oleander has a base of honey and almond.

The deeper pink one on the left then has an overlay of rose, while the paler pink one on the right tops off with vanilla.

Clive for some reason can’t smell flowers at all so unfortunately I haven’t been able to get a second opinion.

The last almond

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Joules is keen on peaches as well

The last almond almost went to Joules. I knocked it off the highest twig, scarcely reachable by my trusty ‘fruit hook’, and it fell into a clump of grass.

Joules was right beside me. He bristled as if he’d heard the rustle of a lizard, then before I could stop him, pounced and grabbed something.

I wasn’t sure whether it was my benchmark-setting almond, or nothing in particular. But whatever it was, he wasn’t going to let me have it.

In these situations I’m sadly powerless. My only recourse is to invoke a more impressive authority.

“Clive!” I called.

Clive was still in the house but it didn’t matter. Without hesitation, Joules spat out the almond.

Almond number 308. Not for canine consumption!

Peach and almond cake

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment
It’s been a disaster of a day, mainly because of the water cut which started last night. I’d planned to do a couple of loads of washing, put the dishwasher on, wash up the pots and pans that don’t fit in the dishwasher, and wash my hair – all standard Sunday activities, all thwarted.
 
Although the water came back on just after lunch, it almost immediately went off again, presumably nicked by someone refilling their private reservoir.
 
Meantime I’d started the dishwasher up but had to turn it off again and trap all the dishes inside.
 
Then it started to rain which meant I couldn’t relieve my frustration by doing some gardening.
 
Clive, meantime, had soldiered away at peeling the mountain of tiny peaches we’ve accumulated. He proceeded to turn them into a 3-kilogramme cake.
 

Peach and almond cake

At least something good came out of today.

Here is his recipe.

 
RECIPE FOR PEACH AND ALMOND CAKE
  • 1000g (1kg) of peach slices
  • 200g shelled whole almonds
  • 700g ’00’ flour (plain)
  • 600g sugar
  • 525ml olive oil (sunflower oil will make a lighter cake)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons of salt

All quantities are approximate!

Thoroughly grease large oven dish
Separate large peach pieces from pulpy bits such that you have about 300g of peach pieces and 700g of peachy pulp
Mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large container (I used a wok!)
Add olive oil and mix until all dry content has been blended in with the oil
Add eggs and peach pulp
Blend together (I used a hand blender) until mixture is very liquid and a bit lumpy from the peach pulp
Stir in the almonds and peach pieces until well distributed into the mix
Pour into oven dish and cook on very low heat (I used around 160C) for about an hour (although check after 45 mins)
Turn out and allow to cool