Simple food eaten al fresco at spontaneous gatherings, often without the trappings of cuttlery or crockery, shared with family and friends, enjoyed with gusto.

fire roasted sardines

Fire roasted sardines

These are a famillar sight fired up atop beached fishing boats in the chiringitos that dot along the coast. You can replicate at home by building a fire in a sand pit. (To cook by this method successfully the fire needs to be blazing hot). You will need to whittle away at some new olive wood to produce some hefty, flattish spears - thread the sardines through their spines and place near the heat to blister. Turn to cook both sides. Serve with tomato salad, lemon, olive oil and rustic bread.

serrano ham and fresh figs

Serrano ham and figs

An inseparable summer combination particularly with the first harvest of figs known as 'brevas'. We eat them straight from the tree, drizzled with a little vino musto and olive oil. The ham, hand cut in not so thin slithers, a good one streaked slightly with a flavourful fat.

cooking outdoors

Staff lunch

It's something we stop for. A slow stroll with a box full of produce, an old frying pan, some olive oil and coffee from the machine in an old jam jar and off to a spot overlooking the sea. Some stones gathered to make a trivet, plenty of kindling sticks and hovering over the fire we cook the perfect lunch, here fresh local cheese, seared green peppers and sage leaves.

one pot cooking

One pot cook two ways

A combination of root vegetables, potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic with woody herbs, pink peppercorns and bay leaves - here the potatoes and carrots are steamed to 'just done', the onions and herbs thrown in raw, the whole dish eaten at room temperature, completed with olive oil and sea salt.

one pot cookpot

One pot two

And secondly, a similar array of vegetables slow baked all together in one ceramic dish in a low oven, the garlic cloves with peel on, some dried oregano and leeks to add extra flavour and texture, finished off with a sprinkling of sea salt and fresh rosemary.

mushrooms in a frying pan

Winter mushrooms in saffron oil

A grassy clearing overlooking the view, a large frying pan, a generous pour of olive oil and a pinch of saffron, leave to infuse on low heat for a few minutes, add the mushrooms(straight from the field if you know where) and gently cook unitl lightly golden each side. Season and eat straight from the pan with a slug of white country vino.

raw vegetable salad

Eat it Raw

A seasonal salad of diced vegetables, fruit and leaves. Here's one from late summer with a mix of ripped leaves, diced celery, sweet onion, tomato, red pepper, leek hearts and apple, drizzled generously with olive oil and lemon juice.

rustic peasant food

Mountain dish

For the workers! Finely sliced, well seasoned potatoes, drizzled with olive oil, layered with sliced tomatoes, finely sliced onion, chopped garlic and dried thyme, covered and baked in a hot oven for 30 minutes. To finish, uncover the dish, add chopped fresh spinach leaves and crack open eggs to fill the top, put back in the oven for 5 minutes to cook the eggs. Eat immediately.