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Quick No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Slice [Vegan, Gluten Free]

The combination of coconut and dark chocolate is one of the most pleasurable flavours I can think of.  The gritty texture of the coconut combined with the silky dark chocolate is used in many iconic sweets and topping this dessert with the sweet. succulent strawberries that are at the peak of their season produces this simple yet amazing dessert which few will be unable to resist.

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Prep Time 10mins

Serves 8

400g Novibloc dark chocolate
2 cups shredded coconut
2 tbsps agave or honey
1 vanilla pod
2 tbsps coconut oil
10 strawberries

Place the coconut, agave or honey, vanilla & cold pressed coconut oil in a blender & pulse until it forms a paste.Cover the cake tin with baking paper.

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Place the mixture in the cake tin & press down by using a spatula.

Place in the freezer for an hour or overnight in the fridge.

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Melt the Novibloc by placing in the microwave. Pour the chocolate over the coconut mixture.

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Place in the fridge until set. Before serving place some sliced strawberries on top of the cake.

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You can make this recipe in a tart dish to have smaller layers of the dessert

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For a chance to win this Easter Novi Chocolate hamper SHARE this recipe on your social media page [facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest or linkedin] and leave a comment below. The winner will be notified on 26 April 2019Easter novi hamper.jpg

Photos by Steffi De Marino

Novi Chocolate is imported, distributed and marketed by M&Z (Marketing) Ltd and is available in all leading supermarkets and stores.
Cake Designer Alfred Chircop by Steffi de Martino

Cake Designer Alfred Chircop by Steffi de Martino

For more Easter chocolate recipes see: Maltese Figolli covered with dark chocolate

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Life and Style Weekend

Life and Style Weekend airs today at 12.40 on Net Television  If you miss it, simply go to Net On Demand Link any time

What a pleasure, what a team !  More music today with Soprano Ruth Sammut Casingena and Ramona Zammit Formosa as well as other guests to keep you entertained this afternoon x

What a pleasure, what a team ! More music today with Soprano Ruth Sammut Casingena and Ramona Zammit Formosa as well as other guests to keep you entertained this afternoon x

steffi de Martino

From an island blessed with so much.  Photo Steffi de Martino

Lea thanks her stylist Maria Bonavia, make up artist Analise Micallef and Flormar, Geraldine Agius at Screen Hair Salon Fgura and Denise Marston at DEA Aesthetics and Wellness
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Maltese Figolla covered in dark chocolate

Easter is round the corner and its time to start preparing figolli.  The recipe I use was passed on to me by Renato Briffa.

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Prep Time 30mins
Makes 6 small figolli

For the dough
1kg plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
300g icing sugar
400g unsalted butter
zest of 2 lemons &
2 oranges
vanilla
juice of 2 oranges &
2 lemons
4 eggs


For the filling
1kg ground almonds
600g icing sugar
zest of 2 oranges,
1 tangerine, 1 lemon
6 egg whites
vanilla
pinch of salt
juice of 1 orange


To Decorate


1kg Novibloc
mini Novi Easter eggs

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To make the pastry, sift the flour twice, add the baking powder, icing sugar & the
unsalted butter & rub with your fingers until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the
citrus zest & mix in all the other ingredients first with a knife & then use your hands
to bring together. Knead it lightly until the pastry comes together & the consistency
is smooth. Wrap in stretch & seal & place in the fridge for an hour.

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Prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients together & then using your hands to
bring it together. Knead lightly & then keep aside.

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Roll out the pastry to a thickness of between 1/2 to ¾cm. Use a figolla cutter to cut
two identical pastry shapes for each figolla. Place 1 pastry shape on a baking tin
covered with baking paper. Roll out the almond filling & use the same cutter to cut a
shape per figolla. Brush the bottom part of the figolla lightly with water & place the
filling shape on top. Brush lightly with water & place the second pastry shape on top
of the almond layer. Bake in a preheated oven at 170oC for 35 mins. Remove from
the oven & allow to cool overnight before removing from the tray.

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To decorate melt the Novibloc & pour over the figolla until it’s covered. Decorate
with mini Novi Easter eggs.

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For a chance to win this Easter Novi Chocolate hamper SHARE this recipe on your social media page [facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest or linkedin] and leave a comment below. The winner will be notified on 26 April 2019Easter novi hamper.jpg

Photos by Steffi De Marino

Novi Chocolate is imported, distributed and marketed by M&Z (Marketing) Ltd and is available in all leading supermarkets and stores.
Malta by Steffi De Martno

Photography by Steffi di Martino

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Roasted Tomato Soup with Thyme and Greek Yoghurt

Tomatoes roasted with olive oil, fresh thyme, garlic and sea salt

Tomatoes roasted with olive oil, fresh thyme, garlic and sea salt

‘Tomatoes are abundant this month and available at giveaway prices. Roasting them adds flavour and soups are always welcome in winter. The flavour of fresh thyme with tomatoes is delicious and I use fresh turmeric root to give it a boost of natural medicinal properties and I like to use it often and in small amounts’

You will need:

1 kilo tomatoes
about a teaspoon of fresh thyme
1 clove garlic
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tablespoons olive oil
a small piece of grated fresh turmeric
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper
a pinch of stevia or a drizzle of agave to balance the flavours

To serve: Drizzle of olive oil, some fresh thyme and greek yoghurt

Getting the ingredients ready to make this quick economical soup

 

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Slice the tomatoes in half and place on a baking tray, skin side down. Place the garlic clove on the tray. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with the fresh thyme.

Place the tray in the oven and roast for 45 minutes. You will see the edges of the tomatoes starting to caramelize.

In the meantime place the peeled and chopped potato in a large pot and add the stock cube and water. Season and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and add the tomato puree. When the potatoes are cooked add the roasted tomatoes and garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and use a hand held blender to bring the mixture to a puree. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding salt and a sweetener [I use stevia or agave]

Serve and garnish with Greek yoghurt, a drizzle of olive oil, some more fresh thyme.

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Getting the ingredients ready to make this quick economical soup

 

I use Greek Yoghurt by Kolios available at Quality Foods Marketing

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Quick parsley, tuna and almond salad

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This salad is satisfying and makes an ideal light lunch or an option to offer on Fridays during lent.

 

You will need:

a very large bunch of flat leaf parsley

a small selection of fresh mixed herbs of your choice

1 tablespoon Apple Vinegar

1 large can of Tuna Fish Chunks, refrigerated

1/2 cucumber

1 tablespoon ground almonds

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Place the parsley, herbs in a food processor and pulse, turning on and off until the herbs and parsley are finely chopped.

Add the cucumber and pulse again until the cucumber turns into bite-size pieces.

Add the ground almonds and stir.

At this stage you can put the mixture in a bowl, cover and store in the fridge for later use.

To serve, add salt and pepper, olive oil and apple vinegar and mix using a large metal spoon.

Place on a serving dish and on the top place the tuna chunks.

Serve immediately.

 

Parsley tuna salad 5

I use tuna chunks by Redelmar and apple vinegar by Kuhne both available at Quality Foods Marketing 

 

 

 

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Tear and Share yeast-free bread

This quick bake produces yeast free fresh rolls which great to serve when feeding a crowd.  These soda bread rolls can be made in a few minutes and baked in 20 minutes.

 

You will need:

A little olive oil, for greasing
500g self raising flour
1 tablespoon semolina
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 rounded teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
Pinch of dried crushed chili seeds
Pinch of dried basil
250 ml Buttermilk
a glass of cold water
some sesame seeds to sprinkle on top OR brush with some olive oil when they come out of the oven and sprinkle some finely chopped mixed fresh herbs

I used a 23 cm springforn cake tin OR  standard rectangular baking tray of 12 cm x 8 cm

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Brush the cake tin with the olive oil.

Sieve the flour. Mix the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl. Add the crumbled feta cheese, chili flakes and dried basil.

Pour the buttermilk into the flour mixture and gently fold it in. Do not rub in. Add water as necessary until it forms a dough.  Mix with a large metal spoon or claw your fingers and use your hands to bring the mixture together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Place the semolina in your hands to prevent a lot of stickiness. Shape even balls and fill up the cake tin. Brush the surface with olive oil and scatter the sesame seeds on top.

Tear and Share Soda Bread

Tear and Share Soda Bread

Bake for 15 minutes, check them out and lower the temperature and carry on cooking for a bit longer if necessary.

Serve with soup or use with a selection of dips.

 

I use Buttermilk  by Schardinger and Fior the Vita Feta Cheese both available at Quality Foods Marketing

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Using Labneh to make Quick Almond Cupcakes

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These are really quick all-in-one almond cupcakes.  For a gluten free recipe, substitute the self raising flour with a gluten free ready-mix of self raising flour.   This recipe makes 12 regular size cupcakes.

You will need:

100g labneh
50g brown sugar
4 eggs
125g self raising flour
125g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon honey or agave
the seeds of 1/2 pod vanilla
a pinch of salt

  • Optional: 1/4 of a cherry or an almond to top the cupcakes
  • Cooking Spray, paper cases and a muffin tin
  • Electric mixer [I use hand held for this recipe]

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Simply place all the ingredients in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to combine the ingredients together until you have a consistent soft and smooth paste. Once your mixture appears even, stop beating and use a spoon to fill the paper cases. Top with half a cherry and bake in a preheated for 25 minutes.

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  • Also optional
  • 200g labneh to pipe the top and finish the cupcakes off.

 

 

Photography: Sean Azzopardi

I use labneh by Kolios

I use labneh by Kolios available at Quality Foods

 

I use Labneh by Kolios available at Quality Foods
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Breakfast feta muffins with kale

Feta definitely gives these breakfast muffins an umph!  This is an old perfect muffin recipe, a never-fail old recipe.  You can also add bacon or pancetta, around 75g but this is optional.

This recipe makes 10 standard size muffins or 5 really large ones.

You will need:

2 cups plain flour
3 level teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1 cup low fat or fat free milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
200g feta, that is one standard packet, I used low fat
6 kale leaves, trimmed and chopped finely
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 180 C.

 

Crumble feta in a bowl.  Add the finely chopped up kale.  If you are adding bacon or pancetta, do so now.

Sift flour and mix all dry ingredients. Add half of the feta mixture and mix in.

Beat the eggs until light and add the milk and melted butter making sure that the butter is not hot. Stir and add into dry mixture only enough to dampen the flour. Do not over mix and the texture should be lumpy.

Pour into muffin cases arranged on a muffin tray. [if you have not incorporated all the feta and kale,  sprinkle the rest of the feta  and muffin mix on top of the muffins.]

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes if your muffins are standard size. If you are making larger ones like mine, they will need 30 – 35 minutes descending on your oven. Leave to cool in muffin tray.

 

fior di vita feta

I use Feta Cheese by Fior di Vita available at Quality Foods
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Nicola’s hair by Geraldine Agius

During her recent trip to Malta Nicola Said paid a visit to Geraldine Agius at Screen Hair Salon Fgura to style her her for a tv appearance. Both Geraldine and Nicola decided that it was time for a change.

Geraldine says,

We first started with a consultation with Nicola and discussed her lifestyle so that

Geraldine Agius

Geraldine Agius

we could choose something that suited her circumstances and considered her hectic travel arrangements, long rehearsals and versatility required with her roles and performances as a leading lady

Nicola's hair before Geraldine's makeover

Nicola’s hair before Geraldine’s makeover

Geraldine says,

First we did a balayage choosing a ppd-free colour just 2 shades lighter than her natural hair.

Geraldine adds ‘We then cut her hair just below her shoulders because it was quite damaged and slightly layered the top area to give it movement. Then we gave her one of our super blowdries to keep the hair shiny and soft for her tv appearance’

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To watch this week’s show click here

See also :
Nicola’s make up by Analise
Flowers for a leading lady

and Geraldines tips for choosing the right hair colour

malta airport foundation

Nicola Said is supported by The Malta Airport Foundation

"Nicola Said seems a delightful singer with her laser-bright top notes and hers was a nuanced, tensely eerie – and very bloody – ‘Mad Scene’. She had by this point elicited much sympathy for her plight especially in our current #MeToo world."



- Jim Pritchard, Seen and Heard International
nicola said with joseph calleja

Nicola Said sings with Joseph Calleja and Cliff Zammit Stevens

With thanks to Geraldine Agius at Screen Hair Salon Fgura 
Screen Hair Salon Fgura by Geraldine Agius

 

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Spring Collection now available at Xus

The new Spring collection by Xus has arrived
If you are unable to visit the store in Naxxar you can order online and the service is brilliant

If you are unable to visit the store in Naxxar you can order online and the service is brilliant

 

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For the online store click here

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Maria’s recommendations for Spring

maria bonavia profile

Style guru Maria Bonavia

To watch Maria’s recommendations during this week’s show click here

Maria recommends orange as a great colour for Spring 2019

maria bonavia march 9b

Patterned dresses
Trousers, suits and neutral colours
No party is complete without a fairy dress

maria bonavia march 5

Its a wrap, thank you Maria for styling me and Nicola Said this week
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Nicola Said and Lea Hogg wear patterned dressed styled by Maria Bonavia at Ange Paola, Photography during live show by Sean Azzopardi

Maria is available for personal styling consultations, fashion shows, large events and image consulting.

See also:
When it comes to clothes, ask Maria
Nicola’s hair by Geraldinie Agius
Flowers for a leading lady
Nicola’s make up by Analise

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Sunday Lunch Buffet at La Branda Riveria Hotel and Spa, Mellieha

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La Branda Riveria hotel is not somewhere you might drop in as you are driving past as it is in the very north point of the island, tucked away in Marfa Bay.

But the drive to the peak where the island of Comino is very visible and where you can also see Gozo at a distance, is beautiful and gives you time to build up a good appetite which is certainly needed for the buffet which is laid out every lunch time on a Sunday.

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You need to be hungry and the Sunday lunchtime buffet offers a great selection of cold cuts, salads, cheeses and dips and a variety of freshly baked breads, rolls and foccacia.

The food is abundant and there is surely something to satisfy everyone’s preferences with a range of cuisines such as chinese,  a variety of freshly made pastas cooked while you wait and baked pastas such as lasagne and baked macaroni.

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The staff are helpful, polite and efficient.  Prices are very reasonable and the buffet is inclusive all all drinks which includes wine, beers, mineral water and soft drinks and tea and coffee to finish off.

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There are a number of roasts, a kids corner which also includes chicken nuggets and chips and pizzas.

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A further selection of curries, stews and vegetarian dishes .

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The choice is endless, the food is abundant.

Finish off with a choice of fresh fruit salads or tempting desserts which include mqaret.

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Chocolate Cream Cakes

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Freshly baked

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And a choice of Maltese specialities, perfect with that cup of coffee

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The best way to finish of is with a leisurely walk in this most mesmerizing location.
Marfa bay mellieha

Marfa Bay Mellieha Malta

To book Sunday Buffet Lunch at La Branda Riveria Hotel and Spa phone 356-22899000
Photography:  Stefan Stafrace

 

Like and Share this blog post and leave a comment for a chance to win Sunday Buffet Lunch for 2 persons all inclusive of drinks at La Branda Riveria Hotel and Spa.  Winner will be advised on Saturday 16 March.

www.leahogg.com