Category Archives: Life Style Spain

Pour & Pair!

Standard

‘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.

sherryweek-logo-bota-2017

 

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.

sherrywines-sherryweek-2017-ifitswims-ifitflies-ifitruns-horizontal

 

Huerta, Granja y Montes

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

IMG_3604

INGREDIENTS: Serves 4

FOR THE SCOTCH EGGS

IMG_3563
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

IMG_3575

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.

IMG_3613

Buen provecho todos y Salud !

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

 

Viva Jerez !

 

 

 

SaveSave

Advertisements

Preserving the Summer!

Standard

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.

 

 

 

Peregrina !​

Standard
Peregrina !​

Rucksack scrupulously packed and re-packed countless times, weighed 7kg, walking boots on, passport in hand, the time had come for my pilgrimage, even though I feel as if I’ve been on my personal journey come pilgrimage since January, when I started making many changes in my life.  But this journey I was about to embark on, would be one I will never forget.

The ‘Camino de Santiago’ or St James Way, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-western Spain. Legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried there. As pilgrims traditionally started their journey from their own home, different Camino ways have emerged over hundreds of the years.  Having walked many miles, 1000 to be exact,in Andalucia since January, I had booked a ‘Finale’ of one week, walking the last part of the ‘Camino Frances‘ from just outside Sarria to Santiago.

There are many rumors or negative vibes often felt, when reading the numerous blogs and forums of ‘The Camino Pilgrimage‘, for those only doing the ‘Last leg’ and not starting further afield, but I feel everybody’s journey, situation, reasons, and thoughts are different and who are we to judge ?  Time restraints, responsibilities, money and many other factors all add to each walkers choices and planned routes.  Unfortunately my limitations were time and family but fortunately, I never experienced any such negativities. Each Peregrino I met had their own story, were happy and welcoming to hear mine, share experiences, encouragement, pain, and joys.  In fact, pilgrims with these righteous views, in my opinion, should look a little deeper into the true spirit of the journey.  On first arriving I got the sense of happiness from many, to see ‘Fresh legs and faces’ to continue along with on the way.

A direct short flight from Malaga to Santiago de Compostela, and then a short, packed bus ride into the city, eye-spying others laden with backpacks and sporting big boots, added to my excitement and butterflies. Santiago was bustling and vibrant, full of pilgrims, tourists and locals.  I had booked a night in the old town so I could sample the delights, once a foodie always a foodie, of course that was all part of the journey too.  Many pilgrims choose to use Albergues and hostals that require no-booking and run on a first come, first served basis, but as this was my first time backpacking, EVER !! I allowed myself some comfort in knowing after a long days walking I had a bed at the end of it.

After a day and night, exploring, feasting and quaffing, I took a train journey to Sarria, my start point.  Dramatic scenery lined the route, through forests of green, gorges and lakes so blue, deserted villages and landscape rich with wildlife.  In the train, I was very pleasantly surprised by the furnishings, and comfort, little did I know I’d plonked myself in First Class, 😉 the Inspector was most charming, and allowed me to stay, me I was thinking ‘Soak it up, the last of the luxuries for a while’.

My choice to do Sarria to Santiago would enable me to receive the

Compostela“, the accreditation of the pilgrimage to the Tomb of St. James. 

To receive this, Pilgrims have to walk at least 100km, Cycle or Horse-ride 200km.  Along the journey, you have to collect stamps in the ‘Pilgrims Credencial’ to prove your distance and consecutive days walked.

So my route: Sarria-Portomarin-Palas de Rei-Arzua-Amenal-Santiago 116km + a few finding accommodations 😉

Each day I rose before dawn, for a quick Cafe con leche, caffeine shot.  I made the mistake the first day to fill up at breakfast, only to find walking a struggle after.  So quick coffee, head torch on, find my route, off I went.

The route is symbolised by a shell motif, belief is that the lines on the shell, represent the routes from across Europe to Santiago.  I would hear the click-clack of walking sticks and the hushed early morning, sleepy chatter of fellow pilgrims, this gave a sense of warmth and unitedness.  Some moments tested my nerve and personal thoughts, walking through forests in the dark, with not a soul in sight, firstly I was jumping at every sound, rustle or movement, I had a chat to myself, deep breath and then learned to soak up the moment of solitude and nature in its purest form.

Daybreak, was the feel-good moment of each day, taking in the new surroundings, views, some days with a glorious sunrise, others with a thick mist, slowly letting light through. Familiar faces, and the welcoming sound of ‘Buen Camino‘ all added to the experience.  I was known for a quick pace and even got nicknamed ‘BOLT‘ or ‘Lynsey LongLegs‘ so passed many people each day, but stop-offs for water breaks, sock realigning, rucksack adjusting and general ‘I need a rest‘ moments, saw them catch-up, over-take or even join me.

And that’s how it rolled!

5 Days walking, through ever-changing landscapes and weather.  Difficult moments, euphoric moments, lightbulb moments, hymn singing, praying, cursing and even crying, tears of joy and pain.

Each day as I arrived at my next location, I celebrated with a cold local ‘Cerveza’, boots off, tapa eaten.  Found my bed for the night, hauled my rucksack off, stood in the shower, face up to the steaming water, – Tiger balmed my feet, took my ibuprofen & closed my eyes for siesta.

Towns and hamlets on the route offer wonderful menus for pilgrims, comfort, substantial food to fuel our bodies, about 9€ for 3 courses with bread, coffee and a bottle of wine.  My favourite soup for the soul ‘ Caldo Gallego’ soothed my brain and body and almost felt like it gave me a warm hug.  Bedtime was never late, 9-10pm, sleeping was often difficult, mind wandering and noisy neighbours ( some people are just not considerate of others 😉 ) and a different bed every night often had me muddled when I woke mid-sleep.  Small sacrifice though and forgotten quickly the next day.

Favourite town on my route: PortomarinIMG_3007

Favourite quirky find: A little old man in the middle of no-where selling freshly made Bunuelos! IMG_3001

Favourite sign: Free hugs!

IMG_3045

Favourite meal: Pulpo IMG_2978

My last morning and my last walk into Santiago just 18 km to go !! My pace was quick, I was on a mission, completely absorbed by the end in sight.  The last few Km’s seemed to take an age, through built-up areas and suburbia of the city, many pilgrims were behind me, but few upfront, on occasions I felt lost, symbols seemed more spaced out.  Finally, I spotted a sign ‘Catedral 800 m ‘ I had an overwhelming, emotional moment, hidden behind dark glasses, my tears flowed. Turning the corner the Piper, piped the pilgrim’s welcome.  As I entered the Plaza, pilgrims who had arrived the day before, welcomed me with open arms, hugs and cheers.  Tourists asked for my photo, as a ‘real-life‘ pilgrim ;). I just collapsed on my rucksack, head in hands and thought

Yes this girl can, this girl DID

Not an end to my journey, part of it, part of my quest to walk more, breath and stop and stare.  Part of my learnings to enjoy the wanderings of my own mind, except the solitude, be just me.

After getting over my arrival and up off the floor, the realisation my legs and feet were not invincible became apparent.  The officialdom stage had to take place, obtaining my Compostela.  The pilgrim’s office, receives approx 600-900 Pilgrims a day, the day I arrived it seemed double.  A long wait, in a long queue, was one of the hardest parts of the experience, but everybody was in the same boat, others had obviously walked for weeks.  7.28pm I GOT IT – I had two minutes to get to the Cathedral for the Pilgrims service, there was only one thing for it I had to RUN !! Ouch !!!!

A full cathedral, candlelight, incense burning, finalised my pilgrimage and to my delight the Botafumiera swang……

Until next time – Buen Camino!

 

 

 

 

Hot footing !

Standard

I smashed it !

Woohoo, 1000 miles in the bag, muchas gracias 😉

IMG_2779

Some of you may remember my #Walk1000miles challenge I started on Janaury 9th this year when then it seemed a very far off, most inconceivable goal for me.  Many of you have been following my progress, with my regular shout outs of my distance, places walked and mountains climbed, on social media, FB & IG, even though I know it’s not the done thing, according to the Huffpost UK FB rules 😉 :

Realise no one cares how far thou hast run (unless it was from a tiger or bear)

Well, I’m pretty chuffed and amazed, I’ve just plodded on, walking further and further.  The summer temperatures gave me a serious battering, I don’t think I’ve actually ever been this brown, I’m certainly wethered that’s for sure.  Walking at dawn, was the only answer, but with the fierce heat this year, even then temperatures were in the high 20’s.

There were only a few moments when I thought, ‘Lynsey, this is just too far’ and yes talking to myself has helped, keep me sane ? Not sure about that, but it’s got me up the hills at point of collapse.

Things I’ve learned along the way :

  1.  You always need more water than you think.
  2. Don’t look up when going up a big hill.
  3. Stretch.
  4. Don’t get your hopes up when you think the end is in sight – It’s further away than it looks.
  5. Stop and look at the view.
  6. Remeber your € for your café con leche.
  7. Look for ants nest before taking a peepee.
  8. As Baz Luhrmann says ‘Remember the sunscreen’
  9. Exhaustive, hysteria is a thing.
  10. This girl CAN !

IMG_2780

Thanks for all those who have supported me, my amigas and family that have whiled away a fair few miles with me. Those who have tooted as driven passed, offered a lift when I look lost or done in, or just slowed down and shouted ‘Nearly there’ or ‘Surely you haven’t walked from there’ I thank-you. I will be plodding on, I best do, as I have more walking boots and trainers than killer heels now, not quite, but how times change.

Living in the mountains has often made me crave of flat roads and no hills to climb.  Coastal walks have been included in my total and country lanes with time spent in the U.K, but the bonus I get is that I can proudly say I have climbed equivalent to 5 Everests – 45,011 meters of elevation. The local ‘Cabras’ have nothing on me 😉

#wheresyoureverest

Next stop, a week on the Camino de Santiago, back-pack loaded, pilgrim here I come.

Oh BTW – lost 18kg in total, never had a summer before without gaining, thumbs up for calorie burning walking.

 

Buen Camino !

 

 

 

 

Best foot forward.

Standard

 

I daren’t look when my last blog post was, they’re all in my head you see, I never seem to have the time, here we go again …

“All or nothing” that’s me. I don’t often do things by halves. Rockbottom or flying high, up or down, no wine or the whole bottle, couch potato or?

Well, that leads me to this blog post …

January saw me at another chubby, yo-yo, clothes going up in size stage. I had been recognising the signs, but ignoring them, as I do, for the past 12 months, then that dreaded Christmas photo !! I looked well, frumpy. No-no good. I also was in constant pain, with diagnosed degenerative disc disease, a pinched nerve and a spine very badly out of shape. To add insult to injury, my Hashimoto’s (Autoimmune under active thyroid) was muddling my brain, disturbing my sleep and adding pounds to my person.

Rollercoaster life rock-bottom once again kicked me into touch. So I flung myself wholeheartedly, I ‘WAS’ in the zone, to sort it out. Weight, fitness, diet, and lifestyle. I decided to take on a few personal challenges that I could focus on throughout the year. Poco a poco, little by little. Goals that I could put a big red tick by as I conquered them.

They’re work in progress and they are as follows:

  • Dry January

To refrain from Alcohol for 31 days.

COMPLETED – SAVING …17,000..CALORIES & …403….€ ( hides in shame !)

Miracles do happen, who’d have thought 😉 coming from a bottle of vino a night girl, plus a few!

THE FOLLOWING STARTED 9TH JANUARY 2017

  • Loose 15 kgs

Following the 5:2 Fast plan. Restricted food intake calories 2 days a week, and eating well 5 days a week, including indulging when called for at weekends.

PROGRESS TO DATE: DOWN 13 KGS 🙂

  • ‘Where’s you Everest’ Challenge

everest

To climb the height of Everest 8823m wherever, whenever you’re in the world. Set by Trail Magazine.

PROGRESS TO DATE: 6 weeks to climb my first Everest, onto my 2nd …15,424…m Elevation in total.

  • Walk 1000 miles in 12 months

walk1000miles2017poster4

Challenge set by Country Walking Magazine, with an online FB group and following of ……people. A positive and inspiring group of people, from, excuse the pun all walks of life, all over the world. Some folks counting every step they take, some counting ‘Boots on’ miles.

PROGRESS TO DATE: 350 ‘Boots on’ MILES, On target and banking a few!

  • Walk as many stages of the ‘Gran Sendero de Malaga’

A circular walking route around the province of Malaga 650 KM

GR walk

PROGRESS TO DATE :

Stage 1 & 2 complete, Malaga to Rincon de la Victoria to Velez Malaga.

Stage 3 & 4 complete, Velez-Malaga to Torrox pueblo to Nerja.

Stage 5 complete, Nerja through the Sierras to Frigiliana.

  • Climb Maroma

For 12 years since we moved to our house on the side of a mountain, with looked with awe at the mighty Maroma. La Maroma, also known as Tejeda, stands at an altitude of 2069 m, is the highest peak of the Sierra de Tejeda,  Spain. The summit is located in the region of Axarquía on the border between the provinces of Granada and Málaga.

PROGRESS – Date booked 7th May, praying for good weather and not too hot.

  • Camino de Santiago

To start my Pilgrimage on the famous St James way.

PROGRESS TO DATE: Pilgrim passport ready, flights booked, depart 28th September, 1 week.

EXCITED !

Well, that’s the diet and fitness sorted 😉 should give me something to go on, now to fit in the lifestyle, not sure there are enough hours in the day. Maybe as I walk I can virtually write my cookbook, keep my website updated and plan recipes and menus. Perhaps I need a personal assistant, note to self must work harder, money helps 😉

view

Once somebody showed me the ‘Wheel of life’ to balance all aspects of your life, work, rest and play, I even set diary notes for it to pop up to remind me to evaluate my ‘Wheel’ each month. Maybe just a tad unrealistic, or too perfectly formed for ‘real life’ and I know, I often would look at my ‘apple’ Pie Chart and think “ooh b********s”, I’m not that domestic, mantra chanting, chakra aligned, clean eating, goddess. But I’m ME work in progress, ‘watch this space Lynsey’ back on the waggon of self-fulfilment, having a little me time, slipping up as and when life bats me a curve ball, just trying to recognise the moment before it side swipes me to depths again.

So as I put my best foot forward I’m praying for no blisters, hoping my back will hold up and my pill popping will be less. I’m enjoying every moment, breathing in the views, stopping to stand and stare at the top of steep climb or mountain, learning to cope with the wandering of my own mind, ( yes I still think I’m crazy ), and I’m truly thankful that I live, where I live.

trekking

Buen Camino todos!

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.

 

Caserio de San Benito

Standard

Time for a change, instead of heading south to the coast, we drove north inland slightly, to the nearby ancient town of Antequera.  We enjoyed a morning of ambling through the streets, window shopping, coffee sipping, monument and church visiting.  Cobbled streets and beautiful architecture, adorned with traditional geraniums, overflowing from their terracotta pots, gives the town a deep Andalucian air.

We decided to delve a little deeper for our obligatory lunch stop, and came across the wonderful Caserio de San Benito just a flew more clicks up the main A45 heading north.

 

This delightful cortijo stands proud and welcoming, with courtyard filled with olive trees, and thrashing ground.  On entering the restaurant, you are taken back to a bygone era, the dining room is beautifully laid and boasts antiques and regalia of this agricultural area.

Welcoming staff greeted us, and recommended dishes.  The house white wine was perfectly chilled and served in a deliciously large measure. Warm bread, crackers and Ensaladilla Rusa was served while we chose the Menu del dia and were not disappointed.  Our main courses of lamb cooked on wood fire with garlic, and Secreto Iberico, were rich and tasty.  We shared a pud with two spoons, a decadent home made cherry cheesecake, YUM.  Two cafe solos were need to get us up and out of this wonderful place, we could’ve have sat there all afternoon.

We shall return, and no doubt take many guests from La Rosilla and recommend to others.

 

 

Humble abode & horses.

Standard

I can’t believe it’s over a month since I’ve written, well I can actually, time has flown and life has been hectic, good but hectic.

Food creations have been a little on the back burner and lifestyle more upfront.  I’m not saying we haven’t indulged, we have but on a more makeshift and mend, rustic style.  Cooking on open fires, eating alfresco, picking salad leaves from the patch, shopping day by day.  Why ? because we had our first guests renting La Rosilla for the season, and we pack up and move to our much humbler shack on the mountain.  It is very picturesque but has no electricity (hence no posting) and only cold water, and washing up outside, think camping but with a roof over our heads !  Fortunately the weather was kind to us, which made life a great deal easier.

Whilst living out of our suitcases, our kitten that we are hand rearing, has grown from strength to strength now nearly 6 weeks old, he is weaned and starting to explore , keeping the dogs entertained and us of course.  I’m now thankful that the sleepless nights of 2 hourly feeds are over, and proud that we have succeeded in the task .  He has traveled with us over the last 6 weeks, wherever we’ve been, the beach, parties, camping and to work.

Rizzo and Nutty

Rizzo and Nutty

Our mountain animal menagerie is growing again.  We have another pony on the way, that we have rescued.  Inca will be joining Tika on the mount, for TLC and a better life.  I too have got back in the saddle after 25 years, my nerve or bravery seems to have diminished though .  I’m hoping my confidence builds as I get used to it again. I’m looking forward to hacks and rides with my little daughter and exploring new paths ,tracks and vistas, with a picnic or two.

This week-end we took part in our first Romeria, (Spanish Horse Fair), along with our friend and teacher Sharon.  We were the only female riders amongst many Spanish men and their stallions !! A great day riding and partying, flamenco and traditions with local musto, embutidos , paella and snails !!!! for all those who rode.

 

Nellie & Me :)

Nellie & Me 🙂

horses

So once more settled back in at La Rosilla, I can re-focus and get creating again .  Recipe books out and being browsed, to get back on my #cookfromthebooks wagon challenge with menus being planned for guests and visitors.  The veggie patch is growing well, and courgette flowers almost ready for picking and stuffing, vine leaves fresh and green too will be hopefully ready to be harvested at the weekend to be turned into delicious dolmades.  The first figs our Brevas, and plumping and turning colour nicely – Oh the joy of mouthwatering home-grown ingredients.

So from us all at La Rosilla humans and animals, Spencer, Rizo, Fanny (dogs), Baba, Rocket, Nutty (cats) Tika & Inca (horses) and Hens aka lovely ladies.

HASTA LUEGO

#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

 

 

 

#Cookfromthebooks Week 11 Spring flowers and Aga’s

Standard

I am experiencing many firsts over the next two weeks, definitely testing my personal strength and mind and something I am sure once I’ve completed I will look back on and say, it was a doddle, well hopefully that’s my plan 😉 !

I have flown from Spain to care for an elderly gentleman for 2 weeks in beautiful Sussex, an area unknown to me, I’m a Warwickshire lass, it feels very south.  Obviously not as south as the Montes of Malaga, but still South.

I’m staying in a country cottage, down a quiet country lane, in a village like a grew up in where everyone still says ‘Good Morning’, many with a plum in their mouths 😉 Very Dibleyesque.

All though bitterly cold, (my blood must’ve thinned) it is so lovely to see all the spring flowers lining the villages, fields and hedgerows, whether the sky blue or grey these flowers lift the spirits and give hope. I’ve filled a jug with cheery daffodils for my bedside table, a pretty sight first thing in the morning, when the dawn chorus has woken me so early !!!

Leaving ninos behind and OH in charge of our life of chaotic but wonderful, mountain mayhem is the hardest part of my experience, also knowing that I’m in the same country as my folks and No 1 daughter, but further in hours away then a flight to Spain, so won’t be able to see them is a challenge too 😦 The social demons for some !!  of Facetime, Facebook & whatsapp will be my daily salvation and my connection with my ‘Real’ life 😉

It is though a pleasure to be spending time with someone who at the ripe age of 89, loves to wine, dine and socialise, I think some one I will aspire to be like.

So I may have left my kitchen behind, but my La Rosilla apron came with me and when the going get’s tough I’m going to cook myself through it.

Here we come to the Aga, always on my ‘One day & wish list’ having spent many a day warming myself around friends Agas, when living in the U.K, a real feel of ‘The heart of the home’ but never having cooked on one I’m finding it’s a learning curve, a happy learning curve.

After waiting for my eggs to boil for what seemed likes yonks, I realised my pan was on the simmering plate, not boiling plate.  My chicken roasted to perfection, almost like in a dutch oven, and my bread, now that made my day, home-made bread and Aga’s they just seem like a married made in heaven.

So my #cookfromthebooks , book this week, I think will be getting a well deserved airing.  Aga Cooking ‘The contemporary recipe bible for all Aga owners’ by Amy Willcock, not so much for the recipes, I haven’t browsed them enough yet, but as a guide to remind myself what goes where, and how to cook what.  Do you know one of the best things about the cooker is it’s ability to do the ironing ? and of course warm your bottom and hands after a walk in the cold 😉

My recipe is one I use a great deal at home, when I bake bread at the week-end, so this was my first attempt at bread in an Aga, I had to improvise on mixing bowl and scales, there wasn’t any and no bread tins, so a Le Creuset pot, was the chosen recipient.  I bought the fresh yeast with me from Spain I don’t think you can beat the fresh stuff 😉

Sun-dried tomato and seed bread.

500g country grain or wholemeal bread flour

1 tsp salt

300ml warm water with 1/2 tsp of sugar and a cube of fresh yeast, allow to dissolve and yeast to bubble about 10 mins

glug of olive oil

handful of chopped sun dried tomatos

handful of mixed seeds, sunflower, pumpkin etc.

  • In a large bowl put flour, and salt, make a well and gradually add water/yeast mixture, stirring as you go.
  • Add olive oil, and then with your hands bring the dough together and kneed for a 10 mins until smooth and elastic.
  • kneed in the sun dried tomatoes
  • put dough into an oiled bowl and cover with damp cloth or plastic bag, and leave in a warm place (next to the Aga 😉 to prove until doubled in size
  • knock the air out of the dough, kneed a little and then shape to required shape, slash a cross in the top with a sharp knife and sprinkle the seeds on top.
  • leave to rise again for about 20 mins
  • Bake in the roasting oven of the Aga, or in a hot oven for 25-30 mins.
  • You can tell when it is cooked through when you tap the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow.

 

Enjoy hot out of the oven, with lashing of butter and bowlfuls of home made soup, perfect for a chilly day.

Until my next AGA SAGA, wish me luck on my duty.

and for my hard work I have been presented with these, that made me smile 🙂

chocs

Buen Provecho.