Category Archives: Baking

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.

 

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#cookfromthebooks week 9 – Carnival capers, supperclub visit & almond tart.

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The end of Semana Blanca holiday (half term here) in Malaga province, went out with a bang. A family day out on the coast enjoying blue skies and warm sunshine, a chance to finally sample a fellow supper-clubbers Rooftop Table’s gourmet ‘Thai’ delights, dancing on a bar, well it was ‘Carnaval‘ and afternoon tea with tart, Almond & raspberry slice, from Bill Granger’s book, aptly named ‘Holiday‘ .

I can’t believe it’s week 9 of my personal #cookfromthebooks challenge already, this has got to be one of my best New Year resolutions ever, a win, win resolution. 🙂 That I’m loving sticking to, and everyone else is enjoying the fayre.

Bill Granger’s style is chilled and comforting, this book, focuses on occasions and events all related to relaxing and food.  Outdoors, fireside, celebrations and barefoot.

Bill Grangers Holiday, book review by La Rosilla.

I knew we were expecting a hectic week-end of revelry, so I decided on a decadent and rich Almond and raspberry slice recipe, to enjoy as and when we wanted, whilst taking a five minutes to sip tea and chillax.  All the ingredients I had in the fridge and store cupboard, and I easily managed to put it all together in between chores before going out.

ALMOND & RASPBERRY SLICE

It has a crunch shortbread bottom, fruity layer of jam (use your favourite flavour) and a sweet nutty topping, definitely not an everyday treat 😉 .  Don’t make the mistake I did, and add all the sugar at the almond stage, it then is really sweet !!!!

210g butter softened

165g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

200g flaked & whole almonds mixed

2 tbsp milk

225g plain flour

40 g cornflower

160g raspberry jam

  • Preheat oven 180c
  • Line a bking tray with paper approx 24 x 20cm
  • To make the almond topping : put 60g of the butter, 55g of the sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, the lamonds and milk in a pan.  Cook over a low heat until the butter and sugar has dissolved, then leave to cool
  • Make the shortbread base : beat the remaning butter, sugar and vanilla, until pale & creamy.  Sift the flour and cornflower together and beat into butter mix until crumbly.
  • Press the dough into the baking tin and bake for 12 mins or until light & golden.  Leave to cool for 10 mins.
  • Spread the jam over the base, then the almond mixture.
  • Return to the oven and bake for 25 mins more.
  • allow to cool and then cut into squares.

Enjoy with tea & breathe !

Family rating adults 10/10 chi8ldren 7/10 dare I say too rich for them !!

Back to reality now, children back at school,l cooler climes and wind blowing a hoolie, Oh well it’s nearly the week-end 😉

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

#cookfromthebooks week 6 (Weather week & TV gone)

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What a week, crazy weather all mixed up, days of warm sunshine, lashing rain and then winds to make Kansas look positively calm.  Battening down the hatches and waiting for weather to arrive, can seem quite exciting.  Mountain living is a guarantee that we receive extremes of all weathers and seasons, and within the ‘Expat online’ community always a great talking point, well we are British after all 😉

Number 1 daughter returned home from a very wet Herefordshire for her half term break, hoping for her cockles to be warmed and her pale skin to be rosied but we can’t always provide !! So it’s home fires burning, hot bots in  bed and 2 pairs of socks to keep her tootsies warm.  Candles are always at the ready at La Rosilla , baskets filled with tee-lights to be lit  in every room, normally to create a cosy ambiance but at this time of year for necessity too. With wind and rain comes the power-cuts, all part of the adventure of our lifestyle.

Food for family and friends we can provide, nothing beats gathering around the dining table when there has been a week of conversation topic making. So I set the table, invited friends for supper, scoured my cook books for my week 6 #cookfromthebooks  challenge, for family friendly recipes, ( our guests not quite so adventurous as us in food tastes 😉 A homely Chicken, Bacon and pea pie would see fit, chosen from Rachel Allens ‘favourite food at  home’ Rachel Allen Favourite food at home

I find this cook book, uplifting, clear and easy to follow.  Good hearty recipes, beautifully captured in photos.  Family favourites, dishes for occasions and basic must know tips for all cooks.

The Chicken pie with bacon and peas wasn’t a fast throw it all together affair, but worth the time and effort.  Like normal I adapted it to suit our tastes and and what I had in the fridge.  The pie in the recipe can be topped with mash or puff pastry, I used a filo topping, to add a slightly more sophisticated pie, to serve for supper guests.  I also used pancetta, instead of ham, which added an extra richness.   I served this with roasted butternut squash cubes, in caraway , not all guests were willing to try ‘Can’t do orange veg’ they said !!! and for  green, french beans sauteed in butter & garlic.

No photos this week of my ‘Pie’, with power on & off, candles lit and my wine glass full, this rare I know, slipped my mind 😉

Pud was a comforting cherry crumble or La Rosilla chocolate Brownies, La Rosilla Browniesthe children all bagsied the Brownies so I sneakily hid a butternut squash cube in them, but the devils caught me out 😉 – The crumble topping was unusually made I thought.  I always rub my flour and butter together to make bread crumbs then add sugar , oats and cinnamon – but in Rachel Allen’s recipe for Rhubarb, plum & cardamon crumble, she prepares her dry ingredients then pours on melted butter and quickly mixes – It did provide a dense crumble topping but I found quite clumpy – I think in future I’ll stick to my usual, on saying that with the bowl placed dangerously near to my place, I did manage to secretly have a few portions 😉

 

To finish the week an event we knew was looming on the horizon, but hoping it wouldn’t and not knowing when it would, came to fruition.  For many Ex-pats living in Spain, we have a guilty pleasure, or for some of us a necessity to watch UK TV to keep us up to date of our home-land, receive world wide news in our own language, or for me the obligatory watching of the many ‘Foodie’ programmes .  Never have I watched a ‘Soap’ in 9 years but Saturday Kitchen, Masterchef & my ‘Jamie’ these are my moments of weakness and now they are GONE !! The UK have changed their satellite position, and now we can no longer tune in to our favourite channels 😦 .  There are ways and means, and options being advised, sold, hawked as days go by, but as in sit, switch on and watch NO ! I know we’ll get used to it, and maybe find that life we actually came to live on a mountain for.  I have a pile of books to get through, jigsaws to make, and DVD’s to watch, so once I’ve finished sulking and got my head around it, all will be fine….Hurry up summer, when late night terrace sitting, and the only thing we watch is the night sky for shooting stars.

Until then a plateful of home-made ‘Melting Moments’ from my treasured, well thumbed, Nan’s ‘Bero’ recipe book, will do the trick.

MELTING MOMENTS RECIPE

140 g S.R Flour

80g caster sugar

120g Margarine / butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Oats, dessicated coconut & cranberries to decorate.

  • Cream togwther butter & sugar, add vanilla.
  • Stir in flour and mix well.
  • With your hands bring dough together.
  • With wet hands divide mixture into 36 balls and roll and coat with coconut or oats.
  • Place on a greased baking sheet slightly apart and flatten a little add a dried cranberry to some.
  • Bake at 160c for 12-15 mins until golden.

FAMILY RATING 10/10

EASY.

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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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.

 

 

 

Daily bread.

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I don’t think I could ever give up carbs, I love my daily bread too much, and I think if it’s full of natural goodness that’s good enough for me  – and how could you eat a bowl of homemade soup, without dunking ?, I know I can’t .

For many years I have made bread, a simple act that creates one of life’s pleasures, and one of life’s coveted aromas – The scent of freshly baked bread – hhhhmmmm.  Yes some days, it doesn’t fit into the agenda, I’m not a bread maker machine kind of a gal, I like to take life’s frustrations out on my dough, it takes the knock much better than me 😉

But for those  who just can’t wait for a double rise, or who don’t have the patience for 10 – 15 mins kneading, don’t worry you can still have a loaf – and soda bread should become your friend ready in the time it takes to mix, and bake in the oven – on the table in 30 minutes.

At the week end I was eager to try some of my new products on offer from La Rosilla Organic wholemeal flour & poppy seeds.  I had a little helper in the kitchen, who too was eager to mix, spoon & shape.

So this week-ends loaf was Carrot & Walnut soda bread with a poppy seed topping.

Kitchen helper

La Rosilla kitchen helper.

Carrot & Walnut Soda Bread with poppy seeds.

Heat oven to 175 c.

500 Grams Wholemeal organic flour

2 tsp of bircarb soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp brown sugar

Natural yoghurt approx 4 small 125g pots (enough to make a soft dough)

Mix all the above ingredients together by hand or with a mixer, to make a soft dough.

Add 2 grated carrots and a handful of walnuts, knead until all combined, if too sticky just add more flour.

Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a round dome.

Carrot & Walnut soda bread recipe

Place on a baking sheet, and score the top with a sharp knife, into portions about 8.

Sprinkle over poppy seeds and bake in the oven until risen and golden, about 30 – 40 mins.

Eat warm straight from the oven – lovely too toasted the next day.

Carrot, walnut Soda bread recipe

Oaty crumble cookies

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‘Mama there’s nothing in the treat basket’ ‘ it’s empty’ they call.

Our treat basket is on a high shelf, that you almost have to climb up-to to reach (purposefully) and we’re all tall in our family. Named as you can guess, as it’s home for sweet treats, nibbles & snacks, not often overladen, more than often poorly lacking, not for want of it being full, but like most families, after a shop, it’s contents are soon to be devoured.

My daughter flies back to ‘Blighty’ tonight to return back to college, I’d hate her to go, knowing the treat basket was empty. That’s my ‘ I can be a mum in pinny ‘ inner self thinking 😉 so I’ve rustled up our favourite super quick, oaty crumble cookies. The basket may be empty but the stock cupboard contains all we need to replenish our treat store, and suffice our sweet tooth.

Ingredients (easily doubled)

This amount makes about 15

  •  125 grams of butter
  • 125 grams of light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of Golden Syrup
  • 1 tsp of Bicarb
  • 1 tsp of water

 

Put the above ingredients in a microwavable bowl, and heat on full power for 2 mins to melt.

Stir well to make sure all melted.

Then add

  •  125 grams of porridge oats
  • 125 grams SR flour

Mix to combine.

Put spoonfuls of the mixture onto baking sheets covered with baking parchment, and flatten slightly. (they do spread)

Bake at 150 degrees for approx 10 mins, until just golden.

Leave to cool and firm up.

 

Enjoy with a cuppa 🙂

 

 

My new baby ‘Splodge’

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My New Baby ‘Splodge’

On a couple of attempts in the past I embarked on creating my first Sourdough, but without much success. I do not like to be beaten, and bread is one of my favourite pastimes, eating it & baking it, so this time I read & read some more about the natural wonder of creating a living ‘Thing’ from just flour & water and creating something comforting to share.

Having located some Organic whole wheat flour not that easy up in the Montes of southern Spain, I was ready to start, literally with my sourdough starter. Following one of my favourite sites River Cottage instructions, my flour & water was mixed and ‘Splodge’ was born, I marvel at the idea that a sourdough starter can live happily for years and years, just as long as it’s fed and watered….I joked with the children, I would leave splodge to them in my will, so they could create for the families in years to come, needless to say they looked at me as if finally yes, Mum has gone mad…..But as they tasted that first bite, warm from the oven, they began to ask questions, they then began to say ‘Mum, ‘Splodge is bubbling nicely’, ‘Mum shall I move Splodge to somewhere warm’ 😉 Now that’s more like it.

My first loaf, like many first attempts was not the perfect specimen, although tasted good, so practice will make perfect, I now, know I have to slit the top to let the bread rise, and turn the oven down after 10 minutes, to allow the inside to cook, before the crust is too firm, should’ve taken note of the instructions, but Supper time baking, gets a tad hectic..Loaf number 2 is on it’s second proving , before being baked tonight for a Supper of Bread, cheese & Wine…Simplicity at it’s finest.

First Attempts

Splodge is now doing nicely , I enjoy my little chats with it, even though one sided, but I’m sure they make all the difference to a happy loaf with a heart 😉

More great information and tips on Sourdough can be found here .

 

 

 

 

Daily Bread, that would be nice !

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Daily Bread.

Oh how lovely to bake bread every day, In my dream life, that’s what I’d do, but in reality no can do. But I do indulge, when the time allows, and there is nothing more comforting than home made bread fresh out of the oven, the aroma is one of the worlds most favourite smells.

I remember 8 years back, when I was selling my house in the U.K freshly baked bread was a more regular occurrence, I’m sure it clinched the sale too 😉 That homely aroma, wafting through the house.

Baking bread actually is a simple affair, and nothing to be scared of, very few ingredients often in our cupboards, and even if it doesn’t make the grade on your first attempt it will still taste delicious.

Of all the dishes I make my visitors, friends & clients, they always ask ‘Home made bread ?’ I reply ‘Why of course’ ‘How wonderful, aren’t you clever’.

To share bread, dipped into Olive oil and a reduced vinegar, or slathered with creamy butter, or topped with a mature cheese, what can be better ?

I tend to add to my loaf, what ever I can find growing in the herb garden, or seeds, nuts or dried fruits form the store cupboard. I also make a huge loaf, you can’t beat the wow factor, or divided the dough into two, and freeze one for when time doesn’t allow.

This recipe if for Rosemary & Sun dried Tomato loaf.

1 kg of Strong white bread flour.

560-600 ml of Warm water.

2 Cubes of fresh yeast / or 2 sachets of fast action dried yeast.

1 tsp of Sugar

1 pinch of salt

1 glug of olive oil

1 small hand of rosemary leaves, chopped.

2 tbsp of Sun dried tomatoes drained and chopped roughly.

  • Put flour In a large bowl add salt.
  • Add yeast to the warm water with sugar allow to froth for 10 mins.
  • Make a well in the flour, and slowly add the water & oil, you may not need it all, bring the flour together to make a dough.
  • When the dough come into a ball, take out and knead in the rosemary & tomatoes.
  • Flour a surface and knead, & stretch for 10 mins smooth and elastic.
  • To test if you dough is kneaded enough, press your thumb into the dough and it should spring back, if not knead some more.
  • Lightly oil the large bowl, and place the dough in, cover with a damp cloth, and leave in a warm place to rise, until doubled in size. Approx 45 mins.
  • Once risen, punch the dough down, knead lightly on floured surface & shape into required shape & makes slashes with a sharp knife across the top, this will allow the dough to rise more.
  • Place on a lined baking sheet & cover once more with a damp cloth and allow to rise again. Approx 30 mins.
  • Heat oven to 175 degrees, once up to temperature, put a small oven proof bowl in bottom of oven with water in to create a steamy atmosphere. Add the loaf on the middle shelf, and cook for approx 30 – 4o mins.

The Loaf is ready when you tap the base and it sounds hollow.

La Rosilla Sun-dried Tomato & Rosemary Bread

Leave to cool, if you can wait.

Enjoy x

‘Mary bake-a-cake’

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I dream of a ‘Mary bake-a-cake’ lifestyle, I’m part of the way there with my bunting, my pastel painted kitchen & my eclectic mix of tins & hearts of all shapes & guises…but the main crux of the dream life is the baking bit !!!

Now I’m always cooking, mainly for others, clients and gatherings which I love, but my children are often heard to say ‘Mum can we eat this or is it just for show’ or I’m heard to be shouting ‘Don’t eat that it’s for a customer’ . They sit and drool at Brownies ‘to go’ , if they’re lucky they get the left over edges , I enthuse they are the best bits, all crunchy, sometimes it doesn’t wash.

Don’t get me wrong they’re not hard done by, far from it, new recipes are tried out on them..O.K they are my guinea pigs.

Well today I’m going to surprise them, they have suffered as they say all week, with my adopted healthy eating approach to the new year, with beans, pulses & greens of every style. So I have baked a batch of favourite Choc-Chip Chewy Cookies, so as they walk through the door at the end of their school week, and say as normal “Mum we’re starving what’s to eat “ they’ll see a heavenly plate of treats, smile, sigh & indulge and whhoooosh they’ll be gone.

One way to get the week-end of to a good start…

Oh they smell so good, I’m sure they won’t miss one…ssshhh don’t tell. Well it is Friday 😉

La Rosilla Chewy, Choc-chip, Cookies.

 

Makes approx 20 lovely sized cookies.

200 grams Unsalted Butter or Soft Margarine

1 egg

85 grams Brown Sugar

85 grams White Sugar

225 grams SR Flour

Pinch of salt

Handful of Choc – chips

 Method

Pre-heat oven to 190 f

Mix butter, egg & sugar in a large bowl until smooth.

Add flour & choc-chips & pinch of salt, to form a sticky thick dough.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment, and place blobs/spoonfuls of mixture onto sheets spaced apart, as the mixture will spread.

Bake for 12-15mins, till lightly turning golden.

Delicious enjoyed warm, but will keep in an airtight container for a few days, if they left that long 🙂

 You can also try adding some nuts, or dried cranberries.