Sheep’s Milk Ravioli Bake

fresh sheep's milk ravioli bake 1

A good and very quick alternative to lasagne is a ravioli bake.  I use fresh sheep’s milk ravioli from the Farmers Market [Photos: Illumina Media & Mad Promotions, Accessories by Cabouxon]


For the sauce you will need:
1 medium onion
1 close garlic
a few fresh basil leaves
a pinch of dried basil
1 Kallo Natural Stock Cube
1 glass red wine
1 tablespoon tomato puree
500g fresh very ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil

and

500g sheep’s milk ravioli
1 eggplant, cut into slices lengthways and cooked or 200g sliced ham
100 g grated cheddar cheese
2 peppered gbejna cheeses
salt and pepper
100 ml mascarpone mixed with 100 ml yoghurt

fresh sheeps milk ravioli bake recipe

Incredibly quick to make, a fresh meal prepared in minutes (plus the baking time of course!)

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Prepare the tomato sauce by placing the olive oil in a large pan on low heat. Add the onion, garlic, fresh tomatoes, wine, seasoning, fresh and dried basil and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, add the tomato puree and cook for another 5 minutes, uncovered so that it reduces and thickens.

Prepare an ovenproof dish with a non stick baking spray.

Start layering your ingredients but covering the bottom of the dish with either cooked eggplant or if you prefer slices of ham to prevent the ravioli from sticking to the bottom.

Then cover with a layer of uncooked ravioli.  Next cover with tomato sauce, sprinkle lightly with a mix of chedder and peppered gbejna cheese and start layering again with the ham, then the ravioli, the sauce, the cheese.  Spoon over the mixture of mascarpone and yoghurt.  Top again with a mix of the cheddar and peppered cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes.  Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes and garnish with extra basil before serving.

Oat Soup

broad bean and pea soup with poached egg

Fresh pea and broadbean minty yoghurt soup with poached egg [Tableware by C&H Bartoli, photo Yan Schembri]

‘I use fresh seasonal ingredients for my soup today and in its simplicity this makes a wonderful meal.  The freshness of the peas and broad beans laced with mint leaves reflects the genuine and honest produce of this island blessed with so much.
For the creamy consistency I use oats, not too much, just enough that when cooked and pureed  result in a creamy consistency without the richness. And to finish off a crimson fruit salad of pomegranate, blueberries, strawberries and more, vibrant and so refreshing’

You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil and extra for drizzling
1 onion, roughly chopped and sauteed in the olive oil
2 handfuls of  very fresh mint leaves
2 handfuls of very fresh flat leaf parsley
some other fresh herbs if desired and I used a sprig of fresh basil too
1 bay leaf
500ml water with one all natural vegetable stock cube
300g fresh broadbeans, peeled
200g fresh peas, peeled
50g oats
125ml yoghurt or if lactose free use unsweetened almond milk
1 lime, juice and zest
1 poached egg per person poached in water and 1 tablespoon of apple organic vinegar
salt and pepper
Place the water in a large pot with the stock cube and bring to boil.  Add the sauteed onion (do not allow it to brown when you are cooking it in the olive oil, cooked slowly on low heat to soften it up and bring out the sweetness).

Cook for 5 minutes on a low boil, then add the oats.  Lower the temperature.  Stir constantly and cook for 10 minutes.  Add half the broad beans, half the peas, and a quarter of the fresh mint leaves, parsley and other fresh herbs if you are using.
Cook for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and white pepper, add the dried mint and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow to slightly cool down.  Add the remaining herbs keeping some back to garnish and blend to a smooth puree using a hand blender.  Add half of the remaining broad beans and peas and reheat.
Place a poached egg in each soup bowl.  Pour over the hot soup and scatter some more broad beans and peas on top.  Garnish with fresh mint leaves.


And to finish off a fruit salad.  We will be celebrating Strawberry Festival in the Northern village of Mgarr very soon and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this feast and from today you can follow my daily series of new strawberry recipes.

big fresh logo

Quick No-bake Easter Treats

‘No celebration is complete without a sweet treat. Here are a few quick and easy chocolate recipes that require no baking that will be a hit for Easter. ‘

Carrot and date coconut balls

1 large carrot, grated
A pod of vanilla
2 cups oats
1/2 cup dates
A pinch of salt
1/4 cup mixed chopped almonds and Pistachios (optional)
A pinch of cinnamon
A grating of fresh nutmeg
A pinch of mixed spice
Grated zest of a tangerine
Water
2 cups coconut for rolling the balls

In a saucepan, place the dates and grated carrot. Add 1/4 cup of water, the spices and grated citrus zest and allow the dates to break down on low heat. Add more water, a few tablespoons at a time, if necessary, and do not allow the mixture to dry up. When the dates are soft and mushy turn off the heat, mix and allow to cool.

In a large bowl place the oats, add the vanilla and then add the cooled down date and carrot mixture. Add the chopped nuts (optional) and mix until the consistency is even.

Use a melon scoop to measure out the balls. Shape them lightly in your hands and roll in coconut. Place on a tray covered with baking paper and, if you are making them last minute, place them in the freezer to set quickly.

Chocolate Nests

100g chocolate
50g butter
1 tbsp honey
150g Cornflakes, organic and gluten-free
An assortment of mini Easter eggs

Quick and effective, these gluten and dairy free chocolate nests can be prepared last minute and frozen until needed, then decorated with mini Easter eggs.

I use gluten free organic cornflakes and dairy-free chocolate with no added sugar.

Break up the chocolate and place it in a large bowl with the butter and honey.

Place the bowl on a simmering bowl of water (bain marie) making sure it does not touch the water. Stir the ingredients until the chocolate and butter melt and it appears consistent.

Remove the bowl from the heat and add the cornflakes. Mix until the cornflakes are all coated with the chocolate mix.

Prepare a muffin tin with muffin cases, or line the whole tin and cavities with cling film.

Divide the mixture into the 12 spaces and use a spoon to press down and make an indentation in the middle of each chocolate nest.

Put in fridge for a couple of hours. Peel off the muffin cases or cling film. Arrange the nests on a decorative plate and place the mini Easter eggs in each nest.

Baci

2 packets gluten-free, plain biscuits
4 tbsp cocoa powder
100g crushed hazelnuts
50g whole hazelnuts
2 tbsp ground hazelnuts
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brandy/rum
100ml coconut milk
200g melting chocolate
4 tbsp coconut

Our Easter meal nearly always finishes with Baci, either the delicious store-bought ones all the way from Perugia, or homemade ones made with condensed milk. My recipe has reduced sugar and reduced fat and contains no condensed milk.

They still taste marvellous and you would not know the difference. They are also gluten-free!

Crush the biscuits very finely. In a bowl, mix together the biscuits, cocoa powder, crushed hazelnuts, coconut, honey, rum and skimmed milk. Mix well.

Bind the mixture into very small balls. On top of every ball put a hazelnut.

Leave to set for four hours before you cover using the melting chocolate. Cool down quickly and allow to set in the freezer.

Rocky Road

135 g butter
300 g dark chocolate
4 tbsp agave
250 g Digestive biscuits
100 g marshmallows
100g Smarties, or M&Ms
100g milk chocolate
Chocolate confetti

This mix of chocolate, marshmallows and biscuits is a firm favourite with children and a great occasional treat.

Melt the butter, dark chocolate, carob syrup and golden syrup in a saucepan.

Put the biscuits into a plastic bag and crush them roughly with a rolling pin, so that there is a mix of pieces and crumbs.

Mix the biscuit pieces into the melted chocolate mixture, and then add the marshmallows and mix.

Tip into a tin foil tray (24cm / 9 inch square) lined with cling film. Melt the milk chocolate and drizzle over the top. Scatter the Smarties or M&Ms over the surface, followed by the chocolate confetti.

Place in freezer if using on the same day (or overnight in the fridge).

Cut into fingers before serving.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday is available via Midsea Books

Trade Enquiries:  Rimus Group  for President Butter

Easter Biscuits with Oatbran and dried blueberries

easter biscuits.jpg

Easter Biscuits with Oatbran by #Mornflake, photography  CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

You will need:

200g butter
150g raw cane sugar or 1/2 cup stevia
2 egg yolks
300g plain flour
100g oatbran
150g dried blueberries
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
vanilla
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
water if needed to bind the dough

Preheat oven to 170C.

Line an ovenproof dish with baking paper and use a cooking spray to lightly coat it.

Place the butter and sugar into a food mixer and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix again. Sieve the flour twice and add the spices, oatbran, vanilla, lime zest and a pinch of salt. Add to the mixing bowl and use a low speed until the mixture forms a dough. Add the blueberries and pulse the mixer a few times to combine them into the dough.

Lightly dredge a clean surface with flour and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a thickness of about 4 cm. Use a cutter to cut into rounds and place the biscuits on the baking tray. Brush with some egg white and spring some more caster sugar and mixed spice. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes until they are a pale gold. Allow them to cool before removing them from the baking tray.

easter biscuits 2

Lea’s Good Food Everyday is available via Midsea Books

Trade Enquiries: Mornflake Oatbran Products are available from Rimus Group

Getting ready for Easter with Connie

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Getting ready for Easter, sugarcraft class with Connie Spiteri at Lifelong Learning 

‘You can get a glimpse of Connie and her class preparing for Easter !

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Sunday times big

In this week’s Sunday Times, some quick last minute recipes for easter treats


Photography:Gino Galea

Easter Simnel Cake topped with raw marzipan

simnel cake illumina

Gorgeous bows by Hilda for my mini Simnel Cake, photo Illumina Media

‘a light fruit cake rarely seen in Malta brings back memories of an English Easter.  Hilda made a lovely bow and I topped the cake with raw marzipan during the show the day after it was baked.  I base my recipe on Delia’s as you can never go wrong but these days I tend to swap the butter content with mascarpone as it has a lower calorific value’


Prepare the raw marzipan the day before you are going to decorate the cake and keep it in the fridge. You will need:

1 cup ground almonds
2 cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon agave
1 vanilla stick
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons warm apricot jam to brush the surfaces and assemble the cake.

Mix the almond flour and icing sugar. Add the other ingredients and make sure that they are combined evenly and pliable. If necessary add a few drops of water to bring it to the right consistency. Wrap in cling film and allow to harden up overnight

For the cake you will need:
250g mascarpone by Zappala
180g sugar
4 eggs
250g self raising flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
a pinch of salt.
1 stick vanilla
300g mixed dried fruit, I use dried apricots and figs
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
grated zest of half an orange, half a lemon and half a lime
2 tablespoons ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 150C.
Cream the mascarpone and sugar with an electric beater until the mixture is creamy and light.  Add the eggs one by one and carry on beating on low speed.
Sieve the flour, add the mixed spice, salt, vanilla and bicarbonate of soda.  Add the flour mixture to the mascarpone mixture and use a large metal spoon to fold in the flour.   Mix and add the ground almonds., followed by the chopped up dried mixed fruit and the chopped roasted almonds.

To assemble the cake:
Bake for 55 minutes and allow to cool completely before decorating.
Roll out the marzipan to a round and cut to the same size as the cake.
Brush the top of the cooled cake with warm apricot jam, top with the round of marzipan. Tap the marizpan gently around the edges to give it a  smooth finish.
Roll 11 balls of marizpan and place them on top of the cake.  Decorate with easter eggs if you wish.

Dr Klown

Dr Klown Inglott Malta with Stefania, Nakita, Olga and Marzia x

My ingredients are available at GS Superstore and maltasupermarket.com

White Asparagus with Truffle Oil #recipeoftheday

White asparagus 1

White Truffle Oil is available from Dical House  Photo Illumina Media

A few drops of Dical House truffle oil by Tartuf Langhe turn this simple dish into something quite amazing.  For my #recipeoftheday go to  timesofmalta.com

Source:  Recipe: White Asparagus with Truffle Oil

Chocolate Nua Cake by Devon

chocolate cake nua 3

Chocolate Cake Nua

‘My #recipeoftheday in the Times of Malta is Chocolate Cake Nua.  Small pockets of ricotta are baked inside the cake and I am sure you will be delighted with it as much as I have been.  You can also watch me making Cake Nua by clicking here

Source: Recipe: Chocolate Nua Cake

No bake: Gluten Free Easter Nests

Easter nests with chocolate cornflakes 2

No bake gluten free Easter nests as seen on TV

‘Quick and effective, these can be prepared in advance and frozen until needed, then decorated with mini easter eggs. I use gluten free organic cornflakes and dairy free no added sugar chocolate


You will need:
100g chocolate
50g butter
1 tablespoon honey
150g Cornflakes, organic and gluten free
An assortment of mini Easter Eggs

easter nests with chocolate cornflakes 8

You will find my kitchenware at Tescoma and ingredients at Good Earth and GS Superstore

Break up the chocolate and place it in a large bowl with the butter and honey.
Place the bowl on a simmering bowl of water (bain marie) making sure it does not touch the water. Stir the ingredients until the chocolate and butter melt and it appears consistent.
Remove the bowl from the heat and add the cornflakes. Mix until the cornflakes are all coated with the chocolate mix.
Prepare a muffin tin with muffin cases OR line the whole tin and cavities with cling film.
Divide the mixture into the 12 spaces and use a spoon to press down and make an indentation in the middle of each chocolate nest.
Put them in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
Peel off the muffin cases or cling film. Arrange the nests on a decorative plate and place the mini easter eggs in each nest.

Easy and healthier blueberry muffins

blueberry muffins 4

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins using pumpkin flour, lactose free with no processed sugar

‘ These blueberry muffins are made with a mix of pumpkin and coconut flour and brushed with warm maple syrup.  They are also lactose free.  The pumpkin flour gives them an orangy colour and crumbly and light texture.  Do not overmix, that is the secret, just fold in using a large metal spoon until barely mixed and definitely no electric mixers.’


You will need:
200g pumpkin flour
100g coconut flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cornflour
a pinch of cinnamon
vanilla pod
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of salt
equivalent of 100g stevia
4 eggs
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
50ml coconut milk
1 apple
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
300g blueberries

Preheat oven to 160C.
Sift the pumpkin flour, the cornflour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and stevia.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, use a hand held blender to beat the eggs, olive oil, coconut milk, apple and apple organic vinegar.  Blend until the mixture is smooth.

Prepare a muffin tin with muffin cases.  Use a large metal spoon to quickly and gently fold in the liquids into the dry ingredients.  Do not overmix.  Then add half the blueberries.

Pour the batter into the muffin cases.  Do not fill it to the top to allow room to rise.  Put into a hot oven to bake immediately after topping each muffin with some more blackberries.

Bake at 160C for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and before they cool down brush lightly with some organic maple syrup.
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