Tag Archives: Maltese

Revised Recipe: Christmas Logs

Christmas Log (1258)

This revised recipe has been long overdue, and to be honest it’s been sitting on my desk ready to post for a few weeks now. Instead of three logs, you get four here, but the basic method is still the same. I’m sure many of you have already made them, as have I but some readers are still asking me for it and although I do have a recipe posted a few years ago, I think this updated one is slightly better.

Continue reading Revised Recipe: Christmas Logs

Broad Bean Risotto

Broad Bean Risotto (8030)

When I woke up this morning I kept reminding myself that it’s Thursday (not Sunday) and a public holiday on the rock. It’s not as quiet as one might hope, and to type this I had to close the window in my study. It’s easy to focus now and I *am* calm. Which brings me to a recipe made best when you have a good thirty minutes of peace. So tell your partner in life to babysit the kids and the pets for a little while and spend some time in the kitchen with me.

Broad Bean Risotto (8029)

One of the things I love about Malta is the fruit and veggie trucks you see dotted around the many towns and villages on the island. I love going to the one near to where I grew up in Birkirkara. I love visiting my mum too which goes without saying and of course, going there brings back good memories. I have been meaning to post the following recipe and the above photo for ages so here it is. It’s starting to get warmer here now and we’re already finding plenty of spring and summer produce. I’m finding good quality strawberries too which I macerate in lemon juice, some sugar and pepper too. Delicious.

Continue reading Broad Bean Risotto

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

Stuffed Vegetables

Stuffed-Marrows-(5170)

There’s always a story to tell when it comes to cooking and eating. It’s really not usual for me to mention any particular cooking programme on this blog, but here I just couldn’t resist. A few months ago I was flicking through some tv channels and came across one Hairy Bikers episode which could have angered me if I had not taken it with a pinch of salt…a big one that is.

Stuffed-Marrows-and-Peppers-(5157)

I’ll have to ask a question to all my Maltese readers. Could anyone of you tell me if you’ve ever heard the expression Qarabagħli bil-Mimli? Please note the “bil-“. I have definitely heard Qarabagħli mimli bil-laħam for example (literally meaning stuffed marrows with meat), but never Qarabagħli bil-mimli. After doing a bit of searching here and there I read that this interesting little mix-up of the very famous Maltese dish didn’t have anything to do with the Bikers themselves. The following is what happened, and I’ll quote from here:

“Avis and her daughter Eiry have strong connections with Malta and Maltese cuisine. One of the dishes they are keen to share is a marrow dish that was passed down to Eiry’s father though many generations of Maltese men.

Now, marrow may not sound that posh an ingredient, but when you hear that this dish is called “Arabali bil-mimly” (a family mispronunciation of it’s original and rather daunting name “Qara’baghli mimli bil-laham”) you begin to understand its poshness potential. Then when you discover that Avis was cooking this dish in the 60s using ingredients such as garlic and tomato puree it becomes clear how posh this must have been when Avis first brought the recipe back to Wales!”

Stuffed-Peppers-and-Mushrooms-(5171)

Yes I can see you…yes, the Maltese you, rolling your eyes, and I get ya! But, having said that I must confess that I really loved watching something from Malta being cooked on tv. It was kind of exciting. The following is my version of this classic yet heart-warming bake. There’s nothing complicated here; it’s quick, easy, and takes me back on our little island whenever I want a taste of home. I used canned tomatoes, because they’re good. Also note that the quantities for this version are for long marrows, which I then cut into as many portions as I need. From two large ones I usually get three or four, depending on how many people I have to feed. But nothing beats the medium round ones I used to hate when I was young! How foolish!

  • 6-8 marrow halves; their juicy pulp scooped and set aside to use when required
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil; another tablespoon if needed
  • a small knob of butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 500g minced beef
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons tomato concentrate
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon curry
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, for binding
  • grated cheese (Red Leicester or Cheddar), mixed with some breadcrumbs for topping

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4.

Cut the marrow into as many portions as you need (see photo), scoop out the pulp and place this in a bowl until needed later. Leave a thickness of around 1cm at the sides of the marrow. Place these onto a baking dish, lined with kitchen foil.

To prepare the sauce, heat the oil and butter in a hot pan and add the chopped onions and garlic. Add mushrooms, minced beef and spices. Cook gently and stir occasionally. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato concentrate, sugar and seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce, always tasting as you go along.

When it starts reducing, turn off the heat and tip in the marrow pulp that you set aside beforehand. Mix well and add the egg to make sure the sauce binds when it bakes in the marrow shells. Divide this mixture into each of the marrow halves. Create a topping with some grated cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes minutes in a preheated oven or until everything is cooked through.

Serve with anything you like. I love them best cold in between two slices of crunchy Maltese bread! I know many of my friends would agree. Enjoy!

Rob x

Savoury pies

Ricotta-Pie-(4510)

Lately I have been feeling somewhat homesick, especially when my auntie sends me photos of what she’s cooking! Just kidding – keep those pics coming Zi! Now this doesn’t happen to me very often, but when it happens it happens. That’s life. Cooking traditional Maltese food helps me to invoke a feeling of cosiness and reminds me of home, especially during the winter months. I feel so happy in the kitchen, even when I’m tired and can’t be bothered to cook a feast. But as a concept Maltese food is not that complicated, so for today I’ve decided to share with you something which we like to cook on our little island: my version of Ricotta Pie. What’s great about this pie is that you can eat it warm in winter and cold in summer. I love it! For my Maltese readers this will be nothing new, but I hope you will still like it and appreciate this lady’s wish to write about home once in a while!

Torti-(4500)

So for basic shortcrust pastry I always use the following. I use ounces for this as the measurements in grams can be a bit tricky. The basic rule of thumb for shortcrust is that the amount of flour should be twice as much (by weight) as the amount of fat.

  • 8oz plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt (optional)
  • 4 oz margerine or butter, cold from the fridge
  • around 6 to 8 teaspoons cold water

Mix the flour, baking powder and butter in a bowl, using your thumbs and second and third fingers. Make sure that the butter is cold. Be patient here; the butter should be rubbed into the flour in about 5 to 10 minutes, until it seems like breadcrumbs. Do not use your palms because you will make the mixture warm up. Remember that for this, the colder everything is the better. Add the water gradually as needed, but don’t overwork the pastry. Wrap the finished product in cling film and set aside in the fridge until you need it. I like to keep it there for at least an hour, but I would say 30 minutes is enough.

For the ricotta filling you need:

  • 500g Ricotta
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 1 large egg, beaten slightly
  • some pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 onion, cooked lightly in olive oil or butter and cooled.

You won’t believe how easy this mixture is to make: just mix the ingredients in a bowl till all is combined. Don’t forget to preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F/Gas Mark 4.

To assemble the pie: divide the pastry into two and roll it out on a clean and floured surface, a few inches larger in size than your pie dish. With the help of your rolling pin, lift the pastry and place it on the bottom of the dish. Fill the pastry with the ricotta mixture, then roll out the second piece of pastry and place this on the top. Secure the edges with your fingers. If you have extra pastry, make something pretty like a star or a flour or a simple knot to put on the top layer. Prong with a fork, brush the top with some milk or a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with some sesame seeds. Place in a preheated oven for around an hour, till it turns golden and beautiful. It’s the smell of home. Enjoy alone or serve it with a plain green salad and a glass of your favourite white.

Timpana-(4509)

Timpana-(4511)

For another idea you can also make Timpana. The pastry is the same, but with a Bolognese type filling, made with penne, minced beef, peas and tomato passata. There’s no recipe here, at least for the time being, but I’ve put up a photo to give you an idea. In my view you don’t have to follow a recipe to the letter; it’s only here as a guide. I love this recipe and I hope you will to.

Enjoy!

Rob x