Tag Archives: Salad

My summer “foodie’ joys of Spain.

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Chilled Albarino, from Rias Baixas

 A Sundowner.

Creamy goats cheese from Colmenar baked on-top of caramalised onions.

Kids getting stuck into fresh seafood.

Mejillones Marinera.

Tapas with a cool beer.

Gambas Torpedos – Prawns wrapped in noodles & fried till crisp.

Salad & Sardinas.The taste & smell of a Spanish Summer.

Tomatoes from the garden, olives from the tree.

Gazpacho – 5 a day in a bowl – Giving the liver a breather.

and of course not forgetting the obligatory Paella the ultimate one pot.

a feast for family & friends.

‘VIVA VERANO’


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Pipirrana What a lovely name for a salad.

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Pipirrana, what a lovely name for a dish.

When working with my OH at our Golf Academy, many of our members, have heard through the grapevine, or by myself that I’m a little obsessed about food.  Many of the men, are very proud of the culinary skills, and are more than happy to demonstrate to me, and I have no objection, as this results in many delicious lunches prepared for me, in the beautiful alfresco setting at the golf course.

Yesterday was no exception with the lovely ‘Javier’ rustling up his take on ‘Paella’ and the wonderful summer salad.

Pipirrana is a fresh, chopped Spanish salad, and like many Spanish dishes, there are many takes on it.  It basically is ‘Porra” the thick, soupy tomato dip, before it has been blitzed in a blender, with a few personally chosen added ingredients, my favourite being ‘Pulpo’ or crabsticks.

It is a refreshing salad to have on the side of any grilled, barbecued meat or fish dish, or on top of Bruschetta as a canapé.

Pipirrana

Ingredients.

All ingredients should be peeled and finely chopped.

Cucumber

Tomatoes

Onion

Green Pepper

Olive Oil

Balsamic vinegar

Sea salt and Fresh ground black pepper

Toppings

Crabsticks, hard-boiled eggs, pulpo. / Optional

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl; add oil and vinegar to coat and season.

Buen Provecho.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

They’re full up !

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After many years of water shortages in Andalucia, and a few summers up in the mountains, of no water for 3 weeks, in temperatures of 42 degrees, it is such a welcoming sight to see our reservoirs full. A dramatic sight, of water that changes colour to suit the weather, ranging from the deepest greys, to the most astonishing turquoises . Many of the regions reservoirs are full to capacity, some even have to release water from their overflowing reserves to avoid flooding !! Lets hope , our pipe work and the water board, can deliver their end now, and keep our supplies freely flowing.


Learning to live with no water or very little water, is a great lesson learnt for all the family, turning the tap off whilst cleaning teeth, In the shower, wet, water off, Soap, water on, Rinse, and ‘if its yellow let it mellow, and if its brown flush it down’ ;), are all now normal routines in the La Rosilla house hold. A commodity I’m proud to say we don’t take for granted.

Full reservoirs, obviously means we’ve had lots of rain, so our mountain, is alive with wild life ,eager for Spring, with beauty comes the beast and to me that is the weeds. I leave most to grow wild on the mount, until they die down in summer, then we’ll have the land ploughed by a brave Campo soul who I believe takes his life in his hands, as he ascends and descends in his tractor on a hillside of great degrees. The weeds around my chosen planting, i.e my garden have to be tackled with gusto, often a task I procrastinate.

I have tried to re-create a cottage style garden, with a little Mediterranean flare, or should I say influence.  Some of my Cottage plants haven’t sur vived, and mountain living in full heat is not for them, but many have.  I planted seeds from my old blighty garden, along with bulbs for spring too.  So my garden, is a medley, it’s Spanglish in its full glory in Spring.  So flowering together we have, Daisy, and Birds of Paradise, with giant hollyhocks, filling out ready to shoot their long stalks with blooms of baby pink.

The La Rosilla veggie patch, is coming along nicely, and with a warm Saturday lunchtime looming, we picked our first fresh, mixed Salad leaves, and baby pea shoots, to enjoy with a baked Mozzarella, pesto and sundried tomato tart, and a simple, lemon, olive oil , and garlic dressing.

Today the winds have changed, and a cold front is blowing through, so as quickly as we have a tease of summer and all things light, fresh and tasty, I am loomed back into hearty, wholesome dishes to fulfill the families appetites…So vegetable Korma will be on the menu for supper , flexibility is the key, a skill, I am still learning.

Simple Salad Dressing – 100ml Finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Juice of a lemon, Crushed Clove of Garlic, a pinch of Maldon Salt, and grinding of Black pepper, Pop in a empty jam jar, and give a good shake.  Drizzle over leaves and dress, just before serving.  The rest can keep happily on the fridge.