Friday, July 31, 2009

Cold Tomato sauce

Fresh and Cold Tomato Sauce

This was one of my grandmothers favourites – and so easy to make. We would use this cold sauce over meatballs.

6 large tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ a green pepper
1 clove of garlic
Some mint or basil
Some capers
Some olives

Proportions are according to taste.
Put everything into a food processor…READY!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kipferl - Austrian Cookies

Another great recipe given to me by Nikki. These are rather short biscuits, great with coffee or a glass of wine. Very popular around the Christmas season. The central and northern European countries have great recipes for Christmas cookies...hopefully I will find some more!
Just a word of advice...these cookies are not the prettiest to look at...but they taste excellent! You can also dip one side in chocolate to make chocolate kipferl though i personally prefer the original type.

250gms flour
1 egg plus one yolk, beaten
1 pack vanilla sugar
120gms grated, unpeeled roasted almonds
200gms butter or 100gms vegetable oil
grated peel of 1 lemon

Sift flour and sugar.
Add almonds and lemon peel
Add beaten eggs and fats.
Form a dough then roll out strips, cut into about 3" pieces and curve to make 'moon shapes'
Cook at 180C or until brown (about 12 mins) take out of oven a dredge with powdered sugar. Let cool - then dredge with sugar again

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Choux Pastry

Choux pastry/profiteroles/eclairs
I think i have tried about 4 different recipes for this..none I turned to the best cook i know...MAMA!!!
She got out here recipe book and here it is!
To make about a dozen puffs:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter (cut in pieces)
1 cup flour
4 eggs (beaten)
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar and 1/8 tsp salt (for sweet puffs)

Heat oven to 400F
Put water, butter and salt (or sugar and salt) in a pan and over medium heat melt the butter.
Remove from the heat, add the flour and put back on the heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball.
Remove from the heat and add the eggs bit by by bit beating well all the time. The mixture will seem to separate but as you keep on beating it slowly all gets incorporated.
When mixture is smooth the pastry is done!!

I used a piping bag but you can also fill the puffs the old fashioned way using two teaspoons.
Bake for about 20 mins or until golden.
When cool, make a hole in the bottom to let the air out so that the puffs won't get soggy. You can then use the hole to fill them with pate, custard, cream or whatever tickles your fancy!

Laham Fuq il-Fwar - Maltese Steamed Beef

This dish brings back many fond memories...Our family had a 'maid', well, she was part of the family (my sons god mother in fact) called Tereza. She had gone to work with my grandma when she was just 14 years old, and when my grandma died came to work with me

For many years, girls from the rural part of Malta would go to work for urban families - and in many cases, like in ours, become part of the family. Tereza would insist on doing the cooking while I was at university and I actually learnt many traditional Maltese dishes from her.

To make this dish, she would put the meat in a Pyrex plate over a big pot of simmering broth that would then be served as the first course - frugal cooking to save electricity - she would say - when in actually fact it killed 2 birds with one stone (or two dishes with one pot!)

my old kitchen...

8 very thin slices of beef
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
2 tomatoes
1 celery head (just the leaves)
4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place the meat, garlic, bacon,tomatoes, celery and chopped parsley in a large plate.
Drizzle the oil on top and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with foil or another plate and steam over hot water or a saucepan of simmering soup for about an hour.
When the meat is tender, serve with mash or boiled potatoes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Apricot Cake

Most recipes are for the upsidedown type...this isn't! Thanks to my Austrian friend, Nikki, this is ever so easy. I always used fresh apricots but i guess canned could also do...never tried that though. Great with a cuppa tea !

100gms butter
200 gms sugar
3 egg yolks
300 gms self rising flour
3 egg whites (beaten to a froth)
1/8 to 1/4 milk
Pack of vanilla sugar
1 1/2 lb apricots - stoned and halved

Beat the butter, sugar and egg yolks till smooth.
Add the flour, egg whites and milk.
Pour into pan
Top with Apricots.
Cook at 200C for 30-40 mins.
Let Cool
Dust with powdered sugar (optional)


Little Pies using left overs

These 'pies' can be made using any type of left overs for filling. I used bacon mushrooms and onions, you can use left over chicken, just mix in some herbs and seasoning, ricotta and spinach or even pureed fruit or jam!
The cheesy pastry makes a great combination of flavours. I am just giving the recipe for the pastry as the filling is up to you! I rolled the pastry out medium thin, cut in circles and folded over.

I use a food processor for the pastry, just using the pulse button.

2 2/3 cups flour,
3 oz.finely shredded aged gouda or gruyère cheese,
6 1/2 oz.butter, cut into chunks.
10 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into chunks
3 egg yolks

Pulse flour, shredded cheese and butter until coarse crumbs form (mixture will be lumpy).
Add cream cheese and pulse a few times.

Add egg yolks and pulse until dough begins to hold together.
Place dough onto lightly floured board and knead until it forms a ball, about 10 times.
Use immediately, or refrigerate or freeze (wrapped in an air tight bag) and use when needed.

Panna Cotta

This recipe was sent to me by a friend back home in Malta. I believe she got it from a restauranteur friend of hers so if so, kudos to the chef! I tried this yesterday and its is YUMMY!

4 cups heavy cream
2 packets powdered gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbs cold water
Strawberries, sliced, for the top

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 the meantime, put the milk and cream in a pan, add the sugar and, on a low heat, bring to a boil.
As soon as it boils, take of the heat and add the vanilla
Pour the Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, about 2-3 hrs.
Slide the panna cotta out of the cups using the blunt edge of a knife
Add the strawberries, maybe a twist of mint and serve

Monday, July 27, 2009

Spare Rib Marinade

I found my old recipe book and this was one of my favourite marinades for ribs. They need to marinate of 24-48hrs to be really good. Then cook as you normally do - I would either grill, bake or bbq them.

6-8 servings
5-6 lbs ribs
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 cup sugar
10 garlic cloves, crushed
4 green onions, chopped
3 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs fresh ginger, ground
1 tbs honey
2 tbs hot pepper sauce.

Mix all the ingredients except the ribs, then pour over the ribs and marinate - the longer the better!


I recently found out that my old home back in Malta was up for sale. It brought back so many memories of when i would cook for a family. It is so rewarding to see your children and husband enjoying a home cooked meal, and the smell of baked potatoes, or a cake remains in my memory.

Fresh bread was delivered every day - all I had to do was leave a bag tied to the door knob with the required amount of money and the baker would take the money and leave me a loaf of bread.

The entrance to homes in Malta often has two doors. An exterior wooden one and interior one, usually glass.

When the wooden door was closed, it generally meant we are out, asleep, or don't feel like visitors (!!) but when you saw the glass door it meant welcome to our home!

My home was about 600 years old...we had exposed the limestone walls, it had a vaulted ceiling and many 'mohbas" or hiding places - for example, going up the stairs, there were shelves to one side, which actually opened up and led to a hidden room. The basement was also made up of three rooms, connected by a narrow passage way and had its own door to the outside. This was because it was used as a stable for the horse ( or donkey) that was used as transportation.
The Maltese are very houseproud - you find very few 'cookie cutter' homes and even though the newer buildings are similar to each other, the island is full of 'houses of character' that are highly in demand for their unique style. They, however, need constant maintenance as the windows and doors are all made of wood and need to be treated against the fierce summer sun.
The ceilings were about 18feet high - no need for a/c downstairs and the basement was always nice and cool in the summer.
We had made extensive alterations - all keeping in the style of the period, the only exception being installing a/c upstairs and the pool
You may notice that the pool is not fenced in. There are no regulations for fencing in pools in Malta like there are in the USA - and as far as i know, there have never been any child drownings in a pool! why? maybe because children are not left alone, and being island folk we all know how to swim!
If I had known i would not live there for ever i would have taken more pictures as this house was really a dream.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dutch Potato Soup

Thanks goes to Bridgette for sending me this recipe. Its not soup time but i LOVE soup!!
The simplest things in life are almost always the best. This the the idea behind this soup that is one of the simplest but tastiest soups. It is also very versatile as you can adjust the taste with the addition of ingredients like celery,leeks, rosemary, thyme. Different types of cheese will also vary the final result. This is not a fancy soup but rather a base which can be added to to get an individual result.

6 medium potatoea
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups butter
1 /4 cup flour
1 /2 tsp powdered mustard
4 cups of chicken broth
1 /4 cup of fresh cream
1 /2 cup grated cheese
Fresh parsley

Peel the potatoes, wash and dice
Chop the onions
Grate the garlic
In a pot, put in 2 tsp butter and cook the onions and garlic for about 5 mins or until the onions are translucent.
Add the mustard and the flour.
Cook for about a minute, stirring all the time.
Add the potatoes to the onions and pour in the broth.
Cook for about 20 mins.
Once the potatoes are cooked, use a hand mixer (braun or bamix) to mash them.
Add the cream and the grated cheese.
Keep mixing until the cheese has melted.
Season to taste - you can also add a dash of grated nutmeg
Garnish with some parsley and freshly ground pepper.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Onion Tart

What is better than a tart (or tarte) made with sweet French onions (well Maui anions will do too!)
Thanks to Charlotte for this great recipe that i have made over and over again as it is just as good cold!

To make the filling:
2 1/2 lbs of sweet onions (peeled and sliced),
six large cloves of garlic (peeled and sliced),
1 tbs of olive oil, salt, some sugar.

To make the pastry:
1 cup of plain flour,
a level teaspoonful of salt,
1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (cut in small pieces)
eight teaspoonfuls of water.

Preheat your oven to 375F
Heat the olive oil on a pan, add the onions, garlic, water and a teaspoonful each of salt and sugar into a shallow pan with a tight-fitting lid.
Put the lid on and cook the mixture for about 10 minutes. Make sure the onions don't burn but that they gently caramelize.The texture should be soft and creamy.
Take off the lid, turn up the heat and stir the onions frequently for 15 minutes or so, until they are a dark caramel colour and the liquid has all but gone.

To make the pastry:
Place the sieved flour and salt into a bowl , add the butter and shortening. ( i use a food processor here)
Beat the mixture at a slow speed to mix all the ingredients, then increase the speed and continue to beat until the mixture has the texture of breadcrumbs.
Stop beating at that point, drizzle the water over the mixture and beat again on a low speed until the pastry forms a ball
Put the pastry in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Make the Tart
Roll out the pastry to fit a greased 10/11" pan, bringing the edges up the sides.
Prick the bottom then spread the onion mixture evenly over it.
Bake the tart for around 30 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and the onions are a dark golden colour.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chicken Chowder

I guess this would be an American recipe - not sure of its origin but given to me by a friend of a friend who caters. She says its a great success - and i think so too! I love all types of soups and this is great with some crusty bread - a whole meal in fact!

1lb skinless chicken breasts, cubed
6 slices bacon (English style - I get mine at Fresh and Easy)
1/2 chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cups cooked, cubed, potatoes
2 cups cream
2 cups baby corn, chopped
1/2 cup frozen petit pois
1 tsp paprika.
Salt and freshly ground pepper.


Cook bacon until crisp. Drain (but keep the drippings) and crumble. Set aside.
Cook chicken in the same pan, stirring all the time. Remove and set aside.
Add the celery and onion to the pan. Cook until tender. Add spices.
Add potatoes, cream, corn and peas and cook for about 5 mins.
Add the chicken and stir until hot.
Serve in bowls topped with the bacon and some chives.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hobz biz-zejt -Maltese 'bruschetta'

Sent by my uncle Ed in canada (check out his website )
We are a talented family!!!

"Hobz biz-zejt (bread with oil)

Fresh traditional crusty Maltese style bread (e.g. Italian calabrese) is generously sliced.
Dip slices in a large plate of olive oil and then spread with kunserva (concentrated tomato paste).
Add capers, olives, salt and pepper, fresh mint leaves, cut tomato slices and onions, and if you like, anchovies or canned tuna.
Preferably eaten on a Maltese rocky beach after swimming on a sunny day!"

Banana Mask

Sometimes I don't make stuff just to eat...but since I'm a foodie I like to try find ideas for different ways of using edibles....what better than a face mask!! glowing skin..and no extra calories

Organic Banana Face Mask

Your skin will have a healthy glow after applying this tropical mask to your face.

This recipe is designed for all skin types.

1. Mash one half of a banana

2. Mix in a tablespoon of orange juice


a tablespoon of honey

3. Apply to the face and keep the mixture on for fifteen minutes

4. Rinse with lukewarm water and then moisturize

Yummy Breakfast Mask

The Breakfast Mask

Is good enough to eat....not recommended!!
Complete with protein and whole grains, this breakfast-themed mask is used to correct and calm oily skin.

1. Combine an egg yolk, a tablespoon of honey, then a tablespoon of olive oil (yes, olive oil) and half a cup of oatmeal

2. Apply to the face for 15-20 minutes
3. Rinse with lukewarm water and then moisturize
(try not to eat!!)

Mini No Bake Cheesecake

More likely a faux cheesecake but super easy and convenient when you have surprise guests and need a quick dessert.

150g strawberries
8 strawberries for the topping
2 tbsp of caster sugar
250g Italian mascarpone
5 digestive biscuits
25g melted butter
4 tbsp double cream
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Cook the strawberries and sugar to a pulp - on a low heat!
Use a food processor to crush the biscuits, mix with the melted butter and press into the bottom of 4 glasses or ramekins
Mix the mascarpone, double cream, icing sugar, lemon juice and zest together.
Make alternative layers of cheesecake and strawberry mix in each glass, top with a few sliced strawberries and serve.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cod Fillet with zucchini tagliatelle

I got this recipe while on vacation in the south of France I am not sure if the fish used was cod, but i think any white flat fish would do!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4 cod fillets
2-3 zucchini
1 head of fennel
50gms mushrooms
juice of one lemon
clove of garlic
salt and pepper

- - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - -- - -

Wash veggies, Chip mushrooms and fennel.
Cut the courgettes using a potato peeler so you get thin strips
Heat up some butter and oil - just a tad - add the mushrooms and fennel, the cream, the crushed garlic and the lemon juice.
Season, reduce for 15 mins.
Steam the courgette tagliatell with the cod for about 5 mins or until tender.
Serve on a plate with the mushroom sauce and courgette around the fish,


Left over Treats

A very easy but tasty idea. You will need some pre bought mille feuille/pasta sfoglia, or puff pastry rolled out very very thinly. I find this recipe great when you have left over pastry from another project! You can also play about with the ingredients, adding some hot chili peppers, fresh herbs or even fruit!

Left over pastry
1 / 2 cup grated cheddar - the sharp type
1 / 2 cup grated Gouda
(or any other cheeses you may like!)
1 / 3 of a small onion
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Herbs of choice

Grill the onion.
Defrost the mille feuille pastry.
Mix the cheeses, season.
Spread a generous amount of the cheese on top of the pastry and add some chopped onion.
Add the herbs- if fresh even better!
Roll up both sides till they meet in the middle
Using a sharp knife, cut into about1 /2 inch slices
Lay flat on a cookie sheet and bake at 400F for about 20 mins

If you prefer sweet over savoury, I would use sugar, cinnamon and a touch of apricot jam as the filling.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tote - for impulsive buys!

If you are like me, I am always finding something to buy then realizing I don't have a bag to put it in!
Well, while surfing for a gift for a friend, I came across this great idea...

So I just bought this great tote.... Unfold this cute little strawberry to pull out a full size reusable tote bag. Use the draw string to keep the strawberry closed and tie to your belt or purse. The tote bag is ideal for carrying around groceries.

The site actually sells purse hangers but the tote was too good to miss...and at $4.99..wowowow

Almond tart - torta di mandorle

Several years ago, when i lived in Europe, I would make regular visits to Sicily - Catania to be precise - to shop and to eat! This is one of my favourite desserts and i got the recipe off the Locandiera of our pensione who was also the cook.
250 gr. flour
300 gr. sugar
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg
100 gr. butter
250 gr. Almonds chopped
powdered sugar
1/2 pack instant yeast

Mix the flour, and yeast, add the butter in pieces, 50gms of sugar, 2 egg yolks and 2 tbs of iced water. Let rest for 20 mins
Chop the almonds and add 250gms of sugar, 1 egg yolk, 1 whole egg and the vanilla sugar and mix well.
Grease a baking pan , put in the pastry covered by the almond mixture and level out. Cook at 180 for about 35 mins.When cool dust with powdered sugar

Monday, July 20, 2009

Australian Burgers

I found this recipe tucked away in an old suitcase...last time used on a trip to Sydney, Australia. I remember getting it from a mom and pop restaurant and must have forgotten to unpack it!

That was 5 years ago!! But it's resurfaced so I made them yesterday. I lit the BBQ and boy did they taste good! I'm a beetroot fan but if you are not, you can leave the beets out. They just make for an interesting taste!

This recipe will make 4 burgers

500g minced beef
4 slices bacon (chopped very small)
100g cooked beetroot
2 pita breads
50g of rocket (arugula)
4 tbsp sour cream mixed with some chives

Mix the meat and bacon with 1tsp of salt and some freshly ground pepper ( I use my hand..more effective and more fun!)
Divide into four with and shape into burgers.
Slice the beetroot and split the pita breads.
Toast the pitta bread.
Heat a grill pan or barbecue.
Grill the bread on both sides until lightly toasted and set aside.
Add the burgers to the grill or barbecue and cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn and cook the other side for a further 2-3 minutes.
Set half a toasted pita on each plate and put a pile of rocket on each.
Top with a burger, then a few slices of beetroot and a dollop of sour cream.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Saltimbocca is short for salta in bocca—jump-in-mouth—which this dish, Romans say, all but does! Some recipes use white wine but i swear by Marsala..and lots of FRESH sage!

8 veal cutlets (½ pound)
8 slices of prosciutto,
8 leaves of fresh sage
olive oil and butter for sauteing in a pan
1/2 cup Marsala
wooden toothpicks

Flatten the cutlets by pressing them with a wide-blade knife or using a mallet ( I prefer the mallet! A couple of good whacks and the veal is paper thin!).
Place a slice of prosciutto and a sage leaf on each cutlet.
Pin these to the veal with a toothpick. Attach securely as they need to remain all stuck together while cooking
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, add the cutlets, season with salt and pepper, and saute for about one minute on each side.
Remove the meat and keep warm.
Add some butter and the Marsala to the pan and saute at higher heat until the sauce starts reducing. Pour the sauce over the cutlets, and dig in.

Serves 4 -YUM

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Veal With Sage on Foodista

Friday, July 17, 2009

Grilled Swordfish

Swordfish is one of the most popular fish eaten in Malta. Cooked fresh on the barbie or grill they make a great summer meal!

4 swordfish steaks, 3/4" thick
6 scallions, ends trimmed
I tbs honey
1 tbs vinegar
1 tbs fresh ginger, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbs teriyaki sauce
1 lemon, sliced, for garnish.

Mix all ingredients except the swordfish, lemons and scallions. Put in a zip lock bag and add the fish to coat completely. Put in fridge for an hour.

Light BBQ or grill.
Coat grill with oil or cooking spray
Grill fish for about 5 mins each side, basting with marinade.
Brush scallions with marinade and grill for the last 4 mins of cooking.
Serve with lemon slices and a drizzle of marinade

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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.