Tag Archives: andalucia

“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

 

 

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A year of ….

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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

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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.

 

 

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 😉  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 😉 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.

Countryside cooking.

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Yesterday I was joined at La Rosilla, for the first Cooking & Culture Day of the year, by guests from America.

It was a chilly day in the mountains, but still breathtakingly beautiful with all the Almond trees in blossom,  guests were kept warm as they cooked their giant paella, whilst sipping sherries by the fire pit.

La Rosilla Cookin & Culture day.

Tapas of peppers stuffed with goats cheese, banderillas, cured chorizo, wild mushroom pate and confit cherry tomatoes and single estate olive oils were sampled and enjoyed around our country kitchen.  The groups creations of  homemade bread & chicken, chorizo and green bean paella , with garden salad were devoured.

The sun came out just in time for ‘Tarta de Santiagio’ a rich almond tart and comforting PX sherry to be savoured on the terrace and time to soak up the view.

 

Alpaca Adventure !

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We were off to chill out, or should I say ‘boil’ but relax as we headed to the ‘frying pan’ of the Cordoba countryside in deepest Andalucia.  We were heading on our Alpaca adventure, and to meet Alan & Lorna and visit their home and experience a little Cordoba rest and relaxation, that I’d read about in Alan’s book ‘Seriously Mum, what’s an Alpaca ?’

We packed up the van with all the necessary refreshments ,like normal enough for days 😉 picnic hamper, rug and met up with our traveling companions and friends John & Maria and set on our way.

Now we are hot in the ‘Montes’ but as we ventured more inland the temperature crept up. We stopped at Montilla on the way for our picnic feast, thankfully finding a lush park with grass !! and shady trees . This pretty town was deserted, well I suppose only mad dogs & English men, would be out in the full heat of the day and  especially the night after the town feria with a temperature of 45 degrees !! We sat glowing and feasting as you do 😉 .  Not a soul in sight, we braved a short stroll around the town in search of cool liquid refreshment,  finally , parched we stumbled into the only bar open, which happened to be majestically decorated, with typical Cordoban stone mosaic floor and beautiful tiling .

Montilla Picnic

Walking back, we dodged the sun under shop canopies and shade of buildings, waiting at the zebra crossing, we could feel our skin frying :/

Onwards we went, with a slight city detour, that’ll teach me to ‘tweet’ whilst trying to navigate ;).  Traveling past fields of sunflowers and olive groves proudly manicured, the rolling countryside was vast and impressive.  Nearing our destination we met with Alan, who guided us through the groves until we spotted our first Alpaca and our lodgings for the night.

The Olive Mill Cordoba rest & relaxWhat a welcome sight The Olive Mill was, with its white and blue walls, and potted plants.  The Alpacas lazily grazing and sunbathing in their paddocks.  The original mill stones sat proudly in the entrance courtyard.  The mill a wonderful place to getaway from it all, recharge your batteries, and experience life a slower pace.

Alan & Lorna’s hospitality was wonderful, and such a treat for me to be cooked for.  After the Alpacas were fed, and we’d cooled off in the refreshing pool, showered and the sun was setting, we were treated to a sumptuous barbecue in the courtyard by candlelight .

The evening was warm and the fire pit glowed under the spectacular star filled sky , while we chatted, shared our Spanish life experiences and quaffed one or two glasses of vino 😉

Up the stairs to bed, we enjoyed a night-cap and the most comfortable nights sleep, albeit not long enough, as I was awoken to, “Mum, it’s Alpaca walking time” .  Slightly jaded I joined the others in the already fierce morning heat, for our jaunt.  Nellie had chosen her favourite ‘Rafa’ as our walking companion, and much to the delight of the others, he led me a merry dance , diving into bushes to scratch his back, lying down to roll in the dust and just generally keeping me on my not so energetic toes 😉 Alpaca Adventure La RosillaBack for a leisurely lavish breakfast, and a paddle in the pool to cool our feet , we thoroughly enjoyed our short experience, we all loved the alpacas, the giant lazy dogs Arthur & Blue, and the kittens, but most of all Alan & Lorna who made us so welcome.

Walking the Alpacas

Marvellous May madness !

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Have I stopped for breath, I can’t remember.  Living to the max, using every hour of the day, dashing in and out of weather, making hay whilst the sunshines – May has been marvelous and complete madness, so a few words and lots of photos will sum up my life on the mountain and beyond this month.

May Madness at La Rosilla

Gardening, tagines, planting, cooking, decorating, exploring, golfing, Portugal, cream cakes, beaches, herbs & flowers, home -made bread, communions, paella, pimms, clouds, haircuts, bbqs, ploughing..

and breathe

Salud !

From across the pond.

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It’s a joy to share what I love with guests that visit – A little of my life, the flavour and the dishes of the mountains.

This year so far, all my visitors for La Rosilla’s ‘Cookery & Culture’ day , have come from America, all corners of the States.  In fact I would like to get a big map on the world and put a pin in each place, visitors come from . Not only do they experience a taste of our family life on the mountain, we get a taste of theirs.  Recipes, traditions and lifestyles are chatted about, whilst they sample, create, sip and and enjoy some of ours.  They have all been intrepid travelers, making the most of their short time in Andalucia, and definitely not concerned about driving and exploring and going off the beaten track to take a peek .

Cookery Class

My guests usually are traveling to celebrate, birthdays, anniversaries, time out and just generally creating memory moments to take back home.

Ages have ranged from mother and 14 year old daughter having a girly day together whilst the ‘boys’ went to the car museum, husband and wife taking the unique experience for their 25th anniversary. One couple celebrating retirement and wanting to learn some new dishes for the party they were going to give friends when back in Texas.  A family group of 3 generations all linked by their ‘foodie’ love creating giant paella, whilst sipping sherry and tasting cheese and chorizos , on their way home they stopped to buy there own pan , they were determined to get in their case.-

Cookery Class La Rosilla

I just adore the way good food and great company bring people together, my children now have been fortunate to meet some fascinating people from all over the world and learn from it , it also makes them and us aware that where we live is special, and how we live is dreamed of by many.

Cookery Class La Rosilla

 

 

Keeping in touch

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It’s great to keep in touch with folks back home.   I don’t know how I would’ve survived without Skype, emails &  along with My Mum’s telephone provider allowing her to call me free for as-long as she wants.  We have a code , 2 rings & she calls me back, maybe far away but only on the end of the phone.   Twitter came along to me, later than most, couldn’t get it at first but then I was hooked.  I’ve passed my obsession over to my Dad now, @bikeral64 , purely of course to keep him up  to date with the techie side of life 😉 but we now communicate in 140 characters or less – short but sweet but we get the message across 😉

Blogging too, has helped on many occasion when, perhaps I need to sit and take a look at what I’ve achieved,  what’s happening around me & what obstacles I have overcome.  Also what delicious meals I have created or eaten, I have shared with friends and now a wider audience, all thanks to technology.

It has been great to be asked to share my experiences with others too , and Midlands Food Bloggers who have created a platform for ‘Foodie’s based in the Midlands area of the U.K , hit home to me.  My area, the home where the other half of my heart lies, and the place where my food & travel life adventures were born…

At a young age, food & travel were always high on my agenda, starting my early working life, in a village pub, waitressing then being promoted to food prep, and then cooking, whilst at college studying Travel & tourism.  This paved the way for my adventures to come. Being fortunate to travel to some far-flung places as a Tour Representative, led hand in hand with trying new cuisines, visiting some of the worlds best restaurants, thus confirming ‘yes’ food was going to pay a major part in my life.

After my travel career, family life started and the story goes on…..

You can read about the next part of my journey from Warwickshire U.K to the mountains of Andalucia, and how my ‘Foodie’ quest has continued.

From Midlands to Andalucia – ‘Journey of a Foodie’ – Courtesy of Midlands Food Bloggers.

http://midsfoodbloggers.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/from-the-midlands-to-andalucia-journey-of-a-foodie/

Have tent will travel !

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In need of a rest, a break, some time out…I was looking forward to a holiday, all be it just for 3 nights, but camping..I thought I could do without. So much to pack, I have to have everything including the kitchen sink, and the arduous task of packing up the ‘Bogey’ our big green van, no not named after what you think, but after a golfing score..OH is a Golf Pro 😉 In 36 degrees of heat, was draining me already.

But pack we did, up early we got..on our way we went.

A new part of Andalucia for us to discover – Cabo de Gata, so Almeria was our destination. A journey of a 4 hours, took us through the flat planes of Almeria, and mile after mile of giant greenhouses, was the only landscape to be seen, apparently I’m informed you can see these greenhouses from outer space !!

Thinking at this stage. This wasn’t the type of view I had planned, I was getting a little anxious, fortunately all 3 kids were flat out asleep, so the groans of ,I prefer Tarifa, were not heard.

But as we took our exit from the Autopista, into the National Park area of Cabo de Gata, its lunaresque landscape, rocky coves and beautiful beaches put a smile on our faces.

We’d chosen the little seaside town of Las Negras, and it’s beach-side Campsite La Caleta, we were not disappointed, location,location, location enough said.

Right on a fabulous rocky and sandy cove, with the clearest , warmest sea, a pool for the non beaching lover of the family (my OH) , and a restaurant with delicious home-cooked menu, for nights after the sun had set. 

Giant mussels, Rabbit cooked in garlic,  Dauphinoise potatoes, and oozing chocolate fondant , my type of camping restaurant which ticked all my ‘Foodie’ boxes.

Snorkelling, surfing, reading, early morning mountain hiking, coastal exploring, friends made..all crammed into 3 glorious days.

A couple of pointers we need a large plot, with our 3 bed-roomed detached 😉 and we need to make note of where the sun will come up and set…that sun beat down on us, from early in the morning, and we would stumble out of the tent when it rose, like 5 turkeys in a Roasting bag. Also remembering the kitchen sink was all good and well, but a table too would be good, that we had forgotten…in our attempts to leave on time.

 

Hasta Pronto Las Negras – Vamos a Volver 🙂