Tag Archives: Nostalgia

When the going gets tough …

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Like many people I’m sure at this time of year, there doesn’t seem enough hours in the day, or enough pennies in the pot – Life sometimes just piles more onto your plate than you can chew …

Well when the going get’s tough I go cooking …..

So I’ve stirred up my Christmas pud, and probably made just one too many wishes…

I’ve baked 6 Christmas fruit cakes, following my old Nan’s super easy recipe, and am feeding them daily with their tot of brandy – 1 for them 1 for me 😉

I’ve made my quince jam to add a sharp & sweet addition to my Christmas ham.

Sherry & Tapas Tasting

and I’ve cooked with my dear friend Lisa aka @familyinspain who joined me on a La Rosilla Cookery & Culture Day, to sample my fayre , join me in sampling sherry & tapas, discover the local countryside, go embutido (Cured meat) shopping and click away at her heart’s content taking some lovely shots of the day.

Embutidos Colmenar

So with the advent doors being opened, oranges studded with cloves and my mulled wine pot on the stove ready for its first fill, the festive aromas fill my senses & add a little cheer.

So as I look ahead to a month full to bursting, with much work and I hope much more play, I wish you all a happy and calm countdown…..

and let’s remember it’s just 1 Day !

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The jewel of Autumn.

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Who can but desire the luscious juiciness, of the ruby red seeds from a Pomegranate – Like Gemstones, glistening, awaiting to adorn dishes, with the jewel like presence.

Pomegranates (Granadas) I believe are the jewel of autumn, just as some of us take to hibernation, the beautiful pomegranate hangs from it’s tree, tempting us with its ripeness, with hues of colour from peach to scarlet.

In Ancient Greece it was thought of a symbol of prosperity and ambition . The Moors renamed the wonderful ancient city of Granada after the precious fruit, and Spanish colonists introduced the fruit to the Caribbean and Latin America.

On our mountain as the first fruits appear to ripen, my children scramble over the shrub-land, to be the first to bagsy their autumn treasure. Their favourite way to indulge, just tear open, and pick the seeds (arils) out one by one – Natures ‘Sweet’ shop :), My daughters have always thought of them as flower fairies crown jewels.

I remember my Mother telling me a story, when she was young and after her first week at work as a florist, she walked through the ‘Bullring’ market in the centre of Birmingham, and on a stall she saw the unusual fruit, and the ruby seeds. She spent her first pay packet on a Pomegranate for her mother, my Nan, who sat with a pin and enjoyed this new tropical fruit.

There are so many uses for pomegranates here are a few of my favourites ;

Pomegranate Raita –

A cooling yoghurt salsa to go with a spicy curry.

A pot of Greek yoghurt thinned with a little milk.

Seeds of a pomegranate

½ a cucumber chopped

a pinch of salt

a small handful of fresh mint leaves – chopped finely

a small handful of coriander – chopped finely

  •  Mix all together – Simple.

Jeweled Cous-Cous

To be enjoyed with rich Moroccan dishes.

Serves 4

250 grammes of Cous Cous

Veg Stock made with 250 ml Boiling water

Seeds of a pomegranate

Handful of pinenuts lightly toasted in a dry pan

Bag of spinach

Squeeze of lemon

  • Prepare the cous cous, with the veg stock, and let stand for 5 mins, then fluff up with a fork.
  • Wilt the spinach, in a pan with a little water, once wilted drain and squeeze out etc moisture, chop up.
  • Add to cous-cous.
  • Add pinenuts, and pomegranate.
  • Stir to mix.

Decant into a pretty bowl, and squeeze the juice of a lemon over.

Or for a decadent tipple, try a

Pom Royale

  •  Juice a pomegranate and put a teaspoon into the bottom of a Champagne fruit, with a few seeds too.
  •  Top with Cava, Prosecco or Champagne.

Salut !

So if you suffer from ‘S.A.D’ or the winter blues are upon you, break open a pomegranate, and let its health giving properties benefit your body & its ruby richness, put a smile on your face.

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 .

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.

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.