Monday, December 27, 2010


I apologise for neglecting my blog in times of great need.. I have missed my kitchen this month, as i've been out of the country for a total of 2 weeks... Very annoying when all you want to do is stay home and bake, experiment and create!!!  To top it off, my darling baby (my laptop) was naughty and needed to be sent away for repairs and reformatting, and not until the day that i picked it up did i realise that Adobe CS4 was gonnneeee (original license, but i'd gotten it through my old work so no longer available!) !!!  So I'm in the market for a free or cheap photo editing software package.  Any hints people??

Anyway I have a few recipes that will be posted in the next few days:
Honey roasted sweet potato and cumin/curry soup
Butter shortbread
Scadinavian spicy cookies
Plus the Christmas day post!
And hopefully something to make with leftover turkey post!

I'm also making some Muffins this evening thanks to Nigella and her Christmas book, so i'll post that if they turn out welll (which i'm sure they will!)


Happy Winter Holiday everyone!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Salad with beetroot and walnuts

This salad is a variation on Zoe's amazing goat's cheese and roast fennel salad.. I didn't have fennel, and instead of fresh goat's cheese I used Dodoni feta.

I love the mixture of nuts, beetroot and cheese, so this is just another addition to the "let's use beetroot in as many ways as possible while they're in season" list :D

Once it gets colder, a simple green salad just doesn't quite cut it, and i like my salads to have substance :)  this is a great example of this!  The flavours of Autumn in the mediterranean simply jump out of this salad :)

This salad doesn't have a dressing in the conventional way of thinking of a dressing.  You dress the beets and along with some of the juices that are released from the slightly charred yet juicy onions, you actually don't need a vinaigrette! 

raw walnuts, roasted beets, fresh tender leaves and tangy goat's cheese.  nom!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Minestrina - or "leftover cauliflower soup"

This soup came out of the necessity of not being able to waste one little edible thing.
This is made out of leftover stock from cooking cauliflower (or in my case, romanesco broccoli) and can also be made using a mixture, or even just broccoli.

The method is to not throw away any water you might have used to boil or steam the veggies, but keep them in the pot and simply remove the veggies using a slotted spoon.  Any leftover cauliflower can be thrown back in to the stock later :)

This soup is incredibly delicious, and definitely one of our family favourites.  Its simplicity makes it ideal for a quick "after work" dinner the day after you've made your average "meat and veggies" meal.  This dish was also often used by the family to be the "starter" soup, preceding a simple meals of steamed/boiled veggies and possibly a small piece of meat, or maybe even just some tuna (out of a tin) or a hard boiled egg.

Minestrina is something my nanna made (although she used cauliflower only, never anything else), and I presume her mum made before her. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Romanesco Broccoli: the best looking vegetable of them all

I love this vegetable.  This is the first time i've found it in Malta, and definitely not something you see in the shops everyday, although i honestly have no idea why because to me,  the flavour is of a superior cauliflower, and its looks... OMG!  :D

The delicious, fractally goodness that is this vegetable made me almost upset when chopping it up.  The whole of it is one beautiful fractal  starting from the tiny little budlets, that form into larger buds, that form into the vegetable itself.  The way the little florets are placed on the stalk are in a fractal pattern also.  Just found out this pattern is called a Logarithmic Spiral.

The colouring of it is great.  The photo doesn't do it justice - the green is much more intense - lighter and more buttery in colour than a broccoli though. 

Couldn't stop staring at it.  simply beautiful!

"Cheat" cheesy quiches

I call them cheaty cos i'm using ready rolled puff pastry.. but essentially quiche are very easy to make :D And soo so tasty.  You can make a variety of fillings, but the favourite one of the tea party was spinach and feta:

the tea party - post 3 - Scones

An essential at any tea party - the humble scone!  I love them so much, their buttery goodness, such a perfect vessel for piles of delicious jams and preserves, and clotted cream!

I have a very strong memory of mum whipping these up in literally 30 minutes, from the time she takes the flour of the cupboard, to the presentation of a basket full of warm steaming scones.  When she had loads of guests, she'd put me on "rubbing butter into flour" duty.. probably to shut me up while she does other party organising..

These are so simple to make, but the important thing is to have everything at hand, and as cold as possible, especially the butter and milk.

This recipe is taken from the 1981 edition of the Hamlyn all colour cookbook, which was all in imperial measurements, so i've converted them to metric.  Most of the recipes are horribly angliscised, i honestly am scandalised by the majority of savoury dishes in this book, but all the sweets I've tried are great, and the scone and rockcake recipes are really great :)

with some delicious fortnum and mason blueberry conserve and whipped cream.  my favit!

baked potato gnocchi with mixed mushrooms

Jamie and I went to Amsterdam a few weeks ago, and rented a little apartment to stay in.  Great idea, as we could use ingredients we don't find so often in cooking :D

Headed off to the stoopermarket and found a variety of mushrooms, so thought we'd make something with them.  I really felt like potato something, and gnocchi sprung to mind <3

And so was the birth of the baked gnocchi mushroom dish :)
The finished product. melty, golden mushroomy potato goodness.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lala's lasagne

This recipe is pretty much my mum's recipe.. although we always manage to make it taste completely different.  To be honest mine tastes different every time. but i must say, I do like my own (and my family's) lasagne.  There are a few other people's lasagne dishes I've enjoyed, I can literally count them on 1 hand (my Uncle Kiki's, and my Aunt Isabel's, and my best friend's mum Pat).  I'm sure there are plenty of delicious lasagnas out there but i haven't had the pleasure, and frankly, I don't even really want to try cos there's not much I abhor tasting more than a bad lasagne. 

anyway here goes:

the tea party - post 2 - Gill's Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

This cake recipe was given to my mum from Gill, an australian friend and ex colleague of hers.  When we were leaving australia in 1995, Gill made an incredible little book, full of delicious hand-me-down recipes, things she'd discovered, and little tidbits of australian memorabilia, including photos, and pressed eucalypt leaves.  It is a lovely book, full of love and written with true friendship in mind:)

Gills carrot cake recipe is delicious :D

As you can see, i don't always follow the "loaf" tin suggestion.  i've used round, i've made a giant double one, i've even made em as a sort of cupcake/muffin style and it's always pretty much worked out.  this is an almost failsafe cake recipe! :D

the tea party - post 1 - The lemon cupcake

My birthday is coming up, and to celebrate had a tea party at Sarah's house yesterday!

I was sick on Friday, so spent the day indoors, and the evening baking away :)

The menu (at least the part that i made) was:

Lemon cupcakes
Carrot cake
Mini Quiches

Sandwiches were lovingly made by becky, mc and alison :)  and deliciousness they were too!! :)

Ok so when looking for a lemon cupcake recipe, my demands were simple.  They must be LEMONY.  by lemony i mean lots of fresh lemon flavour bursting out of each cupcake.  2nd demand was nothing too complicated.  Apart from that, thanks to my mother's trusty Kenwood it was all good :)  Oh and they had to look like they would be soft and delicate :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni

Canneloni is a baked pasta dish that i love doing, now that i've found how easy it is piping the filling into the pasta tubes, rather than trying to spoon it in :P  Love my practical mate and old housemate Becky, who walked past the kitchen once when I was making them and just said "why don't you use a bag to pipe it in?".... :D

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I've just realised that i've failed to post so many recipes recently! None at all in October!  terrible! Been hugely busy at my day job, but have some tasty "getting colder" weather dishes to post.

Just finished making spinach and ricotta canneloni, made lasagna a couple of weeks ago, and an awesome baked gnocchi dish with mixed mushies! :D

Also have been away, went to greece and amsterdam this month... so not much time for cooking :S

Pumpkins, beetroots, spinach and the entire brassica family will also be featuring in dishes this month :D 

Recipes to follow from tomorrow :D

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mushroom risotto

I've totally got the risotto bug again... happens as soon as I make one, then i make one at least once a week, then summer rolls around, and i stop making it again...until the weather cools down slightly, then it's back to risotto time :D 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oven Poached Dentici

Dentici is a fish I think my mum would like.  For some reason she's not into the fishier side of fish anymore... i guess tastes change..  So no lampuki for now (unless they're in pikkanti sauce or aljotta, and we dont' actually cook it when she's home hehehe).  I'm totally going back to my bugibba flat in a coming weekend if that means i get to eat lampuki hehehe :)

seasoned and ready to wrap and poach/bake

Aljotta (Maltese fish soup) made with lampuki aka mahimahi

This is a broth based soup, and has 2 distinct parts to making it.  The first is the stock, which is a very simple fish stock.  The second is where this actually gets its name from, which is the soup base consisting of lots of garlic (aglio!) onions, tomatoes and very importantly, marjoram.

Don't be fooled, all that delicious rice and bits of fish are in the bottom.  this is a delicious soup!! :)

Lampuki with Salsa Pikkanti

The title translates to "Dolphinfish with a piquant sauce" - this is one of my favourite Lampuki/mahi mahi dishes :)

It's a dish traditionally served cold, as far as i know.  I've always eaten it cold anyway, it's a great way to use up leftover lampuki (or as mum/nanna used to do, deliberately buy extra so we could have this the next day).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roast Butternut pumpkin/squash risotto

This is one of my favourite dishes to make, especially when the weather starts getting shitty...And most people seem to love it also :)  bonus!
Photo by jamie aka

Sunday, September 19, 2010


They are in season, my beloved fresh caught fishies :D

Also known as mahi mahi (hawaii), dorado (in spanish), dolphin fish (as they jump out of the water like dolphins), and well loved all over the planet for great recreational fishin and eating....

I love these fishies, and hopefully will be having a few recipes featuring them in the next month or so.  They are high in the omega fats (as are all oily fish), great seasonal eating, and have very sustainable stocks, unlike much of the fish on the market nowadays.  Also.. CHEAP!  They are amongst the fasted growing fish in the sea, sometimes growing 7 cm in a week! :O  they are also short lived, and are reproducing constantly.  This really helps them in the "sustainable fishing" argument, as a fish that doesn't take long to reach edible size, reproducing in great numbers, and don't live past 2 or so years anyway.... :D  yay!  OH and the fishing methods around malta haven't really changed since roman times (palm fronds to attract the fish to the shade, and nets to catch them)..  win :D

Tonight we're having some of the leftover fish (from last night's bbq) with "zalza pikkanti", which is essentially a thick tomato sauce loaded with marjoram, mint, olives and capers, and of course... garlic.  this is served at room temperature, not warm, and is great to cut through the oiliness of the fish.  I would recommend it to anyone who doens't like the oiliness of lampuki :)

Mmmm :D

Plans of what to make with them:

Lampuki pie.  my favourite!! :D

Plain floured and fried, served with lemon.. aweosme.

aljotta (to follow!)

With Zalza Pikkanti (recipe and pics to follow also!)

and... i think i'll try something completely different, maybe look up how they eat it in hawaii/caribbean and try it like that.  i reckon it would be nice with some kind of tart fruit, or a recipe with coriander... possibly even a dry curry based thing.. we'll see....  :)

Pretty fishie also - when we see them in the market, most of the yellow golden hue has left, as this only happens when they are alive.

pic courtesy of

Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, herbs and ricotta

This is one of those simple sauces that i love! When we started making it, it was going to be an "olio aglio" but found a small amount of ricotta in the fridge so in it went, along with some of the basil we have growing in the courtyard :)

So simple, so good! :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

PENKEJKZ...or Pancakes hehe

Went to Gozo for the weekend with a bunch of ladies, and we decided on pancakes for brekky on the Saturday morning :D

One of my good mates Michael has my favourite pancake recipe, so i asked him for it.  in 2 minutes he just rattled it off and voila!  in my hand it was! :D  hoolay!  These are american style pancakes, so the mixture is thicker than crepes, and also it's best to cook them on the lower heat so that they don't burn on the outside before they cook in the middle.  nice and fluffeh!
Not my photo - courtesy of

Pasta with Eggplant and tomato sauce

As far as saucy pasta sauces go, this has got to be one of my absolute favourites :)  It's quite similar to Pasta a la Norma, but this version has no Chilli and we use whatever cheese we have available, not specifically Ricotta Salata.  Eggplant is known as Aubergines in many places, which is the French word for them.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ghagin Tork jew Griek ("turkish" or "greek" pasta, but it's actually Maltese!)

I have no clue as to whether this pasta sauce originates from Turkey, Greece, or anywhere else but Malta, but all I know is that it's absolutely divine, and So ridiculously easy.  You will need at 1.5-2 hours of simmering, so this is not something you make when you're starving after work :)

i love the simple look of this sauce, and the meat is literally melt in your mouth!

Contorni - Side dishes (maltese style!)

Contorni is the Italian word for side dishes, i.e. the veggies and salads that accompany the main meat dish.

Here are a couple of quite traditional Maltese "contorni" - Boiled potatoes and "Qarabali fgati", or literal translation: "smothered Zucchini".

Pork Fillet - slow cooked

This is one of my favourite dishes to make and also eat.  It fills the house with the delicious smell of meat cooking in wine and garlic (similar to Maltese rabbit or Coq au vin), it's really easy, and is soooo so tasty!  I like to serve this in winter with pleny of mashed potatoes, with the winey garlicky gravy poured over it.

In summer, I just boil potatoes in salted water, and dress with some olive oil :)

The most important thing to start off with here is a good quality Pork Fillet.  Make friends with your local butcher, even if it's the local supermarket butcher (for example, in Malta, Prime butchers are fantastic for pork products!).

remove the fatty sinewy bits for extra tenderness.

10 minute pasta - Artichoke hearts

I'm a huge fan of making Pasta sauces that take just about as long as it does for the water to boil and pasta to cook.  Pasta dishes like this are definitely my "2 minute noodle" or "cheese toastie dinner" type meals.. I don't really like to eat take-away, and am not a huge fan of ready meals (unless they were ones that I prepared, at least partially).

You can serve with grated parmesan or (as in this case) shaved bottarga!
This sauce falls under this category.

Figs figs figs!!!

Why August is one of my favourite months despite it's hot humid sticky weather.


Below you can see an example of "farkizzan" and "tin", the 2 types of figs that ripen in August.  Farkizzan starts earlier, and Tin is the one that happens towards the end of August, but as you can see, the seasons overlap.  "tin" are the small green ones, and "farkizzan" are small purple ones.  I'm not 100% sure about this, but the small green ones are the ones that the Turkish use to make dried figs.. but I could be completely wrong about that! 

The season doesn't last long at all, it's really a case of "blink and you'll miss it".... luckily for me, we live in an agricultural haven, and my dad's taken the time to get to know the best produce that each vendor sells, so we get our figs from a lady called "Lippa" (which, if you know Zebbug Malta, is very common, as Lippa is the abbreviation of Phillippa, whch is the patron saint of Zebbug Malta).  She sells very few things, occasionally figs, sometimes capers, free range eggs (woo!), bayleaves... basically, always very seasonal produce, so you never really know what wares she'll be displaying until you get to the market.  I love this!

Anyway, the season is pretty much over, and the unfortunate thing about figs is that they really don't keep well, so I hope that you enjoyed them while they lasted!

I've been eating them plain, the way i love them most, but if you wrap a little piece of prosciutto around them and eat them raw, and possibly even stuff them with some mascarpone and THEN wrap the prosciutto around and bake them for a short while, they would be divine.

Adieu Figs, until next year!! :)

"Tin" on the left, "Farkizzan" on the right.
The next seasonal thing i'll be looking forward to is delicious dark English spinach... mmm just a couple more months! :)  Then Autumn will be upon us, the time of pumpkins, and delicious root veggies, nuts, oranges and spices :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fresh tomato sauce take 2

A slight adaptation from the 10 minute tomato pasta sauce is to take a little more time (lol, d'oh) and allow the sauce to simmer longer, resulting in a rich tasting (yet liquidier!) sauce.

First of all, when I have more time, I make an effort to peel the tomatoes. It takes only a few minutes, and it is really worth the slight effort of boiling a kettle and using 2 bowls :)

This sauce has much less Kunserva in it, and it ends up being a much paler (but still so flavoursome) sauce.

First, to peel the tomatoes. Ok it's important to use the "Roma" or "egg" or "zenguli" tomatoes for this recipe - other tomatoes are simply not good enough. The riper, the redder, the more "bits" you have to cut out cos they are not perfect, the better. These tomatoes are very fleshy, with relatively less pulp and seeds to other tomatoes. Makes them ideal for a tasty tomato sauce!

Choose your tomatoes and make a thinly slit cross with a sharp knife at the opposite end to the stalk end. This will help with peeling once you have loosened the skin.

Place them in a large pyrex or metal bowl. Boil a kettle and pour the water directly over the tomatoes and leave for a couple of minutes.

the blanching tomatoes

Salad - Mustard/lemon/olive oil dressing

Apologies for not focussing on salad... i completely forgot to take a pic of it before it was served.. but essentially you won't be able to see the vinaigrette anyway :)

I adore simple salads. ON the other hand, I deplore ready made dressings. I have this thing for artificial flavours, I'd always much, MUCH rather have something made from scratch with ingredients that I recognise. All these thickeners and emulsifiers can't be good for us, and it just doesn't make sense when it's so blindingly easy to make a fresh one from scratch.

Grilled Pepper Chicken

This was adapted from a recipe for Pollo al Diavolo by Rick Stein - which means "Devilled Chicken"...

The recipe is originally from Puglia, a region in Italy famous for its olive oil, pretty much everything from there is soaked in the stuff. The original recipe called for 175mls of oil, but i highly reduced that amount (although i put a decent amount in anyway) and added extra lemon juice. I also didn't have dried crushed chilli flakes, so used powder (will def use heaps of chilli flakes next time though!), and I used boneless thighs rather than a whole spatchcocked chook.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Aubergines, sicilian style

Mmmm... am love love LOVING aubergines/eggplants/brungiel at the moment. They are lovely, and I've discovered (thanks to mum) a way that one can cook them without them absorbing huge amounts of oil.

Very easy, once you slice them, place them in water with heaps of salt,and soak them for at least minutes, or even a couple of hours. You might need some kind of weight to keep them from floating... i put empty glass bottles on top to weigh them down into the water.

Really felt like a "parmiggiana", i.e. layers of eggplant, mozzarella and tomato sauce baked to golden, bubbly, melty, tomato-ey, gooey, perfection. But at the same time, I felt like something a little different.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

baby balls of meat

Today and yesterday I took on the task of sorting through everything we had in the fridge and freezer, throwing out expired stuff, and arranging the rest so that it's easily accessible and ready to be used in time for it to still be good.

Sorting out the freezer was interesting, have found lovely packets of fresh artichoke hearts that my dad lovingly prepared when it was artichoke season, some delicious looking pumpkin ravioli, amongst so much other stuff like desserts, meat, veggies and a heap of ready chopped garlic and ginger :D very handy to know :D

I took out 500 grams of pork mince, as i had an idea brewing when I'd cleaned the fridge yesterday and found some pork stock (leftover from a roast this weekend - recipe to follow!) and leftover 10 minute pasta sauce (well, my dad's version of). Plenty of the other ingredients are also leftover, or bits that were found in the freezer that i thought would be nice to add.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wild, Natural foods

I was really inspired for a moment yesterday when on my way to the beach, when i saw just how much wild fennel is growing.

Baia Beach

I know I don't normally review restaurants etc, however I felt that I must mention a lunch we had the other day :)

We discovered this little beach club at Armier Bay, in the north of Malta. As far as I know it only recently opened, it's called Baia Beach Club. Fantastic little place, what attracted us was the pretty white and blue decor, the fact that it's not crowded (a true rarity on a Saturday at a Maltese beach in summer!) and that it had that little touch of class that girls' days at the beach truly deserve :)

Sarah and I got there around lunchtime, so we decided to have a proper lunch at the restaurant before going down to settle on our luxury sun-beds!

And what a lunch it was! I am a huge fan of simplicity mixed with excellence, and both the dishes we ordered were a perfect example of this! The kitchen is run by a Tuscan chef who's also opened his own Michelin star restaurant (more info on their website)

I ordered Linguini with Vongole (clams) and zucchini, and Sarah ordered a Calamari salad with roast potatoes.

Papardelle with Mixed Forest Mushrooms

Wow... Sister's wedding is over, and life has started to resemble normality once again. Yesterday decided to have some of the ladies over, to relieve them from cooking duties on a Monday after work. I know I'd love it if people did that to me on Mondays :)

After agonising at what to feed them, I decided that our freezer (yet again!) is really full, so wanted to use something out of there. I found 2 packets of mushrooms - one was only porcini, the other was mixed forest mushrooms. We also have some truffle oil that we never get to use so I thought this would go smashingly with it! Opened the cupboard, and Voila! Papardelle Al Ouvo! (egg pasta!) even better! And so a dish was made:

Friday, July 23, 2010

A bolognese/ragu based sauce for spaghetti (and baked rice the next day!)

Just like many people, bolognese sauce reminds me of being a kid, it's still the ultimate comfort food dinner for me. It instantly sends me back to being little, with my sister and 3 or 4 cousins, and mum and/or one of my aunts serving up steaming spaghetti loaded with sauce and cheese. Learning how to eat spaghetti with just a fork was like graduating, I remember the pride I felt when mum stopped cutting up the spaghetti because I'd learnt to twirl it deftly around my fork without dropping the pasta everywhere :)

Bolognese is also what started my cooking adventures apparently. At the age of 3, I was at my Aunt's house, and she was making bolognese. I looked at her in shock at one point, and started telling her that "my mummy makes it like this" and went on to explain what she was doing "wrong" and how she should make it. Needless to say she was very amused, and reminds me of this often hehehe...

The recipe I'm about to give is by no means a traditional bolognese. Apparently the original bolognese doesn't even have tomatoes or garlic in it, and uses heaps of milk and even funghi porcini! So I suppose a "ragu" or "meat based pasta sauce" is the better term.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes! :D

Made these for a tea party on saturday :D

I'd never made cupcakes successfully before, there would always be something that would spoil them... but this time i was determined to make deliciousness! :D My sister's been going on and on (and on and on ad nauseum) about the Hummingbird Bakery in London so I thought i'd try their recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes, which is something I've wanted to make ever since seeing it on True blood (don't ask me which season or episode, but it was a while ago).

The lurid red colour of the cake, which is essentially a lightly chocolate flavoured vanilla cake appeals to me, makes it a little more "WOO" than a regular cupcake. I don't really have the patience for finicky decorations, so a cake that's a decoration in itself is ideal! ^_^

Fettucini with Bottarga, artichoke hearts and grouper

I went to Rome at the start of June this year, and apart from friends and sightseeing, of course food was a huge part of it! :)

Went out one night to Via del Portico d'Ottavia, to a Kosher restaurant in the old Jewish Ghetto. Their speciality is fried things, and our starters were amazing!

Had zucchini flowers filled with fish, in batter, as well as other random and delicious fried veggies... nom!

My main course was fish (grouper) and zucchini flower pasta, however someone else had egg pasta with artichoke hearts and bottarga.. and it sounded amazing! Inspired by this, I thought i'd make egg pasta with grouper, bottarga and artichoke hearts (The artichoke hearts were lovingly collected by my parents when they were in season, then frozen in batches to make awesome pasta and risotto - respek!)

Found some nice fresh grouper steaks - 2 were plenty for a pasta dish for 4 - they are a little pricey and really you can use any nice white fish, but Grouper (or Cerna in Maltese) is awesome. so milky and delicious! :D

must say, it did look better before i stirred it in.  but the taste was sublime!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Ok - For all the non-Malteasers out there - Fenkata can be translated to a meal (with a large group of people) where Rabbit is consumed in large quantities, mostly out. Only in Maltese could one have a word for something like that :)

From what I know, the origins of the Fenkata was that the Maltese were not allowed to eat rabbits when the knights ruled the island, whilst the knights used to hunt them and eat them at will. They were allowed to during "Imnajra" (more info on that awesomely bizarre feast here) though, and they used to make the most of it. I like to think that it was our Maltese "what? you say we can't have it? well screw you! we're not only going to have it but it will be a Maltese tradition from now on" attitude that gave birth to such a tradition :D

There were a few steps I took before the fenkata;
- Ordered 2 rabbits from a good farmer, we have one living 3 doors away so that was easy enough :) we ordered them the week before, she killed them in the morning and brought them to us skinned (but whole) that afternoon. Dad was kind enough to chop them up into bits for me :)
- Ask someone you KNOW makes awesome rabbit for their version of the fenkata. I asked my nanna :)
- Invite 4-5 people per rabbit you order - Fenkata is meant to be loud, filling and fun.

All the above steps are very important! :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Where oh where can good coffee be?

Been thinking heaps about Melbourne today, and mostly because about 90% of the coffees i've bought in Malta are so damned shit! Milk boiling hot, coffee not strong enough, they have no idea how to steam it without obliterating it, they just add cold milk to hot and re-heat it, again and again, etc... etc..

Anyway I had a few places in Melbourne that I loved going to, but I think my favourite was Ray's Cafe on Victoria St in Brunswick. It's pretty much always full, serves delicious breakfast/brunch style food with a middle eastern/mediterranean twist, their poached eggs are always runny in the middle.. and their coffee is awesome :)

If you're ever on Sydney rd, there are plenty of places to have a great coffee, but Ray's is awesome.  Located off Sydney road :) 

Here is a pic of the last coffee I had from there, in mid May. Went out with Anji (my mate and ex-assistant/bitch) for a leisurely brunch. it was awesome, almost as awesome as she is :)

Anyway there are a couple of places that have decent coffee in Malta - I can think of a handful only: Actually before i start i should say that you can pretty much consistently get a decent espresso here. Don't bother asking for a double cos half the places give you a lungo (GHEY!) But yeah... decent caffe lattes are very hard to come by. Decent coffee (generally) at  "Mint" near the Gelateria in Sliema - run by a Kiwi and his Maltese partner. Cafe Ole (near muddy waters in St Julians) used to make a great one, I wonder if it's still that good. Had a decent one at Coffee garden on republic st in valletta. aaaaaaand there's the end of the list for me.

If anyone knows of places that make a GOOD coffee in Malta, please please do tell!

It needs to be the perfect temperature, very warm, but not hot, creamy on top, not foamy, strong, and nicely presented :) Ideally not served in those ridiculous glass things with handles, but either in an old fashioned tumbler (at least for a caffe latte), or in a proper cup (as above).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

10 minute fresh tomato pasta sauce

Got home from the beach the other day and was starving, so whipped up this sauce. It was just me so i guess this is enough sauce for one (if you like heaps of sauce and not as much pasta as I did) however you could just adjust the quantities easily. You can go to the trouble of blanching and peeling the tomatoes, and deseeding them, but like I said i was bloody hungry and on a mission to prepare the sauce and have it done by the time the water boiled and pasta was cooked.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

some ramblings... diet etc..

I've been trying to not only eat healthy, seasonal food at the moment, but am also on a mission to lose weight. In the past 3 weeks I've lose 2 kilos, even though the past 3 weeks includes (more than just) a few nights on the town (i.e. pissed + munchies), a wedding, and a week in Rome!

Mum got this “diet” from a dietician, which is based on eating rather than starving oneself. I like this! I can have carbs (i honestly feel so weak if i don't eat 'em!) and I'm not opposed to losing weight slowly but healthily. Basically this diet limits your protein, starchy foods, dairy, fat and fruit, whilst you can supplement all of the above with as many veggies (and “non sweet fruit” like pumpkin, tomatoes, zucchini, aubergine etc) as your heart desires. Summer in Malta is fantastic for this diet! :D

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roast Beetroot, pumpkin and feta/haloumi cheese salad

This is one of my favourite salads ever. Tasted a very similar one at a friend's house, and completely fell in love. Went to the market the very next day to try and recreate it, and it's my “staple” salad to bring to friend's houses and family do's, as everyone seems to love it as much as I do. It's ideal when beetroot is in season, however if you use tinned baby beets or wedges (not slices) it still works well.

Remember to roast the pumpkin and (if you're using fresh) beetroot at least a couple of hours before, as well as cooking the onions. They need to be completely cool before assembling the salad.

I need to make a point and say that if a salad doesn't include iceberg lettuce, it's already a winner for me. I'm REALLY not a big fan of iceberg in anything except as the Thais/Vietnamese have it (they use it as a handheld "cup" for spring rolls etc to catch sauce.. an edible serviette if you like). I'm a HUGE fan of other leaves though, any leaves at all, baby (and regular!) rocket, lamb's lettuce (mache/valeriana), baby spinach, oak lettuce, watercress... This salad works well with the peppery tastiness of rocket and lamb's lettuce, however please feel free to use any tender dark green leaves whatsoever.

Spaghetti Vongole e Langoustini

On the way home from the beach the other day, we stopped at the fish shop. They had clams (Vongole) and I thought I'd love to try cooking them. I'd never cooked with them before, but spaghetti vongole is one of my favourite dishes, and i figured “how hard can it be”? The answer is “bloody easyl” by the way :D they also had langoustine (like baby lobsters), so we bought 2 per person, however as tasty as they were, I don't think they were needed. Next time I will either make a “frutto di mare” or just use some clams alone.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pasta with Zucchini, Porcini and Shrimps

Pasta with Zucchini, Porcini mushrooms and shrimps.

This idea came to me when my dad and I were deciding what to have for dinner. Had Zucchini, plenty of them to use, and wanted to empty out the freezer also, and had Prawns. I'd also spied a jar of porcini mushrooms in the cupboard teeheehee... and so it was born!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I feel the need to mention that in no way do I think that my versions of recipes are the "only" way to make them. Feel free to adapt them to your own tastes, this is definitely something I do to pretty much everything I make.

Salt pans at Delimara, in the south of Malta - gathering salt-water by the hightech way of "waves crashing over the rocks" and drying it by the supertech way of "sun drying". Been done the same way for millennia, and hopefully will never stop.
If you go into your average Maltese woman's house, she will have her recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, and it is "their" and also "Maltese" tradition, no matter how they might differ. I have tasted so many absolutely delicious but completely different versions of the "same" thing. I cannot discount any as not being the true traditional ones, however I am very adamant that some things should be a certain way (at least basic ingredients, and some specific methods) if they are to be called traditional.

Baba Ganoush

Mmmm love love eggplant, and love love tahini, so naturally was really happy to find Rick Stein's book contained a recipe for this, one of my favourite dips.

My adaptation involved a little more garlic, lemon and olive oil than the original recipe (anyone who knows me takes this for granted :P).
add some good extra virgin olive oil to garnish

When making it, it's important not to burn the eggplant as it will taste like smoke nor leave it too raw as it will be bland.


My first attempt at Tzatziki and Baba Ganoush (post to follow) were inspired when I decided I'm bored with Philadelphia as a dip base, especially in summer. Apart from being really high in fat, it really doesn't go with the typical Mediterranean diet. Don't get me wrong, I love my sweet chilli and blue cheese dips, but I find them more of a wintery thing....

Found these recipes in Rick Stein's "Meditteranean Escapes" book. I absolutely love him, his shows are an inspiration and he's truly a chef after my own heart, one who is less about being a pompous arse, and more about being a true lover of food. I slightly adapted them (i omitted spring onions from the Tzatziki for example).

Tzatziki - traditionally from Corfu

nom nom!  i love how fresh this looks and tastes.

This is great to serve alongside some freshly bbq'd chicken or lamb and pita :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hobz Biz-Zejt u Tadam

I am somewhat surprised when I realise how few Maltese people know how to make proper, traditional Maltese Hobz biz-Zejt u Tadam (translated literally to bread with oil and tomatoes). Sure, Kunserva is great, but it is NOT an ingredient in Hobz Biz Zejt when tomatoes are in season! That's "Hobz Bil Kunserva" and was traditionally only made in winter when fresh tomatoes were not available. Nowadays, Kunserva has crept into an "all year round" staple, and I have no issues with it.  In fact, Kunserva is one of the few things i'd pack into my suitcase when heading back to Australia.  It's delicious, sweet and packs a real tomato punch! fantastic!  However Hobz biz-zejt is made with fresh tomatoes and is simply to die for! I've decided to take pics of what I had for lunch today to show you how it used to be done. Maltese friends, please try this at least once. The tomatoes are ripe and beautiful at this time of year, and for the next few months!

I found out recently that it's ideally made with a day old  hobza, but I usually make it with fresh bread anyway. 

Kapunata Maltija (Maltese Kapunata)

Kapunata is pretty obviously the Maltese version of the Sicilian “Caponata”, which is in turn similar to the French Ratatouille and probably some Spanish dish also! Traditional Kapunata dictates that all the vegetables are shallow fried separately in olive oil before they are combined and simmered with tomatoes, however my Dad makes a delicious low fat version of it, and gave me the general directions on how to make it (in the typical Maltese way – throw “some” of that and “a bit” of that, and “heaps” of the other :P) Of course I adapted it to my own liking, here it is!