Author Archives: larosilla

Hot footing !

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I smashed it !

Woohoo, 1000 miles in the bag, muchas gracias 😉

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Some of you may remember my #Walk1000miles challenge I started on Janaury 9th this year when then it seemed a very far off, most inconceivable goal for me.  Many of you have been following my progress, with my regular shout outs of my distance, places walked and mountains climbed, on social media, FB & IG, even though I know it’s not the done thing, according to the Huffpost UK FB rules 😉 :

Realise no one cares how far thou hast run (unless it was from a tiger or bear)

Well, I’m pretty chuffed and amazed, I’ve just plodded on, walking further and further.  The summer temperatures gave me a serious battering, I don’t think I’ve actually ever been this brown, I’m certainly wethered that’s for sure.  Walking at dawn, was the only answer, but with the fierce heat this year, even then temperatures were in the high 20’s.

There were only a few moments when I thought, ‘Lynsey, this is just too far’ and yes talking to myself has helped, keep me sane ? Not sure about that, but it’s got me up the hills at point of collapse.

Things I’ve learned along the way :

  1.  You always need more water than you think.
  2. Don’t look up when going up a big hill.
  3. Stretch.
  4. Don’t get your hopes up when you think the end is in sight – It’s further away than it looks.
  5. Stop and look at the view.
  6. Remeber your € for your café con leche.
  7. Look for ants nest before taking a peepee.
  8. As Baz Luhrmann says ‘Remember the sunscreen’
  9. Exhaustive, hysteria is a thing.
  10. This girl CAN !

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Thanks for all those who have supported me, my amigas and family that have whiled away a fair few miles with me. Those who have tooted as driven passed, offered a lift when I look lost or done in, or just slowed down and shouted ‘Nearly there’ or ‘Surely you haven’t walked from there’ I thank-you. I will be plodding on, I best do, as I have more walking boots and trainers than killer heels now, not quite, but how times change.

Living in the mountains has often made me crave of flat roads and no hills to climb.  Coastal walks have been included in my total and country lanes with time spent in the U.K, but the bonus I get is that I can proudly say I have climbed equivalent to 5 Everests – 45,011 meters of elevation. The local ‘Cabras’ have nothing on me 😉

#wheresyoureverest

Next stop, a week on the Camino de Santiago, back-pack loaded, pilgrim here I come.

Oh BTW – lost 18kg in total, never had a summer before without gaining, thumbs up for calorie burning walking.

 

Buen Camino !

 

 

 

 

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Mountain high !

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For 13 years, I’ve looked in awe at the mighty ‘Maroma‘ standing majestically above the lake. The highest mountain in the Axarquía in Southern Spain at an altitude of 2069m. La Maroma meaning rope was named after the rope used to descend to an ancient ice house located near the summit.  I always hoped one day I’d be fit enough and brave enough to climb to the summit, well yesterday was that day!

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I felt fit enough, after my last few months of non-stop hiking, but the bravery part was a more challenging aspect.  You see I suffer from a crazy level of acrophobia, heights, and edges, push me over the edge literally ;).

Over the years I have been paralysed to the spot, clinging to any solid object, building, tree or person trying to escape the magnetism & pull of the edge.   During my career as an overseas tour guide, I would create little white lies to tell clients when we arrived at monuments, towers, and bridges, that as their guide I must stay at the bottom for safety and their security, so they always knew where I was.    One time we visited the Gran dune de pilat in France, the family and I and hundreds of other tourists, started the trek up the dune, and half way up I knew I was just not going to make it, the single file line as far as the eye could see, had to stop, reverse and trek back down, with a sobbing me, erratically bumping down on my bottom, until  I could reach the solitary oak tree to hug and hang on to.  On occasions, I have this sudden bout of Tourette’s style shouting at strangers who are near edges too, all very embarrassing for anyone with me and totally debilitating to me.

So I think you get the picture, this climb wasn’t to be taken likely, I had researched, I knew there were parts that would push my buttons.  No way did I want to trek for upward miles, only to not get to the summit.

So yesterday arrived, our rucksacks were packed, heavy with litres of water and high energy snacks.  I was already awake and had been most of the night, when the alarm went off, going over every situation in my mind, and trying to inject a PMA, along with positive affirmations, “cool wet moss’ that I used for my Tony Robbins ‘Fire Walk‘, years ago, wasn’t going to cut it, but ‘Onwards and upwards’ might help.

We had decided on taking the route from Robledal, not the shortest but most picturesque. The weather was perfect, not too hot, clear skies and the season too, springtime in the mountains is stunning, wild flowers, butterflies, grasses and lush vegetation, make the long journey so pleasurable.  Once parked, we started the trek, firstly winding away up through the oak and pine forest to the first vistas looking to Sierra Nevada and the lowlands of Granada.  The track then steeply ascends, on rocky paths some very narrow with steep downsides.  Watching our footing constantly, it was best to stop often for quick breathers and a moment to take in the views.  The path is easy to follow, and when the signposts fade out, piles of stones have been made to show the way.

The journey was as hard physically as I’d expected but doable, especially for regular walkers.  Walking poles were a godsend, especially on our descent.

So the mental part….there were many moments when I thought OMG, and couldn’t bare look and when my pace and stride were slightly comical as I shuffled over various rocky crags.  I knew THE challenge was near the summit , a 10 meter long very narrow precipice with a sheer drop to below a 1000 + meters below !!!!  I’d asked my group not to mention it, and when they saw it before me not to comment, but I was constantly saying “Is this it ? are we there yet ? do you think that was the worse part ?” . Then there it was no mistaking THE EDGE OF DOOM.  Palpatations, heart in mouth, hot sweating, I focused, clinged on to the Other Half, ‘C’mon Lynsey it’s only 10 large steps’ I said to myself.  Slowly, slowly I edged across, I’m not sure where I looked, not up, not down, I may have even had my eyes closed, not recommended. The other issue that now dawned on me, half way across, and why I hadn’t thought about it before, I was going to have to do it again on the return journey.  Get across I did, did I enjoy it ? NO, but the relief was enormous and once I’d regained some sort of composure and fought back my tears, I realised of joy.  I was bloomin’ well proud of me !

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The summit was breathtaking, views of snow laden Sierras, the lake below, boats at sea, Malaga port in the distance, white washed villages and our hamlet over yonder.  The temperature had dropped and the air was crisp,  we snuggled together in a low huddle for our picnic, reveling too with other climbers of all nationalities and ages.  We enjoyed a celebratory tipple, which helped calm my nerves and give me a little dutch courage for the descent.  Photo opportunities were taken and Maroma captivated me.

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Making our way down was as hard if not harder, muscles and feet took the brunt, but our minds were jubilant and our conversations were cheery.

6 hours 45 minutes it took us, including pit stops, the last part seemed to take forever, us all thinking we must be nearly there, but then sure enough the car came into view and we knew the bar was only a short drive away 😉

Have I conquered my fear, definitely not totally, but I felt the fear and did it anyway.

Toot, Toot as I blow my trumpet, and while I’m at it another big red tick as during my hike I hit my 500 miles of my ‘Walk 1000 miles in 2017’ challenge.  Go me, who’d have thought.

 

 

Best foot forward.

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I daren’t look when my last blog post was, they’re all in my head you see, I never seem to have the time, here we go again …

“All or nothing” that’s me. I don’t often do things by halves. Rockbottom or flying high, up or down, no wine or the whole bottle, couch potato or?

Well, that leads me to this blog post …

January saw me at another chubby, yo-yo, clothes going up in size stage. I had been recognising the signs, but ignoring them, as I do, for the past 12 months, then that dreaded Christmas photo !! I looked well, frumpy. No-no good. I also was in constant pain, with diagnosed degenerative disc disease, a pinched nerve and a spine very badly out of shape. To add insult to injury, my Hashimoto’s (Autoimmune under active thyroid) was muddling my brain, disturbing my sleep and adding pounds to my person.

Rollercoaster life rock-bottom once again kicked me into touch. So I flung myself wholeheartedly, I ‘WAS’ in the zone, to sort it out. Weight, fitness, diet, and lifestyle. I decided to take on a few personal challenges that I could focus on throughout the year. Poco a poco, little by little. Goals that I could put a big red tick by as I conquered them.

They’re work in progress and they are as follows:

  • Dry January

To refrain from Alcohol for 31 days.

COMPLETED – SAVING …17,000..CALORIES & …403….€ ( hides in shame !)

Miracles do happen, who’d have thought 😉 coming from a bottle of vino a night girl, plus a few!

THE FOLLOWING STARTED 9TH JANUARY 2017

  • Loose 15 kgs

Following the 5:2 Fast plan. Restricted food intake calories 2 days a week, and eating well 5 days a week, including indulging when called for at weekends.

PROGRESS TO DATE: DOWN 13 KGS 🙂

  • ‘Where’s you Everest’ Challenge

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To climb the height of Everest 8823m wherever, whenever you’re in the world. Set by Trail Magazine.

PROGRESS TO DATE: 6 weeks to climb my first Everest, onto my 2nd …15,424…m Elevation in total.

  • Walk 1000 miles in 12 months

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Challenge set by Country Walking Magazine, with an online FB group and following of ……people. A positive and inspiring group of people, from, excuse the pun all walks of life, all over the world. Some folks counting every step they take, some counting ‘Boots on’ miles.

PROGRESS TO DATE: 350 ‘Boots on’ MILES, On target and banking a few!

  • Walk as many stages of the ‘Gran Sendero de Malaga’

A circular walking route around the province of Malaga 650 KM

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PROGRESS TO DATE :

Stage 1 & 2 complete, Malaga to Rincon de la Victoria to Velez Malaga.

Stage 3 & 4 complete, Velez-Malaga to Torrox pueblo to Nerja.

Stage 5 complete, Nerja through the Sierras to Frigiliana.

  • Climb Maroma

For 12 years since we moved to our house on the side of a mountain, with looked with awe at the mighty Maroma. La Maroma, also known as Tejeda, stands at an altitude of 2069 m, is the highest peak of the Sierra de Tejeda,  Spain. The summit is located in the region of Axarquía on the border between the provinces of Granada and Málaga.

PROGRESS – Date booked 7th May, praying for good weather and not too hot.

  • Camino de Santiago

To start my Pilgrimage on the famous St James way.

PROGRESS TO DATE: Pilgrim passport ready, flights booked, depart 28th September, 1 week.

EXCITED !

Well, that’s the diet and fitness sorted 😉 should give me something to go on, now to fit in the lifestyle, not sure there are enough hours in the day. Maybe as I walk I can virtually write my cookbook, keep my website updated and plan recipes and menus. Perhaps I need a personal assistant, note to self must work harder, money helps 😉

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Once somebody showed me the ‘Wheel of life’ to balance all aspects of your life, work, rest and play, I even set diary notes for it to pop up to remind me to evaluate my ‘Wheel’ each month. Maybe just a tad unrealistic, or too perfectly formed for ‘real life’ and I know, I often would look at my ‘apple’ Pie Chart and think “ooh b********s”, I’m not that domestic, mantra chanting, chakra aligned, clean eating, goddess. But I’m ME work in progress, ‘watch this space Lynsey’ back on the waggon of self-fulfilment, having a little me time, slipping up as and when life bats me a curve ball, just trying to recognise the moment before it side swipes me to depths again.

So as I put my best foot forward I’m praying for no blisters, hoping my back will hold up and my pill popping will be less. I’m enjoying every moment, breathing in the views, stopping to stand and stare at the top of steep climb or mountain, learning to cope with the wandering of my own mind, ( yes I still think I’m crazy ), and I’m truly thankful that I live, where I live.

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Buen Camino todos!

Slow cooking !

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When you have to be out all day, there is nothing nicer than walking through your front door at the end of it, to the welcoming aromas of supper cooking and ready to eat.  Just a few minutes prep in the morning is all you need, your trusty hot pot and you’re done.

Healthy too, so it’ a win-win situation all round 🙂

Here is my recipe I coddled together yesterday, when scanning the fridge early morn for some inspiration, together with a few store cupboard essentials, Pumpkin Thai curry it was.

Feel free to substitute or add veggies that you have, the basics are just the same.  Once home or 1/2 an hour or so before seeing you could add a handful of prawns or even your rice to make a very hearty dish.

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Malaga a must see !

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Although living on our mountain in rural Andalucia for the last 11 years, I do have to travel back and forth to the U.K regularly for extra work.  Always on my plane journey the inevitable conversation starts by the fellow passenger next to me ‘ Going on holiday ?’ “no, I live here‘ I reply.  I explain my story in brief, and ask of their onward journey plans.

Most, probably 95% of them say they’re heading off to the Costa del Sol, or even say Malaga, when my eyes and ears light up, as this wonderful city holds a dear place in my heart and those that have visited, no doubt share the same enthusiasm for it , but they don’t actually mean Malaga the city, and have no plans to visit it, they either pass through, skirt pass or miss it altogether .

Maybe secretly in my thoughts , part of me feels this is a good thing, perhaps they’re not the kind of folk who would be held under its spell, of passion, history, art, architecture, cosmopolitanism, diversity and gastronomy.  The other side of me feels, don’t judge the place as an airport, be daring, take a detour, spend a few hours and explore, and get hypnotised by the power of this Andalucian treasure.

Go, Malaga is a must see !

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Even visiting regularly as we do, it always feels a special treat to take a day out in the city.  Luckily Malaga is on our doorstep well just a 30 or so KM’s away, but in the mountains nothing is too close.  We can hop on a bus from our local town of Colmenar, relax for the 40 minute journey, only costing a couple of euros and hop off the other end to explore, shop, eat,&  tapear (eat lots of tapas in lots of places).

This visit, we planned our itinerary around roof-top terraces, lazy lunch, cocktails and views to to die for.  Malaga even in 38 degrees did not disappoint .

 

 

 

 

A year of ….

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Yet again my year came & went and my scribblings, notes and plans for writing did too ! But thankfully I have the memories stored deep in my grey matter.  Deciding it was time to finally put finger to keyboard, I’ve spent most of my day, trawling through photos, Facebook posts , pinterest and Instagram, so yes generally procrastinating once more.

So to put it bluntly or should I say sum it up in a nutshell, 2015 was as rollercoaster as any we’ve had in Spain.  Looking on the highs & ups, La Rosilla-Lifestyle and Food has steadily and enjoyable grown.  Guests and travellers have visited from all corners of the globe and we’ve shared tales, recipes & traditions, sat, cooked , ate and drank together and the ‘*Sobremesas’ have been wonderful 🙂

We’ve explored and fallen more deeply in love with Andalucia, flora, fauna, fiestas & ferias.  Our city of Malaga, is forever evolving into a destination of delights, museums, gastronomy, port and each time we visit we stumble over something new.  We have a passion to share this with people who visit, and those who haven’t yet and we can perhaps tempt them by social media.

Somethings have appeared more in my timelines then others, guests, Paella & breads, all passions of mine.  I’ll share a few with you ..

 

I have to make some changes in 2016, foremostly I need to become gluten free 😦 Doctor’s orders !.  This will not be easy for me, and no doubt I’ll have some falling off the wagon moments, but I’m determined and looking forward to the challenge of creating bakes & dishes to suit.  I’ll keep you posted.

The winter so far has been especially kind, with many alfresco lunches and  evenings with friends and family spent by the fire pit under the stars.  Almond blossom is already blooming over the mountains and wild flowers peeping through, heads to the sun.

Strawberries are in the markets, artichokes and broad beans too, all signs of a Happy New Year and we’re ready for it too.

 

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 😉

Caserio de San Benito

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Time for a change, instead of heading south to the coast, we drove north inland slightly, to the nearby ancient town of Antequera.  We enjoyed a morning of ambling through the streets, window shopping, coffee sipping, monument and church visiting.  Cobbled streets and beautiful architecture, adorned with traditional geraniums, overflowing from their terracotta pots, gives the town a deep Andalucian air.

We decided to delve a little deeper for our obligatory lunch stop, and came across the wonderful Caserio de San Benito just a flew more clicks up the main A45 heading north.

 

This delightful cortijo stands proud and welcoming, with courtyard filled with olive trees, and thrashing ground.  On entering the restaurant, you are taken back to a bygone era, the dining room is beautifully laid and boasts antiques and regalia of this agricultural area.

Welcoming staff greeted us, and recommended dishes.  The house white wine was perfectly chilled and served in a deliciously large measure. Warm bread, crackers and Ensaladilla Rusa was served while we chose the Menu del dia and were not disappointed.  Our main courses of lamb cooked on wood fire with garlic, and Secreto Iberico, were rich and tasty.  We shared a pud with two spoons, a decadent home made cherry cheesecake, YUM.  Two cafe solos were need to get us up and out of this wonderful place, we could’ve have sat there all afternoon.

We shall return, and no doubt take many guests from La Rosilla and recommend to others.

 

 

Humble abode & horses.

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I can’t believe it’s over a month since I’ve written, well I can actually, time has flown and life has been hectic, good but hectic.

Food creations have been a little on the back burner and lifestyle more upfront.  I’m not saying we haven’t indulged, we have but on a more makeshift and mend, rustic style.  Cooking on open fires, eating alfresco, picking salad leaves from the patch, shopping day by day.  Why ? because we had our first guests renting La Rosilla for the season, and we pack up and move to our much humbler shack on the mountain.  It is very picturesque but has no electricity (hence no posting) and only cold water, and washing up outside, think camping but with a roof over our heads !  Fortunately the weather was kind to us, which made life a great deal easier.

Whilst living out of our suitcases, our kitten that we are hand rearing, has grown from strength to strength now nearly 6 weeks old, he is weaned and starting to explore , keeping the dogs entertained and us of course.  I’m now thankful that the sleepless nights of 2 hourly feeds are over, and proud that we have succeeded in the task .  He has traveled with us over the last 6 weeks, wherever we’ve been, the beach, parties, camping and to work.

Rizzo and Nutty

Rizzo and Nutty

Our mountain animal menagerie is growing again.  We have another pony on the way, that we have rescued.  Inca will be joining Tika on the mount, for TLC and a better life.  I too have got back in the saddle after 25 years, my nerve or bravery seems to have diminished though .  I’m hoping my confidence builds as I get used to it again. I’m looking forward to hacks and rides with my little daughter and exploring new paths ,tracks and vistas, with a picnic or two.

This week-end we took part in our first Romeria, (Spanish Horse Fair), along with our friend and teacher Sharon.  We were the only female riders amongst many Spanish men and their stallions !! A great day riding and partying, flamenco and traditions with local musto, embutidos , paella and snails !!!! for all those who rode.

 

Nellie & Me :)

Nellie & Me 🙂

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So once more settled back in at La Rosilla, I can re-focus and get creating again .  Recipe books out and being browsed, to get back on my #cookfromthebooks wagon challenge with menus being planned for guests and visitors.  The veggie patch is growing well, and courgette flowers almost ready for picking and stuffing, vine leaves fresh and green too will be hopefully ready to be harvested at the weekend to be turned into delicious dolmades.  The first figs our Brevas, and plumping and turning colour nicely – Oh the joy of mouthwatering home-grown ingredients.

So from us all at La Rosilla humans and animals, Spencer, Rizo, Fanny (dogs), Baba, Rocket, Nutty (cats) Tika & Inca (horses) and Hens aka lovely ladies.

HASTA LUEGO

#cookfromthebooks Week 15, Family, springtime & kittens

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We have been as busy as the springtime bees at La Rosilla.  Preparations are under way for the summer season ahead, and with the fortunate warm temperatures we’ve been having, we’ve been making hay whilst the sun shines .

The annual paint-a-thon has started, whitewashing and freshening up the outside of the house, bringing back it’s summer brightness.  The garden has been tackled, and weeds pulled.  The vegetable patch has had some new summer seedlings, courgettes, tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins to name a few.

Guests came from Belgium to experience a La Rosilla Paella Day, and the weather was glorious showing off the mountain in all it’s splendour .

Paella Day at La Rosilla

Paella Day at La Rosilla

Paella cooking adventure at La Rosilla

Our eldest daughter has returned from the U.K for the Easter holidays, so we have enjoyed our first family alfresco meals of the year.  When she returns I like to rustle up some of her favourite Spanish dishes, to welcome her home.  This weeks recipe for my #cookfromthebooks challenge is from the wonderfully complete book by Pepita Aris ‘SPANISH’ .

Pepita Aris SpanishRecipes clearly photographed and presented, covering all aspects of Spanish cusine from all regions.  The book has been republished many times and a while back, I professionally reviewed it, on behalf of Books 4 Spain.  It is a cook book I return too frequently, and all dishes I have prepared from it have become a main part of my Spanish repertoire, tweaking as I feel fit.

Stuffed Mussel recipe

MUSSELS WITH A PARSLEY CRUST or STUFFED MUSSELS

450g Cooked Mussels ( Steam and then cool).

Tbsp olive oil

Tbsp melted butter

3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

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fresh breadcrumbs.

 

  • Open the mussels, snap off the top shell and leave the mussel attached to the bottom of shell.
  • Lay the shells in an ovenproof dish, packing them closley.
  • Mix the melted butter, olive oil, Parmesan, parsley , garlic and breadcrumbs together .
  • Gently put a tsp of the stuffing mixture onto each mussels.
  • Grill the mussels on high until they are sizzling & golden.

Together with gambas pil-pil, spicy pinchitos and ribs, we truly had a feast 🙂

 

Gambas pil-pil

Gambas pil-pil

Never a dull moment at La Rosilla…

With springtime comes babies ! Baby animals, and while playing on the land, our youngest daughter stumbled across two tiny weeny kittens just hours old, that had been abandoned probably by a mother that had been frightened away by local dogs. Unable just to leave them to perish, we have taken on the task of hand rearing them, a rewarding but very tiring task and with an uncertain ending.  We are doing our best and are taking each day as it comes, 2 hourly feeds through the night too !  So I’m feeling in quite a zombie state today, I do not miss the sleeplessness nights of years ago …So watch this space, and send me luck, patience and stamina.

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014