I love the outdoor living here in Spain. In common with many Spanish homes, Linda and George have a summer kitchen. Situated near their swimming pool it makes good sense, especially when family and friends come with children but in the heat, it’s just so nice to cook and prepare food outside. We eat outside for every meal. In all the years I’ve come here to visit, I can remember only one time the weather forced us to eat inside.
The day begins with freshly squeezed local Valencian oranges. The best, according to aficionado George, come from Paco’s stall at Calpe market on Saturday morning. They don’t look perfect. Grown organically they have their blemishes but they are quite simply the best I’ve ever tasted, sweet and full of flavour.
George likes to use an old fashioned juicer, squeezing them by hand for us each morning. It’s such a treat. Valencia is of course famous for its oranges and you won’t find better anywhere. Then at the little table just outside the summer kitchen we sit with the glorious view across the pool and the valley beyond.
Sometimes – if we’re in – we’ll eat lunch there too: Spanish hams, Manchego cheese, salads and breads and a glass of chilled San Miguel beer. In the evening we often move round to the other side of the house and sit in the naya – a covered terrace – as the wind can get up a bit.
However, if you want to barbecue there’s a wonderful one in the summer kitchen.
On Saturday night Jonathan barbecued some chicken and Iberico pork loin for Lyndsey and me as Linda and George went out to see some friends. We sat at the small table where we have breakfast to be near the barbecue.
It was wonderful to enjoy the views and quiet of our location as we ate. Then Jonathan cooked for us all a couple of nights later. He bought some fabulous T-bone steaks.
He cooked them to perfection: well done but not burnt on the outside, still pink and rare in the centre.
They were wonderful: really melt-in-the-mouth and so tasty. Supper had been a bit of a joint effort with Linda preparing some delicious vegetables; I marinated some tuna steaks which we were also barbecuing and roasted some new potatoes, sprinkling sesame seeds over them near the end. We sat at the large wooden table under the pergola by the summer kitchen. It’s just such a treat for us Londoners to be able to live and eat outside in this way, from breakfast until bedtime. Especially with such lovely friends and in such a beautiful location.