Category Archives: Foodie

Time to chill !

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Time to chill !

One way to cool down, in the high summer temperatures is to enjoy a glass or bowl full of chilled Gazpacho.  I keep a glass jug in the fridge to let flavours develop, and enjoy as and when.  Healthy, revitalising and rehydrating, perfect for an alfresco lunch.

There are many varieties and personal touches and changes people make to their recipes, using the abundance of fresh local and homegrown produce ensures a perfect result every time.  Adding our own organic Extra, virgin, olive oil always makes me smile, a slug or two of aged sherry vinegar adds piquancy, together with fresh picked herbs, basil and mint are my go to’s.

In my recipe I made today I add watermelon, these a being sold pile high by the roadsides in Andalucia at the moment,

Stay cool too and try it out here: WATERMELON GAZPACHO FROM LA ROSILLA

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How the years have flown.

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How the years have flown.

It’s our ” Living the dream‘ anniversary, or that’s what we thought and called it when we left England many moons ago, lock, stock & barrel.  Yes, it’s our anniversary of  ‘ The good life‘ on the mountain. Evolution, of our family growing up and changing throughout the years and embarking on their own futures and decisions. Evolution of our land & home, simplifying now where we can, having fulfilled our dreams and tick boxes of owning every farm animal, pigs, goats, chickens, horses…. being self-sufficient, with our veggie patch, almonds and olives, learning the hard way through successes, our own organic extra virgin olive oil, failures of dying plants due to lack and no water through the summer months, & upset of animals being killed by Mr Fox and stote, we’ve bought that T-shirt and worn it.  I’m happy now with my Olive orchard, hard work but rewarding, my back door herb and lettuce garden, and wildflowers and gardening to suit the terrain.

We still look at our view and think WOW, we still are grateful we live on the side of a mountain Wow, we still can’t believe that we have 3 bilingual children Wow, 2 now adults using their life swallows and amazons life experiences to enrich their futures.

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Always work to do.

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Mini Chef.

Times have been tough, but wouldn’t they have been anywhere? That’s life ! Bureaucracy drives us nuts, but we work through it and hold our heads up high.  My ‘little’ Foodie passion is steadily and organically growing into a business I am proud of, sharing our lifestyle, local produce, customs and traditions.  We welcome people from all over the world to have a glimpse of rural mountain life, we cook for celebrations and occasions, people will remember for years. We have made many like-minded friends always with a common theme of eating, drinking and making merry.

My writings are getting more sporadic on here over the years, a few reasons for this; procrastination, I always find other things I should or think I should be doing,  but once I get going I think, “Why don’t I do this more often?” Then there’s my brain fog, Hashimoto’s induced, which has really affected my vocabulary and ability to think what to write.  Hey ho, I have the memories, experiences and thanks to social media, I’m an IG’aholic @larosilla, I can share in other ways.

Our life here still surprises us, often flabbergasts us,  we are still learning the idiosyncracies of living in a different country, habits, mannerisms and morals, but when the going gets tough, our terrace and view awaits, our table is filled with visiting family and friends and my hiking boots are itching to be worn and mountains climbed.

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Viva Espana, Viva La Rosilla !

 

Poco hecho, for me !

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Poco hecho, for me !

How do you like your steak cooked? I won’t judge, well maybe only a little 😉 Are you from the cremated side or just off mooing? For me, it’s rare or poco hecho as they call it here in Spain, plump, rested and juicy.

It took me years to master the perfect steak, always looked and seemed so easy, I think it boiled down to the quality of the meat and spending just a little more to get well-aged beef, and not being afraid to crank up the heat under my griddle pan, and smoke the house out for a few minutes.  Now yes I can cook one, and I love it simply with fresh asparagus and oven roasted tomatoes, salt flakes and a good grinding of black pepper, enjoyed with a rich full-bodied red, or my favourite, a powerful, well rounded Oloroso sherry.

There is one restaurant not too far from us though, whose steaks are legendary, and if the opportunity arises and I’m feeling in the need for a meat-fest and my OH is paying 😉 I’m there.  El Charco is a family run restaurant in a small village, Los Romanes in the Axarquia, that looks down over the stunning Lake Vinuela.  This venta does typical Spanish and Andaluz dishes very well, and the steaks are to die for.  Cooked in a wood oven, served on the hottest terracotta platters, served to choice, perfectly every time.  Fresh sauces to accompany them mine always a blue cheese, OH’s peppercorn.

Fillet steak rare. Poco Hecho Fillet steak

Starters too are always en point, last nights special was ‘Sopa de Ajo‘  Garlic soup, with asparagus and poached egg, soothing for the soul, and laced with aphrodisiac properties.

Sopa de ajo

As long as both lovers consume the earthy cloves the magical powers of romance manifest, that was all good as I just knew that my OH would have Gambas Ajillo, hot, bubbling, garlic prawns.  Valentines was going great guns, and bless the restaurant they presented each lady with a Red Carnation (not my favourite) and the men got a look in too, with a miniature DICK sorry DYC and some choccies.

Valentines gift.

So going Out, Out on a school night was a win, and we were tucked up in bed with a cuppa at 10.30pm, seems the garlic had worn off, and our resolutions of knowing when to stop on the alcohol front, were working and they say romance isn’t dead 😉 !!

 

Desayunar

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Desayunar

I love the way the Spanish have a verb ‘To breakfast’ Desayaunar it’s what you do, together with friends or on your own to ‘take 5’, mid-morning when you hit that slump and coffee is needed, and you just need that something to get you through to late lunch.

Over the years of me living here, I’ve learned the hard way when making appointments for around 10am, only to get there to be told the individual is ‘doing breakfast’, of course, why wouldn’t they be ? silly me. If you can’t beat them join them.  A custom I now relish with gusto.

The traditional Spanish breakfast, of Pan con Tomate y Café, ticks most boxes, fresh baked bread, local olive oil, fresh tomatoes and caffeine – That’ll do nicely. Sometimes though, I enjoy to explore and follow recommendations of my fellow foodies.  A day in the city of Málaga, off the mountain at La Rosilla and away from local village traditional eateries, affords me the opportunity to indulge.

Often the smallest places can pack the biggest punch. Desal cafe is located in an unassuming street, with a small façade but with cute tables to enjoy people watching and the world go-by.  The interior is bright and welcoming and the menu certainly whets the appetite.  Tostados, brunches, home-made sweet treats and pastries, all plated and served with flair and unique touches.

A leisurely breakfast was the order of the day, vitamin-packed of course, healthy yes, indulgent double yes 😉

The Eggs Benedict platter came with perfect oozy poached eggs, creamy hollandaise and thick cut cooked ham, this rich dish was accompanied by a light and fresh fruit salad over natural yoghurt and crunchy granola.  Fresh squeezed orange juice and my favourite illy coffee topped it all off.  Service was friendly, unobtrusive and prompt.  I definitely would go back to Desal Cafe, with friends and while away a little more time, and could even skip lunch and wait to ‘Meriendar‘ 😉

Suitably refreshed and revitalised, more mooching in Malaga commenced.

DESAL CAFE ‘

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON GOURMET TOURS OF MALAGA AND COOKING CLASSES CHECK OUT

LA ROSILLA- LIFESTYLE & FOOD.

Veganliscious

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Veganliscious

Eager to explore new food trends, tastes and, seasonal produce that are hitting the Malaga streets, I was not disappointed with my first visit to Raw Attitude in the trendy Soho district of the city.  A small and intimate eatery with a fabulously stocked vegan, raw food and, health supplies shop.

Choosing to seat alfresco and watch the world go by, I choose the ‘Menu del Dia’ a set 3 course lunch.  Slightly pricier than most menus, but the love, freshness of ingredients and the selection and generosity of portion size made up for it.

The Vegan menu with my many raw components was fresh, zingy and palate pleasing.  Recipes that were new to me and sparked an interest to investigate further.

To start I had the lightest, Thai broth with lemongrass and tofu, warming and comforting soup for the soul, I could just feel the goodness working through my body.

The main course was a delightful ‘Buddha Bowl‘ of tastes, sweet, sour, crunchy, fresh and that perfect umami hit.  I particularly savored the Tabbouleh made with millet and fresh herbs.  This huge bowl of delights was so filling but left me feeling satisfied, not uncomfortable.

Thai Soup with Tofu

Buddha Bowl Vegan and Raw

Pud felt like a naughty treat a Cocoa Cookie, maybe ladened with calories but totally full of rich antioxidants and feel good factor.

Whether Vegan, Veggie or hard-core carnivore, take a moment to explore and find this little gem of a place and tickle your tastebuds with something new.

Raw Attitude – Vegan Organic Deli Málaga.

Take a look at La Rosilla -Lifestyle & Food – Cultural, Foodie Gourmet Tours.

Friday Night, Fake-Away.

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Friday Night, Fake-Away.

Some of us, or most are us are cutting back one way or another, it just seems the January rite of passage.  Some of you may have already thought ‘tosh’ to the resolutions, January is tough enough as it is without, watching my weight, losing the booze, or tightening the purse strings, if that’s your choice embrace – Hell yeah.

Well, I’m sticking on in there on all 3 counts for the time being, but when it gets to TGIF (Thank god it’s Friday) I need something to feel different, to look forward to, to make believe it’s party-time.  Maybe one day it’ll all be fine and it’ll feel the norm for me,   feeling righteous and holier than thou, I do believe in Unicorns but miracles ???

Many folks are lucky enough to have a Take-away of some description on their doorstep or around the corner, but at this time of year that could just be a little too tempting, so for once I’m glad I live on a mountain, back of beyond, second on the right.  There are no ‘meals on wheels‘ here, tell a lie there is, IT’S ME delivering luxury dinner party meals to holidaymakers and locals, that’s another story, but you can check it out here 😉 

So I’m going to fake it a family favourite Sweet and Sour Pork and whilst preparing it I shall sip on a virtuous, totally VIRGIN Bloody Mary.  Just to preach a tad, there are double benefits to making your own FakeAway, you know what is in it, making it much healthier and it costs so much less.  WooHoo ! and as for the Virgin Mary, well that’s even one of your 5 a day- GET IN !

I will serve the Sweet and Sour Pork with roasted, sweet potato wedges dusted with Chinese 5 spice, on a bed of steamed Pak Choi. It looks fiddly, but it’s not, prepare everything then get cooking.

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SERVES 4

RECIPE :

  • 1 can unsweetened pineapple chunks, undrained
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup cold water, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pork loin, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 head of broccoli florets off, stalk finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 small onion sliced

DIRECTIONS

Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 the juice, set aside.
In a small bowl, mix 2 of the tablespoons cornflour, 1 tbs water, garlic powder and 1 tbs pineapple juice.
Put pork in a zip lock bag, or bowl and then add the above sauce and coat well, cover and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cayenne and remaining water, cornflour and rest of pineapple juice until smooth; set aside.
In a wok over medium-high heat, stir-fry pork in 1 tablespoon oil until no longer pink; remove and keep warm.
Stir-fry the broccoli, carrots, onion in remaining oil until tender. Stir cornflour and soy mixture and add to the pan.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add pork and pineapple, until everything is piping hot. 

Virgin Bloody Mary

In a large glass or jug, mix :

  • Tomato Juice
  • Few Tabasco sauce
  • Sprinkle of celery salt
  • Few drops of worcestshire sauce
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Garnish with a celery stick.

 

SALUD ! IMG_4667

 

 

Late to the table.

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I know I’m late to the table, to jump on the ‘Overnight Oats’ bandwagon, never really appealed to me. I can’t do cereal with cold milk, I have to eat it dry I even have butter on my Weetabix when I’m being childlike and need nursery food memories for comfort.  Shock horror, I know but I’m sure we all have some weird and wonderful food faux pas.

The more I read about the phenomena, I thought I must try this, I have all the ingredients in my store-cupboard. Another fact, I’m not proud to admit, but hey it’s true, my youngest now 14, gets up and leaves the house in the dark (school starts too early here) before I’ve had chance to be bright eyed and bushy tailed, *Mum fail* and I know was grabbing anything to eat that didn’t take up pressure minutes to prepare.

So I, we, she, could prepare breakfast the night before, leave in the fridge and hey presto a healthy, vitamin, energy packed pot of goodness would be ready to go.

Still, at this stage, I’m thinking cold, gloopy, mushy …….

I investigated all the recipes, ideas online, adapted them to what we had and set about creating our oaty concoction.  Kilner jar clean and ready, loaded with ingredients that would supercharge us to Wonder Woman status ( always wanted that costume 😉 ).  In the fridge it stood, to work its magic.

By soaking the oats all night in your chosen liquid, preserves the tastes and nutritional value from not cooking, a great source of iron and dietary fibre and slow realese energy, keeping you full up till lunch.

So this is what I created.

 

La Rosilla – Superhero Oats 😉

Serves 2 generously.

What you need: Large Kilner Jay or covered jar, mug to measure ingredients.

  • 1 mug of oats
  • 1 pot 125ml of greek yoghurt  – I use full fat, fat-free often tend to be full of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds (Omega3)
  • 1 mug Unsweetened Almond milk – Skimmed milk would work fine too.
  • 1 tsp local organic honey
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of salt – I used Himalayan pink, I had it for Christmas 😉
  • Handful of frozen berries

Mix all together and place in fridge until morning.

I then served in a bowl with a scatter of almond nibs and a sprinkle of Bloom Supercharge Matcha.

Well, well, well I was so pleasantly surprised it was delicious, thick and creamy almost luxurious.  So my thinking cap is on as there are so many adaptations and additions for your basic recipe, you can literally add any fruits, spices, liquids & nuts.  What’s your favourite medley ?  Please share your ideas.

Grated apple and cinnamon.

Peanut Butter and strawberries.

Pineapple and coconut.

Sultana and walnut.

So I hope it won’t be an overnight (excuse the pun) fad, and we start to feel our Wonder Woman powers.

 

 

 

Sun shiny, brand new.

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How fortunate we are to be blessed with skies so blue and warm sunshine to start the year, it should put a spring in my step, but no actually I’m happy to sit, face smiling upwards, eyes closed soaking up the liquid Vitamin D. This does not mean I’m not planning, creating and goal setting, I’m just doing it in my mind, occasionally on a piece of paper but definitely procrastinating from sitting inside, typing away.

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For those that live in Spain will know our houses are built to stay cool, thus in the winter months, no matter how warm outside, there is often a chill indoors,in-fact we have to open all the doors and windows to let the heat it.  To light a fire before sunset is a luxury, many of us hardcore ‘campo’ (countryside) folk don’t partake in, but on the going down of the sun, fires are stocked, shutters closed and the evening hibernation commences.

We are on our last few days of the Christmas holidays, though we have chosen to take a mid-week break in feasting and frivolities to give our livers and stomachs a breather, before our last celebrations of “Los Reyes’ the 3 Kings on Saturday, when we will feast once more with friends.

New Year resolutions are still in the thinking stage, I look back in amazement that I actually completed those I made in 2017 !!

  • DRYJAN – YEP !
  • Walk 100 miles – I actually walked 1200 !

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  • Loose 15kgs – I actually lost 20 !
  • Climb a Virtual Everest – 8848m – I actually climbed 6.9 !
  • Walk part of the Camino de Santiago and get my Compostella – YEP !

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So I’m going along the lines of continuing my above efforts, carrying on walking, great for thinking time, breathing in the scenery and keep my back moving and delaying surgery . Adding a few more mountains to my tick list, and walking the Camino Finisterre and Muxia. This Camino route pre-dates Christianity, as pagans would head to Fisterra on the Costa da Morte (Coast of Death) where they believed the sun died and the worlds of the dead and the living became closer.

Food and drinks wise I aim for control, I need to loose my ‘All or nothing‘ characteristics, that personality trait though I feel may live in me forever and is actually what I’m renowned for, and I quite like me 😉 So I’ll enjoy my

So I’ll enjoy my Feast Days, and add the odd couple of fast days when necessary, I know that works for me. Fortunately, there is an abundance of fresh and vibrant local ingredients to whet our appetites, and whilst the sun shines we can enjoy

Fortunately, there is an abundance of fresh and vibrant local ingredients to whet our appetites, and whilst the sun shines we can enjoy light and healthy and often raw lunches & smoothies, and by night comforting one-pot’s full of vegetables, herbs and spices.

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Berry Bursting Smoothie.

Whizz together.

1/2 frozen Banana.

Handful of frozen berries.

250 ml coconut water.

1/2 Tsp of Macha powder.

Tbsp of fresh mint leaves.

 

New ideas for cultural, gastronomic, charity and hiking days for my business La Rosilla – Lifestyle and Food are in the pipeline, collaborating with like-minded people and businesses, who celebrate and promote this beautiful and unique area we live in.

So welcome 2018, you’ve made a sun-shiny, brand new start.

Keep up the good work and watch this space.

 

 

Pour & Pair!

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‘Is it sherry ‘o’ clock’ I would hear on a Sunday as the hand passed the yard arm.

A phrase I would cherish and recognise as a sign of relaxation, comfort, families, and feasting. Steamy windows as the roast and veg cooked away, mum in her pinny, with flushed cheeks.

Even from a young age, I loved the sound of that cork pop, and the first glug into the schooner, because yes back then it would’ve been a cream sherry. I have by coincidence my children’s long lost great, great, great ……Grandfather 😉 Sir Francis, to thank for that after he and his crew famously stole 2,900 barrels of Sherry and delivered it up to the British Court after the Spanish Armada. Soon after in late 1500’s, it became the most fashionable drink in England.

Many people still have this stereotypical idea, that Sherry is what ‘Old ladies’ drink, maybe they do, but that’s because they have taste ;). To dive deeper into this world of Sherry Wines, to share the love and tastes and versatility of a wine for every dish and occasion, is a joy. Thanks to Sherry.wines.com the renaissance is alive, Sherry is being enjoyed all over the world, the ancient, historical and natural process to create these wines with complexity is spellbinding.

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I have been a great follower and promoter of International Sherry Day and Week from the start, each year wherever I have been in the world, either on my mountain with a group for supper club and tasting of a flight of sherries, or enjoying privately with my ‘Charge’ or virtually with my Mama. Just introducing friends and visitors to a new taste sensation, something out of the box for them.

 

It is with great delight that I have been chosen out of many bloggers, to create a ‘Pour and pair’ recipe and hopefully a winning dish for the competition, to celebrate this years #Sherryweek 2017. I have been given a wonderful bottle of Cruz Vieja, Palo Cortado en Rama, from Bodegas Faustino Gonzalez . This special sherry has got my culinary juices flowing for the dish I think compliments this wine perfectly.

 

My thoughts and a little about the sherry: CRUZ VIEJA, Palo Cortado en Rama.

Palo Cortados have legends written about them. This sherry wine is fermented in the cask and bottled ‘En Rama’(raw). A wine of complexity and a rare variety, starting life and aging under a veil of flor to become a Fino and then mysteriously losing its veil, thus starting aging oxidatively.

The result is a wine with the delicate bouquet (on the nose) of an Amontillado and the velvety pallet ( in the mouth ) and body of Oloroso. Only a very small percentage of grapes naturally process into a Palo Cortado. The name ‘Palo Cortado’ (cut stick) comes from the markings on the sherry casks, as the sherry was originally destined to be a Fino or Amontialldo, It would have a single line marking /, later when the sherry maker was testing the wine and notices the change, they would mark a cross or strike the line.

This Palo Cortado is definitely to be enjoyed with food, perfect with a main dish so it can be appreciated slowly. The dark amber colour with copper lights, has strong aromas of caramel and vanilla, tastes of Autumn roasted chestnuts, and bitter Seville orange.

My recipe …

Cruz Vieja can take deep flavours, so taking both the attributes of Amontillados and Olorosos my dish is a feast of the Montes de Malaga where I live and harvest of Autumn. Rich earthy ingredients from locally made embutidos, comforting flavours, a hug on a plate, together with the Sherry wine, this dish should be enjoyed with friends around the table, sharing tales, anecdotes and making memories.

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Huerta, Granja y Montes

Roast Quail with braised lentils, chorizo & butternut squash with a  morcilla scotch quails egg.

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INGREDIENTS: Serves 4

FOR THE SCOTCH EGGS

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Quails Eggs
100 g Sausage Meat
50 g Morcilla
Fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg beaten
2 tbsp Plain flour

Bring a small pan of water to the boil, and add quails eggs for exactly 1 minute 50 seconds. Then immediately put the eggs in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process for 5 minutes.
Mix the sausage meat and morcilla together, I used a hand blender.
Put the Breadcrumbs, egg, and flour in 3 separate bowls.
Carefully peel the quails eggs.
Take a spoon of morcilla mix and carefully wrap around the quail’s eggs.
Dip the covered quail’s egg in flour, egg wash then breadcrumbs.
Refrigerate until later.

FOR THE LENTILS

 

Glug of Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 red onion diced
2 sticks of celery finely chopped
100g Chorizo diced
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 sprig of rosemary leaves finely chopped
1/4 small Butternut squash diced
200g cooked Pardina lentils
Sploosh of Palo Cortado

In a pan add olive oil and gently saute the onion, celery, and butternut squash until tender.
Add the chorizo, rosemary, and garlic – saute for 5 minutes
Add the sherry and bubble down for 1 minute.
Add cooked lentils and stir through to combine all ingredients.
Keep warm and set aside.

FOR THE BUTTERNUT PUREE

1/4 Butternut squash in chunks no need to peel.
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Sherry Vinegar

Place the butternut on a baking tray and drizzle with Olive oil and season.
Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes until tender.
Place in a bowl and blend to a puree add sherry vinegar and glug of olive oil.
Keep warm.

FOR THE QUAILS

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4 Quails
Olive oil
Butter
Salt & Pepper

Season the quails, inside and out.
In a pan melt the butter and olive oil and heat to high.
Add the quails and brown on all sides.
Roast in the oven 180c for 15 minutes.
Leave to rest in warm place.

 

Whilst the quails are resting, the lentils are being kept warm, time to fry the scotch eggs.

Heat a small pan of vegetable oil to 180C, then gently lower the eggs in and fry for 3 minutes.
Take out of oil and place on a plate with kitchen paper to absorb the oil.

NOW TO PLATE

Spoon the lentils onto a warm plate, place the roasted quail on top & drizzle with Olive oil.

Spoon on some puree and add the scotch egg cut in half to allow the oozy yolk to be seen.

NOW TO POUR

Cruz Vieja, Palo Cortado en Rama.

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Buen provecho todos y Salud !

I hope you all enjoy my recipe and fingers crossed it’s a winner.

 

Viva Jerez !

 

 

 

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Preserving the Summer!

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The abundance of summer and early autumn fruits are ideal to be preserved, to warm up a winters day.  I have been generously given by ‘Mi vecinos baskets of mangos, apples, limes, and chilies.  So it was time to get my big pan out and get busy.

These are two of my favourite recipes that I adapt according to what spices, sugar, and vinegar I have in the larder.  The aroma as they bubble away is so comforting and is an ideal job to do when you have a few hours to while away, chopping, stirring and jarring.

 

Spiced Apple fruit chutney:  Ideal with cheese, cold and roasts meats & pates.

Mango chutney: Ideal with curry, poppadoms, bhajis, loaded on cottage cheese, or on top of baked brie.

 

Both recipes would make ideal Christmas presents for a ‘Foodie’ part as a hamper for a family gift.