Cooking in Spain: The children visit Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen

Have you ever thought about cooking in Spain, in an authentic location such as the whitewashed village of Vejer de la Frontera?

 If not, why not?

Introducing our Exciting New Project

As some of you may know, we are in the process of publishing a language learning cook book called “Cooking with Languages”. We have some simple, scrummy recipes for you all to enjoy whilst also learning Spanish . Many of these were contributed by friends and colleagues from all areas of Spain.

One of the contributors is the lovely Annie B.

So, whilst on our summer holidays in the province of Cadiz, we popped in for a quick cookery lesson with our Cooking in Spain twitter buddy. @cookinginspain is also known as the lovely Anne Manson from Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen in Vejer de la Frontera.

I met Annie a few years ago (you can read about it here ) and need no excuse to visit her in Vejer at any opportunity. However, this time it was our children’s turn to have a go. After all, our cookbook is designed for the children and for family fun in the kitchen.

  •  Learning is fun when you have a good teacher.
  •  Learning is fun when the teacher makes it simple.
  •  Cooking and learning is fun with Annie B.

Here is a short video to show you what they got up to and what they thought ….

If you’d like to know more about cookery courses at Annie B’s, visit her website.

If you’d like to know the recipe for the lovely cookies we made … well, you’ll just have to wait until our Cookbook is published 😉

Do you have a favourite recipe that is simple but scrummy? If so, send it to us and if we include it in the book, we’ll dedicate it to you.

So, who’s ready to start cooking in Spain?

Coffee in Spain: How do you like yours?

How to Order your Favourite Coffee in Spain…

coffee in spain

One of the many things we love about Spain is its coffee! Did you know that there are so many ways to order coffee in Spain? People say that the Americans have too many ways of ordering a coffee … but what about the Spanish. Depending on in which region you find yourself, ordering a coffee in Spain can be quite a complicated affair. Thankfully, unlike the extremely polite and sometimes, over efficient Americans, your Spanish waiter is not likely to offer too many options. That is not, however, to mean that you will receive what you think you have ordered!

Here are just some of the ways of ordering the many combinations of coffee in Spain:

  • Café Solo:  A simple shot of strong black coffee in a small cup
  • Café Solo con Hielo: A short black coffee poured over ice (very refreshing in the summer!)
  • Café Americano: The same shot of coffee but in a larger cup with more water added
  • (Café) Cortado: A shot of coffee topped up with a small amount of milk (often served in a glass)
  • Café con Leche: A regular old coffee with milk (although it may be stronger than you are used to).
  • Café del tiempo: In Madrid, that is a cafe solo with ice and lemon
  • (Café) Sombra: A slightly weaker coffee with milk.
  • (Café) Nube : A much weaker coffee with milk.
  • Carajillo: A small shot of black coffee with a generous splash of alcohol. The most typical being coñac although Baileys is pretty nice too!
  • Bomboncito: A small black coffee with condensed milk.
  • Manchado: In Murcia, it is like the Bombón, but with less condensed milk.
  • Trifásico: A small black coffee with condensed milk and a slug of brandy
  • Asiático: A potent mix of condensed milk, double espresso, licor 43, brandy, lemon rind and cinnamon. Also known as a Barraquito in the Canary Islands
As you can see from the above image, the amount of coffee in your coffee is what influences its name. However, if you go to certain parts of Spain and ask for a “nube” (Spanish for cloud), do not be surprised if your friendly waiter looks at you as if you are in cloud cuckoo land …
How many of these coffees have you tried? Which is your favourite? Please let us know of any we have missed off and we will add them to the list.
On another coffee note, this is possibly the oldest poem in praise of coffee by 16th Century Sheikh Ansari Djezeri Hanball Abd-al-Kadir, known as the Saint of Coffee….

“Oh coffee, you dispel the worries of the great,
you point the way to those who have wandered from
the path of knowledge. Coffee is the drink of the
friends of God, and of His servants who seek wisdom.

As coffee steeps in the cup is gives off a musky
aroma and turns the colour of ink. No one can under
stand the truth until he drinks of its frothy goodness.
Those who condemn coffee as causing man harm are
fools in the eyes of God.

Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold it
brings to every man the feeling of luxury and nobility.
Coffee differs from pure, gentle milk only in its taste
and colour. Take time in your preparation of coffee and
God will be with you and bless you and your table.
Where coffee is served there is grace and splendour and
friendship and happiness.

All cares vanish as the coffee cup is raised to the
lips. Coffee flows through your body as freely as your
life’s blood, refreshing all that it touches: look you at
the youth and vigor of those who drink it.

Whoever tastes coffee will forever forswear the liquor
of the grape. Oh drink of God’s glory, your purity
brings man only well being and nobility.

Sheikh Ansari Djezeri Hanball Abd-al-Kadir , Sufi Mystic, 1587

*For a more detailed description of Coffee in the Canary Islands, read this great post: Here

A Typical Spanish Breakfast

Spanish tapas are probably the best known, or most promoted,  part of Spanish cuisine. As a lover of Spanish tapas I can understand why and will one day share my favourite Spanish tapas recipes with you. However this post is to let you know about our favourite Spanish breakfast … pan con tomate y aceite.

Having grown up in northern England as a child, breakfasts were cereals, muesli, toast and jam and of course the good old English fry up. I would never have dreamt that, one day, one of my favourite breakfasts would be oil and tomatoes on toast!

In the Malaga province, pan con tomate y aceite can be ordered in any Spanish bar or cafe and is probably the most popular Spanish breakfast. Each establishment has it’s own way of presenting the dish but the result is “usually” always delicious.

Many kinds of Spanish bread are offered including:  pan de molde tostado (toasted sliced bread),pan de pueblo (rustic stlye bread ), mollete (soft round flat white bread roll, typical in Andalucia) , pitufo (small crusty bread roll), barra (spanish baguette)  …

Here is a very easy Spanish recipe for making your own pan con tomate y aceite:

In a blender, add: ripe and juicy tomaotes (the bigger and riper the better, with middle and seeds removed), a dribble of olive oil and a sprinke of salt and black pepper.

Blend until you have a relatively smooth consistency.

Pour the mixture into a pot and put in the fridge until chilled.

Serve on your preferred type of bread.

NOTE: Some recipes will tell you to remove the tomatoes skin but we like the texture when leaving the skin on  … and it is a lot quicker 😉

See, we told you it was a very easy Spanish recipe! As with most Spanish cuisine, the secret lies in the quality of the ingredients!  ¡Bon provecho!

A Visit to the World´s Smallest Chocolate Factory in Mijas

chocolate factory in mijas

Do you love chocolate? Did you know you can make your own chocolate bar in Spain? Did you know that there is a chocolate factory in Mijas pueblo?

As self-confessed chocoholics, it was obvious that we would be visiting the new chocolate factory in our village, however we had not imagined actually making our own chocolate bars.

Here are some pictures of our visit to Mayan Monkey Mijas … the World´s Smallest Chocolate Factory in Mijas!

The expressions on the children´s faces say it all … they loved it! Well, who would not love the idea of chocolate on tap!

Eli was very attentive and explained the process in enough detail that the children remained interested the whole time … their only frustration was the waiting time for the chocolate bars to set  … LOL!

So, if you are visiting our beautiful village of Mijas pueblo, make sure you pop into the Mayan Monkey Mijas, Chocolate factory and taste some of their gorgeous chocolate and delicious ice creams!

Just make sure you ask the price before getting too carried away!

Address: Mayan Monkey Mijas. 524 Plaza de la Constitución. Mijas Pueblo. 29650 Málaga.

Tel: +34 951 052 772


By Lisa Sadleir

A Really Easy Pancake Recipe and a Funny Video

Tuesday 21st February 2012 is Pancake Day. What is your favourite pancake topping or filling? Do you prefer savory or sweet?

Do you toss, flip or fold your pancakes? I will never forget my dad tossing the pancake so high that it stuck to my grandma’s kitchen ceiling … that was many moons ago but a classic childhood memory that will always stay with me. Maybe I can attribute my love of flipping pancakes as high as I can to that memory, and also to the giggles and open-mouthed expressions on my children’s faces as their mad mummy goes for it again

No matter what kind of pancake topping or filling you prefer, the first step is to make a great pancake. So, here is a very easy pancake recipe that we will be using tonight…


You will need:
100g plain flour
2 eggs
300ml milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Preparing the Pancake Batter:
Sieve the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the 2 eggs, a splash of milk and 1tbsp of oil. Mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth paste and then beat well. Add more milk if the mixture is too heavy to beat.
Continue whisking the mixture until all the remaining milk has been added and you have a slightly thick consistency.

Cooking the Pancakes:
Ensure you have a good non-stick frying pan (particularly if you are having a pancake tossing challenge!).
Very lightly oil the frying pan and place on a medium heat. Add a big spoonful of the pancake batter and tilt the frying pan to allow the batter to cover the base of the pan evenly.
If you have added too much batter, do not worry, quickly pour it back into the bowl.
The pancake will lightly brown within about 30 seconds.

Before attempting the big toss, gently ease the pancake from the pan base and then go for it! Remember, it is all in the wrist action and the “flip” is aided by pushing the frying pan away from you as the pancake is launched into the air and pulling it back into you as you catch the descending pancake.

Once you’ve had you fun, get creative with the fillings & topping … our children love the good old savory pancake stuffed with ham, cheese and egg followed by a sweet ice cream & fruit filling.

Happy Pancake Day …. Now, let’s see how high can you toss your pancake!

Here’s a video of our great friend Lynsey from La Rosilla catering, showing off her pancake tossing skills …


Healthy(ish) Recipes: Crushed Bean Dip

Here’s another of our easy “lifestyle change” healthy (ish) easting recipes. It’s great to have in the fridge for when those unavoidable “I really  need a munchy” feeling kicks in. It is best enjoyed with celery sticks, cucumber chips or carrot strips … pitta bread is even nicer (as a treat of course!)

The amount of spice you add can be varied subject to your own personal taste.

Crushed Bean Dip

You will need:

Jar of  butter beans (or similar)

Jar of chickpeas

Juice of 2 lemons & Zest of 1 lemon

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

2 tsp ground cumin

Tub of natural yoghurt (125g)

Fresh corriander (optional)



  1. Pour half the chickpeas and half the beans info a food processor.
  2. Add the crushed garlic, cumin, lemon juice and yoghurt and process until you have a smooth paste.
  3. Slowly add in the remaining beans and chickpeas until you achieve the desired consistency.
  4. Finally, stir in the lemon zest & chopped corriander.

Eat immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Healthy Recipes : Ginger & Carrot Zesty Loaf

It’s that time of year again … after weeks of over eating and excessive drinking during the festive season , (and this Christmas we did go over the top ) , the “D word” hovers menacingly at the back of our minds.

Well, having completed the Detox Plan last year and punishing our bodies to little avail we have this year ousted the Detox diet and jumped on the “lifestyle change” bandwagon . That is the 2012 jargon isn’t it?

So rather than really horrible boiled cabbage soup recipes that we forced ourselves to gulp down for only 7 days (of the whole year) , we are going to try new recipes using more healthy and alternative ingredients for as long as we can.

I must admit, so far so good! Seven days down and let’s see how many more to go. This dessert healthy recipe was this weekend’s treat and it was welcomed by all family members. Let us know if you try it and what you think …

Coming soon … Beetroot Brownies!


Carrot & Ginger Zesty Loaf

You will need:

100g butter

100g brown sugar

100g golden syrup/black treacle

zest from 1 orange

zest from 1 lemon

1 large carrot (peeled & grated)

5 balls stem ginger (very finely chopped)

175g self-raising flour

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground ginger

pinch of salt & pepper

2 eggs

 Simple Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4. Grease a loaf tin.
  2. Gently heat the butter, sugar, treacle/syrup and zests in a large saucepan until everything has melted.
  3. Remove saucepan from the heat and add the grated carrot, flour (sieved) , bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, salt & pepper and eggs. Stir well until all the ingredients are evenly mixed together and you have a smooth mixture.
  4. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes. The loaf will rise and brown slightly. ( If in doubt, test with a sharp knife to check that it is completely cooked)

Optional Topping (If you are not worried about the calories!)

Sift 150g of icing sugar into a bowl & stir in the juice of a lemon or orange until you have a smooth mixture. Cover the top of the loaf with the icing (once it has cooled down!)

Lemons, Lemons & More Lemons: Easy Lemon Curd Recipe

We share an Easy Lemon Curd recipe: 5 ingredients and 5 simple steps.

Anyone that has a lemon tree in Spain will agree with me, I am sure,  that when you have lemons, you have lots of lemons. In fact, often more lemons than you know what to do with. You give generously to your friends and neighbours but they are still loads of lemons.

A neighbour of ours very kindly gave us a bag of lemons last week. A large, shopping bag holding almost ten kilos of lemons. So began my lemon quest, bearing in mind that we are trying to eat healthily and so the typical sweet lemon puddings are out of the question.

A family favourite of ours is lemon and garlic roasted chicken. I also have several ice cube trays filled with lemon juice, grated lemon rind and fresh coriander, waiting to be used in savoury rice dishes. I have a few freezer bags of frozen lemon slices waiting to be popped into a glass of gin and tonic. I have a jar full of preserved lemons, thanks to Annie B’s kitchen recipe and this morning, with thanks to La Rosilla I had the most amazing home made lemon curd that was amazing … so amazing that I had to share this very easy recipe with you … Enjoy!

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe:

easy lemon curd recipe


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • grated zest of 2 or 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Tip 1 :  Grate the rind off the lemons before juicing them!


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth.
  2. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter.
  3. Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
  4. Remove from the microwave, and pour into small sterile jars.
  5. Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Tip 2 : If you forget to stir, or over cook slightly, just pass through a fine sieve.

Last Minute Easy Christmas Cake Recipe

With the continuing bad weather across Eastern Europe, the unbelievable amount of snow and ice in the UK and major disruptions and delays to all flights, we have decided that our trip back to see the family in London for Christmas may not actually happen this year.

We are still planning to go to Malaga airport on Thursday, laden with lots of activities to keep the children entertained. However, we are also keeping an open mind and accept the fact that we may well return to Mijas to spend this Christmas in Spain . If Easyjet offer a full refund, we will take it and enjoy spending the money here instead.

So, this afternoon I am heading off to Iceland to buy the ingredients to make this really delicious and easy Christmas Cake recipe. All measurements are approximate (I rarely follow recipe to the note), and I would personally recommend adding brandy whenever you pass by the kitchen … the more the merrier !

To decorate, I just add a thin layer of marzipan and plenty of royal icing. Last year it lasted us around three months and was moist and tasty to the last mouthful.

For our really easy Christmas Cake recipe, you will need:

225gms currants
225gms sultanas
225gms stoned raisins, chopped
100gms mixed chopped peel
100gms glace cherries, halved
50gms nibbed almonds
225gms plain flour
pinch of salt
2.5ml ground mace
2.5 ground cinnamon
225gms butter
225gms soft brown sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
4 large eggs, beaten
30ml brandy


Line 20.5 cms cake tin with two thickness greaseproof paper.

Tie a double band of brown paper around outside of tin
Mix prepared fruit and nuts.
Sift flour, salt and spices.
Cream butter, sugar and lemon rind until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs , little at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in half the flour, using a metal spoon, then fold in rest and add brandy.

Lastly, fold in the fruit

Put into tin, spread mixture evenly, making sure there are no air pockets and make a dip in the centre.
Stand tin on layer of newspaper or brown paper in the oven and bake at 150º C for about 3 3/4 hour
To avoid over browning cover top with several thicknesses of grease proof paper after 1 1/2 hours.

Even if we do make it back to see the family this Christmas, the cake will be waiting for us on our return.

Let me know if you try this very simple recipe and also feel free to share any other tips.

Merry Christmas to you All!

Guest Blog … A Trip to Annie B´s Spanish Kitchen

Sometimes, you need a little inspiration, sometimes you feel the need to explore and sometimes you just need a few days away,  Well I wanted all those things, don’t mean to sound greedy, but I suppose I’m perpetually greedy In many ways.

Having started my new Venture of La Rosilla, Lifestyle and food , in the early summer, I am constantly researching for recipes, new ideas and like minded people, in any way I can, be it through books and references, visiting restaurants and markets and trawling and contributing to social networking sites.

One day whilst ‘Tweeting”  I became ‘twiends’ with Family Life In Spain , so took a look at their excellent website, and blogs and all things Spanish for the Expat, during my perusal, there being advertised was Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen .  I knew there and then after clicking on her site, this is where I needed to go, for my Inspiration.

So after many friendly emails, to Annie, I booked rather guiltily , well As a Mum you think there is always something more important than yourself, to go on my Foodie adventure.

I had a glorious sunny journey from the Campo of the Malaga mountains, along the coastline of the Costa del Sol, and into the stunning scenery change of the province of Cadiz.  Stopping en route at Gibraltar for the obligatory grocery fill.

Reaching my destination of Vejer de la Frontera looming above me, on its perch overlooking the sea and foreign lands of Africa.  The most stunning town, with cobbled streets, and traditional Andalucian Patio town houses. Many bars and restaurants all tastefully renovated and offering local dishes and tipples for even the most discerning palate.

I was met by Annie and led to her beautiful home and her superbly set up Spanish Kitchen, and immediately met fellow students graving on lunch they had prepared in the Andaluz patio, and was offered a chilled Rose, and excellent conversation, to really whet my appetite for things to come.

Our evening started on a Tapas crawl, through the traditional town, stopping off in many bars, to sample, Jamon and Queso, with a chilled manzanilla, then Tostados and Boquerones, to name a few.  The little town was vibrant and lively with a buzz of good living.

My second day, was “Fruits if the Sea’, we headed coastal to the Market town of Barbate, to the amazing fish market.  With fresh catches everyday, a hub bub of activity and bustle.  Full of life, and vitality, here we bought Seabass and Bream, Anchovies and Prawns, along with fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits,  sampling as we went, and learning also some of the more unusual campo delights.

Back to the kitchen,and cup of hot frothy coffee, before our lessons commenced.  Annie expertly guided our small group through the dishes we were to cook and handed out our recipes for us to follow, it was very hands on, which is the best way to learn.

Salt baked fish, hand cured anchovies, Prawns with dipping sauce delicious, a little taster of fried Boquerones to keep us going and a soupcon of sherry, just in case !  We prepared Ajoblanco and a scrummy Tart with marinated dried fruits.

All this was hungry work, but time whizzed by, I could have stayed forever, and our late lunch was upon us.  The sun put his hat on once more, and we were able to enjoy our lunch Al Fresco even in late November.

I met some amazing people, from Dubai, New Zealand, Scotland and USA all with one common interest. We chatted, we laughed, we  ate and we drank together.

I felt rejuvenated, and inspired, to put into practise and share my love and knowledge with my clients at La Rosilla.

One thing is for sure, on my Eat, Love, Pray adventure, Annie B´s is the place for me.

So to all, Eat, Drink and be Merry,

Lynsey Drake.

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