Nut and Seed Breads

I  have made several nut and seed breads during this tv series and this is a sweeter version.  I add raw red quinoa [and why not as quinoa is a seed] to the nut content of this beautiful loaf studded with nuts, apricots, chia, linseed and pistachio.  It is gluten free and perfect for serving with a sharp mature cheddar or perhaps with lashings of honey or agave and a good cup of tea.

We are experiencing one of the hottest summers this year.  What I like about this loaf is that although you need to turn the oven on to bake it and it may be something that one tries to avoid at the moment, you can freeze this loaf for up to a month and refrigerate it and cut it in thin slices for a week.  A little goes a long way as it is busting with amazing ingredients.  When I made the it the first time, I was rather sceptical about how it would cut but the slices are perfect and look like a mosiac.’

apricotpistachioseednutbreadingredients

Photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

Apricot and Pistachio Nut and Seed Bread with Red Raw Quinoa
[gluten free, lactose free]
100g pumpkin seeds
100g sunflower seeds
100g whole white blanced almonds
100g pistachio nuts
100g linseed
100g chia seeds
3 tablespoons raw red quinoa
100g dried apricots
4 eggs
50g ground almonds
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon agave or honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the top
70g dried apricots
30g pistachio nuts
warm agave or honey to lightly brush the top
Preheat the oven to 160C.  In a large bowl mix all the ingredients today and use a large metal spoon to gently bring together in consistency.
Prepare a cake tin or a loaf tin with baking spray.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake or loaf dish.
For the surface, cut the apricots horizontally and place on top of the unbaked loaf with the cut side up.
Cut the pistachio nuts in half and place a piece on top of each apricot half.
Bake in a precooked oven for 50 minutes to 1 hours.  Allow the loaf to completely cook down before removing from the dish.  While the loaf is still warm, brush lightly with agave or honey.
Allow to cool and cut into thin slices.
It freezes well for a month and you can store it in the refrigerator for a week.
Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV and you can follow the facebook page
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Cold Cured Salmon

gravlax 1 charles vassallo

Home made cold cured salmon, photo Charles Vassallo during a live tv show

‘I love to make Cold Cured Salmon because it is so economical in comparison to buying it prepared and sliced.  To get the best result you need to use very fresh fish.  If you are having a large crowd, this will be a big hit !

I made it during the tv show and it proved to be very popular.  You can keep in the the fridge for up to 4 days after curing it but it also freezes very well and it is always welcome in sandwiches, salads and to enhance a weekend breakfast or brunch.’

You will need:

50g sea salt
70g sugar
a large bunch of fresh dill
2 tablespoons vodka
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon crushed pink peppercorns

A large piece of boneless salmon fillet with skin on [around 500g]

To serve:  Lemon Wedges and Seed Bread

Cold Cure Salmon home made

Home Made Cold Cured Salmon, photo Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show

In a bowl mix together the sea salt, sugar, fresh dill, pink peppercorns, tarragon, coriander seeds, apple vinegar, vodka and ground fresh pepper.

Place the salmon, skin side down, on a large piece of cling film.  Cover the salmon with the mixture of herbs and spices making sure that it is completely covered.  Place the bay leaves on top.  If the piece of salmon is very large, cut in half and place the two pieces on top of each other with the skin side outside.  Wrap the fish securely in the cling film and place it in a large container skin side down.  Place another large dish on top of the salmon and weigh it down with some food cans to compress the salmon while it is being cured.  Place in the fridge for 36-48 hours.

gravlax sliced

Thinly sliced salmon, photo Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show

To serve, remove the weights and unwrap the salmon.  Discard the cling film and remove any excess of the cure mix.  Place on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to cut thin diagonal slices and serve on a platter with seed bread and lemon wedges.

 

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV and you can follow on facebook

Trade Enquiries: Spices and dried herbs by Good Earth Distributors

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables by Big Fresh Mosta, Oscars Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto [organic]

Fresh Fish by Adam’s Gourmet Fish Shop Mosta

Apple Vinegar Monari Federzoni by J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Homemade Carob Milk and making other Plant-Based Milks

ricemilk
I was surprised to discover how simple the whole process is for making plant-based milks and drinks.  It takes about 5 minutes as long as the main ingredient is soaked overnight in plenty of water. You do not need any fancy appliances and can use a simple food processor or blender.

Homemade, dairy-free milk lasts for three to five days when refrigerated in airtight glass containers. Boiling this milk with sugar or an alternative sweetener and then simmering the mixture for around 45 minutes results in a thick consistency very similar to condensed milk.

Hemp seed and rice milk provide very good, creamy and nut-free alternative. The left-over pulp can be used as an ingredient for other recipes and I am including some ideas.

Carob fruit is rich in potatssium, magnesium and calcium. It is fibre rich and a good source of Vitamin E. The flavour of carob milk goes particularly well with coffee. Carob milk is not as creamy but I also make one combined with Oats for a creamier result.

For the Carob Milk, you will need:

250g Carob fruit
3 cups bottled or filtered water
2 dates
a pinch of salt

Thoroughly wash the carob fruit and completely immerse them in water in a large container. Allow them to soak overnight. Rinse them then place them in a large pot, add the filtered or bottled water and bring them to boil. Simmer for half an hour and remove from heat. Allow them to cool down completely. Break up the carob fruit into pieces and place in a blender or food processor.  Add the water that you have cooked them in together with the other ingredients and blend on high speed for 3 minutes until the mixture is milky and consistent.  Pour the mixture into a sieve covered with a clean dishcloth or use a nut milk bag.  Squeeze the milk bag so that the carob milk is extracted out of the pulp as much as possible.

‘The left-over pulp can be used in other recipes and during the tv programme I have made use of it by making pie crusts, energy balls and granola bars.  The possibilities are endless and I like the idea of making the most out of every ingredient, extracting the milk and using the pulp with absolutely no waste.  It is always best to use a milk bag to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible’

milkbag

Almond Milk
You will need:
1 cup almonds
3 cups bottled or filtered water and more for soaking
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 or filtered water. Add the dates and a pinch of salt.
Blend on high speed until the mixture is well blended. The almonds must be totally ground and the mixture appears consistent.
Strain the almonds by placing them in a sieve 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
Refrigerate the milk in airtight glass containers for up to 4 days.
Use Almond Pulp to make almond flour. Place the almond pulp on a flat ovenproof dish covered with baking paper and bake it in a cool oven at 150°C for an hour. Allow to cool down completely preferably overnight, then place in a food processor and grind to a fine texture.

Hazelnut Milk
You will need:
1 cup hazelnuts
3 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
1 tsp organic apple vinegar
Pinch of salt


For sweetened milk add 1 date or 1 tbsp stevia and some vanilla
Place the hazelnuts in a glass container and soak them overnight with a pinch of sea salt and a tsp of apple organic vinegar. Drain and discard the soaking liquid and rinse the hazelnuts well.
Place the hazelnuts in the blender and add 3 cups of bottled water. For a sweetened milk add also 1 date or 1 tbsp of stevia and some vanilla.
Blend at high speed until the nuts are completely ground to a fine pulp. Place a piece of muslin or a clean tea towel over a sieve. Pour the contents of the liquidiser into the covered sieve and gently press the pulp down to squeeze the liquid through. Store the milk in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Use the hazelnut pulp to add to smoothies.
Hemp Milk
You will need:
½ cup hemp seeds
4 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
2 dates
Vanilla

hemp seeds
Soak the hemp seeds overnight in a glass container. Drain and discard the water. Place the soaked hemp seeds in a liquidiser or blender and use a high setting to completely grind the seeds to a fine consistency. Strain the hemp milk by pouring it through a strainer covered with a clean tea towel. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Use the hemp seed pulp as an additional ingredient to make homemade energy bars.

Coconut Milk

coconutmilk

Fresh homemade coconut milk as seen on tv, photgraphy during the live show by Marconia Schembri      For the home made coconut milk you will need: 100g coconut, 5 cups of filtered or bottled water, a pinch of salt [1 date, optional].  Soak the coconut in water overnight.  Place in a blender or food processor.  Add the filtered or bottled water and blend on high speed for 4 minutes until the mixture is milky and consistenty.  Pour the mixture into a sieve covered with a clean dishcloth or use a nut milk bag.  Squeeze the rest of the coconut milk but wringing the dishtowel until you have extracted as much coconut milk as possible.

Rice Milk
You will need:
1 cup long grain rice. I like to use basmati
5 cups water and more for soaking
1 tbsp agave
Vanilla

oatmilk

Making rice milk during a live tv show, photography George Aquilina  Appliances by Kitchenaid at Forestals, professional wear Chefworks, nails by Jessica Camilleri using Max Factor Noisette No 145

Rinse the rice and place it in a glass container. Immerse completely in water and allow to soak overnight.
Drain the rice and place it in a blender with the rest of the ingredients.
Process the rice on high speed for about 3-4 minutes. Line a sieve with a clean dish cloth and place over a bowl. Pour the rice milk into it and squeeze as much milk as you can by wringing the dishcloth with your hands. Store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Use the rice pulp to make a rice pudding. Place the rice pulp in a saucepan and cover with water. Add some cinnamon and honey or agave and 2 tablespoons of raisins. Bring to boil and reduce the heat. Stir constantly and when the liquid is absorbed, remove from the heat. Add more rice milk to achieve the consistency of your choice and serve warm.

Oat Milk

You will need:

1 cup oats
3 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
1 date or 1 tbsp agave
A pinch of salt

oat milk george.jpg

Homemade Oat Milk, this photo was taken by George Aquilina during a live tv show, kitchenware by Tescoma

Soak the oats overnight in plenty of water. Drain and discard the soaking water and place the oats in a blender. Add the filtered or bottled water and the rest of the ingredients. Strain the oat milk by pouring it through a strainer covered with a clean tea towel. Use your hands to wring the tea towel to squeeze all the milk out. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Stir the milk thoroughly before using it. This milk can be used to thicken a soup or dessert simply by adding heating it as it becomes thick and gelatinous.

‘The pulp from plant based milks can be used in a variety of recipes’

oat-pie-crust-illumina-media

Use your left over oat pulp to make pie crusts for tarts.  Photography Illumina Media during a live tv show.  Fresh fruit by Big Fresh Mosta

Use the oat pulp to make an oat flour crust for tarts.  Place the oat pulp on a flat ovenproof dish covered with baking paper and bake it in a cool oven at 150°C for an hour.  Allow to cool down completely preferably overnight, then place in a food processor and grind to a fine texture.  Then add it to your recipe to make a tart crust.  Ingredients: 200g flour, 200g oat flour, 100g ricotta,  1 tablespoon agave or honey, a few drops vanilla, zest of half an orange, 1 egg and cold water.  Method: Sieve the flour and add the oatmeal.  Add the ricotta and rub it into the flour and oatmeal using your fingertips
Add the other ingredients except the water and eggs and mix. Now add the beaten eggs, mix using a knife. Then add the cold water, start with one tablespoon and mix, then add a spoonful at a time until you form a dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for half an hour. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs daily on Smash TV and you can follow the page on facebook
Trade Enquiries: Ingredients by Good Earth Distributors

Fresh Herb Soup with Turmeric Rice and Soft Maltese Gbejna [gluten free, diabetic friendly]

fresh herb soup with turmeric vegetable rice 2

‘Fresh herbs are abundant this month.  And with the exception of fresh mint, basil and parsley many of us worry about what to do with big bundles of fresh oregano, tarragon, marjoram and thyme.  Antida gave me a large basket of mixed herbs from her garden this week which also  included ‘English’ curly parsley and purple basil.  I wanted to make the most of them while they were fresh and use fresh herbs as a main ingredient, rather than as a garnish, nearly an afterthought.  I also used organic seasonal vegetables that are delivered to my door every Thursday from Barbuto in Sicily, 60 miles away from us.

The fertile volcanic soil of Sicily make it an agricultural dream and it is comforting to know that the produce is pesticide-free with no artificial additives to enhance it.

The soup is a puree of lightly cooked fresh herbs and organic vegetables topped with a quick rice stir fry of the same finely diced vegetables that are in the puree and to give a nutritional boost as well as enhance the color and flavors I add fresh turmeric root.  If this is not available, use turmeric powder.  The contrast in the texture of the same ingredients in the puree and stir fry bring out different flavors it makes a great meal in itself, with no second courses required.   To make it more local I finished off the soup with  soft Maltese Gbejna Cheese and a garnish of fresh herbs.  I could not eat enough of it !’

fresh herbs goodfoodeveryday

Herbs from Antida’s garden.  All my photos are taken during a live tv show

For the pureed organic vegetable soup will need:
[Serves 4]

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 natural garlic and herb stock cube and 1 litre of water
2 courgettes
2 light green marrows
1 potato
2 carrots
1 pak choi
100g mixed fresh herbs of your choice
a pinch of dried mixed herbs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and Pepper

Barbuto veg 2

Fruit and vegetables in Barbuto’s organic box this week.  For the soup, choose vegetables of your choice or use seasonal vegetables

For the Turmeric Rice Stir Fry you will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
150g cooked basmati rice
1/2 onion
1 courgette, diced
1 marrow, diced
1 carrot, diced
6 fresh broad beans, peeled
1 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric root or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

To finish: 1/2 fresh gbejna per portion, cut horizontally, fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil [if gbejna is not available use feta or ricotta]

For the Soup
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the roughly chopped onion and vegetables. Stir and cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Then add the stock cube, the roughly chopped fresh mixed herbs and the pinch of dried herbs and cook for another 5 minutes on low heat, then add the water. Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat for around 10 -15 minutes until the vegetables soften. Do not overcook. Season with salt and pepper then use a hand blender to puree to a smooth consistency.

turmeric rice.jpg

For the Turmeric Rice
Heat the oil in wok over medium heat. Add the diced onion and vegetables and cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly until they cook through. Do not overcook. Add the cooked basmati rice and mix everything together very well. Cook until it is heated through for around another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Top with the fresh broad beans.

To serve the soup:
Slice the gbejna cheese horizontally into 2 and allow one slice per portion.
Gently reheat the pureed soup if necessary. Use a ladel to fill individual soup bowls. Spoon some of the turmeric rice on top, then arrange the slice of gbejna cheese and garnish with fresh herbs. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil and serve immediately.
fresh herb soup with turmeric vegetable rice

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV every day and you can also follow the facebook page

Trade Enquiries:
Basmati Rice by Grandi at J Calleja Ltd
Kallo Stock Cubes at Good Earth
Fresh Herbs by Big Fresh Mosta
Fresh Organic Vegetables by Barbuto in Sicily

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 Distributors
Olive oil by Costa D’Oro at J Calleja Ltd
Butter Flavour Fry Light Cooking Spray by Rimus Group
Fresh Fruit by Big Fresh Mosta and Oscars Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto for organic fruit and vegetables
Kitchenware by Tescoma

Healthy Vegan Slices [gluten free, no refined sugar]

 

veganslicesprunesandoats

Vegan Oat, Chocolate and Coconut Slices [gluten free with no refined sugar] Photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

Vegan Oat, Chocolate [Prune] and Coconut Slices [gluten free with no refined sugar]

For the bottom layer you will need:

2 cups oats
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
vanilla
1 tablespoon linseed OR 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons agave OR maple syrup OR stevia
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons water
For the middle layer:
400g dried prunes
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut
vanilla
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoon ground almonds
2 tablespoons maple syrup OR agave OR stevia
a pinchof salt
2 tablespoons water
Cooking Spray, [I used avocado oil]
For the top layer:
Coconut, as much as you fancy, more for a thicker layer
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Cover a square oven proof dish with baking paper.  Spray with cooking spray.
Start by mixing the ingredients for the base and placing all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix well until the mixture is uniform.  Place the mixture into the ovenproof dish and use a wet spoon to push down the mixture and smooth down the surface.
For the middle layer, place all the ingredients in a food mixer and process until the mixture is very smooth.  Place the prune and chocolate mixture on top of the oat layer and press down with a wet spoon ensuring that the surface is smooth.
For the top layer, scatter the coconut on the top and press down using a wet spoon making sure that the surface is smooth.  For a thin layer use a few tablespoons and increase the amount of coconut for a thicker layer, according to your preferences.
Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the coconut layer becomes golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow it to cool down completely.  On tv we cut this without refrigerating but for the best result cover and refrigerate for two hours or more then use a very sharp know to cut into large or small squares.

 

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:

For the bottom layer

250g ground almonds
250g oatmeal
120g soft dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons coconut pulp
For the middle layer
500g fresh ripe apricots
a pinch of salt
1 vanilla pod
For the top layer
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 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

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

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‘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’

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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

Cooking with millet

millet salad

I cooked a few meals recently during the tv show using millet, which is one of my favorite gluten-free foods. The grain-like seeds originated in Africa and have been eaten since prehistoric times. They are a pale yellow color and have an earthy taste. You can eat millet simply plain with a bit of olive oil or butter and it can also be added to soups, salads and stir-fried meals.

Millet is packed with nutrients and also makes an excellent breakfast in place of oats. It is rich in B Vitamins, magnesium and insoluble fibre, which promotes a good digestion and prevents gall stones.

Millet was rare to find some time ago but as quinoa has become so popular, other grains and seeds are more readily available in most supermarkets and grocery stores today.

To cook a cup of millet, add two cups of water or stock, ¼ teaspoon salt and either one teaspoon butter or a tablespoon olive oil. If you have time, lightly dry roast the millet seeds in a hot pan until they start to turn golden then add the rest of the ingredients.

Bring to boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes in a covered pot before serving.

Three Bean Eggplants with Chicken and Millet

You will need:
200g cooked millet
2 eggplants
1 tbsp olive oil
200g diced cooked chicken breast
½ onion
1 clove garlic
¼ tsp smoked paprika
200g mixed cooked beans of your choice [I used a mix of pinto, haricot and lima beans]
a handful of baby spinch leaves
salt
2 tbsp grated Parmegiano Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 200℃. Brush an ovenproof dish with olive oil. Cut the eggplants in half and place skin side down on the baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes until the flesh softens up.

Allow to cool and scoop out the flesh and chop it.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Cook the onion and garlic on low heat and add the chopped eggplant flesh. Add the paprika and a pinch of salt.

Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Remove from the heat and add the chopped cooked chicken breast and mixed beans.

Use a large bowl to mix together the cooked milled and chicken and bean mixture. Add half the spinach leaves and mix gently. Season with salt.

Spoon the mixture into the cavity of the eggplants and top with grated Parmegiano Reggiano. Bake for 10 to15 minutes until the cheese melts. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with more spinach leaves.

This is a gluten-free, diabetic-friendly recipe.

Baked Breakfast Millet with Forest Fruits and Pistachio Nuts

You will need:
150g cooked millet
1 cup frozen berries of your choice
½ cup cashew milk
vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup stevia
2 tbsp honey
To garnish:  ¼ cup pistachio nuts.

Preheat the oven to 180℃.

In an ovenproof dish mix all the ingredients together. Stir and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Top with pistachio nuts and serve.

For a vegan recipe use agave instead of honey. This is a gluten-free recipe.

Warm Salad of Millet and Beef

You will need:
200g cooked millet
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion
250g sirloin steak
1 grated garlic clove
1 bay leaf
½ tsp coriander seeds
4 leaves kale or cavolo vecchio or kohlrabi leaves
1 large tomato
1 all-natural stock cube
1 cup water
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp freshly grated lemon zest
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmegiano Reggiano
2 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of salt

Chop the sirloin steak into strips and keep aside.

Peel the onion and finely slice. Chop the tomato and keep aside.

Prepare the leaves by removing the tough centre stem and chop the leaves. Keep aside.

Place a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan or wok. Cook the beef strips and remove from pan. Keep aside and in the meantime cook the onion on low heat. Add the garlic and crushed coriander seeds. Stir, then add the cooked beef strips. Add the stock cube dissolved in water and the bay leaf. Cook until the liquid reduces. Turn up the heat and add the chopped leaves and grated ginger. Stir for a few minutes until the leaves start to wilt then assemble the warm salad. Place the cooked millet in a large mixing bowl. Add the beef stir fry, the chopped tomato and the chopped parsley and gently mix the ingredients into the millet. Finish off by adding the freshly grated lemon zest and Parmegiano Reggiano. Serve while still warm.

This is a gluten-free, lactose-free and diabetic-friendly recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup with Millet

You will need:
1 medium butternut squash
2 medium carrots
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 natural stock cube
5 cups water
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly grated ginger
Some fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups cooked millet

Roughly chop the butternut squash with skin on. Peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic and carrots. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and freshly grated ginger and cook for five minutes on low heat. Stir and add the stock cube dissolved in the water. Add the thyme and bring to boil and simmer for 35 minutes. Use a hand held immersion blender to puree the soup until it is very smooth. Serve and add a few tablespoons of cooked millet to garnish.

This recipe is a gluten-free, vegan and diabetic-friendly recipe.

Trade Enquiries:

Millet, dried herbs and spices, Kallo natural stock cubes by Good Earth Distributors Ltd

Olive oil by Costa D’Oro at J Calleja

Fry Light Cooking Spray and President Butter by Rimus Trading Agency

Fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables by Big Fresh Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto for Organic produce

Fresh Meat and Poultry by Ta’ Cancu Butcher Zejtun and Majjal ta’ Malta

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs on Smash TV Everyday and you can also follow on facebook . Photography by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.