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

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with homemade coconut milk


Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Homemade coconut milk.   Photo taken during today’s live tv show by Marconia Schembri

‘Perfect for winter, with lots of fresh ginger, this is such a delicious soup.’

You will need:

1/2 onion
1 large clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
a pinch of ground cumin
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 butternut squash, skin on and chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 heaped teaspoon curry powder
1 all natural stock cube with enough water to cook the vegetables
250ml home made coconut milk
salt and pepper to season


Ttoday’s 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.

Making the soup:

Place the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and stir.  Then add the curry powder, the coriander seeds, the cumin powder, the grated fresh ginger and cook for a minute.

Add the roughly chopped vegetables.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and allow the vegetables to cook for about 20 minutes.  Do not overcook.

Use a blender or food processor to blend until the mixture is very smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the homemade coconut milk and blend again.  Serve hot or cold.

With thanks to our lovely viewer Grace for her Maltese qaghaq and baci cake and to Deyma Shop Gzira for the display of Tunisian Sweets and hand made tablecloths

My organic vegetables come from Barbuto, coconut from St Georges Brand, olive oil from Costa D’Oro, spices by Schwartz at PJ Sutters

Tunisian Lablabi Soup

lablabi soup.jpg

Tunisian Lablabi Soup.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

‘Exploring other Mediterranean cuisines opens up the experience of new flavours, not necessarily with new ingredients, but by mixing ordinary ingredients in a different way.  On tv yesterday I used canned chickpeas because of time limitations.  If you have time to cook dried chickpeas the flavor is even more amazing.  Finish off the soup by topping with a poached egg and garnish with ingredients of your choice such as capers, more parsley and fresh coriander, lemon wedges, a tablespoon of yoghurt, tuna fish, stale bread chunks, chopped olives, fresh or sun dried tomatoes and nuts’

You will need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh turmeric, grated
1 tablespoon harissa paste [optional, leave it out if you do not like spicy food]
2 litres stock made with all natural, no additive stock cubes
800g cooked chickpeas
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 bayleaf
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to season

If you are using dried chickpeas, cook them and keep the water to add instead of stock.
In a large pot cook the onion and garlic.  Add the crushed coriander seeds and cumin and cook on low heat.  Add the grated turmeric, then the cooked chickpeas and stock followed by all the other ingredients.
Poach eggs in a separate pan, allowing one per person.  Simmer the soup for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to rest covered for 10 minutes before serving in individual soup bowls.  Place a poached egg in each bowl of soup and add the garnishes of your choice.


Tunisian sweets and other hand made merchandize is available at Deyma Shop, Gzira

I use olive oil by Costa D’Oro, herbs and spices by Schwartz, fresh vegetables from Big Fresh in Mosta , Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables Paola and Barbuto [organic]

Quick Chicken Mushroom Soup


Chicken mushroom soup, photography by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘Before the intense heat arrives, this wholesome soup is all-in-one meal.  It is gluten free.  Ready from start to finish in 30 minutes !’

You will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
200g mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 bayleaf
2 tablespoons mascarpone mixed with 6 tablespoons water OR
6 tablespoons single cream
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 litre chicken stock
salt and pepper

For the mini meat balls

250g minced chicken
2 tablespoons oats
1 tablespoon tomato puree
salt and pepper

Start by mixing the minced chicken meat with the oats and tomato puree.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and leave aside for an hour. Then form tiny meatballs and place on a dish lined with baking paper.

For the soup, heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the chopped carrots, mushrooms, sweet potato, potato and stir.  Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat then add the stock.
Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the cream and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Add the cornflour mixture and mix until the soup thickens a little.  Drop the chicken meatballs into the boiling soup one by one.  They will cook very quickly depending on the size of course.  Mine were miniscule and were ready in 5 minutes.  If the soup is too thick, add some water.  Season and add the herbs of your choice.  I used fresh parsley.
Garnish with more cooked sliced mushrooms and parsley

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

Trade Enquiries:

Pure natural butter and cream by President from Rimus Group


Natural stock cubes by Kallo, dried herbs and spices at Good Earth Distributors

Costa D’Oro Olive Oil from J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Fresh chicken and meats by Ta Cancu Butcher Zejtun

Fresh vegetables by Oscar Fruit & Vegetables Paola and Big Fresh Mosta

Oat Soup

broad bean and pea soup with poached egg

Fresh pea and broadbean minty yoghurt soup with poached egg [Tableware by C&H Bartoli, photo Yan Schembri]

‘I use fresh seasonal ingredients for my soup today and in its simplicity this makes a wonderful meal.  The freshness of the peas and broad beans laced with mint leaves reflects the genuine and honest produce of this island blessed with so much.
For the creamy consistency I use oats, not too much, just enough that when cooked and pureed  result in a creamy consistency without the richness. And to finish off a crimson fruit salad of pomegranate, blueberries, strawberries and more, vibrant and so refreshing’

You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil and extra for drizzling
1 onion, roughly chopped and sauteed in the olive oil
2 handfuls of  very fresh mint leaves
2 handfuls of very fresh flat leaf parsley
some other fresh herbs if desired and I used a sprig of fresh basil too
1 bay leaf
500ml water with one all natural vegetable stock cube
300g fresh broadbeans, peeled
200g fresh peas, peeled
50g oats
125ml yoghurt or if lactose free use unsweetened almond milk
1 lime, juice and zest
1 poached egg per person poached in water and 1 tablespoon of apple organic vinegar
salt and pepper
Place the water in a large pot with the stock cube and bring to boil.  Add the sauteed onion (do not allow it to brown when you are cooking it in the olive oil, cooked slowly on low heat to soften it up and bring out the sweetness).

Cook for 5 minutes on a low boil, then add the oats.  Lower the temperature.  Stir constantly and cook for 10 minutes.  Add half the broad beans, half the peas, and a quarter of the fresh mint leaves, parsley and other fresh herbs if you are using.
Cook for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and white pepper, add the dried mint and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow to slightly cool down.  Add the remaining herbs keeping some back to garnish and blend to a smooth puree using a hand blender.  Add half of the remaining broad beans and peas and reheat.
Place a poached egg in each soup bowl.  Pour over the hot soup and scatter some more broad beans and peas on top.  Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

And to finish off a fruit salad.  We will be celebrating Strawberry Festival in the Northern village of Mgarr very soon and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this feast and from today you can follow my daily series of new strawberry recipes.

big fresh logo

Katsu Curry Soup – Vegan, Gluten Free, Lactose Free

Katsu Curry Soup.jpg

Katsu Curry Soup.  Photo taken by CJ during a live tv show

‘The inspiration for this soup came from the irresistible Chicken Katsu Curry at Wagamama.  Home made healthy comfort food that you can make quickly at home.   Amazing flavours and perfect for January. It takes 35 minutes to prefer from start to serving it but it is even more delicious the day after’

You will need:

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1/2 kilo carrots or butternut squash or a mix of both
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
300-500ml water
1 all natural stock cube
1 tablespoon agave or use stevia [or honey if not vegan]
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato puree
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon garam masala

fresh coriander to garnish

Roughly chop the vegetables.  Remove the seeds from the butternut squash but leave the seeds on.
Place the oil in a pot over low heat and add the curry powder, garam masala and grated ginger and allow the spices to infuse.  Add the onion, garlic, water and all-natural stock cubes.  Add the butternut squash and/or carrots.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Add the soy sauce and tomato puree and simmer for 25 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the agave or honey [or stevia] and blend it until it is smooth and consistent.
Chop up the fresh coriander. Add half of it to the soup and mix in.
Garnish with the rest of the chopped fresh coriander and serve.

katsu curry soup 2.jpg

Katsu Curry Soup.  This photo was taken during a live tv show.

I use Kallo all natural stock cubes from good earth, organic butternut squash and carrots from Barbuto, fresh vegetables, ginger root and herbs from Big Fresh, spices and herbs by Schwartz, sunflower oil by 3 Leaves

Turtle black bean and sweet potato soup

black bean soup 2

Black turtle bean soup as seen on TV

‘this is a vegetarian, gluten free recipe and I garnish with a mix of finely diced colorful vegetables, turtle beans that have not been pureed and yoghurt.  Turtle beans have become one of my favorite ingredients and they are full of antioxidants and give a great flavor and consistency to soups and stews’

You will need:

200g black turtle beans
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 bayleaf
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
a handful of fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 cups stock
1/2 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
dried coriander
To Garnish:
1 large tomato, blanched and peeled
1/4 yellow bell pepper (finely diced and lightly sauteed)
1/4 orange bell pepper (finely diced and lightly sauteed)
fresh chopped coriander and mint
1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

Soak the turtle beans for a few hours.  Rinse and cook in enough water by bringing it to boil, then simmering until the beans are soft.  To quicken the process add 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

Drain the beans and keep aside 3 tablespoons for garnish.

Heat some olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic and chopped sweet potato. Add the spices, honey and lemon juice and stir. Add the stock, season, bring to boil and simmer until the vegetables soften up. Do not overcook. Turn off heat. Add the beans and use a hand blender to puree. Pulse the blender so that it is not completely smooth and there is some texture.

To serve reheat and garnish with dices fresh tomatoes, sauteed colored bell peppers, yoghurt, a hint of lemon zest and fresh coriander.

Ingredients are available for home delivery

Kale Soup with Burrata

kale soup with burrata

Kale Soup with Burrata as seen on TV

For the soup you will need:

8 cups boiling water
An organic stock cube
Quarter teaspoon salt (leave out if you prefer)
4 cloves garlic,peels and crushed
10 Kale leaves , remove the middle stalk
1 middle sized onion, finely chopped
1 can canellini beans, remove water, rinse amd drain

4 thick slices bread
4 spoons oliive oil
A pinch of bicarbonate of soda
Juice of one lemon
Grated rind of one lemon

1/2 burrata per person

Lots of fresh ground pepper

Saute the onion and crushed garlic in some olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped up kale and top up with the boiling water until the leaves are fully immersed. Lower the heat and leave on a gentle boil for half an hour. Add half the lemon juice and lemon rind. stir and turn off heat. Allow to cool and use a hand blender, pulse and whizz making sure that you do not over-blend as the soup is more delcious with the different consistencies. Add the canellini beans keeping some aside for garnish.

Brush some olive oil on to the bread slices. Rub the slices with some garlic. Bake the bread slices at 200C for around 10 minutes. Do not allow to burn or get too crusty.

Place a slice of bread in the bottom of each soup bowl. Pour the heated soup onto the bread. Place half a fresh burrata cheese in each soup bowl. I also made some croutons from local sourdough and garnished with canellini beans and croutons.

This is delicious and a meal in itself, no need for a main course. Lots of garlic is needed and yet it does not taste too strong.

goodfoodeveryday felix

And my Collins Street style Christmas cake awaits to be shared very soon, you can watch us via live streaming every afternoon no  matter where you are in the world !

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup As seen on #TVM2

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
As seen on #TVM2

Jerusalem artichokes are at their peak right now and a visit to the farmers market ended up with soup making and some other new recipes to be aired over the next few weeks. For this nutty soup, do not overcook the Jerusalem artichokes.

You will need:

2 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 an onion, roughly chopped
a pinch of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
500g Jerusalem Artichokes (washed, sliced 1/4-inch thick)
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons mascarpone, one to add to the soup and the other one to finish off before serving
Fresh Parsley, chopped

Place the olive oil in a medium-size saucepan over low heat and add the garlic and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Scrub the Jerusalem artichokes to remove the other layer, chop and sauté in the saucepan for about 2 minutes. Add the stock and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for around 40 minutes until the Jerusalem Artichokes are tender. Add a tablespoon of mascarpone. Season with salt and pepper. Purée until smooth by using a hand blender. Keep warm. Sprinkle with the chive parsley and finish off with the rest of the mascarpone mixed with 4 tablespoons of water. My favorite winter warmer. Serve.

An island steeped in history

An island steeped in history

Creamy Cauilflower Soup with Pesto Calabrese and tear & share soda bread

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with no cream, potatoes or butter

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with no cream, potatoes or butter

Creamy without the need to add cream or butter, or even potatoes, cauliflower manages to produce the same creaminess at only 25 calories per 100g. I used my new crockpot again to make this soup. I find it so convenient to allow it to just cook slowly while I am out and return to a healthy meal.

For the low fat creamy cauliflower soup you will need:
4 small cloves or 2 giant ones, peeled and crushed
1 cauliflower, trimmed and remove core
1/2 a white onion
4 cups water and all natural vegetable cube
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
parsley to garnish

Chop the cauliflower into chunks. Place in the crockpot with the garlic, add the olive oil and vegetable stock. Season with salt and turn on the slow cooker. It requires 4 hours on a slow temperature.

Allow to cool and blend. If it is too thick add some water.
Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

For the Pesto Calabrese you will need:
I make a large batch and use it for a pasta dish the next day.

100ml olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
sea salt
2 red bell peppers, seeds removed, cut into chunks
2-3 fresh chili peppers, depending how spicy you like it, seeds remove and chopped
150 g ricotta
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and choppped
2 small red chillies, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled (optional)
150g parmesan, grated
3 basil leaves, just for flavor, I like to retain an orange/red colour

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil, add the onion and sauté until the onion is soft.

Add the bell peppers, and cook for 10 minutes until everything is soft. Turn off the heat, taste and season.

Allow to cool, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until very smooth and creamy. If necessary add more water. Refrigerate until you need to use it.

For the tear and share soda bread you will need:

Tear and Share Soda Bread

Tear and Share Soda Bread

A little olive oil, for greasing
500g self raising flour
1 tablespoon semolina
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 rounded teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 spoons parmesan
Pinch of dried crushed chili seeds
Pinch of dried basil
250 ml yoghurt
a glass of cold water
some sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

I used a 23 cm springforn cake tin

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Brush the cake tin with the olive oil.

Sieve the flour. Mix the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl. Add the parmesan, chili flakes and dried basil.

Pour the yoghurt into the flour mixture and gently fold it in. Do not rub in. Add water as necessary until it forms a dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Place the semolina in your hands to prevent a lot of stickiness. Shape even balls and fill up the cake tin. Brush the surface with olive oil and scatter the sesame seeds on top.

Tear and Share Soda Bread

Tear and Share Soda Bread

Bake for 15 minutes, check them out and lower the temperature and carry on cooking for a bit longer if necessary.

Reheat the soup and pour into individual soup bowls. Add a teaspoon of Calabrian Pesto to each soup bowl then take a skewer and swirl it around. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with tear and share soda bread rolls.

Carob and dandelion fairies, close your eyes and make a wish #Malta  [photo Ian Noel Pace]

Close your eyes and make a wish #Malta [photo Ian Noel Pace]