Spaghetti Squash Bowl filled with Creamy Shredded Chicken

spaghetti squash illumina media.jpg

Twice baked spaghetti squash bowl with cheesy chicken, photo Illumina Media during a live tv show

‘the raw flesh and skin is similar to butternut squash but after it is cooked, the skin becomes shell-like, a sold outer layer that holds its shape even without the flesh.  The cooked flesh can be pulled apart into ribbon-like strands which I mixed with a creamy cheesy chicken and used to fill the shell and bake again.  If you are feel like a change from pizza, this is the recipe for you.’

You will need:

1 spaghetti squash
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon jalapino peppers [optional]
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 all natural stock cube
1 fresh tomato, chopped
1 cup mixed grated cheddar and mozzarella
1/2 cup Greek Yoghurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 small onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic [left whole and removed before assembling dish]
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped

To finish off before re-baking: 150g black olives, chopped
2 tablespoons rocket leaves
salt and pepper

Pierce the skin of the spaghetti squash all over with a fork.
Place it in the microwave for 3 minutes
Allow to cool completely

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Once cool, cut the spaghetti squash into half.
Place the two halves of squash face down on a non-stick baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Use 2 forks to scrape the flesh which comes away from the shell in ribbons/spaghetti-like strands.

Place the spaghetti strands in a bowl.

In the meantime place one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onion, the whole garlic and stir. Add the stock cube and then top up with 150ml water. Bring to a boil and then add the cooked chicken pieces followed by all the ingredients except the cheeses. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Then add the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, stir and finally remove from heat.

Place the empty squash shells face up on a baking tray.

Mix the shredded spaghetti squash with the creamy chicken filling. Top with grated mozzarella and cheddar and  bake for a second time in the oven for 30 minutes.  Serve hot or cold.

spaghetti-squash

Spaghetti squash

I use Spaghetti squash by Big Fresh, chicken by Ta Cancu Butcher Zejtun, mozzarella cheese by Zappala, spices by Schwartz, olives by Belazu Ingredient Company all at PJ Sutters, cold pressed olive oil by Costa D’Oro at J Calleja Import Export Ltd and kitchenware by Tescoma.

Carrot Cake Smoothie with Maca Powder [vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free]

carrot-cake-smoothie-cj

Carrot Cake Smoothie, vegan, gluten free and lactose free.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by CJ Baldacchino

‘More carrot cake follows the overnight oats of yesterday , this time in liquid form.  This is a smoothie based on most people’s favourite cake.  It contains no added refined sugar and it is gluten free, lactose free and vegan.  A meal in itself with the addition of maca powder.  I use the carrots from my organic box that arrives every Thursday from Barbuto in Sicily.’

You will need:

1 raw carrot
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup home made almond milk
1 tablespoon oats [gf]
1 teaspoon coconut
1/8 teaspoon ginger
vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon maca powder
1 tablespoon agave

For garnish: chopped pecans, shavings of sugar free dark chocolate and grated carrots

Place all the ingredients in a high powered blender or Nutribullet and blend until the consistency is very smooth.  If it is too thick, add more almond milk or water.

Garnish with pecans, savings of sugar free dark chocolate and grated carrots

Serve immediately.

Maca Powder is available at Good Earth

Borage, Mushroom and Potato Omelette

borage-omelette-marconia

Borage, Mushroom and Potato Omelette.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

I used borage [in Maltese fidloqqom] during the show for the first time today.  It was brought to me with my organic box that arrives from Barbuto in Sicily every week.  I was curious and very pleasantly surprised because it is delicious.  The raw leaves are hairy and I cooked them in the same way you would cook spinach.  

I added no salt or seasoning as I wanted to taste the natural flavour.  I drained the leaves in a colander.  The cooked leaves remained whole and intact.  The colour intensified to a more vibrant green and the texture was smooth and satiny, the hairy surface and stem smoothed out.  And the taste?  Just delicious, and I am nearly sure I prefer it to kale, spinach or chard.  

Borage is a big thumbs up from me and if you can get your hands on some, do try it.  I see it becoming as popular as kale very soon’

borage-raw-and-cooked

Cooked borage on the plate with the raw leaves at the side.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

For my omelet you will need:

about 4 large cooked borage leaves, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cooked fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon cooked onion, chopped
1 medium cooked potato, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan. Add the cooked onions, mushrooms and potatoes. Add the chopped borage leaves Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat. Beat the eggs and season. Pour the eggs over the vegetables and potatoes. Reduce the heat and cook until the bottom starts to brown. Invert the omelet or fold it in half. Serve immediately.

borage-raw-leaves

Raw borage leaves, as seen on tv today

 

Organic borage is available from Barbuto, Sicily with deliveries to Malta every Thursday.

Very easy sweet potato and kale muffins

Sweet potato and kale muffins goodfoodeveryday

Good Food Everyday as seen on tv.  Easy Sweet Potato and Kale Muffins with photography by George Aquilina during a live show.

‘A recipe that could not be easier and never fails.  The kale leaves were roasted with some olive oil, sea salt and sesame seeds and added to the muffin mix just before baking’

This recipe makes 12 regular size muffins or 6 giant muffins.

You will need:400g self raising flour (you can also use gluten free flour)

100g teff flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
250g mascarpone
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon dukkah
4 kale leaves, chopped and roasted with some olive oil and sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 180C.

Wash and peel the sweet potato.  Grate it coarsely.

Sieve the self raising flour, the teff flour and the baking powder.  Add the smoked paprika, dukkah and sea salt.  Add the grated sweet potato and mix gently so that the flour coats all the pieces.

In a separate bowl mix the mascarpone, apple organic vinegar and eggs by using a hand blender.

Prepare the muffin tray with muffin cases.

Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Check to see if you have a dropping consistency.  If necessary, add some water [a few spoonfuls at a time] until you have a dropping consistency.

Cut up the roasted kale leaves by pulling the pieces apart with your hands.  Add to the mixture and keep some for sprinkling on top.

Pour the batter into the muffin cases.  Sprinkle the rest of the kale leaves on top of the muffins.  Bake for 20 minutes for the regular muffins and 30 minutes for the giant ones.

Tip: Serve as they are or with a touch of butter.  Serve with a soup to make it a full meal and they are also great to accompany a salad

My self raising flour is by St Georges Brand, teff flour by Peak’s Free From, mascarpone by Zappala, spices by Schwartz, organic apple vinegar by Fiorentini, sweet potato, kale and vegetables by Big Fresh and Farmers Markets, muffin cases and muffin tray by Tescoma

Lemon Ricotta Linguine with Lamb’s Lettuce

22. Quick Lemon Ricotta Linguine LGFE (Illumina Media)

Linguine with ricotta, lambs lettuce and lemon [This photo was taken during a live tv show by Illumina Media]

‘This is a perfect light pasta dish for the summer prepared in the same amount of time it takes to cook the pasta’

500g linguine
salt for pasta water

For the sauce:
1 cup reserved pasta water
150g lambs lettuce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
200g ricotta
75g parmesan
Lemon Pepper to season
To Serve: Freshly grated parmesan

Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water.

Reserve a cup of the pasta water when you drain the pasta.

Place the ricotta, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, half the pasta water and parmesan in a container. Add some lemon pepper. Use a hand blender to combine all the ingredients together until it forms a smooth paste.

Heat the rest of the olive oil on medium heat in a large flat saucepan. Add the blended ricotta mix. Add the linguine and stir gently then the pasta water little by little until the consistency of the sauce is creamy and coats the pasta. Add the lambs lettuce and garnish with more parmesan, lemon pepper and lemon segments. Serve immediately.

‘Lea’s tip: the starch contained in the pasta water produces a thick creamy consistency when added to the sauce without the addition of cream or butter. Omit adding salt to the sauce as the saltiness from the pasta water is usually sufficient.’

I use linguine by Pasta Rummo, ricotta by Zappala, lemon pepper by Schwartz, fresh vegetables by Big Fresh and parmesan and other cheeses by Experia the Deli.

Vegan Zucchini and Pecan Muffins with Aquafaba

vegan zucchini pecan muffins aqua faba

Vegan Savory Muffins with zucchini and pecans using aquafaba [Photo Illumina Media]   The muffins in this photo were prepared and baked for a live audience on tv

‘Aqua faba is amazing as those of you who use it know.  We made vegan zucchini muffins on tv this week and in this recipe I use aqua faba as an egg substitute.  The muffins can be served with soups, instead of bread and great for work lunches, picnics or kids’ lunch boxes.’

You will need:

3 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup aqua faba (the contents of a regular size can of chickpeas)
2 tablespoons olive oil
200 ml water (to be added a little at a time if needed)
200g zucchini, coarsely grated
1 onion, finely chopped
grated zest of 1/4 lemon
75 g pecan nuts
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
a pinch of smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 150C.  Prepare a muffin tin with papercases.
In a large bowl sift the flour twice, add the bicarbonate of soda, the smoked paprika, the pecan nuts, the salt and pepper and dried mixed herbs.
Grate the zucchini coarsely and place them on a clean kitchen towel.  Wrap the towel round them and squeeze it to extract as much water as possible.
Saute the onion in a tablespoon of olive oil.
In a large bowl, mix the fresh herbs and the olive oil.  Add the grated zucchini, lemon zest and sauteed onion.
In a large glass bowl place the aquafaba and whisk for 12 to 15 minutes until it forms stiff peaks.
Add the flour mix to the zucchini and liquid ingredients.  Fold in with a large metal spoon.  Do not overmix.  Add the whisked aquafaba and fold in.  Now add enough water, a spoonful at a time until the mixture reaches a dropping consistency.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake in a very moderate oven for 45 minutes.  Test the muffins by piercing with a wooden skewer in the center and if it comes out clean and are a golden colour, the muffins are ready.
Serve warm or great for picnics and lunchboxes.

Tip: When using aquafaba, reduce the oven temperature to 140-150C for baking and 100C to make meringues

I use self raising flour by St Georges Brand, vegetables & fruit by Big Fresh, smoked paprika and dried mixed herbs by Schwartz, pecan nuts by Good Earth, canned chickpeas by Happy Chef, muffin cases and muffin tin by Tescoma.

Carrot and Date Bars

carrot cereal bars 1 daniel balzan

Carrot and Date Cereal Bars, quick, delicious and fresh.  Ingredients by Good Earth and tableware by C & H Bartoli

‘I like making my own cereal bars as i know exactly what has gone into them.  This is a quick recipe and the result is amazing.  Once they are completely cool, preferably the day after, I cut them up, pack them individually and freeze them’

You will need:

1 large carrot, grated
a pod of vanilla
2 cups oats
1/2 cup dates
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup mixed chopped almonds and pistachios
a pinch of cinnamon
a grating of fresh nutmeg
a pinch of mixed spice
grated zest of a tangerine
water

Preheat the oven to 180C.

In a saucepan placed the dates and grated carrot. Add 1/4 cup of water, the spices and grated citrus zest and allow the dates to break down on low heat. Add more water, a few tablespoons at a time if necessary and do not allow the mixture to dry up. When the dates are soft and mushy turn off the heat, mix and allow to cool

In a large bowl place the oats, add the vanilla then add the cooled down 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 the bake from the loaf tin by pulling the baking paper out gently.

Use a sharp knife to cut into bars. They can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. If you are using them for kids lunch boxes or parties, leave the nuts out.


And you can use the same recipe without baking by shaping the mixture into balls and rolling them in coconut to produce these delicious Carrot and Coconut balls.

Flatbreads and wraps made from Chickpea flour

socca or farinata cj

Chickpea flour wraps, #gluten free, photo CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘During this morning’s show I made farinata [or socca] using chickpea flour.  I first came across it in Nice and it is one of my favourite recipes.

socca 1

Socca or Farinata Flat breads made with  Chickpea flour #glutenfree

The trick
If you do not have a cast iron pan, you can use any non-stick pan or pancake pan and, instead of cooking them in a hot oven, you can prepare them on the stove. The secret to getting that slightly charred flatbread is to have an extremely hot pan with minimal fat. It is best to rub the pan all over with a piece of kitchen towel dipped into some olive oil or simply use a non stick baking spray. You can also store the batter in the fridge and have the batter ready for use to make enough flatbreads as and when you need them.

The recipe
130g gram flour (chick pea flour)
280ml water
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cumin powder
a pinch of coriander powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper.
Mix all the ingredients and use a hand whisk to make a smooth paste. Allow the batter to rest in the fridge for an hour. Heat a non stick pan until it is very hot. Lightly brush with olive oil or use non stick baking spray. Pour enough batter to cover the bottom with a thin film of mixture. Allow them to cook thoroughly and turn them over. They should be pale with slight charring at the edges. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Unlike pancakes, they retain no moisture.

This is a gluten free, dairy free and egg free recipe.

you can use any non-stick pan or pancake pan

Trade Enquiries: Good Earth

good earth logo 2

 

Vegan curry with coconut milk

black eyed bean coconut curry

Black eyed bean curry finished off with coconut milk and roasted veggie balls  Photography: Illumina Media Services

‘I like using when possible dried beans.  The flavor and texture of cooked dried legumes is far superior to canned ones and you can control the amount of added salt.  This coconut flavored curry makes an ideal weekday winter meal’

You will need:

  • 200g black eyed beans, soaked and cooked
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • a pinch of chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 500ml water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
  • juice of one lemon
  • 150ml

Melt the coconut oil on very low gentle heat and add all the spices and stir continuously for a few minutes so that they flavours are released. The mustard seeds will start to pop and then add the onion, garlic and fresh ginger. Stir and add the black eyed beans. Add the water, bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes again on very low heat. Add the lemon juice and the coconut milk. Heat through and leave to rest covered for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and some more coconut milk.

We served ours with some roasted veggie balls and perfect basmati rice.

perfect coconut basmati

Perfect Coconut Basmati, as seen on TV.  Photography: Illumina Media Services

Gluten free vegetable muffins made with chickpea flour

Chickpea flour muffins

Vegetable muffins made with chickpea flour. I use a mix of steamed kale, barely cooked cauliflower, raw carrot and roasted butternut squash, as seen on TV

‘an ideal addition to a picnic, kids’ school lunch boxes or a treat with a salad during the working day.  I just love chickpea flour, the flavor, the texture, the natural colour…  These are so easy to make that you can have fresh muffins every day.  Don’t be tempted to freeze them as the texture changes’

You will need:

  • 3 cups gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups fresh vegetables of your choice  of your choice, I used steamed kale (finely chopped), barely cooked cauliflower (barely cooked, broken into little florettes), raw grated carrot and butter nut squash (caramelized with skin on and cut into small cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes (remove all the salt)
  • a pinch of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 g  grated and 50 g grated hard white gbejna (if you do not live on the island use a white goat’s cheese)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (gf)

Sift the gram flour.  Add the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.

Prepare the vegetable and mix them gently in a bowl.  Add the minced garlic and herbs and seasoning.
Mix the olive oil with the eggs.
Add the vegetable mix and half the grated cheeses to the gram flour and gently mix until they are coated all over but make sure you do not break the vegetables up.
Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture.  Gently mix in but do  not over mix.  Add enough water a little at a time to achieve dropping consistency.
Prepare a muffin tray with paper cases.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
Sprinkle with grated cheese on top, just a little, do not over do it.
Bake at 180 C for 12 minutes.
Allow to cool before removing from the muffin tray

‘They are soooo delicious’