Pogača

My new story How to Bind a Sailor’s Heart is in the May issue of Mermaids Monthly.

Charles Payseur writes about it in Quick Sip Reviews

A grim and bracing story, but one that acts as a fierce warning, full of haunting beauty! 

To celebrate its publication, I decided to share my recipe for pogača – the dish described in the story (without the gory details, of course – but feel free to be creative if the circumstances demand it).

Komiška pogača is a traditional filled bread from the island of Vis. This is my version of the recipe – delicious and really easy to make.

Mermaids? What mermaids?

Komiška pogača

Dough

  • 600 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 g dry yeast
  • a splash of virgin olive oil
  • 400 ml warm water

Filling

  • 50 ml virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 500 g tomato puree
  • 8-10 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • rosemary
  • thyme

Instructions

Prepare the dough: mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, add oil and water. You can use a hand mixer at this point. Knead the dough until you get a nice, smooth texture. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.

Prepare the filling: chop the onion and sauté it in the virgin olive oil over medium heat for 10 min. Add the garlic, sauté for 1 min then pour in tomato puree. Add bay leaf, rosemary and thyme and simmer for about 20 min, until it thickens. Set aside to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Assemble the pogača. Take the risen dough, knead it and divide it into 2 equal parts. Roll the first part into a round shape and transfer it to a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Spread the tomato sauce, arrange the anchovies in a circle and dot with capers. Roll the other part of dough into a circle and cover the first part. Fold the edges and seal them with a fork. Bake the pogača for 30 – 40 min, until golden. Slice it into wedges and enjoy.

White whale has landed

Those outside the querying trenches often mock those inside them for comparing the process of researching on-line, writing a letter and hitting “send” to the experience of sitting in a freezing hole in the ground while shells explode above your head. However, in my humble opinion, those who’d never tried to run the minefield of MSWL, died an agonizing death in no man’s land while waiting for requests, or felt the bayonet-in-the-guts pain of the full rejection have no right to express their opinion on the subject.

However, I’m not here to moan but to celebrate an extraordinary occurrence, the white whale of story writing: four days from the first word written to the story acceptance. Call it a wild fluke or karma or divine benevolence, but it was a ray of sunshine in my trench. Started the story on Friday, sold it on Monday. Admittedly, it is a very fast market and, also, I had a hunch that the story was right for them, but it’s still a miracle. What makes it even more important, on a personal level, is that the story was my reaction to the anxiety and heartbreak of the querying process.

I suppose it’s better to pour out your pain and sell it than to keep it in.

Anyways, Immortelle is coming soon. It’s dark, violent and crawling with zombies.