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


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:


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.

My mincemeat is maturing

Getting ready for Christmas by Marconia schembri.jpg

My mincemeat is maturing.  No-suet mincemeat photo taken by Marconia Schembri during a live tv show

‘I made mincemeat first week of October and it is maturing. I stopped using suet in mincemeat last year when I made two identical batches, one with suet and the other without. When I served the two batches of mincepies separately, no one could identify any difference in the mincepies and the feedback was that the batches must be identical.  So no more suet for us’

For my mincemeat you will need:

200g apples
50g almonds
50g hazelnuts
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons brandy
200g raisins
200g sultanas
200g currants
200g candied peel
100g cherries
200g soft brown sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 tangerine
juice of 2 lemons
juice of 1 orange

Chop the almonds and hazelnuts.  Grate the apples and place in a large bowl with the citrus juice.  Add all the other ingredients.  Mix all the ingredients and store in sterilized jars for up to a year.

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My filo mincemeat turnovers today.  Photo taken during a live tv show.

And today I made mincemeat turnovers.  You just need some filo pastry and olive oil.  Cut the filo in pastry length ways into strips depending on what size you want the turnovers.  Place a teaspoon on mincemeat at one end of the strip.  Lift the corner of the filo and fold diagonally over the filling enclosing the filling at the same time.  This forms a triangle.  Fold again until you reach the end of the strip.  Brush the turnover with olive oil.  Place them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper and bake at 200C for 15 minutes.  Turn over and bake them for another 5 to 10 minutes depending on how crusty you like them.

I did not like the filo pastry I used during today’s programme.  It was a big let down!

Lea’s Good Food Everyday is aired live everyday on Smash TV

My dried fruit and nuts come from St Georges Brand, tableware Loft Naxxar, kitchenware by Tescoma 🙂


Boneless Nose-to-Tail Roasted Stuffed Rabbit


Nose-to-tail boneless stuffed rabbit.  This photo was taken by Marconia Schembri during a live tv show.

‘this is a meal to feed many people and more economical than buying 2 rabbits.  It is a show stopper when it is brought and sliced at the table.  If you use very thin evenly cut bacon you can roast the boneless saddle of rabbit without tying it with string.  No need of skewers or toothpicks.  If you are organised and prepare your ingredients it can be done in under 10 minutes as seen on tv’

You will need:

1 boneless nose-to-tail rabbit
32 slices of very thin pancetta
50g parsley
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 egg
2 hard boiled eggs
175g minced pork
175g minced beef
Salt and pepper

Ask your butcher to prepare a boneless rabbit.
Cut the bell peppers into strips.
Chop the hard boiled eggs
Mix the minced pork and minced beef.  Finely chop the parsley and add it to the meat.  Add the egg and season with salt and pepper.
Use half the pancetta slices and overlap them on a large chopping board.
Spread out the boneless rabbit on to the pancetta slices
The spread the minced meat on lengthwise on one side of the rabbit meat
Place the strips of red bell peppers in a line along one side of the minced meat.
Place the strips of orange bell peppers along the other side of the mince meat
Top the minced meat with the chopped hard boiled eggs.
Use the rest of the pancetta slices to neatly top the whole piece of meat.  Overlap them and tap the meat all over gently with your fingertips.
Start to roll the rabbit taking a good grip of the pancetta at the bottom and carry on rolling the meat until it forms a neat roll
Wrap in foil then in baking paper.
At this stage you can refrigerate it or freeze it and for later use.
Preheat the oven to 200C.  To cook the stuffed boneless rabbit, weigh the whole piece of meat after stuffing it and allow 1 hour per kilo of uncooked weight.
Allow to rest after it is cooked for 15 minutes, then cut in slices and serve.


Nose-to-tail boneless stuffed rabbit ready for roasting.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

Lea’s Tip:  Slices of the stuffed rabbit are also delicious served cold the day after it is cooked.  Flavours improve and it cuts very well.  Use very thin and even slices of bacon to roll and stuff your rabbit and you will find that you do not need to tie the meat nor use any skewers or toothpicks.


Ready to serve, thinly sliced stuffed boneless rabbit.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by CJ Baldacchino.

My boneless rabbit and other meats come from Ta Cancu Butcher in Zejtun, bacon by Campofrio at PJ Sutters, herbs and spices by Schwartz, organic vegetables by Barbuto, kitchenware by Tescoma

How to make Christmas Biscotti


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


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.


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.

Seasonal sweets –

no bake cardamon cookiesYou can find more of my festive recipes in today’s Sunday Times’

Source: Seasonal sweets –

Making Christmas Special –

‘You will find some of my easy Christmas recipes in today’s Sunday Times.’

Source: Making Christmas Special –

Quick Christmas Almond Muffins



almond cupcakes 2

Quick all-in-one Almond Cupcakes, photo taken by Felix Cesare during a live tv show

‘Mascarpone produces great results in baking as an alternative to butter.  Did you know that 100g of Mascarpone has around 435 calories as opposed to 717 calories for every 100g  of butter.’

This is the easiest and quickest recipe, fresh cupcake in half an hour from start to finish.

You will need:

100g mascarpone
50g brown sugar
4 eggs
125g self raising flour
125g almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon honey
the seeds of 1/2 pod vanilla

Simply place all the ingredients in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to combine the ingredients together to a consistent soft and smooth paste. Once your mixture appears even, stop beating and spoon into a muffin tin lined with paper cases.  Top with half a cherry and bake in a preheated oven at 160 C for 20 to 25 minutes.

Tip:  As soon as you mix them, test for a dropping consistency and immediately fill up the papercases in the muffin try and put in a hot oven with as little delay as possible

all in one easy almond cupcakes

I use flour and cherries by St Georges Brand, eggs by Big Fresh, almond flour by Farine Magiche, honey by 3 Leaves, sugar by Tate & Lyle, baking powder by Foster Clark, paper cases and muffin tin by Tescoma.

Mulled Wine with Chestnuts and Chocolate

‘…this year I am stirring in a few spoonfuls of our chestnut and chocolate local Christmas drink into mulled wine with a delicious result….’

mulled wine with imbuljuta

Mulled wine with a Maltese influence, as seen on TV, Photography Ian Noel Pace

‘Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in Malta without our seasonal chestnut and chocolate drink and in this post you will find two recipes for ‘Inbuljuta’ and my mulled wine.  Simply stir in two spoonfuls of imbuljuta into your mulled wine and you will have double Christmas flavors !’


I base my recipe on one of Anton B. Dougal’s family favourites. This is a quick version as I am using pre-packed chestnuts.

400g pre-packed chestnuts
The equivalent of 175g of sugar in stevia (check the labelling on your jar for conversions)
50g drinking chocolate
50g dark chocolate chopped in large pieces
Grated rind of 1 orange
Grated rind of 1 tangerine
1/4 tsp mixed spice
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Seeds from 1/4 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick

Place all the ingredients and half the chestnuts in a large pot. Add 1 litre of water and cook over moderate heat; stir until it starts to boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and add more sweetener if desired. Add the remainder of the chestnuts and heat through. If necessary add more boiling water. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Reheat before serving.

Mulled Wine

2 oranges, juice and zest of 1 organge
grated zest of a lemon
100g sugar or equivalent stevia
6 cloves, plus extra for garnish
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of cinnamon powder
seeds of half a vanilla pod
2 bottles of  red wine, for non-alcoholic use red grape juice
4 star anise
a few red peppercorns for garnish

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan with 300ml of the wine. Bring to a boil, simmer and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, stir and add a bit more wine if necessary. Do not let it dry out. The result should be a more syrupy version of the wine.

Add the rest of the wine and heat through.
Serve immediately

‘and if you are mixing with the chestnut and chocolate drink, simply put two spoonfuls of imbuljulta into each glass and top it up with mulled wine. (I pureed the imbuljuta for this but it is a matter of preference, you may prefer larger pieces of chestnuts in the drink).’

Quick Eggnog Bake

egg nog bake 2.jpg

Boxing day needs creative recipes to use leftovers and this eggnog bake, although rich, reuses leftover cake and can be cut into very small squares to serve with coffee.  Photos by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

You will need:

Cake cut up into slices
1 cup coconut milk
4 eggs
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
some grated nutmeg
a pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
4 tablespoons ground almonds
1 measure liquor of your choice or 2 tablespoons Aronia concentrate

To top the bake: A mix of nuts of your choice, cherries and candid peel
After baking: Agave or honey

Heat the oven to 200C.  Prepare a springform cake dish with baking spray.  Cut the cake into slices.  Layer the cake slices vertically in the cake tin.

Beat the eggs and add all the other ingredients.  Pour over the cake slices.

Cover and place in the fridge for an hour.

Top with a mix of nuts of your choice, cherries and candid peel.

Bake in a hot oven for 35 minutes.

Cut up into small cubes and serve with coffee. Store in the freezer and use when required.

egg nog bake.jpg

Eggnog Bake, using up Christmas leftovers.  Photo CJ Baldacchino


I use Marbled Cake by Ballara and Aronia both by J Calleja, Pecan Nuts, ground almonds, soft brown sugar by Good Earth, Cherries and candid peel by St Georges Brand, kitchenware by Tescoma