A Day at the Finca
Finca – [ˈfiŋka] (Spanish for an “estate”) refers to a piece of rural or agricultural land, typically with a cottage, farmhouse or estate buildings present, and often adjacent to a woodland or plantation.
Just below Mairena Emma and David have their finca. This small plot of land with a neat little building is used for growing organic vegetables, fruit, almonds and olives. Tucked away in a narrow valley it’s a beautiful and peaceful place to retreat to and, not surprisingly, a favourite spot for yoga groups.
For our group of intrepid foodies it’s a perfect place to practice some rustic cooking skills and we’d planned a day of cooking over open fires using foraged herbs and vegetables from the garden.
The first job was to dig a fire pit and get the fire started. In this dry countryside it’s very important to site the fire away from combustible vegetation and to dig a pit to contain it. An out of control fire could be disatrous and in 2012 a fire swept up the montain from Ugijar in the valley floor to the outskirts of Mairena before being brought under control.
Stephen, Claire and Bushman Jay were very happy around the fire whilst some just sat in the shade and relaxed (well it is a holiday after all).
Much of the food was cooked over our fire pit. A rabbit and chicken paella felt like a more mountainous version than one with seafood. A large pot of beans and chorizo with a pile of flatbreads would satisfy any hard working finca labourers.
And an orange and tomato salad added a splash of brilliant colour and vibrant flavours to the meal.
Emma says this dish will be going onto the restaurant menu, a fitting tribute to our group’s inventiveness.