Green Beans, simply cooked our way …

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Green beans, locally grown and so simply cooked but delicious. For the recipe visit Littlerock

Butter beans with garlic, parsley and tulbaghia

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This butter bean dish is very popular as an appetizer on the island. I also like it served as a side with grilled fresh fish or meats. As well as using garlic which is one of the main ingredients, I have also used tulbaghia which has a lot of flavor and leaves no bad breath!, also used in a recipe here. The flowers are also edible but do remember just a few, do not overdo it.

And for the butter beans with garlic and parsley you will need :

200g dried Butterbeans
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
a handful of parsley leaves
5 tablespoons good olive oil, adjust according to preference
A squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
6 strands tulbaghia

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Soak the dried butter beans overnight.
Rinse a few times and drain off the excess water.
Immerse in cold water in a saucepan.
Once the water starts to boil, simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain the water.
Chop the fresh parsley. Add to butter beans. Mix gently.
Chop the fresh garlic and 6 strands of tulbaghia. Keep flowers aside.
Add to butter beans and mix in gently.
Add the olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Decorate with some tulbaghia petals.
This dish can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.

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Simply Mediterranean, a weekday breakfast

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Simplicity is always best and nothing better than seasonal fruit in the morning mixed with fresh local yoghurt. If it is too tart for you add a teaspoon of honey or carob syrup.

Pomegranates with ruby red seeds, so full of antioxidants and vitamins, in season now and amazing as they are, with very little preparation and time required.

Pumpkin harvest and a pie

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‘A traditional local pie associated with the northern village of Manikata and the town of Mosta’

 

For the Sesame seed crust you will need:

800g plain flour
A pinch of salt
125g butter
125ml olive oil
2 eggs
25g sesame seed.
cold water to bind

1 egg for pastry egg wash

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Sift the flour and add the salt. Add the chopped up bits of butter and rub in. Mix. Add the olive oil and rub in. Add the eggs, in eat a time and if necessary add cold water, a spin each time to bind the dough. Knead in the sesame seeds. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

For Elizabeth’s filling you will need :

1 kilo partially boiled pumpkin, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, chopped up
1 garlic clove, chopped up
12 olives, stone removed, chopped
25g raisins
25g anchovies
169g canned tuna
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
200g rice
1/2 tablespoon good oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Heat up the oil and sauté the onion and garlic. Add the pumpkin and cook on low heat. Add the rice, cook for two minutes and mix in the anchovies and olives. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat until the pumpkin softens up. Do not let the mixture dry up and add more water if necessary, a few spoonfuls at a time.

Take out pastry from fridge. Roll it out on a clean floured surface.

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Grease a deep pie dish. Roll the pastry round the rolling pin and drop into the pie dish. Press it in gently. Trim it. Scatter a spoon of raw rice onto the bottom of the pie dish so that the pastry remains crispy as the raw rice will absorb any liquid.

Spoon the filling into the dish. Flatten. Cover with pastry.
Beat an egg and brush on some egg wash onto the exposed pastry parts.
Bake at 160 C for an hour, the first 30 minutes on the bottom shelf so that the bottom of the pie cooks to a crispy texture, otherwise it will end up being soggy. Transfer to middle shelf after half an hour.

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My flour comes from St Georges Brand, sesame seeds from Schwartz and organic pumpkin from Barbuto in Sicily.

Penne with Aubergines and Fresh Herbs

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So simple and straighforward, everyone loves this dish. It is one of our recipes from the Mid Morning Show. I always add dried mint whenever i use fresh mint, just a touch, it seems to bring out more of a rounded flavor and gives the overall taste more depth without the addition of too many flavors.

You will need :

1 regular size eggplant, cut into cubes
2 cans of chopped tomatoes or 8 fresh ones, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 spoon good oil
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1/2teaspoon dried mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Fresh curd cheese for scattering on the top but if not available use 50g ricotta crumbled up

Heat the oil in the saucepan. Saute the eggplant cubes. When they are cooked add the grated garlic, dried mint and tomatoes. Season and leave to cook covered on low heat for 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh herbs.
Cook the penne in a pan according to instructions on the packet. Drain.
Add the pasta to the sauce and plate.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves and scatter the curd cheese (gbejna) or crumbled ricotta.
Serve.

20141026-062422.jpg Getting ready for Halloween, The festival of pumpkins in Manikata today and I feature Mid Morning Show and our food programme every Wednesday on 92.7 FM.

And for the recipe in Maltese click here 🙂

Wild Arugula and Barley Salad

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The leaves of wild arugula [Diplotaxis tenuifolia] that grows prolifically on the island are sharp and tangy and the edible flowers of this crop delicately sweet with honey undertones.

It makes excellent salads and I am told that the leaves were boiled, strained and the infusion used to help digestion.

And to make my lunch today’ I have used:

Two handfuls of wild rocket.
50g cooked barley (I soaked a full packet overnight and boiled it for an hour)
Sea Salt
1 tablespoon good olive oil
A squeeze of lemon
15g Hard Goats cheese, coarsely grated

Remove the leaves from the stalks of the wild rocket. Wash and drain it.
Sprinkle a layer of goats cheese into a salad bowl, then the leaves and barley.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with a touch of sea salt.
Garnish with a few wild rocket flowers.
Serve.

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Quince, hawthorn and wild arugula

Quince, hawthorn and wild arugula in season this month featured on Mediterranean News today! take a peak … #buylocal

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Pork Meatballs with haricot beans in tomato sauce

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This dish has great flavors, great textures. I used gluten free oats to coat/bind the meatballs rather than bread crumbs or flour. I tend to use oats now for this purpose and for giving a bit of texture for example to dishes like these ricotta stuffed zucchini .

The sauce is with fresh tomatoes and red wine. Smoked paprika in the mince and herbs with a touch of chili in the sauce. I used dried haricot beans, simply soak overnight, rinse and mine took 35 minites to cook. The cookimg time depends on the bean and how long it has been packaged, so taste the beans after half an hour of cooking to check on their tenderness. Do not overcook them.

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You will need :

For the http://www.majjaltamalta.com/ meatballs
500g fresh pork mince
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 1/2 cups oats
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 spoon parsley, finely chopped
Seasoning with salt and pepper
1 egg
Baking paper

Preheat oven to 200C

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Combine all ingredients together only using 1/2 cup oats.
Form small meatballs
Scatter the rest of the oats on a clean surface and roll the meatballs in them.
Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
Bake for half an hour in a hot oven.

For the sauce
1 kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 onion
1 giant clove garlic or 4 small ones
A spoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon Dried Mixed Herbs
1/4 teaspoon chili powder ( leave out if you do not enjoy a hint of spicy 🙂
250 ml good red wine
Seasoning of salt and pepper

Parsley for garnish
200g haricot or navy beans
Bay leaf for cooking the beans. (See instructions at the top of this post to cook dried haricot beans. If you don’t have time use a
canned beans)

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Heat the oil on medium heat and add all the ingredients together without the wine
Cook through. Add the wine, cook for half an hour on low heat until the onion softens. Do not allow to dry and add some water if necessary. Turn off heat. Allow to cool. Blend until smooth. Return to heat. Add the haricot beans but leave some aside for garnish.

Add the meatballs. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the rest of the beans and parsley.
Serve. Left overs are great the next day as the meatballs soak in all the flavors from the sauce but the appearance is more mushy.

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