Cauliflower fritters

Cauliflower fritters, with salad and black tahini sauce

I bought some spices online, and an interesting looking recipe by Susie Morrison (Gourmet Glow) was included in the box. I did not have any better ideas for dinner, so I thought: why not try this?

What a success! We’ve made several times already, and I predict there will be more repeats (if only because we’ve bought more za’atar—all these repeats depleted our stock!)

That said, the original instructions confused me a bit, and they also suggested using some ingredients I did not have at hand, so this is my own interpretation, adjusted to my own way of cooking.

Continue reading “Cauliflower fritters”

Sesame seed bread

Two sesame seed bread loaves cooling down on a rack

Sesame seeds are used mostly as a decorative element in Spanish food, e.g. as topping on burger buns or in “rosquilletas” (a sort of bread-based snack). The dishes with a much stronger presence of sesame seeds were all originating from Andalusia, such as tortas de anís and mantecados—possibly related to the Arab influence, but I’m hypothesising here.

I think I started “sesame seeding” my life after I tried Japanese food for the first time and I wanted to replicate some of the flavours at home. Apparently there was some mysterious ingredient called “sesame seed oil” that provided that extra “something” that my attempts were missing so far (no wonder something was amiss—I was using olive oil to cook Japanese stuff 😅). What a discovery!

Later I progressed to learn how to make hummus at home. It had a mysterious ingredient called tahini…! And once I discovered what it was, I wanted to put it on everything.

Then I started learning about all the sauces and dips you can make that involve tahini: whisk with a bit of water and it turns into a smooth dip. Add some garlic and it becomes nicely punchy. Or you can add lemon and yoghurt and it’s tangy and addictive. So many variations! All of them so tasty!

Of course, I also learned about the Divine Trinity: cumin, nigella and sesame seeds sprinkled on crackers or anything that deserves a good oomph. And there’s also my beloved dukkah, which you might have heard me talk rave about already many times.

But—and this is a big but—neither of these recipes really puts sesame front and center. I wanted to make something that would unashamedly declare its sesameness. Something where “sesame” was in the name of the recipe.

And so I came up with this sesame seed bread!

Continue reading “Sesame seed bread”

A happy accident: freadafels (falafel buns)

Freadafels (Falafel buns)

I was trying to make flatafels, but using yellow peas instead of chickpeas.

Yellow peas, we found out in another attempt to make hummus with them, are sour if you just soak them but don’t cook them. So this time I had soaked and cooked them in the pressure cooker, but it seems that I went a touch overboard with them, and they were too soft. Borderline mushy. Ew.

To make things worse I also blended them in the food processor, as I was sort of just following the normal recipe for falafel.

Continue reading “A happy accident: freadafels (falafel buns)”

Carquinyols (Vall d’Albaida style)

Carquinyols / casquinyols in a saucer

This is the type of low-key sweet that you would get on a visit to the bakery—go to buy a bread loaf, and come back with that but also half a quarter of these for your mid-morning coffee.

Unfortunately, someone in my family has developed a nut allergy so they’re not casually acquired anymore, and they’re also quite regional so I haven’t had the chance to find them in my most recent visits to Valencia. And then, there’s lockdown and no travelling, so… time to bake some, as I’ve been craving these for a while!

They’re quite easy to make, so if you are tired of baking cookies and shortbreads and feel like attempting something more exotic, try this. (I mean, at this point going to a different supermarket a few blocks away already feels super “exotic”, so imagine baking something typical from two countries away!)

Continue reading “Carquinyols (Vall d’Albaida style)”