Cleaning Olive Oil Containers

If we have a good olive harvest, we generally fill these 25-litre containers when we mill the oil. They are a bit of a pain to clean but I’ve found a good method to ensure that they are ready for next year.

  1. Use an outside hose to rinse out as much oil and sediment possible.
  2. Bring inside.
  3. Fill the kettle and bring to the boil.
  4. Meanwhile, fill the container to the 1st line with cold water and some washing-up liquid.
  5. Put on the lid and shake well.
  6. Clean the outside of the container with washing-up liquid and a sponge.
  7. Empty.
  8. Rinse with cold water.
  9. Fill the container to the 5th line with hot water.
  10. Put on the lid and shake well.
  11. Leave until the kettle is ready and then undo the lid and empty.
  12. Pour the boiling water into the container.
  13. Shake well.
  14. The container will expand with the steam, so gently release the pressure by undoing the lid, covering it with a dishcloth.
  15. You will need to release the pressure about 5 times, shaking the container thoroughly after each time.
  16. Undo the lid and empty.
  17. Completely fill the container with cold water. Empty and make sure that the water runs clear. Continue rinsing with cold water if it doesn’t.
  18. Fill the container with a small amount of cold water and add a minute amount of sodium meta-bisulphate to sterilise.
  19. Replace the lid and leave until needed.

Prawn and Garlic Pasta

prawn garlic pasta



This prawn and garlic pasta dish is easy to prepare and takes about 15 minutes to make.

prawn and garlic pasta


  • spaghetti or linguine
  • 360g frozen prawns
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a bunch of parsley with the leaves and stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 small tin of anchovies, finely chopped
  • a pinch of chilli powder
  • a can of tomatoes or 500g cherry tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce


  1. Heat the water for the pasta in a large saucepan with a teaspoon of salt.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large, deep frying pan.
  3. Add the garlic, parsley and anchovies and grind in some black pepper.
  4. Fry for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes and tomato sauce and mash well to break up the tomatoes.
  5. Add a splash of white wine and a knob of butter.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, transfer to a colander, saving back some of the cooking liquid.
  7. Put the pasta into the frying pan and mix well.
  8. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Liquid Castile Soap

liquid castile soap

Bottled liquid Castile soap


I’ve recently changed my liquid Castile soap recipe as I realised that I hadn’t been cooking the soap for long enough. I now cook it on low for 4 hours and then leave it in the slow cooker until the next day before storing.

The new recipe increases the amount of water and glycerine and reduces the amount of potassium hydroxide.

I also realised that it makes more sense to store the soap as a paste and then add water to dilute it as needed.

This is my recipe and method for making liquid soap from the extra virgin olive oil we produce on our cortijo. This type of soap is also called Castile soap. The ideal temperature for making this liquid soap is 68ÂșC.

liquid castile soap

liquid castile soap paste


1000g olive oil
360g water
203g potassium hydroxide (KOH)
250g glycerine


  1. Weigh out the OIL into the slow cooker and set to LOW.
  2. Weight out the WATER and the GLYCERINE into a medium measuring jug
  3. Weigh out the POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE into a small measuring jug.
  4. Add the potassium hydroxide to the water/glycerine and stir well.
  5. Leave on an outside window sill for 10 minutes.
  6. Stir the mixture and then leave for another 10 minutes.until
  7. Add the lye solution to the oil and stir well.
  8. Blend with a stick blender for 15-20 minutes, stopping ever so often to stir the mixture with a spatula.
  9. When the soft trace stage is reached, cook the soap for 4 hours, blending with the stick blender every 30 minutes. If the mixture gets too thick for the blender, stir with a wooden spoon.
  10. Unplug the slow cooker and leave to cool until the next day.
  11. Transfer the soap paste to containers and store until needed.

1 litre of olive oil makes approximately 1670g of olive oil soap paste.


Mix 1 part soap paste with 3 parts water. To be on the safe side, first add 2 parts water and then gradually add the third to check consistency.

Celery and Roquefort Soup


Celery and Roquefort Soup

This soup is quick and easy to make.


  • 1 head of celery
  • 1.2 litres of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 180g Roquefort or blue cheese
  • 1 jar chickpeas, drained (optional)


  1. Wash the celery and cut in half.
  2. Put the celery into a pressure cooker.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and salt.
  4. Close the pressure cooker and bring up to pressure.
  5. Once it has reached pressure, turn down the heat and time 15 minutes.
  6. At the end of the cooking time, remove from the heat and leave to cool and release pressure.
  7. Add the blue cheese and blend with a stick blender.
  8. Serve.


If you want a more substantial soup, add a jar of chickpeas and heat through. Otherwise it can be served with bread,.

Tzatziki Cucumber Salad



This Greek salad is made with grated cucumber and dressed with Greek plain yoghurt, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and chopped mint.


If you grow your own cucumbers, this is a great recipe for the summer if you have an overabundance.



  • coarsely grated cucumber
  • 120g plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • a handful of finely chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Put the grated cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Mix well with your hands, pressing to release as much liquid as possible.
  3. Cover with a small plate and place a heavy object on the plate.
  4. Leave a for about an hour and then squeeze again with your hands to remove any liquid.
  5. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl
  6. Combine the cucumber with the sauce and check for seasoning.
  7. Chill in the fridge beforehand.