Tag Archives: family

Time to catch up !

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Oh my goodness, I can not believe I have not sat down and written since May ! . Shame on me, but mind you It’s not that I’ve been not living life to the full, and sometimes it’s just not the right time to write.  Well I’m back after a full to bursting, memory making, new experiences, catering to the max, foam partying, tapas tours & family and friends filled summer.

Family celebrations and special 18th birthday for my daughter with party and feasting and a great day at a stunning beach club to end it off.

A summer of welcoming guests on cooking and culture days from all over the world.  Honeymooners, friends holidaying together, families sharing new skills and cooking the perfect paellas.

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Girls from Holland.

Mama mia style weddings were a joy to plan and create for clients, with the Andalucian mountains and rustic villas providing the perfect backdrop for events to remember.  My biggest challenge this summer was to prepare, display and serve 800 tapas for an individual and stunning wedding celebration, it was utterly fabulous.

Holidays over, ninos went back to school, first rains appeared, temperatures dropped then rose again and now a heady Autumn we are enjoying.  Still able to eat alfresco and light up the BBQ, maybe just have to don a wrap or shawl as the sun sets.  Plants and flowers are coming back to life, after a long, hot summer.  Bees are busy on the blooming passionflower, and toads a plenty are coming out of their holes.

New season produce is flourishing, Chirmoyas, pomegranates, sweet potatoes to name a few.  Thoughts and tastes are turning towards comfort food, homemade soups and casseroles, long slow braised dishes and home-baked bread to mop up the juices. Most exciting for me is finally getting my new kitchen, which I’ll blog as #operationkitchen.  It has been a long time in the planning and saving, but soon work will commence.

So best foot forward for me, back to blogging, menu devising and planning for the future.  I’ll try to keep my cool when the demolition starts, but hey I can’t promise ;)

Cooking in the great outdoors .

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Cooking outdoors, in the fresh air, is a part of our life since moving from the U.K to Spain some years ago, that has become a regular affair, and something that we never take for granted.

You can’t beat that hunter- gatherer feel, back to basics, fresh ingredients, the smell of wood burning on the bbq or Sardines releasing their oh so Spanish seaside smell into the air.

When we have a day in the garden, or should I say on the mountain, chopping logs, pruning, preparing for winter, there’s nothing better than, making a pan of ‘Patatas al lo pobre ‘ a local dishe of potatoes, peppers  onions , garlic cooked in stock, wine (maybe my addition)  & vinegar, on  the gas stove, and cooking some chorizo on the bbq, to eat with chunks of bread, washed down with some local Hooch.

Patatas a lo Pobre at La Rosilla

The children’s obligatory marshmallows on the barby treat for after’s,  gives them as-well the necessary boost to finish the jobs they started…

All over the world, there are many outdoor cooking styles to be enjoyed and shared, my friend at Cooking Outdoors, believes in getting out of the kitchen, lighting the fire & start cooking outdoors, and reading his blogs, he shares some delightful recipes.

Enjoy the Autumn outside, don’t hibernate indoors :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Stars.

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My first Private Dining event went fabulously last night. I was booked to cook for 14 Australians, who were staying in the most wonderful villa, this was their welcome meal, and only a couple of the party knew, so was a great surprise for all the others.

They were the most lovely family, who had traveled from all over the globe for a re-union, and I was to tempt them with local delights & flavours, whilst they soaked up the atmosphere and charm

It was a pleasure to cook in such a divine location, even the sweltering heat, didn’t dampen my brow !

I welcomed them with a selection of Embutidos, cured meats, salamis, chorizos, jamon, lomo & salchichon, all made in my local town of Colmenar, together with a cheese platter, of goats cheese with a rosemary and thyme crust, the delightful Spanish manchego and a sheep’s cheese with paprika.

Home cured olives, and warm herb & hazelnut bread accompanied the beginning of their feast.

They had chosen a selection of starters, then a giant paella to share.

My daughter entertained with a beautiful flamenco dance and all regalia, and was given a standing ovation.

Supper was finished under the stars, Fruit platter and chocolate fondue & Limoncello drizzle Cake, and with children moonlight dipping in the pool to keep cool.

I love how the joy of food, brings folks together, creates memory moments, full bellies & and the taste of things to come ……

The grass is greenest !

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In reality the grass is greenest where we water it most,

and there is so much to live for if we have the eyes to see-

The smile of a small child, a blaze of colour from a bunch of flowers

or the spontaneous comment which lifts our spirits

and makes us laugh.

All our life’s gifts and signs of Gods unshakable commitment

to us

 

—Kathy Keay

When life gets in the way …

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Must get round to doing that, must make a to do list, focus, focus, focus… but life has got in the way.

A hectic life I’m sure many of us have to deal with, a juggling act of family, work, food and friends.

Well the past few weeks at La Rosilla, have been just like this, opportunities, set-backs, entertaining, taxiing, hosting and of course cooking & eating…now that is my favourite part.

The weather also has been a bonus, but sometimes can lead you astray, with little 5 minute sit downs, lasting longer than ought , when you sit and stare at the wonders of clear turquoise skies, swallows, dipping and diving, bees busy with their business, with wonderful sunshine, and temperatures to rival summer days.

Outside cooking & entertaining becomes front of mind, and weather forecasts are studied regularly, to check for unwanted showers.

Fresh ingredients from the garden are enjoyed, and flowers in abundance are picked to adorn the home, and create a cheery feel of Spring and summer to come.

Since moving to Spain, I’ve been fortunate to learn how to cook, Paellas and Arrozs of many different flavours, and I find these dishes are a great way to feed an army of people, economically, healthily and heartily, with a real taste of Spain.

During the last few weeks, I have cooked Paella for 50 french and Spanish students, whilst they were enjoying a day in the Campo (Countryside) playing traditional family games. In this paella I used pork and green beans, delish ! A few hours to prepare, and devoured in minutes…well I suppose that’s the sign of tasty grub.

My second Arroz, was made in a more leisurely way, whilst entertaining friends from Familyinspain , its a great social way to cook, as long as your ingredients are all prepared before hand, they are just added one by one, you can enjoy the odd vino or fino, whilst chatting and cooking, with guests looking on. If you’d like to learn to cook Paella or arroz, that’s “No problema.  This time I chose, a wild mushroom and chicken arroz, garnished with steamed asparagus.

The first broad beans of the season, are ready to be podded. My children enjoy sitting in the sun with a bowl and pod away. I love to serve them as an appetizer in a broad bean and fresh pea dip, delicious spread on warm bruchetta.

BROAD BEAN AND PEA DIP.

 

A big handful of podded fresh broad beans.

A small handful of podded fresh peas or defrosted frozen peas,

Juice and zest of 1 lemon.

1 clove of garlic, chopped.

Good glug of olive oil.

A handful of freshly grated Parmesan.

A 5 mint leaves chopped finely

Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

 

  • With a blender, whizz, peas, beans, lemons juice, olive oil and garlic.
  • Stir in Parmesan, mint and seasoning.
  • Serve, with crudites, warm pittas or piled on bruchetta.

 

A real taste of Spring flavours.

 

 

 

 

 

Early to rise !

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I was on the early shift this morning, taking No1 daughter to catch the bus, normally the job of my OH, but he is having a rare day off – well not really off,  painting the outside of La Rosilla is his task for today, I thought I’d better soften the blow with a warm scrummy breakfast.

Also feeling like I’ve been up for hours, my metabolism is already thinking its time for my refueling, something I don’t normally do till mid morning, when I can sit, calm, fresh made coffee in hand and enjoy it.

 

Today I whipped up some cheese and ham potato cakes, with a fried egg on the side and a swirl of  tomato ketchup, well I thought a swirl made my TK look a little more arty ! It’s a quick dish to prepare , and I always make extra mash potato to use in dishes like this, or croquetas and fab Bubble and Squeak.

 

TO MAKE

 

Mix together mashed potato (mine hand some leftover broccoli in too) ,

a handful of  strong grated cheese,

ham chopped into pieces

A little salt and black pepper.

 

Dip into breadcrumbs, and little fry in some Olive Oil until golden.

Serve with a poached egg, or fried egg.

Add a side sauce of your choice , TK, Daddies or Chilli.

 

Enjoy

Well off to paint we go…but first a Cafe Solo, to charge my energy levels.

Happy Friday x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who ate all the Pies ?

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I love celebrating food in all it’s glory, and any excuse to research a dish, or prepare a dish is good for me. So with the U.K celebrating ‘National Pie Week’ I thought well I maybe up a mountain, at La Rosilla in the deepest Axarquia of Andalucia, but I have roots man ;) and you can’t deny your roots. And who can’t love a Pie, sweet or savory, that home baked smell of goodness has to tempt even the die hard no Carb, low cal enthusiast – and pull them off their wagon.

I opted for my Gran’s ‘Herb and mince pie’, a dish that we were served in a traditional manner, sat around the large dining table, hands in lap, waiting for our slice of warm comforting pie, that my Grandad would masterfully cut, portions decided on age, not appetite. Impatiently sat waiting for the silent nod, we could start. Always served with minted peas fresh from her garden, and a rich gravy. Yum.

I also have a cherished pie plate – a Le Creuset Heart , I’m crazy about hearts. I just knew this would be the perfect plate for my Pie – I also decorated it with 5  hearts one for each member of the Family – Aaahhh bless !

For Shortcrust Pie pastry.

500 grams of Plain Flour
250 grams of fat – I used marg.
Large pinch of Salt.

Easiest way, is to whiz up the ingredients in a Food processor, or if not mix Flour and fat until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add ice cold water, until it forms a ball of pastry dough.

Then cut into 2, wrap in film, and place in fridge for 20 mins to chill and rest.

For the filling.

800 grams of good quality mince beef.
1 large onion, chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
3 carrots chopped
1 tbsp of mixed dried herbs – or I used Hierbabuena in Spain.
Plenty of Salt of pepper.
1 beef stock cube.
A small glass of water.
A slug of Worcestershire sauce.

Saute the veg, in a little hot oil in a large frying pan, to soften for a bout 5 mins.

Add the beef to brown.

Crumble in the stock cube, and add the water.

Add the herbs and stir.

Add the Worc. Sauce and stir.

Season well, and let simmer away stirring occasionally. For about 25 mins.

Roll out the tow balls of pastry to about ½ cm thickness.

Line a cake tin, pie plate or baking dish, that has been buttered to prevent sticking, with one of the rounds of pastry. Then pile in the filling. Then cover with the remaining rolled out pastry.

Pinch around the edges, and decorate the top, with any left over pastry.

Then brush with a beaten egg to give the pie a deep golden brown.

Bake in the oven, for 25 mins at 180 degrees.

Serve with peas, fluffy mash and gravy…..Filling, delicious & comforting.