Last week we got a big melon in our fruit and veg box delivery, and when I was removing the seeds I remembered that I read that early horchata recipes used melon seeds, and I wondered: what would an horchata made of melon seeds taste like?
Why not try it? After all, these seeds were going to go to waste, and I have a bit of time in my hands… so…
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.
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! 🤪
The 9th of October is the Valencian’s Community day, commemorating when King Jaume I conquered the city of Valencia in 1238 and yadda yadda… Of course, the most interesting aspect for us in this blog is the food, and there is a specific type of sweets that are eaten at that time of the year: dolços de Sant Dionís or (pardon my terrible translation) Saint Dionysius sweets.
These are made of almond, sugar and egg white (plus whatever colouring you feel like adding). I used orange and a green colourings, and mixed them in various amounts, depending on which vegetable or fruit I tried to mimic.
I went on a tiger nut frenzy last week, as I made a batch of horchata and then I also turned the leftover “pulp” into “flour” for making biscuits. Absolutely ZERO WASTE! I was very pleased.
This time I used just tiger nuts. No cinnamon or lemon zest as in my previous attempt. And it tasted better than ever! So tiger nutty. I find it hard to describe this flavour; you have to try this type of horchata to understand how it tastes—it’s quite unlike Mexican horchata.
My friend and prestigious Horchata Connoisseur Belén has asked me to share the recipe for the biscuits, so here it goes!