Self-isolation, week 10: it’s HOT…! (plus the fanciest take-away)

Paella de arroz negro

On this 10th week of being trapped at home we’ve experienced HOT temperatures, which caused us to eat lots of salads and other home remedies. We also got a fishmonger delivery so we ate a lot of fish-based dishes, and finally, we gifted ourselves a very fancy take-away! 🎁

All the salads

One night we had TWO salads: prosciutto + melon, and basil, avocado, tomato and mozzarella (with some nice olives for good measure).

Then Devvers mortared the rest of the basil into a pesto:

… which we then consumed with pasta and gnocchi (not on the same night, obviously):

There’s such a vast difference between home-made and commercial pesto, you wouldn’t believe it. Ours had just a few pine nuts, but it tasted SUPER pine-nutty already. And to think that commercial pestos often have cashew nuts, blargh…!

Sort of Japanese dishes

It was also hot enough that I felt like having cold soba noodles; in fact they were the first cold soba noodles that we ate this year 😁

Cold soba noodles
Cold soba noodles—and yes, the eggs were from different batches…

We also had salmon with courgettes, with rice topped with authentic furikake from the Japan Centre…

… and Devvers devised this dish of miso paste aubergines (nasu dengaku) which we also labelled “accidentally vegan”. The grilled top looks very burnt, but it actually wasn’t…

The FANCIEST take-away: Hide at Home

Devvers had been talking about this for the longest time and we finally did it: we got the Hide at Home take-away. Wow! It was really yummy, beautiful and posh!

Also, it travels well, whereas other take-aways arrive smashed down to pieces, unappetisingly tepid or are very hard to reheat without ending up like a mass of chewy sadness.

The wine pairings were also really good. We enjoyed this, from the beginning to the end!

Sundays are for vermouths, aperitivos and… paella with squid (and its ink)

I’m determined to keep making Sundays special somehow (I suppose it’s my instinct demanding we have some sort of punctuation to mark the pass of time).

My solution so far is to cook nice rice dishes that take more attention and time to cook than I can normally allot during the week.

This Sunday, I cooked something I had never cooked before: a paella de arroz negro i.e. a black rice paella. A challenge!

This was made possible thanks to the fishmonger delivery, which included both fresh squid and squid ink.

It’s fun to eat black rice as you can end up with really black teeth and tongue… or simply black dishes! I think we could even have used more ink, but it wasn’t a bad outcome given it was the first time I cooked this paella version.

We also tried out a new vermouth, the 4 xavos blanco:

Desserts and other things

I made a melon seeds horchata:

Horchata de pipas de melón - Melon seeds horchata

Our fruit + veg box came with this big pineapple, which Devvers blitzed down to pieces:

We then had the pieces as dessert (with the rest of the melon) and also on a ridiculously sweet piña colada porridge (with coconut AND coconut milk) 🤪

I also made a Spanish arroz con leche, which I had been craving for a while, not really sure why! You can see how creamy it was—you can’t even see the rice grains! ✌🏼

When it gets very hot in Valencia, we have “café del tiempo”, i.e. you brew a normal coffee, add sugar and stir if needed, and then pour it over a glass with ice, sometimes also with a lemon slice. This cools down the coffee to a more agreeable temperature.

And it was very hot this week, so I felt like it was the right time!

Café del tiempo

Self isolation, week 7: Persian-fusion, and Devvers is on a ROLL

One of my favourite things from this week is, without a doubt, Devvers’ fabulous inventiveness with all these random groceries that have been delivered to us in “Surprise boxes”. We’ve been eating delicious dishes that I would not have thought of eating with those ingredients, it’s great!

We’ve also been channeling our inner Persian, which is fabulous as well, and makes us think of our Iranian friends and the magnificent feasts they host at their house. We miss them 🤗

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Mona de Pascua

Mona de Pascua
Mona de Pascua
Mona de Pascua

This is a sweet cake that is produced around Easter time in the Valencian region, and it’s also one of my favourites!

In fact, I like it so much that I learned to make it, because it’s impossible to source it in London, and I was missing it lots each time I spent Easter in the UK.

One of the defining features of this bun is that it uses eggs both in the dough and in the decoration, which has many variations: you can brush the top with beaten egg, or whisk the egg white with sugar until it stiffens and use it to decorate the top the bun, or you can even place an egg on the bun before baking, which makes it look like an egg nesting on the bun (this is most typical of the smaller, individual pieces). Often, the eggshells are dyed with food colouring, so this makes for very colourful pieces that you’re sorry to eat.

A Mona with egg on it – taken from the Wikipedia page

Tradition has it that you should take a mona with you on a country side walk on Easter Monday, to celebrate the arrival of Spring. Then, when you find a nice and calm spot, you sit down and eat your mona outdoors, while enjoying the early warm weather and the sight and scent of flowers (hopefully without too many insects!).

And if your mona includes eggs, it’s quite traditional to ‘crack’ them on the forehead of your family members or friends… preferably by surprise! 🤪

Not my forehead or the forehead of anyone I know! Source: Alicante Vivo
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Self isolation, week 6: masterful repetition

Mona de Pascua

Although local shops are starting to stock things again, they are still quite unpredictable, plus going to them is really unnerving, what with people not respecting any distance or being considerate of others, etc. So we have been trying a bunch of different grocers that do home deliveries; the quality is also higher than what we get in the nearest shops, and we seem to be finding who our favourites are in terms of speed, quality and reliability.

It’s good to be able to establish some sort of predictability after all these weeks of uncertainty.

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Self isolation, week 4: purple week, purple week

Mona de Pascua

(to the tune of Prince’s song)

This week some significant events happened:

  1. There was a lot of purple-coloured things to consume
  2. Devvers found raspberries! And spring onions! It was the first time I saw spring onions in like three weeks.
  3. We got a food delivery that brought us twenty four eggs (yes, 24), amongst other things.

EGGTOPIA, just in time!

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