Dear reader, another week has passed by and to be very frank I had no clue what to write about today. I did some soul (and photo) searching and I found the following set of photos, taken while still living in Guildford. And then it just clicked – I’ve moved back to Malta 3 years almost to the date.
It’s Sunday morning, almost lunchtime, and I’m in my study. It’s the room where I feel most at home in. The wall to wall bookcases which J built remind me of those beautiful English libraries you can find in some National Trust properties. I don’t like antiques but everything can be a source of inspiration. Thank goodness for this room, because after a little more than a year back in Malta, I still cannot say that this is my home.
First of all: Happy New Year everybody! Christmas has come and gone, and so did the holidays. I really hope you had a good one and we all hope for the best for ’15. 2014 has not been one of my best years but I got through. Phew. Now the only way to look is onwards so let’s go.
As I write this I’m looking outside of my window and I can just barely see Guildford Cathedral peeping back at me. The fog is quite thick this morning but I am looking forward to some sun perhaps this afternoon. Well, hopefully anyway. This kind of weather brings anticipation for the festivities which are yet to come. I have to say that I prefer all the prep than the actual Christmas week itself. The cooking and baking is fun and in many ways comforting. This is an easy but delicious recipe to get you, and me started. I have been getting some questions on this traditional Maltese recipe, and here is my latest version which really works for me.
Imbuljuta (pronounced something like: Im-bul-yu-ta) is one of my very favourite things to eat. For me, it is the essence of Christmas. It also takes me back to my childhood and it revives the excitement that the season should bring. It used to be served and shared after midnight mass; unfortunately nowadays plain hot chocolate is served instead. Pity.
I apologise for having just one photo here, but I hope to include more in the coming weeks. Unfortunately I cannot find dried chestnuts in my neck of the woods, so I’ll have to wait until the next batch from Malta comes through!
- 250g dried chestnuts
- 1 x 15ml tablespoon cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate, please)
- 3 tablespoons golden caster sugar
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 whole tangerine peel (There’s no need to cut this into pieces.)
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 500ml water
- 50g dark chocolate, cut into chunks
Give the chestnuts a good rinse under water, discard any that seem off. Place the rest in a large bowl, cover them with a fresh batch of cold water and leave to soak overnight.
The next morning they will be ready to be cooked, but first remove any brown skin that remained attached to the chestnuts. Drain, put them in a heavy-based pan and cover with them with 500ml of cold water. Switch on the heat to medium and let them cook until they are tender, for I would say, around 40 minutes or so.
Add the cocoa powder, caster sugar, cinnamon stick, tangerine peel, cloves and dark chocolate. Give everything a stir and let the ingredients come together and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or so. Now it’s ready to be scooped into your favourite mug! This is gooey and rich so be careful! Serve hot. But boy, it’s good! Enjoy!