Category Archives: Catering

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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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 😉

#cookfromthebooks week 10 – Reunions & french fayre.

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A fabulously hectic week, of friends and frolics has left me literally unable to speak…my jaw has gone into painful spasm, maybe the price I’m paying for eating,drinking, laughing and singing too much 😉 So I’m now on soft food and alcohol free tipples, best recover soon.

A few months back I volunteered on a language immersion course by Diverbo, to assit Spanish teachers in their quest to improve their English language skills, us volunteers were known as the ‘Anglos’. This week the Anglos of Southern Spain ( Malaga, Almeria, Murcia and Marbella) had a reunion, we re-grouped for a fabulous evening of wining and dining, laughter and merriment.  One of the gentleman known as ‘The Baron’ lives not too far from me at La Rosilla, so were pooled culinary skills and created a menu of french delicacies for our new friends.

Steak Tartare

Smoked salmon, avocado & goats cheese terrine

Coq au vin

Gratin dauphinois

Garlic braised spring greens

Tarte au citron & pot au chocolat

melting camemberts

Cafe and cognac

Some of our diners we knew may be a little unsure about steak tartare, so we held back from describing it’s origins or naming the dish, until after they’d tasted it, naughty I know, but we were able to convince most of them and they agreed, they wouldn’t have tried if they’d known, just proving many people pre-decide before trying 😉

For my #cookfromthebooks challenge this week, my sweet treats of Tarte au Citron & pot au chocolat, were taken by the simple and clearly written book ‘FRENCH’ by Raymond Blanc, published by M & S. The book  was originally published in 2003 as ‘Foolproof french cookery’

Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir

I have very fond memories of my visits to Le Manoir aux quat’saisons in Oxfordshire when I lived in England, reserved for very special treats, a place from the moment you arrived you feel clam, looked after and you know you are going to have an unforgettable experience.  Dining, gardens, accommodation, all faultlessly designed.  Unpretentious and impeccable  service, makes every one feel special and welcome.

My little pots of chocolate I adapted slightly and here is my recipe, rich, decadent and perfect for the chocoholics out there.

POT AU CHOCOLAT

Makes 8 little pots or glasses.

300 g of dark choc, broken up

250 ml double cream

75 g of butter

good glug of cognac

  • Put all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water stir gently, until melted.
  • Pour into shot glasses or espresso cups.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

 

Our reunion was a great success, all different characters from all walks of life, coming together to re-confirm our new friendships.

Now for me, I’m off to make soup that I can sip through a straw, and hope my jaws gets back to full waggle soon 😉

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

Wedding bells.

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I was recently chosen to cater for a young Danish couple’s mountain top wedding here in Spain, a location that was close to their hearts from childhood holidays.  They picked me after reading this blog and seeing that my passion for ‘The good life and food’ suited their personalities and way of life, the Bride a top Pastry Chef and Groom Champion Triathlete.  They wanted a menu that would represent the area, the sea ,countryside and the seasons and above all be fresh and home grown. The wedding was  to be filmed (no pressure there then)  for a Danish ‘Fly on the wall’ documentary, that is following the couples life for the next 7 years.

It was an honor to create for them and the location was breathtaking, high up in Tejeda Montes of the Axarquia, with views to the sea, lakes and whitewashed villages beyond.

Vegetables and herbs were picked form the La Rosilla garden, pork was sourced from my local town of Colmenar and sea food from the abundant coast of Malaga.

A spectacular terrace, had a wedding makeover, and was the backdrop to welcome guests with Harpist and flautist, an array of cocktails were sipped with canapes of, Beetroot Gazpacho shots, Bacon wrapped almond stuffed dates and Goats cheese tostados witch caramelized onions.

brideBefore and After Wedding Planning  team fame

The Danish wedding traditions were followed throughout with Speeches and toasts a many.

The wedding supper, was enjoyed under the setting sun, and through the candlelit night.

A taste of Spain, and another memory moment made.

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 😉

 

 

Work Experience

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School said to me pick wherever you want as long as you have something to put into your personal statement for university about work experience. I personally am not the office sort, so having this opportunity to find somewhere to go for a week only meant one thing. As far away as possible. This is my first ever blog post but it is definitly important as i needed to share my experience with everyone.

Luckily I know the Drakes from back when me and Sasha were in primary school together. My name is Sophie and for the last week I ditched my routine english life to spend a week living the ”La Rosilla” lifestyle in spain, and I have had a ”fenomenal” time. 1062826_10200876464086798_1498215089_n

I have definitely put my language skills to the test when I accompanied Sasha to a fiesta for her friend’s birthday. There was roughly around 25 people there and only 2 spoke english. Me and Sasha. So for me that was definitely an experience. Poor Sasha became translator for the night. Although it was good to see how people my own age live life here and how their parties differ to mine back home.

I also went to a book club which will make my mother so proud. This I found very interesting as of course it was all Lyney’s friends and they were all english. I was able to look around somebody else house and see how all of these women have adapted their lifestyle to live in spain.

Something I will not be forgetting anytime soon was Lynsey bringing home a pigs trotter to ”flavour” her food. For me this was something very different but of course everything is a learning curve so I made the most of the experience though its something I could go without for a few more years :p Whilst ive been in spain I have had the opportunity to watch Lynsey make meals for people as of course this is her job, and I  have to say some of the recipes I have never even heard of but they turned out smelling and looking amazing, especially her carne con chocolate.1011882_628540143831408_1101451143_n

Lynsey took me to the Tanit beach yesterday for my final proper day. The sea was lovely and cool and the weather was boiling. unfortunately a result of my ignorance to the sun’s strength is chronic sunburn, I doubt ill be doing any quick movement for a long time, however I think it was completely worth it as I had a fantastic time.

Overall I have had an absolutely amazing time here in spain! I wish that the ”La Rosilla lifestyle” was my own. I can safely say out of everybody in my year at school ive had the best work experience by a mile and that everyone should be jealous of it.

Considering I only suffered from major sunburn and 16 mosquito bites I would say this trip has been a success!

little burnt

little burnt

I am so sad to be leaving but like I said, I have had an incredible time here and im not likely to be forgetting any of it. I have been made to feel like part of the family which I love and am so glad to of had this amazing experience.

xxx

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.

Last week of my 30’s

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So it’s arrived , knew it would, didn’t want it too – WHY ? because I don’t feel ready, surely I’m not old enough to be 40 ;), my dream plan hasn’t come to fruition, that is of being in control of my life, living in perfect balance & harmony, or maybe I should have taken note of what I called it my ‘DREAM’ plan instead of my goal.

Some things I achieved in my 30’s , others more than once, some that tried to finish me off !! –

  • I had my 3rd child,
  • I moved to Spain
  • I live on a mountain
  • I ate at ‘The Fat Duck’2
  • I had a breakdown …no I wasn’t invincible, my marbles went on meltdown
  • I beat my breakdown
  • I walked burning coals
  • I started my supperclub ,cookery courses & catering business
  • I lost 6 stone, put 3 back on, lost 3 again & put it back on, told you I achieved things more than once 😉
  • Fitness , there’s another- I achieved my ultimate level, running, kick boxing yoga & dancing – Since lost this fitness, not all my fault a back injury certainly hasn’t helped 😦
  • I started a book club, which is still going strong
  • I created a womens group ‘ Views from the hills‘ to share events, experience things together and give each other support, which is growing steadily….

Areas I need to work on, my OCD in bed making and cushion plumping , creating my ‘recipe’ book, sometimes saying no, oh yes and beating this financially challenging time in Spain  – Survival of the fittest and all that –  having a holiday, yes I might live in an idyllic place, with fresh air, blue skies, warm sunshine and cheap wine, but a holiday would be nice.

Well hey ho, I’m told 50 is the new 40, so that’ll give me another 10 years to work on my plan, but while I renew my goals or at least spend time thinking of them, I’ve got a party to plan – a big PARRTTYY , Mine 😉 so once again I digress.

Last Supper

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My ´Supperclub´has had a balmy summer, travelling to venues and houses of others, but ´Supper on the terrace´where it all began, some three summers ago , holds a strong place in my heart, albeit harder work, not only cooking all day, but my house has to be ship-shape, and the family have to be in Bristol fashion.

As the nights are drawing in, I decided that I would have to have my ´Last Supper´of the season, under the stars, and grapevine, whilst I could still guarantee warm temperatures and no rain.

With my No1 daughter back in Blighty now to study, she is normally my right hand girl, my steadier of nerves , and my entertainer, it was time to rope in my OH who at dinner parties is Host extroidinaire, never an empty glass, and often many a guests found on the sofa the next morn, but at ´Supperclub´front of house is not his forte.  No 1 son was also bribed to pitch in  but  he conveniently broke his big toe at school that afternoon.

Never a dull moment at La Rosilla.

So with a full house booked, prepping began in earnest, tables were laid, cutlery polished, candles lit, jazz tunes on, mojitos were mixed, and guests arrived.

Mountain living in Spain, allows me to use the most wonderful produce, that surprisingly many local eateries don´t celebrate.   Catering also for regular Vegans and veggies, who find the local approach of patatas cooked in pork fat with pork cooked in every conceivable manner the main choice on a menu – lets me offer them a welcome taste bud change, and also gets my creative mind going.

Supper on the Terrace

So what was ´The last supper ´.?

I scoured my overloaded recipe book-case, picking out old favourites, comfort food, dishes packed full of life & flavour, Ottolenghi´s Caramelised Endive & Serrano ham, Cranks´Broad Bean Pilaf & braised carrots with cumin, garlic & saffron to name a few.  Home baked rosemary and walnut rolls were served with a satisfying soup of butternut squash & almonds picked from my trees, and dessert was a sorbet of fresh picked figs  & port (the last off my tree 😦 ) , with a dark chocolate twirl.

Caramelised Endive & Serrano

Light faded, the moon shone, wine flowed and chatter got jovial,

I joined my guests with ´one for the road´and my OH was chief pot washer….well he could have done front of house ; !!

So as the season comes to an end, and the temperature drops, it has to drop soon surely ? I look forward to welcoming guests ´around the Kitchen Table´ for Autumn feasts and winter banquets.

As always La Rosilla – Unique & delicious

Celebrating local produce.

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Over a year ago I received an email from a lady in the U.K, who was planning a holiday to my area the Montes de Malaga, infact just down the ‘Mount’ and would be celebrating her 50th birthday with friends , she wanted an evening of celebrations..Could I do this  ? Of course I could !

The terrace of La Rosilla (my home) is a perfect setting for something special, unique & delicious.

I was given free rein of the menu, with the only stipulation being ‘ we want to taste Andalucia ‘ Could I do this ? Of course I could.

Surrounded by local produce of the best, Chorizo, Morcilla & Jamon, created in Colmenar, Almonds , Oranges & olives  grown on my land a Traditional mountain Menu, was born.

Seasonal watermelon was pureed and mixed with lime & white rum & mint for a welcoming Mojito, served with my infamous Beetroot gazpacho Shots & figs off my tree, stuffed with Goats cheese & drizzled with local honey.

Beetroot Gazpacho Shots

The view was absorbed and as the sunset, and chicadas grew quieter the feasting began.

Chickpeas were braised with Chorizo & spinach, and Morcilla sautéed with apple, onion & cumin, a dish that converts anyone into a ‘Black pudding’ lover.

I share with you below the recipe for the main, ‘Lentejas con Jamon y Fino’ lentils braised with cured ham and sherry, a hearty accompaniment with a deep earthy taste, this was topped with quail roasted in garlic, giving an impressive looking dish.

I baked plums from the mountain, with cinnamon, butter & orange flower water, along with a traditional whole orange & almond tort.

The night grew dark, fairy lights came on, tee lights were lit, conversation flowed, cava was sipped, birthday cake sparklers were enjoyed, and ‘Cumpleaños Feliz’ sang & a lasting memory made.

Lentejas con Jamon y Fino

Quail on ‘Lentejas Con Jamon y Fino’

lentils are a Spanish store cupboard ingredient, my favourite the Pardina lentil is dark green in colour, (similar to the Puy lentil of France) and has a deep earthy flavour, boiled to cook with a bay leaf or two, they retain their shape and texture and are delicious stirred into many dishes.

Ingredients

  • 250g Pardina lentils, rinsed and put in a saucepan with dbl qty of cold water and 2 bay leaves, bring to the boil & then simmer for 25 mins. Drain & reserve a cup of cooking liquor.
  • Olive oil to saute & serve
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 sticks of celery diced
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • Tin of plum toms, chopped
  • 1 tsp of Pimenton Dulce
  • Glass of dry sherry or white wine
  • Jamon chopped – or you could use chopped pancetta
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds.
  • salt flakes (I use maldon) & fresh black pepper.

In a large sauce pan saute the carrot, onion celery until softened but not coloured.

Add the garlic & carraway seeds and saute gently for 2-3 mins.

Add the jamon and stir for a min, or so. then add paprika.

Pour in the sherry and let everything bubble for a minute, to cook of alcohol.

Add tomatoes, then stir in cooked lentils.

It should be a thick sauce consistency, add the reserved lentil water to if it looks to dry.

Add salt & pepper to taste – Simmer very gently for 10 mins.

When ready to serve add fresh chopped parsley, & drizzle with olive oil.

You can topped with hard-boiled eggs, for a economical supper, or top with roast chicken.