LEE CONETTA is Glasgow food royalty. Each week, she shares fantastic recipes and memories of her life here in the city and her travels to Italy and beyond. This week, Mrs Conetta shares her holiday woes after a summer of disasters and treats us to a special Andalucian dish.

I am back from my extended holiday, and to be honest, I am quite relieved about it.

For those of you who did not manage to get away this year, do not worry – if my experience was anything to go by, it’s no bad thing. It was a serious of disasters.

Joe and I bought a house, a finca, in Spain many years ago, in beautiful countryside just outside Malaga.

Glasgow Times: Mrs Conetta at home.

I had not been for almost two years, of course, because of COVID, and when I got there, the place was home to what seemed like every variety of insect and lizard - and the dust!. I spent the first two weeks getting the place back in order.

To recover, I decided to treat myself to a few days at the local spa. I stayed at Las Dunas, whose healthy diet menu was devised by chef Andonu Aduriz of Mugaritz fame. (Of course, food was always part of the appeal of staying there for me.) Mugaritz was opened in March 1998 and is considered one of the world’s best restaurants. It typically closes for four months each year for the research and development team to produce an entirely new selection of dishes. I had booked a tour of the kitchen, and was looking forward to chatting to the chef.

The first two days were heavenly and then – I woke up one night to the smell of smoke. A forest fire had started. It seemed at first things would be under control but the next day, standing on the beach, I noticed smoke about 150 yards away. I was starting to wonder if I should still be there, when the manager ran up to me and urged: “Mrs Conetta, you have to leave – I have booked you in to another hotel about 20 miles away….”

It was a worrying time – at the hotel the receptionist told me thousands had had to leave their homes and sadly, one emergency worker had died. We could see helicopters dropping huge amounts of water on the fire. I was so grateful to be safe, but could not help thinking of the poor people who had had to leave their homes.

As I prepared to go to bed, I discovered an invasion of ants. I thought I would jump quickly into bed and sleep, but sadly the ants had the same idea and I awoke with them crawling on my arms and legs. In the morning, I told the receptionist that I and around 5000 ants had enjoyed the room. He apologised and deep cleaned the place, and it was fine for the rest of my stay.

Finally, I returned to the house and as it had started to rain, I ran down the path to escape the downpour – and slipped, went flying on the wet tiles and banged my head, hip and arm on the corner of the house….as I say, I'm glad to be home.

READ MORE: 'It was like The Godfather' - Mrs Conetta on a honeymoon thriller

I wanted to cook something Andalucian for this week’s recipe, so here’s my take on Pato con Melocotones – Duck with Peaches.

Buon appetito!

Glasgow Times: Pato con melocotones - duck with peaches



8 medium peaches.

500ml white wine.

2tbsp sugar.

One oven ready duck (2kg)

Half a cup of olive oil.

Salt and pepper, pinch of ground cloves, pinch of ground cinnamon.

1 slice toasted white bread


Peel the peaches and place in a pan with the white wine and stir in the sugar. Poach for 10 minutes, remove from heat and leave to stand. Wash and dry the duck. Combine the olive oil, seasoning and spices and brush the mixture over the duck inside and out. Grease a roasting pan with olive oil. Roast in a pre-heated oven 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes, basting several times. Turn the duck, pour over a few ladles of the wine sugar syrup, and roast for another 30 minutes. Lift the duck out of the pan and keep warm. Remove the peaches from the wine syrup. Strain the meat juices through a fine sieve into a casserole , skim fat, add the wine syrup and boil to reduce. Pound the white bread with a little sauce in a mortar and pestle, stir in the sauce and cook until thickened. Season. Place peaches in sauce and heat through. Divide duck into portions and serve with peaches and sauce.