Halloween Cupcakes by Martha

halloween cupcakes 2

Halloween Cupcakes by Martha Stroud


Martha made some plain cupcakes during this week’s show and here is the simple all in one recipe.  The theme of her sugarpaste decoration was Halloween this week and I hope you will enjoy seeing her work as much as I did.

halloween cupcakes 2

Halloween Cupcakes by Martha Stroud

You will need:

115 g margarine

115 g sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

100 g flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

0.25 tsp salt

2 tbsp milk

halloween cupcakes 4

Halloween Cupcakes by Martha Stroud


Butter cream frosting

200 g butter

400 g icing sugar

gino photo 4 programme 2

Martha’s Halloween Cupcakes


For the cupcakes, simply place all your ingredients in a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to combine for one minute without over mixing.

Prepare a cupcake tray with paper cases and divide the mixture between the cupcake cases.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes and allow to cool completely before decorating

Prior to decorating them with Sugarpaste, Martha uses a frosting mix.

Combine the butter and icing sugar in an electric mixer and beat until the mixture is very soft and creamy.
Use to spread the cupcakes prior to decorating them with sugarpaste.

gino photo 9k programme 2

Martha’s Halloween Cupcakes


We used sugarpaste by Lamb Brand

You can order Halloween cupcakes by contacting Martha

Tinsel Halloween Decorations by MTS Arts and Crafts

Photography by Gino Galea and George Aquilina

gino photo 9 programme 2

Sugar paste by Lamb Brand


Life and Style Weekend 2/39

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‘My special guests this week were Joe Vella and his wife Julie. Joe never fails to impress me. He is the writer of 3 amazing cookbooks and is in a class of his own having won many awards for his contribution to the hospitality industry.’

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‘My quick recipes this week started with a diabetic friendly Barley, fennel and fresh herb salad, Maltese Style Rabbit cooked in wine and garlic and my most favourite San Martin Cake.  All very quick and easy and you can find the recipes in Maltese and English here.’

Barley, Fennel and fresh herb salad
Maltese Rabbit in Wine and Garlic
St Martin’s Cake

Insalata tax-xghir
Fenek bit tewm u l-inbid
Kejk ta’ San Martin

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‘I simply love Martha Stroud’s sugarpaste work.  It is always so tidy and precise and it was a pleasure to have her with us.  The sugarpaste work is simple but very effective.’

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‘Once in a while I come across something that ticks all the boxes for me.  It is a pleasure to get to know Julia Barker, our Konmari Coach.  I really like the idea of referring to tidying up as an ‘art’ rather than a chore!  Watch out for a competition during next week’s to win a session with Julia to declutter the space in your own home or office ! What a lovely Christmas present it  is and a good start to the new year resolutions’

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‘with thanks to Becky Gingell who explained what sleep coaching is all about.  What a relief to have a solution to being kept awake at night.  More about sleep coaching techniques in the weeks to come !’

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‘Every week Lara and Matthew Forace join us as our interior consultants.  From next week they will start to address some questions and queries being sent in by viewers.   This week’s look was ‘Autumn Moods’

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‘My decorations for Halloween, cake plate and ribbon decoration come from MTS Arts and Crafts, Zabbar’

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‘During this week’s show I used these lovely, fresh, genuine ingredients’

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‘With thanks always to my sponsors x.’



A salad of barley, fresh herbs and fennel [Vegan, diabetic friendly]


I love to use barley, instead of couscous, pasta, rice.  There is something about its texture that adds to its delicious earthy flavour. 

Cooked with diced vegetables, added to soups and the possibilities are endless.   It adds nutritious affordable volume to a meal, is high in fibre, potassium and Vitamin B6

One of my favourite barley recipes is using it in a salad.  It is of course not gluten free and if you are following a gluten free diet, swap with quinoa.  On tv I used 250g of barley to add volume to the recipe if feeding a large crowd.  The combination of the dried herbs and spices makes the favour awesome, especially if you are able to prepare it at least two hours before serving so that all those juices are soaked up by the barley grains.

You will need:

100g barley
1 tsp za’atar spice
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin
1 fennel bulb
100g mixed leaves
50g parsley
50g fresh mint
50g fresh coriander
2 spring onions
2 garlic cloves
1/2 yellow pepper
1 large tomato
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons sunflower oil

zest of a lime

50g pistachio nuts
salt and black pepper


Start by soaking the barley overnight if you have time.
Otherwise cook according to the instructions on your packet.

Drain the water from the barley and keep aside. [I usually like to keep the water and use it to make a Lemon Barley Cordial]

Prepare the other ingredients.

Start by dry roasting the cumin seeds, fennel seeds and coriander seeds in a very hot pan or wok.  Shake it for a few minutes and remove from the pan to avoid burning.  This brings out the oils and flavours of the spices.

Mix the powdered spices with the seeds [za’atar, cumin, coriander]  and keep aside.

Use a mezzaluna to chop the fresh coriander leaves, parsley and mint.

Cook the fennel bulb very lightly by placing it in a pot of boiling water and keeping it on a steady boil for 4 -5 minutes.  Drain the water and allow to cool.  Then chop into small pieces.  It should still have a bit of a bite.

Deseed and chop the yellow pepper and tomato and keep aside.  Chop the spring onions and crush the garlic cloves.

Mix the garlic cloves with the sunflower oil.

Assemble the salad by mixing all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Toss and add half the pistachios.

Just before serving sprinkle the rest of the chopped pistachio nuts on the top and drizzle with some more sunflower oil.

Serve warm or cold and great for your take to work lunch box the next day ❤️


For this recipe I used:

Barley, dried herbs, nuts and spices by Lamb Brand

Golden Drop Sunflower Oil and Kuhne Apple Cider by Quality Foods Marketing

Fresh Vegetables by Big Fresh Mosta

Kitchenware by K & Co











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


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
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


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


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


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


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







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


  • 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


  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
Fruit and vegetables by Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola



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].’


For the recipe in Maltese click here


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] !


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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


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

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