Coca Alicantina

I can’t let Veganuary go unmarked without sharing a meat and dairy free recipe. I’d eat a little more this way if I could find more veggie dishes that both my boys liked. They’re both fussy eaters but with different tastes. Its puts a whole range of things off piste as far as mealtimes are concerned. Cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, certain sizes of tomato (I kid you not!) aubergines, squash, sweet potatoes are all no-go examples. I wouldn’t dare try to incorporate tofu or kimchi into a dish. It wouldn’t be worth the hassle. I can sometimes get away with things with Louis if I disguise them sufficiently but, in doing so, I’m taking a massive risk

But I have got it right with Coca Alicantina. It’s from ‘The Cooking of Spain’ by Elisabeth Luard, another one of those old Sainsbury’s recipe books that I forgot to mention in my recent cookbook post. As you can see from its cover it’s well used and there’s a reason for that. It’s filled with delicious simple food including this flatbread from the Alicante region. It’s like a pizza but there’s not a whiff of dairy or double pepperoni. The topping is a ‘vegetable jam’ and toasted breadcrumbs. The base is yeast free. Of course, because this is Mediterranean cookery there’s enough olive oil to grease the engine of an aircraft carrier. It’s incorporated at various stages of preparation.

Heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and fry a chopped onion and a crushed garlic clove. When it’s softened add a finely sliced red pepper. Heat for a couple of minutes before adding a tin of chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, grated nutmeg and about 125g chopped spinach. Then leave it to cook down in the open pan over a low heat for about 30 minutes. The texture resembles jam as in the above picture. This stuff is god food, such a concentrated flavour. I’m reckoning that it could incorporated into a whole load more recipes.

The dough for the base is made from 300g flour, a teaspoon of salt, a quarter of a pint of water and,yes you’ve guessed it, another six tablespoons of olive oil. After rolling it out once you fold it in half, sprinkle it with a bit more olive oil and roll out again. You then repeat this process three more times. Slap on a greased baking sheet, add the topping and cook for 25 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Once it’s out of the oven cover liberally with fried breadcrumbs. Zero brownie points for guessing the type of oil used. The coca alicantina is good eaten hot or cold as Louis will testify. He had two slices for supper and took the remains in his lunch box, blissfully unaware of the offending pepper under all that topping. Phew! I got away with it!

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