Strawberry and Coffee Biscuit Trifle

strawberry coffee gateau

Stawberry and Coffee Biscuit Trifle, photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

You will need:

2 packets Nice Biscuits
4 tablespoons instant coffee
2 cups boiling water
1 vanilla pod
100g butter
80g sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 punnets strawberries
500ml whipping cream

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Use an electric mixer to beat the cream.  Remove from the bowl and mix in the seeds from a vanilla pod.  Keep aside.

Place the water in a saucepan with the remaining vanilla pod and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the coffee powder, mix with a large spoon, then add the cocoa powder and brandy.

Place the softened butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until the mixture is white and fluffy.

Fold in the whipped cream and vanilla.  Place the cream mixture in a piping bag and keep aside.

Slice the strawberries.

Assemble the trifle by dipping the ‘Nice’ Biscuits into the coffee mixture and line the bottom of the container.

Work neatly and pipe a layer of the cream mixture.  Flatten with a spoon, then top with a layer of sliced strawberries.

Repeat with a layer of coffee-soaked ‘Nice’ biscuits, a layer of the cream mixture and strawberries until you have used all your ingredients.

I usually fill up the whole bowl with these layers, but due to time constraints of live tv, I finished off with a layer of strawberries before we reached the top and had lots of left overs to make more trifles !

Cover with cling film and Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Trade Enquiries

Rimus Trading Agency  for Nice Biscuits by Regal, President Butter and Cream

Good Earth Distributors for pure vanilla pods and raw cocoa powder

Big Fresh  Mosta for all my fresh fruit and vegetables

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Burrata with Strawberries and Orange Zest

Burrata and strawberries

Simplicity is best: Burrata with Strawberries and Orange zest topped with Agave Syrup Photo: Illumina Media

‘Simplicity is always best and if you have not yet tasted Burrata make a point of doing so :).  You will then find out why it is known as the queen of cheeses’

For 2 persons will need:

burrata (I use small individual ones)
Lots of fresh strawberries and orange zest
Agave or honey

To assemble, cut the burrata in half.
Arrange on a plate
Scatter orange zest and drizzle agave or honey.  Garnish with mint leaves.

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As seen on TV, Fresh Burrata from Puglia is flown in to Malta every day, Photography Illumina Media

 

Amazing Chia Jam

strawberry jam

As seen on tv, photography during a live tv show

‘The color and texture of this jam is amazing.  Strawberry Jam with no processed sugar, no pectin and a unique texture by adding chia seeds.  I have used Chia seeds every day this week during my tv programme, in salad dressings, dips, cakes and bakes.  As an ingredient, these seeds fascinate me’

You will need:

1 kilo strawberries
juice of 2 lemons
the seeds from a vanilla pod
4 tablespoons stevia, or honey, or agave
8 tablespoons chia seeds

Chop up the strawberries and place in a saucepan with the lemon juice. When it reaches boiling point, add your chosen sweetener, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Once it is cool add the chia seeds and stir.
Place in the fridge and leave to set for 2 days before using.

‘Because the jam contains no processed sugar, store in the fridge and consume within 2 weeks’

Strawberry jam with chia seeds

Amazing Chia Jam

Trade Enquiries:

Chia Seeds by Good Earth

Strawberries and fruit by Big Fresh Mosta

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.

Happy Hummingbird for Easter

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We featured another sugar free cake with no butter on TV this week and the result was a Hummingbird with strawberries instead of pineapple.

You will need to mix together in a large bowl:

350g sifted self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Tip of a teaspoon vanilla powder or a couple of drops of vanila extract
50g pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon cornflour
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g coconut

In another bowl, mix together theae ingredients then use a handheld blender to liquidze them until the mixture has a smooth consistency:

125 ml olive oil
125 ml yoghurt
200g golden raisins
3 ripe bananas
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vinegar
250g strawberries

In a third bowl beat together unti, they form a firm meringue consistency:

4 egg whites
Half a teaspoon cream of tartar

Use a metal spoon to fold in the dry ingredients into the liquids. do not ocermix. Gently fild in the egg whites. m
Pour the batter into a prepapred tin (23cm) and bake at 170 C for 35 minutes. Decorate with strawberries and i also used dried rose petals on the surface.

Happy peaceful Easter dear readers. We are still experiencing colder than usual weather here in the Mediterranean and I so much yearn for the summer to come in full swing soon.

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With Alfred and The Honourable Dr Toni Abela

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

Strawberry Sundae Tart

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Summers remind me of strawberries and cream and mine are immersed into a chocolate pastry cream in a crust of chocolate. I am making the pastry cream without eggs as it seems more popular these days. This pie can also be gluten free merely by substituting the flour in the crust with gluten free flour (I used Doves usually for this crust when i need it to be gluten free) and also omit the layer of crushed wafers that i used on top of the crust. This recipe is for a 10 inch tart dish.

For the Chocolate Crust

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You will need:

400g flour
100g cocoa powder
200g butter
2 eggs
Pinch of salt
100g sugar
1/2 packet wafers
Sieve the flour and cocoa into a large bowl
Chop up the butter, add to flour mix and rub in until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Add the salt and sugar and mix.
Add the eggs, a little at a time until a dough forms. If you need more liquid add cold water, a few drops at a time.
Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Grease the tart dish lightly.
Sprinkle some flour and cocoa powder on a suitable surface. Make sure it is uniformly mixed. Roll out the pastry on a surface. This is quite a delicate pastry and breaks easily. Do not worry as you can patch it up.
Roll the pastry round the rolling pin and ease it gently into the tart dish. Gently pat into place tapping it all around. Patch up any tears. Trim of the excess dough. Pierce the pastry with a fork all over. I added a thin layer of crushed chocolate Loacker wafers and pushed the crumbs into the crust. This is optional and if you want a gluten free tart leave it out.
Place the tart dish in the freezer for half an hour.
Heat the oven to 150C
Bake for 20 minutes. Take out and allow to cool.

The Strawberries

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500g fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
100g double cream
100g greek yoghurt and if you on the island, use local. It’s just as good and a fraction of the price.
I did not add any sugar to the cream if you would prefer it sweeter do. The sweetness of the strawberries and pastry cream was enough for us.
Cut a small piece off the tip of the strawberries so that they will stand on a plate.
Use a paring knife to hollow out a small hole in the centre of each strawberry

For the Chocolate Pastry Cream

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1 large can light Evaporated Milk
500 ml water
200 g sugar
2 drops good vanilla extract
Separately, 100 g corn flour, 2 heaped spoons cocoa powder mixed in 150 g water

Gently heat the milk, water and sugar and bring to a gentle boil stirring with a wooden spoon.
Add the vanilla.
Add the corn flour mix and stir.
Remove from heat immediately as it starts to boil and carry on stirring.

Assembling and finishing it off

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Pour the chocolate pastry cream into the completely cooled down tart crust. Keep the crust in the dish.
Immediately place the hollowed out strawberries near each other. Don’t worry if they are not the same size. I like it to look as nature was meant to be! Make sure that the pastry cream cools down and that the strawberries have set into the cream and they are not wobbly.
Beat the double cream and when it thickens add the yoghurt.
Fill a disposable piping bag with the mixture.
Snip only a small part of the tip off.
Fill up each strawberry with the cream and greek yoghurt mix.
Refrigerate before serving.

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And more strawberries with a fennel and arugula salad

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I love the mix of flavors in this salad and the textures. Imagine mouthfuls of crunchy aromatic fennel and fleshy soft strawberries with the distinct bitterness of the arugula.

1 punnet arugula leaved
4 large strawberries
half a bulb of fennel
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
freshly ground pepper and sea salt

Arrange the arugula leaves on a serving plate.
Slice the strawberries lengthwise and slice thinly.
Slice the fennel bulb into thin slices.
Arrange the strawberries and fennel on to the rocket leaves.
Season with fresnly ground pepper and salt. Drizzle with some olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
This is ready to serve as it is. It is worth buying a good quality balsamic vinegar as it makes a big difference to the flavour especially when using with such delicate flavors of strawberry and fennel.

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My sweet Stevia has found a home in our garden and this is just the beginning of a long journey together …

Strawberries filled with yoghurt and cream

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The photo below shows the strawberries with a mix of yoghurt and cream, perhaps a treat for Sunday breakfast, but you can go a step further and make Cheesecake strawberries as you will get all the flavors of eating a cheesecake into a bite, perfect to end a meal without overeating…

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You will need

500g fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

100g double cream
100g greek yoghurt and if you on the island, use local. Its just as good and a praction of the price.
OR swap with
200g cream cheese beaten

1 spoon honey or carob syrup
A few drops vanilla extract
6 digestive biscuits
100g ground nuts, I used pistachio

Cut a small piece off the tip of the strawberries so that they will stand on a plate. Save the tip.
Use a paring knife to hollow out a small whole in the centre of each strawberry
Beat the double cream and when it thickens add the yoghurt.
Add the carob syrup or nozzle and mix in until its consistent.
Fill a disposable piping bag with the mixture.
Snip only a small part of the tip off.
Fill up each strawberry with the mix.
Crush the digestive biscuits to a fine powder and sprinkle each strawberry with the biscuits and top with ground nuts. I love pistachios both in flavor and for color contrast.
You can either serve them as they are or cover the strawberry with the tip that you have cut off previously.
Refrigerate before serving.

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Strawberry and gbejna in Pistachio Pastry with no added sugar

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Soft local fresh cheeslets and the fleshiest perfumed strawberries are encased in a pistachio crust, drizzled with thyme honey and sprinkled with more pistachios. Can you think of anything tastier? It was delicious. My extra pastry from covering the tart dish turned out to be the belle of the ball. I have added no sugar to this bake and the pastry is made with olive oil instead of butter)

You will need:

800g flour
200 ml olive oil (if you are looking for a very ‘short’ and rich pastry, substitute this with 400g butter)
Pinch of salt
Few Drops freshly squeezed lemon
Cold water
2 eggs
100g pistachios. Roughly ground.
(These quantities will give you the equivalent to line 2 tart dishes and make this bake)

For the filling you will need:

150g strawberries
100g curd cheese (i used a fresh local cheeselet
50g pistachios (roughly chooped with some whole oes kept aside to decorate)
2 spoons honey (Warmed up)

Preheat oven to 180C
Follow the method as seen on the photo recipe with the very easy-to-follow photo recipe.
When you take out the pastry dough from the fridge roll out into a long strip of about 5 inches wide and as long ad it will go.

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Use a sharp knife to cut lines all the way down the two lengths of the pastry, diagonally as in the photo.

Chop up the curd cheese or mash it up

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Spread it along the centre strip of the rolled out pastry.

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Top up with finely cut strawberries.
Drizzle a spoon of warmed honey all over the filling.
Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top.

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Plait the loose ends.

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Place on a tray covered with some baking parchment.
Bake for 25 minutes until golden.

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Allow to cool for 5 minites and drizzle the warmed up honey to glaze.
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Eat warm or cold.
It also looks lovely cut up in slices.

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And This week’s paper