Tag Archives: La Rosilla

Humble abode & horses.

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I can’t believe it’s over a month since I’ve written, well I can actually, time has flown and life has been hectic, good but hectic.

Food creations have been a little on the back burner and lifestyle more upfront.  I’m not saying we haven’t indulged, we have but on a more makeshift and mend, rustic style.  Cooking on open fires, eating alfresco, picking salad leaves from the patch, shopping day by day.  Why ? because we had our first guests renting La Rosilla for the season, and we pack up and move to our much humbler shack on the mountain.  It is very picturesque but has no electricity (hence no posting) and only cold water, and washing up outside, think camping but with a roof over our heads !  Fortunately the weather was kind to us, which made life a great deal easier.

Whilst living out of our suitcases, our kitten that we are hand rearing, has grown from strength to strength now nearly 6 weeks old, he is weaned and starting to explore , keeping the dogs entertained and us of course.  I’m now thankful that the sleepless nights of 2 hourly feeds are over, and proud that we have succeeded in the task .  He has traveled with us over the last 6 weeks, wherever we’ve been, the beach, parties, camping and to work.

Rizzo and Nutty

Rizzo and Nutty

Our mountain animal menagerie is growing again.  We have another pony on the way, that we have rescued.  Inca will be joining Tika on the mount, for TLC and a better life.  I too have got back in the saddle after 25 years, my nerve or bravery seems to have diminished though .  I’m hoping my confidence builds as I get used to it again. I’m looking forward to hacks and rides with my little daughter and exploring new paths ,tracks and vistas, with a picnic or two.

This week-end we took part in our first Romeria, (Spanish Horse Fair), along with our friend and teacher Sharon.  We were the only female riders amongst many Spanish men and their stallions !! A great day riding and partying, flamenco and traditions with local musto, embutidos , paella and snails !!!! for all those who rode.

 

Nellie & Me :)

Nellie & Me 🙂

horses

So once more settled back in at La Rosilla, I can re-focus and get creating again .  Recipe books out and being browsed, to get back on my #cookfromthebooks wagon challenge with menus being planned for guests and visitors.  The veggie patch is growing well, and courgette flowers almost ready for picking and stuffing, vine leaves fresh and green too will be hopefully ready to be harvested at the weekend to be turned into delicious dolmades.  The first figs our Brevas, and plumping and turning colour nicely – Oh the joy of mouthwatering home-grown ingredients.

So from us all at La Rosilla humans and animals, Spencer, Rizo, Fanny (dogs), Baba, Rocket, Nutty (cats) Tika & Inca (horses) and Hens aka lovely ladies.

HASTA LUEGO

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#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 🙂

 

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 14 Big wheels & seaside rock.

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I seem to have muddled up my weeks, that’s not difficult for me ;). So my #cookfromthebooks challenge, is a medley of what I’ve been up-to, and a favourite recipe from La Rosilla.  I would love of course to travel with my cook books in tow, well they’re my babies, but don’t think I could get away with that on my low cost airline travel bag allowance !

I am now back on my m0untain at La Rosilla, and have been rewarded by wall to wall sunshine and and balmy temperatures. I have been most lucky, as I too enjoyed lovely warm spring temperatures for my last few days in Sussex. I was fortunate to be given a guided visit of Brighton and amble along the pier, through the lanes and parks and have a birds eye view of the city on the giant ferris wheel.  Suitably proud of my bravery ( I don’t do heights) once over the initial revolution, and only looking forward I actually quite enjoyed it !

Obligatory rock for my children was purchased, and seaside photos taken.  Students, picnicked, and braved the cold sea, folks relaxed on traditional deckchairs, beautiful Brighton was alive.

During my two weeks away caring for my charge, I loved pottering in my cosy cottage kitchen and rustling up dishes and flavours with seasonal produce.  Guests were invited to join us for supper, and I thoroughly enjoyed helping my charge entertain once more since the passing some years ago of his wife.

A trusty La Rosilla favourite recipe of Smoked Mackerel and Horseradish pate, with a Beetroot compote started our meal, and was washed down with a chilled bottle of fizz.

Smoked Mackeral & Horseradish Pate

Smoked mackeral and horseradish pate recipe.

125 g Cream Cheese

2 x smoked mackerel or 1 x tin Caballos de sur (Spain)

1 x lemon juice & zest

1 tbsp of creamed horseradish

handful of finely chopped chives

Salt & freshly black pepper.

  • In a bowl stir the cream cheese until soft.
  • add chopped mackerel and stir through.
  • add lemon juice & zest – Stir
  • stir in horseradish
  • season and just before serving stir through chopped chives.

This is lovely served as a dip with crudites, or put into tiny croustades for canapes.

I served it with home-made bread, and zesty beetroot compote & peppery rocket salad.

During my time away, I perused many a menu, and sampled some delicious hearty fayre. It was a pleasure to see so many cooking styles a multi cultural tastes being offered.  Two simple yet very tasty plates, that I will endeavour to reproduce at La Rosilla, were a Bubble and squeak cake, topped with thick ham off the bone, and oozing poached egg, the other the most succulent pork belly and most crunchy crackling I had ever eaten, I pushed the wheelchair extra hard and fast after that dish to burn those calories, but it was worth it 😉

Case over-loaded with choccie goodies, a delicious leg of lamb for Sunday lunch, and food magazines, I headed home, until next time.

Now to get back on track with my #cookfromthebooks challenge, and create some new tasty morsels for ‘Mi familia’

 

 

#cookfromthebooks week 6 (Weather week & TV gone)

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What a week, crazy weather all mixed up, days of warm sunshine, lashing rain and then winds to make Kansas look positively calm.  Battening down the hatches and waiting for weather to arrive, can seem quite exciting.  Mountain living is a guarantee that we receive extremes of all weathers and seasons, and within the ‘Expat online’ community always a great talking point, well we are British after all 😉

Number 1 daughter returned home from a very wet Herefordshire for her half term break, hoping for her cockles to be warmed and her pale skin to be rosied but we can’t always provide !! So it’s home fires burning, hot bots in  bed and 2 pairs of socks to keep her tootsies warm.  Candles are always at the ready at La Rosilla , baskets filled with tee-lights to be lit  in every room, normally to create a cosy ambiance but at this time of year for necessity too. With wind and rain comes the power-cuts, all part of the adventure of our lifestyle.

Food for family and friends we can provide, nothing beats gathering around the dining table when there has been a week of conversation topic making. So I set the table, invited friends for supper, scoured my cook books for my week 6 #cookfromthebooks  challenge, for family friendly recipes, ( our guests not quite so adventurous as us in food tastes 😉 A homely Chicken, Bacon and pea pie would see fit, chosen from Rachel Allens ‘favourite food at  home’ Rachel Allen Favourite food at home

I find this cook book, uplifting, clear and easy to follow.  Good hearty recipes, beautifully captured in photos.  Family favourites, dishes for occasions and basic must know tips for all cooks.

The Chicken pie with bacon and peas wasn’t a fast throw it all together affair, but worth the time and effort.  Like normal I adapted it to suit our tastes and and what I had in the fridge.  The pie in the recipe can be topped with mash or puff pastry, I used a filo topping, to add a slightly more sophisticated pie, to serve for supper guests.  I also used pancetta, instead of ham, which added an extra richness.   I served this with roasted butternut squash cubes, in caraway , not all guests were willing to try ‘Can’t do orange veg’ they said !!! and for  green, french beans sauteed in butter & garlic.

No photos this week of my ‘Pie’, with power on & off, candles lit and my wine glass full, this rare I know, slipped my mind 😉

Pud was a comforting cherry crumble or La Rosilla chocolate Brownies, La Rosilla Browniesthe children all bagsied the Brownies so I sneakily hid a butternut squash cube in them, but the devils caught me out 😉 – The crumble topping was unusually made I thought.  I always rub my flour and butter together to make bread crumbs then add sugar , oats and cinnamon – but in Rachel Allen’s recipe for Rhubarb, plum & cardamon crumble, she prepares her dry ingredients then pours on melted butter and quickly mixes – It did provide a dense crumble topping but I found quite clumpy – I think in future I’ll stick to my usual, on saying that with the bowl placed dangerously near to my place, I did manage to secretly have a few portions 😉

 

To finish the week an event we knew was looming on the horizon, but hoping it wouldn’t and not knowing when it would, came to fruition.  For many Ex-pats living in Spain, we have a guilty pleasure, or for some of us a necessity to watch UK TV to keep us up to date of our home-land, receive world wide news in our own language, or for me the obligatory watching of the many ‘Foodie’ programmes .  Never have I watched a ‘Soap’ in 9 years but Saturday Kitchen, Masterchef & my ‘Jamie’ these are my moments of weakness and now they are GONE !! The UK have changed their satellite position, and now we can no longer tune in to our favourite channels 😦 .  There are ways and means, and options being advised, sold, hawked as days go by, but as in sit, switch on and watch NO ! I know we’ll get used to it, and maybe find that life we actually came to live on a mountain for.  I have a pile of books to get through, jigsaws to make, and DVD’s to watch, so once I’ve finished sulking and got my head around it, all will be fine….Hurry up summer, when late night terrace sitting, and the only thing we watch is the night sky for shooting stars.

Until then a plateful of home-made ‘Melting Moments’ from my treasured, well thumbed, Nan’s ‘Bero’ recipe book, will do the trick.

MELTING MOMENTS RECIPE

140 g S.R Flour

80g caster sugar

120g Margarine / butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Oats, dessicated coconut & cranberries to decorate.

  • Cream togwther butter & sugar, add vanilla.
  • Stir in flour and mix well.
  • With your hands bring dough together.
  • With wet hands divide mixture into 36 balls and roll and coat with coconut or oats.
  • Place on a greased baking sheet slightly apart and flatten a little add a dried cranberry to some.
  • Bake at 160c for 12-15 mins until golden.

FAMILY RATING 10/10

EASY.

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

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.

 

World Sherry Day !

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It was with pleasure that I took part in World Sherry Day, a celebration to display the wonderful world of sherry and the versatility of the superb sherry wines on offer.

Fortunately living in Spain I can and do frequently partake in a ‘copita’ or two, but many people often think of Sherry as the pre-lunch quaff on Sunday with their granny, well yes I did this too from a very young age, perhaps therein lies the problem ;), but there is a sherry for every dish and occasion and I was proud to showcase this at La Rosilla.

The date was perfect too for my Supper club to re-open for the summer, a celebration all round.

Like normal I was living on the edge, as this years unpredictable weather was giving me the run around.  As I prepped busily on Sunday morning, making everything ship shape, I did so in thick cloud and dodging rain drops…but I held out and went for it, guests arrived sensibly with shawls and jackets and with a very gung ho supportive spirit.

Quarter deck cocktails, warmed everyone’s souls with canapes of  Hazelnut & parmesan stuffed mushrooms, and cheese puffs with cheery toms & caper-berries.  We all shared our sherry stories, and I gave a talk on the diversity of sherry, it’s origins , production and aging process, before everyone sat on the terrace ready for their feast and tastings.

Lunch was served and we enjoyed, crisp dry pale gold  Fino & Manzanilla,  Amber rich and warm Amontillado & Oloroso, and finished with  dessert and decadent luscious PX .

World Sherry Day La Rosilla supperclub

As the sherry flowed the sun put his hat on, to end a special Sunday afternoon on the terrace.

 

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 !

La Rosilla – Book Club Birthday

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A year ago, I decided that I needed to stretch myself, or should I say read more.  Give myself a little time out to sit and escape my hectic life .  I had always tended to read the same style of book, dare I say starting with Chic lit, then moving on to one or two chosen authors.

I knew my friends back in ‘Blighty’ had been attending a book club for some time, and often I had chatted to them about their readings.  I was a little unsure whether groups would be too high brow for me, and read too quickly and I wouldn’t keep up, so I thought a book club isn’t going to come to me living on the edge of a mountain, so I thought I must create one myself and encourage others to join.  It seemed others too had been looking for similar past-time, so within a short time I was joined by a lovely group of  ladies, and La Rosilla Book-club, was born

Well a year has passed and our small, but perfectly formed group of readers , have enjoyed a monthly traveling book-club, visiting one another ‘s houses each month to discuss, drink tea & eat cake .  We have shared many genres, including classics, one we couldn’t finish, and others not to all our liking, but we’ve stuck at it and had a great time.  others do read faster than me, and sometimes I am cramming the last few pages just minutes before we meet, but i do it.

Yesterday we celebrated our commitment and birthday with a wonderful afternoon party, we were joined by the Author of our chosen book for the month Joan Fallon , ‘Daughters of Spain’.

Under the rule of Franco, Spain’s military dictator from 1936 until 1975 Spanish women lived very restricted lives, controlled by their fathers, husbands, the Church and the State.   In “Daughters of Spain” women of various ages and from all strata of society relate their experiences and in the process illustrate how the lives of women have changed dramatically since his death.  This series of short, frank interviews gives a dramatic picture of what it was like to be a woman living in Spain under Franco’s regime.

Joan described her adventures of becoming an author, the trials and tribulations of publishing as well as her experiences of having the opportunity to interview many interesting women of Spain.

We will adding further titles of  Joans later in the year including ‘Between the Sierra & the Sea’.

After chatting and discussing we enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea, enjoyed the sunshine, it also became apparent we may have a few budding authors in our midst – so we may well have our very own ‘La Rosilla’ book out one day…watch this space.

You can see Joans write up here .