The Almond Diaries by Carina Cooper

AUGUST
How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward”
Spanish proverb.
During the August heatwave here in Ibiza, the above proverb resonated deeply and the word ‘siesta’, realised itself as a beautiful onomatopoeia. Never has a word become so seductive.
The figs arrived at the end of August, milky black, plumping up declaring themselves ready to be plucked and experienced. I always pick all my fruits and vegetables in the morning as it’s when the life force is strongest, as Gaia exhales in the morning, inhales in the evening.
SLOW DRIED FIGS with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamum.
Ingredients:
6 or more black /green figs, thinly sliced
3 pinches ground cinnamon
2 pinches of ground cardamum
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 250c, then turn it back to it’s lowest setting. Take a large oven
proof dish and lay it with grease proof parchment, lay out the fig slices. Mix the spices together and sprinkle over the sliced figs. Bake in the oven for approx 6 hours, turning over after 3 hours. Bake until they are dried and chewy. Serve with ice cream, or eat as a snack.
The almonds have broken out of their winter, fuzzy shell suits, and are dropping like tear drops to the ground. We’ve gathered the nets, laid them out under the trees and shaken the trees with sticks to coax the last nuts to drop.
The almond is native to the Mediterranean and the middle east, It is believed that the Phoenicians bought the almond to Ibiza around 2,500 years ago. It seems that they have always been revered and were even found in Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt. Roman’s were known to shower newly weds with almonds as they were believed to be a fertility charm.
The Prunus dulcis, family tree is pretty exemplary, they are known as ‘The Queen of The Rose’ same family, and are also cousins to peaches and apricots. Nutritionally they are bursting with goodness, in India, they are given to children as brain food, as they are rich in vitamin e, magnesium and zinc, doing wonders for the skin too.
I’ve harvested quite a few kilo’s this year and it never ceases to amaze me what an honour it is to have access to my own almonds as in recent years they have become a daily ritual in my life.
I’m not going to take on Colette (the writer’s) advice which was”Don’t eat too many almonds; they add weight to the breast”.
SEPTEMBER
We’re now deep into September, the rains have come and the plant life on this abundant island has just exploded into a second Spring. There is no Autumn here. A second Spring arrives, blessed with the golden light of a waning sun towards the winter solstice.
Coming from England and being so familiar with four seasons, its magical  to be now living further south towards the equator. The joy after an intensely hot and dusty summer that this verdant lush landscape springs forth in such intense greens, through the filter of a golden light.
There is a reason the Mediterranean is the bedrock of civilisation, and I’m certainly revelling on this island idyll at my adventures in contentment.
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