Marvellous Magical Mijas…

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Just got back from a fabulously relaxing two weeks in Spain in the gentle surroundings of Mijas Pueblo in the hills of southern Andalucia. This photo, taken at one of my favourite restaurants – Bar Parasol – sums up how I felt! These two guys, Victor and JavI, were waiters there and they were so kind to me and my family. Few English venture to this restaurant, which is at the far end of Fuengirola, in a quiet back street, and it meant we got to sample real Spanish food with real Spaniards. I recommend it highly! Anyway, this is more of a pictorial record of some of the food we ate, with a recipe or two along the way. So, here goes.

IMG_5514 This is one restaurants take on the classic ensaladilla rusa. The base was creamed cold mashed potatoes mixed with chopped boiled egg, chives, and mayo. Then it was topped with fillets of fresh mackerel. A truly flavoursome starter.

IMG_5583Most mornings I started the day with tostados – toasted bread rolls topped wither with finely chopped tomatoes, or simply with olive oil and a little salt. Always accompanied by a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a café con leche. Obligatory!

IMG_5515 Pimientos pan fried were an almost ever present at supper – I adore them.

IMG_5581We ate lots and lots of fish – these freshly caught sardines were so succulent cooked a la plancha, and we also had plates of pan fried anchovies too, which were very meaty. In some places they were barbecued on long sticks over slowly smoking wood chips. The smell was divine!

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Lots of restaurants pride themselves on their mixed fried fish plate – this one immediately above – had bacalao, squid, octopus, baby squid and hake. This was a ración, a larger version of a tapa..and very filling! This was only 5 euros – about £3. Crazy. The picture above that is of a mix of chipirones – tiny squid and calamari.

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This dish was one of the tastes of the fortnight – Iberican Slow Cooked Pork Cheeks – click the link for a great version of this recipe!

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Egg, bacon and chips? In Spain, believe me, this is a much tastier take on an English staple supper. Here, the eggs are gently fried with garlic and served with quickly pan fried, thickly sliced Serrano ham and succulent pimientos.

IMG_5529The choice of ham everywhere is remarkable – this, believe it or not, was in a Lidl in Mijas. The counter was about 20 foot long, full of every kind of ham and morcilla you could wish for.

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Back to Bar Parasol, this was where you chose your fish fish each day for lunch – sardines, anchovies, squid, hake, red snapper, clams and baby clams – almejas – were on offer this day, but it frequently changed delineating on the catch that morning. What a life! To be able to eat like this every day!

IMG_5649 And as often as we could we ended our nights with a cocktail at Oscar’s Tapas Bar in the centre of Mijas. Wonderful owners and again, highly recommended if you ever visit Mijas.

IMG_5647 On our last night there it was the Luna Mora festival – the Moon of the Moors, and the whole town was lit up by candles. Magical.

More to follow soon – including a recipe for one of my favourite cold summer soups! And it’s not Gazpacho!

Hasta luego!

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