Summer salads and dressings

Escape salads and dressings Tuna Sweetcorn Salad Marconia Schembri

Sweetcorn and Tuna Salad.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

Salads enable us to provide substantial meals in the summer months without spending too much time in a hot kitchen. Make use of the large variety of leaves in the market to add balance and add different textures and flavors.  The combination of sweet corn and tuna is a classic salad choice and the addition of sweet potato, coriander and lime make ….

Source: Sunday Times Summer salads and dressings

I use sweetcorn and tuna by 3 leaves, fresh vegetables by Big Fresh, potted herbs by Callus Gardens, rice by Better Than, beans and pulses by Good Earth, dried herbs and spices by Schwartz.  

Salad Tart

salad tart

‘And I used the ricotta and hazelnut crust  to make another salad tart.  Simply allow the crust to cool, crumble up 200g ricotta  and arrange it on the crust, top with a mix of finely chopped fresh herbs and chopped nuts and I used a mix of pistachios and hazelnuts  .  Then simple layer hard boiled eggs and tomatoes, a sprinkle of olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.  It makes such a lovely meal’

Smoked Eggplant and Spinach Layered Salad

smoked aubergine and spinach salad

Smoked Eggplant and fresh spinach salad as seen on TV

‘the best way to get that really smoky taste is to cook the eggplant on a barbecue or open flame and when a barbecue is not available, directly on to the ring of a gas stove BUT .. it creates a mess and as an alternative roasting eggplants in the oven without cutting or piercing them imparts a delicious mild smoky flavor.

The flesh shrinks in volume resulting in less yield than when you char the skin on an open flame but it remains pale, appears appetizing and makes a great addition to salads.

Do not pierce the skin so that the flesh cooks in its own juices and retains its full flavor’

For the smoked eggplant and spinach salad you will need:

Fresh large tomatoes, sliced thinly and deseeded
Egglants, roasted in the oven at 160C for an hour. Allow to cool completely before piercing and peeling, then chopping
Fresh Spinach leaves, cleaned and stalks removed

And for the tahini and mint dressing you will need:
50ml tahini
4 tablespoons lemon juice
150ml water
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped fresh mint
a pinch of dried mint
1/2 teaspoon honey
Salt to season
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix the garlic, tahini, fresh mint and honey and add the lemon juice. Then add the water, a little at a time, whisking constantly until it is runny. Season. Refrigerate for an hour and it will thicken.  Add more water if desired, a little at a time and finally the olive oil.  Give it a good stir before using.

To assemble:
Use a clear bowl (I used a trifle bowl) to layer spinach, sliced tomatoes, spinach, smoked chopped eggplant and tahini salad, repeat and finish off with the smoked eggplant pieces and dressing.  Allow to rest in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Kale, buckwheat and mint salad

 Kale is now grown locally at is easily available in many vegetable shops and supermarkets.

For the salad you will need:

    • ¼ cup raw buckwheat
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 bunch kale
    • 2 tbsp chopped mint, plus some extra leaves for garnish
    • 1 tbsp grated pecorino cheese
    • 1 tbsp pecan nuts
    • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the buckwheat and stir often until it lightly browns.
Remove kale leaves from the stalks and chop finely.
Toss with the pecorino cheese, pecan nuts, chopped mint and toasted buckwheat.
Mix the lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Pour dressing over salad and toss. Garnish with whole pecans and mint.

I use buckwheat by Good Earth and fresh vegetables and herbs by Big Fresh.

Salsa verde with walnut and parsley couscous


I love salsa verde and although you can add a mix of fresh herbs I made this one with flat leaf parsley only. I wish there was more left but we ate it, too irresistible. I love it also with grilled meats and tossed with pasta, nearly like a pesto, but much lighter !

You will need:

2 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 spoons capers, rinsed
6 anchovy fillets
4 cups roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, stalks removed, packed quite tightly to measure
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 spoon honey
freshly ground black pepper
Water to bring it to the consistency that you like

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl. use a hand blender to purée. Taste and adjust the consistency by adding water and balance the sharp, sweet salt comtent by adding more salt, lemon juice or honey. it is all about personal taste 🙂

And for the Parsley and Walnut couscous you will need:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped walnuts dry roasted and chopped
2 spoons chopped Parsley
Grated rind of 1/4 lemon, fine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Enough water to soften it without making it mushy
1 cup dry large couscous

Prepare the couscous according to instructions on pack. Here I use large variety, not Israeli. Chop and dry roast the walnuts in a pan.
Toss all the ingredients together leaving the olive oil to add last.
Its delicious hot or cold


Fenkata with minced meat


We featured this dish on tv this week.

Did you know that rabbit meat is higher in protein and lower in fat and cholesterol than other meats ?

For this pasta dish, you will need:

75 to 120g spaghetti per portion

250g minced rabbit meat
1 spoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 bay leaf
60g peas
250g tinned tomatoes
2 spoons tomato purée
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon marjoram
150ml red wine
Salt and pepper to season
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice

1 white gbejna, grated to top the dish and chopped parsley,

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, add the garlic then the minced meat. Stir and mix through. When the meat starts to brown, add the carrot and then the wine, herbs and tomatoes. Add the bay leaf! Herbs and spices. Lower the heat and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes add the tomato paste and peas. Season if preferred.

Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet. Drain. Toss into sauce and stir. Arrange on individuals plates and top with grated gbejna and flat leaf parsley !


A warm salad of red rice, zucchini and basil


I loved this salad and I am enjoying experiments with red rice. With more of a bite than regular rice, this is my kind of food !

For this salad you will need:

200g red rice
4 zucchini chopped up
A handful of fresh basil
2 spoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Half an onion
1/4 of a small cabbage, finely shredded
Half a cucumber, chopped up with skin on
Juice of half a lemon
Grated rind of a lemon

Cook the rice as per instructions on the pack. Rinse it firms and cook in water with a touch of salt. I left mine soaking for an hour before I cooked it.

Fry the onion in a touch of oil. Add half the fresh basil chopped up and the cucumber. Stir in the dried basil. Toss and remove from heat. Mix the vegetables with the rice. Finally add the lemon rind and the lemon juice followed by a drizzle of olive oil. Mix in the raw shredded cabbage and toss.

Garnish with some lemon zest and some fresh basil leaves. We ate this salad warm but it is also delicious cold served the next day.


And in Maltese on INEWS

Leftovers: a salad of bulgur and Brussels sprout


With the Brussels Sprouts that were left over, we made a salad today and it is a pleasure to eat something that tastes healthy after all the rich food of the last few days.

You will need:

200g bulgar wheat (medium)
100 to 200g Brussels sprouts, depending on how much is left over
50g pistachios, dry roasted and chopped
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
Grated rind of half a lemon
Salt and Pepper to season
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 spoon lemon juice
1 spoon roughly chopped parsley

Soak the bulgur wheat in cold water and leave for a few hours. Drain well. half the cooked Brussels sprouts and add to the bulgur. Add the pistachios, lemon rind, cherry tomatoes, parsley and mix gently not to break the sprouts up. Season and finally add the olive oil and lemon juice. Just delicious 🙂

I use Bulgur wheat by St Georges Brand, olive oil by Costa D’Oro at J Calleja and fresh vegetables and herbs by Big Fresh in Mosta.

Festive Quinoa salad


I am featuring this gluten free dish on tv today as one of my many dishes during our food program. My Christmas baking also takes off this afternoon with so many new recipes lined up. The textures of this salad are wonderful, trust me:). You will need:

2 large potatoes, baked with skin on, cooled and peeled
2 spoons pistachio nuts, chopped
2 spoons cranberries, cut in half
120g cooked red quinoa
1 red chilli, chopped
2 spoons chopped flat leaf parsley
2 spoons chopped fresh mint
Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper if required
2 spoons of olive oil

Place the potatoes, quinoa, 1 spoon pistachio nuts, 1 spoon cranberries, half the red chilli, 1 spoon flat leaf parsley and 1 spoon mint in a large bowl. Toss gently, making sure you do not break up the potatoes. Arrange on a plate. Add the rest of the parsley and mint. Toss to combine with the top layer. On the top, sprinkle the rest of the pistachios and cranberries. Top with two spoons of olive oil and season of required.

A great way to serve something healthy and festive looking this season 🙂

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Parsley Bulgar Salad


Bulgar wheat in all sizes is one of my most favorite ingredients right now. And mixed with flat leaf parsley and other vegetables, it always makes a wonderful salad.

You will need:

4 cups chopped tomato
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup uncooked bulgur, here I use fine, soaked for 1 hours and water drained out
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon dried mint
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients, leaving the oil out. Toss. Stir in oil and mix. It is really lovely :). You can substitute the tomato with butternut squash cooked the the oven skin on. It is so delicious too !

An imprint left from coating biscuit rings in sesame seeds prior to baking .

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