Tag Archives: olive oil

Elixir de La Rosilla

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I’m proud to present our first Cold Pressed, Single Estate, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

14 years back when we moved to La Rosilla, we were unquestionably wet behind the ears, and surely wearing, rose-shaded specs 😉 purchasing a little ‘Finca’ in the mountains, with 600 sq meters of Olive and almond groves planted or should I say clutching to the steep slants, trees that had not be cared for, pruned or looked after for a very long time.

Over the following years we’ve learned the hard way, trial and error and trusting perhaps a little too much on not quite so generous locals (who I’m pleased to say are far and few between) who definitely took advantage of our naivety.  Most years our olives have been picked by a young couple of burly boys, we share the crop, they take to the Cooperative, and then deliver us some oil, all’s good :).

A couple of years ago, our trees were bare, no crop, no oil – they needed TLC, then came along our saviour ‘Angel‘ – he has guided us in their care, helped us prune, rake and look after  the land, all hard hands-on work, but very necessary to maintain the trees and ensure their production for years to come and for future generations of our family.

In the 14 years on the land, we have never used any chemicals our animals have helped greatly over the years, fertilising naturally. Last winter we gave the trees an extreme prune, and they repaid us greatly with ladened branches of beautiful olives.  They only downfall this year or lack it was no rain, no rain at all. This meant our normal harvest time was brought forward a few months, as we couldn’t risk the olives dropping with lack of water.  The benefit of cropping early does give a better quality of oil, even if the yield is less.

This year we had planned our own pressing, to ensure we had our own single estate oil, so the Mill was booked and we had 3 days to harvest.  Up at dawn and worked till dusk, back and arm breaking work, laying nets and bashing trees with long poles.  Each tree took approximately 1 hour to harvest, and we soon got into a rhythm and method that suited us.  As the olives laid in their nets, we then, by hand sieved out the leaf and twig debris, before bagging in large sacks.

We collected 763 kgs – Happy Days.

We were rewarded with 137 liters of pure liquid gold, unfiltered and cold pressed.

The variety of our olives is Picual, which is great all-round oil, and good for cooking too.

That first taste of fresh out of the oven warm bread, dipped into our OWN organic oil was just heavenly and we have ‘Angel’ to thank for that.

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Harvest Time

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Seems an age since I’ve blogged, well it’s not that I’ve been sitting idle. I decided to re-write my website

La Rosilla – Catering

and give it a new look, gosh that took some time, much more than I’d planned. So my scribblings about life on the mount, have been out of the window for a while. Although not putting my happenings in type, they’ve still go on..never a dull moment on the mount.  So while flowers come back to bloom after fresh rains, Autumn brings with it some mountain house keeping, and preparations for the months to come.

Living in our own olive grove, with some 50 trees scattered precariously on rockie ledges and hard to reach places, the annual task of pruning and harvesting the olives, isn’t one we look forward to with relish.

Olive Picking La Rosilla

 

So this year when our neighbours , offered to do the job in exchange for oil. We jumped at the chance. The Mulos, had flattened the areas under the trees a few months before ( Think the neigbours were planning ahead) so two days later, after they proposed their question, our trees were plucked, shaken and pruned.

We kept one tree for ourselves for eating olives. We have a lovely old Hojiblanca tree, whose olives are too beautiful to press. A big bucket load was gathered, then each olive was bashed by hand, by all the family, a laborious hand aching job, taking care not to crush the stone. They were washed then put in a large jar, filled with clean water. We will leave them in here, changing the water daily, until they can be eaten without tasting bitter, some say a week – I say more like 4 weeks. After this curing time, I will bathe them in spices, and salted water, and some special few, will be put into the our 0live oil a little honey, a squeeze of orange, cumin & bay. These will be enjoyed at Christmas with our Jamon –Deliciosos.

Olives Curing in Water

So with olives curing, and trees pruned – We only hand to clear the debris and prunings, so after the week-ends rainfall, we set to our annual bonfire. A sense of Hunter gatherer all around.

 

Next on my preserving agenda Quince Jam & investigating ideas for my ruby grapefruits – I have millions ….Suggestions on a postcard please 😉

Summer roasted peppers.

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Easy Summer dishes, are what I love, using fresh home-grown ingredients where possible .

Here’s a favorite of mine for you, can be enjoyed as a side dish to accompany fish or barbied meat or simply , I like it for lunch, with a hunk of homemade bread, to mop up the Juices and a chilled Fino to sip.

Summer Roasted Peppers

Serves 4

2 Large red peppers, cut in half through the stalk.

4 ripe Tomatoes, cut in quarters.

1 fat clove of garlic

Olive Oil

Fresh herbs ( I use Rosemary or dried oregano that I dry myself)

Anchovy Fillets.

Method

Oil a baking dish, and lay the peppers in it.

Drizzle the inside of the peppers with Oil, season with Salt & pepper, and put in each some slithers of garlic.

Stuff the peppers with the tomatoes.

Drizzle with more oil, S & P, and sprinkle with herbs.

Top with anchovy fillets.

Bake in a hot oven for 25 mins, till tender and oozing.

Other ideas, not too keen on anchovies, top with Goats Cheese, or once out of the oven, shavings of Parmesan..Delish to0.

 

 Buen Provecho.

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.

Cheer you up Salad !

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Comfort food, often has the guise of heavy stodgy dishes, don’t get me wrong, they comfort me too, but many a time, you need food to lift your spirits, visually & emotionally..and longing for summer after many a rainy day, I wanted a little sunshine on my plate, with no fuss, no cooking and ready in an instant.

Slicing up a couple of vine ripened toms, a crisp red onion, a log of the creamiest goats cheese, a handful of black olives, a sprinkling of coriander & parsley from the veggie patch, a drizzle of the fruitiest sweetest olive oil, a touch of maldon & a squeeze of balsamic…

Voila, ya esta , hey presto…

 Heaven on a plate 🙂