Bright skies, blue seas and Anton’s ricotta flan

Bright skies and blue seas, this is where so many visitors stop by for a few days. But for some lucky ones, this is life every day, breathtaking and nearly unreal …

Anton’s recipe for this ricotta flan is delicious and he was my guest during our show last week. I adapted it and used Stevia instead of sugar.

You will need:

1 ready made Sponge and I found a sugar free one
800g ricotta
100ml yoghurt
100g Stevia
300g candid peel and chopped dark chocolate (ratio according to your preference)
A handful of almonds and hazelnuts, chopped up and dry roasted in a pan
Grated zest of a lemon
Liquor of your choice, a couple of teaspoons to moisten the flan
A pinch of nutmeg
Glace cherries and grated chocolate to decorate the flan

Prepare the filling by placing the ricotta and yoghurt in a large bowl. Mash it up and then use a hand blender to whizz it to a smooth consistency. Add the candid peel, grated chocolate and dark grated chocoate as well as some chopped up cherries and nuts.

Mix and then add the grated lemon zest and nutmeg. Mix well until the consistency is smooth and even.

Place the flan on a large plate and drizzle the liquor to moisten it. Fill the flan with the ricotta mixture. Do not pipe it, Anton tells me that it must look causal and informal. Decorate the top with more nuts, cherries and grated chocolate. Place in the fridge for a few hours before serving

For the recipe in Maltese, click here 🙂

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Penne Gorgonzola with Walnuts and a visit to Farmers Market

With two Farmers Markets on the island we are spoilt for choice. Local fruit and vegetables are available for the consumer on the same day of harvest and distributed all over the island within a few hours. I visited Doreen this week

at her stall in Ta’Qali and she explains that although peaches are graded according to their size and the prices varies, the taste and flavor is the same irrelevant of the size, making it so economical to stock up on the smaller ones when using them to cook with.

I made a quick supper last night of penne with gorgonzola and walnuts, all ready to eat in under 10 minutes and you will need:

Penne (75-120 g per portion, depending on appetite)
¼ cup gorgonzola, crumbled, and a few small chunks to garnish
6 walnut halves, broken roughly
¼ tsp dried oregano
4 flakes dried flaked garlic, soaked and chopped up
2 tablespoons light single cream
6 tablespoons white or rose wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Drizzle of olive oil
Parsley to garnish, if desired

Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions.
In a saucepan, heat up a touch of olive oil and cook the flaked garlic gently.
Add the oregano and cook further. Add the wine, cook and reduce.
Add the single light cream and the Gorgonzola. Stir until the cheese melts and everything has smoothly combined. The sauce should have a satiny texture.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Drain the pasta. Add the sauce and mix.
Add half the walnut chunks and toss together.
Plate and garnish with the rest of the walnuts, the small pieces of Gorgonzola, and parsley if desired.
Serve immediately.

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A quick pasta meal, penne gorgonzola with walnuts, as seen on tv

I use penne by Pasta Rummo, dried herbs by Schwartz, fresh vegetables by Big Fresh, cheeses from Experia deli and nuts by Good Earth

Baked Ricotta and Peach “Cheesecake”

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I love this new bake which we featured this week on TV. Simple and straighforward to make with a light texture, much lighter than that of a traditional baked cheesecake. This has no added processed sugar, no gluten and no butter. You will need:

250g plain biscuits, i used gluten free and sugar free

750g ricotta
125 plain yoghurt
200g stevia (check the converstion table on the jar and you will need the equivalent of 200g sugar)
few drops vanilla
grated rind of half a lemon
grated rind of half an orange
3 tablespoons cornflour
4 eggs, separated and egg whites whisked until stiff
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Fresh peaches, sliced and skin on to decorate the top
1 teaspoon warm honey and à brush to glaze the top after you take the cheesecake out of the oven

A springform cake tin of 23 cm

Pre heat the oven to 160 C.

Place the biscuits in a large bowl. Crush them lightly then use a hand blender to grind them to a fine texture. keep two spoons aside to cover the cake dish. Add the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to this mixture.

In another bowl, place the ricotta, add the egg yolks, yoghurt, stevia, vanilla, citrus zest and cornflour and use the hand blender again to break down and mix to a very smooth consistency.

Prepare the cake tin by lightly brushing with some good oil and taking two spoons of crushed biscuits to coat the surface and sides.

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk until stiff.

Fold in the crushed biscuit mix with the ricotta mix. Do not over process.

Finally gently fold in the egg whites without over mixing,
Pour the batter into the cake tin.
Decorate the surface with sliced peaches.
Immediately place in the oven top shelf and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven for 10 minutes more before removing. This prevents the surface from breaking.
Dip the brush into the warmed honey and lightly brush the surface.

Allow to cool before removing from tin.

If you would like the recipe of Peach Cheesecake in Maltese, please click here

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Very quick Gazpacho

gazpacho Charles Vassallo

Quick gazpacho perfect for summer.   This photo was taken during a live tv show by Charles Vassallo

‘For soup lovers, hot summers call for cold, refreshing soups. This gazpacho takes under 5 minutes to prepare and just chill for a few hours to also allow the flavors to combine.’

You will need:

1 kilo ripe tomatoes, washed, roughly chopped with skin on
1 small white onion
3 small garlic cloves
1 medium cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple organic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

A pinch of stevia
Water to get the consistency of your liking.

I serve with Galletti.

Simply wash and roughly chop the tomatoes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and use a hand blender to puree to a smooth pulp.  If you prefer it more liquidy, simply add more water and whizz with the hand blender until it is the consistency that suits you. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving

Serve with croutons, more chopped up tomatoes and cucumber.

Tip: Place the serving bowl over a large container filled with ice cubes before serving

My vegetables come from Big Fresh, spices by Schwartz, stevia by Tate and Lyle, Galetti by Brincsons, kitchenware by Tescoma, bowl by Deyma, basket by LOFT.