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Inspired by Portugal, made in California. Online shop offering premium quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, herbal teas, artisanal honey, hand-blended salts and botanical skin care. Occasionally, specially curated handcrafted and vintage items from Portugal are also available.

Culinary Arts Food Education

Nuvea Santos Cobb

I just realized I never shared with you the swell time I had teaching the seniors from the CAFE (Culinary Arts Food Education) culinary academy at Rancho Mirage High School. I showed them how to do a basic olive oil tasting and it was so cool to see teenagers interested in the process of sensory evaluation, and even in the cultural and economic role of olive oil though out history. Of course, the best part was getting to wear my fancy chef uniform. Chef Merrick who tirelessly runs the program, was kind enough to ask me to come back and do another presentation, which made my day. They even gave me a very official looking certificate when I went back in the spring... Mentoring kids really is fun and I hope to do it more often in the future. 

 

Renovation Update

Nuvea Santos Cobb

They say the most important part is to begin...

I thought some of you might be interested in seeing how the recent renovations have come along…Such slow progress but at least there is hot and cold running water now and electricity and a full bath. I was able to actually sleep in the cottage for the first time when I last visited and it felt like such an achievement even though there is still so much to be done. 

Come in and take a look...

Probably the most satisfying accomplishment was the addition of a fully functioning bathroom. Once it's painted and the stonework polished and sealed, it will look so much better. I bought linseed oil to refinish the floors with, but ran out of time. They're in surprisingly good shape considering, so I'm thrilled to be able to save them at all. It's so frustrating to have such a short time frame to get everything done. I can't wait to paint the walls with a traditional whitewash. That'll brighten things up a bunch. And the powdery feel of the whitewash always reminds me of childhood days at my grandparents' home. 

I loved collecting my grandparents things, long abandoned and forgotten in the barn, like the old weight that's been turned into a handy door stopper. All the furniture is handed down, some of it vintage, some just used. Here's a peak into the bedroom. Right now there is only one, but I plan on adding a sleeping loft upstairs, as well as renovating the barn to allow for more guests to sleep over. We added crushed gravel from the local quarry to keep from tracking in dirt and mud. Eventually I plan to add lots of lavender, rosemary and other herbs that are grow locally to frame the entrance. This is the view from the front room out to the pastures…I love how there isn't a building in sight. The door has a shutter on the window which I can close tight when there's a storm, especially when the north wind blows, which is often.

The textiles are all original and made by my grandmother and great-grandmother. The fabric is called Chita de Alcobaca, a kind of chintz traditionally used by working class Portuguese families. Also, some creative handiwork made by my great-grandmother, most likely using old bits of scrap wool (possibly burel, an extremely warm and water-resistant wool felt) from worn out blankets and clothes. Nothing went to waste in those days and I admire her desire to create something decorative out of discarded material.

I couldn't believe how strange it felt to sleep without my dogs close by, so I brought along a ceramic one from my grandmother's house. I think he looks a lot like Finley, don't you?  

In the original kitchen an old bread sack hangs on the door knob to take to the bakery, along with traditional cookware on the hearth. The header over the fireplace is still in good condition, but also needs to be refinished. The yellow door was the original one I modeled the front door after. It has a little mouse hole we covered up with a photo of a cat to ward off any masked-mouse marauders... And the stairs lead up to the attic/sleeping loft.

Then there is the original "shower" from my grandmother's house. It's really just a bucket with holes punched through for the water to drain. Exquisite simplicity. The windows will eventually need to be replaced as well, but for now the light coming through the bathroom window in the afternoon is perfect. You can also see the base of the vanity, made from the local limestone. 

The lovely lady in the last photo is the daughter of the original owner of the cottage who came by for a visit one afternoon. She shared many fond memories of growing up in that house along with her siblings; a family of seven. She was happy to see it being restored and cared for, after sitting abandoned for so many years. 

(I also included a photo of the electrician from the utility company, whose highly anticipated arrival was met with much relief because as we all know, these things can move very slowly in Portugal). 

So there you have it. It's not much, but of you saw the first photos, then you know how much dirt and dust had to be swept out. Not to mention the cobwebs. 

I mean there were sheep living in the house at one time. 

Thanks for following along on this journey with me. Some of you have been reading about this little passion project for some time now, and I just want you to know I'm very grateful for your support! 

XO N. 

 

Starting Over

Nuvea Santos Cobb

Welcome to the new, bright and shiny Casa da Nuvea blog! Well, we've been up for a little while but as anyone who creates a site/business can tell you, there are always updates and constant revisions...While I loved my old site on Wordpress, I was ready for a fresh look and one that was more flexible. When I first started Casa Nuvea, I really had no idea what direction I wanted to go in, other than I wanted to share updates on the restoration of my little olive farm. But I also wanted to share stories about my horses, adventures with my dogs, day trips to the beach, photos of flowers from my garden, etc. It was starting to feel a little schizophrenic; was it a blog about olive farming? dog hikes? gardening? horses? camping? Who knew? Certainly not me. I also wanted to move forward with the house and farm and take it on a more entrepreneurial direction. I wanted to be able to share our olive oil with people, open up the house to guests, teach classes, collaborate with local artists and farmers. So, I decided to create a new site for Casa Nuvea and narrow its focus to just the farm and its olive oil. At least for the most part, anyway. There will still be snippets of other parts of my life, because, well, I like to tell those stories, too. I'm still keeping the original blog as well, and using that to share more about my personal art projects, and new teaching collaborations on nature and art. And of course, horses and dogs. I hope you'll follow along here, as well, and read about all our plans and new offerings…I'm really excited to start this new chapter in my life and see where it all goes.

Thanks for visiting!

These are some photos of the surrounding stone walls covered in moss and lichen, with a view of the eucalyptus grove beyond the property.

I think they're beautiful. They've been neglected and are falling into ruin but will be lovingly restored this coming year. As you can see, the weather here in the serra gets a little chillier, even in summer when these photos were taken. It's a little more wild and windswept than other nearby areas.

A Great Read, Cultural Heritage and a Winning Recipe

Nuvea Santos Cobb

Happy November, everyone!  Today I want to share with you some inspiring work created by a couple of very talented people on matters near and dear to my heart: namely, olive oil and Portugal. Plus, I've included one of my recipes for a delicious (and easy) seasonal meal.

If you're into olive oil at all, you've probably come across the New York Times' bestselling book on the olive oil trade by Tom Mueller. It's a fascinating read, well-written and researched, documenting the cultural history of olive oil (did you know archaeologists have found evidence of olive oil dating back to 5,800 BC?)  and the ongoing battle for authenticity between the mass globalization of olive oil production and the small, independent artisan producers.  While some critics have accused the author of exaggerating the claims of fraudulent EVOO labeling,  I think it's still a great  resource for learning about the significance of olive oil around the world.  Plus, he gives you lots of insight on how to choose your own olive oils to ensure quality. Entertaining and informative. Be sure to pick up a copy of Extra Virginity: the sublime and scandalous world of olive oil at your favorite independent bookshop.

.

Want more natural history and cultural heritage? Check out this

inspiring video

about one of Portugal's vanishing traditions.

Ricardo Guerreiro

is a Portuguese filmmaker and photographer who has produced documentaries for National Geographic Portugal and written books on natural history.

While most of Ricardo's videos are in Portuguese  

Arrabida

,

Almada

, and

Al-Rabita

are in English.  

To see more of his beautiful images, be sure to check out his

website

 and follow him on

Facebook

.

autumn recipe

Recently, I submitted a photo and recipe to Pelican Hill Resort for their annual

Festa dell'Autunno

 contest and won! Here's the very easy and quick recipe:

Autumn Vegetables with Proscuitto Roasted Sea Bass

2 medium, diced potatoes (2 cups)

3 diced parsnips (2 cups)

1 butternut squash (2 cups)

6 diced carrots (2 cups)

olive oil

salt and pepper

4 cloves of garlic, minced

6 fillets of sea bass (about 7 - 8 ounces)

6 slices of Italian prosciutto or Portuguese presunto

(this was for an Italian event, so I chose prosciutto in this particular instance but would normally choose the Portuguese version)

small bunch of fresh picked rosemary

1 stick of butter

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Place all the vegetables in a roasting pan or sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes in a 400 degree preheated oven, being sure to turn over the vegetables at least once. Add the garlic and continue roasting for another 10 minutes to make sure vegetables are cooked. Brush the fillets with olive oil and place on a baking rack over a foil-lined sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap each fillet with a slice of prosciutto all the way around the middle. Roast for 10 - 15 minutes until the the center of the fish is flaky. Melt the butter over low heat and add the rosemary. After 5 minutes, remove the rosemary and add the lemon juice. Serve the the fish surrounded with vegetables on a platter and pour the rosemary butter over the fish.

Enjoy!

*If your grocer doesn't stock bass, you can substitute halibut, cod, or orange roughy.

Photos: NuveaPhotography

Fall is Here & Exciting News!

Nuvea Santos Cobb

2015-10-26 10.29.59.jpg

Hi guys! I'm so excited to share my new blog design with you! After quite a few fits and starts due to my work schedule, some unexpected summer travel opportunities and going back to school, the new Casa Nuvea is finally here! In the next few weeks I'll be sharing with you all the restoration updates at the farmhouse, new offerings from the upcoming harvest, the launch of our online shop, delicious olive oil recipes and creative inspiration. I'm really proud of the new look of the site and hope you like it as much as I do. I was lucky enough to get to work with a designer I've admired for a long time, .She's really easy to work with, listens to your needs and has a lovely style of her own that I find inspiring. You can follow her on social media, too - I've spent many a quiet afternoon getting lost in her Instagram and Tumblr feeds.

I've learned so much during these last few months of creating this site and business. One thing is for sure, you can't do it alone. I've always been blessed with a solid group of friends to support me in living out my personal goals and dreams over the years, but when you start your bright and shining biz not all of your friends and family necessarily want to hear about all the ins and outs of starting a small business. That's why it's so important to reach out and find a community of like-minded peeps who get you and what you're trying to do. But as we get older, it can get harder to meet other creative entrepreneurs, especially since we're all so busy working hard at building our businesses. Like a lot of other entrepreneurs, I've had to turn to the internet to find and create my own small business community. And I've discovered so many authentic, interesting and extremely talented women who are doing exactly the same thing and guess what? It helps! One of these savvy women is April Bowles-Olin and she's doing a FREE workshop next week on CreativeLive. I'm taking part in her upcoming blog tour and wanted you to know about her course, too, in case you also have an entrepreneurial spirit and could use some excellent creative marketing tips to grow your own business. And in case you're wondering, this isn't a paid post - I just like sharing my favorite resources with my readers! xx N

 “This post is a part of the Double Your Followers blog tour to spread the word about April Bowles-Olin’s upcoming CreativeLive course. Does hearing the word ‘marketing’ make your armpits start to drip with anxiety? Are you terrified of sounding salesy or like you have the personality of a dead blowfish? If so, come join me and 2,500+ entrepreneurs who’re taking April’s latest CreativeLive course, Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing. You can RSVP and watch for FREE. Yep, free. High fives, wildflowers, wine samples. Who doesn’t love free?”