Amaranth Porridge Bowl with Berries

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Amaranth Porridge with berries and cashew milk.  This photo was taken by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

I love Amaranth because it is such a versatile ingredient.  During our tv show I have recently popped it, serve it instead of mash and use it to thicken soups.  I particularly love this amaranth porridge.  As a rough guide use 1 part amaranth to 3 parts liquid and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.  Remove the mixture from the heat to prevent it from becoming overcooked and gummy in texture. Is there a better way to start the day during a cold winter?

You will need:

1/2 cup amaranth
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cashew milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon agave or stevia [or honey for non-vegan]
vanilla
1 cinnamon stick
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Top with:  200g mixed berries and I use blueberries, strawberries, pecans, hazelnuts, mint leaves

Soak the amaranth overnight in water if you have the time.  Rinse then place in a saucepan and add 1 1/2 cups water.  Add the vanilla, cinnamon stick broken in half, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.    Bring to boil and reduce to heat.  Cover and simmer for 25 minutes stirring constantly.  Add the cashew milk and cook for another 5 minutes.    Remove from the heat and add the agave/stevia or honey.   Stir and add the lemon zest.

Pour half the mixture into a bowl.  Puree half the berries and add to the other half of the amaranth porridge.  Mix it in then pour it into the bowl and use a fork or knife to make some swirls to create a marbled effect.  Decorate the amaranth bowl with a mix of berries, nuts and mint leaves.  Serve while still hot.

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My fresh fruit and vegetables today come from Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola.  My Tunisian fresh dates come from Deyma Shop Gzira

My cashew milk by Alpro and amaranth come from Good Earth.  My daily selection of fresh fruit and vegetables comes from Big Fresh in Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola and Barbuto in Sicily for organic vegetables.

Overnight Carrot Cake Oats with Maca Powder [gluten free and vegan]

‘We had so many callers during our live show yesterday that I did not really get down to any real cooking.  But I somehow managed my favourite carrot cake overnight oats and made a carrot cake smoothie, both with maca powder that I love to incorporate in small amounts  into recipes such as soups, smoothies and salads as well as raw desserts.  Not only is it rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E and provides a good source of calcium, zinc and iron but I love its caramel flavour.  Always add in small quantities.’

For the overnight carrot cake oats you will need:

1/2 cup oats
1 cup home made almond milk [you can also use ready made almond milk]
1 medium carrot, grated
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ginger powder
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 frozen banana, sliced
1 teaspoon coconut
4 tablespoons oats
1 tablespoon pecan nuts, chopped
1 tablespoon dates, chopped
vanilla
1/4 teaspoon maca powder
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon agave

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container,
Refrigerate overnight.  When it is time to eat it, add more almond milk or water to bring to your preferred consistency.
Eat hot or cold and if you wish garnish with chocolate shavings and coconut chips.

You will see my result during this afternoon’s live show.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs daily on Smash TV and every Friday in English.

Gluten free vegetable muffins made with chickpea flour

Chickpea flour muffins

Vegetable muffins made with chickpea flour. I use a mix of steamed kale, barely cooked cauliflower, raw carrot and roasted butternut squash, as seen on TV

‘an ideal addition to a picnic, kids’ school lunch boxes or a treat with a salad during the working day.  I just love chickpea flour, the flavor, the texture, the natural colour…  These are so easy to make that you can have fresh muffins every day.  Don’t be tempted to freeze them as the texture changes’

You will need:

  • 3 cups gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups fresh vegetables of your choice  of your choice, I used steamed kale (finely chopped), barely cooked cauliflower (barely cooked, broken into little florettes), raw grated carrot and butter nut squash (caramelized with skin on and cut into small cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes (remove all the salt)
  • a pinch of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 g  grated and 50 g grated hard white gbejna (if you do not live on the island use a white goat’s cheese)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (gf)

Sift the gram flour.  Add the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.

Prepare the vegetable and mix them gently in a bowl.  Add the minced garlic and herbs and seasoning.
Mix the olive oil with the eggs.
Add the vegetable mix and half the grated cheeses to the gram flour and gently mix until they are coated all over but make sure you do not break the vegetables up.
Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture.  Gently mix in but do  not over mix.  Add enough water a little at a time to achieve dropping consistency.
Prepare a muffin tray with paper cases.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
Sprinkle with grated cheese on top, just a little, do not over do it.
Bake at 180 C for 12 minutes.
Allow to cool before removing from the muffin tray

‘They are soooo delicious’

No Knead Santa Lucia Saffron Buns

good food everyday

For me the Swedish celebration of Santa Lucia symbolizes the arrival of Christmas.   Having been an expatriate within very mixed international communities, we always welcomed the arrival of the pretty flaxen haired girls with the candles.  Good memories of another lifetime.’

I made Santa Lucia  saffron buns this week.  The taste is very distinctive and do not overdo it with the saffron.  Many substitute the saffron for the more economical turmeric but i much prefer the delicate taste of saffron for these buns.

If you prepare the dough and leave it to prove overnight, it will not be necessary to knead it and if you make them on a Saturday night you can enjoy these delicious saffron buns for breakfast.  The buns will not be as smooth on the exterior but the taste and texture is the same.

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Leave the saffron dough to prove overnight

You will need:

500g plain flour
250ml skimmed milk
1 sachet dry yeast (11g)
a pinch of saffron
50g caster sugar
equivalent of 50g stevia
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg
35g butter
35 ml olive oil
1 egg
pinch of salt

24 golden sultanas for finishing off
an extra egg to glaze the surface

Put the milk in a saucepan to heat and add the saffron. Turn off the heat once it nearly reaches boiling point and allow the milk to infuse with the saffron.

Add the butter and the oil. Stir and leave aside.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, stevia, honey, salt and dry yeast together. Pour in the cooled down milk mixture and the egg. Mix together to form a sticky dough. Put the dough into a bowl and cover with dry tea towel. Set the bowl in a warm place and leave to rise overnight.

Knock back the dough and divide into 12 equal portions.
Roll out each piece into a long strand. Roll up one end into the middle, turn over and roll the other end into the middle, forming the dough into an S shape.

Place the buns on a baking tray and I have started to use baking spray instead of greasing. Leave the buns to prove in a warm place until the size nearly doubles.

Preheat the oven to 200C, brush the buns with beaten egg and press a currant into the centre of each side. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve them while they are fresh.

We had ours with orange curd !

Quick muffins with the kids

Making muffins with the kids #Malta

Making muffins with the kids #Malta

This week I made quick muffins with the kids during the show.

Baking with kids #Malta

Baking with kids #Malta

They specially loved decorating them and you can see the delight on their faces.

For the muffins you will need:

4 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
juice and grated zest of half a lemon
1 cup coconut
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs
4 tablespoons honey or stevia or 2 of each

Sieve the flour and mix all the dry ingredients together. In a separate container mix all the liquid ingredients together. Use a metal spoon to fold in the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Prepare muffin cases on a try. Spoon or pipe the batter into the cases. Bake in a pre heated oven at 170C for 20 minutes.

Out from the oven :)

Out from the oven 🙂

Allow the muffins to cool before decorating them.

To avoid more processed sugar in the form of sugar I brushed the muffins with warm honey

To avoid more processed sugar in the form of sugar I brushed the muffins with warm honey

To avoid processed sugar in the form of icing, I brushed the top of the muffins with warm honey and allowed the kids to decorate them to their liking.

Happily decorating and so colorful :)

Happily decorating and so colorful 🙂

For the recipe in Maltese, click here

Fresh Maltese gbejna with figs

Fresh Maltese Gbejna and Figs goodfoodeveryday

Simplicity is always best and this dessert takes advantage of the freshness of local ingredients, combining flavors with amazing results without any need of cooking.  I believe there is too much focus these days on food styling with flavors often forgotten. Fresh gbejna comes immersed in water and has a short shelf life.  It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. 

For this recipe you will need:

1 fresh soft gbejna per portion
1 ripe fig
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon grated zest of a lime
Some lightly toasted chopped pistachio nuts to garnish

To assemble. Cut the gbejna horizontally in half.  Wash the figs and cut a small cross in the centre of the fig.  Place  a gbejna in the bottom of a glass.  Slightly squeeze the fig to open up and expose some of the flesh.  Place on top of the gbejna.   Drizzle with honey and top with the grated lime zest and lightly toasted almond flakes.

Tip: For a vegan option, use firm tofu.  Dice into small pieces and use maple syrup instead on honey.  Place the tofu pieces in a container with the maple syrup and a pinch of nutmeg. Cover.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Then follow the recipe above simply replacing the gbejna with tofu and the honey with maple syrup.

I use fresh gbejna from Alexandra Spagnol at Farmers Market, honey by 3 leaves, lime and fresh fruit and vegetables from Big Fresh and pistachio nuts by Good Earth.

Tangerine marmalade with no pectin

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Today, a small batch of tangerine marmalade with no artificial additives and pectin free. Cut and preserved on the same day, i think the fresher the fruit, the better the flavor. Looking forward to having it spread on my toast with a cup of coffee tomorrow morning 🙂

I used:

1 kilo fresh tangerines
1 kilo sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
250 ml water

Cut the tangerines in half and remove the seeds. Keep aside.
Squeeze the tangerines and pour the juice into a heavy pot.
Add the juice of two lemons.
Keep the skin of 4 tangerines and keep aside.
Chop the tangerine peel neatly into very thin slivers. This is a very fine cut marmalade.
Add to the pot.
Place the seeds in a muslin bag with the lemons that have been squeezed and tie securely.
Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, keep adding water.
When the rind is tender and soft, add the sugar, lower the heat and keep at rolling boil for 10 minutes.
Test consistency using the saucer test
Store in sterilized jars and for my most favorite sterilizing method at the moment follow this link.

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My surprise this week came in the form of a loofah plant, seeing the fruit on the tree, cutting and peeling it to discover a perfect loofah, nature is more than amazing !

Featured on Orizzont

No Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Heart !

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Still many recipes floating around to use up pumpkin that is everywhere right now. But I will not be featuring any more pumpkin soups for a while as there is a limit with everything. Another free magazine through the door today with yet more pumpkin cupcakes and a few combinations with the textures that do not work together 😦

I loved the energy ball recipe that we featured this week.  You can use any puréed fruit of your choice. The same with the nuts and dried fruit, you can use whatever takes your fancy and coat them in sesame seeds. And with the same recipe I made a heart topped with melted chocolate and gogi berries.

You will need :

200g dried fruit of your choice, I used cranberries, prunes and mixed fruit
2 spoons honey or carob syrup
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
100g nuts of your choice, I used walnuts
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 cup oats
1 cup coconut

Dark Chocolate, melted to coat the top
Gogi berries to decorate

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Combine the dried fruit, carob syrup or honey, pumpkin puree, nuts, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg in a food processor, and pulse until quite smooth and combined.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the oats, coconut flakes until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Cover a rectangular dish with cling film.
Once the mixture is easy to work with, press it into a heart shaped frame. Refrigerate for an hour.
Melt the chocolate and add a teaspoon of oil. Using a brush, coat the surface of the heart with chocolate. Before the chocolate sets sprinkle on some gogi berries.
Refrigerate for at least an hour. Will last for at least 10 days if refrigerated in an airtight container.

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An Egyptian Breakfast: Ful Medames

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I loved Ful Medames when we lived in the Middle East but it is my first attempt at making it. They used to serve it for breakfast in the local cafes, very cheaply with lots of warm flatbread to accompany it. There are of course endless versions, but here is mine with a delicious combination of flavors and textures.

You will need:

200g Dried Fava Beans (the ones I used were labelled ful medames)
2 garlic cloves, crushed until they are a paste
1 onion, half very finely chopped and the other half thin slices
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 hard cooked egg, chopped up finely
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek, soaked for half an hour
1 bay leaf
1/4 cumin seeds crushed
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Juice of half a lemon or lime
Grated rind of 1/4 lemon or lime
5 spoons good olive oil
A fist of finely chopped flat leaf parsley with a few left aside to decorate

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Soak the beans overnight. Drain the water, rinse a few times, then place in a pot and fill with water. Add the bay leaf.

Cook for about an hour until they soften. Taste to check texture. Remove from heat. Rinse.

Fry the onions in one tablespoon oil. Add the garlic. Keep some of the cooked slices aside for decorating the top.

Roughly mash a quarter of the quantity of the beans and then mix them together.

Add the onions and garlic, paprika, cumin, fenugreek, lemon juice , stir gently.

Add the olive oil and mix in. Season with sat and pepper.
Top with cooked onion slices, chopped parsley, chopped hard boiled egg and grated lemon zest. Add more olive oil if desired.

Serve hot or cold, as a starter, side, main or the Egyptian way for breakfast !

Simply Mediterranean, a weekday breakfast

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Simplicity is always best and nothing better than seasonal fruit in the morning mixed with fresh local yoghurt. If it is too tart for you add a teaspoon of honey or carob syrup.

Pomegranates with ruby red seeds, so full of antioxidants and vitamins, in season now and amazing as they are, with very little preparation and time required.