Category Archives: Cooking Course

A year of ….

Standard

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.

 

Advertisements

Time to catch up !

Standard

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.

big group

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 15, Family, springtime & kittens

Standard

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

 

 

 

Countryside cooking.

Standard

Yesterday I was joined at La Rosilla, for the first Cooking & Culture Day of the year, by guests from America.

It was a chilly day in the mountains, but still breathtakingly beautiful with all the Almond trees in blossom,  guests were kept warm as they cooked their giant paella, whilst sipping sherries by the fire pit.

La Rosilla Cookin & Culture day.

Tapas of peppers stuffed with goats cheese, banderillas, cured chorizo, wild mushroom pate and confit cherry tomatoes and single estate olive oils were sampled and enjoyed around our country kitchen.  The groups creations of  homemade bread & chicken, chorizo and green bean paella , with garden salad were devoured.

The sun came out just in time for ‘Tarta de Santiagio’ a rich almond tart and comforting PX sherry to be savoured on the terrace and time to soak up the view.

 

To have time …

Standard

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 !

Standard

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 !

From across the pond.

Standard

It’s a joy to share what I love with guests that visit – A little of my life, the flavour and the dishes of the mountains.

This year so far, all my visitors for La Rosilla’s ‘Cookery & Culture’ day , have come from America, all corners of the States.  In fact I would like to get a big map on the world and put a pin in each place, visitors come from . Not only do they experience a taste of our family life on the mountain, we get a taste of theirs.  Recipes, traditions and lifestyles are chatted about, whilst they sample, create, sip and and enjoy some of ours.  They have all been intrepid travelers, making the most of their short time in Andalucia, and definitely not concerned about driving and exploring and going off the beaten track to take a peek .

Cookery Class

My guests usually are traveling to celebrate, birthdays, anniversaries, time out and just generally creating memory moments to take back home.

Ages have ranged from mother and 14 year old daughter having a girly day together whilst the ‘boys’ went to the car museum, husband and wife taking the unique experience for their 25th anniversary. One couple celebrating retirement and wanting to learn some new dishes for the party they were going to give friends when back in Texas.  A family group of 3 generations all linked by their ‘foodie’ love creating giant paella, whilst sipping sherry and tasting cheese and chorizos , on their way home they stopped to buy there own pan , they were determined to get in their case.-

Cookery Class La Rosilla

I just adore the way good food and great company bring people together, my children now have been fortunate to meet some fascinating people from all over the world and learn from it , it also makes them and us aware that where we live is special, and how we live is dreamed of by many.

Cookery Class La Rosilla

 

 

The Next Big Thing !

Standard

The Next Big Thing is a huge round-robin initiative of writers, bloggers, authors and journalists who share what they are embarking on next. The format is a set of questions, which can be varied depending on whether the current baton-holder is an author of books, or an online blogger.

I was passed the baton by Tamara Essex a new friend of mine, who I met after reading her wonderful blog ‘A foot in two Camps’ based around her life spread between rural England and rural Andalucia.  When I  first read Tamaras blog posts about my local town Colmenar in the montes of Malaga, they had me chuckling to myself.  I think it is great to see & read another fellows perspective on our life here, albeit if she is a ‘Townie’ 😉

So this is me @lynzinthesun, blogger, recipe writer, cookery & culture class giver,  local book club  & ‘ Views from the hills‘ ladies group founder . Phew, no wonder my life is manic !

I will be passing the baton on to two great virtual friends of mine, who have kept me inspired, supported & amused with their tales from their corners Andalucia & who I very much hope to meet in the flesh in 2013 !

Here are my questions & answers ;

What is the working title of your project? I blog at La Rosilla lifestyle & food , writings and tales of our family life, in our rural Finca on a mountain in Andalucia. I like to think of it as a harmony between food & nature.

Where did the idea come from?

I started writing a personal diary from the day we left Blighty ,lock, stock & barrel.  Many friends said ‘Lynz you should write a book’ but I thought they are two a penny now.  Although Driving over lemons &  A parrot in a pepper tree had inspired & whet my appetite  to take the plunge into a new life , I wasn’t sure our roller-coaster of a Spanish life would fit into a book, so I took to blogging instead.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your blog?

Life on a mountain in Spain, experiences, memory moments & food, glorious food.

How long do you spend writing posts for your blog?

I seem to be forever online, researching, tweeting but actually writing I think probably 2 hours a week.  I enjoy the time, it makes me reflect on what we’ve done as a family, and also makes me grateful of what we have achieved or experienced.  I try to keep my blog as positive as possible, and at times when things get too much, I can loose myself in writing.

To what book would you compare your blog?

Not sure about a book ; for my children it would be ‘Swallows & Amazons’, the tales I write about them, and the wonderful things they get up to on the mountain, sure give them a life of adventure.  For me, probably a T.V series ‘The good life’ I live a life of cross between Margot & Barbara , we’ve done the pigs, allotment, self sufficiency, but I do like a glass of bubbles in my hand 😉

Who or what inspires you to write?

I never take for granted my view or breathtaking location I live in , day to  day happenings inspire me to write.  Nature, plants, the weather, fiestas, traditions & lifes happenings – Just this morning, on a December day crisp & bright the bees are buzzing and busy collecting honey from our Passifloras & the Cooker repair man is busy in the kitchen doing the necessary to ensure the La Rosilla kitchen stays open at the vital time – Real life !

La Rosilla Terrace Dining

What is on your agenda in the next month or two?

My eldest daughter arrives home tomorrow for Christmas, so we will be together as a family – Can’t wait.  I’ll be cooking away, for guests and clients, busy with my Christmas orders for Buche Noel & shortbread .  As the New Year arrives, keeping warm is always high on the agenda, it gets cold up in these hills…I am planning new dates for my cookery & culture days & supperclub events.

What is your dream of a next big thing?

My Next Big Thing, is work in progress, I am slowly writing, compiling & planning my own cook book, which will be a compilation of recipes from family, friends and guests to La Rosilla. Favourite dishes, full of traditions & tales, from all over the world – the title ‘DELISH’ .

Well I need to get baking, so I’ll pass my baton on to two wonderful ladies;

Carole Byrne who writes a great blog Further south of Granada .  Carol keeps me entertained with her tales of even higher up rural Spanish life than me, way up in the Alpujarras.

Ann Larson is an extraordinarily busy lady, who writes about her life in Yunquera on her Olive farm, here she grows all her own vegetables, herbs & olives, which she uses to make the most beautiful natural products called Lujos.  Both ladies like me experience, all areas of Spanish life, warts and all.

So from my NEXT BIG THING to yours – Buen Provecho 🙂

 

 

 

 

Last week of my 30’s

Standard

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.

Trumpet blowing.

Standard

So lovely when visitors take time to write a review and say Thank-you, and that they’ve gone away with happy memories of their visit …

Subject: Lynsey’s Cooking Class

La Rosilla, Lynsey Drake’s cooking school, is a must for visitors to Spain.  My husband and I, Americans from Texas, met Lynsey in the mountain town of Colmenar, population 4,000, located about an hour from the Costa del Sol.  We chatted over coffee and sandwiches (Pitufu Catalana- Small roll with tomato, garlic, olive oil & Serrano ham) at the Hotel Belen, walked the streets of Colmenar, drinking in the flavor of the local people, shopped for chorizo and blood sausage at the factory and bread at the bakery.

Lynsey then drove us to her mountain home where on her sunny terrace we ate various cheeses and sausages and sampled sherries and olive oils.  We then proceeded to Lynsey’s kitchen where we helped prepare five Spanish dishes including paella and gambas pil pil for our dinner.  Lynsey’s husband, and their daughter,  a gracious teenager, joined us for our meal.

Tasting time .

After dinner they drove us back to Colmenar where we picked up our rental car and returned to the Coast.

What a delightful day experiencing life in a small Spanish town and a Spanish feast, a definite treat for visitors to Spain.