We had a very special guest this week-end, and we decided to treat her like she deserves: sharing with her our favourite food and food places. I might write in more detail about some of these, but for now, here is the summary:
“Coques” (singular: coca), in Valencian, are an entire division of “flat breads” typical from the area. They’re sometimes called “tortas” in Spanish, but most commonly referred to as “cocas”.
There are many versions: sweet or savoury, subtle or brutal. They’re often very seasonal: there are cocas for specific times of the year, festivities and events. They can also vary a lot between regions; seasonings and toppings might combine to make a very different result from what you’re used to, even if the base or the appearance are very similar.
Coca de Fira is traditionally eaten during the annual fair (fira, in Valencian) in my hometown. It is a really substantial dish, and a serving can keep you going for a long time, so it’s very suitable for browsing the goods on display and haggling for hours! (specially when November turns out to be cold, which happens from time to time).
This year marks the 600th anniversary of the fair, and my mum was telling me about all the celebrations she was attending to mark the occasion, and how of course they were celebrating with Coca de Fira. I got “a bit” jealous and so I decided to bake my own.
It is a bit difficult to achieve the exact coca you would get if you were in my hometown, because their cured meat has a very particular flavour provided by the seasoning, and also because they use a special type of mushrooms that I’ve never seen in London, but in the best spirit of the dish, I focused on getting a good base, and replaced ingredients with the closest I could get. And the result made me incredibly happy!
The friends walk in groups of two or more abreast, arms locked, in an impossibly slow pace. The couples emerge on Sundays, mooching around, holding hands, erratically zig-zagging in the pavement, or abruptly stopping.
General MacArthur stood with his back to the mantelpiece. He pulled at his little white moustache. That had been a damned good dinner! His spirits were rising. Lombard turned over the pages of Punch that lay with other papers on a table by the wall. Rogers went round with the coffee tray. The coffee was good, really black and very hot.
The whole party had dined well. They were satisfied with themselves and with life.
– From “And then there were none”, by Agatha Christie.
😃 This is a guest post by none other than Devvers! 😃
The other Sunday we finally had time to do some slow cooking, and after looking through “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan, we decided to make ragù and polenta.
For those of you which are not familiar with this book, it is an encyclopaedia of Italian cooking; there is a section talking about ingredients and techniques and every recipe is detailed and precise. It truly is kitchen essential, and definitely worth investing in.
The ragù took about four and a half hours to make, so it can’t be rushed. We served the ragù on top of the polenta and grated plenty of parmesan cheese on top – delicious!