Monjavina is a sweet of arab origin, typical of the region of Játiva and of La Vall d’Albaida, where Onteniente, my hometown, is located. You can find it by other names like almoixàvena or monxàvena, but you will very rarely find it in any other regions of Spain other than the ones I just mentioned. My mom, in fact, never made it, as she comes from Seville, and I grew up eating it at the homes of friends. You could say that every household in Onteniente makes it.
The recipe is simple, with few ingredients, and that can mislead as to its result, which is a delicious, light, sugary cake that is best eaten on the day it’s made. My favorite time to have it is mid afternoon, with a glass of horchata (*) if I am in Spain, or an espresso if I am in America. This mid-afternoon snack is usually referred to as la merienda in Spain, a meal that is meant to stave off hunger between lunch and the late Spanish dinner. La merienda is most often also referred to as this meal in the context of children: the meal they eat right after they get home from school.
So many zucchinis! When I planted my vegetable garden back in the spring, I didn’t realize I would get such a generous bounty. My friends Cort and Kathleen share the produce from their amazing garden as well, so I’ve ended up with quite a few of them! All the better, since crispy battered zucchini are a hit with my family.
I didn’t realize either, when I dug the holes for the seedlings, how large the zucchini plants would get. Lesson learned for next year: I need more room for the zucchini plants, and more space between them and the next variety of vegetable. But the lesson for this year, which I learned early: wear garden gloves! Those zucchini leaves are very spiky.
Pomegranates from El Taroncheral (photo Marlen Caballero)
Figs from El Taroncheral (photo Paula Sanz Caballero)
Today is the day that marks the end of Christmas in North America, at least for Christians: it is the feast of the Epiphany, when we celebrate the adoration of the Three Kings, the Three Wise Men, to baby Jesus at Bethlehem (click on this link, to read or hear a children’s story I wrote for Highlights for Children magazine a few years ago, where (more…)