Jasmine rice with chicken and broccoli

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I get cravings from time to time for Oriental flavors and this quick dish is one of my favorites, ideal for those who do not usually cook oriental style meals at home. Always stock your store cupboard with a bottle of soy suave and sesame oil, necessities…. ūüôā You will need:

500g minced chicken
1 head broccoli, cut into florets, immersed in hot water for 20 seconds and drain
1 large clove garlic, grated
1/2 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 spoon good oil
200g jasmine rice
Toasted coconut flakes for garnish
Drizzle of sesame oil
Drizzle of light soy sauce

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the pack. drain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is soft. Add mince and the other ingredients except the sesame and soy sauce. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up mince and lower heat just before it starts getting crispy. Drizzle some light soy sauce. Add the rice and stir gently but thoroughly. Remove from heat. Drizzle with sesame oil.
Top with toasted coconut flakes and serve.

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Strawberry & Coconut Tart with a butter free pastry

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Here we have strawberries on a coconut cream inside a coconut crust. I am usg desiccated coconut, flaked coconut, fresh coconut shavings and coconut milk. The fruit is left as close to it’s natural state as possible, no glaze, not overly manipulated, an appreciation of what nature has given us.

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Following a Mediterranean Diet and reducing the processed ingredients I have used ricotta to make the pastry instead of butter and you will need:

Making the pastry using ricotta instead of butter

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500g flour
100g dedicated coconut
250g ricotta
1 heaped spoon unrefined sugar
1 spoon honey
2 drops good vanilla extract
Rind of half an orange
2 eggs
cold water

After refrigerating the dough you will need:
3 spoons flaked coconut (lightly toasted)

Sieve the flour
Add the ricotta
Rub it into the flour using your fingertips
Add the coconut and sugar, mix
Add the other ingredients except the water and eggs and mix.
Now add the beaten eggs, mix using a knife.
Then add the cold water, start with three spoons and mix, then add a spoon at a time until you form a dough.
Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for half an hour.
Roll out onto a lightly floured surface.
Sprinkle the toasted coconut on to the flour.
Place the dough on top and roll it out.

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I use a 23cm loose bottomed tart dish.
Grease the dish.
Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and cover the tart dish.
Pat it around gently to take the form of the dish.
Pierce it all around with a fork.
Trim the edges but leave it hanging over the rim.
Bake at 160C for 35 minutes.
Leave to cool.

Making the coconut filling

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1 large can Coconut Milk (400ml)
400 ml milk
100g unrefined sugar
1 heaped tablespoon honey
50g dedicated coconut
2 drops vanilla extract
Rind of half an orange
Separately, 90 g cornflour mixed in 120 ml water
And of course the strawberries, as many or as few as you like ….

Gently heat the first 7 ingredients and bring to a gentle boil stirring with a wooden spoon. Before it reaches boiling point, add the cornflour mix and stir while bringing to a gentle boil. Remove from heat immediately and carry on stirring. Pour over the coconut filling in the tart and leave it to cool down slightly.

Decorate with strawberries before it cools down completely so that they will set in the tart. I also used flaked fresh coconut sparsely, fine shavings in between the strawberries. Place in fridge to chill before removing from tart dish. Serve as it is or you can dust lightly with icing sugar or brush with warm honey for a glaze.

I personally prefer the first option, I like the rustic look, untouched strawberries as nature meant them to be.

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Will this be tempting enough for your loved one ?

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And click here for the recipe in Maltese

Fresh Maltese gbejna with figs

Fresh Maltese Gbejna and Figs goodfoodeveryday

Simplicity is always best and this dessert takes advantage of the freshness of local ingredients, combining flavors with amazing results without any need of cooking.  I believe there is too much focus these days on food styling with flavors often forgotten. Fresh gbejna comes immersed in water and has a short shelf life.  It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. 

For this recipe you will need:

1 fresh soft gbejna per portion
1 ripe fig
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon grated zest of a lime
Some lightly toasted chopped pistachio nuts to garnish

To assemble. Cut the gbejna horizontally in half.  Wash the figs and cut a small cross in the centre of the fig.  Place  a gbejna in the bottom of a glass.  Slightly squeeze the fig to open up and expose some of the flesh.  Place on top of the gbejna.   Drizzle with honey and top with the grated lime zest and lightly toasted almond flakes.

Tip: For a vegan option, use firm tofu.  Dice into small pieces and use maple syrup instead on honey.  Place the tofu pieces in a container with the maple syrup and a pinch of nutmeg. Cover.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Then follow the recipe above simply replacing the gbejna with tofu and the honey with maple syrup.

I use fresh gbejna from Alexandra Spagnol at Farmers Market, honey by 3 leaves, lime and fresh fruit and vegetables from Big Fresh and pistachio nuts by Good Earth.

Healthy Boneless Kebabs

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Rabbit is high in protein and contains very little fat, the least percentage of fat from any other meat. Less fat, less calories, low in salt and nearly cholesterol free. The taste is delicate and this means that it is suitable to use in any recipe or simply cooked as in my dish here.

You will need:

500g boneless rabbit meat, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 green, red and yellow bell pepper, seeds removed, cut into cubes
I onion chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for an hour

Place the rabbit meat in a shallow dish and toss with the garlic, onion, lemon juice, cumin, and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 200C.
Thread the meat pieces onto skewers alternating chicken and bell pepper.
Brush the kebabs with the marinade and cook for 30 minutes. Half way through cooking time, turn over the kebabs . Serve with a fresh salad or steamed vegetables.

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Illum, isma lil-Professur Oliver Friggieri u Martu Eileen jitkellmu hawn !

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Ghafas hawn biex tisma lil Professur Friggieru u martu Eileen

Dan il program gie rrekordjat Ftit gimghat ilu. Il Prof. jitkellem ukoll dwar il ktieb gdid tieghu fuq l-Innu Malti

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Simplicity is always best: grapefruit, walnuts, blackberries and mint with honey

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Although not local, these are Mediterranean blackberries and there is no recipe as simplicity is best always.

The grapefruit from the gardens of the Tunisian Embassy are massive without a hint of bitterness, full of juice, and as I think about it, I cannot help but visualize that peeled grapefruit, each segments so burdened with juice that it cannot contain the heaviness as it yearns to ooze all those natural juice to relieve someone’s thirst and desire.

Add some blackberries, freshly cut mint from the garden, local honey and top with unwaxed, unpolished totally natural walnuts. And the result, simply heavenly. nothing beats Mediterranean citrus and the flavors all the natural produce here.

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Isma lil Professur Oliver Friggieri u lil Martu Eileen !

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Ghafas hawn biex tisma lil Professur Friggieru u martu Eileen

Dan il program gie rrekordjat Ftit gimghat ilu. Il Prof. jitkellem ukoll dwar il ktieb gdid tieghu fuq l-Innu Malti

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Insajjru Flimkien ma’ nepputijiet tal Prof. gewwa Cosecasa

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Parsnip Soup with Sesame Ricotta Crunch

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Winter calls for soups and parsnip makes a most delicious one. They are not the most popular vegetable here but I think that this will be enjoyed by most. You will need:

1 spoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger
4 , peeled and chopped into chunks
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 litre water
1 organic all-natural stock cube
Salt and fresh ground pepper if required

Heat a splash of olive oil large pot. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir and add the chopped parsnip and potatoes. Stir and add the liquid and stock cube. Season well. Turn down the heat and simmer for 35 minutes with a lid on.

Check that the vegetables are cooked by testing with a knife. Remove from heat and use a hand blender to liquidize until the consistency is what you prefer. I left my soup here with a grainy consistency to give more texture. Taste the soup and season.

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For the Sesame Ricotta Crunch

Allow per person:
1 Sesame Seed ricecake
1 spoon crumbled ricotta
1/2 spoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Break up the rice cake, add the crumbled ricotta, then the sesame seeds. Mix but do not overdo it. Place on a heat proof dish covered with baking paper. Grill to crisp slightly. Allow to cool. Use as an alternative to croutons with soup.

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A winter salad from a Mediterranean Kitchen

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Although this January seems colder than previous winters, the brightness of the light remains unique with the sun still making an appearance for a few hours a day. And the color of Mediterranean winter vegetables, almost surreal, never fail to capture the depths of my imagination.

There is a great variety of fresh vegetables available in the local market this week and here I use roasted bell peppers in a variety of colors, spinach, beetroot, freshly picked mint and top it all with peppered sheep cheese and pink peppercorns from the huge Baie Rose tree just outside the front door.

You will need :

1 yellow pepper
1 green pepper
1 orange pepper
1 red pepper
2 beetroots, cooked and peeled
2 handfuls fresh chopped spinach
A handful of very fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 orange finely slices with skin on
Olive oil, as much or as little as you prefer
1 peppered goats cheese ( gbejna )
Salt and pepper to season

Place the bell pepper on a roasting tray covered with foil. Do not pierce. Roast in a very hot oven until they soften and start to brown. Remove from oven. Cool down and peel. If you do not live in a place with high humidity levels like ours, place the peppers in a plastic bag, seal until the peppers completely cool down and peel.

Wash the beetroot, immerse with cold water, and cook it on high heat until the water starts to boil. Turn dine the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not overcook. Allow to cool and then peel.

Peel the roasted peppers, remove seeds and cut them into long strips. Wash the spinach leaves and chop. Place on your salad plate and add fresh mint. Slice the beetroot and arrange on the bed of spinach. Roll up the strips of peppers and arrange on the plate. Add a slice of orange. Add shavings of peppered cheese. Mix the orange juice with one spoon of olive oil. Pour over vegetables. Top with more olive oil as desired, season to taste and finally add the Rose peppercorns. Garnish with more fresh mint.

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