Author Archives: larosilla

Time to chill !

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Time to chill !

One way to cool down, in the high summer temperatures is to enjoy a glass or bowl full of chilled Gazpacho.  I keep a glass jug in the fridge to let flavours develop, and enjoy as and when.  Healthy, revitalising and rehydrating, perfect for an alfresco lunch.

There are many varieties and personal touches and changes people make to their recipes, using the abundance of fresh local and homegrown produce ensures a perfect result every time.  Adding our own organic Extra, virgin, olive oil always makes me smile, a slug or two of aged sherry vinegar adds piquancy, together with fresh picked herbs, basil and mint are my go to’s.

In my recipe I made today I add watermelon, these a being sold pile high by the roadsides in Andalucia at the moment,

Stay cool too and try it out here: WATERMELON GAZPACHO FROM LA ROSILLA

food healthy red tomatoes

 

 

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How the years have flown.

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How the years have flown.

It’s our ” Living the dream‘ anniversary, or that’s what we thought and called it when we left England many moons ago, lock, stock & barrel.  Yes, it’s our anniversary of  ‘ The good life‘ on the mountain. Evolution, of our family growing up and changing throughout the years and embarking on their own futures and decisions. Evolution of our land & home, simplifying now where we can, having fulfilled our dreams and tick boxes of owning every farm animal, pigs, goats, chickens, horses…. being self-sufficient, with our veggie patch, almonds and olives, learning the hard way through successes, our own organic extra virgin olive oil, failures of dying plants due to lack and no water through the summer months, & upset of animals being killed by Mr Fox and stote, we’ve bought that T-shirt and worn it.  I’m happy now with my Olive orchard, hard work but rewarding, my back door herb and lettuce garden, and wildflowers and gardening to suit the terrain.

We still look at our view and think WOW, we still are grateful we live on the side of a mountain Wow, we still can’t believe that we have 3 bilingual children Wow, 2 now adults using their life swallows and amazons life experiences to enrich their futures.

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Always work to do.

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Mini Chef.

Times have been tough, but wouldn’t they have been anywhere? That’s life ! Bureaucracy drives us nuts, but we work through it and hold our heads up high.  My ‘little’ Foodie passion is steadily and organically growing into a business I am proud of, sharing our lifestyle, local produce, customs and traditions.  We welcome people from all over the world to have a glimpse of rural mountain life, we cook for celebrations and occasions, people will remember for years. We have made many like-minded friends always with a common theme of eating, drinking and making merry.

My writings are getting more sporadic on here over the years, a few reasons for this; procrastination, I always find other things I should or think I should be doing,  but once I get going I think, “Why don’t I do this more often?” Then there’s my brain fog, Hashimoto’s induced, which has really affected my vocabulary and ability to think what to write.  Hey ho, I have the memories, experiences and thanks to social media, I’m an IG’aholic @larosilla, I can share in other ways.

Our life here still surprises us, often flabbergasts us,  we are still learning the idiosyncracies of living in a different country, habits, mannerisms and morals, but when the going gets tough, our terrace and view awaits, our table is filled with visiting family and friends and my hiking boots are itching to be worn and mountains climbed.

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Viva Espana, Viva La Rosilla !

 

Spring has sprung !

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Spring has sprung !

My goodness it was a long time coming, after what has seemed an age of rain, wind and storms and cooler than average temperatures, we woke up at the weekend to blue skies and sunshine.

We enjoyed breakfast alfresco, and drinks and canapés with friends before a long leisurely sunday lunch.

We even got up to Sierra Nevada, to ski before they ended their season.  The constant rain fall gave us plenty of fresh white snow, and the clear skies created the perfect skiing day.  Tired bodies and rosie cheeks were sign of good day had by all, a short 2 hour journey from La Rosilla, we were home for supper and sipping a relaxing glass of red.

Normal service resumed ! Por Fin ! 🙂

Now the annual pre-summer preparations must start in earnest at La Rosilla, weeding, olive grove maintenance, pruning and burning and then the white paint-a-thon for outside.  Windows are flung open wide to let the air flow through our casa to dry everything out and let the fresh air in.

The mountains are full of wild flowers, orchids, sweet peas, garlics and borage, bees are happy gatehring their pollen and birds busy making nests and singing their hearts out.

 

I’ve put my hiking boots back on, and trying once more to up my game, get fit and strong to do another leg of The Camino de Santiago in June, this year I’m going to do the Finisterre and Muxia route, along the coastal paths to the the end of the world ;). It’s definitely breathtaking in more ways then one, climbing and hiking the Montes de Malaga, but I’m so grateful I live in this stunning part of the world, and these routes are on more doorstep, ever changing through the seasons and at this time of year in their prime.

Primavera (Spring) lovely to see you x

 

 

 

Poco hecho, for me !

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Poco hecho, for me !

How do you like your steak cooked? I won’t judge, well maybe only a little 😉 Are you from the cremated side or just off mooing? For me, it’s rare or poco hecho as they call it here in Spain, plump, rested and juicy.

It took me years to master the perfect steak, always looked and seemed so easy, I think it boiled down to the quality of the meat and spending just a little more to get well-aged beef, and not being afraid to crank up the heat under my griddle pan, and smoke the house out for a few minutes.  Now yes I can cook one, and I love it simply with fresh asparagus and oven roasted tomatoes, salt flakes and a good grinding of black pepper, enjoyed with a rich full-bodied red, or my favourite, a powerful, well rounded Oloroso sherry.

There is one restaurant not too far from us though, whose steaks are legendary, and if the opportunity arises and I’m feeling in the need for a meat-fest and my OH is paying 😉 I’m there.  El Charco is a family run restaurant in a small village, Los Romanes in the Axarquia, that looks down over the stunning Lake Vinuela.  This venta does typical Spanish and Andaluz dishes very well, and the steaks are to die for.  Cooked in a wood oven, served on the hottest terracotta platters, served to choice, perfectly every time.  Fresh sauces to accompany them mine always a blue cheese, OH’s peppercorn.

Fillet steak rare. Poco Hecho Fillet steak

Starters too are always en point, last nights special was ‘Sopa de Ajo‘  Garlic soup, with asparagus and poached egg, soothing for the soul, and laced with aphrodisiac properties.

Sopa de ajo

As long as both lovers consume the earthy cloves the magical powers of romance manifest, that was all good as I just knew that my OH would have Gambas Ajillo, hot, bubbling, garlic prawns.  Valentines was going great guns, and bless the restaurant they presented each lady with a Red Carnation (not my favourite) and the men got a look in too, with a miniature DICK sorry DYC and some choccies.

Valentines gift.

So going Out, Out on a school night was a win, and we were tucked up in bed with a cuppa at 10.30pm, seems the garlic had worn off, and our resolutions of knowing when to stop on the alcohol front, were working and they say romance isn’t dead 😉 !!

 

Tapear.

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Tapear.

Never will I tire of ‘Tapeando’ with friends and family, this is the art and I like to call it that, of enjoying Tapas from one place to the next. A small bite and a copa de vino or Jerez, standing at a bustling bar, or in the market. Maybe indulging in a little lengthier time and sitting at the table an ordering, yet just another to fill the spot, or to sample the new delicacy or gastro tapa to be served.

From simple but tasty local cheeses and olives to mindblowing molecular gastronomy to please the most die-hard foodie like myself or Masterchef in the making.  Malaga delivers on every count, and never disappoints with new innovational bars, alongside cultural and historical institutions of food.

A recent visit with friends, with slightly aching feet, we decided on a one-stop Tapas lunch at the renowned El Tapeo de Cervantes this intimate and cosy restaurant, which is located in the heart of the historical Malaga centre, just steps away from the Cervantes theatre and Picasso’s Plaza Merced, delights with its traditional interior and extensive and exceptional menu of Tapas.

They offer tapas of every guises and taste, listed in an informative way so diners can create their own perfect ‘Tapeo’, if overwhelmed by the choice and you don’t know where to start, let the professionals choose for you.  We did this, not overwhelmed persay, but with 3 differing tastes, we thought let’s go out of our comfort zone and see what they serve.

WOW – Course after course arrived at our table, tapas and raciones (larger plates) of seafood, fish, pork and, duck, enjoyed with a chilled Albariño and a robust Ribera Del Duero.  Each exquisitely plated and served with flair and introduction.  As each dish was delivered there was a moment or two or me wondering ‘How much is this going to cost’…I was paying 😉  But on the delivery of the bill, feeling very indulged and complete, I was delighted – 3 people, 6 Glasses of wine, copious tapas. 65€ !! Perfecto 🙂  Not many cosmopolitan cities in the world, where you can experience that luxury and service on that budget.

Leaving the restaurant on a chilly but bright winter afternoon, we needed to walk off our long lunch, obviously taking in Picasso himself and taking the obligatory photo for my friends, to complete their whistle-stop tour of my inspiring and beautiful city of Malaga, with promises to return.

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Malaga Cooking & Culture Tours.

Desayunar

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Desayunar

I love the way the Spanish have a verb ‘To breakfast’ Desayaunar it’s what you do, together with friends or on your own to ‘take 5’, mid-morning when you hit that slump and coffee is needed, and you just need that something to get you through to late lunch.

Over the years of me living here, I’ve learned the hard way when making appointments for around 10am, only to get there to be told the individual is ‘doing breakfast’, of course, why wouldn’t they be ? silly me. If you can’t beat them join them.  A custom I now relish with gusto.

The traditional Spanish breakfast, of Pan con Tomate y Café, ticks most boxes, fresh baked bread, local olive oil, fresh tomatoes and caffeine – That’ll do nicely. Sometimes though, I enjoy to explore and follow recommendations of my fellow foodies.  A day in the city of Málaga, off the mountain at La Rosilla and away from local village traditional eateries, affords me the opportunity to indulge.

Often the smallest places can pack the biggest punch. Desal cafe is located in an unassuming street, with a small façade but with cute tables to enjoy people watching and the world go-by.  The interior is bright and welcoming and the menu certainly whets the appetite.  Tostados, brunches, home-made sweet treats and pastries, all plated and served with flair and unique touches.

A leisurely breakfast was the order of the day, vitamin-packed of course, healthy yes, indulgent double yes 😉

The Eggs Benedict platter came with perfect oozy poached eggs, creamy hollandaise and thick cut cooked ham, this rich dish was accompanied by a light and fresh fruit salad over natural yoghurt and crunchy granola.  Fresh squeezed orange juice and my favourite illy coffee topped it all off.  Service was friendly, unobtrusive and prompt.  I definitely would go back to Desal Cafe, with friends and while away a little more time, and could even skip lunch and wait to ‘Meriendar‘ 😉

Suitably refreshed and revitalised, more mooching in Malaga commenced.

DESAL CAFE ‘

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON GOURMET TOURS OF MALAGA AND COOKING CLASSES CHECK OUT

LA ROSILLA- LIFESTYLE & FOOD.

Veganliscious

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Veganliscious

Eager to explore new food trends, tastes and, seasonal produce that are hitting the Malaga streets, I was not disappointed with my first visit to Raw Attitude in the trendy Soho district of the city.  A small and intimate eatery with a fabulously stocked vegan, raw food and, health supplies shop.

Choosing to seat alfresco and watch the world go by, I choose the ‘Menu del Dia’ a set 3 course lunch.  Slightly pricier than most menus, but the love, freshness of ingredients and the selection and generosity of portion size made up for it.

The Vegan menu with my many raw components was fresh, zingy and palate pleasing.  Recipes that were new to me and sparked an interest to investigate further.

To start I had the lightest, Thai broth with lemongrass and tofu, warming and comforting soup for the soul, I could just feel the goodness working through my body.

The main course was a delightful ‘Buddha Bowl‘ of tastes, sweet, sour, crunchy, fresh and that perfect umami hit.  I particularly savored the Tabbouleh made with millet and fresh herbs.  This huge bowl of delights was so filling but left me feeling satisfied, not uncomfortable.

Thai Soup with Tofu

Buddha Bowl Vegan and Raw

Pud felt like a naughty treat a Cocoa Cookie, maybe ladened with calories but totally full of rich antioxidants and feel good factor.

Whether Vegan, Veggie or hard-core carnivore, take a moment to explore and find this little gem of a place and tickle your tastebuds with something new.

Raw Attitude – Vegan Organic Deli Málaga.

Take a look at La Rosilla -Lifestyle & Food – Cultural, Foodie Gourmet Tours.

Friday Night, Fake-Away.

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Friday Night, Fake-Away.

Some of us, or most are us are cutting back one way or another, it just seems the January rite of passage.  Some of you may have already thought ‘tosh’ to the resolutions, January is tough enough as it is without, watching my weight, losing the booze, or tightening the purse strings, if that’s your choice embrace – Hell yeah.

Well, I’m sticking on in there on all 3 counts for the time being, but when it gets to TGIF (Thank god it’s Friday) I need something to feel different, to look forward to, to make believe it’s party-time.  Maybe one day it’ll all be fine and it’ll feel the norm for me,   feeling righteous and holier than thou, I do believe in Unicorns but miracles ???

Many folks are lucky enough to have a Take-away of some description on their doorstep or around the corner, but at this time of year that could just be a little too tempting, so for once I’m glad I live on a mountain, back of beyond, second on the right.  There are no ‘meals on wheels‘ here, tell a lie there is, IT’S ME delivering luxury dinner party meals to holidaymakers and locals, that’s another story, but you can check it out here 😉 

So I’m going to fake it a family favourite Sweet and Sour Pork and whilst preparing it I shall sip on a virtuous, totally VIRGIN Bloody Mary.  Just to preach a tad, there are double benefits to making your own FakeAway, you know what is in it, making it much healthier and it costs so much less.  WooHoo ! and as for the Virgin Mary, well that’s even one of your 5 a day- GET IN !

I will serve the Sweet and Sour Pork with roasted, sweet potato wedges dusted with Chinese 5 spice, on a bed of steamed Pak Choi. It looks fiddly, but it’s not, prepare everything then get cooking.

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SERVES 4

RECIPE :

  • 1 can unsweetened pineapple chunks, undrained
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup cold water, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pork loin, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 head of broccoli florets off, stalk finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 small onion sliced

DIRECTIONS

Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 the juice, set aside.
In a small bowl, mix 2 of the tablespoons cornflour, 1 tbs water, garlic powder and 1 tbs pineapple juice.
Put pork in a zip lock bag, or bowl and then add the above sauce and coat well, cover and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cayenne and remaining water, cornflour and rest of pineapple juice until smooth; set aside.
In a wok over medium-high heat, stir-fry pork in 1 tablespoon oil until no longer pink; remove and keep warm.
Stir-fry the broccoli, carrots, onion in remaining oil until tender. Stir cornflour and soy mixture and add to the pan.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add pork and pineapple, until everything is piping hot. 

Virgin Bloody Mary

In a large glass or jug, mix :

  • Tomato Juice
  • Few Tabasco sauce
  • Sprinkle of celery salt
  • Few drops of worcestshire sauce
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Garnish with a celery stick.

 

SALUD ! IMG_4667

 

 

Late to the table.

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I know I’m late to the table, to jump on the ‘Overnight Oats’ bandwagon, never really appealed to me. I can’t do cereal with cold milk, I have to eat it dry I even have butter on my Weetabix when I’m being childlike and need nursery food memories for comfort.  Shock horror, I know but I’m sure we all have some weird and wonderful food faux pas.

The more I read about the phenomena, I thought I must try this, I have all the ingredients in my store-cupboard. Another fact, I’m not proud to admit, but hey it’s true, my youngest now 14, gets up and leaves the house in the dark (school starts too early here) before I’ve had chance to be bright eyed and bushy tailed, *Mum fail* and I know was grabbing anything to eat that didn’t take up pressure minutes to prepare.

So I, we, she, could prepare breakfast the night before, leave in the fridge and hey presto a healthy, vitamin, energy packed pot of goodness would be ready to go.

Still, at this stage, I’m thinking cold, gloopy, mushy …….

I investigated all the recipes, ideas online, adapted them to what we had and set about creating our oaty concoction.  Kilner jar clean and ready, loaded with ingredients that would supercharge us to Wonder Woman status ( always wanted that costume 😉 ).  In the fridge it stood, to work its magic.

By soaking the oats all night in your chosen liquid, preserves the tastes and nutritional value from not cooking, a great source of iron and dietary fibre and slow realese energy, keeping you full up till lunch.

So this is what I created.

 

La Rosilla – Superhero Oats 😉

Serves 2 generously.

What you need: Large Kilner Jay or covered jar, mug to measure ingredients.

  • 1 mug of oats
  • 1 pot 125ml of greek yoghurt  – I use full fat, fat-free often tend to be full of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds (Omega3)
  • 1 mug Unsweetened Almond milk – Skimmed milk would work fine too.
  • 1 tsp local organic honey
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of salt – I used Himalayan pink, I had it for Christmas 😉
  • Handful of frozen berries

Mix all together and place in fridge until morning.

I then served in a bowl with a scatter of almond nibs and a sprinkle of Bloom Supercharge Matcha.

Well, well, well I was so pleasantly surprised it was delicious, thick and creamy almost luxurious.  So my thinking cap is on as there are so many adaptations and additions for your basic recipe, you can literally add any fruits, spices, liquids & nuts.  What’s your favourite medley ?  Please share your ideas.

Grated apple and cinnamon.

Peanut Butter and strawberries.

Pineapple and coconut.

Sultana and walnut.

So I hope it won’t be an overnight (excuse the pun) fad, and we start to feel our Wonder Woman powers.

 

 

 

“There be snow on them there hills”

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When we left the U.K lock, stock, and barrel in May of 2005, we gave away to charity and friends, flogged and chucked, many of our possesions, don’t worry we still bought an arctic lorry load of belongings with us.  That was a challenge in itself, artic lorry, mountain roads, off-road tracks 😉   Of course, we offloaded our winter woolies, puffa jackets, and toboggans, why wouldn’t we? we were moving to Spain 😉 Yes, yes I know we should have done our homework, blimey I’d researched everything else, but the weather don’t be silly.

One Saturday when we were on an idyllic family walk, 2,4 & 6 years old in tow, moaning, pexels-photo-266642that it was freezing they could walk no further. Suddenly as a mother I thought, well perhaps we are a little unprepared, it became more peaceful then usual, slightly eery and a light we’d never experienced before.  Heading back to warm by the fire and soothe tetchy toddlers with comforting ColaCoa (Hot Choc) we shut the day behind us.

 

Awaking the next morning and opening the shutters the OH declared ‘Bloody Hell it’s snowing’  ‘SNOWING?’ with no central heating, and beautiful albeit rustic wooden doors and windows, the inside temperature of the house had dropped to 8 degrees.  Dragon breath and icicles from the nose were the new personal accessories.

Needless to say, the niños were delighted, wrapped up in anything we could find, off they trotted up the mountain with tea trays and plastic bags in hand as make shift sleds.  The vecinos (neighbours) were out assuring us this was the first snow they’d seen in 60 years….”oh yes just great I thought, and it’s my first year”

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When our Sun-lougers became Snow loungers 😉

After the initial shock we then had to plan for subsequent years, and actually, we are grateful to have changing seasons and weather surprises to keep us on our toes.  We learned that up in the Montes the high peaks over 800 meters often have a cover of snow, us at La Rosilla at 600m, will get a flutter occasionally during winter but more than not it doesn’t settle.

Now, this week the snow is BACK !! Last week we were basking in temperatures in the warm 20’s and now the thermometer isn’t getting above 8c in the day and freezing at night.  It all adds to the January reality that it’s not always sunshine and siestas, and that we’re going have to dig deep to keep warm, keep nourished and keep on track to fulfill our New Years earnestness.

Presently, this week the snow is BACK !! A week ago we were luxuriating in temperatures in the warm 20’s and now the thermometer isn’t getting over 8c in the day and glacial at evening time. Everything adds to the January reality that it’s not constantly bright and late lunch breaks and afternoon napping, and that we’re going need to burrow down to keep warm, keep healthy and keep on track to satisfy our New Years resolutions.

Comforting but frugal food is on the menu, soups, curry, hot-pots and a favourite of mine the wonder of the slow cooker, to allow tantalising aromas of what you have to look forward when the days chores are done.

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Some of our favourite home-made recipes are here. –

Butternut Squash and Zataar Soup.

Slow Cooking

Broccoli soup with melted cheese montadito.

Keep cosy everyone x