food

Pumpkins, bats and witches!

November 02, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

Every year, Halloween is becoming more and more popular here in Malta. Up to a few years ago I would never have imagined the children in my neighbourhood to dress up and trick ‘r treat, in fact I’ve been caught without any sweets (or should I say ‘candy’) quite a few times because I’m still not used to the idea. For this Halloween I had a little party at my place. I was quite unlucky to fall sick the day before the party, which is the day I usually do all the cooking and baking, but thankfully I had chosen stress free recipes to work with, and in the evening of the party I was in high spirits, and feeling much better.  The menu included: savoury witches fingers ( served with dips, cheese & cold cut platters), pumpkin, caramelised onion and gorgonzola quiche, glazed ‘princess’ lemon biscuits, & bloody sangria! Scroll down for the recipes and more Although not really a Halloween treat, I wanted to make these lemon bites because we will be selling them along with our illustrations at a Handmade fair in December, so obviously I wanted to test them on guests and see the reactions. I’m […]

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The restaurant check list, Malta

September 19, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

In some of my previous posts I have mentioned that I am quite the foodie. This doesn’t mean that I’m an excellent cook, nor that I’m some kind of food expert. Basically I love food, I love to cook, I love to try different dishes, and I eat out quite a bit (although I’m trying to cut down on this to boost my home cooking.) I’m always up for trying out new places to eat in Malta.. I do sometimes get bored of the same places, so before going out to eat, you’ll find me on Tripadvisor carefully reading the comments.. or stalking restaurants on their Facebook page or website, whilst carefully examining their menus. I will recommend my favourite restaurants in Malta in my next post, but today I present to you my ‘restaurant check list’. 1. First impression & Interior This depends on what sort of restaurant / bar / pub I’m at, but I usually look for places that aren’t too noisy, have good lighting and general interior design (new restaurants that make you feel like you’re sitting in a garage under harsh white light are becoming quite popular unfortunately) and places that are just generally nice […]

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Paris

August 03, 2013 / by / 2 Comments

I had been thinking of going to Paris for a very long time, but sadly due to studying abroad (and studying online with a foreign University) most of my trips in the past couple of years have been to the UK.  This year I rebelled. I did not go to my Masters graduation in London and instead booked  2 flights to Paris, found a nice hotel and that’s that. I did visit Paris when I was 12, but back then I was more interested in spending 3 days in Disneyland. This time round, Disneyland was one of the least exciting things on my to-do list. My priority when going on holiday is food. Yes I love sight seeing, shopping, events and museums, but I love them because I know that afterwards I’ll be getting local food. Let me tell you, thank God I did a lot of walking in Paris, because if I hadn’t done so, I would have come back to Malta with an extra 10 kilos or so.. but before I start yapping on about food, I’m going to show you my Paris pictures in the form of an informal guide.. so if you’re planning on visiting Paris […]

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Delicious Smoothie

July 14, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

I’m really not a Summer person as I can’t stand the heat (or the sun) usually. This is what makes me want to explore new ways, especially delicious ones, of cooling down. Recently I have this new fad of constantly making smoothies. It is a natural, healthy drink which not only refreshing, but also a delicious treat. I keep trying different fruits in order to have new flavours, amongst which were strawberries, raspberries and mixed forest fruits. The fact that it contains so much fruit is the reason why I don’t feel guilty for having 2 or 3 glasses a day. Ingredients 1 cup fruit of your choice 1 1/2 cup milk 3 tablespoons sugar (or honey) 5 cubes ice   Method Put everything in a blender, blend. Pour into a glass and enjoy

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A perfect place to escape from daily life

July 08, 2013 / by / 1 Comment

It was as if my brain had stopped working for 4 days; I stopped worrying about work and I completely forgot about my daily routine, no planning and thinking about the day. For my Birthday I had a wonderful experience at this place called Serragembetta, an Agritourism in Castellana Province of Bari, Italy (Check out more about my culinary experience at Serragembetta here, here and here). It was like going back in time given the well decorated old rooms, authentic food, organic agriculture and the refreshing Mediterranean atmosphere. A quiet place where one can appreciate nature, learn to make home-made pasta or gnocchi di patata:), relaxing by the pool, reading a book, maybe reflecting on a new creative project, or visiting its surroundings. On our first night we were greeted by the owner Domenico. Although it was very late, we were welcomed in a cosy kitchen with a dish of warm baked pasta, a glass of red wine and some fresh cherries. His friendly nature made us feel at home right away. The welcome was a taste of what was to come; we started our days with an amazing breakfast and after some sightseeing tours, we returned to Serragambetta for dinner. We […]

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Cherry Heaven

June 18, 2013 / by / 1 Comment

As I have mentioned in previous posts, a few weeks ago I was in Puglia, in an Agritourism place called Serragambetta. One of the things that I am still missing from the trip is the abundance of fresh organic cherries that I was eating on a daily basis (no complaints!). Fresh cherries are widely available and consumed in  most places in Puglia. Seeing fields covered in cherry trees was quite an amazing sight, so you can imagine how difficult it was to resist eating huge bowls of cherries everyday. I usually had them with fresh yoghurt for breakfast (still addicted to it!) and a variety of home-made sweets made with fresh cherries for lunch and dinner:) So through this post I will be sharing some snapshot of how cherries are fully exploited at Serragambetta and also some cherry recipes that I have come across in other places in southern Italy. I was practically in heaven. I love the sweetness of cherries, they are simply delicious. They are also very healthy and where I live ( in Malta) they are quite pricey, so I took the opportunity to eat as much as I could:) Almond Cherry Cake Ingredients 1 cup all-purpose […]

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Victoria Sponge Cake

June 16, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

So I was having a little break at work, just scrolling through Facebook on my iPad when I see that Thekitchn have posted a beautiful cake picture, describing the Victoria Sponge Cake as the cake this summer because it’s so light and fluffy. Then they linked to several sponge cakes and I was immediately struck by The Saveur recipe which is essentially the classic Victoria Sponge Cake. I have been wanting an excuse to combine smooth strawberry jam and Devon clotted cream since my scone-eating days at University in the UK, so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Looking at the ingredients of the Victoria Sponge Cake, it is evident that this is quite a no-fuss cake. No crazy ingredients, but simple, specific ones. I don’t think this cake would taste the same without the Devon Clotted / double cream for instance, and without really good strawberry jam. On the other hand the recipe does require quite a lot of beating time, and I’ve only used half this time and still achieved great results. I have also used an electric mixer as suggested, and since the recipe asks for high speed beating, I don’t think manual beating will achieve the […]

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Eating fresh prawns and oysters in Italy

June 13, 2013 / by / 1 Comment

On our last day in Puglia we decided to revisit Polignano al mare (Peghegnéne in Bari dialect) one more time,  a town in the province of Bari, Puglia, southern Italy; a breathtaking place surrounded by see, rocks, sand and fresh air.   Since the economy of this place relies heavily on fishing, one can find a variety of fish and seafood restaurants. I choose one at random and luckily the one I selected called Carpe`had something quite unusual, at least for me. The fish and seafood are mostly served raw. As soon as they brought my  dish of raw seafood, I realised why the waitress used the words “frutti di mare vivi” (alive seafood) while she was suggesting the specialities. Stupidly enough I thought that she was explaining how fresh their fish is.  At  first I wasn’t completely convinced by the idea and maybe I risked al little bit  too, since eating raw seafood is not highly recommended;  you can never really tell its origins. Nonetheless I think  it was worth the risk. I felt like I was eating the sea in every bite, especially when trying out the raw oysters and prawns. I wasn’t very keen on the raw octopus as it was quite […]

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My first experience with Pasta making in Puglia

June 10, 2013 / by / 1 Comment

For my birthday I decided that I needed a short break from my hectic life, and so I headed to this place called Serragambetta, an Agritourism in Castellana Province of Bari, Italy. This has proven to be an excellent choice. Aside from all the great food and the refreshing Mediterranean atmosphere, I was really impressed by the talented staff of Serragambetta, who give practical lessons in pasta making, Puglian cooking and organic farming. The cooking demonstrations are held in a traditional warm and colourful kitchen, surrounded by beautiful pottery and rustic kitchen equipment. I really believe that the best way to familiarise with the culture and traditions of a country is to get to know the secrets of some of their dishes. I attended one of the lessons in pasta making. Gina showed us how to make the orecchiette from scratch; these are a type of home-made pasta typical of Puglia. Gina is one of the gifted cooks at Serragambetta. She is incredible! She cooks, takes care of the organic farming and she is also a talented pottery maker. Her pasta-making skills are pretty much perfect, and obviously it was not very easy for the rest of us to get the same results. I tried […]

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Zurrieq Fish Fest Part II

June 03, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

So today is part II of my 2-day fish fest! Yesterday I went to fish market in a nearby village and my mum and I bought fresh seabass and seabream, fresh king prawns and whitebait fritters. I had my fish whole but the rest of my family actually don’t like cooking and eating fish with their heads and tails still on, so this was lucky for me because I could make fish soup using fresh stock today. I made what us Maltese called ‘Aljotta’ which is essentially a fish soup, or fish broth, because it mustn’t have a thick consistency. The aljotta is quite easy to make. Fry onion and garlic in olive oil and/or butter. Add mint or basil, fresh tomatoes and/or tomato paste for a reddish colour, a bit of marjoram if desired. Add water and a bit of wine, and potatoes if you wish. Season with salt and pepper. Put fish heads and tails in a sieve to make the fresh stock. Cook for around 30 – 40 minutes. Here’s a more detailed recipe I decided to make a salad with the King Prawns. I added tomatoes, avocado, salt & pepper, bacon, noodles and a little bit of sweet […]

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