Baking with spelt flour from today’s Sunday Times

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Spelt Madeira Hazelnut Cake.  Photo taken by Felix Cesare during a live tv show

I use, whenever possible, ingredients that are unrefined and as close as possible to their natural state. Spelt is an ancient whole grain with several references found in the Bible. It contains less gluten than wheat flour and has a higher content of protein. These recipes are ..

Source: Sunday Times Baking with spelt flour

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St Martin’s Loaf

Our larger than usual version of St Martin's loaf TVM2 Lifestyle & Co Lea's styling by Rodianne Borg, Lea's clothes by Punt Roma, Hair by Inglot

Our larger than usual version of St Martin’s loaf
TVM2 Lifestyle & Co
Lea’s styling by Rodianne Borg, Lea’s clothes by Punt Roma, Hair by Inglot
Photography Stefan Stafrace

This coming Sunday the feast of St Martin is celebrated and sweet yeast loaves together with nuts, clementines, figs and more are given to children in bags brimming at the seams to signify the abundance and bounty of this glorious land.

St Martin's extra large loaf as seen on TV #Malta

St Martin’s extra large loaf as seen on TV #Malta

Rather than the small loaves, we made one big one and Brian decorated it with liqorish sweets.

You will need:

400g plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 sachet dry yeast (11g)
50ml olive oil
35g sugar
35g stevia
half a pod vanilla
250ml lukewarm milk
a sprinkle of sesame seeds for the top pre-baking
1 tablespooon warm honey to glaze after baking
a handful of multi-colored liqorish sweets

Sift the flour and add the salt. Add the olive oil, dry yeast, sugar, stevia, vanilla and mix. Then add the luke warm milk and combine using a wooden spoon to make a sticky dough. Cover and leave to rise for 2 hours or leave overnight and you will find you will not need to knead the dough at all.

Then turn the dough out on to clean work surface (you shouldn’t need any flour) and punch out the air.

Now divide the mixture into the number of loaves that you would like. We made one large one instead of small ones.

Take each piece of dough and shape it into a round then roll it to form a smoothish round ball.

Arrange the loaf or loaves on a greased baking sheet. Leave to rise once more for an hour. The loaf should double in size again.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes.
You can glaze the surface with some warm honey by using a brush.
When the loaf cools slightly, place the liquorish sweets neatly on the surface by poking them into the surface of the loaf.

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Garibaldi biscuits made with olive oil (lactose free, diabetic friendly)

Home made garibaldi biscuits, no butter and no processed sugar

Home made garibaldi biscuits, no butter and no processed sugar
As seen on TV

We made Garibaldi biscuits today. Quick, fresh and delicious. Nothing beats home baking and I added spices and fresh citrus zest to the pastry/

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Garibaldi biscuits with olive oil and stevia instead of sugar and butter

You will need:

120g self raising flour
a pinch of salt
25 ml olive oil
the equivalent of 50g sugar in stevia (check the labeling to find out the conversion of 50g of sugar)
2 tablespoons honey or agave
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 egg
zest of half a lemon
zest of half an orange
a pinch of cinnamon
half a vanilla pod
70g currants

1 egg white to brush the surface

Cooking Spray [Fry Light]

In a large bowl sift the flour. Add all the other ingredients except for the currants. Use a large metal spoon to stir together. Bring together to form a dough. If dough is too dry add a few drops of water until you get the right binding consistency.

Place in a bowl and cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for a minimum of an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C

Prepare an oven dish by spraying it with a non stick baking spray.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out until it is thin, gently don’t allow it to tear.

Sprinkle the currants over half the surface and then fold the other half on top and gently roll the pastry out, tapping it lightly until you can see the currants through the pastry but be careful not to allow the pastry to tear.

Trim the pastry neatly using a sharp knife.

Cut this into fingers approximately 3cm by 6cm.

Place the biscuits on the baking sheet, brush with a little egg white (optional sprinkle a small pinch of sugar on each biscuit, I left it out in mine) and bake on the center shelf of the oven for 15 minutes.

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Bougainvillea, bantam and babies Photography: Benny Scerri

Bougainvillea, bantam and babies
Photography: Benny Scerri

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Fry Light Cooking Sprays by Rimus Group

 

Rock Cakes with no butter and no sugar

rock cakes goodfoodeveryday july

Rock cakes as seen on tv, photo taken by George during a live show

Reducing butter is one of the principals of the Mediterranean Diet. Rock Cakes were the first home economics lesson for most of us. Their simplicity makes them a bake that anyone can make very easily. There is nothing better than home made; fresh, quick and delicious.

For my rock cakes with no butter and no sugar you will need:

350g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Stevia, the equivalent of 100g in sugar of stevia
3 tablespoons honey for mixture plus one spoon for glazing the surface after baking
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
200g ricotta
150g mixed fruit of your choice (on tv I used glace cherries and pistachios for a change)
3 eggs

Enough water to achieve a dropping consistency

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Rub the ricotta into the sifted flour, bicarbonate and baking powder as you would with butter. Add a pinch of salt.
Add the spices and stevia.
Mix the honey with the eggs and fold it into the flour mixture. Add a few spoons of water if needed to achieve dropping consistency.
Use a baking spray lightly on a baking dish. Use 2 forks to form irregular heaps on the baking sheet.

Bake near the centre of the oven for 18 minutes or until golden. Before they cool coat the surface with some warmed up honey using a baking brush.

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Quick rock cakes as seen on tv, photos taken during a live show by George Aquilina

I use flour and glace cherries by St Georges Brand, nutmeg and spices by Schwartz, baking spray by Pam, eggs by Big Fresh Mosta, stevia by Tate and Lyle, disposable kitchenware by AMC, ricotta by Zappala, kitchenware by Tescoma, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda by Doves Farm at Good Earth

Quick muffins with the kids

Making muffins with the kids #Malta

Making muffins with the kids #Malta

This week I made quick muffins with the kids during the show.

Baking with kids #Malta

Baking with kids #Malta

They specially loved decorating them and you can see the delight on their faces.

For the muffins you will need:

4 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
juice and grated zest of half a lemon
1 cup coconut
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs
4 tablespoons honey or stevia or 2 of each

Sieve the flour and mix all the dry ingredients together. In a separate container mix all the liquid ingredients together. Use a metal spoon to fold in the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Prepare muffin cases on a try. Spoon or pipe the batter into the cases. Bake in a pre heated oven at 170C for 20 minutes.

Out from the oven :)

Out from the oven 🙂

Allow the muffins to cool before decorating them.

To avoid more processed sugar in the form of sugar I brushed the muffins with warm honey

To avoid more processed sugar in the form of sugar I brushed the muffins with warm honey

To avoid processed sugar in the form of icing, I brushed the top of the muffins with warm honey and allowed the kids to decorate them to their liking.

Happily decorating and so colorful :)

Happily decorating and so colorful 🙂

For the recipe in Maltese, click here

Chocolate Coconut cake with reduced sugar and no butter

All in one chocolate coconut cake with reduced sugar

All in one chocolate coconut cake with reduced sugar

Some of my readers tell me that they are not able to get used to the taste of Stevia. Of course Stevia is not processed sugar and our tastebuds need to adjust. This chocolate coconut cake which I made during our show this week has equal quantities of sugar and stevia, with the idea of gradually eliminating sugar.

For the chocolate coconut cake you will need:

2 cups self raising flour
1 cup coconut
1 cup stevia
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup olive oil
half a cup plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a few drops vanilla
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
3 eggs
1 cup water

In a saucepan gently heat the yoghurt, olive oil, water, coffee powder, vanilla and sugar. Stir and do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and stir.

In a separate bowl sieve and mix together the self raising flour, coconut and stevia.

Sieve the flour

Sieve the flour

Prepare a 23 cm tin lightly greased with butter and then dusted with flour. Remove excess flour.

Mix the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients and fold in.

Adding eggs :)

Adding eggs 🙂

Stir in the eggs. Pour the batter into the prepared cake dish. Sprinkle coconut on the surface.

Chocolate Coconut cake prior to baking

Chocolate Coconut cake prior to baking

Bake at 160C for 35 minutes.

While it was still hot, i brushed mine with warm honey and dusted more coconut powder. The keep will keep moist for around 10 days if kept well in a air tight container.

Photography Ian Noel Pace

No knead Date and Apple Bundt

There is something I find so therapeutic about working with yeast and this week’s bake is worth trying out.

You simply need to mix the ingredients with a spoon for the dough before you go to bed, and the next morning you will wake up to a very springy, airy dough that feels so light to touch. Its amazing.

As much as I try to avoid processed sugar in most of my recipes, I find the best medium for making the most of your yeast is sugar. I know that there are alternatives but nothing achieves the same result.

No knead Date and Apple Bundt as seen on ONE TV

No knead Date and Apple Bundt as seen on ONE TV

For the Date and Apple bundt you will need:

200g dates
250g strong flour
6g instant dried yeast (around half a sached)
pinch of salt
100g sugar (and it also works well with 50g sugar and equivalent of 50g stevia)
3 tablespoons apple jam (I used local wild apples, homemade)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
125ml plain yoghurt
2 drops good vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 lemon

Chop the dates, add the flour, instant dry yeast, salt, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, yoghurt and vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon, then bring together to form a loose dough. Lightly oil a large plastic or glass container. Place the dough inside the container and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Leave to prove overnight.

In the morning you will find that the dough has risen and more than doubled in size. Place on a lightly covered surface and bring together. Cut in half.

Grease a bundt tin and dust some flour in it.

Take half the dough and stretch it into a long cylinder. Bring the two ends together, join and drop into the bundt tin. On top of the dough add the apple jam and then with the other half of the dough repeat the process, pull to a long shape, join up the ends together and drop into the bundt tin on top of the apple jam. This means that you will have the apple jam as a layer between the two pieces of dough. Cover again with a clean dish cloth and allow to prove for an hour or until it doubles up in size.

In the meantime preheat the oven to 160C and bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool. I topped my bundt with a light coating of warm honey using a pastry brush and sprinkled pistachios on top.

And with the absence of our two photographers this week during the show, Gino on holiday and Ian covering a news story, I took my bundt home to photograph at leisure. Too days later with the photos out of the way, I cut myself a piece and toasted it. Surprisingly the flavors were even better than when it was freshly baked!

Teatime by the sea, no knead Date Bundt

Teatime by the sea, no knead Date Bundt

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Baked Ricotta and Peach “Cheesecake”

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I love this new bake which we featured this week on TV. Simple and straighforward to make with a light texture, much lighter than that of a traditional baked cheesecake. This has no added processed sugar, no gluten and no butter. You will need:

250g plain biscuits, i used gluten free and sugar free

750g ricotta
125 plain yoghurt
200g stevia (check the converstion table on the jar and you will need the equivalent of 200g sugar)
few drops vanilla
grated rind of half a lemon
grated rind of half an orange
3 tablespoons cornflour
4 eggs, separated and egg whites whisked until stiff
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Fresh peaches, sliced and skin on to decorate the top
1 teaspoon warm honey and à brush to glaze the top after you take the cheesecake out of the oven

A springform cake tin of 23 cm

Pre heat the oven to 160 C.

Place the biscuits in a large bowl. Crush them lightly then use a hand blender to grind them to a fine texture. keep two spoons aside to cover the cake dish. Add the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to this mixture.

In another bowl, place the ricotta, add the egg yolks, yoghurt, stevia, vanilla, citrus zest and cornflour and use the hand blender again to break down and mix to a very smooth consistency.

Prepare the cake tin by lightly brushing with some good oil and taking two spoons of crushed biscuits to coat the surface and sides.

Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk until stiff.

Fold in the crushed biscuit mix with the ricotta mix. Do not over process.

Finally gently fold in the egg whites without over mixing,
Pour the batter into the cake tin.
Decorate the surface with sliced peaches.
Immediately place in the oven top shelf and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven for 10 minutes more before removing. This prevents the surface from breaking.
Dip the brush into the warmed honey and lightly brush the surface.

Allow to cool before removing from tin.

If you would like the recipe of Peach Cheesecake in Maltese, please click here

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Strawberry Cheese-Cake for Brilliant Baking Magazine

In this month’s Brilliant Baking Magazine you will find my new recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake.

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And on the cover Rosemary Shrager who will join me on my programme Dieta Mediterranja on 98FM which will be aired this week.

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and for the recipe in Maltese click here