Leaving the fast lane for a slow life in Spain

From IT to olive farmers. We make Lujos skincare products from our own Yunquera Gold olive oil.

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The olive harvest cometh

Oh. My. God. Just when we thought we would have a poor harvest, due to the heavy pruning we did early in the year, we found out today we were totally wrong!

Casa Tyr olives

Casa Tyr olives (photo by Kenton@imagenary.co.uk)

Thinking about it, it makes sense. With olives, you have ‘off’ and ‘on’ years. Last year was our ‘off’ year, and, indeed, we only picked for 2 days. Even though we pruned, this is our ‘on’ year, and those trees are happy, happy, happy about being pruned.

The men of the house scouted the territory yesterday – Kenton, Milo and Freddy. They walked the length and breadth of the land to see what the crop was like. The verdict? Estupendo!

We are short a man this year, or woman, really – Kenton and I usually do the harvest on our own, but with my recent diagnosis of breast cancer, we decided I should sit it out.

So this year, a different solution is needed, so watch this space.

Comfort food

It’s a cold November evening and the wind is howling. The central heating is on, and the fire in the wood burner is blazing away. How cozy does this house feel?

Last year’s improvements are really paying off. The double glazed windows and doors, despite our reluctance to install them, have been a real blessing. Can you imagine — windows and doors that actually keep the wind and rain out? Sheer luxury.

Amazingly yummy criolla!

Amazingly yummy criolla!

We decided to celebrate by fixing a terrific comfort food dinner – an Argentinian dish called “Criolla Carbonada”, from one of our great cookbooks. It has a huge range of surprising ingredients – corn cobs, pumpkin, meat, tomatoes, peaches – that come together to form a rib-stickingly (sic) great dinner!

It’s the Argentinian version of beef stew, I’m sure – you remember how your mother used to fix that on a cold winter’s night, topped by fluffy dumplings? Heaven.


Sometimes things just…WORK!

After a very frustrating week, we finally organised an appointment for me at a clinic on the coast. This involved getting the recommendation from our doctor, getting authorisation from our insurance company, and finally, getting an appointment at the clinic!

What could be easier, right? Well, it seemed not. The authorisation was slow in coming. My appointment could not be arranged because the phone system was down in the radiology department (say what???). By the end of Wednesday, we thought that the week was a washout.


Our darling Matilda (photo by kent@imagenary.co.uk)

Much to my surprise, the clinic actually did call me back to arrange an appointment! How seldom that happens these days, that people call you back when they say they will – why is that?

So yesterday, we toddled off to the clinic (an hour and a half toddle!). Again, to my surprise, when we arrived, my authorisation had come through, and had been forwarded to the clinic for me, thanks to Victoria from Sanitas health insurance company. The appointments for all my tests were one after the other, so by lunchtime, we were done and dusted!

Sometimes things really do work out! To celebrate, I thought I’d post a photo of our darling little granddaughter.

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Garden’s leftovers

Here we are, almost the middle of October, and we are still getting lovely veggies from the garden!

OK, so they don’t look that good. We picked a bag full of peppers, aubergines and tomatoes, and I would imagine that if you saw them in a supermarket, you’d never buy them! They are scabby, a bit soft, and some are split.

heritage tomatoes

Coming to the last of the summer veg!

But oh, the taste! The ones that are in good shape we save for sandwiches, or on our toast in the morning, or in salads.

The others? They’re really not good enough for preserving in the normal way. However, I came across a fabulous way of roasting vegetables in the oven! You chop them up, put them in a big roasting pan, roast in a hot even, then put in ziplocs for freezing.

How to use them? Better to ask how not to use them! We have used them in soups, stews, on pasta, on pizza, spiced up for a curry, you name it, it’s great.

And all winter long, we will be able to revel in the tastes of summer – luxury!

Roasted vegetables 

Green peppers
Ripe tomatoes
6-7 rosemary sprigs
olive oil

Rough chop all the vegetables, and put in a large roasting pan. The proportion of each is up to you!

Drizzle olive oil over the veggies, then add the rosemary and lightly turn over.

Bake in a hot oven (gas mark 7, 425F) until the vegetables are roasted nicely and most of the liquid has cooked away.

Freeze in ziplocs when cool.

Ready to roast!

Ready to roast!

Ready to use

Ready to use

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One of the things that used to drive me nuts as a child was the continual waiting. You wait for everything, it seems. And the worst part? You have to to hurry, but when you are waiting in line, does the person on the other end hurry to serve you? Do they ‘eck!!

And that is only the time you waste waiting in line! Don’t even talk to me about the waiting you do on the end of the phone. Outsourcing has at least tripled the time you spend waiting for someone to pick up the bloody phone!

If  you are calling about a credit card going missing, press 1. If you are calling about thousands of wrong charges on your account, press 2. If you are sick of reading about waiting, press hash to go to the end of this article

What else do you wait for? Consider going out to dinner. You wait to get shown to your table.  You wait for menus. You wait for your food to arrive at a restaurant. You wait (ages) to get your water re-filled. (You don’t have to wait for your bill)

Consider going to the supermarket. You take a number for your deli order, you wait to get your cheese, you wait in line to pay. At Christmas, you even wait for a parking space!!

And don’t even mention software. You wait for phones/iPads/computers to start up. You wait for applications to start up, run, and save. You wait for printing jobs…sometimes forever! waiting

When I was a child, I used to wonder why adults didn’t run around screaming and pulling out their hair at the amount of waiting they do every single day. According to some, over the course of your life you spend 3 years just … waiting. 3 years!

Why, I wondered, didn’t someone do anything about it? When I grew up, I vowed, I’d never waste my time standing in a line…waiting.

But now I do. I guess it’s the sheer amount of practice you get over the years that does it – maybe like hitting yourself over the head with a hammer, eventually it doesn’t hurt? Who knows.



Autumnal feelings

Since we returned from a visit to the UK, it has felt decidedly autumnal here at Casa Tyr. Before we left, the days were very warm, and we’d sit out on the terrace of an evening until it was too dark to read. Lovely.

Now, the days are quite cool, and there is a different feel to the air. Today, we ventured down to the garden to collect fruit and veg, and to water.

The tomatoes are starting to look soooooo sad. The leaves and stems are starting to die off, and there is no new growth. We have only a few cantaloupe left in our melon patch.

Tomato, onion and basil salad

Using the last tomatoes of the season!

I’m already mourning not having fresh tomatoes every day. All summer long, we eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and still I crave more. As Kenton says, though, no matter how long we could continue picking them, I’d still feel the same way.


We picked 2 big bags full, so tomorrow, I’ll be roasting peppers and tomatoes ready for “Roasted tomato and rosemary soup” come winter. Man, will that taste good, and eating it will bring back in an instant the fresh tomato smell of summer.


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