Strawberry Tart, Egg Free using Goats Milk by Lea Hogg, Malta
‘Pumpkins and squash can withstand our harsh summer heat and Halloween is a good reason to celebrate our autumn harvest.
Surprisingly there are still a few in Catholic Malta who are reluctant to acknowledge the feast of Halloween, for the obvious reasons that it is associated with being anti-Christian or perhaps seen as another over-commercialised celebration that is not part of our heritage. But carving lanterns with the kids is something I look forward to every year.
The varieties cultivated locally are endless and it is an ingredient I like to use all year round because it is so versatile and can be incorporated in soups, stews, salads and desserts. Pumpkin adds a great consistency to cakes and baked goods. They are also so visually attractive and decorate a kitchen beautifully.
Depending on which type of pumpkin you are using, the skin can be tough but there are varieties with skin that is edible and soft when it is cooked, such as the butternut or onion squash. Once Halloween is over, the price drops and because of the abundance, it is best to look for other ways to use it more.
If you wish to store pumpkins or squash, try to buy them with the stem on as they will last longer.
My crust-free pumpkin pie makes a great dessert. I used buckwheat flour to cater for gluten free diets and a combination of linseed, Bird’s custard powder and egg replacer to make it vegan and reduce the cholesterol content.
Here is the recipe I made on tv this week but I have baked it a few times before using regular flour and eggs. You will find the substitutes in brackets near the ingredients.’
For my crust-free pumpkin pie you will need:
2 cups undiluted pumpkin puree [as a rough guide 500g peeled pumpkin makes around 1 cup]
1 cup buckwheat flour [you may also use plain regular flour]
2 tablespoons Bird’s Custard powder
‘Low in fats and diabetic friendly, this torte is loaded with everything that is good for you. It is moist and tastes even better a day or two after baking. It freezes well for up to 3 months as well as a dessert served with ice cream or fruit, it also makes an ideal breakfast, mid-morning or afternoon snack and is a great addition to a packed lunch. If you have a very sweet tooth, add stevia’
You will need:
1 cup grated raw carrots
2 cups dried prunes
2 cups coconut milk
4 tablespoons linseed [flaxseed]soaked in 12 tablespoons of water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup agave OR 1 cup stevia [if you wish you can use 1 cup brown sugar]
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
3 cups self raising flour [use self raising gluten free flour if you wish]
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
For the top of the tart: 1/2 cup flaked almonds
Allow the linseed [flaxseed] to soak in water from 1/2 hour to overnight.
Use a hand held blender to process the mixture and appear consistent. The result is a gelatinous mixture that will replace eggs in this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Prepare a tart dish by spraying it with cooking spray or by covering it with baking paper.
Sift twice the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking power into a large bowl. Add the ground almonds, salt, vanilla and cinnamon and mix.
Grate the carrots and chop the prunes into small pieces. Add to the flour mixture and mix gently making sure that the carrots and prunes are covered all over.
Add the apple organic vinegar, orange zest and coconut milk to the linseed and process until the mixture is well blended.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a large metal spoon to fold in.
Pour the batter into the prepared pie dish and scatter the flaked almonds on top. Place in a hot oven immediately for 25-35 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before serving.
Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV daily and you can follow the facebook page
Baking Goods, dried fruit and nuts by Good Earth Distributors
Baking spray by Frylight at Rimus Group
Fresh fruit and vegetables by Big Fresh Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto [Organic]
Easy Olive Bread (with no yeast, no eggs, no butter)
‘Quick and easy home made breads based on traditional Irish Soda bread are always a welcome addition to any supper or meal. Work quickly and as soon as the dough comes together stop kneading and place it immediately in a hot pre-heated oven for the best results’
For the olive bread, you will need:
500g self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
100g black olive pesto
a pinch of salt
200ml plain yoghurt [or vegan yoghurt] mixed with 200ml water
50g sesame seeds for the surface
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda twice into a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Mix and add the black olive pesto and apple organic vinegar. Lightly mix in, then make a well in the centre and pour in the mixture of yoghurt and water, a little at a time. Claw your hand and move the mixture in a circular movement so that you do not overmix or knead too much. You may not need to use all the liquid. It depends on the type of flour you are using and also the humidity in the environment around you. The dough should be soft and a little bit sticky.
Use a cooking spray to prepare a loaf tin.
Place the dough in the loaf tin, brush the surface with water and top with sesame seeds. Bake in a hot pre-heated oven for 40-50 minutes.
This loaf is great dipped in olive oil and makes great toast the next day
Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV and you can follow the facebook page
Easy Cheese and Bacon Bread (with no yeast, no eggs, no butter)
Yumm! These small bread rolls seem to have everyone’s favourite ingredients. You will need:
3 slices of bacon or equivalent pancetta, chopped and cooked, keep some back for top of rolls
250g self raising flour less 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons spelt flour
100ml olive oil
75g mature cheddar or grated parmegiano
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley and basil, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
garnish with sesame seeds and when you take out of the oven, brush with olive oil
Measure the self raising flour. Remove 3 tablespoons and add 3 tablespoons of spelt flour. Sift the flour twice into a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients without mixing, just pile them up on top of the flour but if you wish keep back a bit of bacon or pancetta or cold Italian meats to garnish the top of the rolls.
Then use a large metal spoon to gently but firmly fold in the ingredients. Bring together with your hands to form a dough. Do not knead it but form it into individual rolls. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross in the middle of each roll. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon/pancetta and parmesan/cheddar on the surface. Top with a pinch of sesame seeds.
Bake at 180C for 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated oven.
They are great with soups and for lunchboxes or a light snack.
Black olive pesto by Filipo Berio and Fry Light Cooking Spray at Rimus Group
Sesame seeds and spices by Good Earth Distributors
Bacon and other meats by Churchill Master Butchers
So many peaches in the market this week. Peach season is now with us. I met local farmer Joseph and the ambundance of peaches on his land is almost surreal. I love the combination of peaches with grilled chicken. Here is something light and a wonderful marriage of flavors.
You will need :
1 large peach, skin on cut in thin segments
1 scallion (finely chopped)
1 red chili deseeded and finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
4 boneless chicken thighs (cut into chunks)
Arugula according to preference
2 spoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon peanut oil and a few drops sesame oil mixed in three spoons of mayonnaise
Handful of cranberries
Handful of toasted flaked almonds
Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
Arrange the arugula leaves on a plate and place the peach slices around the dish. Put the chunks of chicken into the middle of the plate. I grilled my chicken pieces with just a bit of sea salt, olive oil and freshly ground pepper on baking paper. The boneless thighs are delicious.
Squeeze some lime juice all over. Make the dressing using peanut oil, a few drops of sesame and mayonnaise and three spoons of water. Stir until the mixture combines and has a smooth and even texture.
Sprinkle the ground coriander all over the dish very lightly and then pour the mayonnaise mix sparingly over the chicken. Sprinkle and garnish with toasted flaked almonds and the dried cranberries. Cut a few very fine slivers of fresh red chili and again sprinkle sparingly on the chicken with dressing. Use a lime slice as garnish.
I made these ever so easy flapjacks yesterday using gluten free oats. The flavor of dates and lemon is divine and these are soft flapjacks, the melt-in-your-mouth type. Instead of sugar I used carob syrup made from the recent new harvest in the village but if it is not available where you live use molasses or golden syrup. I tried these with honey some time ago but the mixture did not bind as well and they were too crumbly. It needs the properties of a sugar based syrup for a good finish.
You will need:
2 tablespoons carob syrup (molasses and golden syrup are also fine)
350g gluten free oats
200g dates, chopped
1 lemon, grated rind only
20cm 8 inches square baking tray or equivalent
Preheat oven to 180C.
Cover your baking dish with baking paper
Place the butter and syrup in a saucepan over low heat until it melts. Do not boil.
Add the oats and chopped dates and grated lemon rind.
Stir and mix until it is consistent.
Transfer to the tin and press down until you have a very compact mixture. Put lots of pressure, thats the secret of having good looking flapjacks.
Bake for 25 minutes
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Pull the whole piece out as it is on the baking paper amd place on a large cutting board. With a sharp knife cut the pieces in equal sizes according to your preference.
Cut as much as you need as you can store the rest uncut until you require it. This keeps it fresher and more moist.
They keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
Oats are so rich in protein and high in gum content, a great source of dietary fiber.
Home grown mint and parsley cut just five minutes before blending with a bit of lemon juice and last season’s preserved capers given to me by the Mayor yesterday, to make the most heavenly caper pesto. These are the flavors that I love, and it is indeed one of the best things life has to offer to be able to eat such fresh food.
We are now approacing the middle of a Mediterranean summer. Although many people tell me that it is too hot, this is perfect for me. The sunshine gets me strength both mentally and physically. Hell for me would be a cool place with dim lighting. The sunshine gives me energy as does the vibrancy of the colorful environment, the light on the island is amazing and one of the reasons why I think that photographs are so appealing even those from a regular ipad with no special lenses. We see a rose colored world here without any need of the specs !
Caper season is here and the yield from our garden was less than last year but we can harvest some more after an interval of a week. It is hard to believe that a flower so delicate and beautiful produced a fruit that is quite undistinctive in appeareance while it is still on the tree, but after preservation in brine and salt, the fruit comes to life again, both in flavor and color as it takes on the hue of green olives and the flavor that is an acquired taste to most becomes alive. Not to us islanders though as it is a flavor we have known all our life.
I had a great cooking session with the Mayor this week and with the produce from his village, here is a recipe for caper pesto.
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cups capers
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup chopped fresh mint, leaves picked
1 cup flaked almonds
12 tablespoons really good extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 lemon squeezed
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese,
Roughly chop the garlic, capers, parsley and herbs and put them into a bowl. Add all the other ingredients. Blitz with a hand blender or in the food mixer. Balance the flavours with freshly ground black pepper, a bit of salt and maybe a sweetener of your choice if you find it too tart (sugar, stevia, honey, the tip of a teaspoon is enough)
This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten free.
And on last Monday’s show, the Mayor and I on local food ….