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Quick Pina Colada Ice Cream

So many people are overwhelmed about making ice creams.   Recently I have shared a few ice cream recipes on tv and radio that do not require an ice cream machine.   There are many short cuts without going through a lot of work.    The best thing about making something at home is that you can add your favourite ingredients and leave out any flavours you do not like or foods that you are allergic to.

pina colada slice george aquilina
For my quick pina colada ice cream

You will need:
1kg vanilla or coconut ice cream
100g coconut
150g tinned, chopped pineapple
50g cherries
vanilla 


For the decoration:
6 pineapple rings and 6 cherries cut in half
Stretch and seal 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, lactose-free or vegan ice cream, depending on your requirements.

 

I use cherries and vanilla by Lamb Brand

Lamb brand hot cross buns

and kitchenware by Tescoma 


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A product that changed my hair this summer

Quite suddenly this summer, my hair started to feel dry and lifeless – a result of too much styling, the heat and the consequences of bleaching, highlights and days in the sun.

Bathroom hair treatment

So Antonella recommeded the new Moisture Plus Lotion by Milkshake Hair Products which accompanies the Moisture Plus Range.

The Moisture Plus Lotion contains organic papaya extract and hyaluronic acid for age and colour protection.

moisture plus lotion

Although Antonella did my treatment for me, she gave me one to use at home as it is also suitable for home use.

She recommended that the hair is washed and conditioned.  Once it is rinsed well,  the entire content of the  Moisture Plus Lotion tube is spread over clean damp hair, and massaged all over the length and ends.

moisture plus lotion 2

This is left on the hair for 5 minutes then rinsed off and styled as usual.

moisture plus lotion 4
Overall, my hair has never felt better, so soft, silky and shiny.  And it is so quick to use with minimal fuss
moisture-plus-lotion-tubo

Moisture Plus Lotion is available via Milkshake Malta and retails at only Euros 3.50.

 

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Very Quick Lasagne with less calories

As we approach the end of summer, I’m planning some warming meals, those kind that you can prepare quickly and will satisfy you at the same time.

This lasagne is one to make for yourself. It is quick and does not need to look refined but hits that spot if you have a craving for a baked pasta dish.  I made them in individual dishes for one and freeze them without the grated cheese topping, then add the cheese just before I reheat/bake after defrosting.

very quick lasagne

The white sauce of this lasagne is made with cornflour and skimmed milk and I use a touch of grated Tan-Nar Cheese* to finish it off and give it that extra special flavour.

very quick lasagne 5

You will need:

6 lasagne sheets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
250g low fat beef mince or chicken mince
1 tablespoon tomato puree
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
300ml skimmed milk
1 tablespoon cornflour
150ml Creamy Light Cream for cooking by Hanini
50 g Tan Nar Cheese, grated

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion on low to moderate heat until it is translucent.  Add the grated carrot.  Stir then add the mince and cook for around 7 – 10 minutes until it is browned.

Add the tomato puree and tinned tomatoes.  Bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Very quick lasagne 3

Make the white sauce by  added 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornflour and mix it well.  Pour the remaining milk  and Creamy Light Cream for Cooking by Hanini into a pan, season and bring to a simmering boil on low heat.  Stir in the cornflour and half of the Tan-Nar cheese.  Stir until the mixture has thickened and remove from heat.

very quick lasagne 2

To assemble

I use individual dishes to make this lasagne. Lightly brush the bottom of the dish with olive oil, very sparingly. Spread some of the meat sauce on the base. Then top with one of the lasagne sheet.  Spread some meat sauce on top of it. The lay another lasagne sheet and spread some of the white sauce. Add another two sheets of lasagne and alternate the meat and cheese sauce.

To cook

Preheat oven to 200C.  Cook for 35 minutes. Remove from heat and top with the grated Tan-Nar Cheese. Return to the oven for 5 – 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the lasagne is crispy at the edges. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve.

very quick lasagne 4

 

For that extra special flavour I use Tan-Nar Gobon Malti tal-Milorddistributed by Whats In Store
tan nar milord
I use Tan-Nar Cheese Tal-Milord
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Calorie Counter #2

Sunflower seeds in particular,  offer a good replacement for nuts because they taste very nutty. I like to dry roast mine by shaking them in a very hot pan over high heat for a few seconds to add that roasted flavour.

Portion size comes into this as well as although they are very high in fibre, minerals and vitamins  [Vitamins E, B complex, magnesium, iron, calcium].  The portion size here is 20g which is around 2 level tablespoons.

I particulary love it mixed with Greek Yogurt for breakfast.

Calorie counter 2

sunflower kernels seeds by lamb brand
                    I use Sunflower Kernels by Lamb Brand

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Calorie Counter #1

I am not an advocate for calorie counting however it is a good exercise, at least once in a while, to remind oneself to reduce portions.  I could easily eat double the amount of smoked salmon here but the calories of this ‘meal’  are just about enough for a light lunch.

 

Calorie counter 1.jpg

 

I use cottage cheese by Milk available at Quality Foods Marketing 

cottage cheese.jpg

 

 

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A Step Forward

A sneak preview of tonight’s final performance of A Step Forward by L.A Green, directed by Neil Grima

Tickets are available via this link

martina and sarah

Thank you Martina and Sarah for joining me during Summer Life and Style

 

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Pork and Mushroom Red Coconut Curry with Quinoa

Serving quinoa with red curry makes it like a totally different dish.  This is a mild curry.  This dish can never go wrong as long as you use a good curry paste.  I prefer to use the large meatier mushrooms, cut into chunks rather than sliced so that they do not completely disintegrate.

IMG_5502

The dish improves if it is prepared the day before and quinoa can be added just before serving.

You will need:

500g pork loin, cut into cubes
300g mushrooms, large and cut in half
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
400ml coconut milk
120g red curry paste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
a small bunch of coriander to garnish
a few drops of fresh lime juice
IMG_5496-4221250852-1566242381355.jpg

Pork and Mushroom Red Coconut Curry

In a large pan, heat the coconut oil  and cook the onion on moderate heat.  Add the pork cubes and cook all over.  Then add the curry paste, stirring until it starts to bubble.  At this stage add half the coconut milk, the garlic and enough water to immerse the pork and allow it to cook slowly. Add the lime juice.

Simmer for 1/2 an hour.  Do not let it dry up but keep adding water, a little at a time, to keep the mixture moist.

Then turn off the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Add teh rest of the coconut milk.

To serve.  Cook the quinoa according to the instructions here

Serve the curry in bowls, top with quinoa and finish off with some fresh coriander.

This curry can be made in advance, cooled down completely and then stored in the fridge for up to 3 days  - the flavours improve
Quinoa by Tipiak
            I use French white quinoa by Tipiak at Whats in Store
 My pork comes from Churchill Master Butchers and vegetables from Big Fresh
                           Kitchenware by Tescoma
                            Photos: Felix Cesare
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Which Self-Tan?

Why suffer many uncomfortable hours in the heat and cause damage to your skin when you can have an instant tan?

I have tried over the years many self-tanning creams and inspite of using the same one which I was very happy with for a few years, I was given a new brand to try out this month and it has become a favourite.

elizabeth taylor 2

Australian Gold Instant Sunless Lotion is a very smooth and light lotion that has a lovely delicate odour, very different to other self tanners that I have used.   It is not messy at all,  and absorbs into the skin almost instantly.  The result is a natural golden nearly instant tan with no hints of orange.  I would say it is the most user-friendly self-tanner I have used.

elizabeth taylor on the beach

Analise’s tips:

  •  Do a gentle skin exfoliation before you apply your self tanning lotion.
  • Always wear gloves to rub the lotion into the skin.
  • Apply the self tanning lotion without using a moisturiser beforehand.
  • Always read the instructions on the label.
  • Shower before you change into other clothes.
australian gold

   Australian Gold Instant Sunless Lotion is available at Makiba Essence

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Upside Down Strawberry and Banana Crumble

An upside down crumble allows the juices to ooze out of the fruit and moisten the crumble mix, filling it with all those fruity flavours.

It is quick to make and does not need hours in the kitchen making it an ideal dessert to serve with ice cream.

I use a mix of strawberries and bananas but other fruits can be use such as any type of berries, apples, pears and it is delicious with medlars [naspli]

IMG_8189.jpg

For the crumble:

150g self raising flour
150g ground almonds
100g butter, chilled and cut up into cubes
100g sugar [or equivalent in stevia]
vanilla
a pinch of grated nutmeg

Sift the flour twice into a large bowl. Add the cut up chilled salty butter and use your fingertips to rub in the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the vanilla, nutmeg, ground almonds, sugar or stevia.  Keep aside.

Use a tart dish of 21 cm with a loose bottom and grease it lightly with butter.

Scatter the crumble mix to cover all the bottom.

IMG_8124

Before it goes into the oven

For the topping you will need:

1 kilo of mixed fruit [cut up into large pieces]
2 tablespoons honey or agave or maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
vanilla

Place the cut up fruit into a large bowl. Add the other ingredients and gently mix in so that they fruit does not break up.

To assemble and bake

Preheat oven to 200C.

Pile the fruit onto the crumble mix and bake in a hot preheated oven for 35 minutes until the top of the fruit starts to barely caramelize.  Drizzle if you wish with more agave/honey/maple syrup or dust with icing sugar.

Serve warm or cold with ice cream in the summer and hot custard in the winter.

I use President Butter available at Rimus Group

president butter

My fruit comes from Big Fresh, baking ingredients from Lamb Brand and kitchenware from Tescoma

Photos: Felix Cesare

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Spiralize your way through vegetables

If you like the idea of increasing your intake of vegetables and perhaps find more interesting ways for kids to eat vegetables, then a spiralizer is the answer.

Having tried a number of them, I still go back to my favourite which is the hand held one as it requires very little effort, except of course, that opposed to an electrical one, it needs a bit more effort as you twist each vegetable manually one by one.

Spirilizer 2

But price wise they also offer the best option.  There are some on the market that come as attachments to expensive appliances, others that you need to attach to table tops, but you also need to rinse this one thoroughly and it can be stored in any kitchen drawer without taking up too much space or needing much effort to assemble.

Using a spirializer .jpg

Therefore I think you will get your money’s worth, if like me,  you probably tend to use gadgets of this sort very often as you can easily store it in a handy place and grab it quickly once you need to use it.  A simple wash and wipe and back it goes again into the kitchen drawer.

The best vegetables I found so far that spiralize very well are carrots, courgettes, sweet potato and apples.  These can all be eaten raw once they are spiralized.

My Linguine and Spiralized Vegetables Aglio Olio style

If you are trying to reduce carbs, mix the same volume of spiralized vegetables with cooked spaghetti or linguine.  You can find my very simple recipe here

spiralised vegetables for children
Children associate spiralized vegetables with spaghetti and are attracted to the shape and texture.

I use a spiralizer by Tescoma and vegetables by Big Fresh and Barbuto [organic]

Photos: Felix Cesare and Stefan Stafrace

 

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Spinach Ricotta Picnic Pie

This spinach ricotta pie is the ultimate summer picnic comfort food.  This tart is beautiful when it is cut up after it is cooled down as it exposes the hard boiled eggs and is ideal for outdoor entertaining.

Although the number of eggs in this recipe seem a lot, you can omit the hard boiled eggs but the idea is to cut it up into slices rather than chunks and serve with salads and other side dishes.
Filo Ricotta Spinach Pie 1

You will need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 kilo frozen spinach 
a bunch of fresh parsley
a pinch of nutmeg
500g ricotta [irkotta]
150g grated cheese[I use Gibna Roll]
5 eggs
5  hard boiled eggs
1/4 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
1 packet filo pastry
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 tablespoons olive oil

 

Dried mature gozitan gbejna and ricotta [Gibniet/Irkotta]

The filling

Defrost the spinach and leave to drain in a collander.  Keep squeezing out the water.

In a large pan shallow fry the chopped onion in some olive oil on moderate heat until it is translucent.  Add the chopped spinach and stir just until it is heated through for a minute or 2.  Add the dried mixed herbs, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.  Stir and remove from heat to retain the some vibrancy in the colour of the spinach.  Allow to cool down completely.

In a large bowl place the ricotta.  Add the grated gbejna and eggs.  Season.

Mix well and add the cooled down spinach mixture.  Mix again until it appears consistent.

filo-ricotta-spinach-pie-2-1-1.jpg

Assemble

Open up the filo pastry and brush a deep cake tin [I use an angel cake tin with a hollow centre so that the pie cooks evenly] with olive oil.

Cover with a sheet of filo pastry, then lightly brush the surface of the pastry sparsely with some more olive oil, add a second layer of filo pastry, brush again lightly with olive oil and add a third layer.

Add the tart filling into the pastry case and flatten the surface using a large metal spoon.

Push down gently the whole hard cooked eggs into the filling, one next to the other.  Make sure that they sit in the middle of the filling rather than touching the bottom so that the egg slices are centred once you bake and slice it.   Flatten the surface of the filling again then bring together the overlapping pastry and cover up thet op of the pie.

If necessary use another sheet of filo pastry to cover the top by scrunching it up lightly and then brushing with olive oil.

Scatter some sesame seeds on top.

Cook in a preheated oven at 180C for 50 minutes to an hour.

Torta-tas-spinaci-u-irkotta.jpg

 

 

Gibniet nixfa

I use ricotta and fresh mature gbejna [gibniet] by Hanini distributed by Whats in Store
Kitchenware by Tescoma
Photos: Felix Cesare and Stefan Stafrace
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Fig Coffee Walnut Rose Trifle

What makes a dessert decadent ?

The ingredients, the flavours and the expectation as soon as you set eyes on it, stirring the imagination of what is yet to come. And this one does not disappoint and is certainly just decadent.

The rose and fig flavours mingled with coffee and walnut are Mediterranean flavours with an influence from from Persia. The succulent figs are drizzled with honey and sprinkled with rose petals, layers of Greek yoghurt and ricotta are separated by soft sponge’

fig honey pudding

You will need:

250g Greek yoghurt
250g ricotta
vanilla
120g sugar or equivalent in Stevia
200g dried figs
350g  sponge ladies fingers
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vermouth
2 tablespoons rose water
2 tablespoons instant coffee mixed with 1 cup hot water

fig honey 4

Close your eyes and savour every mouthful

To finish off: honey, rose petals, dry roasted walnuts and figs

Blend together the Greek Yoghurt and ricotta using an electric hand blender. Add the vanilla and sugar or stevia and stir. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Mix the coffee and hot water. Allow it to cool then add the vermouth  and the rose water.

To assemble: Use a trifle dish. Dip the ladies fingers into the coffee mix and layer the bottom of the trifle dish. Then cover the biscuits with a layer of ricotta and mascarpone. Top with a layer of stewed figs. Then repeat with a layer of ladies fingers and ricotta mix Place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to set.

To finish off just before serving, top with a layer of ricotta mix. Decorate with some poached figs, drizzle some honey and scatter some dried rose petals on the surface.

 

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LOGO KOLIOS

I use Greek Yoghurt by Kolios at  Quality Foods Marketing

Kitchenware by Tescoma   Dried fruit and nuts by Natureline and Lamb Brand