Category Archives: good life

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 !

 

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.

 

 

 

“There be snow on them there hills”

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When we left the U.K lock, stock, and barrel in May of 2005, we gave away to charity and friends, flogged and chucked, many of our possesions, don’t worry we still bought an arctic lorry load of belongings with us.  That was a challenge in itself, artic lorry, mountain roads, off-road tracks 😉   Of course, we offloaded our winter woolies, puffa jackets, and toboggans, why wouldn’t we? we were moving to Spain 😉 Yes, yes I know we should have done our homework, blimey I’d researched everything else, but the weather don’t be silly.

One Saturday when we were on an idyllic family walk, 2,4 & 6 years old in tow, moaning, pexels-photo-266642that it was freezing they could walk no further. Suddenly as a mother I thought, well perhaps we are a little unprepared, it became more peaceful then usual, slightly eery and a light we’d never experienced before.  Heading back to warm by the fire and soothe tetchy toddlers with comforting ColaCoa (Hot Choc) we shut the day behind us.

 

Awaking the next morning and opening the shutters the OH declared ‘Bloody Hell it’s snowing’  ‘SNOWING?’ with no central heating, and beautiful albeit rustic wooden doors and windows, the inside temperature of the house had dropped to 8 degrees.  Dragon breath and icicles from the nose were the new personal accessories.

Needless to say, the niños were delighted, wrapped up in anything we could find, off they trotted up the mountain with tea trays and plastic bags in hand as make shift sleds.  The vecinos (neighbours) were out assuring us this was the first snow they’d seen in 60 years….”oh yes just great I thought, and it’s my first year”

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When our Sun-lougers became Snow loungers 😉

After the initial shock we then had to plan for subsequent years, and actually, we are grateful to have changing seasons and weather surprises to keep us on our toes.  We learned that up in the Montes the high peaks over 800 meters often have a cover of snow, us at La Rosilla at 600m, will get a flutter occasionally during winter but more than not it doesn’t settle.

Now, this week the snow is BACK !! Last week we were basking in temperatures in the warm 20’s and now the thermometer isn’t getting above 8c in the day and freezing at night.  It all adds to the January reality that it’s not always sunshine and siestas, and that we’re going have to dig deep to keep warm, keep nourished and keep on track to fulfill our New Years earnestness.

Presently, this week the snow is BACK !! A week ago we were luxuriating in temperatures in the warm 20’s and now the thermometer isn’t getting over 8c in the day and glacial at evening time. Everything adds to the January reality that it’s not constantly bright and late lunch breaks and afternoon napping, and that we’re going need to burrow down to keep warm, keep healthy and keep on track to satisfy our New Years resolutions.

Comforting but frugal food is on the menu, soups, curry, hot-pots and a favourite of mine the wonder of the slow cooker, to allow tantalising aromas of what you have to look forward when the days chores are done.

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Some of our favourite home-made recipes are here. –

Butternut Squash and Zataar Soup.

Slow Cooking

Broccoli soup with melted cheese montadito.

Keep cosy everyone x

 

 

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.

 

 

Elixir de La Rosilla

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I’m proud to present our first Cold Pressed, Single Estate, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

14 years back when we moved to La Rosilla, we were unquestionably wet behind the ears, and surely wearing, rose-shaded specs 😉 purchasing a little ‘Finca’ in the mountains, with 600 sq meters of Olive and almond groves planted or should I say clutching to the steep slants, trees that had not be cared for, pruned or looked after for a very long time.

Over the following years we’ve learned the hard way, trial and error and trusting perhaps a little too much on not quite so generous locals (who I’m pleased to say are far and few between) who definitely took advantage of our naivety.  Most years our olives have been picked by a young couple of burly boys, we share the crop, they take to the Cooperative, and then deliver us some oil, all’s good :).

A couple of years ago, our trees were bare, no crop, no oil – they needed TLC, then came along our saviour ‘Angel‘ – he has guided us in their care, helped us prune, rake and look after  the land, all hard hands-on work, but very necessary to maintain the trees and ensure their production for years to come and for future generations of our family.

In the 14 years on the land, we have never used any chemicals our animals have helped greatly over the years, fertilising naturally. Last winter we gave the trees an extreme prune, and they repaid us greatly with ladened branches of beautiful olives.  They only downfall this year or lack it was no rain, no rain at all. This meant our normal harvest time was brought forward a few months, as we couldn’t risk the olives dropping with lack of water.  The benefit of cropping early does give a better quality of oil, even if the yield is less.

This year we had planned our own pressing, to ensure we had our own single estate oil, so the Mill was booked and we had 3 days to harvest.  Up at dawn and worked till dusk, back and arm breaking work, laying nets and bashing trees with long poles.  Each tree took approximately 1 hour to harvest, and we soon got into a rhythm and method that suited us.  As the olives laid in their nets, we then, by hand sieved out the leaf and twig debris, before bagging in large sacks.

We collected 763 kgs – Happy Days.

We were rewarded with 137 liters of pure liquid gold, unfiltered and cold pressed.

The variety of our olives is Picual, which is great all-round oil, and good for cooking too.

That first taste of fresh out of the oven warm bread, dipped into our OWN organic oil was just heavenly and we have ‘Angel’ to thank for that.

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