My history with Mallorca began more than 20 years ago, when my children were tiny. Today, they are all grown, and Mallorca for me now is about family (still) and friends, happy times and good food. You can browse my Mallorcan cookbook here for free.
I hope people will eat more local produce wherever they go. Apart from the carbon miles expended to import ‘exotic’ fruits and vegetables, somehow locally-grown produce seems to have richer and stronger tastes. We get our stuff from the local farmers’ markets (link to the weekly markets in Mallorca) as well as small fruiteria. The one in Alcudia is very well-stocked:
The oranges were only 1euros per kilo and they were so sweet. The greens too were powerfully strong.
We went foraging, but as it was winter, there wasn’t much except the perennial cactus (nutrient-rich, as they take a very long time to grow) and wood sorrel. You could make nutritious smoothies with cactus, and pesto with wood sorrel. And of course, we came across pomegranates and oranges, which will sadly rot on the trees as nobody picked them and the season was coming to an end.
One of the best things about this island in late autumn and early winter is that the carob on the trees are ripe. They taste just like chocolate though they smell a bit like cheese. We harvest them, remove the seeds, and blend them with frozen bananas (dates optional) to make 100% natural, raw ice cream, which tastes soooooo good! When added to a thick green smoothie made with orange juice, you get something that tastes like orange chocolate! So next time you see a carob tree, taste the fruit.
Best chocolate on the island can be found in www.cachao.eu.by the Santa Catalina market in Palma.
Greens on the land
I am mindful of the greens I foraged. For example, we have a whole carpet of spotted medick, but the bees love the blooms and are often used to make flavuorful honey. So I let them be, for the bees. The young bristly ox-tongue (also known as ‘Langley’s beef’)is supposed to be a good anti-histamine remedy, and I use them to make tea and tinctures (since they are too prickly for salads). There are plenty of edible greens on the ground, even in February. The only ones that is poisonous are the lilies.
There are lots of cactuses growing wild in Mallorca. They grow very slowly. Thus, they have lots of time to absorb and concentrate the nutrients from the soil into their insides. The reason why cactuses are full of goodness! I made 100% natural, potent hair conditioner from cactus, olive leaves (sun protectant), rosemary leaves, lemon juice and olive oil. Blend together using a strong blender, massage into hair and leave for a few minutes/hours. If you don’t have cactuses growing wild where you live, use aloe vera instead.
There is a tiny little farm full of cute goats in Pollenca on the north east of the island that sells goats cheese. If you want to see how cheese is made as well as say hello to cute goats, you must visit this farm. Google map to the place can be found here.
This cheese I bought has carob in it!
So excited to be starting a new compost heap today (14th February 2022)! Yeah, it’s Valentine’s Day but starting something that nurtures the planet (as well as tummies) is so much more fulfilling….that’s what I think anyway. So here it is.
Though we have lots of orange peels from the orange grove, I don’t add them to the compost heap because they’d make it too acidic for the composting organisms to be happy.
I will add leaf cuttings, greens, newspapers, twigs, etc, to give the compost heap a good balance of greens and browns. Eggshells and used tea leaves (removed from tea bags) add a lot of goodness to the compost heap! Golden rule is never add meat scraps or cooked food.
It’s actually very easy. I initially chose a shady spot that has reasonably good drainage to site the compost heap:
…but for some reason, I was drawn to the spot slightly further down the orchard, in a small dip. Interestingly enough, there are comfrey (“bone set” – good for compost heaps) growing there! We then lined it with twigs and small pieces of wood for additional drainage – this is very important, because for a compost heap to progress, it needs browns, greens, water and air.
Now all we have to do is keep feeding the compost heap with good quality scraps
Starting a new kitchen garden (February2022). The soil here had never been commercially farmed, had never been touched by pesticides and fertilisers.
These are the pine trees along my running route on Passeig Voramar, Puerto Pollenca (below). I would ask myself, why are they all bent towards the sea? Well, the reason can’t be because of the wind: (1) there are buildings behind the trees to buffer them from the onslaught of strong wind, (2) the trees themselves show no sign of wind damage, and (3) there is enough sunlight from all directions. It puzzled me for a while (and I discussed this with my daddy)……answers further down…..
The answer is because the soil closest to the sea gets waterlogged by seawater and becomes less densely packed. Thus the soil closer to the sea is less able to support the weight of the tree and the tree begins to tip over. Simple physical reason!
There is another type of pine tree called the Cook pine (below).
There’s something magical about Cook pines: they lean towards the Equator always! How come???? Read all about Cook pines in New Scientist.
Found this gorgeous piece of sea glass on a secluded beach, Cala Bouquer, at the end of a lovely hike with my friend Abi. Same theme that runs through my life: islands, oceans, nature’s treasures.
Trail map here: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/spain/illes-balears/valle-boquer