Tag Archives: Maltese recipes

Stuffed Baked Aubergines

Baked Aubergines and Marrows (8213)

This week will be a stay-in week. Lucky you, I hear you say. Honestly, I would love to be out and about though, instead of being stuck with a very painful ear and throat infection that’s really making me lose both my patience and hours of precious sleep. I wasn’t even going to post anything for the next few days, but C&T really needs some love, care and attention right now, so here I am. I love being here, sharing recipes and cooking tips, and writing. Also I learn so much by reading comments and blogs by my favourite people. It’s totally worth being here. Even if half of my face is a mess and telling me to rest. Now.

However it’s going to be a rainy week they say, and what better excuse than to spend some time in the kitchen and bake. A very good friend of mine and her daughter gave me a couple of cake recipes which are the bomb. They are so good that I plan to share very soon. I just love it when people share their favourite recipes with me and in turn allow me to share them with you. I will give them a mention of course when I do just that, because that’s my style and I like to keep it that way. Come back for more later, but in the meantime onto today’s dish.

Continue reading Stuffed Baked Aubergines

Christmas Log

Christmas-Log-(6474)

Click here for the updated version, posted on 21/12/2017.

Unlike the traditional Christmas cake, which I only made a handful of times, I’m a huge fan of mince pies, the crustier the pastry the better, and this log. Now I must honestly say that the Maltese recipe for Christmas log wins hands down here, at least for me. The British chocolate sponge version doesn’t really do anything for me. I still prefer it over the pudding though, which on the other side of the spectrum is too rich, again for my taste.

Christmas-Log-(6461)

I use this recipe year after year, and is exactly how I like it. My mum makes a mean log, moist and it’s basically yumminess personified, which she gets by adding more alcohol than I do. I like mine a little bit more mellow, reflected in my version. If you want to add a bit more, so be it. I promised my friends this recipe by the end of the week, so without further ado here it is.

Makes approximately 3 x 20cm long logs, and it’s a no-cook assemblage! Please note that the recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk – the gloopy sticky stuff. The mixture will turn out to be too liquidy if you use any other kind of tinned milk.

For the log:

  • 300g rich tea biscuits
  • 125g chopped almonds
  • 200g walnuts
  • 400g candied cherries
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 75ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 397g sweetened condensed milk

For the topping:

  • Dark chocolate, melted for covering the log
  • icing sugar, for sprinkling

Lay 3 sheets of parchment paper or cling film on your worktop, one for each log.

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients for the log, preferably using your clean hands. You should basically end up with a sticky mess, but trust me, this is what you want.

Divide the mixture into three, and roll each one in parchment paper.

Put them in the fridge and leave to set overnight.

When you are ready to decorate, unwrap and place them on flat serving dish. Cover with the dark molten chocolate. When the chocolate is completely set, liberally dust the logs with icing sugar.

My countdown to Christmas has officially begun! Enjoy!

Rob x

Aubergines

Stuffed-Aubergines-and-Potatoes-(6375)

For me, the cold weather is all about baking. J loves aubergines and so do I, but you know me and veggies; sometimes we’re not the best of friends. However Maltese cooking has found a good compromise – good wholesome veggies stuffed with meat. You will find that I had already written about this so you will forgive me for not going into too much detail about it in this post. I basically kept the same ingredients and followed the same method. However I used aubergines this time round, cooked them till almost al dente in boiling water before distributing the filling, and also topped them with Pecorino. Goat’s cheese would also work here, and of course, never waste the pulp. It bulks up the filling and make it even more delicious. It’s easy and makes for a lovely informal supper with friends. Enjoy!

Rob x

On Chestnuts

Roasted-Chestnuts-(5239)Just the thought of these makes me want to cuddle on the couch with a mug of proper hot chocolate, with a dash of hazelnut syrup. (I was going to suggest liqueur too.) The Maltese have something else up their sleeve: they are crazy about Imbuljuta of course. I like to think of it as a sweet infusion (rather than soup) primarily made with shelled dried chestnuts, cocoa powder (*not drinking chocolate please*, which I saw aplenty on some other websites), caster sugar and tangerine or orange peel. It has been quite a while since I made this, and miss it’s warmth and chocolatey-ness! It’s really like a big hug and it reminds me of Christmas, when it is traditionally made.

I must try to make Imbuljuta this year, if naturally I can get my hands on the dried chestnuts, and experiment for a bit until I find the right amount of sweetness. Chestnuts for roasting are not the kind you need here but until I find the dried kind we will be roasting these at home, unfortunately not on an open fire! (see photo.) All the recipes I found are either too bitter or too sweet…or too chocolatey…or too thick (as in dense)…and I could go on and on. The one with the simplest and arguably most sensible ingredients and quantities I could find, (just because these are the basic ingredients and it is a good start), is from The Food and Cookery of Malta, a classic by Anne and Helen Caruana Galizia, Paz, 1999. You can add any other ingredient of your choice, but you cannot omit, anything from it. There is no cream in this (thank goodness!) even though they include it in their method as a “contemporary addition”. (My notes are included between brackets as you can see, but more as a guideline to myself than to my gentle readers.) They suggest using the following:

  • 400g-500g dried chestnuts (also known as Qastan tal-Imbuljuta)
  • I heaped tablespoon cocoa powder (I’d like to think of this as the standard 15ml measure)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • large piece of tangerine peel, cut into thin strips or chopped (I wouldn’t chop it or cut it. Whole would do nicely.)
  1. The chestnuts should be washed, any ones which seem off, discarded and the rest are placed in a bowl and left to soak overnight.
  2. When ready to be used, remove the residue or leftover skins. The chestnuts are now ready to be cooked. So place them in a heavy based pan, cover with cold water and let them cook until they are tender.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, caster sugar and the tangerine peel (orange peel will also do here) and continue cooking for around 30 minutes. It could need longer to thicken. (I have also seen recipes with corn starch in them, though I doubt their authenticity.) More sugar and/or cocoa can be added during the cooking process, or even after, depending on taste.

I will include any updates on the Galizia recipe, if there are any, hopefully very soon. Does anyone know where I can get some dried chestnuts in Surrey please?

Rob x

Additional note: My mum sent me another recipe for this which will be posted for Christmas 2013, which is richer and better than this one, if I may say so myself. It’s already tried and tested, so check it out before the 2013 festivities. I know you’ll love it! xx

Images: More Maltese food.

Bigilla-(5502)

These are some more photos taken in Malta. I don’t get to go often, simply because visiting the rock is never completely a holiday. What was different this time round is that I did a fair amount of cooking and of course, learning. Cooking rabbit was like an adventure. Sounds a bit silly I know, but I felt like a kid in a candy shop. All it took was a bit of white wine, onions, garlic and spice (sweet mixed preferably but recipes differ in nature), firstly seared in a large pan. My big mistake: not having my trusted notebook with me in case I wanted to write the recipe. I have a bad long-term memory. I learnt my lesson. Same goes for the Bigilla (a typical Maltese dip made out of beans). I still have to find someone who doesn’t like it as much as I do, but you never know.

Rabbit-(5499)

Rabbit-(5505)

Enjoy the pics!

Rob x