...How Hard Could It Be?
A spectacular food fail taught us one thing - learn from those who know, before it's too late.
Just five ingredients and simple instructions to follow - we thought making Boroa, would be easy and so, armed with our Daily News Cookbook, we set out to make a recipe that my grandmother was very familiar with.
Boroa is a semolina biscuit. It's key ingredients are semolina, soft sugar, cashew nuts, half a wine glass of rose water, the yolk of two eggs. Introduced to this country by the Portuguese somewhere around the 16th century. It's one of the lesser known addition to our local cuisine is Boroa. In fact, very few people make it these days. In my lifetime, I must have eaten it twice at most.
Sometimes, modern tools can be used to speed up processes...
And this is where we started to go wrong. The recipe calls for the cashew nuts to be pounded. We blitzed it in a grinder. My parents who have the final word in all our experiments, looked at each other before looking back at me with something akin to horror in their eyes. "Grinding the cashew would NEVER have released the cashew oil!" said one. The other just said "Simple instruction, no? Pound, not grind."
The finished product... a problem in it self.
This was after they looked at the Boroa and went "It's too big!" See, the Daily News Cookbook isn't specific about the SIZE of the boroa. It says, 'roll them into balls about the size of a large marble'. I can't remember the time I last saw a large marble - can you? It then goes on to say 'Place them on a floured baking tin and bake in a moderate oven until nicely browned'. No mention of a temperature, nor a cooking time.
And that is the lesson. Cooking isn't something that can be done off books - especially old cookbooks. You have to have someone who has actually made - and eaten - these dishes. Boroa, Broeder, Foguete and Bolo Folhado (Bol Fiado) are all dishes that deserve to be remembered, made enjoyed and treasured. To do this, we have to learn from the experiences of others - something we, as a species, is not very good at!