‘I wake up very early every morning to the smell of freshly baked bread from the small village bakery across the road. The aroma gives a sense of belonging, just what you may associate with being in a cosy home and it is a good start to the day.
Malta is well known for its crusty sour dough bread which is a staple in the local diet. Customers start to arrive before 6am to pick their own loaf and from across the road I watch as the village starts to awaken. I love the buzz and sense of community that comes with being in the heart of an old village and hope that the process of modernization can be avoided and village life on the island is preserved.
My bake today is a traditional old-fashioned fruit cake adjusted to suit modern day preferences. I use stevia and pureed fresh apples to sweeten the fruit loaf and it is butter-free. When I made it on tv this week, I used tofu but if you prefer you can swap the same amount with ricotta instead. I add Chia Seeds which are high in antioxdidants and Omega3 to boost the fruit loaf with extra nutritional value and fibre but these are optional and if you do not like the idea, leave them out. The oven temperature needs to be reduced to 160C to retain their nutritional value. ‘
You will need:
250g self-raising flour
100g tofu [you can use ricotta instead of tofu]
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 large apple, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
3 large eggs separated [if eggs are small use 4]
8 tablespoons stevia [OR use 150g golden raisins soaked in water overnight and pureed]
250g dried fruit of your choice (raisins, sultanas, candid peel, cherries, currants)
1 tablespoon vinegar [I prefer Apple Cider vinegar but you can use any vinegar]
A pinch of salt
Grated zest of a lemon
Grated zest of an orange
A pinch of mixed spice
[Optional: 4 tablespoons chia seeds]
Preheat the oven to 160C. Prepare a loaf tin by spraying it with Cooking Spray.
Sift the flour twice into a large bowl.
Add the tofu [OR ricotta] crumbled into pieces and olive oil and use your finger tips to rub in the olive oil and tofu into the flour in the same way as you are rubbing in butter.
Add the vanilla, salt, citrus zest and mixed spice. Then add the dried fruit and mix well until all the pieces of fruit . In a separate bowl, use a hand blender to puree the apple with the egg yolks, the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Add the bicarbonate of soda and the cornflour to the tofu and flour mix. If you are using Chia Seeds, add them now. Use a metal spoon to mix.
Then add the apple and egg yolk mix and finally fold in the egg whites using a large metal spoon.
Pour the batter into a cake loaf tin. Bake for 40 minutes at 160ºC.’
Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV everyday and you can follow on facebook . Photography by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.
Baking goods, chia seeds, dried fruit, vanilla and other spices by Good Earth
Olive oil by Costa D’Oro at J Calleja Ltd
Fry Light Cooking Spray Butter Flavour by Rimus Group
Kitchenware by Tescoma