Blueberry Cheesecake with a baked digestive base

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As seen on TV every so often a luscious treat is a necessity. My food photos during our live shows are completely unstaged and preparation and cooking is live and in real time.

For this cheesecake I baked the digestive biscuit base with a filling of of a mix of mascarpone and bufala ricotta , twice baked very lightly in a moderate oven, first pressing down the crust and baking lightly then topping the crust with the filling and baking again. I have tried other alternatives but the best flabor and texture is with butter.  I have however reduced the amount used in traditional cheesecakes.

For the crust you will need

2 cups ground McVities Digestive Biscuits
1 cup ground almonds
half a cup stevia

4 tablespoons melted butter

zest of half a lemon
Mix all the above ingredients together and press into a 20cm tart dish with a loose bottom.  It is important that the crumbs are completely pressed down, as compact as possible.  Bake for 15 minutes at 160C.  Allow to cool before adding the filling.
For the filling you will need
200g Gabani mascarpone
200g bufala ricotta
1 cup stevia
grated rind of a lemon
2 spoons lemon juice
few drops vanilla essence
4 eggs
2 spoons cornflour
A punnet of blueberries for the surface
Mix all these ingredients together.  I use a hand blender to get a smooth paste.  Reduce the oven temperature to 150C.  When the crust has completely cooked down, pour in the filling.  Add half the punnet of blueberries.  Bake for 20 minutes making sure that the crust does not burn.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool in the oven.  This avoids a cracked surface and allows the eggs to bind the mixture leaving it soft and moist inside.  Once  it cools you can serve it immediately but it improves in flavor when left in the fridge overnight.  Decorate with more blueberries before serving.

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And every day I wake up and appreciate breathing the air here on an island blessed with all the good things life offers and sunshine nearly every day of the year .

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A good weekend to you my friends x

Pork Belly with tahini and crackling

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The secret of the best crackling is to simply scald the skin with boiling water. You will see it shrivel. If you are in a rush you do not need to do anything else and you will still get a perfect crackling.

The best pork can be found right here in the heart of the Mediterranean. Local pork is a premium grade product and i have visted many pig farms. The pigs are pampered and live happy lives getting a lot of individual attention. Their food is flavored with vanilla, they enjoy warm and clean conditions during the winter.

Today we cooked pork belly with the best crackling ever and you will need.

Pork belly
tahini paste
Olive oil
Salt
Boiling water

To make the best crackling, simply scald the skin with boiling water. You will see it shrivel up while you are pouring the water. If you are in a hurry as we were today, you do not need to score the skin nor to pat it dry, simply put it int the oven.

Before doing so, i rubbed the flesh with tahini. Do not put tahini on the skin but use olive oil to rub the skin lightly. Simply put in a roasting dish and place in the oven. Preheated at 200 C for 4 hours. Check it from time to time.

You cannot get better flavor then pork belly although I prefer slow cooked belly, at a lower temperature and for at least 7 hours, it simply slides off the bone this way.

But when you are short of time, this works very well.

and we made tahini and sesame seed potatoes again and served thm with the pork belly. so yumm…

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Carrot and Banana Cake (and they call it passion ! )

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I made a carrot and banana cake this week and Alfred decorated it. Luscious, great combination of flavors and I eliminated processed sugar and used golden raisins ground to a pulp .

You will need:

In the first bowl, add all these ingredients and use a hand blender to bring to a smooth paste
100ml olive oil
125 ml yoghurt
4 egg yolks
250g golden raisins (soaked in water overnight)
2 ripe bananas, chopped

In the second bowl, mix together :
300g self raising flour (sift)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
50g chopped walnuts
50g coconut

mix the above together then add 100g grated carrot and stir to coat in flour.

In a third bowl:
Beat together the 4 egg whites until they are stiff

Preheat the oven to 160C.
Fold in the dry ingredients into liquid ingredients. Then fold in the egg whites.
pour the cake batter into a prepared cake dish. i used 2 disposable cake moulds of 17cm each.
Bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes.
Allow to cool. We left one plain and we topped the second one with melted chocolate and decorated with sugar roses.

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Twistees with Kale Chips

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Twistees are an icon here, almost part of our heritage. And my boys at ONE loved this mix of twistees with kale chips. You will need:

1 packet Twistees
6 leaves Kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cayenne pepper, but optional, if you do not like it, leave it out
pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 175 C.
Wash, dry and trim the Kale leaves and remove the center stalk.
Roughly tear into pieces or use scissors.
Rub two tablespoons of olive oil into the leaves makng sure they are evenly covered.
Toss the leaves n the cayenne pepper and salt of you are usng them.
Spead the leaves on to an oven tray covered with baking paper.
Bake for 10 minutes and keep an eye on them as different varieties of kale require dfferent cooking time.
Turn them over and bake for another 10 mnutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray.
Mix with a packet of twistees and serve immedately.
Yum! As seen on Kalamita

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Roasted potatoes wth Tahini and sesame seeds

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As seen on Kalamita
yesterday, a must-try recipe. You will need:

500g potatoes, skin on, partially cooked by chopping and boiling for 5 minutes
2 spoons tahini
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 spoons sesame seeds
Sea salt to season
2 spoons olive oil

Drain the cooked potatoes well. Prepare an ovenproof dish by brushing lightly wth a spoon of olive oil. Mix the tahini with the other spoon of olive oil. Mix in the finely chopped garlic and dried oregano and toss the potatoes in the tahini mix. Spread the potatoes in over the baking sheet, season with sea salt and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Roast in the oven at 200 C for half an hour.

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We welcomed yesterday during Kalamita Anna Zahra the President of the Farmers Markets. We cooked her amazing fresh produce and Anna made her own recipe of roasted Kaponata !

Spaghetti Shakshuka

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I featured Shakshouka on this blog two years ago but made Spaghetti Shakshouka on tv recently and this is another diish that you must try. You will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

A large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves

1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

1 large can plum tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1 teaspoon cumin seeds,

crushed 1 fresh local gbejna

4 eggs

Lots of finely chopped fresh leaf parsley

Lots of freshly ground black pepper

Spaghetti, cooked according to the instructions on the pack, around 75g per portion

Heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan and add the chopped onion. Add the crushed cumin seeds.. Cook on gentle heat till it softens up. Add the canned tomatoes, chili and the garlic and simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste.   Add the spaghetti, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes always on gentle heat. Add the eggs one by one and carry on cooking gently. Add the chopped up gbejna, cover and allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off heat. Add the chopped parsley and i garnished ours with chopped up cherry tomatoes, pink peppercorns and semi sundried tomatoes. Its great with lots of freshly ground black pepper if you like it.

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Strawberry and Yoghurt Bundt, no sugar no butter

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We carry on with the theme of eliminating processed sugar where possble and this is a cake we featured on TV last week. I have been lucky as until now i have only done live cooking on tv and although it is trickier as everything has to be ready within a tight schedule, you arevable to give viewers a real life situation of what they should expect. For the strawberry yoghurt bundt you will need:

3 cups self raising flour

1 level tablespoon cornflour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Grated zest of half a lemon

A few drops vanilla extract

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup stevia or half a cup honey

4 eggs

2 tablespoons lemon juce

250ml plain yoghurt

2 cups chopped strawberries tossed in 3 tablespoons fllour just before adding to the cake mixture

Preheat the oven to 160 C. Grease the bundt dish, dust with flour and shake out. In a large mixing bowl sift the flour, add the cornflour, bicarbonate of soda and lemon zest. In another bowl mix the liquids together (olive oil, yoghurt, stevia or honey and stir until the mxture is consistent) At this stage toss the chopped strawberries in the 3 spoons of flour. Add the liquds to the dry ingredients and fold in. Do not overmix. Gently pour the cake batter nto the prepared bundt tin and bake on a preheated oven for 35 to 40 mnutes. Allow to cool before removing from the tin. Do not be tempted to take it out before as it s a deep cake and can crumble easily. You can make a topping by mixing 120g mascarpone with 1/4 cup sugar free strawberry jam. Beat well and drizzle overr the top of the cake or serve on the side.

20150615-222625.jpg Marisa is the Queen of Country music here on the island , a pleasure to have her with me on One TV today :)

Quick banana muffins and I speak with Dr Keith Ayoob

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The Mediterranean Diet is without doubt the most sustainable diet in the world right now. I spoke this week with Dr Keith Ayoob about the use of Stevia as a sweetener and the benefits of a Mediterranean Diet in relation to memory as well as general health.
Click here to listen to the podcast which is in English with a brief introduction in Maltese.

And for these delicious all-in-one banana muffins with stevia to replace sugar you will need:

2 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Grated rind of 1/4 lemon
3 spoons stevia
1 spoon oats
100g coconut
3 eggs
200g self raising flour
125 ml yoghurt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
A few drops good vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Mash the banana and lemon juice, add the eggs and yoghurt and mix well. Add the vanilla, grated lemon rind and nutmeg. Then the Stevia and mix well. Sieve the self raising flour into a separate container. Add the oats, bicarbonate of soda and coconut. Prepare the muffin cases in a baking mould. Pour the batter and do not fill to the top as these muffins rise ! Mix the dry ingredients into the banana mix and gently fold in with a metal spoon. Do not over mix.. Pour the batter into the muffin cases and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 160C.

And for the recipe in Maltese click here

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I love the streets of Bormla where i base myself every Friday at Radio Kottoner 98 FM and thanks to all of you who link in with us via streamlining from abroad

Kale Soup with gbejna and canellini beans

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We featured this very delicious kale soup last week on TV. You must must must try it. Kale grows locallly and is abundant, different varieties of it. For the soup you will need:

8 cups boiling water
An organic stock cube
Quarter teaspoon salt (leave out if you prefer)
4 cloves garlic,peels and crushed
10 Kale leaves , remove the middle stalk
1 middle sized onion, finely chopped
1 can canellini beans, remove water, rinse amd drain

4 thick slices bread
4 spoons oliive oil
A pinch of bicarbonate of soda
Juice of one lemon
Grated rind of one lemon

2 hard peppered cheeses (if you do not live on the island use boursin cheese)

One fresh gbejna per person

Lots of fresh ground pepper

Saute the onion and crushed garlic in some olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped up kale and top up with the boiling water until the leaves are fully immersed. Lower the heat and leave on a gentle boil for half an hour. Add half the lemon juice and lemon rind. stir and turn off heat. Allow to cool and use a hand blender, pulse and whizz making sure that you do not over-blend as the soup is more delcious with the different consistencies. Add the canellini beans keeping some aside for garnish.

Brush some olive oil on to the bread slices. Rub the slices with some garlic. Spread the peppered cheese and if you are using peppered gbejna grate it and spread it over the surface. Bake the bread slices at 200C for around 10 minutes. Do not allow to burn or get too crusty.

Place a slice of bread in the bottom of each soup bowl. Pour the heated soup onto the bread. Place a fresh gbejna in each soup bowl. I also made some croutons from local sourdough and garnished with canellini beans and croutons.

This is delicious and a meal in itself, no need for a main course. Lots of garlic is needed and yet it does not taste too strong.

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Looking forward to our live radio show tomorrow morning from the Three Cities. I wish you a good night x

and the recipe for Kale and Canellinii Soup in Maltese

The Mediterranean Diet during Kalamita

Dieta Mediterranja featured in Kalamita

Dieta Mediterranja featured in Kalamita

An interesting journey nearly unrecorded on my blog. My book launches this week, a very special book with simple recipes following the principles of the Mediterranean Diet. Why is it so special? You can read more about it here in English.

Because I have the advantage of living a genuine Mediterranean lifestyle and the use of fresh Mediterranean ingredients on an island blessed with all the good things that life can offer.

The Mediterranean Diet is not a fantasy here or something that we aspire for, but it is the lifestyle of every man and woman in the street. Fresh ingredients literally on our doorstep, vegetables delivered to the stores a few hours after harvest and meat distributed to butchers in villages and towns around the island on the same day of slaughter.

How much fresher can it get? Absolutely impossible. And the transparency of the food chain can be easily traced because the distances are so small. For the last two years I have accompanied many farmers during harvest, I have had a slice of their life. I have seen the whole cycle of most of the local produce here.

middle pages book

My book is special to me as it was written for a special tv show, a cult programme with a huge and loyal fan base. It has been an honour to get to know the audience while cooking live a few times a week. I appreciate their participation and interaction as this is vital to the success of the show. This book has been written for them as well our radio listeners and my ever loyal readers who know that they have always been close to my heart, ever since the day I wrote my first column here.

The book is in Maltese and my second book in English will follow shortly, not a translation but completely new work.

I thank Alfred the brains and star of the show, Josef my editor and Dorian my mate.

To you all in the USA, good night x

Kalamita @ ONE TV

Kalamita @ ONE TV