Home made Calzone :)

Home made Calzone #Malta

Home made Calzone #Malta


We made calzone with a filling of Mozzarella, a ricotta mix and spinach and it was just delicious, crispy but chewy and moist at the same time.

The pizza dough recipe is the one I use these days. You will need :

For the dough:

2 1/4 Teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Tepid Water

Combine the water, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl and stir until it dissolves.
Set aside for 30 minutes, then add the flour, and mix until smooth.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead for 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.
The dough should feel smooth and elastic.
Lightly oil a bowl, and place dough inside. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Quarter the dough, and shape each piece into a ball. Cover, and let rise another 15 minutes. Makes enough dough for 4 calzones.

For each calzone you will need :

A few fresh spinach leaves
Two handfuls mozzarella cut into small cubes
Two spoons ricotta mixed with spinach, Parmesan
Two slices tomatoes

Open up the dough into a circular shape.
Place the mozzarella on top of the dough.
Then the ricotta mix
Before you seal it top with fresh spinach and slices of tomatoes.

Seal the pastry by crimping the edges of the dough with your fingers.

Make a small incision on the top, and bake until golden, in a pre heated home oven at 275 – 300 C for around 10 minutes.

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This is the way we eat pizza on an island of dreams !

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All about Halloween in the heart of the Mediterranean …..

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Halloween is here and this is one of the carved pumpkins made by Reuben’s team !

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So what’s cooking today ? What do Reuben and his team have in store for Halloween ?

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Here is a peek view of what’s coming up today !

20131021-064859.jpg Reuben’s Halloween Risotto

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And have a look at Reuben’s Gluten Free Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

My Nutty Buttery Squash with no added butter

And if you are trick or treating, a very grown up candy with Coconut, Pistachio and Venezuelan Rio Caribe Chocolate and Local ‘Bone’ Cookies for Halloween following Renato Briffa’s recipe.

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And later today, I will be posting a Pumpkin Frangipan dessert I made with Joseph specially for Halloween…

And from the team, Halloween carvings and lanterns for the kids !

Using fresh local produce from the heart of the Mediterranean !

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Roasted Plum Crumble Pie

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Life is full of imperfections. We are all full of imperfections, physical flaws that are easily visible and character flaws that most of the time go unnoticed and leaves everyone surprised when they suddenly become visible to others. But there is goodness in everyone and this applies to fruit and vegetables that appear imperfect.

Today’s pie is another of my chosen recipes for the Fall and our Halloween special preparations. It is made out of plums that were inconsistent in appearance, some parts too ripe and some too tart and I encourage you to make use of fruit that does not look as appealing. Locally in private gardens and estates, produce is cultivated in a pesticide-free environment and we are too accustomed to seeing perfect fruit that is available in large stores, specially cultivated for mass production. Do not forget the fruit in your gardens and in your local countryside…. this is how nature meant us to be … full of imperfections but with a lot of goodness inside…..

I assembled this pie in a glass pie dish with a layer of plums laced with fresh thyme and a crumble mixture following the most perfect crumble recipe from The Guardian . I baked this in the oven as one would prepare a normal crumble. After it was cooked, I layered thin slices of plums and drizzled them with thyme honey and put it back in the oven to roast the plum topping. So from imperfect plums I ended up with a very appealing roasted plum appearance arranged on Felicity Cloake’s perfect crumble….

You will need :

Plums, quite a large quantity but as much as you desire, I used 2 kg, destoned with skin on
2 spoons Demerara sugar for dusting in top layer
Caster sugar to sprinkle in plums, quantity according to your preference
I used fresh thyme leaves mixed with the bottom layer of the plums but this is optional
4 spoons honey, I use local thyme honey

For the Crumble

100g plain flour
50g ground almonds
125g chilled, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
35g demerara sugar
35g caster sugar, plus extra for the fruit as required
Handful of porridge oats

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Combine the flour, ground almonds (if using), and butter in a food processor or large bowl, and pulse briefly, or rub with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs with a few larger lumps. Add the sugars and stir through.

2. Sprinkle with a little cold water and rake through with a fork until you have a lumpy, crumbly mixture. Put this in the freezer for 10 minutes, or if making ahead, in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.

3. Meanwhile, put in half the prepared plumsin a lightly greased, shallow baking dish, and sprinkle with sugar – taste it first to see how much you think it needs. You can also add any spices at this point (½ tsp ground cinnamon or mixed spice). I sprinkled my plums with fresh thyme leaves and also two spoons of honey.

4. Arrange the crumble over the top of the fruit, don’t press it down and sprinkle with oats or nuts if using. Bake for about half an hour, until golden and bubbling

5. When the crumble has cooled down, overlap the rest of the plums on top very neatly. Drizzle two spoons of honey and some Demerara sugar and bake in a hot oven 200 C until the plums start to caramelize.

Serve hot or cold, with ice cream or custard. I personally like it without !

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The bottom layer

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And the crumble mix….

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Salmon, Fior di Latte and Walnut Tart

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Supper tonight is a simple tart with fresh poached salmon, Fior di Latte and Toasted Walnuts accompanied with a simple mixed leaf salad.

I like the texture of the finished pastry of this recipe. Always willing to try something new, I added a whole egg rather than an egg yolk to the dough and I ended up with a very workable dough with literally no cracks and no shrinkage.

For a 12 inch salmon and Fior di Latte tart, you will need:

For the pastry:

200 g plain flour
100g soft butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
Pinch of Sea Salt
Water a few spoonfuls, add one at a time until the pastry is the right consistency

Rub the flour and butter until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the salt. Break the egg and mix in using a knife. Add water, a spoonful at a time until you achieve the right consistency. Leave it in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes. Roll it out on a floured surface, roll it loosely around the rolling pin and ease it into the tart mould. Pat the pastry gently into the tart tin with your fingers. trim the edges leaving them to hang out of the edge of the tin. Follow my instructions for baking blind . Bake at 180 C for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, trim the edges with a sharp knife and allow to cool.

While the pastry cooks, prepare the filling.

You will need:

400g fresh cooked Salmon
4 Eggs
250 ml Single Cream
200 g Fior di Latte, cut into slices
6 spoons Parmegiano Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper
Walnuts, a handful, broken into pieces and pan toasted

Flake the salmon into bite size chunks and lay at the button of the tart. Season with freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle three spoons of Parmesan on top of the salmon.

Mix the eggs and cream, pour over the salmon and neatly arrange the fior di latte slices on the top. Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan on top.

Bake in an oven at 180C for 10 minutes, take out and top with toasted walnuts. These will sink slightly into the mixture but they will remain visible and make the tart look very appetizing.

Return to the oven for around 20 minutes until golden but watch it carefully as all ovens are different.

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Kourabiedes ! crescent cookies…. so light, so Greek….

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As blue as the Mediterranean waters …

I have very fond memories of living in Limassol when the kids were younger and we loved the local food. The bakeries were always brimming with traditional sweets and pastries and today I am making Kourabiedes.

You can have them plain or stuffed with dates and I am making the plain version today. These butter cookies have a very light texture as they are made with confectioners sugar and this recipe was given to me by my good neighbor Maria who said that her grandmother used a combination of almonds and walnuts … I have been asked by some of you about where to buy Rose Water in the USA

Although you can use a crescent shaped cutter, I prefer to mould them by hand as the finished effect is more rounded and enticing …. You simply form small balls from the dough and then make an indent with your thumb in the center of the ball and you will end up with a rounded 3-d crescent rather than a flat shape. These cookies are easy to make and ideal for cooking with the kids. If you wish to buy rose water online in the USA please click This recipe makes around 35 cookies.

You will need :

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar plus extra sugar for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup ground almonds
Few drops vanilla extract
Few drops rose water if available
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Tip of a teaspoon ground cloves, do not overdo it

Cream butter in a mixing bowl
Add the sugar
Continue creaming until light and fluffy
Add the ground almonds, lemon zest, vanilla extract, rose water, crushed walnuts and cloves,
Blend in flour gradually together with salt. Mix thoroughly until it forms a soft dough.
Shape into teaspoonful balls
Indent each ball in the middle with your thumb and form a crescent shape.
Place on ungreased baking sheet
Bake at 180 C for 10 to 15 minutes
Cover the bottom of a flat plate with icing sugar.
Place cookies on top and sprinkle with more icing sugar. Turn them over so that they are fully covered.
Shake off excess icing sugar and arrange on platter.

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Rolling the crescents in sugar …

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From an island bursting with sunshine in the Fall, a very moist lemon coconut tray cake….

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Those who follow my blog know about my passion for making all sorts of condiments, chutneys and jams using local fruits and vegetables. I get enormous pleasure out of cutting the fruit myself and producing these preserves that have virtually no carbon footprint. And how can you beat the freshness and purity of pesticide-free fruit that goes from the tree straight into the pan usually on the same day, all the goodness captured securely in a jar….

I always have a surplus of lemon skins as I use the juice to make natural pectin. And I preserve the skins, first in salt and then in sugar, a process that requires a bit of patience. Recently I started to add fresh herbs to the sugar in which I roll the lemons at the last stage as this simply adds more flavor.

Today I am making a lemon and coconut tray cake and I am visiting my colleagues at the newspaper. It is always a pleasure to share my recipe testing with such a convivial team. My tray cake is made with the local unwaxed lemons I was able to admire alive on the tree, lovingly nurtured by the golden sun and the Mediterranean soil that make them unique.

As my kitchen fills with the aroma of coconut and lemon enveloped in a soft cake batter, I am writing the easiest cake recipe you will ever have…… not only the easiest, but the softest, moistest cake using no mixers, no creaming or rubbing in methods, just everything stirred together with a wooden spoon. An all-in-one that does not fail …

You will need :

3 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1cup desiccated coconut
3 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 cups caster sugar
200 g butter, melted
4 eggs
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 cm deep round cake tin.
Combine all ingredients in bowl, mixing well with wooden spoon until batter is smooth.
Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for 40 minutes until light gold in color.

I covered mine in glacé icing and sprinkle dried coconut shavings and grated preserved lemons.

The newspaper this week …

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And thumbs up from the team … They like it !

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Ari’s Ultimate Quiche

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Ari came to the window of my car and dropped a small foil packet into my lap saying very quickly that she wanted me to taste last night’s supper ….

I nearly forgot about it until I felt quite hungry an hour later and returned to my car for my food supplies. I knew it would be something delicious as she is a fantastic cook. And I was certainly not disappointed in any way….. a slice of a really good home made Quiche Lorraine with great pastry and filling.

Today she sends me a photo recipe of her own quiche and tells me that the recipe is by Angela Nilsen who used to be editor of BBC Good Food Magazine . I will certainly be using this recipe in the future. Quiche Lorraine is such a classic dish, hot or cold, a light lunch or supper with a salad or even cut up into small party pieces !

You will need:

For the pastry
175g plain flour
100g cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk

For the filling
200g bacon
50g Gruyère cheese
200ml carton crème fraîche
200ml double cream
3 eggs, well beaten
pinch nutmeg

For the pastry, put the flour, butter, egg yolk and 4 tsp cold water into a food processor. Using the pulse button, process until the mix binds.
Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather into a smooth ball, then roll out as thinly as you can. Line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottomed, fluted flan tin, easing the pastry into the base with the help of your rolling pin.
Trim the pastry edges with scissors so it sits slightly above the tin (if it shrinks, it shouldn’t now go below the level of the tin). Press the pastry into the flutes, lightly prick the base with a fork, then chill for 10 mins. Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 180C.

See my instructions for baking blind

While the pastry cooks, prepare the filling.

Heat a small frying pan, tip in the lardons and fry for a couple of minutes. Drain off any liquid that comes out, then continue cooking until the lardons just start to color, but do not allow to crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Cut three quarters of the cheese into small dice and finely grate the rest. Scatter the diced cheese and fried lardons over the bottom of the pastry case.

Using a spoon, beat the crème fraîche to slacken it then slowly beat in the double cream. Mix in the beaten eggs. Season (you shouldn’t need much salt) and add nutmeg. Pour three-quarters of the filling into the pastry case.

Half-pull the oven shelf out and put the flan tin on the baking sheet. Quickly pour the rest of the filling into the pastry case – you get it right to the top this way.

Scatter the grated cheese over the top, then carefully push the shelf back into the oven. Lower the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Bake for about 25 mins, or until golden and softly set (the centre should not feel too firm).

Let the quiche settle for 4-5 mins, then remove from the tin.

Serve freshly baked, although its also good cold.

For my tip of the day for pastry leftovers, do have a look at my previous posting on Cheese and Chive Biscuits

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The newspaper

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Grown up trick or treating …Coconut Candy with Pistachios and Venezuelan Rio Caribe Chocolate

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This is grown up trick or treating candy, a rich, sweet coconut base topped with 72% Rio Caribe Venezuelan Single Estate Chocolate by artisan cacao farmer Willie Harcourt-Cooze. The flavor of this chocolate is wonderful and the bitter complex tones compliment the sweetness of the coconut layer. I toast and toss the pistachios in a pan and the combination is such a treat ! It needs no baking and I left the coconut base in the refrigerator last evening and topped it with melted chocolate first thing this morning and back into the fridge for a few more hours … It is very easy to make !

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You will need :

200 g condensed milk
100 g desiccated coconut
220 g confectioners sugar
200g dark chocolate if you want a thin layer, I doubled this for a thick layer
Pistachios, a small packet

Mix the condensed milk and coconut together.
Add enough icing sugar to form a stiff dough.
Prepare a tray and cover with cling film.
Spoon the coconut mix onto the cling film in the bowl.
Flatten with a spoon
Place in the fridge overnight.
Melt the chocolate according to instructions.
Pour over the coconut layer.
Dry roast the pistachios in a pan over the hob. Toss otherwise they will burn.
Allow to cool for a minute and pour the nuts evenly on top of the melted chocolate.
Refrigerate again for toe hours.
Form small balls and leave to set on a tray until all the mixture is used.
Place the tray into the refrigerator to set (overnight is best).
Coat the ball in melted chocolate and leave to set.
This is just like eating Bounty bars.
Time is setting time; minimum would be 4 hours.
Cut when they have set.

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Sunday night, a peaceful city asleep …….

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Coconut candy with Rio Caribe Venezualian Chocolate and Pistachios

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Nutty Buttery Squash (with no added butter! )

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This dish is all about simplicity, texture and flavor. It is one of my favorite recipes, because it is ridiculously simple and out-of-this-world delicious. It is vegetarian, gluten free and can be used as a starter on a bed of leaves with Parmesan shavings, crumbled ricotta or feta, as a side to accompany any meal or even as a warm or cold salad served as a main course.

And most people look at me in disbelief when I say that I simply wash the butternut squash and leave the skin on, no peeling. The skin is the best part, both nutritionally and in flavor. It softens up when its roasted and just introduces a different texture, with the buttery sweetness of the flesh and the caramelized, slightly charred edged skin. I even leave the seeds and the result is a nutty buttery treat with no added butter and no added nuts. All the natural flavors as they are meant to be….After eating this you will understand why it’s called butternut !

I have a bunch of fresh herbs and I add sage leaves to the roasting pan. They crisp up and I find the combination of these flavors irresistible.

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You will need :

1 butternut squash regular size
Touch of olive oil
Maldon Salt
Fresh sage leaves
Foil to cover bottom of tray

Preheat oven to 170 C

Line an oven tray with tinfoil to avoid a lot of cleaning after.

Remove the stalk from the butter nut squash if it has one and cut off the other end and discard.

Wash the butternut squash and dry it.

Chop up into cubes and leave the seeds and skin on.

Drizzle not more than one spoon of olive oil on the bottom of the tray.

Put the chopped butternut squash and sage leaves on the tray and mix then using your hands so that the oil slightly coats the butternut squash.

I have fresh sage leaves at home but you can leave them out if you do not have them available.

Flatten the squash cubes so that you only have one layer. Add a few more age leaves if desired.

Season with  Sea Salt.

Place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the cubes are cooked through and some of the corners are starting to crisp.

Serve as a salad with arugula or fresh leaves or simply alone as a side. The sage leaves are delicious even eaten alone !

I served mine with fresh local soft cheeses cut into small pieces. It is delicious …

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Still summer in October and Shakshuka for supper ….. adapted from Joy of Kosher

The beauty of the island is captured in the photo I took early this morning. As we approach the end of October, there is no sign of winter yet and we are having a long extended summer. The sea is calm and what peaceful and glorious days we are still enjoying…..truly an island blessed with all the good things in life…..

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I met with a charming couple from Israel as I came down the lift of the hotel and they told me how they loved the island…. the food, weather, architecture, the scenery and the history and most of all how they felt so welcome and at home as everyone was so helpful….. as we were chatting about food, I mentioned an Israeli recipe I have on my ‘to try’ list and got more some more hints on how to make it. They also told me that if I visit Tel Aviv, I must try the dish at Dr Shakshuka.

So today I am preparing Shakshuka for supper using a recipe from Jamie Geller’s book Joy of Kosher. I make a few minor changes and I use chili flakes instead of sweet paprika and replace halloumi cheese with a fresh soft goats cheeselet made on the island. I add fresh marjoram as I have a bunch of freshly cut herbs and I like to use them within a couple of days … and our visitors from Israel recommend plenty garlic !

I love Jamie Geller’s blog and recipes which are so practical as she firmly believes that you can produce wonderful meals without spending hours in the kitchen. I would like to try her recipe for challah next week.

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For the Shakshouka you will need :

1 teaspoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1 large can chopped peeled tomatoes with juice
Maldon Salt and lots of fresh ground pepper
I used half a local fresh goats cheeselet, chopped up, Jamie Geller uses Halloumi
4 eggs
Chopped parsley and fresh marjoram for garnish

Heat butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and golden brown. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
Add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Crack the eggs over sauce one at at a time. Cook until yolks are just set.
During the last minute add the chopped up cheeselet.
Garnish with parsley and fresh marjoram.
Serve immediately.

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And the fresh local goats cheeselet and fresh marjoram…
It’s wholesome, economical and heart warming … good old fashioned cooking …
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