No bake coconut chocolate cherry slice

coconut chocolate cherry slice

Coconut chocolate cherry slice photo taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

‘An incredibly quick dessert, ideal for the hot summer days. It is vegan, gluten free, lactose free and has no added processed sugar. Worth a try if you are reading this recipe as it will not disappoint’

cherry coconut chocolate credit george aquilina

Coconut Chocolate Cherry no bake slice, photo take by George Aquilina during a live tv show

You will need:
2 cups coconut
2 tablespoons agave
1 vanilla pod
2 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil
400g sugar free dairy free chocolate

a tart tin with a loose bottom
cling film
10 cherries

Place the coconut, agave, seeds from the vanilla pod and cold pressed coconut oil in a blender and pulse until it forms a paste.
Cover the bottom part of the tart dish with cling film.
Place the mixture in the tart dish and press down by using a spatula.
Place in the fridge for an hour.
Melt the chocolate by placing in a microwave or bain marie.
Pour the chocolate over the coconut

Place in the fridge over night or the freezer if you are not going to serve immediately.  Before serving dip the cherries in melted chocolate and place on top of the tart.

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Slice

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Slice, photo taken during a live tv show by Charles Vassallo

Tip:  This tart was made in a rush during a live tv show without being placed int the fridge long enough to set.  You can have a must neater finish by allowing the tart to set overnight in the fridge or freezer before decorating.

I use agave and coconut oil by Good Earth, chocolate by Valor, vanilla by Schwartz, cherries by Big Fresh, tart tin by Tescoma, coconut by St Georges Brand, cling film by AMC, decorative tableware by Loft.

Pasta Aglio Olio with Vegetable Noodles

40. a Vegetable Spaghetti LGFE (Daniel Balzan)

Aglio Oglio with broad beans and vegetable noodles, tableware C&H Bartoli, photo Daniel Balzan

‘this pasta dish includes spiralized carrot and courgette noodles and is topped with fresh broad beans, ah so good’

You will need:
250g linguine
125g courgettes
125g carrots
1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
A pinch of dried chili
Mint to garnish

Prepare a pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Put the oil,garlic and chili flakes in a large pan over low heat and cook gently for around 3 minutes. Add the parsley and mint to the pan and turn off the heat.

Use a spiralizer to make spaghetti with the carrots and courgettes. Drain the pasta and reserve one cup of the cooking liquid. When the oil mixture has cooled down add half a cup of pasta cooking water and reduce over medium heat by half. Add the pasta and stir. Add more pasta water a little at a time for the sauce to thicken until the consistency is how you prefer it. Add the carrot and courgette spaghetti and mix in with the pasta and sauce. Immediately remove from the heat and serve.

Tip: To use up any leftovers beat the remaining pasta with some eggs to make an omelette.

I use linguine by Pasta Rummo, vegetables by Big Fresh, spices and dried herbs by Schwarts, fresh potted herbs by Callus Garden Centre, and a spiralizer by Tescoma

Blueberry Loaf fortified with Aronia [Chokeberries]

Blueberry and Aronia Cake goodfoodeveryday

Blueberry Loaf fortified with Aronia [Chokeberries]               Photo by George Aquilina during a live tv show

‘Blueberries are a crowd pleaser and to fortify the loaf, I use Aronia [chokeberry] in a variety of forms, as dried fruits and concentrate in juice and powder form’

You will need:

280g self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g mascarpone
a pinch of salt
100ml coconut milk
4 tablespoons agave
1 tablespoon organic apple vinegar
3 eggs
300g blueberries
150g dried aronia berries [chokeberry]
1 tablespoon concentrated Aronia in powder form [chokeberry]
1 tablespoon concentrated Aronia in liquid form [chokeberry]

Preheat the oven to 160C.
Prepare a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7 cm) with baking spray
In a bowl mix the mascarpone, 100g of the fresh blueberries, coconut milk, concentrated aronia liquid, organic apple vinegar, agave,eggs and vanilla and use a hand blender to mix to a smooth consistency.
Sift the self raising flour twice. Add the bicarbonate of soda, salt, dried aronia berries, 100g of the fresh blueberries and concentrated aronia powder.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a large metal spoon to fold in the mixture. Check for a dropping consistency and if necessary add some water, a spoonful at a time. Do not over mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Top with the remainder of the fresh blueberries.
Bake for 40 minutes. Test with a skewer and allow to cool in the loaf tin before removing.

‘Tip: Aronia/Chokeberries are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants.  The taste is not particularly sweet and if you like a more intense sweetness add 2 tablespoons of sugar or the equivalent of stevia to this recipe.’

My blueberries and fruits come from Big Fresh,  mascarpone by Zappala, vanilla by Schwartz, aronia dried berries by Noberasco, coconut milk by Alpro and agave at Good Earth, loaf tin and kitchenware by Tescoma, Aronia concentrate in liquid and powder form by Aroniada available from J Calleja Import & Export, self raising flour by St Georges Brand.

South African Corn Bread

south african cornbread goodfoodeveryday

                                            South African Corn Bread [Mealie Bread]                                             Photo by Marconia Schembri during a live tv show    

‘A delicious savory quick all-in-one bake that is great as a snack or to accompany a soup or salad.’

You will need:
500g self raising four
150g cheddar
200g sweetcorn
400ml yoghurt
2 eggs
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon natural stock powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon fresh marjoram, finely chopped
pinch of dried marjoram
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season

For the top: 50g extra grated cheddar and 50g extra sweetcorn
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Cook the onion in the olive oil on low heat until it is translucent.  Place on kitchen towel to absorb the extra oil and allow to cool.
Sift the flour twice into a large bowl.  Add the salt, pepper, dried marjoram, smoked paprika, natural stock powder and mix gently making sure that all the bits of sweetcorn and onion are covered with flour.
In a separate bowl mix well the eggs, yoghurt, fresh herbs and grated cheddar.
Prepare a loaf tin by brushing it lightly with olive oil or use a baking spray.
Gently and firmly use a large metal spoon to mix in the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
Sprinkle the extra cheddar cheese and sweetcorn on top.
Bake for 35 minutes.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve warm


Tip:  This loaf freezes well.  Slice and toast it, then top it with scrambled eggs for a very delicious breakfast or light meal

I use sweetcorn by 3 leaves, sea salt, pepper smoked paprika and dried marjoram by Schwartz, natural stock cubes by Kallo at Good Earth, eggs and vegetables by Big Fresh, cheddar by Experia the Deli and self raising flour by St Georges Brand.

Lemon Ricotta Linguine with Lamb’s Lettuce

22. Quick Lemon Ricotta Linguine LGFE (Illumina Media)

Linguine with ricotta, lambs lettuce and lemon [This photo was taken during a live tv show by Illumina Media]

‘This is a perfect light pasta dish for the summer prepared in the same amount of time it takes to cook the pasta’

500g linguine
salt for pasta water

For the sauce:
1 cup reserved pasta water
150g lambs lettuce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
200g ricotta
75g parmesan
Lemon Pepper to season
To Serve: Freshly grated parmesan

Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water.

Reserve a cup of the pasta water when you drain the pasta.

Place the ricotta, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, half the pasta water and parmesan in a container. Add some lemon pepper. Use a hand blender to combine all the ingredients together until it forms a smooth paste.

Heat the rest of the olive oil on medium heat in a large flat saucepan. Add the blended ricotta mix. Add the linguine and stir gently then the pasta water little by little until the consistency of the sauce is creamy and coats the pasta. Add the lambs lettuce and garnish with more parmesan, lemon pepper and lemon segments. Serve immediately.

‘Lea’s tip: the starch contained in the pasta water produces a thick creamy consistency when added to the sauce without the addition of cream or butter. Omit adding salt to the sauce as the saltiness from the pasta water is usually sufficient.’

I use linguine by Pasta Rummo, ricotta by Zappala, lemon pepper by Schwartz, fresh vegetables by Big Fresh and parmesan and other cheeses by Experia the Deli.

A quick plate of pasta

baked spaghetti omelette credit felix cesare.jpg

Baked Spaghetti Omelette and more quick pasta dishes in today’s Sunday Times [Photography, Felix Cesare]

Preparing meals does not have to be complicated and making the most of fresh local produce enables us to cook quick meals in a few simple steps. Many of us enjoy the process of cooking in a relaxed way and pasta is the one dish that reminds me of being in my grandmother’s kitchen perched on a…

Source: A quick plate of pasta The Sunday Times of Malta

‘I use Pasta Rummo, only the best when it comes to pasta:)

Baked Fig Ricotta Cheesecake (gluten free)

fig cheese cake illumina media.jpg

Baked fig cheesecake, photo Illumina Media [the tart in this photo was baked during a live tv show]

‘There are a few varieties of Maltese figs and these in my cheesecake are known as ‘bajtar ta’ San Gwann’ [St John’s Figs] and come to harvest at the end of spring and beginning of summer.  This fig does not develop the rich flavor, sweetness or vibrant colours of the other two varieties that ripen later in the summer.  The colour is greenish white and although they are delicious, they lack the sweetness to produce a dessert without the use of additional sweetener.  If you live on the island, enjoy them when you find them as the season is very short.  Summer is here.’ 

You will need:

For the base
120g oatcakes
2 teaspoons cold pressed coconut oil
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons peanut butter

For the filing
500g fresh figs
juice of 1/2 lemon
500g ricotta
200g mascarpone
200g yoghurt
4 eggs
Stevia [the equivalent of 120g, check the conversion table on your packet]
2 tablespoons cornflour

[21 cm springform dish]

To decorate, an extra 200g of fresh figs and 4 tablespoons of warm maple syrup

Heat the oven to 200C. Melt the coconut oil on low heat and add the chocolate powder.
Use a blender to grind the biscuits and add the peanut butter. Mix all the base ingredients in and bring it to a smooth paste by using a hand blender.

Line the bottom of a springform dish with baking paper. Place the mixture in the tin and press down using a large spoon dipped in water. Place in the freezer to set.

Make the filling by mixing all the ingredients together and blending until you have a smooth paste. Pour the batter over the base of the cheesecake. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the mixture sets. Turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven until it cools down. Place in the fridge overnight preferably. Decorate with quartered fresh figs and leave the skin on. Brush with warm maple syrup just before serving.

‘Tip:leave the cheesecake to cool slowly in the oven to avoid a cracked surface ‘

Bajtar ta San Gwann (Breba Maltese Figs).jpg

Bajtar ta San Gwann [Maltese Breba Figs] in season around late May/beginning of June  [Photo Illumina Media, this photo was taken during a live tv show]

 My figs, lemons and eggs come from Big Fresh, stevia by Tate & Lyle, ricotta and mascarpone by Zappala and other ingredients by Good Earth.

Fresh Herb Amaranth

amaranth 3

Fresh Herb Amaranth instead of polenta or mashed potato [Photography Felix Cesare, the food in this photo was cooked during a live tv programme]

‘Everyone loved this fresh herb Amaranth.  It has a consistency of polenta when cooked and the uncooked grains are similar to quinoa.  I  use water as a base instead of cream or milk as the consistency is so creamy.  It is gluten free and protein rich.  I served it with chick peas and fresh broad beans’.

You will need:

1 cup amaranth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 natural stock cube
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 onion, finely chopped
6 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs and I use a mix of mint, basil and tarragon
pinch of dried provence herbs
1/2 cup red cabbage, finely shredded and chopped
Black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare the herbs by finely chopping them and the red cabbage by shredding and chopping then immersing completely in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and leave aside.

Saute the onion on low heat in one tablespoon of olive oil.  When it becomes translucent add the garlic but do not cook for more than one minute to avoid burning and retain a gentle flavor. Remove from heat.  It will carry on cooking once it is added to the amaranth.

Bring the water with the stock cube to boil and add the amaranth. Add the dried herbs. Reduce the heat and cook using a wooden spoon to stir constantly. After 5 minutes, add the cooked onion and garlic.  Keep cooking and the mixture will get thick and bubbly. Keep a jug of water near you and add water a little at a time as it gets absorbed. Taste to check if the amaranth is cooked enough then add the herbs, finely shredded herbs and olive oil. Lightly stir in and serve as an accompaniment to your main dish.

‘Tip: Add a couple of spoons of amaranth to thicken a soup’

My ingredients for this recipe are by Good Earth with fresh vegetables and herbs by Big Fresh.

Quick cooking: homemade burgers and dips

We all spend less time in the kitchen during the hot summer months. When we have family occasions, though, it is usually easier to stay in and dine at home. Today’s recipes will help with preparing some quick, and even perhaps last minute, meals as most of the ingredients are stocked in our…

Source: The Sunday Times of Malta Quick cooking: homemade burgers and dips

Roasted fennel potatoes and chicken bites

Roast chicken breast and potatoes illumina.jpg

Roasted fennel potatoes and chicken bites, photo Illumina Media  [the food in this photo was prepared for a live audience on TV]

‘This one-pot roast with fennel potatoes and bite size boneless chicken pieces  can be prepared in 5 minutes, then roasted in the oven for 55 minutes making a fresh meal in an hour.   You can barely distinguish the chicken from the potatoes after they are cooked and they are also delicious served cold on toothpicks with drinks.   

In Malta roasted fennel potatoes are nearly a must for Sunday lunch.’

You will need:
500g medium size potatoes
500 g chicken breast
1 large purple onion
1 natural stock cube in 50 ml water
2 tablespoons fennel
4 tablespoons olive oil plus more to drizzle prebaking if desired
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
A few fresh marjoram leaves
Sea Salt and Freshly Crushed Pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.
Chop the onion into thin slices.
Lightly crush the fennel.
Cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces.
Wash the potatoes and chop them into bite size pieces skin on.
Add the chicken pieces, lemon zest and onion slices to the potatoes. Add the olive oil.
Use your hands to turn them over a few times so that all the pieces are coated in olive oil Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Prepare an ovenproof dish by brushing it lightly with olive oil.
Place the chicken, onions and potatoes into an ovenproof dish.
Pour the stock.
Scatter the fennel seeds and marjoram leaves on top.
Season again with more pepper.
Drizzle some more olive oil.
Roast at 200C for 40 minutes. Check and if the top is crispy enough for you lower the oven temperature to 180C for the last 15 minutes. (we like ours very crispy)
Allow to rest for 10 minutes uncovered before serving.

Tip: ‘Scatter some pieces of Maltese Sausage meat before you add the fennel seeds for more amazing flavors’

My fresh herbs and vegetables come from Big Fresh, chicken and Maltese Sausage from Falzon Butcher, fennel seeds by Schwartz, natural stock cubes by Kallo at Good Earth