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A Premier League Superstar stops by

John Arne Riise dropped by a couple of weeks ago.  He chatted about his career, how he planned to fill his free time in Malta and about what he could bring to Maltese football.  His tenure as Birkirkara Football Club’s Sporting Director was short lived as three days after our chat his resignation was announced.

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Very endearing – his kids are with him always, tattooed over his arms

John mentioned that his stay at Birkirkara was a ‘stepping stone’ and his target is to become manager at a big club.

 

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A likeable man - complex and thoughtful.  All the very best for many good things in his career and for the birth of his new baby in the summer, something he is very much looking forward to.  Here is a clip with is interview.  Music by Ramona Zammit Formosa [pianist] and Ruth Sammut Casingena [soprano]

 

And the fans ! waited to meet him and get his autograph.  He was extremely polite and patient, posing for endless photos which they will no doubt treasure for many years.

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Kindly observe copyright law and simple etiquette with regards to photos.  Credit for photos: Sean Azzopardi  If you wish to use any of the photos on this blog, kindly ask Lea Hogg for permission :)

 

 

 

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Feta Cheese Dip

To watch this week’s show click here

straciatella dip goodfoodeveryday

Feta Cheese Dip

‘Feta with fresh herbs, lots of mint and tomatoes is always one of the most favourite dips’

 

You will need:

300g Feta Cheese
150g tomatoes
2 spring onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
4 sundried tomatoes
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple vinegar
a pinch of stevia
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Chop finely the tomatoes and spring onions. Prepare all the ingredients and mix them together just before serving.

Amazing flavors and a colourful centrepiece.

You will find more perfect dips by clicking here

Trade Enquiries: 

Feta Cheese by Fior di Vita from Quality Foods

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Healthy white egg vegetable ricotta flan

This is Antida‘s recipe in her quest to promote healthy eating for the new year.

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All you need is:

6 egg whites

125g ricotta

150g grilled vegetables

salt and pepper

pinch of dried herbs
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Place the egg whites and ricotta in a bowl.

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Break down the ricotta using a fork and mix with the egg whites.  Add the salt and pepper.

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Spray an ovenproof dish with non stick cooking spray.

Pour the batter into the dish.

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Top with the grilled vegetables.  Season with more salt and pepper if desired and sprinkle some dried mixed herbs.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 40 minutes until it is a lovely golden colour.

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Meeting with President George Vella

What a month it has been since the publication of Oliver Friggieri: Sketches and Poems.  It was a great pleasure to be received this week at San Anton Palace  by His Excellency The President of the Republic of Malta, Dr George Vella together with Professor Oliver Friggieri and Professor Victor Grech,

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With Professor Oliver Friggieri, HE The President of Malta Dr George Vella, Professor Victor Grech and the President’s Aide.

 

Oliver Friggieri: Sketches and Poems is available from Edwards Lowell Concept Store in Portomaso [all proceeds from the book are in aid of the non profit work of Professor Victor Grech ]

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Please direct your comments via my blog or private message on facebook.

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Chocolate Beetroot Cake – no processed sugar, no butter or oils

Cakes should be fluffy and light. The bulk of processed sugar and the flavour and consistency of butter is often needed to achieve the right consistency in cakes.

The big secret to achieving that light and fluffy texture is not to overmix. You will not need any electric mixers or gadgets. Simply sift the flour twice and dry ingredients into a large bowl and the liquid ingredients into another bowl. Then, gently fold in the liquids into the dry mix and fold in firmly, yet gently, as though handling something very fragile, until the batter is barely mixed.

Then just pour the batter into your cake tin and place in the middle shelf of a preheated oven immediately. I use a 23cm cake tin.

chocolate rose cake

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

For the chocolate beetroot cake, you will need:

In the first bowl:

250g self-raising flour
2 tbsps cocoa powder
1 level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp oats
1 tsp cornflour
A few drops vanilla essence

You do not need a mixer for this cake, gently fold in the dry ingredients into the liquids and, after baking it, pierce all over with a skewer and sprinkle with rosewater.

Sieve the flour and mix all the dry ingredients together until the appearance is consistent.

In the second bowl mix:
4 eggs
1 tbsp apple organic vinegar
250ml ricotta
1 medium, cooked beetroot, peeled and chopped
200g dates chopped into small pieces

Use a hand blender or liquidiser to bring the mixture to a very smooth paste. Fold in the dry mix into the liquid mix, gently, a little at a time and work fast. Pour the cake batter into a prepared cake tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 160ºC for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and, while still warm, pierce the surface all over using a skewer or a toothpick and sprinkle 5 tbsp rosewater. Allow to cool before removing from the cake tin.

I use baking ingredients by Lamb Brand

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Quick Scottish Lentil Soup – 2020 is for more plant based food

I crave for this soup, even during the hot summers.  In the winter I make it almost every week.

It is so quick to prepare, economical, no blender, no chopping and you end up with a satiny textured purée – perfection for the month of January.

My Scottish mother-in-law was never too fond of cooking but she made this soup when I went to her home for the very first time in Irvine all those years ago and I loved it so much that she made it for me each time I visited. This is her recipe.

Perfect also for packing to work and reheating in the microwave.

orange lentils
This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free.

250g orange lentils
1 large potato
1 sweet potato
4 medium carrots
2 cloves garlic
1 vegetable stock cubes
1 large  can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 litres water, topped up if necessary while it cooks
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In this photo I use tulbaghia flowers also known as posh garnish to garnish

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Rinse the lentils. Peel and roughly chop the vegetables. There is no need to soak the lentils overnight and place them in a large pot with a tablespoon of olive oil together with the peeled potato, sweet potato and carrots roughly chopped in large chunks. Add the garlic cloves, tinned tomatoes, stock cube and water. The vegetables need to be fully immersed and add more water if necessary.

Bring the pot to a boil and lower the heat. Stir and keep doing this from time to time to make sure the contents do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add more water while it cooks to keep the contents moist and make sure they do not dry up.

Simmer on low heat until the vegetables are fully cooked. Test one of the potatoes with a knife. When the vegetables are cooked, use a masher and mash all the contents thoroughly. You should end up with a creamy and textured thick consistency. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

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Scottish Lentil Soup

If the soup is too thick, add more water and reheat. This soup is even more delicious the next day.

Garnish and serve.

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This soup has no added fats, is so healthy and wholesome and if you are craving comfort food try this for a healthy option.

Other options and choices –  Serve with

  • greek yoghurt
  • parmeggiano regiano
  • add a can of chickpeas during the last 5 minutes of cooking
  • add some pre-cooked quinoa
  •  a fresh soft Maltese gbejna
  • grated mature gbejna
  • chopped parsley
  • tulbaghia or other edible flowers
  • mixed fresh herbs
  • share and tear bread
  • fresh mozzarella balls

I use lentils and pulses by Lamb Brand and Filippo Berio Olive Oil by Rimus Trading Agency

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Mulled wine, and then just finish off with a spoonful of imbuljuta

‘I like to stir a spoonful of imbuljuta, the chestnut and chocolate local Christmas hot drink into mulled wine – and the result  is delicious result’

mulled wine with imbuljuta

Mulled wine with a Maltese influence, as seen on TV, Photography Ian Noel Pace

 

Mulled Wine

2 oranges, juice and zest of 1 orange
grated zest of a lemon
100g sugar or equivalent stevia
6 cloves, plus extra for garnish
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of cinnamon powder
seeds of half a vanilla pod
2 bottles of red wine, for non-alcoholic use red grape juice
4 star anise
a few red peppercorns for garnish

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan with 300ml of the wine. Bring to a boil, simmer and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, stir and add a bit more wine if necessary. Do not let it dry out. The result should be a more syrupy version of the wine.

Add the rest of the wine and heat through.
Serve immediately

‘and if you are mixing with the chestnut and chocolate drink, simply put two spoonfuls of imbuljuta into each glass and top it up with mulled wine. (I pureed the imbuljuta for this but it is a matter of preference, you may prefer larger pieces of chestnuts in the drink).’

 

 

If you want to make Imbuljuta, you will need:

400g pre-packed chestnuts
The equivalent of 175g of sugar in stevia (check the labelling on your jar for conversions)
50g drinking chocolate
50g dark chocolate chopped in large pieces
Grated rind of 1 orange
Grated rind of 1 tangerine
1/4 tsp mixed spice
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Seeds from 1/4 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick

Place all the ingredients and half the chestnuts in a large pot. Add 1 litre of water and cook over moderate heat; stir until it starts to boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and add more sweetener if desired. Add the remainder of the chestnuts and heat through. If necessary add more boiling water. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Reheat before serving.

 

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The financial services industry is bleeding at the moment – Dr Joe Giglio, December 2019

Dr Joe Giglio speaks about the events that have led to the situation in Malta today.  Watch his interview of this week in English –

 

The financial services industry is bleeding at the moment

                                                                                        Dr Joe Giglio, December 2019

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Joseph Giglio heads the criminal law department specialising in corporate and vicarious liability at LexPractis .  For the last 25 years, Dr Giglio has been practising criminal law and his expertise includes corporate services for international clients.  He lectures in  Criminal procedure within the University of Malta and speaks at various seminars that  focus on criminal law.

 

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The Maltese ‘Presepju’ – Christmas Nativity in Valletta

It is well worth making the time to go and visit the exhibition organised by Charles Bellia on behalf of ‘Friends of the Crib at the iconic Palazzo Ferreria also known as Palazzo Buttigieg Francia just as you pass the main entrance to Valletta.   The exhibition will be open until 5 January.

 

Entrance is free and if you can also find more information if you are interested in displaying your hand made nativity cribs next Christmas.  I am amazed to find out that so many people are nativity crib making enthusiasts.

Thank you Charles Bellia and Gianfranco Cupelli !

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An idyllic day on a idyllic island

I am not the biggest fan of Christmas Day.  Each year I spend the build up to Christmas feeling rather homesick, reliving memories of good times in other places where I had previous lives.

However can one really be anywhere more idyllic with a perfect temperature of 18 C, the skies so clear and the air feeling so fresh.  Today is perfection itself.  Being outdoors uplifts the worse of moodsand days like today remind me why I returned.

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Glorious sunshine, beautiful natural light, this is perfect Malta.

Today I feel privileged to be here, a country where many fight for the right to stay here

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Would you consider buying this beautiful book , the full proceeds of which will go to support the Archbishop’s fund to help these families and their children.

Oliver Friggieri: Sketches and Poems is available from Edwards Lowell Concept Store in Portomaso [all proceeds from the book are in aid of the non profit work of Professor Victor Grech ]

Please direct your comments via my blog or private message on facebook.

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Happy Christmas and the ’22’ kiddies

Serbian children lea

We welcomed some of the ’22’ Serb children  during this week’s special Christmas Edition TV Show.   They joined children from Maltese schools and we had christmas carols with Amy Marie Borg and Yvette Grixti and Christmas Story Time with Professor Victor Grech.

Today the number is growing rapidly and TCN families of other nationalities are receiving rejection letters everyday to reject their children who are already on the island.

According to Dr Shazoo Ghaznavi, this is an old EU law dating back to 2003 and it establishes the parameters for Third Country Nationals coming to work within any of the EU countries.

The sponsors are the parents.  They need to have proof of accommodation, a regular and stable income as well as health insurance.  This law is not limited to Malta.

Dr Shazoo Ghaznavi says

the law that has been adapted by Identity Malta is incorrect.  The original EU law recommends that these families have a minimum wage.  In Malta, the minimum wage would be Euros 9440 per year but the income requirement for TCN families is now that of an average wage which has been set by Identity Malta as Euros 19500 per household  plus Euros 2000 per dependent in the household.

This amount has been established by Identity Malta and there is no record when this amount was changed.

If the minimum wage is good enough for Maltese families who may have one or two children, why is the law different for TCN families ?

Dr Shazoo Ghaznavi

Would you consider buying this beautiful book , the full proceeds of which will go to support the Archbishop’s fund to help these families and their children.

Oliver Friggieri: Sketches and Poems is available from Edwards Lowell Concept Store in Portomaso [all proceeds from the book are in aid of the non profit work of Professor Victor Grech ]

Please direct your comments via my blog or private message on facebook.

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Restored to perfection – 3 Cities Auberge in Bormla

It was no small undertaking when Annette Rolfe and her partner Michael Wurm decided to restore a large house of character in Oratory Street in Bormla.

I visited them earlier this month and you can appreciate the beauty of this restoration in the clip here which was filmed for my lifestyle weekend tv show.  It is now now up on my youtube channel

You can find more information on 3 Cities Auberges in Bormla via their website

Oliver Friggieri: Sketches and Poems is available from Edwards Lowell Concept Store in Portomaso [all proceeds from the book are in aid of the non profit work of Professor Victor Grech ]

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Maltese Paediatric Association supports ’22 children’

The Maltese Paediatric Association issued a statement today that it

deplores the position taken by Identity Malta towards non EU families residing in Malta, whereby enforcement of a policy of minimum income results in the expulsion of these children from our country and the inevitable separation from their parents.

For this reason, the Malta Paediatric Association supports the initiative by His Grace the Archbishop who has appealed to all parishes, religious congregations, Catholic groups and societies to support his initiatives to guarantee the children’s funding if need be.

The Malta Paediatric Association will be organising a fundraiser to support the 22 children with all proceeds being directed to ’22 Children’ at  Caritas.

Further details will be released shortly.

For more information:

Dr Samuel Aquilina [samuel.aquilina@gov.mt ]
Professor Victor Grech [victor.e.grech@gov.mt ]
Lea Hogg [leahogg1@gmail.com]

Children as young as two refused a residence permit

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Healthier Christmas Cake with Olive Oil

Gluten-free, lactose-free and reduced sugar diets are hot topics these days. The drive for ingredients to suit a large number of food intolerances comes from consumers and with such a large choice in the market, guests no longer have to feel they are a burden to their hosts and be apologetic about their intolerances.

Adjusting recipes to make them suitable for everyone is much easier than making special dishes to cater for individual requirements. These Christmas recipes are free from lactose and gluten and are sweetened with unrefined sugars in reduced quantity.

Photos: George Aquilina, CJ Baldacchino

Christmas Cake with olive oil

You will need:
500g dried fruit (mix of currants, raisins, sultanas)
250g ground almonds or almond flour
50g nuts of your choice (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
50g cherries
2 apples
200g dates
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp apple organic vinegar
Grated zest of an orange
3 tbsp olive oil
4 eggs
50g flaked almonds to sprinkle on the surface before baking.
You will need a 20cm round cake tin

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Cover the cake tin with baking paper or brush the tin lightly with olive oil.

Peel and grate the apples and keep aside.

Place the eggs, grated orange zest, olive oil and apple organic vinegar in a large bowl. Mix well with a fork until they are well blended. Add the grated apples and mix again.

Chop the dates into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the ground almonds, nuts, cherries, spices and vanilla and finally the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Toss the mixture so that it is consistent and all the fruit and nuts are well coated.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Use a large metal spoon to fold in the mixture gently until it is consistent; do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake dish.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven. Check the cake after 50 minutes of baking time as each oven is different.

Once the cake is cooked all the way through, remove from the oven and leave it to cool in the container.

Store the cake in an airtight container preferably in the fridge if you are keeping the cake for more than a few days as it contains no refined sugar that guarantees preservation.

This is a gluten-free and lactose-free recipe. The cake has no added refined sugar, no butter and no flour. The texture should be the same as a regular Christmas cake. If you like very sweet cakes, add 2-3 tbsp of stevia to the ground almond mix.

My ingredients come from Lamb Brand