All quiet in the orchard at this time of the year (but Hermann the German is sharpening up his specialist tree pruning saw for the winter pruning due to start any weekend now…) so we (mainly me and sometimes Mini-Kraut) have been busy in the kitchen creating some more exhibits for our gingerbread gallery.
This year’s main creation has to remain a secret for the time being until this year’s Christmas Guests of Honour have been able to peruse and applaud it live, but we have been busy baking building components for lucky recipients in the neighbourhood, complete with building instructions, in German:
Here are a few flashbacks to past creations where we have gained all this skill and experience 🙂
A root related to ginger, widely used in Far Eastern cookery, and described by German medieval medicine woman Hildegard of Bingen as “warm and healing”, particularly for those suffering from “heartache”.
For those with a bad back she recommends Glühwein with galangal.
In the kitchen Hildegard of Bingen paired galangal with quinces (as well as with pumpkin, fruit salads, jams in general and marinades).
Clearly a lady after my own heart and so I have followed her example: the very last of this years’ quinces have become
And what a very good idea that was: love it!
German recipes for Martinswecken are legion, this is the hugely versatile curd cheese pastry recipe that I use to make them:
Mini-Kraut is now more into more technical creations and I am lucky enough to be involved with our local community supported agriculture initiative where Gerhard, our “summer farmer” (who delivers organic, free range (i.e. normal!) eggs throughout the winter – his hens sometimes take their winter break in summer) – has hens who lay blue eggs:
And if you want to know what determines the colour of a hen’s eggshell, here’s the answer, click on the link: The Colour of a Hen’s Eggshell.
Orchards and groves: close relatives, worked, or working, trees, they occur throughout Europe as both rich habitats and heritage features in the landscape.
I am paraphrasing Ian Rotherham of Sheffield Hallam University here – a man far more knowledgable than I on the misunderstood and threatened resources that are orchards and groves. (Orchards and Groves: Their History, Ecology, Culture and Archaeology, Landscape Archaeology and Ecology, Vol. 7, 2008, published by Wildtrack Publishing).
I do know how to appreciate them, though, and was privileged to be able to visit the almond, citrus and olive groves of southern Spain’s Andalusia at the beginning of March – a pre-season dose of spring for this traditional orchard fan(atic) from north of the Alps!
In fact, with elements of spring, summer and autumn all happening at once, it was a real feast for the senses!
Some almonds in blossom, some already fruiting, depending on location and elevation.
Citrus, ripe for the picking and on your doorstep, literally…
Magnificent, majestic symbols of the heritage of which they form part: olive trees,
many still resplendent with olives as the harvest season draws to a close.
The feast for the senses continues at Malaga’s main food market: olives, almonds and so much more, by the bucket load!
With many elements of local distinctiveness on offer too!