Tag Archives: Summer

Time to catch up !

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Oh my goodness, I can not believe I have not sat down and written since May ! . Shame on me, but mind you It’s not that I’ve been not living life to the full, and sometimes it’s just not the right time to write.  Well I’m back after a full to bursting, memory making, new experiences, catering to the max, foam partying, tapas tours & family and friends filled summer.

Family celebrations and special 18th birthday for my daughter with party and feasting and a great day at a stunning beach club to end it off.

A summer of welcoming guests on cooking and culture days from all over the world.  Honeymooners, friends holidaying together, families sharing new skills and cooking the perfect paellas.

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Girls from Holland.

Mama mia style weddings were a joy to plan and create for clients, with the Andalucian mountains and rustic villas providing the perfect backdrop for events to remember.  My biggest challenge this summer was to prepare, display and serve 800 tapas for an individual and stunning wedding celebration, it was utterly fabulous.

Holidays over, ninos went back to school, first rains appeared, temperatures dropped then rose again and now a heady Autumn we are enjoying.  Still able to eat alfresco and light up the BBQ, maybe just have to don a wrap or shawl as the sun sets.  Plants and flowers are coming back to life, after a long, hot summer.  Bees are busy on the blooming passionflower, and toads a plenty are coming out of their holes.

New season produce is flourishing, Chirmoyas, pomegranates, sweet potatoes to name a few.  Thoughts and tastes are turning towards comfort food, homemade soups and casseroles, long slow braised dishes and home-baked bread to mop up the juices. Most exciting for me is finally getting my new kitchen, which I’ll blog as #operationkitchen.  It has been a long time in the planning and saving, but soon work will commence.

So best foot forward for me, back to blogging, menu devising and planning for the future.  I’ll try to keep my cool when the demolition starts, but hey I can’t promise 😉

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Getting back into routine !

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Food is always high on my agenda, sharing, creating & of course eating. I’m always finding new recipes to try, scouring magazines for inspiration, aswell as being asked by friends and family for mine.

I’ve collated on scraps of paper,  favourite recipes over the summer from visitors . I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet clients from far flung places, happy to indulge my passion and whet my appetite with their superb dishes too.

Over the summer, with full on bookings for Classes, luxury food deliveries & my ‘Supperclub” on the terrace, posting recipes seem to have been put on my back burner !

Well hopefully now, as routine slowly gets back into shape, now children are back at school, all birthdays are finished, well In our family anyway and my last visitors leave on Monday I can start once again to do all the ‘foodie’ things I enjoy.

Just a couple of recipes that are easy family favourites that I have cooked and created for guests and clients of La Rosilla, and that I have sent to my ‘Mum’ when she was having a meltdown, as she was having friends to stay for the week-end, and just didn’t know what to cook…

I hope you like them too…

 

Smoked Salmon Pate & Rye

 Serves 4

1 packet of full fat cream cheese

200 gr of Smoked Salmon chopped

Zest of a lemon & juice of ½ a lemon

snipped chives

½ a Red onion finely chopped

1 tbsp of Whole grain mustard

a pinch of salt

 

Packet of Rye bread & Cucumber to serve.

Mix all the above ingredietnst together, for a smooth consitency use a blender.

Put into a pretty serving bowl, and decorate with smoked slamon lemon & chives.

Cut Rye bread into traingles & slice cucumber to decorate plate.

 

Beef in Red wine

 

1kg braising beef (cubed)

Bacon lardons – Or thick cut bacon cut into pieces

Baby mushrooms left whole

1 large onion – Chopped

2 carrots chopped

Shallots / Baby Onions – peeled left whole

2 tbspPlain flour

1 bottle of red wine

Small tin of Tomato Puree

Cranberry Sauce

2 tbsp plain flour

½ pt Beef stock

Bay leaf & bouquet garni

Make in large Casserole dish with lid.

Pan fry the bacon until crispy, remove from pan

Add olive oil to pan and brown the beef, a little at a time so it browns nicely, not

steams.

Add onion & carrot and fry

Sprinkle with plain flour and stir and cook out flour for about 2 mins, will brown.

Add bacon back in.

Pour on whole bottle of red stirring to get all the juicy bits off the bottom for flavour.

Add tomato puree & beef stock

Pop in a 2 bay leaves & bouquet garni.

Lots of seasoning.

Cook slowly for 2 hours in the oven with lid on.

Then add baby onions & mushrooms – cook for another hour.

  • It may need extra cooking just check, and when beef is tender it’s done.

A tip, when its finished cooking stir in 2 tbsp of cranberry sauce, it’s yum.

Good luck & Buen Provecho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Simply stylish & a little wow !

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I’m always on the look out and designing new, amuse bouche, canapes or as I like to call them ‘Foo Faahs’ …It’s a lovely way to greet guests at La Rosilla, along with a cocktail maybe a mojito or my favorite Kir Royale.

Dainty bites, full of artistic flair, maybe with ingredients they haven’t tasted before, well maybe not together.

This week I made Morcilla topped with a fried quails egg, and a sprig of thyme. Together with a Beetroot gazpacho shot, and celery stirrer..refreshing and oh such a fabulous colour. In fact my daughter chose her paint colour for her room, after seeing a ‘Beetroot Shot’ 🙂

 Have a go ..

 

Take two cooked beetroot (not pickled) – Blend with a hand held blender.

Add 2 tbsp of Greek Yogurt.

A good dash of Vodka.

A sprinkling of cumin seeds.

Whiz once more.

I find it easier to decant it into a squeeze bottle.

Then squeeze into shot glasses.

Decorate with a celery stick, or cucumber and a black olive.

Simply Stylish..with a little wow.

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 .

Sun Dried Tomatoes.

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Rushing through the market the other day, the Fruit and Veg stall, grabbed my attention. Bursting at the seems, with lush seasonal goodies. Strawberries, ruby-red and glistening, Cherries deep burgundy, just waiting to be worn as cheeky earrings, new potatoes freshly dug, the first apricot and peaches sitting perfectly waiting to be chosen.

For me bundles of Asparagus, armfuls in fact, to be lightly steamed, and drizzled with melted butter, to be roasted with olive oil, rock salt and a grating of Parmesan, to be wrapped in Serrano ham and grilled on the plancha…for my children dipped into boiled eggs – “Posh Soldiers” we call it.  Made into a tart, puff pastry rolled out into a rectangle, covered in herded cream cheese, asparagus placed on top, drizzle of olive oil, crack of black pepper, a touch of salt, baked till golden ..Delish.


Tomatoes too, big bunches, firm and red on their vines..tomatoes that smell of tomatoes.

Buying at the market, always involves huge lots, that’s how you get your bargains. So ladened too with my toms, I’ve made fresh tomato sauce to freeze for Pasta dishes at a later date..

On Saturday we woke to the most glorious sunshine, with temperatures to boot..ah that had me thinking, make the most of the day. So I made my first batch of Sun Dried Tomatoes for the season. To be enjoyed over the next few weeks, with crumbly goats cheese, piled on hot crusty bruchetta, or just greedily from the jar.

SUN DRIED TOMATOES .

Firstly cut each tomato in half, and scoop out the seeds.

Lay on a baking sheet, I cover mine with baking parchment

Put a drop of olive oil into each cavity, and leaf or two of fresh thyme, and sprinkle of fine rock salt.

Place in the full sun , in a hot place, in the fresh air. They can be covered with a fly net .

Leave all day, once they have shriveled, they are ready. If like me you may like a little juiciness in them..I think these are known as ‘Sunblush‘ One hot day should be sufficient, if you want them drier, bring in at night, cover, and put them out the next day.

Once dried, take a sterilized Jam Jar, put a little EVO in the bottom, and then stuff you toms in the jar. I add a garlic clove sliced in half, and a few sprigs of Thyme and Rosemary.

These little gems if not devoured before should last a couple of weeks in the fridge.

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.

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.