Tag Archives: dessert

Flora’s Tearoom: One year Anniversary

Pancake of the Week (0683)

Update: Please note that as from the 28th October, 2019 Flora’s Cafe is permanently closing down. It will now only cater for private events and tea parties.

One year goes by so fast. I find myself saying this repeatedly these days. A year ago I was told by a good friend of mine about a little tearoom and cafe’ (thank goodness) in the heart of Naxxar. You should go, Anna said, you definitely should. So that’s basically how Flora’s, which I think must have been open for just around two days, went straight to the top of my places-to-visit list. I had moved to Malta with J the previous summer and was looking for quaint independent places where I could have good coffee and a piece of cake (or two) while chatting to my mum or for just reading a book. Needless to say, discovering Flora’s felt as if I hit the jackpot.
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Flora’s Coffee Shop and Tea Room

Mirror (0141)

Update: Please note that as from the 28th October, 2019 Flora’s Cafe is permanently closing down. It will now only cater for private events and tea parties.

One thing I thought I would miss, since moving back to Malta last year was a good place for coffee and conversation, and perhaps for some reading. I’m sure there are a few places dotted around the island where you can do all that, but I haven’t come across anything till now. From this week though, I’m happy. In fact, this post could easily be part 2 in my love Malta series. From this week, my lovely readers, there’s a new kid on the block I like – a place so charming you will want to visit very soon. It’s called Flora’s, a small but beautiful coffee shop and tea room in Naxxar. So central, so on point. At least, for me. With an address like 1, Victory Square, you cannot miss it, and it’s right by the church. That’s exactly where I wanted to go on Friday. They opened on Wednesday, and I wanted to see how they would manage the usual teething problems a new place faces during its first few days.

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Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton

Prettiness (9813)

Spring is here. (What, no exclamation mark, you say? I thought I might spare you one this time.) I hope you all had a lovely long Easter weekend. I am having quite a busy few weeks and it’s only going to get worse, but it’s all been good. Yesterday was the best day. We had lunch with my family (I made stew, which is sort of a tradition in my house, and took it over to my parents’ place.) Then we drove to Ħad-Dingli for a walk along the cliffs, and on our way back home stopped over to the wonderful Diar il-Bniet for a great coffee and something sweet. I took some snapshots with my mobile – no camera this time unfortunately – and will be tweeting some of them on Twitter later on.

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Triple Chocolate Cake

Triple Chocolate Cake (6571)I have to say that I am always looking for a good chocolate cake. The main reason is simple really: generally there aren’t many people who would object to chocolate and this makes chocolate cakes perfect for any celebration. Personally I think that any excuse is good to bake one of these, but surely would you *really* need an excuse, and my go-to person in a situation such as this, is of course Nigella.

As much as I love using my round baking tins (I recently bought another two), I prefer finding recipes for loaf cakes. Somehow I find loaf cakes easier to cut and make taking them around, say for a picnic or to a friend’s house for tea, easier. This recipe is one towards which I gravitate most and is definitely one of my favourites. It reminds me of a lemon drizzle cake…you will see why as you read on.

Triple Chocolate Cake (6575)Before you start, take whatever you need out of the fridge. You will get a better cake if everything is at room temperature.

  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 275g golden caster sugar
  • 175g butter, soft and unsalted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 80ml sour cream
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 175g dark chocolate, cut into small chunks

Syrup ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 125ml water
  • 100g golden caster sugar

Place a baking tray on the middle shelf of your oven and preheat to 170°C. Grease and line a loaf tin, making sure you have extra baking parchment at the sides. You could use a silicon tin but I prefer the conventional way. It takes a bit more work but the results will be better.

For the cake, place the flour, baking powder and the cocoa powder in a medium bowl and give them a good mix.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and caster sugar together. Beat in the eggs one by one.

Now gently fold in the dry ingredients and add the sour cream and vanilla extract to the mixture. Slowly add the boiling water and mix everything until just combined. Add the chocolate chunks and distribute evenly in the cake batter.

As soon as you do this, scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for around 50 minutes to an hour. (There will be a few cracks in the cake when it’s done. Check it by inserting a skewer in the middle. The cake shouldn’t be too dry.)

While the cake is baking away, prepare the syrup by putting the cocoa powder, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Swirl the pan around a few times and let the liquid boil for a few minutes, until it has reduced to a syrup-y consistency.

When the cake is done, let it stay in the tin on a wire rack and pierce it with a skewer (like you would do with a lemon drizzle cake). Slowly pour the syrup all over the cake. Don’t worry if the liquid runs on the sides.

Make sure the cake is completely cold before taking it out of the tin, with the help of the overhanging parchment paper. Remove the lining and place it on a serving dish.

Serve it alone or with strawberries and cream or crème fraîche. Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Nigella Feast: Food that celebrates life, Chatto & Windus, 2004.)

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry-Muffins-(6541)A very good friend of mine always asks me for more muffin recipes. I get this. Unlike cakes, my personal preference if I were to choose (I don’t think so), muffins are charming little things. Even though I may have a muffin with my coffee when out running errands, I prefer homemade ones. Somehow shop-bought ones seem too big, too out there if you know what I mean.

Sometime ago I was invited to a YSL event at a local store. In one corner the ladies prepared a spread of pretty little cupcakes, which seem to be all the rage nowadays. To me they looked more inviting than all the expensive stuff in the shop. They were good, a bit on the small side, but good nonetheless. One would argue that you cannot look sophisticated while devouring a large chunk of cake! I went home and I wanted to bake something in between.

Homebaked muffins will be smaller than the huge things you might get at the store but don’t let that deter you. You can make the mixture in five minutes flat and they are so convenient when you have people round for afternoon tea. All you need is coffee! Blueberries are great here, but you can use whatever you want…strawberries, raspberries, or perhaps a mixture of both. Makes 12.

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened almost melted
  • 120g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100ml milk, preferably full-fat
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 180g blueberries

Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases and preheat the oven to 190ºC.

In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.

In another bowl, beat the butter together with the sugar, eggs, milk, lemon zest and juice till everything is just combined.

Fold in the flour mixture gently into the wet ingredients preferably with a spatula. Tip in the blueberries, and don’t overmix. A lumpy batter is exactly what you want here!

Using an ice-cream scoop, distribute the mixture evenly in the tray and bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes. They should be ready by then but always check by inserting a skewer in the middle of one muffin just to be sure.

Place them on a cookie rack to cool, and eat them when they are slightly warm on the same day. They should keep in an airtight container until the next day – good excuse to invite a good friend for tea. Enjoy!

Rob x

(Adapted from River Cottage Handbook No. 8: Cakes, Pam Corbin, Bloomsbury, 2011.)