Healthier Salted Caramel Bars

caramel biscuits 3

Healthier Salted Caramel Bars, photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘these biscuits are gluten free, lactose free with no added refined sugar.  They can be stored in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for 3 months.  Today the feast of St Gregory is celebrated and I enjoyed the phone ins from our viewers in this morning’s show as they narrated their memories and shared the history of this feast day.  thank you x’

caramel biscuits 1

For the base layer you will need:

100g oatmeal or ground oats
25g ground almonds
50ml agave  [if not vegan you can use honey]
4 tablespoons coconut paste

Heat the oven to 180C.  Prepare a baking tray by lining it with baking paper. Place the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until it is consistent.  Bring the dough together with your hands and place on a clean surface.  Press and use a rolling pin to roll out then cut into rectangles [either 12 pieces or 18 smaller ones].  Place on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.

For the salted caramel layer you will need:

200g chopped dates
1 tablespoon nut butter [I used hazelnut butter]
2 tablespoons coconut paste
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan with 50 ml of water.  Use gentle heat and stir until the dates are broken down.  If necessary add some more water.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Roll the mixture into small balls then press them down on to the cooled down biscuits.  Use a teaspoon to smooth it down.

And you will also need to coat the biscuits with :

250g melted chocolate to coat.  [I used lactose free, sugar free]
1 tablespoon olive oil

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or in the microwave.  Mix in a tablespoon of olive oil and stir until the mixture is smooth and shiny.

Gently dip the biscuits into the melted chocolate until they are fully covered.  Place on a dish covered with baking paper and allow the biscuits to set in the fridge for an hour.

Trade Enquiries: Coconut Paste by Govinda and Chocolate Valor both from J Calleja Import Export Ltd

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

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.

Patatas Bravas

patatas bravas.jpg

‘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)

raw brownie batter goodfoodeveryday

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.

No bake coconut chocolate cherry slice

coconut chocolate cherry slice

Coconut chocolate cherry slice photo taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

‘An incredibly quick dessert, ideal for the hot summer days. It is vegan, gluten free, lactose free and has no added processed sugar. Worth a try if you are reading this recipe as it will not disappoint’

cherry coconut chocolate credit george aquilina

Coconut Chocolate Cherry no bake slice, photo take by George Aquilina during a live tv show

You will need:
2 cups coconut
2 tablespoons agave
1 vanilla pod
2 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil
400g sugar free dairy free chocolate

a tart tin with a loose bottom
cling film
10 cherries

Place the coconut, agave, seeds from the vanilla pod and cold pressed coconut oil in a blender and pulse until it forms a paste.
Cover the bottom part of the tart dish with cling film.
Place the mixture in the tart dish and press down by using a spatula.
Place in the fridge for an hour.
Melt the chocolate by placing in a microwave or bain marie.
Pour the chocolate over the coconut

Place in the fridge over night or the freezer if you are not going to serve immediately.  Before serving dip the cherries in melted chocolate and place on top of the tart.

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Slice

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Slice, photo taken during a live tv show by Charles Vassallo

Tip:  This tart was made in a rush during a live tv show without being placed int the fridge long enough to set.  You can have a must neater finish by allowing the tart to set overnight in the fridge or freezer before decorating.

I use agave and coconut oil by Good Earth, chocolate by Valor, vanilla by Schwartz, cherries by Big Fresh, tart tin by Tescoma, coconut by St Georges Brand, cling film by AMC, decorative tableware by Loft.

Pasta Aglio Olio with Vegetable Noodles

40. a Vegetable Spaghetti LGFE (Daniel Balzan)

Aglio Oglio with broad beans and vegetable noodles, tableware C&H Bartoli, photo Daniel Balzan

‘this pasta dish includes spiralized carrot and courgette noodles and is topped with fresh broad beans, ah so good’

You will need:
250g linguine
125g courgettes
125g carrots
1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
A pinch of dried chili
Mint to garnish

Prepare a pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Put the oil,garlic and chili flakes in a large pan over low heat and cook gently for around 3 minutes. Add the parsley and mint to the pan and turn off the heat.

Use a spiralizer to make spaghetti with the carrots and courgettes. Drain the pasta and reserve one cup of the cooking liquid. When the oil mixture has cooled down add half a cup of pasta cooking water and reduce over medium heat by half. Add the pasta and stir. Add more pasta water a little at a time for the sauce to thicken until the consistency is how you prefer it. Add the carrot and courgette spaghetti and mix in with the pasta and sauce. Immediately remove from the heat and serve.

Tip: To use up any leftovers beat the remaining pasta with some eggs to make an omelette.

I use linguine by Pasta Rummo, vegetables by Big Fresh, spices and dried herbs by Schwarts, fresh potted herbs by Callus Garden Centre, and a spiralizer by Tescoma

Fresh Herb Amaranth

amaranth 3

Fresh Herb Amaranth instead of polenta or mashed potato [Photography Felix Cesare, the food in this photo was cooked during a live tv programme]

‘Everyone loved this fresh herb Amaranth.  It has a consistency of polenta when cooked and the uncooked grains are similar to quinoa.  I  use water as a base instead of cream or milk as the consistency is so creamy.  It is gluten free and protein rich.  I served it with chick peas and fresh broad beans’.

You will need:

1 cup amaranth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 natural stock cube
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 onion, finely chopped
6 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs and I use a mix of mint, basil and tarragon
pinch of dried provence herbs
1/2 cup red cabbage, finely shredded and chopped
Black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare the herbs by finely chopping them and the red cabbage by shredding and chopping then immersing completely in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and leave aside.

Saute the onion on low heat in one tablespoon of olive oil.  When it becomes translucent add the garlic but do not cook for more than one minute to avoid burning and retain a gentle flavor. Remove from heat.  It will carry on cooking once it is added to the amaranth.

Bring the water with the stock cube to boil and add the amaranth. Add the dried herbs. Reduce the heat and cook using a wooden spoon to stir constantly. After 5 minutes, add the cooked onion and garlic.  Keep cooking and the mixture will get thick and bubbly. Keep a jug of water near you and add water a little at a time as it gets absorbed. Taste to check if the amaranth is cooked enough then add the herbs, finely shredded herbs and olive oil. Lightly stir in and serve as an accompaniment to your main dish.

‘Tip: Add a couple of spoons of amaranth to thicken a soup’

My ingredients for this recipe are by Good Earth with fresh vegetables and herbs by Big Fresh.

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.

Cooking with Aquafaba

LGFE aquafaba sponge slices with rhubarb compote and pomegranates (Stefan Stafrace)

Aquafaba sponge slices with aquafaba cream and rhubarb compote in today’s Sunday Times

Aquafaba must be one of the most amazing culinary discoveries of all time and it is the name that refers to chickpea water. More recipes in today’s Sunday Times.

Source: Sunday Times of Malta: Cooking with Aquafaba