Tag Archives: living the dream

How the years have flown.

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How the years have flown.

It’s our ” Living the dream‘ anniversary, or that’s what we thought and called it when we left England many moons ago, lock, stock & barrel.  Yes, it’s our anniversary of  ‘ The good life‘ on the mountain. Evolution, of our family growing up and changing throughout the years and embarking on their own futures and decisions. Evolution of our land & home, simplifying now where we can, having fulfilled our dreams and tick boxes of owning every farm animal, pigs, goats, chickens, horses…. being self-sufficient, with our veggie patch, almonds and olives, learning the hard way through successes, our own organic extra virgin olive oil, failures of dying plants due to lack and no water through the summer months, & upset of animals being killed by Mr Fox and stote, we’ve bought that T-shirt and worn it.  I’m happy now with my Olive orchard, hard work but rewarding, my back door herb and lettuce garden, and wildflowers and gardening to suit the terrain.

We still look at our view and think WOW, we still are grateful we live on the side of a mountain Wow, we still can’t believe that we have 3 bilingual children Wow, 2 now adults using their life swallows and amazons life experiences to enrich their futures.

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Always work to do.

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Mini Chef.

Times have been tough, but wouldn’t they have been anywhere? That’s life ! Bureaucracy drives us nuts, but we work through it and hold our heads up high.  My ‘little’ Foodie passion is steadily and organically growing into a business I am proud of, sharing our lifestyle, local produce, customs and traditions.  We welcome people from all over the world to have a glimpse of rural mountain life, we cook for celebrations and occasions, people will remember for years. We have made many like-minded friends always with a common theme of eating, drinking and making merry.

My writings are getting more sporadic on here over the years, a few reasons for this; procrastination, I always find other things I should or think I should be doing,  but once I get going I think, “Why don’t I do this more often?” Then there’s my brain fog, Hashimoto’s induced, which has really affected my vocabulary and ability to think what to write.  Hey ho, I have the memories, experiences and thanks to social media, I’m an IG’aholic @larosilla, I can share in other ways.

Our life here still surprises us, often flabbergasts us,  we are still learning the idiosyncracies of living in a different country, habits, mannerisms and morals, but when the going gets tough, our terrace and view awaits, our table is filled with visiting family and friends and my hiking boots are itching to be worn and mountains climbed.

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Viva Espana, Viva La Rosilla !

 

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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.

 

Girl Guide Motto – Be Prepared ;)

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I always thought my early years as a Brownie and later as a Girl guide, would bode me well in the future.

Be prepared and all that !!!

But every winter or start of, I think my brain fuddled from the heat of the summer, forgets my past and all it’s promises to  do my best.

We know its coming, the first rains that is, one things for sure in Spain, the expat in us still likes to think of the weather first and foremost, so it’s our daily morning ritual to check the forecast.  But complacent we are , with our high temperatures & clear skies, we think the rains are a  novelty, ‘Oh the land needs it’ we say, ‘No rain for 4 months, it’ll be a refreshing change’.  We live in denial of the coming winter  months, thinking they’ll never arrive, but they do, oh do they…

and guess what we’re never prepared.

Where has my view gone ?

So today as I sit typing away , jeans on for the first time in months, hearing lashing rains on my roof, and seeing pouring rains running under my doors..no we don’t have gutters or weather strips, just lovely rustic wooden doors ;), with electricity on & off, no satellite signal .  With winds gusting, so I feel like I’m in Oz, and branches crashing all about .  I sit and think ‘Is this living the dream’ …you bet it is …how dull life would be if it were all the same.

There’s just one thing it calls for on a day like this, comfort food, so with our supper bubbling on the stove, filling the house with aromas and warmth.  It’s homework time by candle light….

I would share the recipe, but sorry got fallen trees to move….next time x

Now where are my Hunters & Barbour……………………..

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.

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.

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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.

Ferias & Food !

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Spain wouldn’t be Spain without its many Feria’s, no matter how large or small, they are all just as important to the locals.

Our tiny hamlet Solano, nestled high in the hills of the Montes de Malaga, is part of the larger town of Colmenar & on May 3rd (Depending on weather) our Feria de Pipa is celebrated. The town-hall organise for all the Town folk, to be transported in the Campo (Countryside) for a day of feasting and revelry. So our sleepy mountain top, becomes alive.

Colmenar is famous for its embutidos, (cured meats and sausages), and on large barbecues, these are grilled to crispy on the outside and oozing in the middle, spicy Chorizos & rich Morcilla (black pudding) is crudely placed on Pan Cateto, home-made bread baked in bread ovens in the town. The pan is able to soak up the juices of the meats – Delicioso.

Queuing becomes a norm, as plates of meats, are passed overhead, underarm, any way the can to reaching hands. Beer is flowing on tap, and refrescos too.

Of course a Feria wouldn’t be a feria without the obligatory Paella, cooked over open fire, and this year we were not to be disappointed. Paella, of rabbit, chicken and pork, with green beans and artichokes. The chefs ( local town folk) sweated and toiled for us all to enjoy.

At the end of the day, we are all presented with the traditional (El Hornazo) a bread baked hen, stuffed with a hard-boiled egg. A work of art, for all. These were made in times of old, at the beginning of lent, when many were not permitted to eat eggs, and eggs were often thought of like meat as a protein, so they were hard-boiled to preserve them to enjoy after the religious Easter period.

We have a family of ‘Los Hornazos’ this year, the dog even sneaked a crafty one too.

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.