Tag Archives: favourite food.

Cooking in the great outdoors .

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Cooking outdoors, in the fresh air, is a part of our life since moving from the U.K to Spain some years ago, that has become a regular affair, and something that we never take for granted.

You can’t beat that hunter- gatherer feel, back to basics, fresh ingredients, the smell of wood burning on the bbq or Sardines releasing their oh so Spanish seaside smell into the air.

When we have a day in the garden, or should I say on the mountain, chopping logs, pruning, preparing for winter, there’s nothing better than, making a pan of ‘Patatas al lo pobre ‘ a local dishe of potatoes, peppers  onions , garlic cooked in stock, wine (maybe my addition)  & vinegar, on  the gas stove, and cooking some chorizo on the bbq, to eat with chunks of bread, washed down with some local Hooch.

Patatas a lo Pobre at La Rosilla

The children’s obligatory marshmallows on the barby treat for after’s,  gives them as-well the necessary boost to finish the jobs they started…

All over the world, there are many outdoor cooking styles to be enjoyed and shared, my friend at Cooking Outdoors, believes in getting out of the kitchen, lighting the fire & start cooking outdoors, and reading his blogs, he shares some delightful recipes.

Enjoy the Autumn outside, don’t hibernate indoors 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Stars.

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My first Private Dining event went fabulously last night. I was booked to cook for 14 Australians, who were staying in the most wonderful villa, this was their welcome meal, and only a couple of the party knew, so was a great surprise for all the others.

They were the most lovely family, who had traveled from all over the globe for a re-union, and I was to tempt them with local delights & flavours, whilst they soaked up the atmosphere and charm

It was a pleasure to cook in such a divine location, even the sweltering heat, didn’t dampen my brow !

I welcomed them with a selection of Embutidos, cured meats, salamis, chorizos, jamon, lomo & salchichon, all made in my local town of Colmenar, together with a cheese platter, of goats cheese with a rosemary and thyme crust, the delightful Spanish manchego and a sheep’s cheese with paprika.

Home cured olives, and warm herb & hazelnut bread accompanied the beginning of their feast.

They had chosen a selection of starters, then a giant paella to share.

My daughter entertained with a beautiful flamenco dance and all regalia, and was given a standing ovation.

Supper was finished under the stars, Fruit platter and chocolate fondue & Limoncello drizzle Cake, and with children moonlight dipping in the pool to keep cool.

I love how the joy of food, brings folks together, creates memory moments, full bellies & and the taste of things to come ……

My two favourite things ..

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Dinner & dancing, two of my favourite things… So to start off the season of my supperclub ‘La Rosilla – Supper on the Terrace’ , I planned ‘Tango on the Terrace’ . Now this year the weather has been all over the place, by this time of year we are almost guaranteed balmy nights of lazy, long suppers, but not this year, and not on my inaugural night.

 

Busy cooking in the kitchen, and shouting orders to ninos to sort plates, cutlery and glasses, writing lists for the OH to prepare..no matter how organised there seems always so much to do at the last-minute. The weather in the meantime, was there on the back of mind, and cooking with fingers and toes crossed, and twitter friends crossing fingers and toes for me two, I kept popping my head out to see, checking ‘eltiempo’ for its hourly updates..and thinking please god, be nice to me.

 

At the 11th hour, we took the gamble and laid our tables for 16 , and my prayers & extremity crossing worked, not balmy and sunny, but just good enough.

 

 

Guests arrived promptly and were served Mojitos, and Empanadas, before sitting down, to their night of feasting and frolics.

Erika & Ken from Casa Media Luna – Tango Holidays entertained our guests beautifully with their graceful dancing, with the mood of dance in the air, my daughter decided to do and impromptu ‘Flamenco’ so quickly swapping her apron for a shawl, and sensible shoes to her dancing shoes, she too added wonderfully to our evening.

 

With the warmth of patio heaters, and a few guests still sipping, we sat down to join them, trouble is when you sit down you don’t want to get back up….3.30 am…WE MUST GET UP 😉

 

 

My hanging garden.

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My hanging Passion flower garden, is a little hidden oasis, buzzing with bees, busy collecting the nectar for their ooh so delicious honey. It’s a cool spot to retreat to on a hot balmy day, and comes to magical life at night, when it is lit with twinkling fairy lights, and flickering candles.

A perfect spot for a romantic dinner, and if things get to hot under the collar, we can always cool off with a refreshing dip in our plunge pool. Special occasions supper at La Rosilla ‘Supperclub’ can be enjoyed here too.  Small groups of visitors for cooking & culture classes, can sit and soak up the charm.

I dream about the oncoming weeks, sitting and indulging with a plate of unctuous figs, baked with goats cheese, honey and a fresh torn basil leaf…..Bring it on.

Good food & fun :)

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Wow what a week-end, as normal food & friends, featured heavily- That’s what I like, that’s why we live here.

Firstly a friend in distress, with family arriving and a recently broken ankle, not good at the best of times, but with visitors looming, and living in the mountainous campo even worse. So La Rosilla, food Home Suppers came to the rescue, I prepared a hamper of goodies, Feta & Watermelon on sticks, Stuffed Red Peppers with Anchovies, Parsley, Lemon & breadcrumbs topped with Goats Cheese and baked in the oven, herb salad with edible flowers.

Then a Harissa & Prawn Stew, with nutty cous-cous and for pud Milk Chocolate Mousse and dipping Cherries. I always love delivering the food, and running through the dishes with clients. Most of the time, they allow me the pleasure of surprising them, I’m always greeted with oohs and ahhs, as each dish reveals itself. I always take freshly baked bread the aroma just divine..I’ve often thought I might do Aromaverts – and drive round with my freshly baked bread hanging out the car window, and intrigue and gain local custom, sort of like the Pied Piper !

Saturday, was like a military operation, I always find whether away for 2 weeks, 0r 2 days, there is always so much to prepare. I also wanted to create some tasty treats to take with me. Perhaps I chose something a little too fiddly, Boquerones in Lemon, Garlic, Parsley & Oil. I sat gutting and de-boning my anchovies, not the prettiest job of all time, children had vanished and didn’t respond to my shouts of “anybody lend me a hand?”, Little Noo appeared with peg on nose, “oh go run & play“. Next spanner in the works, when my OH informed me I couldn’t use the kitchen sink, or dishwasher, as pipes were blocked, they joys of campo (country) living. So with fishy fingers, board and knives, camping cooking style resumed I headed outside to clean up, with the garden hose !!!

Finally beautiful little fish lined up neatly, covered in lemon juice to cure, were left for 3 hours, then drained slightly and doused with Olive oil, garlic and lots of parsley. Delicious. I whizzed up a little tomato salsa, to top our crusty bread, and to create the perfect bed for our topping of boquerones.

Our friends new home, in the most fabulous beach front location, was the perfect setting for everyone to dive in and eat the tasty treat, whilst enjoying copious amounts of Vino tinto. Sun setting, bbqueuing (?) boat sailing, wave jumping…perfecto.

Our costa capers were not to end there, and we traveled on to our next indulgent stop, with our friends from Family in Spain in their new home too. A weekend treat for me to be entertained. I was greeted with, Strawberry & Cava, then the most delicious Watermelon Slush (adult stylee laced with Rum ). We made hummus together, dipped our bread in guacamole, & very moorish blue cheese dip, before sitting under the shade of the most wonderful ‘Bignonia’ to home-made fruity burgers, ribs and wonderfully marinated chicken.

Fitfully full, we’d ate till it ouched, tired from over indulgence, we headed back up to the mountains…Until next time.

For family & friends, for health & happiness, for good foood & fun,
for staying young while growing old. We give Thee thanks.

Sun Dried Tomatoes.

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Rushing through the market the other day, the Fruit and Veg stall, grabbed my attention. Bursting at the seems, with lush seasonal goodies. Strawberries, ruby-red and glistening, Cherries deep burgundy, just waiting to be worn as cheeky earrings, new potatoes freshly dug, the first apricot and peaches sitting perfectly waiting to be chosen.

For me bundles of Asparagus, armfuls in fact, to be lightly steamed, and drizzled with melted butter, to be roasted with olive oil, rock salt and a grating of Parmesan, to be wrapped in Serrano ham and grilled on the plancha…for my children dipped into boiled eggs – “Posh Soldiers” we call it.  Made into a tart, puff pastry rolled out into a rectangle, covered in herded cream cheese, asparagus placed on top, drizzle of olive oil, crack of black pepper, a touch of salt, baked till golden ..Delish.


Tomatoes too, big bunches, firm and red on their vines..tomatoes that smell of tomatoes.

Buying at the market, always involves huge lots, that’s how you get your bargains. So ladened too with my toms, I’ve made fresh tomato sauce to freeze for Pasta dishes at a later date..

On Saturday we woke to the most glorious sunshine, with temperatures to boot..ah that had me thinking, make the most of the day. So I made my first batch of Sun Dried Tomatoes for the season. To be enjoyed over the next few weeks, with crumbly goats cheese, piled on hot crusty bruchetta, or just greedily from the jar.

SUN DRIED TOMATOES .

Firstly cut each tomato in half, and scoop out the seeds.

Lay on a baking sheet, I cover mine with baking parchment

Put a drop of olive oil into each cavity, and leaf or two of fresh thyme, and sprinkle of fine rock salt.

Place in the full sun , in a hot place, in the fresh air. They can be covered with a fly net .

Leave all day, once they have shriveled, they are ready. If like me you may like a little juiciness in them..I think these are known as ‘Sunblush‘ One hot day should be sufficient, if you want them drier, bring in at night, cover, and put them out the next day.

Once dried, take a sterilized Jam Jar, put a little EVO in the bottom, and then stuff you toms in the jar. I add a garlic clove sliced in half, and a few sprigs of Thyme and Rosemary.

These little gems if not devoured before should last a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Taste of Summer.

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I think my Mum & I, were born with brooms up …sorry in our hands. Its a trait of hers ,sweeping that is, that I have inherited, one sometimes I wished I hadn’t, but I just have to sweep. I can’t sit still if the house or terrace needs sweeping, and living on the side of a mountain, as you can guess I’m sweeping most of the time. One day my OH found in the basura (rubbish)  a giant blower, another mans rubbish and all that…he returned jubilantly with his new possession, saying ‘I have got you the best present ever !!‘ of course, it didn’t work..that’s why it was in the bin ! But with a little tinkering it soon roared into life…so my outside sweeping habit, has now been blown out of all proportion & I can now be seen waving my roaring monster and blowing the leaves and dust off the patios, in a flash.

Of course inside sweeping continues, and 2 long-haired dogs , English Springer Spaniel ‘Spencer’ and Black Spanish Water Dog ‘Rizzo’ should have been called ‘Velcro’..attract and bring as it feels the whole mountain in with them…

So after a morning of sweeping & blowing..the sun was beckoning for us to rest and enjoy lunch .I felt like I needed the ‘Taste of Summer’ so I decided on my first Gazpacho of the season, chilled and topped with chopped cucumber, green pepper, radish, drizzled with olive oil, a little balsamic , chopped mint and an ice cube.

I like to think of my daily ‘summer’ treat as my 5 a day, munched with a few Nasturtium flowers for a peppery bite.

Hot Cross buns !

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‘Hot -Cross Buns, Hot- Cross Buns ;

One a penny poker,

Two a penny tongs,

Three a penny fire shovel

Hot-Cross Buns’

Good Friday of Easter is the traditional day to make these delicious little buns, that will fill your home with a heady, spicy scent. Apart from the obvious cross symbol , I also like the thought of the cross depicting the four seasons.

When ever I’m baking, I never seem to be able to make the quantity on the recipe, maybe I think I always make my portion sizes to big…..hey there could lie my problem note to self ‘Take note”

But this is not the time of year to think of our waistbands, tis time to indulge – bikini diets can follow soon.

So here is my family recipe for Hot-Cross Buns- makes 20 healthy sized spicy buns. Best eaten warm from the oven, or lightly toasted with lashing of butter…as I said, a little of what you fancy does you good.

You can mix this dough in a bread machine on dough mix – or as I did in my large food mixer, by hand of course too, but make sure you knead well. The dough is ready to prove, when after kneading you can push your thumb into the dough, and it springs back.

 

INGREDIENTS.

2 EGGS

240 ML WARM MILK

120 G BUTTER

120 G SUGAR

GRATED ZEST OF A LEMON

1 TSP OF MIXED SPICE

1 TSP OF SALT

600 G OF STRONG BREAD FLOUR

2 X SACHETS OF FAST ACTING YEAST

120 G OF MIXED FRUIT

FOR GLAZE

2 DSP OF APRICOT JAM MELTED

4 TBSP OF ICING SUGAR

JUICE OF A LEMON

Put all the ingredients into the mixer, except the mixed fruit, and mix thoroughly to make a dough, add mixed fruit, add a little more flour if necessary until your dough comes together, it will be sticky. Turn out onto a flour board, and knead until dough is springy.

Divide into 20 balls, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment, put in warm place, lightly covered with a cloth to prove till doubled in size.

Once doubled in size using a very sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each.

Place in the oven 190c, for 12 – 15 mins, until risen and golden.

Leave to cool slightly then brush with the apricot jam.

Mix the icing sugar with lemon juice, till thick consistency, then drizzle into crosses.

 

Enjoy and Happy Easter from La Rosilla.

When life gets in the way …

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Must get round to doing that, must make a to do list, focus, focus, focus… but life has got in the way.

A hectic life I’m sure many of us have to deal with, a juggling act of family, work, food and friends.

Well the past few weeks at La Rosilla, have been just like this, opportunities, set-backs, entertaining, taxiing, hosting and of course cooking & eating…now that is my favourite part.

The weather also has been a bonus, but sometimes can lead you astray, with little 5 minute sit downs, lasting longer than ought , when you sit and stare at the wonders of clear turquoise skies, swallows, dipping and diving, bees busy with their business, with wonderful sunshine, and temperatures to rival summer days.

Outside cooking & entertaining becomes front of mind, and weather forecasts are studied regularly, to check for unwanted showers.

Fresh ingredients from the garden are enjoyed, and flowers in abundance are picked to adorn the home, and create a cheery feel of Spring and summer to come.

Since moving to Spain, I’ve been fortunate to learn how to cook, Paellas and Arrozs of many different flavours, and I find these dishes are a great way to feed an army of people, economically, healthily and heartily, with a real taste of Spain.

During the last few weeks, I have cooked Paella for 50 french and Spanish students, whilst they were enjoying a day in the Campo (Countryside) playing traditional family games. In this paella I used pork and green beans, delish ! A few hours to prepare, and devoured in minutes…well I suppose that’s the sign of tasty grub.

My second Arroz, was made in a more leisurely way, whilst entertaining friends from Familyinspain , its a great social way to cook, as long as your ingredients are all prepared before hand, they are just added one by one, you can enjoy the odd vino or fino, whilst chatting and cooking, with guests looking on. If you’d like to learn to cook Paella or arroz, that’s “No problema.  This time I chose, a wild mushroom and chicken arroz, garnished with steamed asparagus.

The first broad beans of the season, are ready to be podded. My children enjoy sitting in the sun with a bowl and pod away. I love to serve them as an appetizer in a broad bean and fresh pea dip, delicious spread on warm bruchetta.

BROAD BEAN AND PEA DIP.

 

A big handful of podded fresh broad beans.

A small handful of podded fresh peas or defrosted frozen peas,

Juice and zest of 1 lemon.

1 clove of garlic, chopped.

Good glug of olive oil.

A handful of freshly grated Parmesan.

A 5 mint leaves chopped finely

Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

 

  • With a blender, whizz, peas, beans, lemons juice, olive oil and garlic.
  • Stir in Parmesan, mint and seasoning.
  • Serve, with crudites, warm pittas or piled on bruchetta.

 

A real taste of Spring flavours.

 

 

 

 

 

One Pot Mediterranean Marvel

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I’m starting to feel rusty !

I never really get quite prepared for the weather in Spain.  It always seems to take me by surprise, even though I religiously check the forecast each morning.  I suppose it’s because we live IN the weather at La Rosilla.  Up in the mountains, be it in the clouds, nearer the sun, closer to the lightening, secluded for the frost, the route for the rainfall we are IN it.

Each year the weather changes, in the 7 years that I’ve lived here, no two winters have been the same.  We experienced the first snow, in 80 years !,  The hardest Frost, that killed our plants, the wettest one, that turned us and everything mouldy ! This year has been mild, Thank goodness ! So we havent had too many moments of seeing our own breath in the house, and we have had chances to eat Alfresco, and we’ve even had a day on the beach and applied SPF, so we’re not complaining.  But as I said never prepared.

So when the rains fell this week, my washing was on the line, and it’s stayed there since ssshhh don’t tell my Mother !  My logs weren’t covered, and my arroyo’s that help the water flow around my house not through it, had not been cleared!!

So as a family we were feeling soggy, along with our two damp, muddy dogs, who love to snuffle, and dig in the fresh wet mud…oh how I wish there were truffles on this mount !  Their air in our little ‘Finca’ was not the sweetest.

That needing changing.  We needed the aromas of summer…

Only one thing for it . Freshly baked bread and my one pot Mediterranean marvel.

Nothing beats putting a large rustic earthenware dish full of Mediterranean goodness on the table, for one and all to enjoy, taking big spoonfuls, tasting Summer, washed down with a ‘Big fat Rioja’, And some Mosto for the kids .

 

ONE POT MEDITERRANEN MARVEL

Chop each ingredient to a similar size.

Serves 6.

2 x Onions

2 x Green Peppers

3 x large tomatoes

2 x Handfuls of Mushrooms

2 x handfuls of Small potatoes

1 x Chorizo

1 x Courgette
Place everything in a large dish suitable for the oven.

  • Add 4 cloves of garlic peeled.
  • 1 x handful of chopped rosemary
  • Add Olive oil, to coat ingredients and mix with hands.
  • Season generously with good sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Cook for 40 Mins, until everything is golden and softened.
  • Then Sprinkle the dish with tasty grated cheese.
  • Make 6 ‘wells’ in the cheese and crack in 6 eggs.
  • Put back in oven for 5 / 10 mins until eggs are set to your liking.

Enjoy with Chopped salad  with fresh herbs, and Home baked bread.

I baked Olive tapenande foccacia, to enjoy with our flavours of the med…you cant beat it.