North African Ajja Recipe

Recipes enjoyed in SpainUnder the shade of the rubber tree

Having spent three weeks in Benahavis, a village full of gourmet restaurants just North of Marbella, I got to thinking about the food I used to cook in Spain, taking full advantage of the fresh produce available.

One of the favourites was the North African dish Ajja which can be adjusted according to what is available in the store cupboard. It was a favourite of the workmen who spent many long hours laying tiles around the garden.  They started at 8 a.m. and stopped for a packed lunch of chorizo, cheese and tomato in a large baguette at 10.30 a.m. on the dot.  This “snack” would be accompanied by a glass of red wine or a bottle of strong lager.  Then they would work through until 2 p.m.  Sometimes, I would make Ajja and give them a plate to enjoy with more wine on a table under the massive rubber tree, providing shade from the midday sun.  Above is a photo of the shady area under the rubber tree.

Recipe for Ajja



4 coloured peppers (green and yellow perhaps, but any ones will do) sliced
half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
salt and pepper to your taste
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 chorizo sausage, sliced
2/3 crushed garlic cloves
2 chopped tomatoes (with skin removed if you can bother)
some cold water
6 beaten eggs
chopped onions (optional)

Pour the olive oil into a non-stick frying pan and add the chorizo sausage.  Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally and when the red coloured oil comes out of the sausage, it is time to add the cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper, garlic and fry for two minutes. Add the tomatoes, a dash of water, followed by the beaten eggs.

Now is the time to add the sliced peppers if you want them not overcooked.  However if you prefer them a bit mushy, you could add them right at the beginning with some chopped onions.

Stir the eggs and mess it around… is more scrambled than omelette.

You can vary this according to taste…..swap the chorizo for minced meat, change the cayenne pepper for harissa paste (just a touch) or tabasco sauce, or if you like HOT food, use all three!

Egyptian Ful Medames for Brunch

A great brunch idea for Sunday mornings



1 tin of Ful Medames (from Middle Eastern shops)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil


To serve:

Chopped flat leaf parsley

Lemon quarters

Boiled eggs

Put some olive oil into a non stick frying pan.  Add the tin of Ful Medames and crush with a fork.  Heat through slowly.

Serve with quartered boiled eggs and sprinkle both with chopped parsley.

The Spa at Bluestone in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

“Beautiful lighting and aroma”

We went to Bluestone with a romance package which included 2 hours in the spa with a massage, as I understood it. No mention was made of the massage and I wasn’t in the mood to complain. Was just happy to chill out having recently lost my mum. We arrived during Gale Barney, so the weather was windy and non-stop rain. After 3 days struggling to do anything with the heavy rain, we decided to visit the spa taking our umbrellas.

We got into our dressing gowns which were provided. I found the changing room to be well equipped with hairdryers and towels but the room was cold. We did the rounds of the 2 different types of sauna, 5 minutes in each room was enough with our high blood pressure (under control with medication), the salt room which I loved but my husband couldn’t see the point of it, then 2 steam rooms, one herbal. All rooms had pretty sparkly lights in the ceiling and crystals everywhere, smellie candles, power showers with 6 jets, and the ice room….I was scared of the ice room but it was lovely after the sauna… after 30 minutes we’d had enough and went to the coffee shop and saw people outside in the jacuzzi under the rain. We decided to join them and walked along the non slip mat in the rain and got in just as the bubbles started. How invigorating it was. 35c. It’s a shame they don’t have an indoor jacuzzi.

We had a hot shower and capuccino after that and were done for the day.

On the second day we braved the heavy rain to visit Narpeth for supplies.  A great place for foodies.

We had a two storey lodge with the lounge upstairs.  This was the view of the bungalow opposite us.