Coca de Fira

Coca de fira
Coca de fira, London version

“Coques” (singular: coca), in Valencian, are an entire division of “flat breads” typical from the area. They’re sometimes called “tortas” in Spanish, but most commonly referred to as “cocas”.

There are many versions: sweet or savoury, subtle or brutal. They’re often very seasonal: there are cocas for specific times of the year, festivities and events. They can also vary a lot between regions; seasonings and toppings might combine to make a very different result from what you’re used to, even if the base or the appearance are very similar.

Coca de Fira is traditionally eaten during the annual fair (fira, in Valencian) in my hometown. It is a really substantial dish, and a serving can keep you going for a long time, so it’s very suitable for browsing the goods on display and haggling for hours! (specially when November turns out to be cold, which happens from time to time).

This year marks the 600th anniversary of the fair, and my mum was telling me about all the celebrations she was attending to mark the occasion, and how of course they were celebrating with Coca de Fira. I got “a bit” jealous and so I decided to bake my own.

It is a bit difficult to achieve the exact coca you would get if you were in my hometown, because their cured meat has a very particular flavour provided by the seasoning, and also because they use a special type of mushrooms that I’ve never seen in London, but in the best spirit of the dish, I focused on getting a good base, and replaced ingredients with the closest I could get. And the result made me incredibly happy!

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Ragù e polenta

Ragù e polenta
Ragù e polenta

😃 This is a guest post by none other than Devvers! 😃

The other Sunday we finally had time to do some slow cooking, and after looking through “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan, we decided to make ragù and polenta.

For those of you which are not familiar with this book, it is an encyclopaedia of Italian cooking; there is a section talking about ingredients and techniques and every recipe is detailed and precise. It truly is kitchen essential, and definitely worth investing in.

The ragù took about four and a half hours to make, so it can’t be rushed. We served the ragù on top of the polenta and grated plenty of parmesan cheese on top – delicious!

So, to the recipes: Continue reading “Ragù e polenta”

“English baking” workshop at the Bread Ahead baking school

What we baked at the course
How do you like my “rustic” arrangement of breads and cakes? My pop up stall is coming…

We attended this afternoon workshop at their Borough Market baking school a few weeks ago. It was actually my Christmas present, but we have been so busy lately that we could only find time in March to do it!

It was really fun, the teacher was absolutely phenomenal and enthusiastic, and I am really embarrassed to admit that I did not remember her name, but thank you, Teacher!

I was a bit scared about baking because I have tried to bake breads in the past and they always ended up really flat and tough. But the workshop helped me realise what my main issues were:

  1. not enough time or the wrong environment for the yeasts to do their business,
  2. often, the capital sin: adding more flour instead of kneading more when the dough is sticky.
  3. I wasn’t really kneading!

And now I’m not terrified about baking anymore! 🙂

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Banana porridge

Banana porridge

After a dine out experience that gave us a sort of funny tummy, we were feeling in dire need of a soothing breakfast, so I figured that a porridge would be a good answer to that need!

Ingredients

  • 40-45 grams of oats per person
  • 250 ml of liquid (milk, coconut milk, or any type of “mylk” or “m*lk” you like) per person
  • Half a ripe banana per person
  • Cinnamon

Optional toppings:

  • Coconut
  • Hazelnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Dried cranberries
  • A dash of kefir
  • Sugar or syrup or sweetener

Preparation

This will take about 30 minutes, depending on how many people are you cooking for.

  1. Place the milk and oats on a pot, and turn the heat on to a high setting
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the oats are fairly ‘swollen’. Perhaps add more liquid during cooking if they have absorbed too much of it! Stir frequently so nothing gets stuck to the pot, and the result gets creamier.
  4. In parallel, you can peel and slice the banana(s)
  5. Place on deep bowls or dishes.
  6. Add sweetener to taste – I added a dash of agave syrup on top. Since you’re using cinnamon and banana, which is naturally sweet you don’t need to add a lot of sugar to the oatmeal
  7. Add cinnamon… and any other toppings you fancy!

Once you have the base, this is all about adding whatever you like (or have handy). For example, I added the sliced bananas, then a bunch of dried coconut, some hazelnuts, dried cranberries and chia seeds which look really cool and in theory have a lot of protein but there’s so few of them they can’t really make much of a difference 😜

I’ll admit I normally I cook porridge in the same bowl, with the microwave, but if you’re cooking for two (or more) it’s just easier to use the stove. Plus, it allows you to better control the dryness of the mixture and you can correct on the spot if it’s getting too dry 🙂