I “adopted” an olive tree from Almazara La Alqueria a couple years ago via Crowdfarming.
I was very excited that the producer was close to home in Spain, right in the Sierra de Mariola natural park, and that they would send me nice freshly pressed olive oil to my home in London. Also, I would contribute to organic farming in the area—what’s not to like?
Even more interestingly, as part of the Crowdfarming arrangement you also have the chance to “meet” your adopted tree if you want to.
Of course this hasn’t been very easy in the last year and a half plus 😏
But I finally had the chance to do that last month! It was really interesting and I learned lots of things which I’m going to share with you now!
This is one of the most surprising Valencian dishes I’ve learned about recently.
It uses just a few humble ingredients to deliver way more flavour than you could possibly expect. And it uses a sweet ingredient (raisins) on a savoury dish—not a typical feature of dishes that side of the world!
I hope Devvers allows me the license to include one photo. Here’s food, not photos if you want to go for the text only experience!
Monday: Mushrooms, carrots and aubergines in a miso sauce with sesame seeds on rice. Socially distanced conversation with a friend in St. James’s Park. The grass tickled our legs. First sunset outside our home in many months.
Tuesday—the saint’s day for St John: My cousin declares “the good thing about masks is they hide a double chin”. A salad with endive, chickpeas, orange and dukkah. My fennel seedlings reach for the sky. It’s too hot to cook, let alone bake the Spanish sweet I wanted to make for St. John, a Coca de San Juan.
Wednesday: cocktails with Blu Hydrangea for Pride at work, via Zoom. It’s still very hot; we’re persistently sleepy all day. I make gazpacho with limited ingredients; I read out the ingredient list with delight. Devvers keeps asking if I’ve spiked it, like in the Almodóvar movie.
Thursday: we melted. Devvers goes to Bubbledogs to have a look at the new deli; inevitably comes back with grower champagne.
Friday: working from home at 32ºC+ is unbearably suffocating. There are no more windows left to open or fans left to run. We had a walk to cool down when we finished work. We saw an orphaned coffee machine in the street.
Our train of thought was mildly eccentric:
“Can we have the champagne?”
“Only if we have popcorn first”
Saturday: it rained overnight and it was cooler during the day, so I finally had the chance to make the Coca de San Juan and some sort of baked butternut squash kofte. We found two ladies having a picnic in our very urban doorstep, because evidently it’s the best place to set up shop in the whole of Fitzrovia. We tried out the Great Thai for dinner (take away, obvs).
Sunday: it rained again. It’s chilly today. Devvers invented a chicken and cardamom pilaf style rice cooked in the rice cooker. It was extremely satisfying.
These sweet crumbly buns are typically made in Benidorm (Alicante) around the 3rd of February, which is Sant Blai’s patron day (Saint Blaise).
I had an older recipe which didn’t work out well. This time I more or less followed another blogger’s recipe (in Spanish). Thanks, Carmen! ??
A word of caution: these buns are pretty calorific, which might explain why they’re only made once a year. But on the other hand, they are gluten free, so if you want to make a sweet treat for someone who can’t eat wheat, this could be it.