Category Archives: Savoury Dishes

Mediterranean herb tart


Sometimes I fancy something different for supper, still comforting, but fresher & light and full of flavour.

My hens have been laying well, so eggs I had a plenty, along with the ingredients to rustle up a savoury tart, I call it that, not a quiche, because my delightful brood don’t eat quiche but they love tart 😉

The flavours almost lend themselves to a feeling of ‘end of the summer’ mediterranean favourites encased on a plate.

I serve my tart with a rocket salad, with a honey & mustard dressing.


400 grams of short crust pastry

1 red onion finely sliced

1 red pepper finely sliced

Ham – serrano or cooked ham sliced

tbsp of Capers

feta or crumbly goats cheese

fresh chopped parsley

4 eggs

125 mls dbl cream

S & P.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.

Line a tart tin with the pastry, I have a great tin with tiny holes in the base, so no need to blind bake,

Layer the onions, pepper, ham & sprinkle over the capers and chopped parsley – I like lots 🙂

Add the feta or goats cheese, dotted over the top.

Whisk the eggs, with the cream and season with S & P, pour over the tart.

Bake in the oven for approx 30-40 mins, until fluffed up & golden.

Lebanese sweet potato cakes.


I have obsessions with a few things in life, but  canapes, nibbles with a pre-dinner slurp is a favourite – Foo Fahs I call them & when a dinner invitation comes, I’m often heard to say I’ll bring the Foos.

A newer lust is for middle eastern & Moroccan flavours & spices, the sweet, heady scents and taste they produce always creates a stir in me, oo er ;).

I was recently gifted a lovely little packet of Lebanese spice mix, Nutmeg, ginger, allspice, fenugreek, cloves, cinnamon & black pepper.

So what foos could I create ?

Fridge raiding , I had a sweet potato, red onions, spinach, fresh coriander….So potato cakes it would be, these delicious little mouthfuls, were served with my fresh vibrant pomegranate raita.

Lebanese sweet potato cakes.


1 large sweet potato, peeled & diced.

1 red onion, diced

2 big handful’s of fresh spinach

2 tsp of spice mix

flour for dusting



In a large saucepan, saute the potatoes & onion in a little olive oil over a low heat, to soften and caramelize.

Add the spice mix, and fry for 1 min, to release all the flavours of the spice.

Add the spinach and put the lid on the pan, for the spinach to wilt.

With a potato masher, mash the ingredients. Season with sea salt.

Once cooled a little, take small amounts and form into patties, dip into flour that has been sprinkled with a little sumac.

Fry in batches, until golden.

They can be eaten straightway with the raita, or made in advance and warmed before eating in the oven.

Celebrating local produce.


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

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

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

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

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

Beetroot Gazpacho Shots

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

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

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

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

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

Lentejas con Jamon y Fino

Quail on ‘Lentejas Con Jamon y Fino’

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


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

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

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

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

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

Add tomatoes, then stir in cooked lentils.

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

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

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

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

Home-made Allioli


To make your own mayonnaise is so simple and so rewarding, knowing all the ingredients that are in the mixture, and for me using many that are local or homegrown, garlic’s from my veg patch, eggs from my hens, oil from my olive harvest.

Today I made up a lovely bowl full, ready to go with my ‘retro’ whole poached salmon I am preparing for a wedding I am catering for on Saturday, hopefully it will last that long, as the children have a taste for it.

Other ways I like to enjoy it, is in potato salad, creating the local Patatas allilo, or spooned over hard boiled eggs, or dolloped on a homemade burger. Its also delicious for dipping large prawns in.

Here is my recipe it makes 600mls, easily halved.

La Rosilla Allioli

2 large free range eggs.

2 tbsp of white wine vinegar.

4 cloves of garlic crushed.

1 tsp of rock salt.

2 tsp of mustard.

600 ml of Olive oil or if you prefer a lighter taste 300ml Olive / 300ml sunflower.

In a liquidiser or in a bowl put in all ingredients except oil, blend or whisk until a frothy emulsion is made.

Then little by little add the oil, whisking/blending as you go, until all oil is used and you have a thick glossy Mayo.

You can add other ingredients or omit the garlic, try adding lemon zest, or chopped chives.

Happy Whisking 🙂

Warming the cockles.


Reading my Twitter line, it seems that the cold weather is sweeping Europe, well it’s certainly sweeping through La Rosilla, through all the window frames & door frames it’s blowing a whoolie. Our Spanish Finca (Farmhouse) perched in it’s mountain setting, was certainly not built to keep us warm, but to keep us cool in our hot summers climes, which today seem an age away, as temperatures plummet to the lowest of known here of -3.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining in fact I love the extremes, the weather is stunning, fresh, crisp and bringing with it skies clear and blue, all one has to be is prepared !! Ahem *note to self* .

This week-end sees our town pay homage to our saint, Virgen de Candelaria..we will all walk behind the majestic saint sat on her throne, through the winding & hilly streets of Colmenar, before the climax on Sunday evening of a grand fireworks display. With temperatures in the minuses, we will endeavor to keep warm , huddled with others, coated, scarved and gloved. Others will walk barefooted or blindfolded to give thanks to their Saint !!!

So to keep the cockles warm from the inside out, I’m creating some warming & hearty family favourites. I’ll serve these with hunks of home-made Rosemary and onion bread, with La Rosilla Olive oil for dipping. A hearty Rioja will fill our glasses too, and flush our cheeks.

 Have a great week-end , keep warm 🙂

 Carrot & Cumin Soup.

1 kg of Carrots peeled and sliced into rings

Olive oil

1 large onion – Diced

1 large clove of garlic – Sliced

1 tsp of Cumin Seeds

1 liter hot Veg Stock

Natural Yogurt to serve

Fresh herbs to garnish

  • Saute the onion & garlic in a large saucepan in some olive oil, until soften but not coloured, add the carrots and cook for a few mins.
  • Add the cumin seeds to the pan, and fry to release their scent.
  • Add hot veg stock.
  • Heat thru, and bring to gentle simmer and cook until carrots are tender.
  • Blend until smooth with a hand-held blender, or carefully pour into liquidizer to blend.
  • Adjust seasoning.
  • Laddle into bowls, and add a spoon of Natural yogurt & a sprinkling of fresh herbs, even a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is good.


This next recipe, I have adapted from a family favourite brought from Blighty, using local ingredients to give it an Andalucian flair you can of course use English sausages & beans .


Cazuela de Chorizo Criolla – Or Sausage Hotpot


12 Chorizo Criolla – Uncooked chorizo with herbs. Herby bangers

1 large Onion Sliced

4 large potatoes sliced into rings skin on

6 carrots peeled and sliced into rings

1 large tin of Chopped Tomatoes – Instead or Tin toms and white beans you can add, Baked Beans

1 Jar of white beans, drained & rinsed

1 litre of hot stock & a slug of red wine or you can add a tin of Oxtail soup

Oregano or Mixed Herbs

Salt & Pepper


  • In a large casserole dish, layer the potatoes, onions & carrots alternately.
  • Season & sprinkle with oregano
  • Pour over the Chopped Tomatoes
  • Pour over the white beans
  • Lay the sausages on the top
  • Pour over the hot stock & wine, and season once more.
  • Put a lid on the casserole & bake in the oven 180 c for about 40 mins,
  • Take the lid off the casserole , give a gentle stir and return to oven to brown the sausages for approx 10 mins.


Enjoy in large bowls, with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices.


Food parcel & friends.


‘What can I do with these langostinos I have ?’ – My dear friend Kate asked,

Where would I start ?, with a myriad of marvelous mouthwatering dishes out there, from every type of cuisine in the world. Something simple, tasty & healthy I thought.

Oh I have some spinach too‘ she messaged – This was beginning to be like ‘Ready, steady cook’ on-line.

Oh also did I tell you, I don’t know how to prepare fresh langostinos ? ‘ She quietly advised.

O.K – I’ll bring food parcel & wine, you provide the kitchen & expertise ‘ She announced.


So Kate duly arrived the following day, with hamper in tow.

We set about preparing the deliciously fresh langostinos, heads & tails off, a glass of wine at hand to ease the squeamish task for Kate of de-veining , ready for our chosen dish.

So what did we choose ???

 Moorish Spiced, Prawns & Spinach. – Delicate in flavour with a hint of warming spice.


Serves 4

1 large onion – Sliced finely

1 fat clove of garlic – crushed

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 heaped tsp of Cumin seeds

2 large handfuls of fresh shelled prawns.

1 tsp of harrisa paste

½ tsp of cinnamon

1 bag of spinach

Salt & Pepper.

  • Gently saute onions in olive oil, until softened but not brown.
  • Add garlic and fry for 1 min.
  • Add cumin seeds and fry for 1 min.
  • Add toms & harissa paste.
  • Simmer gently for 5 mins for flavours to infuse.
  • Add the spinach, and allow to wilt in sauce for 5 mins.
  • Stir in prawns and allow to cook gently in the simmering sauce for 5 mins or until opaque & pink.
  • Season with s & p.

Once all cooked, serve in rustic bowls, with a folded flat-bread a wedge of lemon and chopped coriander and a dusting of cinnamon.

 Any more friends out there with food parcels welcome, La Rosilla awaits 😉



When the going gets tough …


Like many people I’m sure at this time of year, there doesn’t seem enough hours in the day, or enough pennies in the pot – Life sometimes just piles more onto your plate than you can chew …

Well when the going get’s tough I go cooking …..

So I’ve stirred up my Christmas pud, and probably made just one too many wishes…

I’ve baked 6 Christmas fruit cakes, following my old Nan’s super easy recipe, and am feeding them daily with their tot of brandy – 1 for them 1 for me 😉

I’ve made my quince jam to add a sharp & sweet addition to my Christmas ham.

Sherry & Tapas Tasting

and I’ve cooked with my dear friend Lisa aka @familyinspain who joined me on a La Rosilla Cookery & Culture Day, to sample my fayre , join me in sampling sherry & tapas, discover the local countryside, go embutido (Cured meat) shopping and click away at her heart’s content taking some lovely shots of the day.

Embutidos Colmenar

So with the advent doors being opened, oranges studded with cloves and my mulled wine pot on the stove ready for its first fill, the festive aromas fill my senses & add a little cheer.

So as I look ahead to a month full to bursting, with much work and I hope much more play, I wish you all a happy and calm countdown…..

and let’s remember it’s just 1 Day !

Girl Guide Motto – Be Prepared ;)


I always thought my early years as a Brownie and later as a Girl guide, would bode me well in the future.

Be prepared and all that !!!

But every winter or start of, I think my brain fuddled from the heat of the summer, forgets my past and all it’s promises to  do my best.

We know its coming, the first rains that is, one things for sure in Spain, the expat in us still likes to think of the weather first and foremost, so it’s our daily morning ritual to check the forecast.  But complacent we are , with our high temperatures & clear skies, we think the rains are a  novelty, ‘Oh the land needs it’ we say, ‘No rain for 4 months, it’ll be a refreshing change’.  We live in denial of the coming winter  months, thinking they’ll never arrive, but they do, oh do they…

and guess what we’re never prepared.

Where has my view gone ?

So today as I sit typing away , jeans on for the first time in months, hearing lashing rains on my roof, and seeing pouring rains running under my we don’t have gutters or weather strips, just lovely rustic wooden doors ;), with electricity on & off, no satellite signal .  With winds gusting, so I feel like I’m in Oz, and branches crashing all about .  I sit and think ‘Is this living the dream’ …you bet it is …how dull life would be if it were all the same.

There’s just one thing it calls for on a day like this, comfort food, so with our supper bubbling on the stove, filling the house with aromas and warmth.  It’s homework time by candle light….

I would share the recipe, but sorry got fallen trees to move….next time x

Now where are my Hunters & Barbour……………………..

The jewel of Autumn.


Who can but desire the luscious juiciness, of the ruby red seeds from a Pomegranate – Like Gemstones, glistening, awaiting to adorn dishes, with the jewel like presence.

Pomegranates (Granadas) I believe are the jewel of autumn, just as some of us take to hibernation, the beautiful pomegranate hangs from it’s tree, tempting us with its ripeness, with hues of colour from peach to scarlet.

In Ancient Greece it was thought of a symbol of prosperity and ambition . The Moors renamed the wonderful ancient city of Granada after the precious fruit, and Spanish colonists introduced the fruit to the Caribbean and Latin America.

On our mountain as the first fruits appear to ripen, my children scramble over the shrub-land, to be the first to bagsy their autumn treasure. Their favourite way to indulge, just tear open, and pick the seeds (arils) out one by one – Natures ‘Sweet’ shop :), My daughters have always thought of them as flower fairies crown jewels.

I remember my Mother telling me a story, when she was young and after her first week at work as a florist, she walked through the ‘Bullring’ market in the centre of Birmingham, and on a stall she saw the unusual fruit, and the ruby seeds. She spent her first pay packet on a Pomegranate for her mother, my Nan, who sat with a pin and enjoyed this new tropical fruit.

There are so many uses for pomegranates here are a few of my favourites ;

Pomegranate Raita –

A cooling yoghurt salsa to go with a spicy curry.

A pot of Greek yoghurt thinned with a little milk.

Seeds of a pomegranate

½ a cucumber chopped

a pinch of salt

a small handful of fresh mint leaves – chopped finely

a small handful of coriander – chopped finely

  •  Mix all together – Simple.

Jeweled Cous-Cous

To be enjoyed with rich Moroccan dishes.

Serves 4

250 grammes of Cous Cous

Veg Stock made with 250 ml Boiling water

Seeds of a pomegranate

Handful of pinenuts lightly toasted in a dry pan

Bag of spinach

Squeeze of lemon

  • Prepare the cous cous, with the veg stock, and let stand for 5 mins, then fluff up with a fork.
  • Wilt the spinach, in a pan with a little water, once wilted drain and squeeze out etc moisture, chop up.
  • Add to cous-cous.
  • Add pinenuts, and pomegranate.
  • Stir to mix.

Decant into a pretty bowl, and squeeze the juice of a lemon over.

Or for a decadent tipple, try a

Pom Royale

  •  Juice a pomegranate and put a teaspoon into the bottom of a Champagne fruit, with a few seeds too.
  •  Top with Cava, Prosecco or Champagne.

Salut !

So if you suffer from ‘S.A.D’ or the winter blues are upon you, break open a pomegranate, and let its health giving properties benefit your body & its ruby richness, put a smile on your face.

My Paella Pan !


This is my guest post as featured on the Cooking Outdoors blog .  So much fun sharing recipes & experiences around the world.  You can follow The Outdoor Cook on Twitter here @cookingoutdoors.

Paella or Arroces, have become part of my families’ new life, since emigrating from the U.K to Andalucia Spain 7 years ago.

Paella is a dish prepared with love and gusto, to be shared with family, friends & neighbours. It is a dish offered in most Ferias of Spain throughout the year, and comes in many guises depending on the area of Spain you live in. From the traditional Paella Valenciana, with meat & seafood, to modern-day arroces (rices) & paellas adjusted to use what it is in season, or to suit the diners.

Paelleras (paella pans) range in size from a 4 portions to massive pans measuring meters across, to feed a whole town.  This giant paella is a spectacular cooking outdoor event, when people gather from far around, to watch and taste the local dish.  Cooked above a wood fire, these experts tend their giant pans of rice, meat & stock, until the dish is ready, rested and waiting to be devoured.  Often taking hours to prepare & cook, eaten in moments.

I like to cook my Paella on a warm summer evenings just as the sun is setting over the mountains.  I usually cook a 15 portion Paella, as leftovers are delicious.  I use a large pan and special Paella gas burner, which make it very portable, and I can cook anywhere, beach, camping & picnics.

Paella 228x300 Have Paella Pan Will travel   Guest postIt is a very social affair, often friends gather around the ring whilst cooking, many times offering their suggestions or preferences and expertise for the perfect Paella.

A favorite with my Family is Chicken, chorizo, asparagus and wild mushroom.

Based on 15 servings:

 The secret is to have all ingredients ready prepared, so you are ready to cook.


Olive oil

1kg of chicken pieces / skin off – Bone-in fine

1 large chorizo sausage, skinned and cut into 1 cm slices.

1 glass of white wine.

1 onion – diced

1 head of garlic, peeled and sliced

1 green pepper – diced

1 red pepper – diced

Handful of fresh thyme

1 dried ‘Nora’ pepper

1.5 kg paella rice ‘calasparra’

1 large tin of tomatoes


2 sachets of Paella seasoning or ½ tsp each of Paprika, turmeric, fenugreek.

2 litres chicken stock

1 hand of Asparagus, trimmed.

500 g mixed fresh wild mushroom or preserved in brine

Lemon to decorate


Prepare the chicken by marinating in olive oil, thyme, slat and pepper.

Make up stock and add saffron to infuse.

Put a layer of Olive oil in your Paella Pan to cover the bottom.

Heat gently, add your whole Nora pepper,  then chicken and thyme.

Brown the meat nicely, then stir and fry 10 mins.

Remove the Nora pepper

Add onion, garlic and peppers – Fry for 5 mins until soft.

Add chopped mushrooms and Chorizo – fry for 2/3 mins

Add tinned toms, and break up in pan, add white wine & stir & bubble.

Season with Salt & pepper

Stir in seasoning / spices.

Add handfuls of rice around the pan, to let rice absorb some of the juices, stir.

Pour in stock and saffron, stir so rice is distributed evenly.

Simmer for 5 – 6 mins then reduce heat to medium low.

DO NOT STIR ANYMORE cook for 20/25 mins until all liquid absorb, you may need to add a little more – you want you rice to be ‘al dente’.

5 mins before end of cooking, lay the Asparagus on the top in a circle, it will cook in the steam.

Turn off heat, and cover with a clean cloth, foil or as sometimes in Spain newspaper, to rest and flavor infuse.

Decorate the edge of the pan with lemon wedges, and sprinkle on some more fresh thyme.

 107 0247 225x300 Have Paella Pan Will travel   Guest post

Buen Provecho x