Ok. Mishaps over. Really. Nothing else went wrong really. Except we couldn’t get any steak to cook anywhere (the hypermarket was too far away). And we do like a good steak from time to time, especially on holiday and when we have an outdoor grill.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> <o></o> Now, a confession. This will shock some of you, especially my dear friend Tink. But it’s true. We hardly ate out at all Yep. Really. Truly. We found that we were enjoying the outside space and our own company so much we just wanted to sit and relax and enjoy the sunshine We’d often say to each other that we’d go out that evening, get a taxi into <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comffice:smarttags" /><st1lace w:st="on"><st1laceName w:st="on">Frigiliana</st1laceName> <st1laceType w:st="on">Village</st1laceType></st1lace> as it was only a 5 minute drive, or to Nerja,and that it’s something we really "should" do (I hate "shoulds"). But when it came to it we just couldn’t be bothered. Which actually, is a very good thing when on a relaxing holiday! We’d lie by the pool till 5, think about getting ready to go out, and have an aperitif to help the thinking process along. And at about 6 we’d exclaim at how wonderful it was that it was still so warm and sunny, and have another aperitif. Then by the time the sun went in we’d declare we were too tired to go out, make a lovely meal and eat on our terrace!! <o></o> <o></o> Sunday night I rustled up some lovely pork steaks with mushroom, wine and cream sauce, using wild rosemary and thyme from the forest beside the villa. The pork was delicious, as was all of the fresh food we bought from Frigiliana. There is not even one supermarket there. There are about 10 food shops, each taking up the space of someone’s small living room, each selling different things. There were no food shops catering for tourists, just the shops that the locals used. There was one butcher, la Carniceria, and that was an adventure each day. I’d squeeze through the door and there’d be the butcher and his female assistant behind the very small counter. There would be at least 6 ladies sitting on this side of the counter as if in a doctor’s waiting room. They would talk all of the time, and soon involved me in their chats despite neither of us knowing what we were saying. I seemed to understand their slighly naughty jokes! The butcher knew who was next in line and would call you up when it was your turn. The local cured ham was to die for, and they cut it off the leg whilst you were holding onto the foot, directing which bits you wanted cutting and how thick. One day I asked for 2 chicken breasts and he cut them straight from the whole chicken (dead of course, it wasn’t that fresh ). They cut the meat in any way you wanted. So even that in itself was an experience.<o></o> <o></o> The fruit and veg was so fresh and tasty – peppers, mushrooms, Spanish onions….all around Frigiliana there were orchards of apricots, avocados, and oranges, and the old men would gather close to the trees, picking fruit and eating it there and then whilst they were chatting. The strawberries were picked that morning and taken straight to the shop and were so delicious. Quite a few times we simply put out a platter of local hams, cheeses, olives, pate, bread, tomatoes, melon and salad for lunch or dinner, followed by strawberries and oranges from the trees in Frigiliana.<o></o> <o></o> On Tuesday the butcher chopped some prime pork into cubes for me, and I marinated it in olive oil, local lemons, garlic, and wild thyme. We made it into kebabs with peppers, mushrooms and onions and grilled it outside with some lovely salad. Perfect as the sun was going down.<o></o> <o></o> On Wednesday we had a late light lunch in the highest restaurant in Frigiliana of simple but lovely chicken salad…cos lettuce, grilled chicken, local ham cooked till crispy, pine nuts and a blue cheese dressing. That inspired my cooking for Thursday night when stuffed those freshly prepared chicken breasts with Serrano ham, local blue cheese (I didn’t catch it’s name unfortunately) and mushrooms, and cooked it in a pan for 50 minutes with peppers, mushrooms and garlic, adding blue cheese and crispy Serrano on top for the last 5 minutes to finish it off and make a sort of sauce. It was delicious with a simple baked potato and local asparagus, and there is something even nicer about food eaten outside in the sunshine.<o></o> <o></o> The local produce was too good not to use, and at no point did we spend more than 10 minutes in the kitchen doing prep. We did eat out on Friday, but more of that later.<o></o> <o></o> And why could we get no steak? Well, in one of the little grocery stores when I was buying some of the delicious crusty bread, I struck up a conversation with an English lady who lived there now. I asked her why we could not find steak outside of the huge hypermarket, and she explained that it is seen there as a rich man’s food. The locals essentially see themselves as peasants, in the purest sense of the word, and pork, chicken, lamb, and kid were the usual meats. Veal was more available than beef as it was easier to rear than grown cattle. So, as we decided to eat what the locals did, we were happy with that explanation.<o></o> <o></o> So, Frigiliana. It is usually voted as the prettiest village in Spain. If you read my TR about our journey to the villa, you may remember it has steep narrow roads, and many streets are not able to take traffic. It’s about 5km inland, and has the mildest climate in Europe due to it’s own microclimate which ensures sunshine for more than 300 days a year. It never gets a frost apparently. It has a Moorish history, as does most of Andalucia. Very pretty, very Spanish despite having quite a few Brits settled there or thereabouts, and very welcoming. The first is a typical street. Then a the shop I bought most of our fruit and veg from. A couple of vies from the centre of Frigiliana.