Strawberry and Coffee Biscuit Trifle

strawberry coffee gateau

Stawberry and Coffee Biscuit Trifle, photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

You will need:

2 packets Nice Biscuits
4 tablespoons instant coffee
2 cups boiling water
1 vanilla pod
100g butter
80g sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 punnets strawberries
500ml whipping cream

strawberry coffee gateau 2

Use an electric mixer to beat the cream.  Remove from the bowl and mix in the seeds from a vanilla pod.  Keep aside.

Place the water in a saucepan with the remaining vanilla pod and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the coffee powder, mix with a large spoon, then add the cocoa powder and brandy.

Place the softened butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until the mixture is white and fluffy.

Fold in the whipped cream and vanilla.  Place the cream mixture in a piping bag and keep aside.

Slice the strawberries.

Assemble the trifle by dipping the ‘Nice’ Biscuits into the coffee mixture and line the bottom of the container.

Work neatly and pipe a layer of the cream mixture.  Flatten with a spoon, then top with a layer of sliced strawberries.

Repeat with a layer of coffee-soaked ‘Nice’ biscuits, a layer of the cream mixture and strawberries until you have used all your ingredients.

I usually fill up the whole bowl with these layers, but due to time constraints of live tv, I finished off with a layer of strawberries before we reached the top and had lots of left overs to make more trifles !

Cover with cling film and Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Trade Enquiries

Rimus Trading Agency  for Nice Biscuits by Regal, President Butter and Cream

Good Earth Distributors for pure vanilla pods and raw cocoa powder

Big Fresh  Mosta for all my fresh fruit and vegetables

Homemade energy bars and bliss balls

Photos: Marconia Schembri, Stefan Stafrace, Illumina Media, Felix Cesare

Photo George Aquilina during a live tv show

There are so many varieties of energy bars on the market today with whole sections in supermarkets filled with them. The different choices are overwhelming and some provide energy while others may be classed as low carb or high in protein. Most of them satisfy current food trends.

Dried fruit bars became fashionable when they were marketed to a sports audience in the 1960s and 1970s and they have evolved to become a quick meal replacement or possibly the most popular snack food today.

Making your own bars means that you can choose to use ingredients that you like. They require little or no cooking and you just need to make sure that your dried fruits are plump and the nuts you are using are fresh. If the dates, figs or prunes are on the small side, then you may need to add a few extra ones.

There is no magic formula like baking. Grind the ingredients very well so that they blend easily together and hold shape.

Energy bars can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge or a cool place for around three weeks. Most of them freeze very well.

 

Ingredients I use in these recipes:

Maca Powder: the extract of a Peruvian plant best known for improving energy levels and vitality
Aronia: also known as chokeberry and can be found locally as a dried fruit or in liquid and powder concentrate.  It contains high antioxidants and is known to have many beneficial properties
Hemp Seeds: hard brown seeds with a light inner kernel that provide a good source of amino acids, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Carrot date bars with Maca powder

1 large carrot
a pod of vanilla
¼ tsp Maca powder
2 cups oats
1/2 cup dates
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup mixed chopped almonds and pistachio nuts
a pinch of cinnamon
a grating of fresh nutmeg
grated zest of 1 tangerine
water

Photo Illumina Media during a  live tv show

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Wash and grate the carrot.

In a saucepan placed the dates and grated carrot. Add 1/4 cup of water, the cinnamon, nutmeg and grated citrus zest. Allow the dates to break down on low heat. Add more water, a few tbsps at a time, if necessary. Do not let the mixture dry up. When the dates are soft and mushy turn off the heat and allow to cool down. In a large bowl place the oats, add the vanilla and Maca powder, then add the date and carrot mixture. Mix until the consistency is even.

Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Press down the mixture and use a spoon dipped in water to press it down until it is compact. Top with chopped nuts and press down again using the wet spoon.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Leave in the fridge overnight.

The next day, remove from the loaf tin by pulling the baking paper out gently and cut into bars using a sharp knife.

Chewy granola bars with hemp seeds

2 cups oats
1 cup nuts of your choice
12 pitted dates
3 tbsp coconut oil
Vanilla
1 cup coconut
¼ cup raisins
1 tbsp hemp seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Photo Illumina Media during alive tv show

Place the oats in a food processor and add the chopped nuts, pitted dates and the rest of the ingredients. Pulse to process, until you have a consistent but textured paste. Line a 20cm cake or pie dish with baking paper.

Bring the mixture together with your hands and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Firmly press down the mixture into the cake or pie dish. Make sure that the surface is level and that all the dish is equally covered. Wet your fingers with water and tap the surface gently all over again. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and, after it cools down, leave in the fridge overnight. Lift it out by pulling the baking paper and place it on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut bars.

Sweet potato balls with ginger

Photo Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show

2 large sweet potatoes
3 cups coconut
5 tbsp agave
1/2 packet apricots
1/2 vanilla pod
1 cup shredded carrots
some freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger powder
1 pinch of mixed spice
grated zest of an orange
To cover: 2 cups coconut or coarsely ground oats

These balls can turn out to be bright yellow or a creamy colour, depending on the variety of sweet potato you are using.

Cook the sweet potato with skin on in the microwave and allow to cool. Peel and mash very well with a fork until the mixture is consistent.

Mix all the ingredients together. Use a hand blender to make a smooth paste. Leave in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Form balls and roll in coconut or ground oats. Leave in the fridge overnight before serving.

Fig and date Balls with aronia

Photo Stefan Stafrace during a live tv show

2 cups pitted dates
2 cups coconut
1 cup figs
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup grated citrus zest. (I used local tangerines)
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 tbsp aronia, liquid
1/8 cup unsweetened fruit juice of your choice
For rolling balls: 2 cups sesame seeds and 2 cups coconut in separate containers

Roughly chop the dates and figs into small pieces.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until the consistency is smooth. Add water if the mixture is too dry, a tablespoon at a time.

Line two flat dishes with a baking sheet and place the sesame seeds in one container and coconut in the other container.

Use a teaspoon to form equal-sized balls and roll with your hands.

Roll the balls in the sesame seeds and coconut and store and place on a dish lined with baking paper. Leave for a few hours to set and dry out and then store in an airtight container.

 

Maca Powder and Hemp Seeds are available via Good Earth.  Aronia is available via J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Wensleydale Cheese Balls

cheese-balls-ghal-millied-cj

Festive Cheese Balls, these photos were taken by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show last week

‘I use Cranberry Wensleydale for these cheese balls that are an ideal addition to the Christmas cheeseboard’

To coat the cheese balls you will need:
50g pistachios
50g bailes rose peppercorns
20g sesame seeds
20g smoked paprika

For the cheese ball:
500g Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries

Dry roast the pistachios and sesame seeds separately and keep aside.
Allow the pistachios to cool and chop finely.
Crush the bailes rose peppercorns using a pestle and mortar.
Take the Wensleydale Cheese out of the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for at least an hour so that it softens up.
Remove the rind from the Wensleydale Cheese.  Cut into small pieces and place in a bowl.  Use a fork to mash the cheese and keep mixing it until it becomes creamy and consistent in texture.
Shape the softened cheese into balls and immediately roll some of them in the chopped pistachios, and then roll the rest of the balls onto the toasted sesame seeds, the smoked paprika and the rose peppercorns.
Place the balls on a flat dish lined with baking paper.
Refrigerate overnight.  You can store them in a air tight container for a few days in the fridge.
Serve with fruit, crackers and fresh bread.  They are especially usefully on an after-dinner cheese platter or to served with drinks.

I use Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries by Fordham Farm from P J Sutters and Experia The Deli, herbs and spices by Schwartz also from P J Sutters

Raw Brownie Batter (vegan, lactose and gluten free)

raw brownie batter goodfoodeveryday

To serve with ice cream or just as a dip, raw brownie batter.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by Roger Azzopardi

‘Summer brings an air of celebration on the island.  The bright blue skies and sea all around, the sunshine.  And the short distances make it possible to end nearly every day surrounded by family and friends sharing good food, celebrating.  This is a perfect quick addition to ice creams or simply use as a dip’

You will need:

1 cup tofu (use ricotta for non vegan and lactose inclusive diets)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon agave (you can use honey for non vegan and lactose inclusive diets)
1/2 sweet potato
1 tablespoon finely chopped almonds
vanilla
150g sugar free dark chocolate

Place the sweet potato in the microwave and cook it (timing depends on size and microwave). Allow to cool and peel.

Place the tofu (or ricotta as above), cocoa powder, agave, sweet potato, almonds and vanilla in a large bowl and use a hand held blender to bind and form a consistent mixture. Melt the chocolate in the microwave and add it to the mixture. Mix until the mixture is smooth and consistent. The mixture should be soft enough to have a spreadable consistency. Pipe into bowls and garnish with cherries and M&Ms.

Serve with ice cream or simply as a dip.

Tip: If you have a very sweet tooth, add a tablespoon of Stevia

To dip I use gluten free biscuits by Nutrifree. I also use tofu by Clearspring, almonds, cocoa powder and agave at Good Earth (or ricotta by Zappala), chocolate by Valor, maraschino cherries by 3 leaves, stevia by Tate & Lyle, vanilla by Schwartz and sweet potato by Big Fresh, M&Ms by Xirja, kitchenware by Tescoma, table accessories by Loft.

No bake coconut chocolate cherry slice

coconut chocolate cherry slice

Coconut chocolate cherry slice photo taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

‘An incredibly quick dessert, ideal for the hot summer days. It is vegan, gluten free, lactose free and has no added processed sugar. Worth a try if you are reading this recipe as it will not disappoint’

cherry coconut chocolate credit george aquilina

Coconut Chocolate Cherry no bake slice, photo take by George Aquilina during a live tv show

You will need:
2 cups coconut
2 tablespoons agave
1 vanilla pod
2 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil
400g sugar free dairy free chocolate

a tart tin with a loose bottom
cling film
10 cherries

Place the coconut, agave, seeds from the vanilla pod and cold pressed coconut oil in a blender and pulse until it forms a paste.
Cover the bottom part of the tart dish with cling film.
Place the mixture in the tart dish and press down by using a spatula.
Place in the fridge for an hour.
Melt the chocolate by placing in a microwave or bain marie.
Pour the chocolate over the coconut

Place in the fridge over night or the freezer if you are not going to serve immediately.  Before serving dip the cherries in melted chocolate and place on top of the tart.

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Slice

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Slice, photo taken during a live tv show by Charles Vassallo

Tip:  This tart was made in a rush during a live tv show without being placed int the fridge long enough to set.  You can have a must neater finish by allowing the tart to set overnight in the fridge or freezer before decorating.

I use agave and coconut oil by Good Earth, chocolate by Valor, vanilla by Schwartz, cherries by Big Fresh, tart tin by Tescoma, coconut by St Georges Brand, cling film by AMC, decorative tableware by Loft.