Quick frozen Desserts to beat this heat


Quick ice cream in filo cases, photo by Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show.

During these very hot summer days, there is nothing more welcoming than a frozen dessert.

Preparing desserts should be fun, but so many people seem to get overwhelmed about making ice creams.  There are many short cuts without going through a lot of work or indeed without having to use an ice cream maker.  And when you make something at home, you can add all your favourite flavors and leave out everything you do not like or cannot eat.

These recipes are recent ones I made on TV.  The photos are unstaged and taken during the live tv show, the reason that some of the ice creams appear close to melting stage due to the summer heat and strong studio lights.  I hope you will enjoy making these quick frozen desserts and get even more pleasure from eating them.

[Photograpy Stefan Stafrace, Ian Noel Pace, CJ Baldacchino, Charles Vassallo, Andrea Sacco Baldacchino, JLI]

Date Ice Cream with no added refined sugar

dateicecream low res no logo cj

Date Ice Cream with no refined sugar

You will need:

410ml evaporated milk [not condensed]
250g dates
1 tablespoons powdered gelatin
a few drops of vanilla extract or a vanilla pod
100ml water

Chop up the dates into small pieces and put them in a large bowl.  Pour over the evaporated milk and add the vanilla.  Cover with cling film and place the bowl in the fridge overnight so that the dates have time to soak and soften.  [Alternatively you can heat the mixture up in a saucepan until the dates soften and allow to cool down before carrying on with the rest of the recipe]

Remove the date and milk mixutre from the fridge.  Place the powdered gelatin in a saucepan with the water on low heat and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved.

Pour the gelatin mixture with the dates and milk and stir.  Cover the container and place in the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours.  Remove from the freezer and use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the mixture until it doubles in volume.  Pour into a container and freeze again for a few hours or overnight before serving.

This recipe is gluten free.

Old Fashioned Maltese Ice Cream

[like my mamma used to make]

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Old fashioned Maltese Ice Cream [just like my mamma used to make] photo Andrea Sacco Baldacchino during a live tv show

1 large tin [410ml] evaporated milk
4 tablespoons sugar [or stevia]
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons glace cherries,cut in half
100 g nuts of your choice
1 tablespoon candied fruit [konfettura]
2 tablespoons dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon gelatin powder

On gentle heat, dissolve the sugar in the evaporated milk. Do not allow to boil.
Place the gelatin in a container and add 4 tablespoons of the warm milk and stir until the gelatin powder dissolves. Add to the milk mixture. Stir and remove from heat. Add the vanilla and cinnamon powder and allow to cool. Freeze overnight and then the next day beat with an electric mixer using a balloon whisk and beat on high speed until the mixture doubles in size. Add the cherries, nuts, candied fruit and dark chocolate. Fold in gently and pour into a container. Place in the freezer overnight.

Kulfi Style Ice Cream

quick ice cream credit jli photograph

Kulfi, quick easy and a touch of the exotic, photography JLI during a live tv show

Kulfi is traditionally made by simmering milk for many hours and reducing it until it becomes creamy with a hint of a taste of caramel.  It is a time-consuming process and this is a great shortcut. To make a kulfi-style dessert use a good quality ready-made ice cream.

You will need:
250g pistachio ice cream
100g raw pistachios chopped
30ml almond milk
1 cardamom pod
1 tbsp rose water
1 fresh mango
Honey to serve

Place the pistachios on a baking sheet and roast them for 5 minutes. Toss and roast them for a further 2 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.

Heat the almond milk in a small saucepan. Open up the cardamom pod and crush the seeds. Add to the milk and bring to boil. Turn off the heat. Add the rose water. Allow to cool completely.

Chop the pistachios. Use small tumblers to make the kulfi.  Line the tumblers completely with large pieces of cling film so that it hangs over the side of the glass. Remove the pistachio ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften up a little without allowing it to melt. Put the ice cream into a large bowl. Add the cooled down milk mixture, three quarters of the chopped pistachios and mix using a large metal spoon. Immediately, fill the prepared tumblers with the ice cream mix, press it down with a spatula and place in the freezer for a few hours or preferably overnight.

To serve put the ice cream in the containers in the fridge for 15 minutes, then pull the cling film to remove the ice cream from the tumblers. Arrange on a plate, garnish with honey, more pistachios and cut up fresh mango wedges.

This recipe is gluten-free.  For lactose-free and vegan options use a dairy-free ice cream.

Quick Pineapple Turmeric Ice Cream

Not only is it delicious, this iced dessert is healthy and quick to prepare.  I have given it a boost of goodness by adding a small quantity of fresh turmeric.  And to finish off some Maltese grapes, in season now.

pineapplebananaicecream low res

Pineapple Banana Ice Cream with Turmeric

You will need:

3 large bananas
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 fresh pineapple
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric root
1 teaspoon agave [optional]

Peel and chop the pineapple.  Peel and chop the bananas and coat them with the lemon juice.

Place in the freezer for a few hours until they are completely frozen.  Then put all the ingredients together with the turmeric and agave [optional] in a high-speed blender and process until the mixture is creamy.

You can serve immediately [soft serve] and I usually use a piping bag to serve in individual glasses or refreeze in a large bowl as I did on tv and once it is frozen use an ice cream scoop to serve.

This recipe is vegan, lactose free and gluten free

Ice Cream in Baked Filo Crust

Photo: Stefan Stafrace

You will need:
4 large sheets of filo pastry
3 tbsp olive oil
200g ice cream
60g fresh strawberries
40g mix of raw pistachio nuts and almonds
60g mixed fruit of your choice to decorate
You will also need a muffin tin.

Prepare the ice cream filling by mixing the ice cream with a large metal spoon. Add the strawberries, the almonds and pistachio nuts and return to the freezer to solidify.

Prepare the muffin tin by brushing it with olive oil.

Open up the filo pastry and use a pair of scissors to cut into wide strips and then cut the strips into squares.

Brush each square of filo pastry with olive oil and cover the bottom of each mould in the muffin tray.  Repeat with another layer of filo squares, each time brushing with olive oil and add them on top of each other to make another layer of filo squares.

Repeat again with the rest of the filo pastry and gently push the top layer with the tips of your fingers so that the pastry takes the form of the mould.

Preheat the oven. Place the muffin tin on the middle shelf and bake for 5 to 6 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they will easily burn.

Remove the muffin tray from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Once you are ready to serve, place the pastry cases next to each other on a large platter or use individual plates.  Fill each pastry case with a scoop of ice cream and top with fresh fruit.

For a gluten-free option use gluten-free pastry and roll it out very thinly, with one layer required for the crust. Replace the nuts with chocolate chips for a nut-free option and, for a lactose-free and vegan recipe use a dairy-free ice cream.

Pina Colada Ice Cream Slice

pina colada slice george aquilina

Preparing frozen Pina Colada Slice, photo George Aquilina during a live tv show #goodfoodeveryday #icecream

You will need:
1kg vanilla or coconut ice cream
100g coconut or coconut flour
150g tinned, chopped pineapple
50g maraschino cherries
1 vanilla pod
6 pineapple rings and 6 maraschino cherries for assembling the ice cream
Cling film and a large loaf tin

Soften the ice cream by leaving it in the fridge for 15 minutes. In the meantime, line a loaf tin with cling film and let it overhang from the sides. Place the pineapple rings next to each other on the bottom of the loaf tin. In the centre of each pineapple ring place a maraschino cherry.

Put the coconut in a blender and grind it until it becomes very fine. Instead, you may wish to  use ready-made coconut flour which already has a very fine texture and  is easily available in most supermarkets.

Empty the ice cream into a large bowl and mix it with a large metal spoon. Chop up the pineapples and maraschino cherries into small pieces and add to the ice cream. Add the coconut. Use a large metal spoon to mix the ice cream until it is consistent. Pour the ice cream mix into the loaf tin and press down by using a spatula.  Top with pineapple rings next to each other and a cherry in the middle. Cover with cling film. Freeze to firm up for at least 4 hours but leaving it in the freezer overnight is better.

Photo: Charles Vassallo

To serve, take out of the freezer and remove from the loaf tin by pulling the cling film. Place on a serving dish, allow it to soften for 5 minutes before slicing it. At this stage the ice cream could be stored in the freezer again for a few hours before it is served.

This recipe is gluten-free and nut-free.  For lactose-free and vegan options use a dairy-free ice cream.

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

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For more Healthy frozen desserts:

Apple Mango Blueberry Ice Lollies for Kids

Frozen Yoghurt

Simply Banana Ice Cream

Trade Enquiries:

X Kidz 100% Fruit Smoothie by Plasmon at Vivian Corp

Plant based drinks by Alpro at Good Earth Distributors

Fresh fruit and vegetables from Big Fresh Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto for organic

Meagre (Gurbell) with sweet potato, fresh turmeric and kale

meagre 3 andrea sb

Meagre (Gurbell) lightly cooked with sweet potato and kale .  Photo taken by Andrea Sacco Baldacchino during a live tv show.

‘Gurbell (meagre) is one of the most delicious fish available locally, fleshy texture with a mild taste that will please both fish lovers and those who are not regular fish eaters’

You will need:

1 large meagre fish (gurbell), filleted and skin removed
1/2 large sweet potato, grated
1/2 fresh turmeric root, grated
4 fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
6 kale leaves, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, stem removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red pepper pesto (I used ready made)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Lightly brush an ovenproof dish with olive oil.
Lay a fillet of meagre (gurbell) on the dish.
Mix the red pesto with 2 tablespoons of water.
Brush the fish fillet lightly with the red pesto mix.
Neatly spread the grated sweet potato on top of the fillet.
Add the grated turmeric then the chopped tarragon leaves, salt and pepper.
Brush the second fillet with the red pesto mix.
Place the fillet pesto side down on top of the sweet potato mix.
Brush the top with olive oil and place in a hot oven for 10 minutes.
Prepare the kale by placing it in hot water for 5 minutes.
Trim it to remove the tough stem.
Lay the strips of kale across the fish fillets leaving gaps between one strip and the other.
Tuck the strips under the first fillet if they are not long enough.  If they are long enough tuck them under the bottom fillet of fish.
Brush the exposed kale leaves with olive oil and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the kale.
Return to the hot oven for another 15 minutes.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Cut portions of the fish and serve individually.

Tip: Cool down, cover and refrigerate for a few hours and slice to serve cold with a salad.

My fish comes from Adam’s Gourmet Fish Shop and fresh vegetables from Big Fresh both in Mosta.  I use spices and dried herbs by Schwartz.

Very easy sweet potato and kale muffins

Sweet potato and kale muffins goodfoodeveryday

Good Food Everyday as seen on tv.  Easy Sweet Potato and Kale Muffins with photography by George Aquilina during a live show.

‘A recipe that could not be easier and never fails.  The kale leaves were roasted with some olive oil, sea salt and sesame seeds and added to the muffin mix just before baking’

This recipe makes 12 regular size muffins or 6 giant muffins.

You will need:400g self raising flour (you can also use gluten free flour)

100g teff flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
250g mascarpone
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon dukkah
4 kale leaves, chopped and roasted with some olive oil and sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 180C.

Wash and peel the sweet potato.  Grate it coarsely.

Sieve the self raising flour, the teff flour and the baking powder.  Add the smoked paprika, dukkah and sea salt.  Add the grated sweet potato and mix gently so that the flour coats all the pieces.

In a separate bowl mix the mascarpone, apple organic vinegar and eggs by using a hand blender.

Prepare the muffin tray with muffin cases.

Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Check to see if you have a dropping consistency.  If necessary, add some water [a few spoonfuls at a time] until you have a dropping consistency.

Cut up the roasted kale leaves by pulling the pieces apart with your hands.  Add to the mixture and keep some for sprinkling on top.

Pour the batter into the muffin cases.  Sprinkle the rest of the kale leaves on top of the muffins.  Bake for 20 minutes for the regular muffins and 30 minutes for the giant ones.

Tip: Serve as they are or with a touch of butter.  Serve with a soup to make it a full meal and they are also great to accompany a salad

My self raising flour is by St Georges Brand, teff flour by Peak’s Free From, mascarpone by Zappala, spices by Schwartz, organic apple vinegar by Fiorentini, sweet potato, kale and vegetables by Big Fresh and Farmers Markets, muffin cases and muffin tray by Tescoma

Dukkah fortified with Aronia and flavours from Egypt

dukkah fortified with powdered Aronia concentrate 2

Dukkah fortified with Aronia powder.  This photo was taken by George Aquilina during a live tv show

Most of us find the preparation of home-made food satisfying and, in Egypt, I observed that many families find enjoyment in spending time together preparing abundant meals. Egyptian cuisine is not as widespread as Lebanese, but offers great vegan and vegetarian dishes that are reliant on beans…

Source: Sunday Times Flavours from Egypt


I use Aronia concentrate in powder and liquid form from Aroniada Agro, spices and herbs by Schwartz, nuts, beans and grains by Good Earth, Maltese Bread and ice cream by Carrefour from GS Superstore, kitchenware by Tescoma

Cooking with sweet potatoes

sweet potato with gbejna and bacon bits credit george aquilina

Cooking with Sweet Potato in today’s Sunday Times.  Roasted Potato Wedges with Paprika.  This photo was taken by George Aquilina during a live tv show.


Sweet potato comes in a variety of colours and textures and, in Malta, there are two varieties which are now grown locally: the classic sweet potato with a light purplish skin and an off-white interior, and the sweeter and creamier variety with a copper skin and bright orange flesh known as the ‘jewel’.

Sweet potato was commonly used in the cuisines of Africa and the Caribbean, but it is one of the most popular ingredients used in every country today. Sweet potatoes are a great source for Vitamins A and C and they are a great ingredient for quick, economical meals.

It is easy to under-roast a sweet potato as, although the flesh may appear soft and is indeed perfectly edible, a few extra minutes of cooking increases the sweet caramelised taste that you do not get from an ordinary potato.

All-in-one Pork Meatball and Sweet Potato Tray-bake

For the pork meatballs you will need:
300g pork mince
25g bacon, finely chopped
60g oats
1/4 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp mustard
A light grating of nutmeg
1 egg
salt and pepper

For the rest of the traybake, you will need:
6 slices of Maltese bread
1 sweet potato, skin on and diced
6 tomatoes, skin on and diced
1 eggplant, diced half a butternut squash, cooked, peeled, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper chopped
2 potatoes, skin on and finely sliced
4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon capers
fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tablespoon pink pepper corns
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the pork meatballs: Mix all the ingredients together, form small balls and place on a plate covered with baking paper. If you have time, refrigerate for half an hour. If you do not have time, they will still retain their shape.

For the rest of the traybake: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Prepare a large ovenproof dish (I use 43cm x 27cm) by brushing it with olive oil.

Lightly brush the Maltese bread slices with olive oil on both sides.

Line the dish with the slices of Maltese bread.

Then arrange the vegetables on top of the bread, starting with the cooked sweet potato, then the onion, tomatoes, coloured peppers, butternut squash, eggplant. Place the meatballs on top of the vegetables. Finish off with a sprinkle of sundried tomatoes, capers, crushed peppercorns, coriander and salt and pepper.

Brush the slices of potato with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Line the sides of the dish with the sliced potatoes. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 50 minutes.

Lightly drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Lea’s tip: If you do not like the taste of pink peppercorns use crushed fennel seeds instead.

Raw chocolate brownie batter dip

You will need:
1 cup tofu (use ricotta for non-vegan and lactose inclusive diets)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp agave (you can use honey for non-vegan and lactose inclusive diets)
1/2 sweet potato
1 tbsp finely chopped almonds
150g sugar-free dark chocolate

This is a perfect addition to ice creams, or it can simply be used as a dip. It is vegan, lactose-free and gluten-free.

Place the sweet potato in the microwave and cook it. Timing depends on the microwave and the size of the potato, but it should take approximately 7 minutes. Allow to cool and peel.

Place the tofu (or ricotta), cocoa powder, agave (or honey), sweet potato, almonds and vanilla in a large bowl and use a hand held blender to bind and form a consistent mixture. Melt the chocolate in the microwave and add it to the sweet potato mixture. Mix until it is smooth and consistent. The mixture should be soft enough to have a spreadable consistency.

Pipe into bowls and garnish with cherries and your favourite nibbles. Serve with ice cream or simply as a dip.

Lea’s tip: If you have a very sweet tooth, add a tablespoon of stevia.

Sweet potato, kale and tuna burgers

You will need:
2 sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and chopped
2 cans tuna fish
1 spring onion, chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs, or use gluten-free oatmeal for a gluten-free burger
2 eggs
1/4 tsp garlic powder
4 large kale leaves
½ root turmeric, grated
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Roasted sweet potato wedges with paprika

You will need:
2 sweet potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an ovenproof dish with baking paper and brush with olive oil. Wash the sweet potatoes well. Cut them into wedges, lengthwise. Toss the potato wedges in a mix of olive oil and paprika. Sprinkle some sea salt.

Lay the sweet potato wedges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake them for 50 minutes in a hot oven. Turn them over after 35 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Lea’s tip: Leave the wedges long; they are great for dipping. For an extra special treat, add a grated mature plain cheeselet and 50g of bacon when you turn them over to cook for the last 35 minutes.

I use sweet potato, fruit and vegetables from Big Fresh, olive oil by Costa d’Oro, chocolate by Valor, nuts, grains, spices, herbs and dried fruit by Good Earth.

Umm Ali with Maltese Bread

umm ali high res charles vassallo

Umm Ali with Maltese bread, as seen on tv.  This photo was taken by Charles Vassallo during a live show.

‘this Egyptian dessert must be, I think, my most favorite sweet.  I still remember the first time I tasted it and although I have replaced the condensed milk in mine, it is still very good.  I use stale Maltese bread and serve it with some vanilla ice cream.  mmmm.’

You will need:

1/2 Maltese small loaf
800ml milk
half a cup on chopped apricots
half a cup of chopped dates
half a cup of chopeed mixed almonds and pistachios
1/4 cup coconut
150g sugar or the equivalent in stevia (check the label for conversion)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
a few drops of vanilla essence
1/2 cup mascarpone mixed with 6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cut the Maltese bread into small cubes and place in a large bowl. Add the nuts, dried fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut.
Prepare an ovenproof dish with oven spray. Place the bread mix into the ovenproof dish.
Heat the milk and sugar or stevia and bring it to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour the milk on top of the bread, nut and dried fruit mix. Allow to rest for 15 minutes if you have time. Pour the mascarpone mixed with water and then sprinkle the icing sugar. Cook for 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: Serve hot or cold with vanilla ice cream or a runny custard and scatter some flaked almonds.

I use dried fruit and nuts by Good Earth, spices by Schwartz, mascarpone by Zappala, stevia by Tate and Lyle, kitchenware by Tescoma

Summer salads and dressings

Escape salads and dressings Tuna Sweetcorn Salad Marconia Schembri

Sweetcorn and Tuna Salad.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

Salads enable us to 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 flavors.  The combination of sweet corn and tuna is a classic salad choice and the addition of sweet potato, coriander and lime make ….

Source: Sunday Times Summer salads and dressings

I use sweetcorn and tuna by 3 leaves, fresh vegetables by Big Fresh, potted herbs by Callus Gardens, rice by Better Than, beans and pulses by Good Earth, dried herbs and spices by Schwartz.