Pa de Sant Antoni (savoury, with sourdough)

The crumb of a plaited Saint Anthony's bread

After my first attempt at a Pa de Sant Antoni and realising that it was sweeter than I remembered it, I decided to develop a recipe for a savoury version.

I was also really determined that it had to be a plaited bread, which inevitably forces you to use a less wet dough so you can handle and shape it without losing your wits.

The result, once baked, has less definition in the plait than I’d like, but I am very pleased with the bread itself nonetheless. The crumb was quite open, and the anise flavour was there to give it the air of an special bread. I also practiced “painting” the surface with water to give it a smoother surface, and it worked! It felt a bit like biting into a brioche. Quite interesting!

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Pa de Sant Antoni (Saint Anthony’s bread)

A pile of Sant Antoni buns and breads

While the Fallas festival in Valencia is quite well-known, the Sant Antoni (Saint Anthony)’s celebrations are less flamboyant, more inward looking. A domestic affair, say, for the locals and by the locals.

Happening around the 17th of January, it is a very unassuming celebration: there is a parade where people bring their animals to church to get a blessing, there will be a small market called “porrat” with stalls selling, amongst other yummy things, delicious nuts, figs and confectionery based on those (which are also called “porrat”), and finally one or more bonfires will burn and light up the dark January night, spreading the aroma of pine wood all around the neighbourhood.

All good things!

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Celeriac, potato, onion and courgette soup

Celeriac soup with caramelised onion, roasted pine nuts, browned courgette

The first thing I think of when autumn arrives is mushrooms. Then pumpkins. And then, celeriac.

But for some reason, they were not stocking it anywhere near us. I kept peeking at the vegetables section each time I visited the shops, and all I saw were sad swedes (the roots, not the people) and tiny squash and potato cubes. No! That will not do!

So I finally braved the rain and wind, walked to a supermarket further away, and found celeriac there. At last!

Celeriac soup with onion, courgette and pine nuts
Celeriac soup with onion, courgette and pine nuts

This appetite of mine for celeriac soup is a bit of a recent thing though. I blame The Celeriac Soup that I had at Brunswick House once.

THE Celeriac soup
THE Celeriac soup at Brunswick House

Have it once, try to mimic it forever. Such is my fate…

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