I found another really easy, simple and CHEAP recipe and it made my mind go crazy. Just like the `torijjas` was in the No good for diet post. Thank u soo much, my “Spanish Cabron”, again!
Yesterday night I wanted to show a traditional hungarian recipe to my boyfriend, called tejbegriz. I made it in my special way – cooked the semolina in vanilla milk, served with peppery cherry compote, cooked in port and dark chocolate shavings. He liked it, and brought up an oldschool memory from his childhood: gacha.
Let’s take a closer look on this… I am more than sure – just like the `french bread` – that u can find the basic idea in a huge amount of nation`s cuisine. In every case the main ingredients are flour (wheat), oil (fat, butter etc), water (milk, juices etc) and seasoning. You’re making something thick. The dish dates back to the old hard times in Spain: “gachas de los anos dificiles”, because it was the cheapest ever.
Long long time ago Gachas was nothing else but savory: toasted a few pieces of bread in oil (the garnish), then toast the flour in the rest of the oil, add some water, whisk ’till it’s getting thicker and finally season it with salt and garlic, and serve with croutons. Depending on the region – different versions developed:
Andalucia – flavoured with paprika and saffron, served with curdled blood, liver, and offal.
Castile – La Mancha – goes with mushroom and potato, sometimes pickled pork liver and cucumber, season with caraway seed and clove (interesting thing, in this region they using the flour of grass peas – almorta – which is toxic anyway, so they need to mix it with plain flour).
Valencia, Aragon – usually they using bacon, pork, cod, or snails, to make it rich, and color it with tomato.
BUT… the more interesting part is that people started to make it sweet. Like a pudding. Sweet and tasty.
We all know the english version, called porridge: using semolina (wheat middlings), boil the milk with some sweetener and serve with jam. My version is porridge with coffee and orange juice, served with marmalade and chocolate chips.
Northern countries love it for breakfast, using raisins, served with extra milk: In Sweden they boil the porridge, milk, and blueberries together (blåbärsgröt, blueberry porridge). In Finland and Estonia they using berry juice and whip the mush into a light, airy consistency (klappgröt, vispipuuro, mannavaht).
The hungarian version is called tejbegriz – which means ‘semolina with milk’. I remember my lunch in the school cantine: nothingn else, but a big bowl of porridge, a hint of sweet cacao powder on the top. Hardly could move after lunch: 20000000000 kCal. Anyways.
Let me go back to the original Spanish version. They changed the water to milk (just imagine what else can be :-) ), and using yummy stuff like honey, vanilla, orange peeling, and cinnamon. One of the most important spice is Pimpinella Anisum – anise.
The method is really easy, you have some pieces of old bread toasted in olive oil – or butter if you are posh enough – then in the same pan you can toast your flour using a spoon to stir, not to let it burn. Add warm milk or cream, juice, coffee, whatever, stir until it’s getting thicker. It’s ready – serve it with the bread, which is still nice and crunchy. My favorite part is pouring some cold milk on the top of the boiling hot gacha, without mixing them together – so you have a bit of each on your spoon while you are enjoying it. So simple and so lovely.
But of course i have my on little version with a crazy twist…
Using ground almonds, milk powder and polenta instead of flour, keep the toasted bread idea in a crumble form with some crushed almonds as well, caramelized with honey, using lots of aniseed and vanilla. Finish the whole thing with ice cold almond-milk or almond milk snow, or almond milk sorbet, etc. I decorated the dish with milk skin, and a sprig of lavender – and mmm, enjoy…! :))