Quick frozen Desserts to beat this heat

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Quick ice cream in filo cases, photo by Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show.

During these very hot summer days, there is nothing more welcoming than a frozen dessert.

Preparing desserts should be fun, but so many people seem to get overwhelmed about making ice creams.  There are many short cuts without going through a lot of work or indeed without having to use an ice cream maker.  And when you make something at home, you can add all your favourite flavors and leave out everything you do not like or cannot eat.

These recipes are recent ones I made on TV.  The photos are unstaged and taken during the live tv show, the reason that some of the ice creams appear close to melting stage due to the summer heat and strong studio lights.  I hope you will enjoy making these quick frozen desserts and get even more pleasure from eating them.

[Photograpy Stefan Stafrace, Ian Noel Pace, CJ Baldacchino, Charles Vassallo, JLI]

Old Fashioned Date Ice Cream

dateicecream low res no logo cj

Date Ice Cream with no refined sugar

You will need:

410ml evaporated milk [not condensed]
250g dates
1 tablespoons powdered gelatin
a few drops of vanilla extract or a vanilla pod
100ml water

Chop up the dates into small pieces and put them in a large bowl.  Pour over the evaporated milk and add the vanilla.  Cover with cling film and place the bowl in the fridge overnight so that the dates have time to soak and soften.  [Alternatively you can heat the mixture up in a saucepan until the dates soften and allow to cool down before carrying on with the rest of the recipe]

Remove the date and milk mixutre from the fridge.  Place the powdered gelatin in a saucepan with the water on low heat and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved.

Pour the gelatin mixture with the dates and milk and stir.  Cover the container and place in the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours.  Remove from the freezer and use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the mixture until it doubles in volume.  Pour into a container and freeze again for a few hours or overnight before serving.

This recipe is gluten free.

Kulfi Style Ice Cream

quick ice cream credit jli photograph

Kulfi, quick easy and a touch of the exotic, photography JLI during a live tv show

Kulfi is traditionally made by simmering milk for many hours and reducing it until it becomes creamy with a hint of a taste of caramel.  It is a time-consuming process and this is a great shortcut. To make a kulfi-style dessert use a good quality ready-made ice cream.

You will need:
250g pistachio ice cream
100g raw pistachios chopped
30ml almond milk
1 cardamom pod
1 tbsp rose water
1 fresh mango
Honey to serve

Place the pistachios on a baking sheet and roast them for 5 minutes. Toss and roast them for a further 2 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.

Heat the almond milk in a small saucepan. Open up the cardamom pod and crush the seeds. Add to the milk and bring to boil. Turn off the heat. Add the rose water. Allow to cool completely.

Chop the pistachios. Use small tumblers to make the kulfi.  Line the tumblers completely with large pieces of cling film so that it hangs over the side of the glass. Remove the pistachio ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften up a little without allowing it to melt. Put the ice cream into a large bowl. Add the cooled down milk mixture, three quarters of the chopped pistachios and mix using a large metal spoon. Immediately, fill the prepared tumblers with the ice cream mix, press it down with a spatula and place in the freezer for a few hours or preferably overnight.

To serve put the ice cream in the containers in the fridge for 15 minutes, then pull the cling film to remove the ice cream from the tumblers. Arrange on a plate, garnish with honey, more pistachios and cut up fresh mango wedges.

This recipe is gluten-free.  For lactose-free and vegan options use a dairy-free ice cream.

Quick Pineapple Turmeric Ice Cream

Not only is it delicious, this iced dessert is healthy and quick to prepare.  I have given it a boost of goodness by adding a small quantity of fresh turmeric.  And to finish off some Maltese grapes, in season now.

pineapplebananaicecream low res

Pineapple Banana Ice Cream with Turmeric

You will need:

3 large bananas
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 fresh pineapple
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric root
1 teaspoon agave [optional]

Peel and chop the pineapple.  Peel and chop the bananas and coat them with the lemon juice.

Place in the freezer for a few hours until they are completely frozen.  Then put all the ingredients together with the turmeric and agave [optional] in a high-speed blender and process until the mixture is creamy.

You can serve immediately [soft serve] and I usually use a piping bag to serve in individual glasses or refreeze in a large bowl as I did on tv and once it is frozen use an ice cream scoop to serve.

This recipe is vegan, lactose free and gluten free

Ice Cream in Baked Filo Crust

Photo: Stefan Stafrace

You will need:
4 large sheets of filo pastry
3 tbsp olive oil
200g ice cream
60g fresh strawberries
40g mix of raw pistachio nuts and almonds
60g mixed fruit of your choice to decorate
You will also need a muffin tin.

Prepare the ice cream filling by mixing the ice cream with a large metal spoon. Add the strawberries, the almonds and pistachio nuts and return to the freezer to solidify.

Prepare the muffin tin by brushing it with olive oil.

Open up the filo pastry and use a pair of scissors to cut into wide strips and then cut the strips into squares.

Brush each square of filo pastry with olive oil and cover the bottom of each mould in the muffin tray.  Repeat with another layer of filo squares, each time brushing with olive oil and add them on top of each other to make another layer of filo squares.

Repeat again with the rest of the filo pastry and gently push the top layer with the tips of your fingers so that the pastry takes the form of the mould.

Preheat the oven. Place the muffin tin on the middle shelf and bake for 5 to 6 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they will easily burn.

Remove the muffin tray from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Once you are ready to serve, place the pastry cases next to each other on a large platter or use individual plates.  Fill each pastry case with a scoop of ice cream and top with fresh fruit.

For a gluten-free option use gluten-free pastry and roll it out very thinly, with one layer required for the crust. Replace the nuts with chocolate chips for a nut-free option and, for a lactose-free and vegan recipe use a dairy-free ice cream.

Pina Colada Ice Cream Slice

pina colada slice george aquilina

Preparing frozen Pina Colada Slice, photo George Aquilina during a live tv show #goodfoodeveryday #icecream

You will need:
1kg vanilla or coconut ice cream
100g coconut or coconut flour
150g tinned, chopped pineapple
50g maraschino cherries
1 vanilla pod
6 pineapple rings and 6 maraschino cherries for assembling the ice cream
Cling film 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 ice cream.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV and you can follow the page on facebook

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For more Healthy frozen desserts:

Apple Mango Blueberry Ice Lollies for Kids

Frozen Yoghurt

Simply Banana Ice Cream

Trade Enquiries:

X Kidz 100% Fruit Smoothie by Plasmon at Vivian Corp

Plant based drinks by Alpro at Good Earth Distributors

Fresh fruit and vegetables from Big Fresh Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto for organic

Cold Cured Salmon

gravlax 1 charles vassallo

Home made cold cured salmon, photo Charles Vassallo during a live tv show

‘I love to make Cold Cured Salmon because it is so economical in comparison to buying it prepared and sliced.  To get the best result you need to use very fresh fish.  If you are having a large crowd, this will be a big hit !

I made it during the tv show and it proved to be very popular.  You can keep in the the fridge for up to 4 days after curing it but it also freezes very well and it is always welcome in sandwiches, salads and to enhance a weekend breakfast or brunch.’

You will need:

50g sea salt
70g sugar
a large bunch of fresh dill
2 tablespoons vodka
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon crushed pink peppercorns

A large piece of boneless salmon fillet with skin on [around 500g]

To serve:  Lemon Wedges and Seed Bread

Cold Cure Salmon home made

Home Made Cold Cured Salmon, photo Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show

In a bowl mix together the sea salt, sugar, fresh dill, pink peppercorns, tarragon, coriander seeds, apple vinegar, vodka and ground fresh pepper.

Place the salmon, skin side down, on a large piece of cling film.  Cover the salmon with the mixture of herbs and spices making sure that it is completely covered.  Place the bay leaves on top.  If the piece of salmon is very large, cut in half and place the two pieces on top of each other with the skin side outside.  Wrap the fish securely in the cling film and place it in a large container skin side down.  Place another large dish on top of the salmon and weigh it down with some food cans to compress the salmon while it is being cured.  Place in the fridge for 36-48 hours.

gravlax sliced

Thinly sliced salmon, photo Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show

To serve, remove the weights and unwrap the salmon.  Discard the cling film and remove any excess of the cure mix.  Place on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to cut thin diagonal slices and serve on a platter with seed bread and lemon wedges.

 

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV and you can follow on facebook

Trade Enquiries: Spices and dried herbs by Good Earth Distributors

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables by Big Fresh Mosta, Oscars Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto [organic]

Fresh Fish by Adam’s Gourmet Fish Shop Mosta

Apple Vinegar Monari Federzoni by J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Quick Pea and Cashew Dip

QuickPeaandGarlicDip

Quick Pea and Garlic Dip, photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

Peas are associated with comfort food, as a side with cottage pie and lashings of thick mashed potato and  Sunday roasts.  However this dip is light and perfect for the summer.  I combine it with dry roasted cashews for flavour and creaminess and it is a welcome change from chickpea dips, hummus and guacamole.

Should we only eat organic and fresh vegetables? It is very difficult to find good fresh peas all year round and frozen peas prove to be of a high nutritional value and they have usually been harvested when they are ripe at their peak. They are washed, processed and bagged within minutes of being picked and can be beneficial in many ways.    Buy a good brand from a reputable commercial outlet to be sure that they have been transported in transit vans at the right temperature to retain their freshness and flavour, especially in the summer.

‘It is sunny here with a bright blue cloudless sky and everything looks spectacular in June, perfect weather before the intense heat.’

For the pea and cashew dip, you will need:

450g frozen peas
1 large clove garlic
30g grated gbejna cheese or parmesan or use vegan cheese
a pinch of dried marjoram
4 leaves fresh marjoram
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons cashew nuts [I use the more economical cashew pieces that come pre-packed]
1/8 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
salt and freshly ground pepper

To finish off: a few leaves of fresh marjoram and olive oil

Boil ample water in a pot and as soon as it starts to boil add the frozen peas and garlic clove and remove from heat. Cover the pan with a lid and leave for 2 minutes and not more to retain the vibrant colour and consistency. Drain the water and place the peas in a food processor or liquidizer. Dry roast the cashew pieces by placing them in a large pan over high heat. Shake the pan and do not allow them to brown but the oils of the nuts start to release and the roasted taste combined with the peas is delicious. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree. You may wish to have a very smooth dip or leave it with some consistency and texture by pulsing the processor and stopping once the cashews have broken down completely. Taste and season. Tip into a bowl and top with some olive oil and fresh marjoram leaves. Serve warm or place in the refrigerator for an hour.

*This recipe is *gluten free * diabetic-friendly  *vegetarian*  
*For a lactose free or vegan dip, omit the cheese or simply use a vegan cheese*

 

Serve with warm pita bread or nut and seed bread. It is great for dipping crudities and also to serve with any finger food. I also like this dip as an accompaniment to grilled meats or fish.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV every day and you can also follow the facebook page  

Trade Enquiries:

Frozen Peas and frozen vegetables by Green Isle at Rimus Trading Agency 

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables from Big Fresh Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto [Organic]

Homemade Plant-Based Milks

ricemilk
I spent the past few months exploring different options of homemade plant based milk and was surprised to discover that the whole process is very simple. It takes about 5 minutes as long as the main ingredient is soaked overnight in plenty of water. You do not need any fancy appliances and can use a simple food processor or blender.

Homemade, dairy-free milk last for three to five days when refrigerated in airtight glass containers. Boiling this milk with sugar or an alternative sweetener and then simmering the mixture for around 45 minutes results in a thick consistency very similar to condensed milk.
Hemp seed and rice milk provide very good, creamy and nut-free alternative. The left-over pulp can be used as an ingredient for other recipes and I am including some ideas.

‘The left-over pulp can be used in other recipes and during the tv programme I have made use of it by making pie crusts, energy balls and granola bars.  The possibilities are endless and I like the idea of making the most out of every ingredient, extracting the milk and using the pulp with absolutely no waste.  It is always best to use a milk bag to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible’

milkbag

Almond Milk
You will need:
1 cup almonds
3 cups bottled or filtered water and more for soaking
a pinch of salt
2 dates

 


Soak the almonds overnight. Drain the water and rinse the almonds.
Place the almonds in a blender and add 3 cups of bottled or filtered water. Add the dates and a pinch of salt.
Blend on high speed until the mixture is well blended. The almonds must be totally ground and the mixture appears consistent.
Strain the almonds by placing them in a sieve covered with muslin or a clean dishcloth.
Squeeze out the almond milk into a container by wringing the dishcloth or muslin. Do not discard the ground almonds
Refrigerate the milk in airtight glass containers for up to 4 days.
Use Almond Pulp to make almond flour. Place the almond pulp on a flat ovenproof dish covered with baking paper and bake it in a cool oven at 150°C for an hour. Allow to cool down completely preferably overnight, then place in a food processor and grind to a fine texture.

Hazelnut Milk
You will need:
1 cup hazelnuts
3 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
1 tsp organic apple vinegar
Pinch of salt

 


For sweetened milk add 1 date or 1 tbsp stevia and some vanilla
Place the hazelnuts in a glass container and soak them overnight with a pinch of sea salt and a tsp of apple organic vinegar. Drain and discard the soaking liquid and rinse the hazelnuts well.
Place the hazelnuts in the blender and add 3 cups of bottled water. For a sweetened milk add also 1 date or 1 tbsp of stevia and some vanilla.
Blend at high speed until the nuts are completely ground to a fine pulp. Place a piece of muslin or a clean tea towel over a sieve. Pour the contents of the liquidiser into the covered sieve and gently press the pulp down to squeeze the liquid through. Store the milk in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Use the hazelnut pulp to add to smoothies.
Hemp Milk
You will need:
½ cup hemp seeds
4 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
2 dates
Vanilla

hemp seeds
Soak the hemp seeds overnight in a glass container. Drain and discard the water. Place the soaked hemp seeds in a liquidiser or blender and use a high setting to completely grind the seeds to a fine consistency. Strain the hemp milk by pouring it through a strainer covered with a clean tea towel. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Use the hemp seed pulp as an additional ingredient to make homemade energy bars.

Coconut Milk

coconutmilk

Fresh homemade coconut milk as seen on tv, photgraphy during the live show by Marconia Schembri      For the home made coconut milk you will need: 100g coconut, 5 cups of filtered or bottled water, a pinch of salt [1 date, optional].  Soak the coconut in water overnight.  Place in a blender or food processor.  Add the filtered or bottled water and blend on high speed for 4 minutes until the mixture is milky and consistenty.  Pour the mixture into a sieve covered with a clean dishcloth or use a nut milk bag.  Squeeze the rest of the coconut milk but wringing the dishtowel until you have extracted as much coconut milk as possible.

Rice Milk
You will need:
1 cup long grain rice. I like to use basmati
5 cups water and more for soaking
1 tbsp agave
Vanilla

oatmilk

Making rice milk during a live tv show, photography George Aquilina  Appliances by Kitchenaid at Forestals, professional wear Chefworks, nails by Jessica Camilleri using Max Factor Noisette No 145

Rinse the rice and place it in a glass container. Immerse completely in water and allow to soak overnight.
Drain the rice and place it in a blender with the rest of the ingredients.
Process the rice on high speed for about 3-4 minutes. Line a sieve with a clean dish cloth and place over a bowl. Pour the rice milk into it and squeeze as much milk as you can by wringing the dishcloth with your hands. Store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Use the rice pulp to make a rice pudding. Place the rice pulp in a saucepan and cover with water. Add some cinnamon and honey or agave and 2 tablespoons of raisins. Bring to boil and reduce the heat. Stir constantly and when the liquid is absorbed, remove from the heat. Add more rice milk to achieve the consistency of your choice and serve warm.

Oat Milk

You will need:

1 cup oats
3 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
1 date or 1 tbsp agave
A pinch of salt

oat milk george.jpg

Homemade Oat Milk, this photo was taken by George Aquilina during a live tv show, kitchenware by Tescoma

Soak the oats overnight in plenty of water. Drain and discard the soaking water and place the oats in a blender. Add the filtered or bottled water and the rest of the ingredients. Strain the oat milk by pouring it through a strainer covered with a clean tea towel. Use your hands to wring the tea towel to squeeze all the milk out. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Stir the milk thoroughly before using it. This milk can be used to thicken a soup or dessert simply by adding heating it as it becomes thick and gelatinous.

‘The pulp from plant based milks can be used in a variety of recipes’

oat-pie-crust-illumina-media

Use your left over oat pulp to make pie crusts for tarts.  Photography Illumina Media during a live tv show.  Fresh fruit by Big Fresh Mosta

Use the oat pulp to make an oat flour crust for tarts.  Place the oat pulp on a flat ovenproof dish covered with baking paper and bake it in a cool oven at 150°C for an hour.  Allow to cool down completely preferably overnight, then place in a food processor and grind to a fine texture.  Then add it to your recipe to make a tart crust.  Ingredients: 200g flour, 200g oat flour, 100g ricotta,  1 tablespoon agave or honey, a few drops vanilla, zest of half an orange, 1 egg and cold water.  Method: Sieve the flour and add the oatmeal.  Add the ricotta and rub it into the flour and oatmeal using your fingertips
Add the other ingredients except the water and eggs and mix. Now add the beaten eggs, mix using a knife. Then add the cold water, start with one tablespoon and mix, then add a spoonful at a time until you form a dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for half an hour. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs daily on Smash TV and you can follow the page on facebook
Trade Enquiries: Ingredients by Good Earth Distributors

Fresh Herb Soup with Turmeric Rice and Soft Maltese Gbejna [gluten free, diabetic friendly]

fresh herb soup with turmeric vegetable rice 2

‘Fresh herbs are abundant this month.  And with the exception of fresh mint, basil and parsley many of us worry about what to do with big bundles of fresh oregano, tarragon, marjoram and thyme.  Antida gave me a large basket of mixed herbs from her garden this week which also  included ‘English’ curly parsley and purple basil.  I wanted to make the most of them while they were fresh and use fresh herbs as a main ingredient, rather than as a garnish, nearly an afterthought.  I also used organic seasonal vegetables that are delivered to my door every Thursday from Barbuto in Sicily, 60 miles away from us.

The fertile volcanic soil of Sicily make it an agricultural dream and it is comforting to know that the produce is pesticide-free with no artificial additives to enhance it.

The soup is a puree of lightly cooked fresh herbs and organic vegetables topped with a quick rice stir fry of the same finely diced vegetables that are in the puree and to give a nutritional boost as well as enhance the color and flavors I add fresh turmeric root.  If this is not available, use turmeric powder.  The contrast in the texture of the same ingredients in the puree and stir fry bring out different flavors it makes a great meal in itself, with no second courses required.   To make it more local I finished off the soup with  soft Maltese Gbejna Cheese and a garnish of fresh herbs.  I could not eat enough of it !’

fresh herbs goodfoodeveryday

Herbs from Antida’s garden.  All my photos are taken during a live tv show

For the pureed organic vegetable soup will need:
[Serves 4]

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 natural garlic and herb stock cube and 1 litre of water
2 courgettes
2 light green marrows
1 potato
2 carrots
1 pak choi
100g mixed fresh herbs of your choice
a pinch of dried mixed herbs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and Pepper

Barbuto veg 2

Fruit and vegetables in Barbuto’s organic box this week.  For the soup, choose vegetables of your choice or use seasonal vegetables

For the Turmeric Rice Stir Fry you will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
150g cooked basmati rice
1/2 onion
1 courgette, diced
1 marrow, diced
1 carrot, diced
6 fresh broad beans, peeled
1 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric root or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

To finish: 1/2 fresh gbejna per portion, cut horizontally, fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil [if gbejna is not available use feta or ricotta]

For the Soup
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the roughly chopped onion and vegetables. Stir and cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Then add the stock cube, the roughly chopped fresh mixed herbs and the pinch of dried herbs and cook for another 5 minutes on low heat, then add the water. Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat for around 10 -15 minutes until the vegetables soften. Do not overcook. Season with salt and pepper then use a hand blender to puree to a smooth consistency.

turmeric rice.jpg

For the Turmeric Rice
Heat the oil in wok over medium heat. Add the diced onion and vegetables and cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly until they cook through. Do not overcook. Add the cooked basmati rice and mix everything together very well. Cook until it is heated through for around another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Top with the fresh broad beans.

To serve the soup:
Slice the gbejna cheese horizontally into 2 and allow one slice per portion.
Gently reheat the pureed soup if necessary. Use a ladel to fill individual soup bowls. Spoon some of the turmeric rice on top, then arrange the slice of gbejna cheese and garnish with fresh herbs. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil and serve immediately.
fresh herb soup with turmeric vegetable rice

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV every day and you can also follow the facebook page

Trade Enquiries:
Basmati Rice by Grandi at J Calleja Ltd
Kallo Stock Cubes at Good Earth
Fresh Herbs by Big Fresh Mosta
Fresh Organic Vegetables by Barbuto in Sicily

Granny’s Fruit Loaf with Chia Seeds [no refined sugar and no butter, lactose free]

Granny's fruit loaf slices

 ‘I wake up very early every morning to the smell of freshly baked bread from the small village bakery across the road. The aroma gives a sense of belonging, just what you may associate with being in a cosy home and it is a good start to the day.

Malta is well known for its crusty sour dough bread which is a staple in the local diet. Customers start to arrive before 6am to pick their own loaf and from across the road I watch as the village starts to awaken. I love the buzz and sense of community that comes with being in the heart of an old village and hope that the process of modernization can be avoided and village life on the island is preserved.maltese bread felix.jpg

My bake today is a traditional old-fashioned fruit cake adjusted to suit modern day preferences. I use stevia and pureed fresh apples to sweeten the fruit loaf and it is butter-free. When I made it on tv this week, I used tofu but if you prefer you can swap the same amount with ricotta instead. I add Chia Seeds which are high in antioxdidants and Omega3 to boost the fruit loaf with extra nutritional value and fibre but these are optional and if you do not like the idea, leave them out. The oven temperature needs to be reduced to 160C to retain their nutritional value. ‘

Granny's fruit loaf 2

You will need:

250g self-raising flour
100g tofu [you can use ricotta instead of tofu]
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 large apple, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
3 large eggs separated [if eggs are small use 4]
8 tablespoons stevia [OR use 150g golden raisins soaked in water overnight and pureed]
250g dried fruit of your choice (raisins, sultanas, candid peel, cherries, currants)
vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar [I prefer Apple Cider vinegar but you can use any vinegar]
A pinch of salt
Grated zest of a lemon
Grated zest of an orange
A pinch of mixed spice

[Optional:  4 tablespoons chia seeds]

Granny's Fruit Loaf

Preheat the oven to 160C. Prepare a loaf tin by spraying it with Cooking Spray.

Sift the flour twice into a large bowl.

Add the tofu [OR ricotta] crumbled into pieces and olive oil and use your finger tips to rub in the olive oil and tofu into the flour in the same way as you are rubbing in butter.

granny's fruit loaf slices 2Add the vanilla, salt, citrus zest and mixed spice. Then add the dried fruit and mix well until all the pieces of fruit . In a separate bowl, use a hand blender to puree the apple with the egg yolks, the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Add the bicarbonate of soda and the cornflour to the tofu and flour mix. If you are using Chia Seeds, add them now. Use a metal spoon to mix.

granny's fruit loaf slices 3

Then add the apple and egg yolk mix and finally fold in the egg whites using a large metal spoon.

Pour the batter into a cake loaf tin. Bake for 40 minutes at 160ºC.’

 

 

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV everyday and you can follow on facebook . Photography by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.

Trade Enquiries:
Baking goods, chia seeds, dried fruit, vanilla and other spices by Good Earth Distributors
Olive oil by Costa D’Oro at J Calleja Ltd
Butter Flavour Fry Light Cooking Spray by Rimus Group
Fresh Fruit by Big Fresh Mosta and Oscars Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto for organic fruit and vegetables
Kitchenware by Tescoma

Apricot Crumble Slice [gluten free, vegan]

apricot crumble slices squares

‘Another glorious Maltese summer is here to stay and with it comes an abundance of succulent and sweet summer fruits, slowly and naturally ripened by the Mediterranean sun making them so juicy and moist like no other greenhouse varieties.  They may appear imperfect, uneven in shape and size, sometimes slightly bruised but bursting with flavor.   After all beauty is not meant to be perfect and cloned.  

For this recipe I use a mix of fresh, ripe apricots and dried apricots. This is one of the easiest things to bake with a soft flapjack base made with poached fresh and dried apricots.  These are topped with fresh apricots and a crumble topping of ground almonds and coconut pulp.  

You can use any berries or stone fruit for this recipe.  Wash the apricots thoroughly and leave the skin on ‘

You will need:

250g ground almonds
250g oatmeal
120g soft dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons coconut pulp
500g fresh ripe apricots
a pinch of salt
1 vanilla pod
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons stevia
150g dried apricots
To brush the top:  1 tablespoon of coconut oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of agave plus 75g nuts [I used cashew flakes]

apricot crumble slice dried apricots

Prepare an ovenproof dish by lining it with baking paper.  Spray it with cooking spray.

Remove the stone from the fresh apricots and cut into quarters with skin on.  Place half of them together with the vanilla pod in a saucepan.  Chop the dried apricots and add them to the saucepan.  Immerse in just enough cold water and bring to boil on low to moderate heat.  As soon as the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes for all the fruits to soften up.  Remove from the heat.  Add the grated lemon zest.

Use a large bowl to place the ground almonds.  Mix the oat meal with it and then pour the melted coconut oil and softened coconut pulp.  Use your fingertips to rub in the coconut oil and pulp into the ground almond and oatmeal mixture.  Add the soft brown sugar and mixed spice and vanilla seeds.  Mix with a metal spoon so that the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Add two thirds of this mixture to the poached apricot mix and stir until it is has a smooth consistency.  Pour the mixture into the prepared ovenproof dish and use a plastic spatula dipped in water to smooth the surface.  If you have time cover the dish with cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.  [At this stage, you can also leave the dish in the fridge overnight and carry on preparing the rest of the recipe the following day.]

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Assemble the remainder of the chopped fresh apricots on top of the base.  Brush the surface of the fruit with the mix of agave and coconut oil.  Scatter the rest of the crumble mix on the top.  Do not press it down.

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes then take out of the oven, brush again with the agave and coconut oil mixture and scatter the chopped nuts on top.  Return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Allow to cool and cut up into squares.

apricot crumble baked

Serve warm with ice cream or cut up into squares for lunchboxes and picnics or simply instead of a cereal bar for breakfast or a snack

Store in the fridge for up to 3 days in the summer and 5 days in the winter.  Freeze for up to a month although I do not like the thawed texture which becomes slightly soggy from freezing.

Trade Enquiries:

Fry Light  Butter Flavour Cooking Spray and Mornflake Oatmeal via Rimus Group

Ground almonds, naturally dried apricots, dried fruit, spices and baking goods via Good Earth Distributors Ltd

Coconut Oil and coconut pulp via J Calleja Ltd

My fresh succulent apricots come from Big Fresh in Mosta

Lea’s Good Food Everyday is aired on Smash TV every day and you can also follow on facebook 🙂  Photography by CJ Baldacchino during an unedited live tv show cooking in real time.

Rigatoni with fresh broad beans and seasonal vegetables

rigatoni

‘a fresh pasta dish using broad beans, asparagus and seasonal vegetables.  It also makes an excellent pasta salad’

You willl need:

300g rigatoni
1 onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh mixed herbs
a pinch of dried mixed herbs
1 tablespoon lemon zest
150g fresh broad beans
12 asparagus
75g mushrooms
75g fresh spinach leaves
2 kale leaves, steamed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup yoghurt
Salt and pepper
a pinch of stevia
Pecorino cheese to serve

Prepare the vegetables by peeling the broad beans and keep aside.

Steam the asparagus and roughly tear up the spinach leaves.

Chop the fresh herbs finely and keep aside.

In a large pan saute the onion on low heat in a tablespoon of olive oil

Cook on gentle heat and add the dried herbs.  Slice the mushrooms and cook with the onions on gentle heat.

Use a hand blender to mix the yoghurt, mascarpone.  Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of stevia. Blend to a smooth paste.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.  Drain the pasta and keep aside a cup of pasta water.

Add the pasta to the pan with the onions and mushrooms.  Stir and add 4 tablespoons of the pasta water.  After 2 minutes add the blended mix of yoghurt and mascarpone.  Stir into the pasta on gentle heat and if the mixture is too thick, add some more pasta water, a little at a time.  Add the spinach leaves, half the asparagus, half the broad beans and half the fresh herbs.  Cook for another few minutes then remove from the heat.  Mix in the rest of the raw spinach and gently mix in.  Place the pasta on a serving dish and then arrange the remaining vegetables and steamed kale leaves on top of the pasta and garnish with the rest of the fresh herbs and spinach.  Season with salt and pepper again and serve with grated pecorino cheese.

Trade Enquiries:
Olio Costa D’Oro Olive OIl by J Calleja Ltd

I use fresh vegetables and herbs by Big Fresh Mosta

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

vegan chocolate muffins

‘I use linseed as an egg replacement for these very chocolaty and moist muffins.  If you are looking for a diabetic friendly alternative use stevia instead of sugar. What I like about these muffins is that they really rise’

For the muffins you will need:

250g self raising flour [for a gluten free recipe use gluten free self raising flour]
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
75g cocoa powder
a pinch of coffee powder
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
250g soft brown sugar
300ml hot water [not boiling]
3 tablespoons linseed
1 tablespoon vinegar
50g coconut oil
30g coconut pulp

Preheat oven to 160C.
Prepare a muffin tin by lining it with muffin cases. [Optional: On tv, I sprayed the muffin cases with Butter Flavour Fry Light Cooking Spray which is vegan for those who miss a buttery taste!]
Sieve twice the self raising flour, bicarbonate, cinnamon.
Add the salt and mix.
Place the water, linseed, coconut pulp, coconut oil, vinegar, brown sugar and coffee in a liquidizer and turn on until the linseeds are broken up and the mixture appears consistent.
Use a large metal spoon to fold in the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Use a spoon to fill the muffin cases and place in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Allow to cool and top with the icing or serve as they are.

vegan chocolate muffins 3.jpg During the tv programme today I used a bar of lactose free milk chocolate but if you want vegan icing use dark chocolate.

For the icing [optional], you will need:
75ml water
50g coconut pulp
50g soft brown sugar
a pinch of coffee powder
a pinch of cinnamon powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
150g chocolate

12 fresh cherries [optional]
Cocoa Nibs to sprinkle on top [optional]

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan on low heat. As soon as it start to boil, remove from the heat. Keep stirring until you have a smooth, glossy consistency. Allow the muffins to cool completely before pouring the icing on top of them.
Sprinkle some cocoa nibs and decorate with a fresh cherry.
Chocolate vegan muffins.jpg

Trade Enquiries:
Cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, spices, brown sugar, linseed, bicarbonate of soda, self raising flour by Good Earth
Valor Chocolates, Govinda Stevia, Govinda Coconut Oil, Govinda Coconut Pulp by J Calleja
Fry Light Cooking Spray Butter Flavour by Rimus Trading
Fresh Fruit by Big Fres Mosta

Photography by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.

Strawberry and Coffee Biscuit Trifle

strawberry coffee gateau

Stawberry and Coffee Biscuit Trifle, photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

You will need:

2 packets Nice Biscuits
4 tablespoons instant coffee
2 cups boiling water
1 vanilla pod
100g butter
80g sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 punnets strawberries
500ml whipping cream

strawberry coffee gateau 2

Use an electric mixer to beat the cream.  Remove from the bowl and mix in the seeds from a vanilla pod.  Keep aside.

Place the water in a saucepan with the remaining vanilla pod and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the coffee powder, mix with a large spoon, then add the cocoa powder and brandy.

Place the softened butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until the mixture is white and fluffy.

Fold in the whipped cream and vanilla.  Place the cream mixture in a piping bag and keep aside.

Slice the strawberries.

Assemble the trifle by dipping the ‘Nice’ Biscuits into the coffee mixture and line the bottom of the container.

Work neatly and pipe a layer of the cream mixture.  Flatten with a spoon, then top with a layer of sliced strawberries.

Repeat with a layer of coffee-soaked ‘Nice’ biscuits, a layer of the cream mixture and strawberries until you have used all your ingredients.

I usually fill up the whole bowl with these layers, but due to time constraints of live tv, I finished off with a layer of strawberries before we reached the top and had lots of left overs to make more trifles !

Cover with cling film and Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Trade Enquiries

Rimus Trading Agency  for Nice Biscuits by Regal, President Butter and Cream

Good Earth Distributors for pure vanilla pods and raw cocoa powder

Big Fresh  Mosta for all my fresh fruit and vegetables

Quick Coconut and Lemon Muffins [diabetic friendly, gluten free, lactose free, no added refined sugar

COCONUT MUFFINS 1

Quick healthier coconut muffins, photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘these muffins have a deep and  intense coconut flavour from coconut oil, coconut paste, shredded coconut and coconut flour.  They are gluten free and perfect for lunch boxes or a healthy snack to take to work and eat at your desk.  The taste of these muffins improves the next day’

You will need:

50ml coconut oil
50g coconut paste
4 eggs
100g self raising flour [I used gluten free flour on tv but you can use regular self raising flour]
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100g coconut
50g coconut flour
vanilla
a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon stevia or 2 pellets stevia

COCONUT MUFFINS 1A

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Sieve the self raising flour, baking powder and coconut flour twice into a mixing bowl.  Add all the other ingredients and combine them with an electric mixer for one minute and not any more.  This is quite a thick batter.  Use two spoons to place the batter in the muffin cases.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool before serving.  These muffins taste better the day after they are made.  They remain moist and dense, very much like coconut macaroons.