Tag Archives: memories

“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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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 .

Who ate all the Pies ?

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I love celebrating food in all it’s glory, and any excuse to research a dish, or prepare a dish is good for me. So with the U.K celebrating ‘National Pie Week’ I thought well I maybe up a mountain, at La Rosilla in the deepest Axarquia of Andalucia, but I have roots man 😉 and you can’t deny your roots. And who can’t love a Pie, sweet or savory, that home baked smell of goodness has to tempt even the die hard no Carb, low cal enthusiast – and pull them off their wagon.

I opted for my Gran’s ‘Herb and mince pie’, a dish that we were served in a traditional manner, sat around the large dining table, hands in lap, waiting for our slice of warm comforting pie, that my Grandad would masterfully cut, portions decided on age, not appetite. Impatiently sat waiting for the silent nod, we could start. Always served with minted peas fresh from her garden, and a rich gravy. Yum.

I also have a cherished pie plate – a Le Creuset Heart , I’m crazy about hearts. I just knew this would be the perfect plate for my Pie – I also decorated it with 5  hearts one for each member of the Family – Aaahhh bless !

For Shortcrust Pie pastry.

500 grams of Plain Flour
250 grams of fat – I used marg.
Large pinch of Salt.

Easiest way, is to whiz up the ingredients in a Food processor, or if not mix Flour and fat until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add ice cold water, until it forms a ball of pastry dough.

Then cut into 2, wrap in film, and place in fridge for 20 mins to chill and rest.

For the filling.

800 grams of good quality mince beef.
1 large onion, chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
3 carrots chopped
1 tbsp of mixed dried herbs – or I used Hierbabuena in Spain.
Plenty of Salt of pepper.
1 beef stock cube.
A small glass of water.
A slug of Worcestershire sauce.

Saute the veg, in a little hot oil in a large frying pan, to soften for a bout 5 mins.

Add the beef to brown.

Crumble in the stock cube, and add the water.

Add the herbs and stir.

Add the Worc. Sauce and stir.

Season well, and let simmer away stirring occasionally. For about 25 mins.

Roll out the tow balls of pastry to about ½ cm thickness.

Line a cake tin, pie plate or baking dish, that has been buttered to prevent sticking, with one of the rounds of pastry. Then pile in the filling. Then cover with the remaining rolled out pastry.

Pinch around the edges, and decorate the top, with any left over pastry.

Then brush with a beaten egg to give the pie a deep golden brown.

Bake in the oven, for 25 mins at 180 degrees.

Serve with peas, fluffy mash and gravy…..Filling, delicious & comforting.

Nostalgic Food !

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Sometimes I like to use food to transport me in my mind, back to memorable occasions and places, most of my best memories involve food, in the most special locations, grand  in a majestic chateau or simple in a field full of wild

flowers and scents of summer. In times of greyness I sit and daydream, and try and re-create the tastes , flavours and feelings these moments left me with.

 

 

The mind and taste buds work very well together, one fine example, is to imagine picking a ripe, juicy shiny lemon off the tree, imagine, cutting it in half, smelling the freshness of the zest, then imagine taking a huge bite – bet your face is reacting to this thought and your mouth salivating, with the idea.

Fresh Lemon

Often some peoples best food memories, are nostalgic ones, food from childhood, from eras gone by, most probably totally out of fashion, or so last year, or even using ingredients, one might be ashamed of admitting to, combination’s that others would turn their nose up at and say “How could you?’

Well I’m using this opportunity to ‘fes up, I admit I’m the first to tell my children, “you can’t possibly have that on that, its just not right”, but I seem to have one rule for one and one rule for another, especially if  I’m involved.  I blame it on not knowing any better at a young age, or perhaps it was just expected in times gone by to allow children to do what they want with food, so long as they eat it !  So I admit, I do butter on my Weetabix, evaporated milk on my jelly, butterscotch instant whip and ketchup on my Chicken soup…I know don’t gasp in horror.  I have since grown up…maybe questionable, and cured myself of gaining any more bad habits, but I’m sorry those are just too deep rooted in my heart and soul and I LOVE THEM !

Jelly and Cream.

Oh and there’s one more, I’m even going to share the recipe, you’ll probably not try it..but it’s worth a go.  Pure comfort food in my mind, I reassure you it’s not on the Menu for guests at La Rosilla, but it’s on my dining table tonight, and just for me…My children will be saying ‘Now Mum that’s just wrong’ , it’s one dish I save for myself.

SSShhh secret Corned Beef Stew !

Ingredients :

1 x Tin of Corned beef.

1 Onion chopped.

2 Sticks of celery.

4 Potatoes chopped up, no need to peel.

3 carrots peeled and chopped.

1.5 litres of Homemade veg stock.

2 x bay leaf.

Fresh black pepper.

Method

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to boil, add carrots, potatoes ,celery and onion, simmer until tender.

Add the corned beef cut into chunks, and heat through.

Season with pepper, they’ll be enough salt.

Then serve…Try and enjoy.

Bring on supper time, and transport me back to my youth.

For more delicious, and I really mean it recipes take a look at La Rosillas Home Made recipes.

 

Why not share some of your childhood food memories, or strange and delightful favourite dishes.