Granny’s Fruit Loaf with Chia Seeds [no refined sugar and no butter, lactose free]

Granny's fruit loaf slices

 ‘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.maltese bread felix.jpg

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. ‘

Granny's fruit loaf 2

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)
vanilla
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]

Granny's Fruit Loaf

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.

granny's fruit loaf slices 2Add 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.

granny's fruit loaf slices 3

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.

Trade Enquiries:

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

Apricot Crumble Slice [gluten free, vegan]

apricot crumble slices squares

‘Another glorious Maltese summer is here to stay and with it comes an abundance of succulent and sweet summer fruits, slowly and naturally ripened by the Mediterranean sun making them so juicy and moist like no other greenhouse varieties.  They may appear imperfect, uneven in shape and size, sometimes slightly bruised but bursting with flavor.   After all beauty is not meant to be perfect and cloned.  

For this recipe I use a mix of fresh, ripe apricots and dried apricots. This is one of the easiest things to bake with a soft flapjack base made with poached fresh and dried apricots.  These are topped with fresh apricots and a crumble topping of ground almonds and coconut pulp.  

You can use any berries or stone fruit for this recipe.  Wash the apricots thoroughly and leave the skin on ‘

You will need:

250g ground almonds
250g oatmeal
120g soft dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons coconut pulp
500g fresh ripe apricots
a pinch of salt
1 vanilla pod
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons stevia
150g dried apricots
To brush the top:  1 tablespoon of coconut oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of agave plus 75g nuts [I used cashew flakes]

apricot crumble slice dried apricots

Prepare an ovenproof dish by lining it with baking paper.  Spray it with cooking spray.

Remove the stone from the fresh apricots and cut into quarters with skin on.  Place half of them together with the vanilla pod in a saucepan.  Chop the dried apricots and add them to the saucepan.  Immerse in just enough cold water and bring to boil on low to moderate heat.  As soon as the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes for all the fruits to soften up.  Remove from the heat.  Add the grated lemon zest.

Use a large bowl to place the ground almonds.  Mix the oat meal with it and then pour the melted coconut oil and softened coconut pulp.  Use your fingertips to rub in the coconut oil and pulp into the ground almond and oatmeal mixture.  Add the soft brown sugar and mixed spice and vanilla seeds.  Mix with a metal spoon so that the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Add two thirds of this mixture to the poached apricot mix and stir until it is has a smooth consistency.  Pour the mixture into the prepared ovenproof dish and use a plastic spatula dipped in water to smooth the surface.  If you have time cover the dish with cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.  [At this stage, you can also leave the dish in the fridge overnight and carry on preparing the rest of the recipe the following day.]

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Assemble the remainder of the chopped fresh apricots on top of the base.  Brush the surface of the fruit with the mix of agave and coconut oil.  Scatter the rest of the crumble mix on the top.  Do not press it down.

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes then take out of the oven, brush again with the agave and coconut oil mixture and scatter the chopped nuts on top.  Return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Allow to cool and cut up into squares.

apricot crumble baked

Serve warm with ice cream or cut up into squares for lunchboxes and picnics or simply instead of a cereal bar for breakfast or a snack

Store in the fridge for up to 3 days in the summer and 5 days in the winter.  Freeze for up to a month although I do not like the thawed texture which becomes slightly soggy from freezing.

Trade Enquiries:

Fry Light  Butter Flavour Cooking Spray and Mornflake Oatmeal via Rimus Group

Ground almonds, naturally dried apricots, dried fruit, spices and baking goods via Good Earth Distributors Ltd

Coconut Oil and coconut pulp via J Calleja Ltd

My fresh succulent apricots come from Big Fresh in Mosta

Lea’s Good Food Everyday is aired on Smash TV every day and you can also follow on facebook 🙂  Photography by CJ Baldacchino during an unedited live tv show cooking in real time.

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

vegan chocolate muffins

‘I use linseed as an egg replacement for these very chocolaty and moist muffins.  If you are looking for a diabetic friendly alternative use stevia instead of sugar. What I like about these muffins is that they really rise’

For the muffins you will need:

250g self raising flour [for a gluten free recipe use gluten free self raising flour]
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
75g cocoa powder
a pinch of coffee powder
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
250g soft brown sugar
300ml hot water [not boiling]
3 tablespoons linseed
1 tablespoon vinegar
50g coconut oil
30g coconut pulp

Preheat oven to 160C.
Prepare a muffin tin by lining it with muffin cases. [Optional: On tv, I sprayed the muffin cases with Butter Flavour Fry Light Cooking Spray which is vegan for those who miss a buttery taste!]
Sieve twice the self raising flour, bicarbonate, cinnamon.
Add the salt and mix.
Place the water, linseed, coconut pulp, coconut oil, vinegar, brown sugar and coffee in a liquidizer and turn on until the linseeds are broken up and the mixture appears consistent.
Use a large metal spoon to fold in the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Use a spoon to fill the muffin cases and place in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Allow to cool and top with the icing or serve as they are.

vegan chocolate muffins 3.jpg During the tv programme today I used a bar of lactose free milk chocolate but if you want vegan icing use dark chocolate.

For the icing [optional], you will need:
75ml water
50g coconut pulp
50g soft brown sugar
a pinch of coffee powder
a pinch of cinnamon powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
150g chocolate

12 fresh cherries [optional]
Cocoa Nibs to sprinkle on top [optional]

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan on low heat. As soon as it start to boil, remove from the heat. Keep stirring until you have a smooth, glossy consistency. Allow the muffins to cool completely before pouring the icing on top of them.
Sprinkle some cocoa nibs and decorate with a fresh cherry.
Chocolate vegan muffins.jpg

Trade Enquiries:
Cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, spices, brown sugar, linseed, bicarbonate of soda, self raising flour by Good Earth
Valor Chocolates, Govinda Stevia, Govinda Coconut Oil, Govinda Coconut Pulp by J Calleja
Fry Light Cooking Spray Butter Flavour by Rimus Trading
Fresh Fruit by Big Fres Mosta

Photography by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.

Quick Coconut and Lemon Muffins [diabetic friendly, gluten free, lactose free, no added refined sugar

COCONUT MUFFINS 1

Quick healthier coconut muffins, photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘these muffins have a deep and  intense coconut flavour from coconut oil, coconut paste, shredded coconut and coconut flour.  They are gluten free and perfect for lunch boxes or a healthy snack to take to work and eat at your desk.  The taste of these muffins improves the next day’

You will need:

50ml coconut oil
50g coconut paste
4 eggs
100g self raising flour [I used gluten free flour on tv but you can use regular self raising flour]
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100g coconut
50g coconut flour
vanilla
a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon stevia or 2 pellets stevia

COCONUT MUFFINS 1A

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Sieve the self raising flour, baking powder and coconut flour twice into a mixing bowl.  Add all the other ingredients and combine them with an electric mixer for one minute and not any more.  This is quite a thick batter.  Use two spoons to place the batter in the muffin cases.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool before serving.  These muffins taste better the day after they are made.  They remain moist and dense, very much like coconut macaroons.


 

Quick Chocolate Muffins with no refined sugar and no added fats

chocolate muffins 3.jpg

Quick Chocolate Muffins with no added sugar and no added fats.  Photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘quick and easy chocolate muffins sweetened with dates.  They contain no added fats and are moist and delicious’

You will need:

250g dates
200ml warm water
250g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vinegar
4 eggs
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of coffee powder
a pinch of salt
vanilla
4 tablespoons chocolate powder
3 tablespoons cocoa nibs [optional]

Soak the dates in the warm water. Prepare a muffin tin with paper cases.
Use a hand blender to bind the dates with the water until they form a smooth paste.
Sieve the self raising flour,chocolate powder and baking powder twice. Add the vanilla, salt, cinnamon and coffee powder. Mix the ingredients together until the mixture is consistent. Beat the eggs and add them to the blended dates. Add the vinegar and mix well to get a consistent mixture. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and use a large metal spoon to fold in without over mixing. If you are using the cocoa nibs add them. Pour the batter into the Pour the batter into the muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before taking the muffins out of the tin.

I topped my muffins with a mix of fresh berries.

I use ingredients by Good Earth

Soft and Chewy Granola Bars with Sweet Potato

healthy granola bars.jpg

Healthy chewy oatbran granola bars.  Photography by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

healthy granola bars 4.jpg

‘These dense, moist and chewy granola bars can be made using your favourite cereal and putting in them exactly what you like.  They are loaded with seeds and I bind them by using a mix of dates and sweet potato.  The chocolate and nut topping is optional.  If you prefer a crunchier texture, cut the granola bake into bars when it cools down and bake them in a hot oven for 12 minutes on each side in the same way you would do with biscotti’

healthy granola bars 3

You will need:

300g dates
150g sweet potato
400g oatbran granola
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 vanilla pod
50g gogi berries
50g sunflower seeds
50g cocoa powder
100g pumpkin seeds
100g linseed [flaxseed]
30g Chia Seeds

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Spray a baking tin [20cm square or similar] with cooking spray and line it with baking paper.

Remove the stone from the dates and roughly chop them up.

Peel the sweet potato and roughly chop it.

Place the dates and sweet potato in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 7-10 minutes until the potato is soft and the dates are mushy.  Make sure that there is enough water during this process.

Remove from the heat, puree by using a hand held blender and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl mix the granola with the gogi berries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds and chia seeds.  Add the mixed spice, vanilla and cinnamon.

Mix well so that the mixture is consistent.

Add the date and sweet potato mixture to the granola and seed mix and combine by mixing well.

Place the mixture in the prepared baking tin and use a spatula to press the mixture down.  Then use your clean hands to press down tightly.  Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Optional topping:

300g dark sugar free chocolate
1 tablespoon olive oil
250g mixed nuts

Chop the nuts roughly and use a very hot pan to dry roast them.

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or in the microwave.  Add the olive oil and stir until it is smooth and glossy.

Pour the chocolate on to the granola bake and scatted the nuts on top.

Allow to cool and then cut into bars or squares.

You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

        I use Oat Bran Granola by Mornflake at Rimus Group, nuts, spices and seeds by Good Earth, olive oil by Costa D’Oro and sugar-free, lactose-free chocolate by Valor

Triple Ginger Orange Muffins

ginger-orange-muffins-marconia-2

Ginger orange muffins, no refined sugar and butter free.  Photo taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

‘A very quick, all-in-one method, these muffins can be prepared and baked in 20 minutes from start to finish.  I used a mix of grated fresh ginger, ginger powder and crystallized ginger which resulted in the most rounded ginger flavor laced with orange and drizz;ed with melted dark sugar-free chocolate and more crystallized ginger pieces.  These are the best muffins for a cold January, the ginger will give you instant warmth’.

You will need:

250g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50ml olive oil
50ml yoghurt [if you don’t like yoghurt used a plant-based milk]
4 tablespoons stevia
4 tablespoons agave or honey
3 eggs
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger
zest of an orange
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
a pinch of salt

After baking:  150g dark melted chocolate and more crystallized ginger

ginger-orange-muffins-marconia-4

Healthier Ginger orange muffins, photo taken by Marconia Schembri during a live tv show.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Sift the self raising flour and baking powder twice. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer.

Crop the crystallized ginger into very small pieces.  Add to the mixing bowl together with all the other ingredients.  Whisk everything for a minute on high speed.

Line a muffin tin with muffin cases and immediately fill the muffin cases.  Scatter some more crystallized ginger pieces on top.  Bake for 15 minutes [depending on size and up to 25 minutes for giant muffins].

Remove from oven.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a bain marie.  Add a couple of drops of olive oil and drizzle the chocolate over the muffins.  Scatter a few small pieces of crystallized ginger and allow the chocolate to harden up.

Prepare your cup of tea !

mdina-by-marconia

The magical silent city of Mdina on an island blessed with so much.  Photo Marconia Schembri.

 

I use crystallized ginger by Good Earth, ginger powder by Schwartz, fresh ginger and orange by Big Fresh, sugar free chocolate by Valor, Stevia by Hermesetas and flour by St George’s Brand.

Apple Cardamon Loaf

apple-cardamon-cake-mrl-2

Apple Cardamon Cake as seen on tv, photo M R Lowell

‘I made this cake during the show a few weeks ago and used local belludja apples from  Antida‘s garden which are very tart and make wonderful jams.  You can make a plain apple loaf but the crushed cardamon seeds make it extra special. I think cardamon is under-used and it blends well with most fresh fruits. As well as having some amazing health benefits, it blends well with most fruits.  This summer, I mixed cardamon with coffee to make some great bbq rubs and marinades.

This recipe also works well with rhubarb and pears but make sure that the fruit is ripe and ready to eat.  I added some sparkling organic apple drink by Whole Earth for lightness of texture.’

You will need:

200g self raising flour
150g soft butter at room temperature
200g sugar [on tv I used stevia]
50 g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamon seeds
1 vanilla pod
grated zest of an orange
a pinch of salt

1/4 cup Organic Apple sparkling drink 
250g belludja apples [or use cooking apples if not available]
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Finely slice the apples, skin on and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice.
Preparing a loaf tin with baking spray.
Sift the self raising flour twice into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add all the other ingredients except for the apples, lemon juice and fizzy apple drink and mix on full speed for one minute. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the fizzy apple drink little by little until you have a dropping consistency. Pour half the batter into the loaf tin and arrange a think layer of sliced apples on top. Pour the rest of the batter and overlap the thin apple slices on the top. Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing.

apple-cardamon-cake

Apple Cardamon Loaf, soft delicious and perfect with a cup of tea.  Photo M R Lowell

Other baking recipes with  Whole Earth Organic Sparkling Drinks available via Good Earth Distributors:
Cranberry and Coconut Muffins,  Vegan Gingerbread

Belludja apples are available at Big Fresh in Mosta
Good Food Everyday airs daily on Smash TV

Cranberry Coconut Muffins [Lactose Free with Stevia] and making fresh home-made almond milk

cranberry-coconut-muffins-dairy-free

Lactose-Free cranberry coconut muffins with Stevia, photo taken during a live tv show by CJ Baldacchino

‘I use tofu in this recipe instead of butter or oil to make these light cranberry and coconut muffins, sweetened with Stevia. To add lightness to the mix and intensify the cranberry flavour, I use Organic Sparkling Cranberry Drink by Whole Earth.    I used the ginger drink when I made gingerbread with aquafaba a few weeks ago.  This recipe also works well with ricotta instead of tofu.  For the lightest possible muffins, fold in the liquids into the dry ingredients and do not overmix.’

You will need:

3 cups self raising flour
2 cups coconut
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a few drops good vanilla extract
1 cup tofu
4 eggs
6 tablespoons cranberry sauce [I use the one I made 2 weeks ago during the show]
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 1/2 cups stevia [I use Tate & Lyle but check the label on your jar or packet for the conversion of 1 1/2 cups sugar]
8 – 10 tablespoons Organic Sparkling Cranberry Drink

1 muffin tin and muffin cases

In a large bowl sieve the flour and cornflour twice. Add the bicarbonate of soda and coconut. Mix.
In another bowl use a hand blender to process the tofu with the cranberry sauce, lemon juice, eggs and vanilla
Add the dry ingredient mixture, a little at a time and fold in using a large metal spoon. Then add 8 – 10 tablespoons of organic sparkling cranberry drink until you have a dropping consistency.
Immediately pour the cake mix into a prepared cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 35 minutes.

And today I also made fresh home-made almond milk and you will need:

fresh-almond-milk-2

Delicious fresh home made almond milk made during our tv show today, Photography C J Baldacchino

1 cup almonds
3 cups bottled water
a pinch of salt
2 dates

Soak the almonds overnight.
Drain the water and rinse the almonds.
Place the almonds in a blender and add 3 cups of bottled water.  Add the dates and a pinch of salt.
Blend on high speed until the mixture is well blended, the almonds totally ground and the mixture appears consistent.
Strain the almonds by placing them in a colander covered with muslin or a clean dishcloth.
Squeeze out the almond milk into a container by wringing the dishcloth or muslin. Do not discard the ground almonds [tomorrow afternoon we will use them 🙂 ]
Refrigerate and serve.

How to make Christmas Biscotti

christmas-biscotti-2

Getting ready for Christmas every Tuesday at 4.10pm and 9pm and Wednesday at 10am on Smash TV.   This week Christmas Biscotti using mincemeat.  Photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.

‘biscotti made with mincemeat and studded with colourful glace cherries will spice up any Christmas gathering.  I use almond meal [or ground almonds] mixed with the flour.  For a gluten free option use gluten free self raising flour.’

You will need:

1 cup mincemeat [mincepie filling]
2 cups self raising flour
1 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cornflour
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar or stevia (optional)
4 eggs
1 pod vanilla
200g glace cherries cut in half

christmas-biscotti-1

Twice baked biscotti just out of the oven.  Photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.

Sift the flour twice.  Add the butter [at room temperature] chopped into pieces and rub in using your fingertips.  When the mixture is consistent, add the bicarbonate of soda and cornflour. Add the almond flour, pinch of salt and vanilla and stir.

Add the eggs, one at a time and use your hands to bring the mixture together and form a dough.
If necessary use water and add a spoonful at a time to form a stiff dough.
Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.
Divide dough into two to four portions depending on how large you want the biscotti.   Shape each portion into a cylinder and pat down gently at the top. If you want small biscotti make a longer, thinner cylinder.
Place the rolls on a baking tray covered with baking paper.  Brush with eggwash and cover with glace cherry pieces. Slightly push in to secure into the dough.  Bake in a preheated oven at 160 C until they are light gold in colour.
Allow to cool completely.
Cut the rolls into 1 cm thick slices and bake again until golden and crisp, again at 160C for about 7 minutes on each side. [you can also cut the slices thinner if you want thin biscotti]

Allow to cool completely before serving.

christmas-biscotti-3-cj

Before baking first time.  Photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.

I use flour, glace cherries, nuts and dried fruit by St Georges Brand, almond flour by Le Farine Magiche, vanilla and spices by Schwartz.