An improvised salad dressing, or a lunch-time hack

Salad bowl with yogur dressing

I brought a salad to the office on Friday, which is not unusual. But I was in a rush in the morning and didn’t prepare the little container with the dressing (olive oil, vinegar, salt).

As I started cycling towards the office, I expected / hoped / vaguely remembered that the office kitchen had some bottles of these.

Imagine my sheer horror when, hours later, I turn up at the kitchen and… nope. There was nothing of that. There was sugar, marmite, sriracha (hot sauce), salt, pepper, other random things… but absolutely no olive oil or vinegar.

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Fogassa d’Ontinyent

A fogassa just out of the oven - a round bun with almonds and walnuts on top and sugar on top

This is an enriched sweet bun which also happens to be one of my absolutely favourite Valencian sweets. It has everything you could wish on an autumn bun: softness and fluffiness, aromas, caramelised nuts, juicy raisins… EVERYTHING!

It is my hometown’s local take on the slightly more widely known “Fogassa de Tots Sants” i.e. All Saints’ Fogassa, which was eaten on that day before going to the graveyard to pay respect to the dead. Nowadays you can buy it during the whole month, and you might even convince a local baker to make you one out of season (por encargo).

What I have also found is that by virtue of being so extremely local, the recipe isn’t readily available online or in books, and it has taken me about six iterations to come up with a recipe that tastes how I remember it tasted. In fact, the pictures for this will show you how I ended making four fogasses last week-end, trying two flours and two yeast amounts. I am that scientifically committed to the quest for the perfect fogassa!

And I am also finally pleased with the results and happy to share! ūüėé

A fogassa sliced open, so we can see the soft fluffy crumb with the ocassional raisin and aniseed. There are almonds and sugar on top
Nice fluffy crumb
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Plato de verano (“Summer’s dish”)

Plato de verano (Summer's dish)

When it gets hot in Spain we avoid eating hot food and turn our attention towards things that are eaten cold. You might have heard about gazpacho or salmorejo!

Then there is the “plato de verano”, which literally means “summer’s dish”. It’s not a unique recipe, but a way of describing “something somewhat substantial that you eat cold”. It depends on the cook and whatever is available on the day.

My recipe provides a good balance between sharpness, oiliness, savouriness, softness and crunchiness so that it’s a pleasant and refreshing thing to eat, but without having to bite too much (too much effort if it’s very hot).

¬°Buen provecho!

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Sourdough pitta bread

Two pitta breads with charred bits, slightly puffed up, on a plate

Now that summer is officially under way and it (sometimes) gets hot, I tend to avoid turning the oven on, as our flat gets very hot and we don’t need any extra heat. It’s time for salads, gazpachos and things that can be eaten cold(ish).

However… sometimes the pull of making something with flour is still strong. And that’s when I reach for these very easy to make pitta breads, which are dry-fried in a pan rather than baked in the oven.

It will still be hot in the kitchen for a bit, but then you’re done and ready to eat your little freshly baked wonders. And it’s so exciting to see them puff up! One of my favourite parts.

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Za’atar bread

Za'atar bread loaf, sliced

We bought a really big pack of Za’atar a couple of weeks ago, and the first thought I had (apart from cooking more cauliflower fritters) was that it would somehow make its way into bread.

First we made some sourdough manakish: a sort of flatbread topped with a paste made of za’atar and olive oil. That was very good!

Then I had an idea: what about making a hybrid between manakish and a ‘classic’ loaf?

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