Category Archives: Alfresco dining

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

 

 

 

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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.

 

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 🙂

horses

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

seasoning

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

 

 

 

What a difference a day makes !

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We were expecting it, eager for it, and praying that it came.  The weather forecast had promised us a wonderfully sunny and warm January weekend, and did not fail to deliver.  The most amazing cloud formations, and spectacular sunshine greeted us, the wind was warm, and there was a surreal feel to the air.

The Almond trees on the mountain, finally relaxed their tight buds, and their precious blossom opened in the sun, filling the air with their sweet heady scent, and covering as far as the eye could see ‘Spring blossom snow’ as we call it.

Mountain Almond Blossom

Blue skies, warm breeze, off to the beach we went, to our hidden cove on the Mediterranean.  Stopping en-route for a Spit-roast chicken, fresh baked bread, and home made ali-oli, a pic-nic feast we never tire of.

A day on the beach

A few hours, with face to the sun, blowing away the cobwebs, spring in our step was a wonderful morale booster.  Heart pebble hunting, drift wood collecting and on the way home, ice creams of course – A Malaga for me 🙂

 

 

Is it that time already ?

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My blogging has been on a back burner, not that I haven’t had many wonderful things to share and thinking about, but my laptop has died !  The only computer we have now in the house, is the OH’s at the back of the lounge, in a cupboard come office and I just don’t feel at home there.

I have spent many weeks giving my website a facelift, on a makeshift laptop, that after every five minutes lost it’s internet connection, that along with learning  an all new,  wordpress premium theme programme to me, was enough to put me off technology and social media for a while, well apart from FB and Twitter of course !!

So here I am, out of my comfort zone, in the cupboard trying to catch up.

Sunrises in the mountains.

The Autumn had a heady warm start, crazy sunshine filled days have been a joy.  Local visitors and holidaymakers were able to soak up the weather, and the relaxed rural atmosphere of the mountains, and I was lucky enough to cook for many of them in there chosen holiday abodes.  Traditional dishes, with many home-grown and always seasonal ingredients, delivered to the door in hampers ready to for them to enjoy.

As a family we have taken on some new hobbies.  I have bought a new bike, and we have enjoyed coastal cycles all together, stopping for picnic and long beach lunches, and then burning off the calories .  My youngest has finally after years of pestering me, started horse riding and seems a natural, enjoying riding in the mountains and learning all the necessary roles of horsemanship, muck and all ! Familytime together on the coast..

Taking the fitness one step further Zumba and tone has become a weekly class I can’t wait to go to, and I even persuaded my OH to don his dancing shoes and we are learning the Argentine Tango together. We may live rurally on a side of a mountain, but there’s still plenty going on and our life is one new experience to the next .

The vegetable patch has been fruitful, and I’m still overwhelmed with Aubergines,  we are waiting for the next good rains, to rejuvenate the garden and start planting up for the winter months.  The grapefruits, lemons and clementines are growing  riper on the trees and olives almost ready for picking.  Harvest from the La Rosilla patch.

We’ve been working hard on the mountain at La Rosilla, lots of pruning to trees and shrubs, that had grown too big for their boots and were obstructing our to die for view.  New cane roofing on our pergolas and cutting back of climbers, so it’s not so much of a wilderness.

La Rosilla

We treated ourselves to a ‘Firepit’ which has been a delight, since the clocks went back our weekend evenings have been extended outside, around the comfort and warmth of the fire, chestnuts have been roasted and songs, sung until the early hours.

Firepit at La Rosilla

 

Our family was reunited over half term , with our eldest daughter flying home from college in the UK, and Halloween and bonfire festivities were enjoyed on many a night.  Facepaints, back combed hair and masks seemed the norm for the last week or so.  Hearty and cockle warming foods were enjoyed with family and friends, hotpots, cheesy fondue, gluh wein, marshmallow toasting.  Pumpkins everywhere and even a mini ‘Guy’ for the pit .

Halloween at La Rosilla

The Autumnal skies this week have been spectacular, we’ve had wind and sun, and there feels a change in the air.  Winter is around the corner, so it’s time to make the most of the warm  daytime sunshine, before heading in doors for the evenings when the sun fades behind the mountain.  Time to plan for the upcoming season.

Autumn morning at La Rosilla.

 

 

 

 

To have time …

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Oh my goodness, I really am sitting here with time to write .  The first time in many weeks, even months that I can think it´s now time to jot down, make note and remember why I´ve been so busy .  Not that I haven´t enjoyed the hectic, manic, crazy summer months we’ve had, but headless chicken springs to mind !

I relish the long summertime the children have off, I love being surrounded by them, grabbing the odd hour or day when we can dash off somewhere, and do Spanish summertime things, beaching, exploring, bbq´ing , entertaining, feria´ing.

Altea by bike.

Altea by bike.

This summer has seen my busiest yet at La Rosilla, I have met and cooked with people from all over the globe, I have catered for folks enjoying special occasions, family reunions, surprise parties and proposals´(she said yes), it´s so wonderful to create memory moments for us and them and learn about traditions from different places, always with one thing in

common, ´Food glorious food´.

Fine dining in Spain.

Fine dining.

 

What firsts have we done , what have we achieved ?

We met Alpacas, who took me for a walk .

I cooked for 150 people over 4 days from 4 different continents.

We went diving as a whole family, exploring the natural reefs of the Costa Blanca.

Slept on a deflating airbed for 2 weeks.

Guadalest.

Guadalest exploring

I gave cookery and culture days to travelers from Philippines, Australia, USA and Belgium.

La Rosilla Spanish Buffet

La Rosilla Spanish Buffet

Entertained like the Von´Trapp family 😉

We had guests hiring La Rosilla from Prague, Holland and England.

Flamenco La Rosilla. Homegrown entertainment.

Flamenco La Rosilla. Homegrown entertainment.

We hired bikes and explored the coastal paths.

Cooked in 11 different kitchens.

a Rosilla On location catering.

On location catering.

Lost 3 stone in weight. (5.2 Diet I thank you)

We hosted a cultural work exchange student.

La Rosilla, summertime ready .  Luxury villa rental.

La Rosilla, summertime ready

We moved out, moved back in, moved out, moved back in.

To write down what we´ve done, makes me feel like a child, on my first day back at school and the teacher saying ´What did you do in the holidays´and I would often and sit and think ´oh my what did I do ?

Well I know I burned the candle at both ends, felt at times I was going mad, ate some fabulous food and quaffed some wonderful wines, laughed, cried, ranted and raved, was surrounded in organised chaos most of the time, but by gosh it´s been a gud´un.

Thanks to one and all who have been part of it …

And now to regain composure, create new recipes, organise upcoming events,  plan my new kitchen, enjoy the cooler climes, build our new fire pit and return to the domestic goddess that I am 😉

 

 

Marvellous May madness !

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Have I stopped for breath, I can’t remember.  Living to the max, using every hour of the day, dashing in and out of weather, making hay whilst the sunshines – May has been marvelous and complete madness, so a few words and lots of photos will sum up my life on the mountain and beyond this month.

May Madness at La Rosilla

Gardening, tagines, planting, cooking, decorating, exploring, golfing, Portugal, cream cakes, beaches, herbs & flowers, home -made bread, communions, paella, pimms, clouds, haircuts, bbqs, ploughing..

and breathe

Salud !

Today’s delicious delivery delights.

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Always so lovely to deliver a meal to a first timer.  I love to see their faces when I show them each dish and describe it’s ingredients, all freshly baked and ready to eat, all they need is their wine glass and knife and fork .

 

Today’s delivery for Spanish Mothers day was to a local town of Riogordo and the dishes included.

Pumkin & sunflower seed focacia.

Pumpkin and sunflower seed focacia, with lashings of rosemary infused extra virgin.

Herb & flower salad from La Rosilla.

Herb and flower salad, rocket, lollo rosso,   pea shoots, nasturtium, borage, thyme and sage flowers, and a sprinkling of walnuts.  With an orange flower water and mustard dressing.

Potato Cakes

Potato Cakes, stuffed with olives, sundried tomatoes, feta, roasted peppers, coated in migas crumbs and pan fried, served with tomato jam, sweet onion chutney and pesto mayo.

Prawn & Harissa tagine

Prawn & Harissa tagine, a rich and spiced dish, with flavours of cumin and cinnamon, in a tomato , courgette and onion broth and served with lemon and herb cous cous.

brownies

and to finish the ever popular, Chocolate fudge Brownie.

Happy customers 🙂

And now to relax and soak up some Sunday sunshine, before stoking up the barby, and feasting with my family.

What a difference a day makes !

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I think this must be the windiest winter on record, well it’s certainly the windiest we’ve experienced living on the mountain.  In fact in the 8 years we’ve lived here , we’ve lived through many weather records, the hottest summer, the wettest Autumn, the driest winter, Snow first time in 80 years .. we call it living in extremes, or all weathers.

The skies have been so clear and blue this winter, and on most days we can see the snow topped mountains of Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean  sea – journeys to the coast afford views of Africa, and its Moorish headlands.  The wind though has paid it’s price, this morning hiking up the mount to the meet the school bus, I had to hold on to my little daughter as she was almost blown away, we sheltered in a nook from the howling wind, olives that have not yet been picked were hurtling through the air like missiles.  As soon as it comes though it subsides, and calm prevails once more.

Yesterday we were able to to enjoy a feast with friends alfresco, with Secreto Iberico‘ on the barby and a huge terracotta dish piled high with patatas a lo pobre‘ , along with herb salad and the first nasturtium flowers of the season, and a giant loaf of rye soda-bread to mop up juices. A day in the fresh air, rosie cheeks, full bellies, and then a night in front of the fire, with a trifle to boot 😉

Today the wind is back, and the temperature has dropped, so the home fires are burning and warming comfort food is needed – Albondigas are bubbling away, and a tray of luscious Oatie, fruit & nut flapjacks have been made to enjoy with a little camomile & honey tea.

What a difference a day makes, but it keeps us on our toes, and makes us make the most of all weathers.

Here I share my recipe for a very large tray of Oatie, fruit & nut flapjacks.

Oaty,fruit & nut traybake

2 oranges – zested & juiced

1 lemon – zested & juiced

200 gr Sultanas

400 gr butter

200 gr Brown sugar

200 gr Golden syrup

200 gr Plain flour

500 gr Oats

200 gr pine nuts

  • Put juice, zest of fruits & sultanas in a saucepan and heat gently, for the sultanas to plum up – for about 5 mins.
  • Add butter , syrup & sugar to the pan and heat gently until all melted.
  • In large bowl put flour, oats & nuts, mix then add melted mixture, stir well until thoroughly mixed.
  • Pour mixture into a large lined baking tray and bake in oven 160 c for 25 mins until golden
  • Cut into squares whilst warm then allow cool.