Without wanting to sound like Marie Antoinette who played at farming whilst her peasants did all the real work, five of us girls set out the other morning to help with the almond harvest on our hillside. The real work is carried out by our steadfast neighbour Juan who can reach the trees on the dangerous slopes, so all we had to do collect were the easy pickings from the paths. The only requirements are suncream, strong shoes and an IKEA bag
Although I find marzipan is an acquired taste, almonds themselves are incredibly versatile. They make a delicious andalusian cold soup called Ajo Blanco, the best recipe for which is in Helen Bartlett’s book, Vegan Pure, see http://www.Fountainheadrestaurant.com. Helen is a real talent, creating modern Andalusian recipes that update the Moro style. I love her cooking!
Almonds are also the main ingredient of some sweet biscuits I made that went down a treat at the Womens Equality Party fundraising. It could be because I make them breast shape, with an almond nipple in the middle. They sold for £2 each.
There are five stages to making an orange and almond cake on our hillside. 1. Pick the almonds from the low hanging branches and take off the brown husk. 2. Shell the almonds with a small hammer delicately so as not to break the nut. 3. Stop for a cold beer on the terrace (my favourite bit). 4. Blanch the nut in boiling water for one to two minutes to soften the skins. 5. Squeeze the nut out of its skin, sending them flying across the room (My second favourite bit). 6. Pick the oranges and bake the cake.