Saturday, 5 December 2015

Cachi, the sweetest treat of the winter

Winters here are full of splashes of bright orange dappled throughout the countryside, the cachi (persimmon) stunning against the snow.  But there are just so many, and what to do with them with them all?  Tragic not to make use of such sweet abundance.

Eaten raw, they leave a strange furry matting to the roof of your mouth, cooked they just go to mush, and there's only so much mush you can eat. 

And here's the trick.

Dry them.

They crystallise and become the most delectable candied fruit.  A very naughty, but very very nice, sweet treat without a single additive or grain of sugar in existence.  

They can be chopped and mixed into your warming winter porridge; add a spoonful of cinnamon and you have the food of the gods.  

You can make a fruit cake out of them, a tart, or a loaf, coat them in chocolate, or just simply pop them in your mouth when you get the munchies.  And not so much of a whisper of a furry mouth.  Win, win, every time.

So here's how:

1.  Pick the fruit with some stalk still attached (you'll need this for hanging them).

2.  Peel the fruit, leaving a small disc of peel top and bottom.

3.  Hang them somewhere dry and airy, leaving space between each one.

4.  Give them a squeeze every now and then to encourage the sugar to the outside.

5.  After about 3 months they're ready to be munched.

Couldn't be easier.

And they look very pretty too.


Pick your cachi (persimmon) with a small length of stick still attached

Peel them, leaving a small disc top and bottom

Hang them in a dry, airy space.
Don't forget to squeeze them, cachi's need love too

After about 3 months they're crystallising nicely

Simple pleasures

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


Late summer, the perfect time of year for exploring the higher peaks of the Majella.  Today's summits were Monte Focalone (2767m) and Monte Acquaviva (2737m).  

The plan was also to do the Cima delle Murelle (2598m) and descend via Monte Ugni (1350m), but time was getting on.  On hold for another day. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

As Abruzzo scorches...

Come August, cool & rain are but a distant memory, as are shoes & sleeves. 

The need to keep cool takes you to some of the most spectacular spots in Abruzzo, and all easily within reach, between a 5 and 60 minutes drive.

We've got beaches, rivers, gorge walks & waterfalls, none, ever, really crowded, even in mid-August.  Here are just a few ideas:

Tomato Beach (35 mins drive)

Cascata della Cisterna, Bolognano (40 mins drive + a walk of around 20 mins)

Fiume Orta, Bolognano (40 mins drive + a walk of around 20 mins)

Orta Valley, St Tomasso (45 mins drive + a walk of around 30 mins)

Orta Valley (40 mins drive + a walk of around 20 mins)

Fishing Trabocco, San Vito (45 mins drive)

Alento river, Serramonacesca (20 min walk or 5 minute drive)

Fiume Alento, Serramonacesca (20 min walk or 5 minute drive)

Fiume Orta  (40 mins drive + a walk of around 20 mins)

Cascate di Cusano, Abbateggio  (35 minute drive, 40 minute walk)

La Cascata di Cusano, Abbateggio (35 minute drive, 40 minute walk)

Fiume Orta (40 mins drive + a walk of around 20 mins)
Tomato Beach (32 minute drive)

Punta Aderci, Vasto (1hr drive)

Punta Aderci, Vasto (1 hr drive)

Ripari di Giobbe, Ortona

Spoilt for choice.

Friday, 26 June 2015

A Micro-Escape to the Sea

Yesterday evening, he said let's go and camp at the seaside.  Within an hour we had packed a few bits, delegated the task of campsite monitor to one of our trustworthy campers, scooped up Finn the Dog and were trundling our way down from the Mother Mountain and along the valley that joins mountain to sea.

You can do that in Abruzzo, you see.  The land of fairy tales where you can be on the high, snow-clad peaks one minute and swimming in the sea the next.  Well not quite that quickly, but almost.

We arrived and set up camp in time to watch the sun sink slowly into the sea, a crisp and cold glass of white wine the perfect accompaniment.

A fish supper in the cove below, and then we were ready to snuggle up in the tent for the night.  Not too late to bed as we knew dawn would be calling all too soon.  

And so it was.  Up at 5am feeling the fresh air and bird song and the changing colours of the sky.  Breakfast on the beach was a must, as was a quick swim, before returning home once more.

Home and back to work by 9am, a micro-adventure it may not have been (not a bivvy sack or motorway in sight), but a micro-escape it certainly was.  

Eating sea food and watching the sky change from red
to a deep, deep inky blue scattered with a million stars

Slowly awakening before the sun has risen

The joy of just sitting and waiting for dawn

As the sun climbed higher, so the sky became redder
and the ships slowly crossed the horizon

Can there be a better way to take your morning coffee?

Almost light and sunrise almost over, so nearly time to go home

...but not before a quick swim before breakfast

Time to go home Finn.

Until the next time.