Turtle black bean and sweet potato soup

black bean soup 2

Black turtle bean soup as seen on TV

‘this is a vegetarian, gluten free recipe and I garnish with a mix of finely diced colorful vegetables, turtle beans that have not been pureed and yoghurt.  Turtle beans have become one of my favorite ingredients and they are full of antioxidants and give a great flavor and consistency to soups and stews’

You will need:

200g black turtle beans
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 bayleaf
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
a handful of fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 cups stock
1/2 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
dried coriander
To Garnish:
1 large tomato, blanched and peeled
1/4 yellow bell pepper (finely diced and lightly sauteed)
1/4 orange bell pepper (finely diced and lightly sauteed)
fresh chopped coriander and mint
1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

Soak the turtle beans for a few hours.  Rinse and cook in enough water by bringing it to boil, then simmering until the beans are soft.  To quicken the process add 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

Drain the beans and keep aside 3 tablespoons for garnish.

Heat some olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic and chopped sweet potato. Add the spices, honey and lemon juice and stir. Add the stock, season, bring to boil and simmer until the vegetables soften up. Do not overcook. Turn off heat. Add the beans and use a hand blender to puree. Pulse the blender so that it is not completely smooth and there is some texture.

To serve reheat and garnish with dices fresh tomatoes, sauteed colored bell peppers, yoghurt, a hint of lemon zest and fresh coriander.

Ingredients are available for home delivery

Fresh Strawberry Muscovado Heaven

muscovado heaven

As seen on TVM2 #goodfoodeveryday

I give credit to Prue Leith as her muscovado heaven has been adopted by many of us cooks and the combination with local sweet strawberries that cannot be fresher is heaven multiplied by 2.

You will need:

Equal amounts of double cream and yoghurt
For 6 persons I used 500 ml of cream and 500ml of plain yoghurt
150g muscovado sugar

Whip the double cream and fold in the yoghurt using a metal spoon. Pipe or spoon the yoghurt mixture into clear glasses or a clear bowl.
Sprinkle the muscovado sugar on to the surface.

Leave in the fridge overnight.

The muscovado sugar will melt into a fudgy syrup, then top with fresh strawberries.

Quichy Sandwich Bake

leftover pie

Quichy sandwich bake, it will be devoured, a guarantee 🙂

‘This is the best way to use up all those party sandwiches in another bake that is so quick and easy and leaves no waste.  I often make sandwiches specifically for this bake and you will find that even young children will come back for more.’

You will need:

An oven proof dish prepared with baking spray, I use 26 cm diameter or similar
Sandwiches, I use ham and cheese (enough to cover bottom of dish)
6 eggs
125ml single cream
125ml greek yoghurt
150ml milk
250g Gruyère or Cheddar cheese, finely grated
a pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
generous grating of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Optional: 100g crushed cornflakes.

Lay the prepared sandwiches on the ovenproof dish. Beat the eggs, cream, greek yoghurt, milk and half the cheese, nutmeg, smoked paprika if you are using it and salt and pepper and pour them over the sandwiches. Refrigerate for an hour. Preheat the oven to 180C. Spread the rest of the grated cheese and crushed cornflakes on the top of the soaked sandwiches and bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden. Serve hot or cold.

I use eggs by Big Fresh, olive oil by Costa D’Oro at J Calleja, herbs and spices by Schwartz at P J Sutters

A bake to use left overs

‘We all have lots of leftovers after celebrations and this bake is nearly better than the actual meal’

You will need:

500g cooked meat or vegetables or a mix of both (whatever is left over, chicken, beef, pork or just vegetables
200g spinach, barely cooked
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs of your choice
2 tablespoons Gran Padano
150g grated Mozzarella
150g grated cheddar
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup yoghurt
a grating of nutmeg
1 clove garlic or use minced garlic
1 onion, finely chopped and sautéed in a touch of olive oil or use freeze dried onions if you are in a rush
Salt and Pepper
Cherry tomatoes and more fresh herbs to garnish

Heat oven to 180 C.
Chop the cooked meats and vegetables into bite size pieces and mix without breaking up too much.
Use Non stick baking spray. Place the chopped meat and vegetables neatly on the dish. Cook at 180 C for half an hour. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients together but do not over mix. Keep a spoon of each cheese to sprinkle over the top of the dish.

Bake in a preheated oven for half an hour.

Take out of the oven and top with cherry tomato halves. Return to the oven for another half an hour.

Take out of oven, garnish with more fresh herbs and let it stand for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the ingredients to firm up.

Photography by Gino Galea
Ingredients are available at maltasupermarket.com

Cranberry & Pistachio Spelt Krustini

krustini 2

Twice baked Maltese style Rusks made with cranberries and pistachios

‘We love dunking dry biscuits in our coffee here and I use spelt flour to make krustini with cranberries and pistachio.’

You will need:

400g spelt flour
2 teaspoon Baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cornflour
100g butter, at room temperature
100 g sugar or the equivalent in Stevia
grated zest of an orange and lemon
3 eggs
few drops good vanilla essence or seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
1 cup chopped pistachios
1 cup chopped cranberries
Cold water, added a spoonful at a time to form the dough


As seen on tv, pistachio and cranberry krustini. Cool down after baking, then cut into diagonal slices and bake again.

Sift flour, add baking powder and cornflour. Add the salt, vanilla, chopped pistachios, cranberries, citrus zest.
Use an electric mixer to cream the sugar and butter. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix in on low speed. Add the dry ingredients and use a metal spoon to fold in then use your hands to bring the mixture together and form a dough.
Add a spoonful of water at a time to form a stiff dough.
Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.
Divide dough into three or four portions. I made small, medium and large krustini and formed each portion into a long flat roll. If you desire small ones make a longer, thinner roll and so forth.
Place on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake in a preheated oven at 160 C until a light gold in colour.
Allow to cool completely.
Cut the rolls into 1 cm thick slices and bake again until golden and crisp, again at 160C for about 7 minutes on each side.

‘TV Kids dipped the krustini into melted white chocolate and then decorated them with more cranberries and pistachios.’

Seasonal sweets – timesofmalta.com

no bake cardamon cookiesYou can find more of my festive recipes in today’s Sunday Times’

Source: Seasonal sweets – timesofmalta.com

Egyptian style Egg & Beans

Yellow broad Beans and Eggs

Inspiration from Egypt, yellow broad beans butter beans, eggs and lots of garlic and coriander

‘I have made Ful Medames many times but during our show recently I prepared a similar dish using a mix of yellow split broad beans and butter beans with lots of coriander and topped it with a fresh soft local cheeselet.  Do try it out and you will not regret it’

200g yellow split broad beans
2 garlic cloves, crushed until they are a paste
1 onion, half very finely chopped and the other half thin slices
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped up finely
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek, soaked for half an hour
1 bay leaf
1/4 cumin seeds crushed
1/4 coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Juice of half a lemon or lime
Grated rind of 1/4 lemon or lime
5 tablespoons good olive oil
A handful of finely chopped fresh coriander with a few leaves to garnish
Local fresh soft cheeses,one per portion
150g Butter Beans for garnish and more olive oil and black pepper

Soak the beans overnight. Drain the water, rinse a few times, then place in a pot and fill with water. Add the bay leaf.

Cook for about an hour until they soften. Taste to check texture. Remove from heat. Rinse.

Fry the onions in one tablespoon oil. Add the garlic. Keep some of the cooked slices aside for decorating the top.

Roughly mash a quarter of the quantity of the beans and then mix them together.

Add the onions and garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, lemon juice, stir gently.

Add the olive oil and mix in. Season with salt and pepper.
Top with cooked onion slices, butter beans, fresh chopped coriander, chopped hard boiled egg, grated lemon zest and lots of black pepper. And finally a fresh local soft cheese. Add more olive oil if desired.

Ingredients are available at Good Earth and maltasupermarket.com