Pimientos rellenos / bajoques farcides (stuffed peppers)

Stuffing the pepper with the rice mix

I absolutely adore stuffed peppers—if Proust had madeleines, I have stuffed peppers.

It’s smelling them and instantly thinking of sunny Sundays and visiting grandparents; chasing the faint scent of the roasted skins all the way from the ground floor through three flights of stairs, across the long corridor leading to the kitchen, and then finally (finally!) digging into the strongly flavoured rice while sitting on a pile of cushions on a chair that was way too low for me… Yummmm!

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Aubergine shawarma

Aubergine shawarma on pitta bread with black tahini dressing, with a salad of cucumber, tomato, mint and olives

This is my version of a recipe from Honey & Co published in the FT magazine.

It is a bit tedious to make the first couple of times, because there are things you have to do in a sequence and others can be done in parallel (to save time), so it’s a bit hard to visualise it all in your head initially, but once you internalise the instructions (which I’ve also “streamlined” to my liking) it should be fairly fast to get it going.

This is how I see it in my head:

Apart from the flavour itself, what I also really like is that you can cook a big portion of this and keep them in the fridge for easy consumption later. I put them on a box and re-heat a portion on the microwave before serving.

A plate with aubergine shawarma, served with a cucumber and tomato salad and black tahini dressing
A plate with aubergine shawarma, served with a cucumber and tomato salad and black tahini dressing
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Dukkah

A jar of home made dukkah

Having this in your kitchen will not literally change your life… but it will be quite close because you’ll want to add it to almost everything!

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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!)

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Sourdough wholemeal focaccia

Wholemeal focaccia, baked

I like to cycle flours quickly so that they’re always as fresh as possible and don’t go rancid or off (quite important if you’re using organic flours which have not been treated with chemical products and so have more chances to ‘breed life’).

I had a lot of Hodmedod’s YQ wholemeal flour which I wanted to use, but I wanted to try something different to the usual wholemeal loaf.

I thought of making a focaccia, which is very easy to make, but they’re normally made with white flour. Using wholemeal flour might sound like a heresy when the first idea that comes to mind about focaccia is a soft white fluffy dough, but the result surprised me—it was moist and full of flavour.

But I had nothing to lose, and much to find out!

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