Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas market and goodies

With December just around the corner the AL LAGO kitchen is buzzing getting ready for our CHRISTMAS MARKET on the tenth. At AL LAGO farm this year we had a bumper harvest of organically raised Marcona almonds .We have been pounding and peeling for days and are now preparing the Spanish classic
Turron de Yema.The sweet almonds are crushed and mixed with egg yolks, lemon zest and cinnamon then cooked in a syrup of vanilla and sugar.
Come and try some, taste some, buy some at our Christmas market next Saturday, the 10th December between 11.00 am and 5.00 pm. An array of local artisans will be selling their wares, ranging from leather goods, stoneware pottery, stained glass, jewelry, hand painted greeting cards, Aran wool and laceware scarves and children's clothes, beeswax candles, natural soaps, herbal aromatherapy bags, German cookies and waffles, organic jams and vegetables, textiles and bags.
Al Lago will be preparing Indian street foods, tandoori pinchos and lamb kebabs, veggie samosas and Mona's mulled wine alongside homemade mince pies, Linzer cookies, banana date breads, chocolate get the idea! Hope to see you then and remember Al Lago is open every day throughout the festive season for lunch except Wednesdays and for dinner Fridays through Mondays and feast days .
contact us, or 956 123 032 or 662 052 553

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spanish Onion Soup.

The evenings are getting chillier here in Zahara de la Sierra.As the sun sets in the valley below you can now keep the chill off with a hot bowl of Al Lago´s Spanish onion soup.I use three types of wine in the soup but not to worry as all the alcohol cooks off.The soup is served in a terracota bowl with hot melted goats cheese on top.
 4 Spanish onions.sliced fine
8 cloves of garlic,sliced thin
2 Tb. Extra virgin olive oil.
4 ml dry sherry ( I use La Guita )
4 ml.rioja wine.
4 ml dry white wine.
2 literes of Stock.( use chicken or a vegtable stock)
Sprigs of fresh thyme,rosemary,parsley and bay leaf.
toasted day old bread
Sliced cured goats cheese.
Saute the onions and the garlic untill the onions start to brown.Add the three wines and reduce then topup with the stock.Tie the herbs together with cotton twine and steep in the soup for half an hour.The soup taste best if its left for a day.Then heat and serve in terracota bowls topped with toasted bread.Place the cheese on top and melt either under a broiler or in a hot oven.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

coconut pound cake

Here is a quick and easy recipie for a light and fluffy pound cake scented with malibu rum and scatered with shaved coconut.The use of equal parts in the recipie gives it its name.
300 gr. un-salted butter.melted
300 gr. sugar.
300 gr. flour.
300 gr. egg.( about 5 medium sized. )
1 tsp baking powder.
2 shots Malibu rum.
3 Tb. shaved coconut.

sift the baking powder into the flour then mix in the butter eggs and suger and whip by hand untill smooth.Add the rum and a pinch of salt.Pour into a greased and floured 8 inch cake pan.Scatter with the shaved cocnut and bake a 180c.for about 20 min.untill lightly browned and cook through.We serve it with a scoop of raspberry ice cream.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A change in the weather

With the rain falling on the mountain sides of Zahara de la Sierra and the temperatures falling after the sweltering heat of august,in the kitchen at AL Lago we are turning our minds towards soups and stews.A hot bowl of Spanish onion soup topped with melted Manchego cheese is now on offer.
    The country side reverberates with the sound of gun shots.Its Rabbit season!We will be serving wild rabbit stew with mushrooms, spanish brandy and tomatoes over warm sage polenta.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Al Lago´s summer Gazpacho.

At Al lago farm the tomato plants are pushing their way up the poles and showing signs of a good crop to come.The layers of clothing are getting thinner and thoughs are tunrning to the Andalucian clasic chilled soup,Gazpacho.Nothing tastes better on a hot day.And what a great way to use up a bushel or two of vine ripe tomatoes,crunchy cucumbers,sweet peppers garlic and local olive oil.At Al lago we make ours without day old bread and the result is a lighter, fresher tasting gazpacho.

1 kilo vine ripe tomatos,washed ,cored and roughly chopped.
1 red onion,peeled and diced.
1 red bell pepper,seeded and diced.
2 padron green peppers.
1 cucumber,peeled seeded and diced.
3 cloved of garlic ,peeled.
1/4 cup Jerez vineger.
1 cup extra virgin olice oil.
1 tsp. sweet paprica.
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup ice water.

Mix all of the vegetables in a clean bowl season with salt and pepper and toss with the vineger.Alow this to sit for about ten minutes. Blend untill smooth then stream in the olive oil and mix in the ice water.Chill in the refridgerator and serve in chilled bowls topped with chopped hard boiled eggs,croutons,diced ham,peppers ,onions or whatever else you like.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Split pea soup with ñora peppers and serrano ham.

The weather  in Zahara de la Sierra this time of year is as changable as the moods of a woman.One day warm and sunny the next windy and cold with driving rain.This morning the clouds hang low on the mountain peaks and the lake is the color of split pea soup.Or so I imagine being color blind.For this recipie I use morrocan spit pea (darna) but any will work.
1/2 kilo Darna split peas.
8 cloves of garlic,sliced.
1 leek,diced
2 green padron chillies
2 dried ñora peppers.soaked in water then sliced.
1/2 cup diced serrano or Iberican ham.( leave this out if your vegetarian)
1 Tb smoked paprica.
2 litres of chicken stock.( or veg stock )
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper.

Heat about 2 Tb of oil in a heavy bottom pot and when it starts to smoke add the paprica then the garlic ,leeks,and peppers.Saute these for about a minutes then add the ham.move this around for another minutes then add the split peas and the stock and bring to a boil.Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer and cook untill tender (about an hour.)As with all legumes,add salt and pepper last to season.Adding salt at the begining makes them tough.   

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Al Lago indian weekend.

Al lago resturaunt and hotel in Zahara de la Sierra is running its monthly Indian Feast this weekend the 18th-20th of March.Sauted Zanzabari prawns with crisp puri, Octopus coconut curry, Spring lamb Biriyani and home made pistacio ice cream.We have alot of bookings allready so be sure to make a reservation at 956 123 032 or 662 052 553. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Did you know that the origanal name for the town of Zahara de la Sierra was ¨Azahar¨ which means ¨orange blossom¨ in Arabic.When you drive through this beautiful white village or ¨pueblo Blanco¨ its not hard to see why the Moors gave  this name  to the out post situated between Ronda and Sevilla.The orange trees that line the gently winding  streets that snake their way up to the town center are heavy with oranges.You can often see wayward fruit rolling down the middle of the streets.
     Here at Al Lago  friends  and ¨vecinos¨ are bringing in crates of them so I thought I would give a few recipies to help you use them up.

The white spongy membrain that surounds the fruit is a great source of pectin.Pectin is used in making jellies and preserves.Orange Marmalade is easy to make and you can motor through bushels of oranges in no time.I start by washing the oranges in cold water.Then bring a big pot of water to boil and dump in the oranges.You want to cook the oranges untill they are tender,about ten minuets.Remove the oranges from the water and leave to cool.Once cooled slice them in half and scoop out the ¨inards¨   Tie up the pulp and white membrain in cheese cloth and tie with string.You need roughly equal parts sugar to orange peel.Bring the mix up to a boil with the bundle of pulp in side,squeezing every so often to release the pectin.When the mix turns a golden carmel color its ready.
        Like wise the oranges can be preserved in the same way as lemons.By spilting the oranges into quarters and sprinkling the inside liberally with salt they can be shoved into clean jars and sealed.These will last for months and add a fantastic orange essence to soups and sauces.Simply remove a bit,dice it up and add in.
    As we drive into Zahara de la Sierra around the lake these days we see people standing with bundels of Wild Asparagus for sale.You should pay around seven euros per kilo.Dont be alarmed when they ask for more,its called barganing.This wild asparagus is full of flavor and very good for the liver and kidneys.
 By bending the asparagus gently the tender upper stalk will break from the woody base.The tender bits can be grilled,sauted or roasted.The bases can be boiled up to make a stock for asparagus soup.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday in Spain

Its Sunday morning in southern Spain.Im in the kitchen roasting suckling pig with white wine and rosemary,pulling it from the oven every 20 min.or so to lather it up with butter so the skin comes out crispy and brown.A woman from the village brought me a string of fresh rabbits yesterday.I´m braising them down with Ñora peppers and toasted garlic.I´m going to serve them with  polenta and sauted spinach with lemon.A touch of sage in the polenta goes great with the rabbit.
The sun is shinning bright and all the weekend warriors are out on their speed bikes.Wish you were here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Indian Feast weekend.

     Having just returned from Goa,we have decided to kick off the 2011 season with a Spicy Indian weekend.
Cashew coconut chicken,spicy Zanzabari jumbo prawns,Goan fish curry and grilled Indian flat breads.

   Next weekend is our first Flamenco show of the season with ¨el Niño de ratera¨ from Saucejo.

The flamenco menu starts with a bacon wrapped rabbit terrine or wild mushroom soup followed by
grilled wild boar or Poached sole stuffed with  dungeness crab and prawns.Desert is a blood orange tart with passion fruit coulis.

For reservations log onto
or call us at 0034 956 123 032 or 0034 662 052 553.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our sixth year.

       As we begin our sixth year at Al Lago,in Zahara de la Sierra,I cant help but think back to the day we opened.We had moved to southern Spain from New York city two years befor.Our arrival in Spain was less than aouspicious.Our plane touched down at Malaga airport in gale force winds.Our 18 month old son wailing and screaming.As we arrived at the rented flat on the coast waves battered the coast line sending sea spay up over the road.
       We began a search that took two years.Traveling up and down the coast of Spain from Terrifa to Velez-Malaga.In our travels we saw no fewer than 350 properties.A delapidated monistary,A mango farm,old mills ,illegal chalets, failed restaurants and half built villas.Just as we began to loose hope we saw a property come up on a web site that looked interesting.¨Restaurant overlooking a lake!¨ We decided to drive up and take a look.Eight months later we were moving in,our furniture going up the back staircase as customers entered the bar.The waitstaff asking for change,and what would be on the menu today.We have come a long way.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Re-opening soon.

We have now been closed for Winter break for almost two months and are eager to get back in the kitchen.
The much needed trip to India for rest and relaxation was inspirational and the goan cuisine mouth-watering. I am sure those flavours will work their way into our Indian weekends in 2011, next Indian weekend is Jan 29th to 30th.

The pinch of the crisis,although less visible, in India than in Andalusia, reminds us that today's families and travellers, now more than ever, are looking for the best quality at a reasonable price. With this in mind we are currently putting together ideas for a twelve euro menu del dia to be offered daily at lunch .With the emphasis on fresh quality ingredients and the the vibrant AL LAGO flavors,this is an offer too good to miss!

Apart from our Indian weekend coming soon we will also have our first Flamenco evening of the year on Saturday 12th of Feb celebrating Valentine's, we look forward to seeing all of you soon, please put it in your diary, we re-open on Thursday 21st January! HAPPY NEW YEAR
Mona, Stefan and the Al Lago