Broccoli mint soup and this weekend’s catch !

My soup today is a combination of broccoli and mint, fresh mint, cooked mint and dry mint, producing a delicious soup with a depth of minty flavour.

You will need:

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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head fresh broccoli
1 natural organic stock cube
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 potato potato, peeled and diced
A large fist of fresh mint, chopped some leaves kept for garnish
1 teaspoon teaspoon dried mint
Salt if required
100ml plain yoghurt
Fresh gbejna , one per portion.

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Cook the chopped onion and garlic over low heat. Add the chopped potato and dried mint and cook for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, stir and half the fresh mint. Add the stock cube and enough water to immerse the vegetables. Bring to boil on strong heat. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are just soft. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Do not cool down on the stove to retain the color of the vegetables. Add half the remaining fresh mint and the yoghurt and use a hand blender to whizz it until it is smooth. Add seasoning if desired.

Reheat and to serve add the remainder of the herbs. Stir. Serve in soup bowls with a fresh gbejna and garnish with some mint leaves.

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That was this weekend’s catch of sardines before the bad weather hit us again…

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Pasta shells with Borlotti beans

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I share this simple dish that is one of my favorites.

You will need :

250g Borlotti Beans
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Borlotti beans: Soak overnight in water. Rinse and place in a pot. Cover in cold water and add one teaspoon bicarbonate of soda. Bring to boil. Simmer and cook on low heat, rolling boil , for 45 minutes. Drain the water.

500g pasta shells
Water

Cook the pasta in plenty salted as per instructions on the pack. For the last 5 minutes of cooking time, drain and transfer into the sauce. Cook for the last five minutes, turn off and cover.

For the sauce you will need :

2 tablespoons olive oil, hold one back for garnish
6 large tomatoes with skin on, roughly chopped
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 can tinned tomatoes
1 spoon tomato purée
A measuring jug of water
1/2 cup wine
A pinch of dried rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For garnish: Around 10g per portion of pecorino cheese
A dusting of finely grated lemon rind

Put a spoon of olive oil in a large pot on moderate heat. Add together the onion, grated garlic and fresh tomatoes. Cook on low heat until they soften. If necessary top with water from your jug. Do not allow to dry up. Cook until the mixture softens up. Add the wine then the tinned tomatoes fresh rosemary and dried rosemary. Leave to reduce.

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Stir in the extra parsley, stir. plate the pasta and add more Borlotti beans, lemon zest and parsley, top with local pecorino cheese.

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I use Pasta Rummo, borlotti beans by Good Earth, fresh vegetables and herbs by Big Fresh, tinned tomatoes by Victoria Brand, dried herbs and spices by Schwartz, kitchenware by Tescoma, cheese by Experia the Deli.

Strawberry Cheese-Cake for Brilliant Baking Magazine

In this month’s Brilliant Baking Magazine you will find my new recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake.

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And on the cover Rosemary Shrager who will join me on my programme Dieta Mediterranja on 98FM which will be aired this week.

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and for the recipe in Maltese click here

Quick Dips for eating outdoors

‘This month is too hot to spend hours in the kitchen and quick dips are always the perfect solution for entertaining a large crowd outdoors.  Here are some quick dips I made on tv recently

Serve with fresh bread, vegetable crudités and galetti.  I like the ones from Good Earth with seeds or spelt flour.’

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Artichoke and Spinach Dip with home made herb croutons.  Photo CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

For the warm artichoke dip you will need:

1 cup grated cheese [ I used a mix of parmegiano reggiano and mature edam]
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup canned artichoke hearts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cream cheese or mascarpone
salt and pepper as desired

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place all the ingredients in a bowl. Use a fork to mix then lightly break down the ingredients and mix again until the mixture appears consistent. Place in an ovenproof dish and heat up in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot or cold with croutons, baked sweet potato crisps and fresh vegetables.

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Tuna and sweetcorn dip with smoked paprika served with baked sweet potato crisps.  Photo taken during a live tv show by CJ Baldacchino

For the tuna dip you will need:

1/3 cup tuna fish
1/3 cup sweetcorn
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon dried herbs of your choice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper to season as desired

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a fork to lightly break down the ingredients.  Place the mixture in a serving bowl and garnish with a sprinkling of smoked paprika and some more tuna chunks and sweet corn.  Serve with a variety of fresh vegetables, croutons and sweet baked potato chips.

For a quick guacamole dip you will need:

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1 avocado, mashed
1 tbsp lemon juice
Small clove garlic
¼ tsp chilli flakes
Salt
1 tbsp plain coconut milk

Simply mix all the ingredients together.  No need for a mixer or blender.  Mash and mix.

Spinach and Avocado Dip

This is an ideal dip to use up avocados that are simply over-ripe as the spinach will blend with the avocado to freshen up the colour of an overripe avocado giving a vibrant ‘

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Spinach and Avocado Dip, Photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

You will need:

1 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 ripe avocados, mashed up
a clove of garlic OR use garlic spray
75ml yoghurt
2 tablespoons fresh coriander OR flat leaf parsley, according to your preference
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and use a hand held blender to process to a smooth paste.  Place in the fridge for an hour and serve with fresh bread, galletti and vegetable crudites.

And here are some more quick dips by whizzing in a blender the ingredients listed and they are ready in a matter of minutes; refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Quick Cheesy Dip

50 g Pecorino
100 g cream cheese
1 tsp chutney
¼ onion finely chopped

Quick Creamy Herb Dip

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or mint
100 g cream cheese
2 tbsp plain yoghurt

Quick Curry Dip

100 g mayonnaise
½ tablespoon curry powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped sultanas

Quick Smoked Ricotta Dip

150 g ricotta, mashed
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil

Quick Cucumber Yoghurt Dip

½ cucumber, grated
Zest of ½ lemon
200 g plain yoghurt
Fresh ground pepper

Quick Chickpea Dip  [vegan]

1 can chickpeas, drained and mashed [remember to keep the liquid/aquafaba – it also freezes well]
8 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Quick Olive Dip [vegan]

200 g tofu, mashed
75 g olives of your choice, finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

And links to some more of my tv recipes:

A most delicious Feta Dip

Very Quick Pea and Cashew Dip

Hummus using Chickpea Flour [Gram Flour] instead of Chickpeas

Minty Favetta Dip

Chickpeanut Dip

And a sweet vegan dip of Raw Brownie Batter

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV every day and you can follow on facebook

Trade Enquiries:

Costa D’Oro Olive Oil by J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Mixed Seed galetti, spelt flour galletti, tofu, spices and dried herbs by Good Earth

Fresh vegetables by Big Fresh in Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola and Barbuto [organic]

 

Carnival Treats

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Carnival weekend is with us and the feast before the fast. We served Prinjolata during my Saturday baking morning yesterday and my crunchy potatoes.

The traditional prinjolata recipe can be found here in English and in Maltese.

There are other Carnival treats such as quick and easy cupcakes to make with the kids. ( and click here for Carnival Cupcakes recipe in Maltese ).

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I also love the Brazilian Brigaderios

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The prinjolata pops for using up leftovers.

(and for the recipe in Maltese)

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And Carnival Afghans with Perlini

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Happy holidays !

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Crunchiest Potatoes and still soft inside [with sesame seeds and couscous]

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couscous potatoes

Crunchy Couscous Potatoes,  Photo CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

How do you get more of the crunch and leave them so soft that they melt-in-your-mouth at the same time?

Everyone loved these and you will need:

300g potatoes, chopped with skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons uncooked couscous
1 teaspoon fresh or dried herbs [optional]
Sea Salt

Prepare an oven dish by greasing with a tablespoon of olive oil. In a large bowl toss the potatoes with the olive oil, herbs and salt if you are using it. Finally add the raw couscous and toss again. Use your hands to mix the potatoes and ensure that they are consistently covered.
Place in a preheated oven at 220C for 35 minutes.
Serve hot or cold with drinks and a toothpick or as a side to a main meal. The inside remains soft and so creamy !

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Trade Enquiries:

Batchelors Spicy Couscous by Premier Foods at George Borg

My vegetables today come from Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola, Big Fresh Mosta and Barbuto [organic]

 

Slow cooked Roast Pork neck (bone-in) for Sunday Lunch !

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Pork neck has no fat around the edge. It is the cut above the top shoulder and has a lot of marbling though the meat which keeps the roast so moist.

Pork is commonly used for Sunday roast here and rather than the boneless stuffed neck we see very often, I am leaving it whole, bone-in and the end result is wonderful as the bone also lends to flavoring the meat as it cooks slowly in the oven.

I use garlic, lemon zest, crushed fennel and coriander seeds to add extra flavour to the pork. You will need:

Neck End pork cut
2 onions
2 carrots
4 large garlic cloves
A mix of fresh herbs and I use basil and rosemary, but use herbs that you like
2 bay leaves
100 ml hot water mixed with Kallo all natural stock cube
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley
Juice of a lemon
Grated rind of a lemon
Olive oil

Preparation time is 10 minutes, cooking time slow and long.
Rub the pork with a mix if lemon juice and olive oil.
Crush the coriander seeds and rub then all over the pork.
On the surface spread the lemon zest and finely chopped parsley.
Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
Prepare a roasting tray, cover with aluminum foil and grease lightly with some olive oil.
Roughly chop the vegetables. Mix with olive oil and the roughly chopped vegetables. Add the fennel seeds and toss.
Add sea sat and freshly ground pepper.
Take the pork out of the frige and place it over the vegetables and herbs.
Cover securely with tin foil and place in a pre heated oven at 150C for 4 1/2 hours. Uncover the dis for the last half an hour and increase the temperature to 220C.
Allow to rest before carving to serve.
I like to make extra roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

On a cold day in February in the heart of the Mediterranean, I wish you a peaceful Sunday!

For the recipe in Maltese, click here

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Coconut Chocolate Bakes, no added refined sugar, no added fats

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This bake contains no butter and no added refined sugar.  You will need:

  • 200g flour
  • 100g  coconut
  • 125g ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 2 drops good vanilla extract
  • grated zest of half an orange
  • 1 egg
  • cold water
  • 200g dark chocolate and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to decorate plus roasted chopped almonds (optional)

coconut and ricotta bakes with  chocolate

Preheat the oven to 170C.  Sieve the flour.  Add the ricotta/  Rub it into the flour using your fingertips.  Add the coconut and honey and mix well.  Add the other ingredients except the water and egg and mix.  Now add the beaten egg and mix using a knife.  Add the cold water, starting with three spoons and mix and 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.  Cut small pieces of dough and press into the almond shaped non stick moulds.  Flatten the surface.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool down. Melt the chocolate and add half a spoon of olive oil.  Place in a small jug.. Hold the jug firmly and drizzle the chocolate over the bakes moving your arm quickly backwards and forwards until they are uniformly and neatly decorated.

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They are soft and moist.

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My kitchenware comes from Tescoma, flour and baking goods from St George’s Brand, chocolate by Valor.