Quince and carob are old Mediterranean ingredients and although still available here, seldom used. Bring back the old I think, and keep part of our identity in a world today where eating is becoming so eclectic and universal. A good thing as long as we remember the roots.
For this so delicious and yummy cake you will need:
1 1/2 cups oil
2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
A few drops vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 quinces, poached with skin on with two spoons of carob syrup and 1/2 teaspoon of whole cloves, and the juice of one lemon, cooked until softened and then whizzed to a pulp
3 cups self raising flour
Grated rind of 1/4 lemon
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Prepare a cake tray covered with baking paper.
Beat the oil with the sugar and eggs. Whisk them together until they are well blended.
In a separate bowl sieve the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
Add the quince purée to the oil mixture and blend in. Use a metal spoon to combine the flour mixture, adding it in a little at a time. Do not overmix. I sprinkled some cranberries on mine to give it a festive touch.
Bake for 40 minutes.
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Bulgar wheat in all sizes is one of my most favorite ingredients right now. And mixed with flat leaf parsley and other vegetables, it always makes a wonderful salad.
You will need:
4 cups chopped tomato
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup uncooked bulgur, here I use fine, soaked for 1 hours and water drained out
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon dried mint
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients, leaving the oil out. Toss. Stir in oil and mix. It is really lovely :). You can substitute the tomato with butternut squash cooked the the oven skin on. It is so delicious too !
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We capture the essence of being an American on a Mediterranean island blessed with so much.
No added refined sugar, wheat free and you can swap the chocolate chips with dried fruit.
And for the biscuits you will need:
35g Ground Almonds
280g Cooked Quinoa, according to instructions on pack
1 teaspoon baking powder (gf)
50 g dark chocolate chips or chopped
2 egg whites
100g peanut butter
a few drops good vanilla extract
Pinch Sea Salt
Combine the peanut butter, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract.
Mix together separately the ground almonds, quinoa, baking powder, chocolate chips, coconut and salt.
Stir in the egg whites and mix well.
Add the peanut butter, applesauce mix and combine.
Shape into balls and flatten into cookie shapes.
Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 170C for about 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool as they are quite soft when they come out of the oven.
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Today, a small batch of tangerine marmalade with no artificial additives and pectin free. Cut and preserved on the same day, i think the fresher the fruit, the better the flavor. Looking forward to having it spread on my toast with a cup of coffee tomorrow morning 🙂
1 kilo fresh tangerines
1 kilo sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
250 ml water
Cut the tangerines in half and remove the seeds. Keep aside.
Squeeze the tangerines and pour the juice into a heavy pot.
Add the juice of two lemons.
Keep the skin of 4 tangerines and keep aside.
Chop the tangerine peel neatly into very thin slivers. This is a very fine cut marmalade.
Add to the pot.
Place the seeds in a muslin bag with the lemons that have been squeezed and tie securely.
Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, keep adding water.
When the rind is tender and soft, add the sugar, lower the heat and keep at rolling boil for 10 minutes.
Test consistency using the saucer test
Store in sterilized jars and for my most favorite sterilizing method at the moment follow this link.
My surprise this week came in the form of a loofah plant, seeing the fruit on the tree, cutting and peeling it to discover a perfect loofah, nature is more than amazing !
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I featured this recipe on TV this week. These pulpetti are oven baked and contain no added fats.
And you will need :
2 large sweet potatoes
Weigh the potatoes and add same weight cooked cauliflower
50g grated Maltese gbejna cheese or use a semi hard cheese such as feta
150g stone ground oats
1 large tin corned beef
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram
a pinch of dried marjoram and dried parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper if preferred
Cover a baking tray with baking paper and prepare it with a non-stick cooking spray.
Cook the sweet potatoes with skin on in the microwave. Allow to cool then peel and grate them.
Mix together the grated sweet potato, cooked cauliflower florets, grated gbejna cheese, parsley, hersb and corned beef.
Mix gently together but do not mash as it results in a better consistency. Just break down with a fork. Mix in 50g of the oats and if you have time cover the mixture with cling film and allow to rest for an hour in the fridge.
Form patties and cover with stoneground oats oats by spreading the oats on a sheet of baking paper and rolling the patties over the oats.
Place on a baking tray.
Preheat oven to 180 C. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
To make them child friendly, omit the gbejna cheese and form into small balls. The process is the same and reduce baking time to 15 minutes.
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3 leaves corned beef by J Calleja Import Export Ltd
Fresh herbs, fruit and Vegetables: Big Fresh Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola, Barbuto [organic]
With Christmas just a month away I am using star cake frames to make chocolate, orange, cinnamon and vanilla stars.
This is one of the oldest and most basic of cake recipes but always a winner and so easy to remember without having to refer to a recipe. I find that this recipe produces the most perfect consistency for shaped novelty cakes. I have reduced the sugar content, but it is all about personal preference.
For my recipe here, you will need:
23 cm loaf tin or your choice lightly greased or covered with baking paper
250g unsalted butter, soft
250g self raising flour
250g caster sugar but I reduced this to 200g
250g eggs (without the shell here each egg here weighs around 55g)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Few drops good vanilla essence
For chocolate and orange pound cake
I added the grated zest of one orange and swapped two spoons of self raising flour with two tablespoons of cocoa powder.
For the vanilla and cinnamon cake
I added 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar (optional), to serve
Powdered cocoa (optional) to serve
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Measure all your ingredients.
Beat butter using an electric mixer until smooth.
Add the caster sugar and vanilla essence and beat until nearly white) and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure the ingredients are combined.
Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture with a spatula or large metal spoon until combined. Be careful not to over-mix or the cake will develop a tough texture.
Spoon the cake mixture into the loaf pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Smoothing the surface will help the cake rise more evenly.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
Insert a skewer into the centre of the cake until it comes out clean.
Sprinkle with icing sugar when cool if desired.
Today I share a Portuguese/Spanish favorite, best served with a strong cheese. Membrillo originated around the 4th century and I hope it lives on forever.
A few weeks ago I cut a big batch of quince. I just love this fruit, high in pectin that you need no binding agents when it is added to any dish. There seems to be two varieties on the island, the old traditional one with very grainy flesh and a more recent arrival here with flesh that is similar to a cooking apple with fuzzy skin and a more robust flavor.
I personally prefer the original variety if you are making quince jam or jelly but to use as a binder the new variety is great as it practically leaves no strong taste or texture when added as a thickener.
For the Membrillo you will first need to prepare your quince.
Rinse the quince and rub them lightly with a soft scouring pad to remove some of the fuzz. Be gentle. Leave the skin on but cut them up into chunks and place them in a large pot covered in water plus the juice of one lemon per three pieces of fruit. After juicing the lemons add them whole as they are to the pot. Bring to boil, cover, lower heat and leave to cook for about an hour until tender. Drain the liquid out and I found the juice delicious, a bit tart but can be added to drinks and cocktails, smoothies and with a bit of honey it will suit the palates of most.
Use a hand blender to purée the fruit to a smooth paste. You will find many recipes to peel the fruit. Don’t because it’s delicious, will give a bigger yield and blends to a smooth paste that you would not even know.
Weigh the paste
Weigh the same quantity of sugar
Add the juice of one lemon per 500g of paste
Tip of a teaspoon vanilla per 500g of paste
Place over medium heat, bring to boil and stir. Reduce heat and let simmer for around 1 1/2 hours on low heat stirring frequently to keep from burning.
The paste will thicken and darken in colour, becomes rosy/amber.
Line a baking dish with parchment paper and brush it lightly with some good oil. Pour the paste into the dish and smooth the surface with a spatula.
Place in the oven for a few hours on minimum heat just to dry out. Refrigerate.
Cut up and serve with a sting cheese and waterbiscuits,
Here I have used gbejna and galletti, and garnished with tulbaghia petals.
I have stored my slab of Membrillo in the freezer. This will keep well for at least one year.