Baking Bad the Med Diet way
I’m a big fan of the television series Breaking Bad. In its honour I started to use ‘Baking Bad’ as a term to identify crappy white bread. You know, the kind of bread you are served in a typical tapas bar in London or lining UK supermarket shelves. This led me to wonder what type of bread I could expect once I moved to southern Spain. I need not have worried.
The bread I have been able to find here, whether in bakeries or supermarkets, has been excellent. Of course, Baking Bad options are also available, but if what you crave are small batch bakes, wide variations in styles and types – as well as lots of whole grain options – then this is the place to be.
The Spanish, like the French, enjoy buying their bread fresh. It doesn’t come wrapped in plastic and doesn’t have a shelf-life into the next decade. They also like bread baked with wonderful combinations of nuts and seeds. So far, my favourites have been Walnut rolls, pumpkin bread and spelt loaves, but I’m also looking forward to sampling examples of rye and sourdough.
In fact, when it comes to sourdough, the Spanish seem to be entranced. In my quest to improve my Spanish, I came across a local television programme dedicated to sourdough baking. But whatever your favourite, all these varieties make for a tasty delivery system to help absorb so many other wonderful real food ingredients, whether it be freshly made hummus, creamy lemony guacamole or mopping up a garlicky tomato sauce.
Biscuits or Cake?
Me, I’m a cake girl, but when it comes to either it has been an interesting experience. While there is no shortage of sugary sweet treats such as churros – covered in sugar or dipped in chocolate – the cake selection in many supermarkets seems to be dominated by what can be found in the freezer section. I have not been tempted. An exception has been traditional almond tarts, as well as fresh and delicious little custard tarts which are widely available. I also have the impression that cakes are generally more of a weekend treat, with local independent bakeries dominant rather than chains. When it comes to biscuits, a wide variety are available. One favourite local bakery produces the most delightful tasty little morsels that are perfect for an occasional treat when you meet a new friend for coffee. So far the Spaniards seem to have been successful in avoiding supersizing their treats and processed products.
Now, the one sweet treat I am particularly partial to is brownies and I have a favourite recipe that I make regularly as a weekend treat. As this brownie is made with indulgent dark rich chocolate, I have been fortunate to find the Spanish supermarkets provide the perfect ingredients. Dark chocolate also happens to be my favourite and it has just as much shelf space in supermarkets as milk chocolate. This particular recipe requires 72% and 85% dark chocolate plus creamy white chocolate, along with butter and organic eggs. With all these ingredients readily available and delicious results, perhaps I’ll start a new business! Last weekend I served them for Father’s Day and the last of the batch disappeared while we were sitting listening to the cicadas on Sunday evening at dusk.
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