Cooking with Aquafaba

LGFE aquafaba sponge slices with rhubarb compote and pomegranates (Stefan Stafrace)

Aquafaba sponge slices with aquafaba cream and rhubarb compote in today’s Sunday Times

Aquafaba must be one of the most amazing culinary discoveries of all time and it is the name that refers to chickpea water. More recipes in today’s Sunday Times.

Source: Sunday Times of Malta: Cooking with Aquafaba

Super Fruit Salad

blueberry fruit salad noberasco

I love Super Frutti by Noberasco, photo Illumina Media 

For a fruit salad with a difference, scoop out the flesh of a dragon fruit and use the shell as as serving bowl.

Source: Recipe: Super fruit salad by Noberasco

Pumpkin Tiramisu is my healthier #recipeoftheday

pumpkin tiramisu

Coconut Sugar is available from Dical House [Photos: Illumina Media]

I avoid preparing food that contains raw eggs and this dessert is influenced by Tiramisu with the addition of pumpkin. I like to make it in individual portions and the earthy flavor of natural dark coconut sugar complements the flavors of this dish.

Source: Recipe: Pumpkin Tiramisu

Egg-free Meringues using chickpea water


Egg Free Meringues, Photography Stefan Stafrace, as seen on tv

‘This must be one of the most amazing culinary inventions. Who would have thought it was possible to have egg-free meringues?    Never again will I discard the liquid from a can of chickpeas down the drain.  Simply replacing eggs with the water from a can of chickpeas produces the lightest meringue.  Its cholesterol free, nearly calorie free, egg free and FREE and it now has the more alluring name of Aquafaba!  Thank you Goose :)

[three tablespoons of chickpea water equals one egg]’

You will need:

Liquid from out of one a can of chickpeas (I use Happy Chef)
100g sugar
a pinch of cream of tartar
2 drops vanilla

Use an electric mixer to whip up the meringue by beating the canned chickpea liquid for 10 to 15 minutes until it forms peaks.  Carry on beating and add the sugar, a spoonful at a time until the mixture is firm.   At the end fold in a pinch of cream of tartar and 2 drops of vanilla.

Prepare a baking dish with baking paper.

Place into a piping bag or drop large spoonfuls on the baking paper.  Bake at 100C for 2 hour and 1/2 hours. Do not open the oven at any time.  Turn off the heat and leave overnight if possible.

‘On Friday’s tv show, I made a light egg free sponge using aquafaba and topped it with dairy free, nearly calorie free aquafaba cream sweetened with stevia.  I finished it off with a rhubarb compote and fresh pomegranate.’

International year of pulses

Pulses are ancient and have been part of the human diet for a very long time. They are inexpensive, nutritious and rich in fibre and protein. They are also low in fat and have a low glycemic index, which means they provide a steady and slow source of energy. Moreover, they provide a significant…

Source: International year of pulses

Sunday times big

In today’s Sunday Times, International Year of Pulese

Muffins with Noberasco’s dried Pithaya and Chia Seeds

pithaya muffins 3

Dragon Fruit [Pithaya] Muffins as seen on TV

Beautiful and healthy dried Dragon Fruit  packed with goodness is now  available locally and these super healthy muffins are a great addition to any lunch box or picnic.  See my #recipeoftheday in Times of Malta

Source: Pithaya and Chia Seed Muffins by Noberasco

When you place your Noberasco order online , take advantage of my 20% discount offer by adding the code 20%Lea at checkout !

Filo Pastizzi with naspli and soft gbejna

naspli gbejniet pasties 4

Using left over filo to make these medlar [naspli] triangles.  In the picture with village biscuits [biskottini tar rahal]

‘The filo pastry I use is the best.  You will find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.  

I made these pastries using filo from the leftovers of a pie 5 days before.  It refrigerates well and unlike other filo pastry does not tend to dry up.  The pastizzi [diamond shaped pastries] are flaky and a healthier alternative to the shop bought ones.   If you make them using fresh filo you will have a much smoother finish.  

The combination of soft gbejna, medlars [naspli] and honey is amazing’

You will need to make a fruit compote and some other ingredients:

2 soft fresh gbejna, chopped up into small squares
6 sheets filo pastry cut into long strips

For the compote you will need:
12 medlars, pitted and roughly chopped with skin on
1 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 vanilla pod
3 tablespoons water

Place all the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir and bring the mix to a gentle boil.  Continue cooking until the liquid in the pan has reduced.  Taste and add more honey to suit your preferences.  Allow to cool.

naspli gbejniet pasties 2.jpg

Preheat the oven to 170C.  Brush a baking tray with olive oil.

Cut the filo pastry into strips and lay out each strip onto a clean surface.  Brush it with olive oil.  Place a teaspoon of the medlar compote in the corner of the filo strip closest to you.  On top of that place a small piece of chopped fresh gbejna.

Fold the pastry diagonally to create a triangle shape.  Continue folding into a triangle shape.  Brush the surface with olive oil and place on the baking tray.

Continue making the pastizzi until you have used up all the filling and gbejnas.

Place in a preheated oven and bake for around 20 minutes until they are cripsy.

Take out of the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Serve warm with more honey if desired.  They are also delicious cold.


Raspberry Plum Clafoutis

clafoutis 1

As seen on TV plum and raspberry clafoutis [Photography, Illumina Media]

‘Clafoutis is so easy to make.  The best result is to make the batter and leave it to rest for an hour before using.  If you are expecting guests, prepare the fruit and the batter in advance and just before dinner you can mix the clafoutis and bake it to serve warm with ice cream.  I like to use self raising flour and this makes it more cakey but still retains its pancake texture’

For the clafoutis you will need:
250g plums
150g raspberries
3 eggs
1/2 cup self raising flour
the seeds of one vanilla pod
a few drops of almond essence
a pinch of cinnamon
a few drops of rosewater
4 tablespoons stevia
330ml milk

a shallow oven proof dish prepared with baking spray

Preheat the oven 180ºC.

Prepare the fruit.  Cut up the plums into thin slicing leaving the skin on.

Use a hand blender to mix the eggs, vanilla, almond extract, stevia and milk.  Add the flour and carry on blending until  you have a smooth consistency.  Allow to rest for an hour if you have time.

Arrange the plums on the dish and pour the batter over the plums.  Then add the raspberries.

Bake the clafoutis for around 35 to 40 minutes until it sets.  Because I use self raising flour it will rise slightly.  For clafoutis the traditional way use plain flour.

Serve hot with ice cream or cold with a cup of tea.

mini clafoutis.jpg

I used the left over batter to make mini clafoutis in a muffin tin [Photography Illumina Media]

Cooking with stevia

Blueberry Traybake [Photo: Felix Cesare]

Stevia is the answer if you want your sweet treats with less calories. For the past few years I have focused on creating recipes that eliminate the use of processed sugar and butter. Although there are a number of alternative natural sweeteners available, such as agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar…

Source: Cooking with stevia, Sunday Times of Malta

Photography: Stefan Stafrace and Felix Cesare

Pasta e Ceci

Pasta e ceci 8

Used a mix of fresh and dried chickpeas.  To add texture and heighten the flavor I cook half of the fresh chickpeas and add more during the last 5 minutes of cooking time and of course raw chickpeas are added to top the dish just before serving.  Tableware: C&H Bartoli

This dish is made with ordinary ingredients found in nearly every Mediterranean kitchen.

The fresh chickpeas [ciccri tal-qatta] are in season right now, a very short season. I use a mix of fresh and dried chickpeas and when fresh chickpeas are not in season, this pasta is just as delicious with dried chickpeas.

Pasta e ceci 1

Fresh chickpeas are sold in large bundles.  You need patience and time to shell them but it is worth it.

Use approximately equal amounts of fresh and dried chickpeas.

Cook the dried chickpeas in plenty of water.  If you have not soaked them, add 1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda once the water starts to boil, then lower the heat and cook until they soften.

You will need:
500g pasta
200g fresh chickpeas
200g  chickpeas (cooked and drained)
4 large tomatoes, chopped
70g pancetta, chopped
2 anchovy fillets
natural no-additive stock cube
1 large onion finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, grated
150g canned chopped tomatoes
a handful of fresh mint leaves
a handful of parsley
olive oil
salt and pepper
freshly grated pecorino cheese to serve

Drizzle some olive oil into a heavy pan and gently cook the chopped garlic and onion on low heat. Add the pancetta and anchovies, cook for 5 minutes.  Add half the cooked chickpeas, then half the parsley and mint. Add the stock cube and 400ml water. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and top with more water just to cover the pasta. Stir and add the tinned tomatoes and half the fresh chickpeas.
When the pasta is nearly cooked add half of the rest of the chickpeas and keep some aside to garnish the dish.
pasta e ceci 9
Drizzle some olive oil. Garnish with fresh mint and parsley, some fresh chopped tomatoes and some fresh uncooked chickpeas.  Season with ground pepper and serve immediately with grated pecorino cheese.