Poison pie

Poison pie close up

☠️ This is a great pie to bake for Halloween… or any time you feel witchy! 🧙🏽‍♀️🧙🏽‍♀️ ☠️

I got Malcolm Bird‘s fabulous book “The witch’s handbook” as a Christmas present in 1989 and we enjoyed reading it and making some of the crafty activities, but we never baked much at home, and also most of the ingredients in the cooking section were a bit unusual for Spanish palates, so the cooking recipes were sort of out of reach.

I still liked the book so much that I recently bought a second hand English edition—and it came just in time for Halloween. The best! 🎃

As I browsed through the book, the Poison Pie recipe caught my eye. Why not bake it, now that I feel confident to do so?

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Roasted pumpkin (or butternut squash) seeds

Butternut squash seeds on a pan, golden and cooked

Raw pumpkin and butternut squash seeds are quite unpleasant to eat without cooking. They are too chewy and hard to break down when biting on them, and you end up trying to swallow them whole. Not a good idea when they have a bit of a hard edge if they’re half chewed.

But once you cook them, it makes them nicely brittle and crispy, and it also brings out their deliciousness 😋

Butternut squash seeds in a dish, with pulp on a small pot
Seeds, just scooped out of the squash
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Horchata + tiger nut biscuits = the ideal merienda?

A glass of horchata and a small saucer with two tiger nut biscuits

I went on a tiger nut frenzy last week, as I made a batch of horchata and then I also turned the leftover “pulp” into “flour” for making biscuits. Absolutely ZERO WASTE! I was very pleased.

This time I used just tiger nuts. No cinnamon or lemon zest as in my previous attempt. And it tasted better than ever! So tiger nutty. I find it hard to describe this flavour; you have to try this type of horchata to understand how it tastes—it’s quite unlike Mexican horchata.

My friend and prestigious Horchata Connoisseur Belén has asked me to share the recipe for the biscuits, so here it goes!

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Bollos de Sant Blai (Saint Blaise’s buns)

Bollos de Sant Blai

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.

Bollos de Sant Blai
Bollos de Sant Blai
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Foraging, I: the Christmas tree branch

Foraged tree branch

I was walking on the street on the 21st of December (and yes, I do write way after the fact), reflecting on the fact that the idea of winter solstice was fabulous: after that night, the days would be getting longer, the nights shorter, and eventually the weather would get warmer… and then my eyes noticed a branch on the floor.

I was standing outside a garden/flower shop, so I figured it must have been trimmed off a Christmas tree. And then I remembered what my grandfather used to say:

Lo que a mi casa viene, es porque me conviene.

(“Whatever comes to my house does so because it’s convenient for me”)
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