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Maltese Village Cookies [Biskuttini tar-rahal] – no added fats

‘Baking is fun and can be easy.

There are several recipes of traditional Maltese rusks but I particularly like this one with no added fats and a straightforward nearly all-in-one method.

These cookies are meant to be slightly crude, on the larger side with a rusk type texture and great for dunking in a cup of coffee.

The enticingly strong aniseed flavour makes them very special.  The same or similar recipe is used to make Christening cookies [round rather than oval and slightly more refined in appearance with pink or blue or white icing piped on the top] and brides cookies [with additional pieces of candied peel].’

Maltese Village Cookies [Biskuttini tar-rahal] – no added fats

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8-20

Maltese Village Cookies [Biskuttini tar-rahal] – no added fats

Maltese Biskuttini tar-rahal [no added fat]

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • 90g caster sugar with stevia
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground aniseeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole aniseeds
  • grated zest of an orange
  • grated zest of a lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • Non stick baking spray
  • baking tray
  • baking paper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Prepare an ovenproof tray with baking paper and use a non stick spray.
  3. Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl and add the caster sugar with stevia. Use an electric hand whisk to beat them for around 6-7 minutes at full speed until it triples in volume and turns white and fluffy.
  4. Sift the flour twice into another bowl and add the baking powder, salt, aniseed powder and seeds, cloves, cinnamon and mix well.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients into the egg mixture by whisking the mixture. As soon as it starts coming together use your hands to form a dough.
  6. Dust your hands with flour and roll the dough into balls and place on the baking tray.
  7. Press down slightly with your finger to form into oval shapes.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes until the cookies are cooked but still pale in colour.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing them from the baking tray.

Notes

These traditional Maltese village cookies [Biskuttini tar-rahal] can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. They freeze well for 3 months.

https://leahogg.com/2018/05/20/maltese-village-cookies-biskuttini-tar-rahal-no-added-fats/

For the recipe in Maltese click here

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Very quick Gazpacho

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Quick gazpacho perfect for summer.   This photo was taken during a live tv show by Charles Vassallo

‘For soup lovers, hot summers call for cold, refreshing soups. This gazpacho takes under 5 minutes to prepare and just chill for a few hours to also allow the flavors to combine.’

You will need:

1 kilo ripe tomatoes, washed, roughly chopped with skin on
1 small white onion
3 small garlic cloves
1 medium cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple organic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

A pinch of stevia
Water to get the consistency of your liking.

I serve with Galletti.

Simply wash and roughly chop the tomatoes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and use a hand blender to puree to a smooth pulp.  If you prefer it more liquidy, simply add more water and whizz with the hand blender until it is the consistency that suits you. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving

Serve with croutons, more chopped up tomatoes and cucumber.

Tip: Place the serving bowl over a large container filled with ice cubes before serving

For the recipe in Maltese click here

I use Filippo Berio Olive oil by Rimus Group

 

 

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Easy Carrot and Orange Cake

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I am featuring a number of new healthier cake recipes on TV and I love this one.  The photos today are of the cake we made during the show, taken with a mobile phone, too hot to remove it completely out of the cake tin as time is very limited with live cooking.

carrotorangecake

The cake is moist and the sweetness comes from the combination of the natural sugars added to the carrot, oranges and cinnamon.  You will need:

200g self raising flour
100g oats
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Mix these 5 ingredients together in a large bowl

180g grated carrots
Grated zest of 2 oranges

  • Mix these 2 ingredients together in another bowl 

75ml sunflower oil
200g golden raisins
4 eggs
Juice of 2 oranges

  • Blend these 4 ingredients together until the mixture is smooth and consistent

Preheat oven to 160C

Prepare a 23cm cake dish and grease it if necessary.

Organise the three sets of ingredients into 3 separate bowls.

The raising agents start to activate as soon as they come into contact with the liquid ingredients therefore work quickly for a light result and put the cake in the preheated oven as soon as the ingredients are mixed together.

Add the carrot mix to the flour mix and combine making sure that the carrots are covered with the flour.  Add the  blended liquids.  Fold in using a large metal spoon.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 35 minutes without opening the oven.  Check with a wooden skewer and if required bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes.  Mine was ready in 40 minutes but it depends on your oven and environmental conditions.

 During the show, I dusted some icing sugar and but at home we leave it without, without a trace of processed sugar.

Trade Enquiries: 

Ingredients for my cake this week from Lamb Brand

Fresh fruit and vegetables Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto for Organic.

 

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV and you can also follow on facebook

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Crunchiest Potatoes and still soft inside [with sesame seeds, fennel seeds and couscous]

couscous potatoes

Crunchy Couscous Potatoes

How do you get more of the crunch and leave them so soft that they melt-in-your-mouth at the same time?

Everyone loved these and you will need:

300g potatoes, chopped with skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons uncooked couscous
1 teaspoon fresh or dried herbs [optional]
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
Sea Salt

Prepare an oven dish by greasing with a tablespoon of olive oil. In a large bowl toss the potatoes with the olive oil, herbs and salt if you are using it. Finally add the raw couscous and toss again. Use your hands to mix the potatoes and ensure that they are consistently covered.
Place in a preheated oven at 220C for 35 minutes. Spinkle with more sea salt if desired, fennel and sesame seeds.
Serve hot or cold with drinks and a toothpick or as a side to a main meal. The inside remains soft and so creamy !

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Trade Enquiries:

Batchelors Spicy Couscous by Premier Foods at George Borg

My vegetables today come from Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola, Big Fresh Mosta and Barbuto [organic]

 

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Gluten Free Quinoa Cookies

 

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No added refined sugar, wheat free and you can swap the chocolate chips with dried fruit.

And for the biscuits you will need:

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35g Ground Almonds
280g Cooked Quinoa, according to instructions on pack
1 teaspoon baking powder (gf)
50 g dark chocolate chips or chopped
100g coconut
2 egg whites
100g peanut butter
100g applesauce
85g honey
a few drops good vanilla extract
Pinch Sea Salt

Combine the peanut butter, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract.
Mix together separately the ground almonds, quinoa, baking powder, chocolate chips, coconut and salt.
Stir in the egg whites and mix well.
Add the peanut butter, applesauce mix and combine.
Shape into balls and flatten into cookie shapes.
Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 170C for about 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool as they are quite soft when they come out of the oven.

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Penne with Aubergines and Fresh Herbs

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So simple and straightforward, everyone loves this dish.  I always add dried mint whenever i use fresh mint, just a touch, it seems to bring out more of a rounded flavor and gives the overall taste more depth without the addition of too many flavors.

You will need :

1 regular size eggplant, cut into cubes
2 cans of chopped tomatoes or 8 fresh ones, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 spoon good oil
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1/2teaspoon dried mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Fresh curd cheese for scattering on the top but if not available use 50g ricotta crumbled up

Heat the oil in the saucepan. Saute the eggplant cubes. When they are cooked add the grated garlic, dried mint and tomatoes. Season and leave to cook covered on low heat for 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh herbs.
Cook the penne in a pan according to instructions on the packet. Drain.
Add the pasta to the sauce and plate.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves and scatter the curd cheese (gbejna) or crumbled ricotta.
Serve.

And for the recipe in Maltese click here 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Shakshouka with Halloumi

 

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I love this all-in-one quick supper or lunch dish and halloumi cheese is easily available on the island which makes it very easy to prepare.  My Israeli friends tell me that two crucial ingredients are plenty of garlic and ground black pepper.

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For the Shakshouka you will need :

1/2 teaspoon butter
1 white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes or 1/4 teaspoon paprika if you don’t like spicy food
1 large can chopped peeled tomatoes with juice
Salt and lots of fresh ground pepper
150g halloumi cheese, chopped up
4 eggs
Chopped parsley and fresh marjoram for garnish

Heat butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and golden brown. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
Add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Crack the eggs over sauce one at at a time. Cook until yolks are just set.
Then add the chopped halloumi and allow it to cook in the juices for a few minutes.
Garnish with parsley and fresh marjoram.
Serve immediately.
It’s wholesome, economical and heart warming … good old fashioned cooking …
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For the recipe in Maltese click here

 

Trade Enquiries:

Halloumi Cheese by Fior Di Vita From Quality Food Marketing

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Scottish Red Lentil Soup, so healthy with no added fat….

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Inspite of the heat, I am craving this very healthy comfort meal that I make nearly every week in winter.

It is so quick to make, no blender, no chopping and you end up with a satiny purée with a bit of texture and it is just divine. My Scottish mother-in-law was not too fond of cooking but she made this soup when I went to her home in Irvine the first time and I loved it so much that she made it for me each time I visited. This is her recipe and I have added a bit of garlic as it gives the flavor more depth.

It has no added fats, is so healthy and wholesome and if you are craving comfort food try this for a healthy option. I have mine as it is but I put a small fresh mozzarella ball into the empty bowl for the others before I poured the soup in and served it with the option of grated parmigiano reggiano. It is just delicious and gets rid of all those hunger pangs very quickly !

You will need :

250g red lentils
3 large potatoes
6 medium size carrots
2 cloves garlic
2 vegetarian stock cubes
1 can chopped tomatoes
Start with 2 liters water and top it up as it cooks

Optional – some garnishes to choose
Small mozzarella balls
Chopped crispy pancetta, can be used as a garnish
Chopped parsley, for garnish if you like
Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish if you like
Maldon Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

Rinse the lentils, no need to soak and place in large pot together with peeled potatoes and carrots roughly chopped in large chunks. I even leave them whole sometimes. Add the garlic cloves, chopped tomatoes and stock cubes. Top up with two liters water. The vegetables need to be fully immersed so add more water if necessary.

Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Give it a stir and keep doing this from time to time to makes sure the contents do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Kelp adding water throughout the cooking time to keep the contents moist and make sure they do not dry up.

Kept the soup simmering on low heat until the potatoes are fully cooked. Test one of the potatoes with a knife. When they are cooked, take a masher and mash all the contents thoroughly. You should end up with a creamy thick consistency. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. If it is too thick for you add more water and reheat. This soup is even more delicious the next day.

20130828-075742.jpgTopped with freshly grated Parmegiano Reggiano

And here is the fish hawker early this morning…

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Trade Enquiries:

Lentils and other pulses by Lamb Brand

I use Oxo stock cubes and stock pots

 

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How to make a Gozitan style ftira

Gozitan ftira is ideal for a party, to serve with drinks.  My preference is always for homemade, no matter what it may be and although it is very easy to make the dough, ftira dough is available in most local bakeries and provides a quick shortcut.

I like to place the slices of potatoes on the base of the pizza to prevent sogginess.  Toppings can vary and another popular one is with sliced potatoes, anchovies, tuna, olives and capers instead of the sausage meat.   I use a touch of fennel seeds with the potatoes and then the sesame seeds over the edge of the crust are a must.  A real winner !

Gozitan Ftira Toppings

For the base you will need:

650g strong flour [00]
7 g dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
25ml olive oil
375ml lukewarm water

For the topping you will need:

Gozitan Ftira Filippo Berio

2 potatoes
1 peppered gbejna cheese
1 Maltese Sausage
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 large tomato
1 sprig fresh rosemary or fresh herbs of your choice
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
black pepper [and salt only if desired]

To make the dough:

Sieve the flour and salt.   Add the active yeast and mix.  Add the olive oil and the water.  UUse your hands to knead it together.  Knead it lightly and place in a large bowl coverd with a tea towel and leave in a warm place in the kitchen for a couple of hours or overnight.

Gozitan Ftira pastry

Prepare an oven dish with baking paper and cooking spray.

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Prepare the toppings.  Open up the Maltese sausage and roughly chop in the filling.  Keep aside.  Slice the potatoes.  Brush the dough with olive oil and top with the sliced potatoes, garlic and Maltese sausage pieces.  Add the rosemary or herbs of your choice, black pepper and brush with olive oil .  Sprinkle sesame seeds on the edge of the dough.  Bake in a preheated very hot oven for 30-35 minutes.

Gozitan Ftira Raw Ingredients

Prepare the rest of the toppings.  Chop up the tomatoes.   Cut up the peppered gbejna cheese into pieces.

Gozitan Ftira with cooked toppings

Top the ftira with the tomatoes and gbejna.  Drizzle some more olive oil.  Cut up into slices and serve while still warm.

gozitan ftira 3

And you can watch the recipe step by step !

‘It is hot and sticky today, and as the temperature continues to rise, the islands are hit with heavy rain’

View this post on Instagram

#Memories #RainInMalta

A post shared by Wolfgang Goergens (@pantaubln) on

Trade Enquiries:
Filippo Berio Olive Oil by Rimus Group
Allinson 00 strong flour and yeast by Borg and Aquilina
Pork sausage Majjal ta’ Malta

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Quick, easy Chocolate Fudge Sauce

I share this recipe today because this sauce is fabulous to serve on any ice cream, making even shop bought ice creams special.  It is, like most of my recipes, very quick and simple to make and you will need:

200ml evaporated milk [not condensed]
250g of milk or dark chocolate or chocolate buttons
a pinch of cinnamon
vanilla
a pinch of salt

To make the chocolate fudge sauce, pour the evaporated milk into a heavy saucepan on low heat.  Cut up the chocolate or add the chocolate buttons and stir with a wooden spoon, patiently on low heat until the chocolate melts.  Add the vanilla, cinnamon and salt and continue to stir until you have a very thick fudge sauce. It usually takes about 10 minutes.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before pouring over ice cream.
You can store it in an airtight jar in the fridge and heat it up when required.

For the recipe in Maltese click here

The recipe for Malva cake in the photo can be found here

Photography: Stefan Stafrace

Trade Enquiries: Harvest Evaporated Milk and Chocolate Buttons by Silver Spoon available at Borg & Aquilina

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Tuna and Sweetcorn Salad [gluten free, lactose free]

Photos: Shine Photography By Marconia Schembri, Charles Vassallo, Felix Cesare

‘Salads provide substantial meals in the summer months without spending too much time in a hot kitchen.

Make use of the large variety of leaves in the market to add balance and add different textures and flavours.’

You will need:
150g lamb’s lettuce
300g sweet corn
300g tuna
1 sweet potato
2 mature ġbejna
100g black turtle beans
4 tbsp cooked rice
1 tbsp fresh coriander

For the dressing:
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp organic apple vinegar
1 tsp honey or agave
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
To finish off some finely grated lime zest

The combination of sweet corn and tuna is a classic salad choice and the addition of sweet potato, coriander and lime make it more interesting and satisfying.

To cook the sweet potato

Clean the sweet potato under running water using a vegetable scrubber. Pierce the potato with a fork, about four times. This will prevent the potato from exploding in the microwave, turning it over after the first three minutes. Smaller potatoes will take less time, while larger potatoes will take longer.

 

Trade Enquiries:

Tuna by Redelmar at Quality Foods

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Maltese Rabbit cooked in wine and garlic

Maltese rabbit with garlic wine raw pieces

‘It  is a public holiday today dedicated to St Peter and St Paul when the feast of Mnarja is celebrated.  Picnics and outdoor family celebrations are organised in the gardens of Buskett and one can enjoy the warm weather before  it gets too hot.  Traditionally rabbit is eaten today and the rabbit in one of my grandmother’s recipes is simmered in wine, herbs and garlic.’

For Maltese rabbit cooked in wine and garlic you will need:

1 kilo of rabbit pieces
300ml red wine
a head of garlic
120g back bacon
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1/8 tablespoon lemon zest
2 bay leaves
1 stock cube or stock pot
cooking spray
salt and pepper

Maltese Rabbit with garlic wine and bacon

Method:

I usually use a whole rabbit and ask my butcher to cut it up into pieces.

Place the rabbit pieces in a large bowl.  Pour the wine, add the bayleaves and the whole head of garlic sliced horizonally in the middle and marinate preferably overnight.

Pour the olive oil into a large pan.  Remove the rabbit pieces from the wine and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Cook the rabbit pieces on both sides and then add the wine, garlic, cinnamon, dried marjoram, bacon cut up into cubes and cook for around 5-10 minutes.  Then add the wine from the marinade and top it up to 300mls.  Season with salt and pepper and cook gently for around 45 minutes until the rabbit pieces become tender.

Allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve immediately with more black pepper and some flat leaf parsley.

Maltese rabbit with garlic wine cooking 1

I hope I have inspired you to try out this delicious Maltese traditional recipe and you will find the clip at the bottom of this blog post.

maltese rabbit with garlic wine cooked 2

Tender, soft, juicy and moist rabbit cooked in wine and garlic is usually served with marrow peas and french fries.

You may also like:

Boneless Nose-to-Tail Stuffed Rabbit
Fenkata with Minced Rabbit Meat
Celebrating Mnarja with Cherry Pastini

Trade Enquiries:
Filippo Berio Olive Oil, Fry light spray by Rimus Group
Rabbit and other meats by Churchill Master Butchers
Bacon by Majjal ta’ Malta
Red wine by Marsovin
Fresh organic vegetables from Barbuto
Kitchenware by Pedrini and Bialetti at K&Co, Telephone: 79415384
Ceramic tableware by Bristow Potteries

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Maltese Seasonal Fruit: Loquat and Mulberry Smoothies

‘Loquats [in Maltese ‘naspli’] and wild mulberries [‘cawsli’] are somewhat unusual fruits with a very short season.  They start to ripen towards the end of  May and are ready to be harvested at the beginning of June.

I like to make the most of them when they are available.  Wild mulberries are beautiful in both appearance and texture although loquats may appear quite bruised and will need to be peeled for this smoothie.  They both have a slightly tart taste and loquats may not be everyone’s cup of tea but they are very juicy when fresh and if they are baked or made into jam, their sweetness comes out and the result is moist and full of flavour.

The banana and other frozen fruit in this semi smoothie/smoothie bowl recipe balances the tartness of the loquats and makes it creamy. ‘

 

For my Loquat and Mulberry Smoothie Bowl, you will need:

150g mixed frozen fruit

70 g loquats

70g mulberries

125g Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon gluten free Oats

2 tablespoons ground tigernuts OR ground almonds

1 banana

To garnish: Fresh loquats and blueberries and an other fruits of your choice.

Combine the fruit in a blender or nutribullet.  Puree until very smooth and pour into glasses.

Top the cups with fresh fruit and edible flowers and serve immediately.

More Recipes with Loquats and Wild Mulberries

Loquat and gbejna Pastries

Maltese Mulberry Baked Cheesecake

loquats mulberries

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekend Baking: All-in-One light and fluffy Carrot Banana Loaf and Muffins

banana carrot cake 4‘The combination of carrots with bananas in baking produces a very moist, light and fluffy cake. It is best eaten fresh but you can freeze it on the day it has been baked to retain that fresh taste for up to 3 months.

All-in-One Carrot Fluffy and Light Banana Cake

This cake is moist, light textured and fluffy and so very quick to make

Ingredients

  • 300 g self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 small bananas [or 200g if you weigh them]
  • 2 large carrots [or 250g if you weigh them]
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 g sugar OR 1 use a mix of Sugar and Stevia in which case you will need 170g [1/3 less]
  • 200 ml sunflower oil
  • vanilla
  • a pinch of salt
  • zest of 1/4 orange
  • zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Baking spray
  • You will also need x2 20cm cake tins or equivalent. I used a loaf tin and made some muffins with the remaining batter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare the baking dish with cooking spray and keep aside.
  2. Use a food processor and start by adding the peeled bananas, orange and lemon zest. Process them then add the eggs. Process again until the mixture is smooth. Then add the eggs and sugar and process. Add the roughly chopped up carrots and pulse until they are broken down into small pieces. Add the sunflower oil, vanilla and nutmeg. Process.
  3. In a separate bowl sift the self raising flour twice. Add the bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Mix through.
  4. Pour half of the liquid ingredients into the flour mix and use a large metal spoon to fold in. Add the other half of the liquid ingredients and fold in again. Do not overmix.
  5. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Leave to cook in the baking tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

 

I also made some muffins and spread the top with Lebanese Labneh then dipped them into coloured hundreds and thousands.

 

If you prefer the Carrot Banana Cake recipe in Maltese click here

For the YouTube playlist in English  click here

Trade Enquiries:

Allinson Flour and Silver Spoon Sugar with Stevia by Borg and Aquilina
Golden Drop Sunflower Oil  and Kolios Labneh by Quality Foods
Fry Light Cooking Spray by Rimus Group
Baking Powder, Bicarbonate of Soda by Lamb Brand
Cake tins by Cake Boss and Prestige at K&Co Telephone 79415384
Spices, vanilla delivered to my home by www.spices.com.mt
Fruit and vegetables by Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola

 

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Healthy smoothie duo [and a hint of lemon grass]

Crops Healthy Smoothie

The combination of pureed frozen fruits and vegetables to make smoothies is endless. I am a big fan of nourishing food and smoothies suit any busy lifestyle and boost kids’ diets with vegetable that they may not usually eat.  Smoothies are perfect for our hot, sweltering summers as they combine healthy nutrition, cravings for ice cream and a quick meal option for a busy lifestyle.

I usually freeze my fruit and veg but this time tried a packet of ready-made frozen pack of mixed fruit and vegetables by Crop’s and chose the packet with kale, mango and banana with a hint of lemongrass.

The lemongrass flavour is divine and I made a two in one smoothie by mixing raw cacao with the mix for my bottom layer.  I added oats and Greek Yoghurt and the result is amazing, both visually, nutritionally and taste.  [For a vegan recipe, replace the yoghurt with a frozen plant-based milk.

For my quick healthy smoothie you will need:

150g frozen fruit and vegetables [kale, mango, banana, lemon grass]
125g Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon glutenfree oats
1 tablespoon raw cacao

Place the frozen vegetables, fruit and yoghurt in a blender and add the oats and yoghurt

Turn the blender on high speed and puree until totally smooth.

Pour half the mixture into a container and keep aside [not the serving glass]

Add one tablespoon of raw cacao to the remainder of the mixture in the blender.

Turn on the blender again to combine.

Pour the chocolate smoothie into a long glass.

Top with the green smoothie mixture.

Decorate with some fruit and serve immediately.

[the lemon grass flavour is to die for] !

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Trade Enquiries:
Mornflake Glutenfree Oats and Crop’s Smoothie Fruit and Vegetables by Rimus Group
Kolios Greek Yoghurt by Quality Foods
QuestBEST raw cacao by RMC Ltd
Plates by Bristow Potteries Malta

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Maltese Kawlata with Ham Hock

One of my favourite Maltese recipes is this rich soup where the vegetables are cooked with pork.  I use smoked ham hock and finish it off with Maltese Sausage.

You cannot have kawlata without pumpkin, cabbage or pork but it is one of those types of traditional dishes whereby each family has their own variation.

My mother and grandmother always added fennel seeds and local wild celery, both giving the kawlata a very distinct taste and I have done my own variation by sticking to their recipe and adding kale, sweet potato and fresh turmeric which are all very popular at the moment.

If you have not tried it yet, do so before the hot summer returns.

 

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV.

I use Filippo Berio Olive Oil, Oxo Stock Pots and local pork from Churchill Master Butchers

My vegetables in today’s soup are from Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola

Kitchenware by Pedrini, Prestige and Bialetti from K & Co Telephone 79415384

Spices, dried herbs and seeds by home delivery from www.spices.com.mt

Tableware and plates are from Bristow Potteries and they can be ordered online for dleivery outside Malta

 

 

 

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Orange Almond and Chocolate Cakes [gluten free, lactose free]

I made a selection of these cakes last week, star shaped, loaf cakes, muffins and even used the left over batter to make a flattish slice which can also double up as a base for a cheese cake.  Needless to say that the combination of orange, almonds and chocolates makes an incredible flavour but what is also very special is the texture of this cake.  It is very moist and dense but not heavy or rich.

Whole oranges are softened by boiling  and simmering them for an hour and then processed with the rest of the ingredients.  Apart from the hour that is needed to boil the oranges the preparation of this cake takes minutes.

This cake also appeals to a lot of special dietary requirements.  It is gluten free and lactose free.  For a more diabetic friendly recipe, use stevia.

Almond orange cakes.jpg

 

Orange Almond and Chocolate Cakes [gluten free, lactose free]

Orange Almond and Chocolate Cakes [gluten free, lactose free]

Orange Almond Chocolate gluten free cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1/2 cup stevia OR 1/2 cup soft brown sugar OR 250g dates
  • vanilla
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of mixed spice
  • cake tin of 23 cm, you can also use a loaf tin or muffin dish
  • baking spray
    For the dark chocolate topping
  • 150g Dark Novibloc Chocolate
  • 150g Novi Orange Dark Chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon Olive OIl

Instructions

  1. Immerse the oranges in a large pot of water and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for an hour. Drain and allow to cool completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 170C.
  3. When the oranges have cooled down completely, chop them ip roughly, place in a food processor or if you prefer use a hand held blender to puree [skin included] until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Prepare the cake dish with baking spray.
  5. Add the ground almonds, baking powder bicarbonate of soda, eggs, sugar OR stevia OR chopped dates, pinch of salt, vanilla to the pureed oranges and blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth.
  6. Pour the orange and egg batter into the dry ingredients and use a large metal spoon to gently fold in. Mix gently.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake dish. Bake for 45 minutes for a whole cake or 25 minutes if you are using a muffin dish, making small cakes or the base of a cheesecake. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.
    Adding the dark chocolate topping
  1. Place a large pot 1/4 full of water on a burner and bring to boil.
  2. Chop up the dark Noviblock and place it in a heatproof bowl. Stainless steel is great. Once the water has boiled in the pot, remove from the heat.
  3. Place the heatproof bowl with the chopped dark Novibloc chocolate into the pot of water.
  4. Let the chocolate sit until it is melted, then stir and add the olive oil. Dip the cakes one by one if they are small into the melted chocolate or pour it over the cake if the cake is larger. Top with chopped almonds if desired.
  5. To intensify the orange flavour, grate the orange chocolate Novi chocolate and sprinkle it over the melted chocolate topping before it cools and sets.

Notes

This recipe is gluten free and lactose free. This cake is moist and has a dense texture. It tastes even better the day after it is baked.

Store in the fridge after a couple of days or slice and freeze for up to 3 months.

https://leahogg.com/2018/04/14/orange-almond-and-chocolate-cakes-gluten-free-lactose-free/

 

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‘We are now at the beginning of spring and although the skies still appear dull, summer and sunshine are just round the corner.  This is the end of citrus season and and I will miss the bright unwaxed oranges in my kitchen fruit bowl.  This is a lovely cake to make use of any surplus citrus and the recipe also works very well by replacing the oranges with lemons and using coconut instead of ground almonds.

orange almond cakes g

Maltese and Gozitan oranges come in all shapes, flavours and sizes, blood oranges with bright red flesh that taste very faintly of raspberries, some with big navels and no seeds, bitter Seville oranges brought to the island during Arab rule and in the open rambling countryside, you can find fragrant bergamot oranges that look more like lemons. If you are lucky enough to have citrus trees in your garden, with more fruit than you can possibly eat, the best place to leave the fruit is on the tree until you need to use it.

 

Trade Enquiries:

Novi Bloc Dark Chocolate, Novi Orange Chocolate and Pip & Nut Almond Butter are available at M & Z (Marketing) Ltd
Nuts, Vanilla and ground almonds delivered to my home by www.spices.com.mt
Kitchenware by Cake Boss and Pedrini from K&Co Telephone 79415384

 

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Maltese Easter Figolli [gluten free, vegan, reduced sugar]

‘Making figolli [two cookie layers with a soft marzipan filling] is a good childhood memory if you were brought up in Malta and making them every Easter is a tradition for most Maltese families, even for those who usually do not make cakes and sweets.

The taste of this ‘healthy’ version is of course not identical to the traditional figolli but it is a healthier option for those who still wish to celebrate, share and preserve memories of our traditions.

The pure ground almonds and citrus zest are combined with alternative ingredients making this version more diabetic friendly and they suit most dietary requirements.  The dark chocolate topping to replace the sugar icing is not only healthier but an amazing combination with the mixed citrus zest and almonds.’

‘Life is not how you live it but how you remember it’                                       (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

‘Using almond butter makes a delicious pastry and simply rubbing it into the flour in the same way as is done with normal butter achieves a great result.  Linseed is used to substitute eggs and lots of citrus zest is a must when making figolli.

The almond filling is simple to make, literally just combining all the ingredients together and adding a small amount of pure almond butter further enhances the flavours

‘Rolling out the pastry cannot be easier.  As my figolli are on the smaller size and as I imagine they would appeal to those looking for a healthier version, I rolled the pastry out to be as thin as possible.  The aroma of citrus has already filled the kitchen at this stage and I use unwaxed Maltese oranges, lemons and tangerines, making the most of all that wonderful fruit as we approach the end of citrus season

Mini eggs are easy to make with Novi chocolate and a good silicone mould.  The chocolate can be melted in the microwave or in a bain marie and I used a knife to smooth out the surface while the chocolate was still melted.

Maltese Easter Figolli [gluten free, vegan, reduced sugar]

Ingredients

    For the Pastry
  • 500g gluten free flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 250g almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup stevia
  • a pinch of salt
  • vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons mixed citrus zest [orange, tangerine, lemon]
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of mixed spice
  • 4 tablespoons linseed ground with 12 tablespoons water
    For the almond filling
  • 500g ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 cup stevia
  • 2 tablespoons mixed citrus zest [orange, tangerine, lemon]
  • vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons linseed ground with 12 tablespoons water
    For the chocolate topping
  • 800g Novi dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
    For the mini chocolate eggs
  • 500g Novi dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil
    You will also need:
  • Baking Tray
  • Baking Paper
  • Non Stick Cooking Spray
  • Easter Egg Silicone Mould

Instructions

    For the Pastry
  1. Sift the gluten free flour twice into a large bowl.
  2. Add the almond butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until the mixture is consistent and looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Use a food processor to grind the linseed and water required for both the pastry and the filling and keep aside.
  4. Add the cornflour, baking powder, stevia, salt, vanilla, grated citrus zest and mixed spice to the flour mixture and stir.
  5. Start to add half the quantity of the linseed and water mixture little by little and use a knife to bring the dough together. [Keep the other half of the linseed and water mixture to make the filling]
  6. When you have added all the linseed mixture use your hands to bring the dough together and if more liquid is needed, add a tablespoon on water and carry on until the bowl is clean.
  7. Wrap the pastry ball in some cling film and place in the fridge for an hour before rolling out.
    For the Figolli Filling
  1. Place the ground almonds, almond butter, stevia, mixed citrus zest, vanilla and salt in a large bowl and mix together.
  2. Add the ground linseed and water mixture [the other half]
  3. Knead until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for half an hour.
    Making the figolli
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Prepare a baking tray by lining it with baking paper and spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Start by rolling out the pastry.
  4. Lightly dust the work surface and rolling pin with some flour.
  5. Place the pastry dough on the work surface and start to roll it out. The thickness is a matter of choice and for this recipe I roll it out to a thickness of 1cm.
  6. Re-dust the rolling pin with flour if the pastry is sticky as linseed tends to create a sticky consistency.
  7. Cut out your desired shapes, 2 identical ones for each figolla.
  8. Place a small amount of almond filling on the bottom part of each figolla and flatten it gently with a teaspoon dipped in water.
  9. Brush the edges of the pastry with water.
  10. Lay the second pastry shape on top to cover the almond fillilng and then press the edges together.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray.
    Decorating the figolli with gluten free chocolate
  1. Roughly chop up the Novibloc and place in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave uncovered for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Keep repeating the process of microwaving for 30 seconds each time, stirring and repeating until the chocolate melts.
  3. Add the sunflower oil to the chocolate and mix in until the chocolate appears glossy.
    Making your own mini chocolate easter eggs
  1. Break up the Novibloc chocolate into chunks. Melt till smooth in the microwave using the same process for the chocolate coating of the figolli.
  2. Pour into the silicone mould and place in the refrigerator to set for 3 hours or more before removing them from the mould.
    Finishing off the figolli
  1. Dip each figolla into the melted chocolate to coat the surface.
  2. Place a mini chocolate easter egg in the centre of each figolla before the melted chocolate solidifies.
https://leahogg.com/2018/03/28/maltese-easter-figolli-gluten-free-vegan-reduced-sugar/

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Trade Enquiries:
Novibloc gluten free chocolate and Pip and Nut Almond butter is available at M & Z (Marketing) Ltd

Cookie Cutters, chocolate moulds and kitchenware by Pedrini at K & Co, Telephone 79415384

‘Melting Novibloc dark chocolate is easy. You can use the microwave or a more tradtional bain marie and it also works very well on direct low heat. Some tips to watch out for when melting chocolate is to stir it continuously while it melts and if for some reason any water splashes into the main bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of sunflower oil.

 

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Baked zucchini, mint and feta fritters

‘I like to make crispy fritters in the oven using hardly any added fats. I lightly coat the fritters and flour and brush them with olive oil to make them crispier.  

The mixture easily holds together. I served with tzaziki but if you are in a rush, simply mix some Greek yoghurt with fresh mint, salt and a pinch of dried mint to use as a dipping sauce.  I just love these and could eat them every day

Zucchini/courgettes and the round light green marrows that are so common here all make great fritters’

You will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons self raising flour
3 eggs
1 onion, finely chopped, sauteed and placed on kitchen towel
150g feta cheese, grated
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
a pinch of dried mint
4 courgettes, grated (coarse)
4 medium potatoes or 2 sweet potatoes, cooked with skin on and drained
10 black olives, destoned and chopped
salt and pepper

To dust the fritters:
More spelt flour

1 tablespoon olive oil and to brush on fritters pre-baking
a flat non stick dish prepared with baking spray

Grate the courgettes from the coarse side of the grater.

Place the grated courgette in a clean teat towel and roll them up. Leave to rest for half an hour and then wring out the water.

Cook the potato, whole with the skin on. Drain the water and leave in a collander to drip any extra water. Allow to cool before peeling. Grate from the coarse side of the grater.

Place the grated potato and courgettes in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix gently without breaking up the vegetables as this will give it a light texture.

Place in the fridge for half an hour if you have time to spare.

Then dust your hands with flour and form patties. Dust with flour and shake off. Place on the prepared over dish. Brush very lightly with olive oil.

Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for 25 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn them over and brush the other side lightly with olive oil. If needed keep them in for another 5 minutes until they are golden and crispy.

‘Spring is here and my friend Antida’s  garden is in full bloom’

Trade Enquiries:
Filippo Berio Olive Oil available at Rimus Group
Kolios Green Yoghurt and Feta by Fior di Vita available at Quality Foods
Kitchenware by Pedrini, Prestige and Bialetti at K&Co Telephone 79415384

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