Runner Bean Salad and Back Home Up the Mountain

8 Jul

Another hectic few days in the UK, but more of that in a moment. It was a good trip, and I even got to meet my blogging buddy Claire from Promenade Plantings. We had a wonderful little break sitting on the sea front, drinking rosé wine and getting to know each other better.  And then she gave me a bag of her super delicious peppery radishes. How lucky am I?!

As ever, I came back with some goodies to enjoy here Up the Mountain. A fabulous Ottolenghi cookbook, which is already inspiring me with some amazing recipes. Can´t wait to try them out.

I also bought myself some cooling racks for my baking which I had wanted for ages. Well, I had been balancing an oven rack on top of tin cans which wasn´t ideal. And in the shop, next to the baking racks I spotted some adorable mini loaf tins which just pleaded with me to leap into my suitcase. Of course, I obliged them!  I expect you have also spotted my guilty (not so) secret of Cheese & Onion crisps.

Big Man had kept busy in the veggie garden in my absence and picked tomatoes, courgettes and almost three kilos of runner beans…and I had only been away for four days.

Some of the beans went into a delicious salad at lunchtime today. Thinly sliced raw runner beans, tomatoes, sweet onions and green peppers with chopped basil and a lemon and garlic vinaigrette.  All from our garden, it did make me feel a very happy Chica.

Then, just when I thought my first day home couldn´t get any better, my lovely neighbour came round with a fantastic present for me. Look at this beautiful mixer. She said she had it stored away in her garage and hoped I would make good use of it. You bet I will!

And now for some exciting news. Regular readers may have noticed that I have been making more trips than usual back to the UK in the last few months. Well, they weren´t all back to London to visit my family, but to sort out a project that Big Man and I will soon start working on. We will be heading over to a little seaside town on the south coast of England, called Bexhill on Sea. In just under 3 weeks in fact, so not long to go now. We will pack up the car with tools, supplies, two dogs and almost definitely some Spanish cheese and jamon. We will drive across Spain and France and when we get to the UK we will be setting up base in a little Victorian house which is in need of some love and attention.

Scary carpet…this house needs some love!

Hopefully over the course of about a month we will be able to restore it to a liveable condition (while we live in it ourselves). We will be polishing floorboards, putting in a kitchen and bathroom, unearthing the little garden and breathing life back into it.

I think there´s a pretty little garden hidden in there….

It´s going to be hard work, it´s going to be stressful but it´s going to be fun and a wonderful experience.  While we do this we´ll have to cook and eat and we´ll be sharing our little adventure with you before we head back to Spain once it´s all done. I do hope you join us for the ride, and please be prepared for dust, rain and laughter along the way.

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63 Responses to “Runner Bean Salad and Back Home Up the Mountain”

  1. chaiselongue1 July 8, 2012 at 23:32 #

    Welcome back, and to a delicious salad too! And good luck with the renovation project. I’m looking forward to seeing it as it happens! The Ottolenghi book is great – our son gave us a copy last time he came to see us.

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:19 #

      Thank you – it´s good to be back (although only for a while). I had heard so many good things about the Ottolenghi books…now I want to buy “Perfect”!

  2. cookinginsens July 8, 2012 at 23:33 #

    Good luck with the house! Can’t wait to hear all about it.

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:19 #

      Thanks Rosemary…we´re looking forward to the experience!

  3. Mad Dog July 9, 2012 at 00:06 #

    Nice book, nice mixer and looking forward to hearing about the future restoration 😉

  4. ambrosiana July 9, 2012 at 00:09 #

    I have heard about Bexhill on the Sea – East Sussex – since my favorite British (Keane) group is from there!!! They did a concert in De La Warr Pavilion and they even have made a song named after the Sovereign Light Café, a café on Bexhill seafront!! I am so looking forward for your trip there!!! It will be a wonderful experience!

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:20 #

      I think that´s the main claim to fame! Mind you, there is currently an exhibition at the De la Warr (5 mins walk from the house) with a fibre glass, full sized, coach balanced on the roof – as in the movie The Italian Job. It looks great!

  5. DianeT July 9, 2012 at 00:27 #

    Enjoy your project, T. To me there’s nothing more satisfying than to renovate a house that needs lots of TLC.
    Your cooling racks made me think of the ones I have. Two I aquired from my Mum when she went into a retirement home. I guess they would be getting close to eighty years old now – and still doing the job they were designed to do.

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:21 #

      I wish I had rescued my grandmother´s cooling racks – they too would have been a fine old age! Will keep you updated (and write properly too) on the project 🙂

  6. ChgoJohn July 9, 2012 at 03:46 #

    How exciting, Tanya! Sure, it’s a lot of work but you two will enjoy every minute of it, I’m sure. And just think of the curry, Tanya! Like you hadn’t already! 😉

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:22 #

      Oh John…you already know me so well! I did sneak in a curry last week and I was already planning what I would eat “next time”!

  7. bitsandbreadcrumbs July 9, 2012 at 05:35 #

    What a lovely bounty of veggies you returned to, and a gorgeous salad. I know you will make that Victorian home feel loved again and become adorable. Can’t wait to share in the adventure! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:22 #

      It was great to come home to the veggies (and Big Man too!) and we are excited about our little project 🙂

  8. Garden Correspondent July 9, 2012 at 05:50 #

    A cooling rack sounds like such an unimportant thing, but it is very nice to have. I know because up until a few months ago, I was improvising one too. Your house venture sounds very exciting- I’m looking forward to reading more.

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:23 #

      It was incredible how frustrating it was not having a cooling rack – soggy bottomed cakes are not good 😉

  9. Tandy July 9, 2012 at 07:52 #

    oh, how exciting! It is going to be an amazing adventure 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:23 #

      I think it´s going to be fun (with a few ups and downs along the way)!

  10. Roger Stowell July 9, 2012 at 08:23 #

    Fabulous salad. How cool to be given a Bosch mixer – very envious. Have to say I’m not envious of a long stay in England, rebuilding a house. It’s taken me a lifetime to get away from that:)

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:26 #

      The mixer was a wonderful gift..and a lovely surprise! Have to say, I am questioning my sanity over the house, but there is no work here and we wanted to get our teeth into something…sheer madness!

  11. TheDorsetFinca July 9, 2012 at 08:26 #

    I am so excited about your future project!!! It looks ready for a transformation – plus you now have a mixer, so your life will be complete. I completely am in love with mine! x

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:27 #

      I feel the same about the mixer…can´t wait to fire it up! And the project should be a great experience too…may have to come to you for advice!

      • TheDorsetFinca July 10, 2012 at 08:16 #

        Any time! However, I’m sure you and Big Man will make an amazing job of it! x

  12. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise July 9, 2012 at 08:53 #

    That sounds really exciting! a new adventure! I can’t wait to read all about it…best of luck Tanya.
    Back to the salad, I love everything about it and the fact that all the ingredients come from your garden is amazing

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:29 #

      Thanks Sawsan – we´re excited too (and a little scared) 😉

  13. rsmacaalay July 9, 2012 at 10:12 #

    We use that bean a lot in stir fries but never on a salad, would definitely try it out soon

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:30 #

      I´ve only just started using it raw but when the beans are young and tender (and very finely sliced) they´re so tasty!

  14. thecompletecookbook July 9, 2012 at 10:17 #

    What an awesome project you and Big Man have lined up – I cannot wait to read all about it and see the transformation! Very exciting!
    What an awesome nieghbour you have giving you such a lovely pressie!
    Oh, I just thought about all the nice goodis you can pile into the car to bring back with you when you are finished with your renovation project…
    🙂 Mandy

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:31 #

      It´s an exciting time for us. And yes, I´m already planning what we´ll be filling the car with on the way back 🙂

  15. Promenade Claire July 9, 2012 at 11:05 #

    Loving the crisp packets, too funny 🙂 And the photo of the salad and the wine glass – aahhhhh I could do with some sunshine like that, we’ve woken to grey clouds and sea mist this morning. And the salad sounds perfect, fresh and tasty, I don’t tend to grow runner beans, I’m cheeky and get them from other friends 🙂
    But I should say how great it was to meet you, and the totras have been going down a treat ! And we’re looking forward to going to some of the old town pubs in August 🙂
    Also what should did you get those baking tins from? This is real insider information you have 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:35 #

      I know, I am a HUGE fan of Walkers Cheese & Onion crisps (and I won´t share them!). Runner beans do tend to get a bit out of control and we always have enough to freeze and last us pretty much the whole year (and to trade). I got the tins from TK Maxx – hate the shop but we were killing an hour before I had to leave for Gatwick and found them plus the cooling trays in there…I was so pleased! We too are looking forward to the Old Town pubs with you 🙂

  16. narf77 July 9, 2012 at 11:24 #

    It looks like you are both all set for an adventure. I am glad that you are not going to be greedy and will be sharing it with us all :). Best take some extra Jamon and cheese as this might be a long hiatus and you don’t want to be missing your creature comforts while you are away. Here in Australia Jamon is prohibitively expensive! Maybe your next adventure could be to do something here and sell Jamon to the natives to supplement your income? 😉

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:36 #

      No there´s a great plan…and I could bring a huge paella pan and make it on the beach. Wouldn´t that be fun!

      • narf77 July 9, 2012 at 23:26 #

        What an amazing idea! You could renovate your way around Australia with your paella pan and write a book AND do a doco for Sky at the same time! You might even come out of it ahead! ;). By the way…not everywhere in Australia is like Sydney/Perth and down here in Tasmania they don’t call it “Little England” for nothing! 😉 Might be best to stick with middle Australia (or go tropical) with that paella pan or you might get frostbite lol

  17. peasepudding July 9, 2012 at 12:30 #

    WOW, what an exciting few days and more to come with your new move! I will certainly follow your goings on in Bexley on Sea.

  18. gardenfreshtomatoes July 9, 2012 at 13:00 #

    Great project! What’s the plan for after the renovation? Vacation spot?
    Who wouldn’t be happy with a salad like that, from your own garden? The mixer too? Oh, happy day! 😀

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 16:37 #

      No…it will have to pay for itself by being rented out…but maybe we can enjoy some time there when it´s empty.

  19. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) July 9, 2012 at 17:14 #

    Once again I have garden envy….sigh. 🙂

  20. Karen July 9, 2012 at 18:00 #

    Congratulations…it is so exciting to have a little vacation home. “Needs a little love and attention” are words that I have heard many times in our life. I’m looking forward to following along on this new adventure. By the way, I had to refollow as I hadn’t gotten your last three posts.

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 22:11 #

      We´re looking forward to working on it – and WordPress seems to be misbehaving lately for a lot of people 😦

  21. spree July 9, 2012 at 18:41 #

    Tanya, I’m so excited for you! Everyone needs an exciting adventure every so often to wrap their skills and hearts around, and this one sounds so ready-made for you and Big Man. Of COURSE I’ll follow along and will be excited to read (and SEE) each new installment along the way, dust, rain, tears and laughter. On another note – Your salad looks so wonderful! A friend gave me runner beans last year and I had every intention of planting them this summer…I guess you know where that went. I hope the seeds will hold til next year. Beans may be my favorite vegetable and yours are gorgeous! (I’m feeling a tinge of bean envy.) And the mixer!! Excited too to see what wonders you’ll be whipping up! Life is good! Wishing you the very best of it! xo

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 22:12 #

      I´m so glad you´ll be joining us on our trip and adventure! Shame about not planting the beans, but there´s always next year 🙂

  22. restlessjo July 9, 2012 at 20:34 #

    You’ll be too tired to blog! Fun though (I hope). Bring a large brolly!

    • Chica Andaluza July 9, 2012 at 22:12 #

      I hope not, although a lot will depend on the internet connection I can conjure up too! Brolly is already waiting to be packed 😉

  23. Michelle July 9, 2012 at 23:50 #

    What an exciting adventure! And I love that cookbook. Reminds me I need to get it out again.

    • Chica Andaluza July 10, 2012 at 16:11 #

      I love the book and it´s new to me – I want the more recent one now!

  24. Charles July 10, 2012 at 00:35 #

    Looking forward to your little adventure Chica – can’t wait. Let me know if you’re in the Paris region on your way over… maybe we can take a coffee 🙂

    My mother is always raving about Ottolenghi as well… I’m not familiar with his stuff (he’s a he, right?)… should check it out!

    • Chica Andaluza July 10, 2012 at 16:11 #

      What a great offer! I know we won´t be stopping on our way (foot down to the floor with a car full of tools and two dogs) but we have actually been talking about seeing if we can make a little escape to Paris so will keep you posted!

  25. Simply Tia July 10, 2012 at 14:27 #

    That’s exciting news Tanya! Congrats and all the best with it. That salad looks amazing as well.

  26. Just A Smidgen July 11, 2012 at 04:36 #

    Bexhill on the Sea.. what a lovely and romantic ring to it. I can’t wait to see what you get up to there. What brought on this project??

    • Chica Andaluza July 11, 2012 at 08:48 #

      Well, it´s not as trendy (yet) as Brighton, but it has a certain charm! It came about because there´s not much work here in Spain at the moment, so we were ready to take on a project, and I finally made the break from my property in London and it seemed crazy not to reinvest in the UK (Spain was a no-no)…and finally it´s a part of the UK that I know and love well and Big Man fell in love with the area too! The stars aligned at the right moment (or something) and it all came together 🙂

  27. foodblogandthedog July 11, 2012 at 21:51 #

    OMG, so much to say! First of all, Ottolenghi ❤ Walkers cheese & onion <3, new free mixer ❤ and restoration/homes under the hammer project!! How exciting! Looking forward to seeing the pics, so jealous!! Hope the rain stops for you!! Felicidades!!

    • Chica Andaluza July 11, 2012 at 23:09 #

      Thanks Natalie – fun times ahead! Have already eaten the crisps, cooked from the book and played with the mixer 😉

  28. fati's recipes July 12, 2012 at 04:18 #

    So exciting, can’t wait to hear all about it! 😀

  29. Trevor hunt July 12, 2012 at 11:53 #

    Hi Tanya hey good luck with your project. Be brave! In negotiations with our landlord. Just to agree on a price. Writing this from our caravan in a soggy Cornwall. My birthday today do having a lazy day…ha ha. Good luck. Trevor.

    • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 12:31 #

      Well Birthday Greetings to you – I hope the sun comes out soon! And all the best to you with your new home – hope to hear good news from you soon 🙂

  30. PendleStitches July 12, 2012 at 14:41 #

    Blimey, you’ve been busy. What lovely goodies and what a sweet little house. I’m very envious…I love a good renovation project. Can’t’ wait to follow your progress and hope the weather smiles on you for the duration.

    • Chica Andaluza July 12, 2012 at 15:09 #

      Thanks Evie – I have indeed been busy, but it´s paid off. In two weeks we´ll start to drive across Spain and France and hopefully arrive on the Friday evening (maybe even in time for the Olympics Opening Ceremony!). Looking forward to updating on this project 🙂

      • PendleStitches July 12, 2012 at 16:40 #

        What a fabulous adventure. I’m so happy for you both x

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