Halloween Brunch Club at Honey & Smoke

Bat cookies - at honey & smoke

Again, a belated post. And who cares if this talks about something that happened more than a week ago? Not me, I love to see intentionally spooky looking food; dates are nothing when you face the immensity of time. Also, it’s my blog so I write about what I want! 😝

I got us dinner from Honey & Spice last year for our anniversary when we were in the midst of “Lockdown 2: the sequel you knew would happen”. Since it’s quite close to Halloween I also got two surprise bat cookies… which turned out to be a really good surprise after watching a train documentary that went through Transylvania (I did not know we were going to watch this!).

So when I saw that this year there would be an in-restaurant Halloween themed brunch, I didn’t think much, and signed us up quickly!

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An improvised salad dressing, or a lunch-time hack

Salad bowl with yogur dressing

I brought a salad to the office on Friday, which is not unusual. But I was in a rush in the morning and didn’t prepare the little container with the dressing (olive oil, vinegar, salt).

As I started cycling towards the office, I expected / hoped / vaguely remembered that the office kitchen had some bottles of these.

Imagine my sheer horror when, hours later, I turn up at the kitchen and… nope. There was nothing of that. There was sugar, marmite, sriracha (hot sauce), salt, pepper, other random things… but absolutely no olive oil or vinegar.

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Packed lunches, the English way

Butter, ham and mustard sandwich

We took some days off last May and visited a few outdoor places. The last episode of lock-down at the time hadn’t quite finished yet, and thus places weren’t fully “functional” either. So we decided to play it safe and take our food with us rather than go empty handed and attempt to buy something on-site, only to find the café closed.

And since we were holidaying in England, and it felt a bit like going on a school trip, I thought: “we should prepare packed lunches like the English would do for their kids!”

Devvers wasn’t super thrilled about this extravagant idea of mine, but still agreed to share with me tips and tricks for making sandwiches “the English way”.

This is very important because since I did not grow up in the UK, if left to my own devices, I would put olive oil and a slice or two of tomato on the sandwiches… the anathema!

So here’s the secret, for all of the Spanish people out there who want to pretend like they’re in England, or want to surprise their English partners with the thrilling sight of a Proper English Sandwich! 😆

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The quest for the perfect fogassa d’Ontinyent

Four bowls with ingredients for a fogassa, before mixing

As I said in my Fogassa d’Ontinyent post, I have been trying to locate the “proper” recipe for this for a few years already.

I think I started searching for a recipe in 2018, as November approached and I desperately wanted to eat a fogassa but could not visit Spain for multiple reasons. And I thought: Well, it is “only” a sweet bun, so it can’t be that hard to find a recipe for it, right?

Well, turns out that it can!

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Fogassa d’Ontinyent

A fogassa just out of the oven - a round bun with almonds and walnuts on top and sugar on top

This is an enriched sweet bun which also happens to be one of my absolutely favourite Valencian sweets. It has everything you could wish on an autumn bun: softness and fluffiness, aromas, caramelised nuts, juicy raisins… EVERYTHING!

It is my hometown’s local take on the slightly more widely known “Fogassa de Tots Sants” i.e. All Saints’ Fogassa, which was eaten on that day before going to the graveyard to pay respect to the dead. Nowadays you can buy it during the whole month, and you might even convince a local baker to make you one out of season (por encargo).

What I have also found is that by virtue of being so extremely local, the recipe isn’t readily available online or in books, and it has taken me about six iterations to come up with a recipe that tastes how I remember it tasted. In fact, the pictures for this will show you how I ended making four fogasses last week-end, trying two flours and two yeast amounts. I am that scientifically committed to the quest for the perfect fogassa!

And I am also finally pleased with the results and happy to share! 😎

A fogassa sliced open, so we can see the soft fluffy crumb with the ocassional raisin and aniseed. There are almonds and sugar on top
Nice fluffy crumb
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