Figs Galore in Periana

Fig Parfait currently on the menu at Restaurante Cantueso

August in Periana is so very fruitful and we have been enjoying lots of peaches and are now trying to cope with a bountiful supply of figs, grapes and almonds. Bonnie our black lab has a preferred route for her morning constitutional which passes our neighbour Antonio’s plot so that she can pick her own grapes which hang from his hedge (or rather the chain link fence). Around here they tend to be the Muscatel variety, greeny red, very juicy and sweet. but complete with seeds. If you have become accustomed to the supermarket seedless/tasteless varieties just come for a walk around the village and sample these delights.

While on your stroll watch out also for figs which are all around and often never picked. We have this summer been asking our guests to help out so as not to waste these black beauties which grow in abundance in the garden at Cantueso. Figs are full of fibre and minerals such as calcium and magnesium and just two will contribute to your five a day quota.

For those of you reading this in Britain you can of course buy some at M & S but they will cost about 80p each!

Eating one of your five a day has never been easier.

We have as in other years turned some surplus figs to good use by making Fig and Ginger Chutney. Not very Spanish we know but our kitchen often make their own version which they call marmalade and use it as an accompaniment to Serrano ham or cold cuts. In case we can tempt you the recipe is below.

Fig & Ginger Chutney

1.3kg Figs, chopped

450g onions chopped

1.1l malt vinegar

450g cooking apples peeled and chopped

450 g seedless raisins or dates, chopped

3 tablespoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

900g granulated sugar

Chop as coarse or as fine as you like.

Place onions in a preserving pan or large saucepan with a little of the vinegar and cook to soften but not brown.

Add apples, raisins or dates and continue to cook until soft and pulpy.

Add the figs, ginger, salt, sugar and remaining vinegar, bring to the boil and then simmer until thick again. Be careful not to burn the sugar on the bottom of the pan.

Pot into sterilised jars.

Hints: if you don’t have a preserving pan with sloping sides evaporation of vinegar will not be as efficient so reduce the vinegar to 1 litre.

Sterilise jars by washing in the dishwasher. Ideally use Killner type jars but any metal cap jar will normally work well as long as they are sterilised.

Makes about 2.2 to 2.7 kg. Keep for at least two months before eating.

Cooking time about two hours.

and if you still have figs why not try

 

Figs in Syrup

1 kilo Figs

500g Caster Sugar

Juice of one lemon

1 Vanilla bean (cut in half lengthways)

1 tablespoon rum or brandy

Method:Place sugar, lemon juice, vanilla bean and 625ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Add the figs lower the heat and cook uncovered for about 20mins.

Remove the softened figs with a slotted spoon and set aside. If the syrup is still watery and pale, boil it a little more until thickened. Place figs in a suitable preserving jar. Let the syrup cool and then pour over the figs adding the rum or brandy over the top.

Place a disc of greaseproof paper on the top making sure the figs are submerged.

Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within one month.

Perfect for pouring over vanilla ice cream.

Cantueso as Never Seen Before!

Many thousands of photos are taken every year in and around Cantueso, and we even had a photo competition one year, which yielded many beautiful views.
Now however we have been able to go further with some aerial photography which we hope you will like.

Paul Lines, of Videodrone, was the photographer, and should you be interested in some unusual views of your property give him a call on 643 62 48 83 or e mail info@videodrone.pro

The camera and drone for those of you who are interested was a DJI Mavic Pro with 4K full HD camera (1/2.3″ CMOS 12MP 4K). This amazing camera/drone folds into a pouch about five inches square.

El Torcal near Antequera, Spain

 

A short drive from Cantueso Cottages in Periana is the natural park of El Torcal. It is one of nature’s wonders, created over 200 million years ago and provides a fascinating legacy of that period, when Europe and the Middle East was still one continent submerged under the Tethys Sea.

No matter whether you are a  geologist or simply a curious traveller, the landscape will amaze with its limestone constructions resembling a far off planet. For a period of about 175 million years, the build up of carbonate sedimentation continued with vast accumulations of shells, skeletons, and dead marine life. Over time these were compacted at various levels forming the horizontal limestone layers we can see today, and which have, since the retreat of the water, been shaped by water, wind and ice.

The fossilised remains of an Ammonite. A hard shelled sea creature that lived 200 million years ago.

View from El Torcal Ammonite

Visitor Centre: Adjacent to the car parking area is the visitor centre which is a good starting point for your explorations. There is a small shop selling artisan products and a restaurant, which caters for the needs of the thirsty and hungry traveller with breakfast, lunch and dinner being served. Interactive displays offer an excellent guide to the area and explanation of special sights, and helpful staff members are there to further enhance your experience. You can also join a guided group from there.

Walking Trails: there are well-signed trails of varying lengths open to all. Off track walks are only permitted if previously authorised.

Nature’s Art, in abundance at el Torcal

FAQ’s

Do I need a permit to walk un-guided?   No, as long as you follow one of the five marked trails.

Can we hire a guide?  Yes, a guide is available for groups of from two to twenty. Please check as guided walks are restricted in some months and your own group arrangements must be made in advance. See El Torcal website for details. www.torcaldeantequera.com/

What are the opening hours of the Visitor Centre?

From 1st October to 30th March 10.00 to 17.00 hrs.

1st April to 30 September 10.00 to 19.00 hrs.

During July and August the restaurant and observatory is open until midnight.

Can we walk at night?  Only if you join a pre-arranged tour. There are nighttime events called “Nights to Awaken the Senses.” These evening tours start at 19.00 hrs with a two-hour walk along the route of the Ammonites followed by dinner, and finishing with a two-hour session in the observatory. The cost of about 30€ per person, includes guide, insurance, dinner and the services of an astronomer.

Where can I find more information?  The official website is: www.torcaldeantequera.com/  which unfortunately is only in Spanish but using Google translate or similar you will get the gist of most things. Most importantly you will get the up-to-date information on special tours and events.

How to get there from Periana?

From Cantueso return to the roundabout and turn right taking the road out of the village towards Riogordo, then to Colemenar/Casabermeja/Villanuevo de la Concepción, and once there you will see signs to “Parje Natural, Torcal de Antequera.”

In total about 55 kilometres and just over one hour, driving at normal speed.

 All photographs on this posting by kind permission of Don Bertolette.