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.
Maltese and Gozitan oranges come in all shapes, flavours and sizes, blood oranges with bright red flesh that taste very faintly of raspberries, some with big navels and no seeds, bitter Seville oranges brought to the island during Arab rule and in the open rambling countryside, you can find fragrant bergamot oranges
‘Making figolli [two cookie layers with a soft mazipan filling] is a good childhood memory if you were brought up in Malta and making them every Easter is a tradition for most Maltese families, even for those who usually do not make cakes and sweets.
‘I like to make crispy fritters in the oven using hardly any added fats. I use a little spelt flour to lightly coat the fritters and the spelt flour makes them even tastier.
The mixture easily holds together. I served with tzaziki but if you are in a rush, simply mix some Greek yoghurt with fresh mint, salt and a pinch of dried mint to use as a dipping sauce. I just love these and could eat them every day
Zucchini/courgettes and the round light green marrows that are so common here all make great fritters’
You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoona spelt flour
1 onion, finely chopped, sauteed and placed on kitchen towel
150g feta cheese, grated
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
a pinch of dried mint
4 courgettes, grated (coarse)
4 medium potatoes or 2 sweet potatoes, cooked with skin on and drained
10 black olives, destoned and chopped
salt and pepper
To dust the fritters:
More spelt flour
1 tablespoon olive oil and to brush on fritters pre-baking
a flat non stick dish prepared with baking spray
Grate the courgettes from the coarse side of the grater.
Place the grated courgette in a clean teat towel and roll them up. Leave to rest for half an hour and then wring out the water.
Cook the potato, whole with the skin on. Drain the water and leave in a collander to drip any extra water. Allow to cool before peeling. Grate from the coarse side of the grater.
Place the grated potato and courgettes in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix gently without breaking up the vegetables as this will give it a light texture.
Place in the fridge for half an hour if you have time to spare.
Then dust your hands with spelt flour and form patties. Dust with spelt flour and shake off. Place on the prepared over dish. Brush very lightly with olive oil.
Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for 25 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn them over and brush the other side lightly with olive oil. If needed keep them in for another 5 minutes until they are golden and crispy.
‘Spring is here and my friend Antida’s garden is in full bloom’
Filippo Berio Olive Oil available at Rimus Group
Kolios Green Yoghurt and Feta by Fior di Vita available at Quality Foods
Kitchenware by Pedrini, Prestige and Bialetti at K&Co Telephone 79415384
Tucked away in a side street in Gzira you will find Hasan with a wonderful variety of fresh Syrian dishes and he also shared some great recipes which I made during this week’s tv show.
Using vintage or extra mature cheddar gives an amazing flavour to this yeast-free quick bread that can be made in minutes. Fresh home baking is so easy.
Gurbell [meagre in English] is one of the most delicious fish that is available locally. It has a firm and fleshy texture, with a mild taste that
Sfineg are associated with the the northern town of Rabat and I made them during today’s tv show adding Greek Feta cheese, by rubbing it into the flour before adding the other ingredients.
High in fibre, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, barley is one of those old fashioned grains that is perhaps not considered to be as trendy as some other popular ones being marketed today. I like its nutty taste and the soft texture that never becomes mushy and it is lower in calories and fats than most other ancient grains.
Combined with fresh mint and greek yoghurt, this is a light soup that I first discovered in the back streets of a small cafe in Istanbul.
I love the fresh onion and garlic available locally right now with a milder taste and I make sure to use all the bulb and leaves. They are never overpowering.
Bing uses local Maltese pork. He loves the taste and texture and combines this with the freshest of ingredients. He believes that fresh ingredients contribute to success of this dish.
‘Eating fish during lent is associated with the Greek word for fish, ichthys, which is an acronym for Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, meaning Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour. There are many interpretations of why Catholic tradition favours eating fish on Fridays, but the version that appeals to me most is found in the 15th Century Book of Festivals which says that when Adam sinned, God cursed the land – however, he did not curse the water and, therefore, it is lawful for man to eat what comes from the water during Lent.
Fish used to be the economical choice for families but, today, it is considered a treat, sometimes nearly a delicacy and often expensive. However, eating fish on Fridays is not about economics – the reasoning behind it is fascinating. After all, it is not exactly a penance eating fish, for most people.
This month we see a large variety of fresh local fish becoming available at local fishmongers; you should be able to find red mullett (trill), grey mullett (mulett), red rock fish (ċippullazz), white bream (sargu), moray eel (morina), octopus (qarnita) and gurbell (brown meager) and many more. When it comes to fish, the fresher it is, the better the flavour. To source the best fish, find a trusted fishmonger or hawker and stick with them. I usually ask for advice on fish from Saviour at Bottarga.
You can disguise the taste in chicken and meats that are not fresh, but the same does not apply to fish.
In today’s recipe, I use skate. It is soft, remains moist and still is under-rated.
The skate (ħamima in Maltese) needs very little cooking time and, for those that do not like the idea of picking bones, it is an ideal choice. Succulent, soft and moist flesh literally slides off the cartilage.
The flavour is delicate and, to retain its natural moistness, the fish is best cooked at a high temperature for as little time as possible.
This recipe is simple and easy to prepare and I hope you will give it a try.
Fresh fish should smell of the sea and the gills should be bright and moist, not just from being sprayed for display. When preparing it, the scales should flake off easily and the flesh remain firm. It is, sometimes, hard to judge when fish is ready and cooked and it may be easier to invest in a kitchen thermometer, rather than waiting for the flesh to turn from translucent to opaque. For perfect fish, the internal temperature should read at between 125ºC to 150ºC.
Eating raw fish has become very popular since the introduction of sushi. And cooking fish by merely soaking in lemon juice to make a ceviche style dish is another option. Unlike with poultry, eating fish raw does not carry the same risk of salmonella – however, raw fish may carry parasites and should be avoided by the elderly, pregnant women and children.
I like the simplicity of cooking fish al cartoccio, wrapped in a parcel with a slice of lemon and a few drops of olive oil, salt and pepper and baked in a hot oven for a few minutes. Fresh herbs, olives and capers can be added to serve it.
Filippo Berio Olive Oil available at Rimus Group
Olives and Capers available at Quality Foods
Saxa Salt by Premier Foods available at George Borg Ltd
Kitchenware by K & Co, Telephone 79415384
Fish by Saviour Deguara at Bottarga in Balzan
Fresh Vegetables by Big Fresh Mosta, Oscars Fruit and Vegetables and Barbuto [Organic]
The vegetable linguine made with a spiralizer give colour to the dish and make it more appealing, visually and also in texture.’