Category Archives: Reviews

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 ūüėČ 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 ūüėČ 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 ūüėČ !!

 

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Tapear.

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Tapear.

Never will I tire of ‘Tapeando’¬†with friends and family, this is the art and I like to call it that, of enjoying Tapas from one place to the next. A small bite and a copa de vino or Jerez, standing at a bustling bar, or in the market. Maybe indulging in a little lengthier¬†time and sitting at the table an ordering, yet just another to fill the spot, or to sample the new delicacy or gastro tapa to be served.

From simple but tasty local cheeses and olives to mindblowing molecular gastronomy to please the most die-hard foodie like myself or Masterchef in the making.  Malaga delivers on every count, and never disappoints with new innovational bars, alongside cultural and historical institutions of food.

A recent visit with friends, with slightly aching feet, we decided on a one-stop Tapas lunch at the renowned¬†El Tapeo de Cervantes¬†this intimate and cosy restaurant, which is located in the heart of the historical Malaga centre,¬†just steps away from the Cervantes theatre and Picasso’s Plaza Merced, delights with its traditional interior and extensive and exceptional menu of Tapas.

They offer tapas of every guises and taste, listed in an informative way so diners can create their own perfect ‘Tapeo’,¬†if overwhelmed by the choice and you don’t know where to start, let the professionals choose for you. ¬†We did this, not overwhelmed persay, but with 3 differing tastes, we thought let’s go out of our comfort zone and see what they serve.

WOW – Course after course arrived at our table, tapas and raciones (larger plates) of seafood, fish, pork and, duck, enjoyed with a chilled Albari√Īo and a robust Ribera Del Duero. ¬†Each exquisitely plated and served with flair and introduction. ¬†As each dish was delivered there was a moment or two or me wondering ‘How much is this going to cost’…I was paying ūüėČ ¬†But on the delivery of the bill, feeling very indulged and complete, I was delighted – 3 people, 6 Glasses of wine, copious tapas. 65‚ā¨ !! Perfecto ūüôā ¬†Not many cosmopolitan cities in the world, where you can experience¬†that luxury and service on that budget.

Leaving the restaurant on a chilly but bright winter afternoon, we needed to walk off our long lunch, obviously taking in Picasso himself and taking the obligatory photo for my friends, to complete their whistle-stop tour of my inspiring and beautiful city of Malaga, with promises to return.

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Malaga Cooking & Culture Tours.

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 Caf√©, 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 M√°laga, 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 ūüėČ

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‘ ūüėČ

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 M√°laga.

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

Malaga a must see !

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Although living on our mountain in rural Andalucia for the last 11 years, I do have to travel back and forth to the U.K regularly for extra work. ¬†Always on my plane journey the inevitable conversation starts by the fellow passenger next to me ‘ Going on holiday ?’ “no, I live here‘ I reply. ¬†I explain my story in brief, and ask of their onward journey plans.

Most, probably 95% of them say they’re heading off to the Costa del Sol, or even say Malaga, when my eyes and ears light up, as this wonderful city holds a dear place in my heart and those that have visited, no doubt share the same enthusiasm for it , but they don’t actually mean Malaga the city, and have no plans to visit it, they either pass through, skirt pass or miss it altogether .

Maybe secretly in my thoughts , part of me feels this is a good thing, perhaps they’re not the kind of folk who would be held under its spell, of passion, history, art, architecture, cosmopolitanism, diversity and gastronomy. ¬†The other side of me feels, don’t judge the place as an airport, be daring, take a detour, spend a few hours and explore, and get hypnotised by the power of this Andalucian treasure.

Go, Malaga is a must see !

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Even visiting regularly as we do, it always feels a special treat to take a day out in the city. ¬†Luckily Malaga is on our doorstep well just a 30 or so KM’s away, but in the mountains nothing is too close. ¬†We can hop on a bus from our local town of Colmenar, relax for the 40 minute journey, only costing a couple of euros and hop off the other end to explore, shop, eat,& ¬†tapear (eat lots of tapas in lots of places).

This visit, we planned our itinerary around roof-top terraces, lazy lunch, cocktails and views to to die for.  Malaga even in 38 degrees did not disappoint .

 

 

 

 

Caserio de San Benito

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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.

 

 

#cookfromthebooks Week 15, Family, springtime & kittens

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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 ūüôā

 

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 10 – Reunions & french fayre.

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A fabulously hectic week, of friends and frolics has left me literally unable to speak…my jaw has gone into painful spasm, maybe the price I’m paying for eating,drinking, laughing and singing too much ūüėČ So I’m now on soft food and alcohol free tipples, best recover soon.

A few months back I volunteered on a language immersion course by Diverbo, to assit Spanish teachers in their quest to improve their English language skills, us volunteers were known as the ‘Anglos’. This week the Anglos of Southern Spain ( Malaga, Almeria, Murcia and Marbella) had a reunion, we re-grouped for a fabulous evening of wining and dining, laughter and merriment.¬† One of the gentleman known as ‘The Baron’ lives not too far from me at La Rosilla, so were pooled culinary skills and created a menu of french delicacies for our new friends.

Steak Tartare

Smoked salmon, avocado & goats cheese terrine

Coq au vin

Gratin dauphinois

Garlic braised spring greens

Tarte au citron & pot au chocolat

melting camemberts

Cafe and cognac

Some of our diners we knew may be a little unsure about steak tartare, so we held back from describing it’s origins or naming the dish, until after they’d tasted it, naughty I know, but we were able to convince most of them and they agreed, they wouldn’t have tried if they’d known, just proving many people pre-decide before trying ūüėČ

For my #cookfromthebooks challenge this week, my sweet treats of Tarte au Citron & pot au chocolat, were taken by the simple and clearly written book ‘FRENCH’ by Raymond Blanc, published by M & S. The book¬† was originally published in 2003 as ‘Foolproof french cookery’

Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir

I have very fond memories of my visits to Le Manoir aux quat’saisons in Oxfordshire when I lived in England, reserved for very special treats, a place from the moment you arrived you feel clam, looked after and you know you are going to have an unforgettable experience.¬† Dining, gardens, accommodation, all faultlessly designed.¬† Unpretentious and impeccable¬† service, makes every one feel special and welcome.

My little pots of chocolate I adapted slightly and here is my recipe, rich, decadent and perfect for the chocoholics out there.

POT AU CHOCOLAT

Makes 8 little pots or glasses.

300 g of dark choc, broken up

250 ml double cream

75 g of butter

good glug of cognac

  • Put all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water stir gently, until melted.
  • Pour into shot glasses or espresso cups.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

 

Our reunion was a great success, all different characters from all walks of life, coming together to re-confirm our new friendships.

Now for me, I’m off to make soup that I can sip through a straw, and hope my jaws gets back to full waggle soon ūüėČ

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 9 – Carnival capers, supperclub visit & almond tart.

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The end of Semana Blanca holiday (half term here) in Malaga province, went out with a bang.¬†A family day out on the coast enjoying blue skies and warm sunshine,¬†a chance to finally sample a fellow supper-clubbers Rooftop Table’s gourmet ‘Thai’ delights, dancing on a bar, well it was ‘Carnaval‘ and afternoon tea with tart, Almond & raspberry slice, from Bill Granger’s book, aptly named ‘Holiday‘ .

I can’t believe it’s week 9 of my personal #cookfromthebooks challenge already, this has got to be one of my best New Year resolutions ever, a win, win resolution. ūüôā That I’m loving sticking to, and everyone else is enjoying the fayre.

Bill Granger’s style is chilled and comforting, this book, focuses on occasions and events all related to relaxing and food.¬† Outdoors, fireside, celebrations and barefoot.

Bill Grangers Holiday, book review by La Rosilla.

I knew we were expecting a hectic week-end of revelry, so I decided on a decadent and rich Almond and raspberry slice recipe, to enjoy as and when we wanted, whilst taking a five minutes to sip tea and chillax.  All the ingredients I had in the fridge and store cupboard, and I easily managed to put it all together in between chores before going out.

ALMOND & RASPBERRY SLICE

It has a crunch shortbread bottom, fruity layer of jam (use your favourite flavour) and a sweet nutty topping, definitely not an everyday treat ūüėČ .¬† Don’t make the mistake I did, and add all the sugar at the almond stage, it then is really sweet !!!!

210g butter softened

165g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

200g flaked & whole almonds mixed

2 tbsp milk

225g plain flour

40 g cornflower

160g raspberry jam

  • Preheat oven 180c
  • Line a bking tray with paper approx 24 x 20cm
  • To make the almond topping : put 60g of the butter, 55g of the sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, the lamonds and milk in a pan.¬† Cook over a low heat until the butter and sugar has dissolved, then leave to cool
  • Make the shortbread base : beat the remaning butter, sugar and vanilla, until pale & creamy.¬† Sift the flour and cornflower together and beat into butter mix until crumbly.
  • Press the dough into the baking tin and bake for 12 mins or until light & golden.¬† Leave to cool for 10 mins.
  • Spread the jam over the base, then the almond mixture.
  • Return to the oven and bake for 25 mins more.
  • allow to cool and then cut into squares.

Enjoy with tea & breathe !

Family rating adults 10/10 chi8ldren 7/10 dare I say too rich for them !!

Back to reality now, children back at school,l cooler climes and wind blowing a hoolie, Oh well it’s nearly the week-end ūüėČ

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

Semana Blanca, blue sky, warm day, let’s go !

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Semana Blanca, is celebrated in the province of Malaga with a week off school, because rightly so all our main Ferias are celebrated in August, and the Junta (Government) believe we need extra time off ūüėȬ† This week also coincides with ‘Dia de Andalucia‘ a day we celebrate and commemorate¬† for when the province became a Autonomous region.

For the 9 years I have been here, Dia de Andalucia has always been a day of beautiful weather, a day of hopefulness and a reminder to me why we chose to live here.¬† over the years we have celebrated in many ways, grouping together with friends, sharing typical plates of food, doning green & white and making merry.¬† This year, with children growing up and lives getting busier, at home was just my OH, and no 3 daughter ‘Noo’.¬† So we made the most of just having our youngest in tow, and headed to the coast in search¬†of a few more degrees warmth, places we’d passed but not stopped at and a few family favourites.

First stop the Buddhist Stupa in Benalmadena, this stunning white temple, with gold dome is a perfect backdrop to the blue Mediterranean sea.¬† Perched high on the coast, this wonderful place, was peaceful and calming and exquisitely decorated .¬† Funded and built with one man’s dream, now funded by donations.

Just across the road, The Mariposario (Butterfly exhibition) awaits .¬† Built as a Thai temple, this tropical park is beautifully presented and designed.¬† Tropical plants, cretaures and 1000’s of butterflies are housed, cultivated and cared for here.¬† The whole biological ‘Butterfly’ cycle can be witnessed and is very well explained by the staff, from caterpillar, chrsilis to graceful butterfly.¬† Eye spy ‘ Butterfly’ is encouraged for everyone and a spotting paper given to all.¬† Orchids, succulents and spectacular flora, are enjoyed by birds, Iguanas, Chameleons and even a Wallaby and Tortoise.

Lunch of course, off to the prom we went.¬† The glorious weather had bought out the hoards, locals & tourists, flip slops & shorts ūüėČ Restaurants and chiringuitos were being queued for, restaurant Maitre D’s promoting there menus, to the wandering crowds.¬† We knew what we wanted, simple Andalucia fayre to celebrate the day.¬†¬† face in sun, cerveza in hand, espetos (sardines) on the fire, the famous and alluring aroma of the Costa in the sun.

Suitably fed and watered and cheeks pinked, bag stuffed with bread to feed the ducks, a stroll around our family favourite park was called for, Parque de la Paloma in Benalmadena,  are lush gardens, lakes, waterfalls, rabbits, chickens and ducks waddling free.  Adventure parks and cactus gardens, picnic places, bars , fun for all the family.

One more attraction to tick off.  A rather surreal place, again built by one mans dream to celebrate his interpretation of architecture through many eras and styles. Byzantine, Moorish, Baroque & Gothic.  Built out of stone, terracotta and cement the Castillo de Colomares is an intriguing place to wander around for an hour or so.  Built over 7 years, it now stands high into the hills of Benalmadena Pueblo.  Those with creative or dramatic minds can be transported into a world of make believe, others may just wonder why ? You decide.

Walked, eaten, played, explored, learned, climbed, discovered – Andalucia solo hay una !

 

Experience these wonderful places yourself, whilst holidaying a La Rosilla.