Tag Archives: Flowers

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.

 

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In bloom !

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Brain a fuddle from festivities, larder & fridge still not rid of its excesses, I’m not quite ready to fling myself into the New, almost but not quite.  Just a few more days & one week-end left of indulgence – the Joys of living in Spain, the beginning of January or at least the new regime doesn’t start, till after the 3 Kings have made the Journey from the East.

I’m not totally procrastinating , I’m looking forward to putting last year behind me and facing the future, bright and bubbly.  La Rosilla has had its first Spring clean, so it is detoxed , decs away, windows cleaned to allow the sunshine to flood right through, and a list of jobs to do has been made.

The mountain garden is certainly flourishing in our mild winter we’re having, and blooms and buds are adorning the plants with colour so bold.

Hello Daisy

Passion Flower

Geranium

Mother Nature knows it is time for a change with a polite reminder to partake in  healthier dishes and juices, with fruits dripping from the trees and onion sets & broad beans shooting up into the New Year.

Good Old Mother Nature 🙂

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.

Hollyhocks & Forget me Nots !

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I like to take a wander around my mountain, and see what nature has delivered to me, after the showers comes the Sun, with the sun comes the flowers, with the flowers comes the bees…The mountain becomes a hive of activity, colours erupt from every corner, the sky the stage backdrop in a colour so blue and pure.

La Rosilla Garden

Like food creating memories, flowers too for me.. can transport me to many a happy time in the past. Seeds have been sown, from travels and gifts from friends. Stored in old brown envelopes, with a hand written scrawl of its contents waiting to come to life. Forget me Nots, sent with a letter, Hollyhocks from my ‘Older’ best friends beautiful English country garden, each year growing and spreading her presence around me in Spring.

 

New comers this year, which will pop up and say hello next year, are Sweet Peas & Aquilega. A gift of a plant a seedling or seeds brings joy for months to come. This weekend, I was given a huge packet of ‘Mediterranean mixed leaves seeds’ that’s a mouthful, well will hopefully be soon, they have been sown, next to me giant radish..and soon with mouthwatering fresh from the patch, and adorning many a plate at La Rosilla.

My first baby courgettes have been born, I will pick them tonight, just minutes before eating, can’t get fresher than that. Maybe just lightly pan fried in Olive Oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of thyme yum.

Tomatoes, are growing rapidly up their golf shafts – (well I am married to a golf club-maker, waste not want not) and fortunately weren’t damaged after the torrential rains..I can’t wait for that first juicy plump tomato, to be picked and eaten in the Sun .

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.

They’re full up !

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After many years of water shortages in Andalucia, and a few summers up in the mountains, of no water for 3 weeks, in temperatures of 42 degrees, it is such a welcoming sight to see our reservoirs full. A dramatic sight, of water that changes colour to suit the weather, ranging from the deepest greys, to the most astonishing turquoises . Many of the regions reservoirs are full to capacity, some even have to release water from their overflowing reserves to avoid flooding !! Lets hope , our pipe work and the water board, can deliver their end now, and keep our supplies freely flowing.


Learning to live with no water or very little water, is a great lesson learnt for all the family, turning the tap off whilst cleaning teeth, In the shower, wet, water off, Soap, water on, Rinse, and ‘if its yellow let it mellow, and if its brown flush it down’ ;), are all now normal routines in the La Rosilla house hold. A commodity I’m proud to say we don’t take for granted.

Full reservoirs, obviously means we’ve had lots of rain, so our mountain, is alive with wild life ,eager for Spring, with beauty comes the beast and to me that is the weeds. I leave most to grow wild on the mount, until they die down in summer, then we’ll have the land ploughed by a brave Campo soul who I believe takes his life in his hands, as he ascends and descends in his tractor on a hillside of great degrees. The weeds around my chosen planting, i.e my garden have to be tackled with gusto, often a task I procrastinate.

I have tried to re-create a cottage style garden, with a little Mediterranean flare, or should I say influence.  Some of my Cottage plants haven’t sur vived, and mountain living in full heat is not for them, but many have.  I planted seeds from my old blighty garden, along with bulbs for spring too.  So my garden, is a medley, it’s Spanglish in its full glory in Spring.  So flowering together we have, Daisy, and Birds of Paradise, with giant hollyhocks, filling out ready to shoot their long stalks with blooms of baby pink.

The La Rosilla veggie patch, is coming along nicely, and with a warm Saturday lunchtime looming, we picked our first fresh, mixed Salad leaves, and baby pea shoots, to enjoy with a baked Mozzarella, pesto and sundried tomato tart, and a simple, lemon, olive oil , and garlic dressing.

Today the winds have changed, and a cold front is blowing through, so as quickly as we have a tease of summer and all things light, fresh and tasty, I am loomed back into hearty, wholesome dishes to fulfill the families appetites…So vegetable Korma will be on the menu for supper , flexibility is the key, a skill, I am still learning.

Simple Salad Dressing – 100ml Finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Juice of a lemon, Crushed Clove of Garlic, a pinch of Maldon Salt, and grinding of Black pepper, Pop in a empty jam jar, and give a good shake.  Drizzle over leaves and dress, just before serving.  The rest can keep happily on the fridge.


Stuffing !

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Nothing beats the smell, of a roast cooking, it sort of clarifies it is Sunday to me, lets me breathe a sigh of relief, a day of rest and recuperation. A day I don’t need to feel guilty, if I read, sit, stare and look.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still jobs I must attend to..but for some reason on a Sunday they don’t feel like chores.

Preparing the veggies, and accompaniments is a family affair.  my OH peeling potatoes.  I DON’T DO potatoes, well I dislike peeling them.  Little Nell, slices the Runner Beans, with our handy slicer.  No 1 son, whisks up the Yorkshire Pudding batter, nobody makes Yorkshires like him…of course I’ve taught him all he knows.  No 1 daughter isn’t to keen to come into the kitchen, well when I’m in there anyway…not that I’m controlling or anything…but it is MY domain.  So she uses her creative talents, to lay the table, picking flowers from the our mountain and garden at La Rosilla, and setting place names…even though we always sit in the same space, but these little touches, always gives us our Sunday sense of occasion.  Family togetherness, memories and traditions.

 

One thing we do like to make for our lunch, is home-made stuffing, just some much tastier, healthier and delicious, than the packet type, of dried unrecognisable contents.  It’s so easy too, and all with ingredients we often have at home.  There is no hard and fast recipe to stick too, but this one I’ve made up is fab.

LEMON & HERB STUFFING.

  • 2 Good handfulls of fresh breadcrumbs,
  • mixed with the zest of 1 lemon ,
  • a handfull of fresh chopped herbs from the garden –  I used Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, Sage & rosemary.
  • Add 1 finely chopped onion and garlic that has been sauteed in a little butter until softened.
  • Add a few chopped walnuts.
  • Mix in one egg to bind slightly.  then season generously.
  • Pop in  a oven proof dish , and bake for 20 mins.

Enjoy with any roast meat, and also great eaten cold, for lunch the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mi Casa es tu Casa !

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Creating and hosting events, is one of my favourite pastimes, all the little extras, the finishing touches, I believe help create the perfect setting.  I was fortunate this week to be asked to plan and host a ‘Special’ dinner at La Rosilla, for a clients 50th Birthday, 10 guests were to arrive, and be treated to an evening full of fine food and wine, in the intimate setting of the cosy lounge, this was a true

‘Mi Casa es Tu Casa’ event.

I decorated the room with the most fragrant Mimosa, picked from the mountain, like luminous plumes of the most exotic bird, Place settings were garnished with Lavender, and Almond Blossom adorned the table, the air was perfumed with the natural aromas, of a Spanish Spring.  The entrance was lit by flickering candle light, leading the way to a night of revelry and indulgence.  The roaring fire, created the glow and warmth for a wonderful welcome.

A menu of comforting dishes was served, after canapés of Spiced Roasted red pepper dip ,and Thai Galloping Horses were enjoyed with chilled Bollinger champagne.  The finest Spanish Wines were quaffed, deep ruby reds of Ribera del Duero & Rioja, and White Albariño from Rías Baixas the colour of honey.

After deserts of  “To die for bannoffi pudding “and “Vegan Chocolate Orange cake”  Cheeses of every style, along with figs, apricots, passion fruits, walnuts and cape gooseberries, were presented to groans of “I can’t possibly eat anymore” but were eaten with delight, whilst sipping the obligatory port passed from the left.

A night of merriment and memories was had by all, and dreams of more wonderful La Rosilla evenings to come.

Thai Galloping Horses

A refreshing and piquant canapé , that looks impressive to be served with Pre-dinner drinks.

  • Pan fry 1 onion finely sliced, until dark brown in a little oil
  • add 1 tbsp of dark brown sugar, 1 tbsp of peanut butter, 1 tbsp of Soy Sauce,
  • heat until thick and glossy, then leave to cool.
  • Cut a fresh pineapple into dice of about 1 inch, and top with a tsp of the cooled onion mixture.
  • top with a sliver of red chilli, a coriander leaf and a squeeze of lime.