11 August 2009

The Good, The Bad And The Prickly

Ah, look, there's dear old Clint in the days before anyone had heard of Dirty Harry! Wondering what he's doing here on this post? Well, do you remember the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960's and 70's? Go on admit it, of course you do!! OK , maybe you're too a bit young to remember, but you'll no doubt have heard the term which refers to the (mostly) low budget movies made by Italian producers in Spain during that era. Admittedly a lot of the movies were pretty awful and some very BAD, but many were box office hits!! The young Clint Eastwood cut his teeth on such greats as 'A Fistful of Dollars', 'A Few Dollars More' and 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly'. Remember the soundtrack to that?

This little Youtube has a lovely version of the theme music with composer Ennio Morricone conducting, plus a few scenes from the movie. Put on those earphones and turn up the volume - it should bring back some memories for some of you! And don't miss those eyes!! Clint was such a heartthrob in those days, wasn't he? I still remember having a huge poster of him on the wall beside my bed in my 4th form dorm at boarding school! Anyway, I digress. What has this all got to do with me now? Well, only that I've just trotted (well, driven really ) through Spaghetti Western country - our last port of call on the Spanish tour.

Tabernas - Almeria

photos: villaspain.biz

We drove from Nerja eastwards to stay with friends in Mojacar, on the Costa de Almeria. The town is actually made up of two areas a couple of kms apart, Mojacar Pueblo (town) which clings to a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean sea..

and MojacarPlaya (beach) which is right there dipping its toes in the sparkling waters. The town is favoured by locals and expats alike. The former who flock to the area to escape the cities and the latter who spend all year there soaking up over 3000 sun hours and enjoying the lowest rainfall in Spain every year! GOOD!!!

So then, that lack of rainfall and constant heat adds up to a very arid landscape. Desert in fact. Perfect for the filming of Spaghetti Westerns and the growing of PRICKLY cacti!

Take a look at the next few pics - there's a puzzle for you to solve!

Any idea? I'll let you know the answer at the end of the post!

Whilst you're trying to work that one out you can take advantage of one of the dozens of good watering holes in the area for thirsty cowboys and girls. Here's a good one up in the mountains - it's cool up here - a little oasis in the desert complete with golf course.

Hungry? How about a bowl of delicious Gazpacho soup? Have you tried this classic, cold Spanish dish? I'll leave you with my recipe! Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 6

700 g delicious ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped roughly
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 chilli
3 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
225 g fresh wholemeal bread crumbs
15 ml tomato paste
60 ml wine vinegar
90ml olive oil
salt & pepper
600 ml water

*Serve with some little bowls of garnishes if liked or, Avocado Salsa - see below.


Immerse the tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water, then drain, refresh under cold running water and peel away the skins. Roughly chop the flesh.
Halve, core and deseed the peppers and chilli, then chop roughly. Put prepared veg and garlic into a large bowl. Add breadcrumbs, tomato paste, wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly.
Transfer half the soup to a blender, add about 300 mls water and process - I leave mine fairly rough in texture when I don't use the extras * below . Transfer to a large serving bowl. Puree the remaining half of the soup with another 300mls water. Add to the pureed soup and stir well. Adjust seasoning to taste. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

*Can be served with garnishes of chopped cucumber, red and green pepper slices, chopped hard boiled egg, chopped red onion, ice cubes and croutons if desired. Or try this delicious Avocado Salsa (recipe courtesy my daughter Julie)

1 Ripe Avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
2.5 cm piece of cucumber, chopped
1/2 chilli, chopped
Basil to garnish.

Have the avocado, stone, peel and dice. Toss the avocado in the juice, then mix with cucumber and chilli.

Top with spoonful of salsa and a little torn basil.



Have you worked out the answer to that little brain teaser?

What does the Almeria desert landscape, plus Beatle John Lennon, plus a strawberry equal?

Well, apparently John began penning his famous song 'Strawberry Fields Forever' whilst filming 'How I won the War' in Almeria back in 1967! Another piece of fairly useless information! And on that note, I'll leave you - have a good weekend!


  1. A post for all passions! Well, all of mine anyway. Delightful.

  2. Woot woot I guessed it.

    You live a wonderful life.

    Love Renee xoxo

  3. WOWOWW! I love this post! What a beautiful place. Yes, I love spaghetti westerns, I did not know they were called spaghetti. I thought they were rigatonni. Okay, just kidding. I remember them but I prefer kung fu movies then. Hiyah!

  4. Great pics...as far as the western pics...still watch them whenever they pop up on the tube...my kids even like them! How is that for spreading the curse...

  5. You sure know how to pack a lot of goodness into a post. That recipe looks great.

  6. Wonderful post Caroline, I'd like to stay at that desert oasis for at least a week! :-)

  7. Wow , what a wonderful trip. I have never been to Spain - it's another place on my 'to do one day' list!
    We do have the soundtrack to 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly' playing constantly in my car at the moment. It is the children's favourite music. They have never seen the film, but they like to imagine what is happening from the music. To be honest, the music is so effective that they are often pretty accurate in their guessing!

  8. Happy Sunday Caroline!
    Loving it Caroline! An unique way to address and show us the beauty of a wonderful land.
    I love these cacti images, I should pick up the paintbrush again. Thanks but I am too tire these few days!!!

  9. My dear Caroline. I am going to start posting some ATCs so you can choose what you like. I have done four yesterday, however I must really lay off using my hands for drawing for at least a week. It's the only sensible thing to do now. Have a great Sunday!

  10. My guess was that he wrote the song there? So Morricone also wrote the music for one of my all time faves Once upon a time in America and it is equally great!!! Love your pix, your recipes and your exquisite taste :)

  11. Great post Caroline. Your photos are quite stunning, especially the amazing white village on the hillside. Absolutely classic.

    I guessed the strawberry fields clue too. Apparently Strawberry Fields was a Salvation Army childrens' home near to where Lennon lived. I remember the day when I first heard he had been killed. My friend and I were on a coach returning to the airport at Tenerife when they announced it over the speaker. We talked about nothing else on the flight home.

    Lastly I was totally in love with the handsome Mr. Eastwood. I even remember his TV series Rawhide. That is showing my age...haha.


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