Cooking with Amaranth

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Purple Carrot Soup with Crispy Kale thickened with Amaranth.  Photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

Amaranth is an ancient, gluten-free superfood associated with the Aztec empire. When raw, it appears to be similar to quinoa but changes completely in texture when it is cooked. Amaranth seeds are nutrient-dense and high in protein and amino acids, calcium and iron. It is comparable to a…

Source The Sunday Times: Superfoods: cooking with Amaranth

What to eat in January

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What to eat and drink in January in today’s Sunday Times.  Photo CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show. 

January sees us spending more time indoors to recharge our minds and bodies after the recent festivities. The fresh food we find shifts by season and there is a distinct difference in the market especially when it comes to fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables.

Source The Sunday Times : What to eat in January

I use fresh fruit and vegetables from Big Fresh in Mosta and Oscars Fruit and Vegetables in Paola, meats by Ta Cancu Butcher in Zejtun and Majjal ta’ Malta [KIM].  My organic produce comes from Barbuto .  I use natural food ingredients by Good Earth.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with homemade coconut milk

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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

home-made-coconut-milk

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

Gluten-free & lactose-free Christmas treats [with Vegan Baci] in today’s Sunday Times

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Vegan Baci.  Photo taken during a live tv show by George Aquilina

Gluten-free, lactose-free and reduced sugar diets are hot topics these days. The drive for ingredients to suit a large number of food intolerances comes from consumers and with such a large choice in the market, guests no longer have to feel they are a burden to their hosts and be apologetic…

Source: Sunday Times Gluten-free & lactose-free Christmas treats

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Gluten free and lactose free Christmas Cake with no added refined sugar.  Photo taken by George Aquilina during a live tv show

 

Tunisian Lablabi Soup

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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]

Overnight Carrot Cake Oats with Maca Powder [gluten free and vegan]

‘We had so many callers during our live show yesterday that I did not really get down to any real cooking.  But I somehow managed my favourite carrot cake overnight oats and made a carrot cake smoothie, both with maca powder that I love to incorporate in small amounts  into recipes such as soups, smoothies and salads as well as raw desserts.  Not only is it rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E and provides a good source of calcium, zinc and iron but I love its caramel flavour.  Always add in small quantities.’

For the overnight carrot cake oats you will need:

1/2 cup oats
1 cup home made almond milk [you can also use ready made almond milk]
1 medium carrot, grated
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ginger powder
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 frozen banana, sliced
1 teaspoon coconut
4 tablespoons oats
1 tablespoon pecan nuts, chopped
1 tablespoon dates, chopped
vanilla
1/4 teaspoon maca powder
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon agave

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container,
Refrigerate overnight.  When it is time to eat it, add more almond milk or water to bring to your preferred consistency.
Eat hot or cold and if you wish garnish with chocolate shavings and coconut chips.

You will see my result during this afternoon’s live show.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs daily on Smash TV and every Friday in English.

Cooking with Quinoa in today’s Sunday Times

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Cooking with Quinoa, today’s Sunday Times.  Photo taken during a live tv show by Illumina Media

Quinoa is a highland crop from the Andes and although it is known as a grain, it is technically the seed of a plant that the Incas referred to as the ‘Mother of all Grains’. It is gluten-free and is a high-protein food. There are 143 calories in 100g of cooked quinoa. Quinoa is a tight little

Cooking with Quinoa,Source: Sunday Times

Quick Chicken Mushroom Soup

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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

Patatas Bravas

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‘this simple and classic tapas dish is a perfect economical and tasty choice to serve with summer drinks. It is gluten free, dairy free and vegan. I mix with sweet potatoes’

You will need:

250g potatoes
250g sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
250g chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
a pinch of stevia
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
salt and pepper

Preheat  oven to 200C.

Please the potatoes and sweet potatoes and cut into small squares.

Brush an ovenproof tray with olive oil and place the chopped potatoes on the tray. Season with salt and pepper and toss the potatoes in the rest of the olive oil and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika so that they are lightly covered. Place in the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Toss the potatoes on the tray and return them to crisp up in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes pieces.

While the potatoes are cooking make the sauce.  Saute the onion and garlic in some olive oil.  Add the tomatoes, stevia, organic apple vinegar, the other teaspoon of smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper.  Once the sauce starts to boil turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Allow to cool and blend to a smooth consistency.

When the potatoes are cooked transfer to a serving dish and pour some of the tomato sauce over the potatoes.  Garnish with pieces of chorizo, olives, cherry tomatoes and vegan cheese on toothpicks.  Serve warm.

Tip: If available add some purple potatoes too for a very colourful dish.

I use potatoes and vegetables from Big Fresh, smoked paprika and spices by Schwartz, stevia by Tate & Lyle, chorizo by Campofrio [if you want a non-vegan dish], kitchenware by Tescoma, tootpicks and disposable tableware by AMC.

Raw Brownie Batter (vegan, lactose and gluten free)

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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.