Brodu Tat-Tigieg (Chicken Broth)


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I suppose this should be called Chicken Soup rather than Chicken Broth.  We still call it Broth even though we do not strain it and turn it into a Consomme.  You can make Brodu with chicken, beef and even with just vegetables, same way as you would make stock.  My favorite though has to be with chicken.  I use chicken wings but you can use any parts.

So when feeling a bit under the weather, a little of our Maltese Brodu will definitely make you better!

[mls_h2]Ingredients[/mls_h2] [mls_h3](Serves 2)[/mls_h3]

  • 4 Chicken Wings, or any other parts, rinsed
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 medium potato, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp gluten free chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • Salt & Freshly ground pepper
  • 140g rice (approx 70g per person)
  • Freshly chopped parsley

[mls_h2]Method[/mls_h2]
This soup could not be easier!  Just place all the ingredients, except for the rice, salt, pepper and parsley in a large stock pot.  Add about 5 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Leave to simmer until the chicken and vegetables are soft.  Add the rice and cook for about 10 to 14 more minutes, depending on the rice used.  Add the peas a few minutes before rice is done.

Serve in bowls sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Note – I usually eat the chicken wings after I eat my soup! If you wish you can also shred the chicken and add it to the soup before serving.  You can also use small pasta shapes instead of rice.

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Laham Fuq il-Fwar (Steamed Beef)


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Laham fuq il-Fwar, that is, steamed beef, is a very popular and traditional Maltese recipe.  Chicken Broth and this dish go hand in hand.  I remember my mother preparing the chicken and veg for the broth, then take out this old chipped enamel plate, place the ingredients in the plate, place it over the pot where the broth would be nicely simmering, and cover this enamel plate with any lid that would fit.  There is no frying or sauteing involved and needs little prep, but it is really delicious!

[mls_h2]Ingredients[/mls_h2]

  • 3 t0 4 thin slices of topside beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Chicken or Beef Gluten Free Stock Powder
  • 2 tomatoes or a few cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt & Freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly chopped parsley

[mls_h2]Method[/mls_h2]
If you do not own an enamel plate, use a round baking tin or shallow pan.  Place the sliced beef in the pan, place the sliced garlic under and around the beef slices.  Mix the stock powder with a quarter cup of water and pour this over the meat.  Place the tomatoes around the meat, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with fresh parsley and drizzle olive oil over the top. Cover with a lid.

If you are making chicken broth, then place the pan over this, if not just put water in the pot so it can still steam the beef.  Leave it on a simmer and leave it to cook until meat is done.

You can thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch and water if too thin.  I prefer the sauce thin since I usually serve this with mashed garlicky potatoes which absorb all the lovely juices.

Serve with freshly chopped parsley.

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Caponata


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Caponata,  a Sicilian and also a Maltese Dish must not be confused with the French Ratatouille.  Both use aubergine, but Caponata is flavored with sugar and vinegar whilst in Ratatouille, these ingredients do not feature.  Although Sicilian, in Malta, Caponata is very popular especially in the hot summer months when eaten chilled with fresh crusty Maltese Bread.

There are many ways to serve Caponata, on its own,  as a side dish with fresh fish especially, as a pasta sauce or glamorize it a bit and serve it with Risotto Milanese and Parmesan Crisps as a dinner party starter.

You will find many recipes for Caponata, and below is how I like mine, with a little anchovy, chilli and a little spice.  Obviously all optional.

[mls_h2]Ingredients[/mls_h2]

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large aubergine, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste or 2 small anchovies finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • Dozen cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can passata di pomodor0
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 3/4 cup pitted black olives (or green)
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

[mls_h2]Method[/mls_h2]
In a large pan, saute the diced onion and celery until soft.  Add the diced aubergine, garlic and anchovy paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and soft about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add extra olive oil when cooking the aubergine if necessary.

Pour in the wine, the passata, the cherry tomatoes and the tomato paste combining well with the aubergine and onions.  Sprinkle in sugar and then add the balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, mixed spice and chilli.  Stir in the olives and capers and cook until aubergine is tender.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Leave to cool.  Stir in chopped basil before serving.

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Gluten Free Pizza


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Since diagnosed, I do not recall how many times I tried making gluten free pizza dough, always with the hope that it will taste like the authentic gluten pizza I was so used to.  Until I made this one!  I know that I was finally happy with this dough because I have been making this over and over now!  It is so easy to make and it really does taste like wheat pizza!  Kindly note that since ingredients in all gf flour mixes vary, you might not have the same result if you use other brands.  But if you do try it with other brands, would love to know how it turned out!

[mls_h2]Ingredients[/mls_h2]

  • 400g Farmo Fibrepan
  • 50g Farina di Mais Finissima Nutrifree
  • 50g Farina di Riso Nutrifree
  • 370ml tepid water
  • 14g fresh yeast or 7g dried/easy blend yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Butter
[mls_h3]Topping[/mls_h3]
  • Tomato Sauce or Passata
  • Bufala Mozzarella
  • Sliced Egg Tomatoes (oval shaped tomatoes)
  • Fresh Basil
  • Seasoning
  • Olive oil
[mls_h2]Method[/mls_h2]
Pour the water in a bowl, add the sugar and the yeast. Mix until the yeast dissolves.Place the flours in a bowl and mix. Pour in the yeast/water and start mixing until combined, add the olive oil and salt. Keep mixing and then transfer to a floured worktop. Work the dough until smooth. Place back in the bowl and cover the bowl tightly with cling-film. Leave to rise for 3 to 4 hours in a warm place.

Take out the dough, work it lightly on a floured surface and divide into two or three pieces depending on how big you want your pizzas. Flatten the dough pieces using your palm on the work surface and then transfer to a baking paper lined tray. Using your hands, keep stretching, pressing and pushing the dough gently, into a large circle. With a pastry brush, brush the edges with a little melted butter.

Leave to rise for another hour covered with a damp kitchen towel to keep the bases from drying out.

In the meantime, prepare your topping.

Preheat the oven to 220C or the highest your oven can go.

Pour the tomato sauce over the pizza bases. Add some seasonings, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and Italian herbs.

Place in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until the crust turns golden. Take the pizza out of the oven, place the sliced Bufala mozzarella, the sliced tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, scatter some fresh basil leaves and serve.

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Delicious Baci Cake


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Last visit to Malta, I was going through some old papers and found this typed out recipe that a dear friend of mine, Olly, used to make for us at work.  It was in the days when typewriters and Tippex Strips were still around! It is really easy to prepare and really does taste like the Baci Chocolates! I have adapted this to a gluten free version by changing some ingredients. Thanks Olly!

[mls_h1]Ingredients[/mls_h1]

  • 70g Plain Gluten Free Crackers
  • 200g roasted hazelnuts
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 1 tsp Gluten Free baking powder
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 20g Gluten Free Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbsp Nutella
  • 1 tsp Butter, melted

[mls_h3]For Chocolate Topping[/mls_h3]

  • 225g Gluten Free dark chocolate
  • 1/2 heavy cream
  • 1 tsp butter

[mls_h2]Method[/mls_h2]
Preheat the oven to 150C.

Process the hazelnuts and the crackers.  In a small bowl, add the Nutella to the melted butter and mix well.  Beat the egg whites until stiff, adding the sugar little by little.  Add also the vanilla essence.  Sieve the cocoa powder together with the baking powder and gently combine using a rubber spatula.  Add the ground hazelnuts/crackers. Finally mix in the melted butter and Nutella.

Pour the mixture in a lined round 10 inch oven proof dish and level the surface.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Leave to cool.

In the meantime, prepare the chocolate Ganache topping.

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it starts to simmer.  Carefully pour this over the chocolate and leave for about 5 minutes until the chocolate starts to soften and melt. Add the butter and stir briskly until all is combined and smooth.

Carefully place cake on serving dish and cover it with the Chocolate Ganache.  Decorate with white star sprinkles if desired.

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Risotto with Mushrooms & Potatoes


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A variation on the usual mushroom risotto using potatoes together with the mushrooms to make it even more rich, creamy and delicious!

[mls_h2]Ingredients[/mls_h2]

  • 300g Carnaroli or Arborio Rice
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1lt Gluten Free vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 sprig of Rosemary
  • 3-4 Sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

[mls_h2]Method[/mls_h2]
Bring the gluten free vegetable stock to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer.

Peel the potatoes and chop into into small cubes.

In a pot, sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent.  Add the cubed potatoes and cook for a few minutes.  Add the rice and cook until lightly toasted.  Pour in the wine and when it is nearly absorbed, start adding the stock ladle by ladle whilst continuing to stir the rice. Halfway through the cooking, add the sliced mushrooms and stir, to combine with the rice.  Add the Rosemary and Sage.  Do not let the rice go dry, keep adding stock.

When the rice and potato cubes are tender, remove the Rosemary and Sage, add the Parmesan cheese, a knob of butter, stir well and check for seasoning.  A risotto should not be dry, but saucy in texture.  Add a little stock if necessary.  Stir in the chopped parsley.  Cover the pot and leave for a minute before serving.  Serve garnished with a few sauteed sliced mushrooms.

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Blackberry & White Choc Chip Cake


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From the little experience I have gained since I started cooking Gluten Free, I noticed that when it comes to sweets and desserts, you really cannot detect that they are gluten free, since nearly all recipes have other flavors added like vanilla, almond, chocolate and fresh fruits. This cake is a perfect example. It turned out really great. I used ready mixed all purpose gluten free flour for this.

Ingredients

225g or 1 cup plain yogurt
80ml or 1/3 cup peanut or vegetable oil
200gr or 1 cup caster sugar
Juice and zest of a lemon
2 eggs
230g or 1 2/3 cups gluten free all purpose flour (Dr Schar)
3 tsp tsp gluten free baking powder
215g or 1 1/2 cups of blackberries
60 g or 1/3 cup white chocolate chips

For the glaze

190g or 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
36g or 1/4 cup fresh blackberries, pureed*
1 tsp lemon juice

Method

Wash the blackberries and put aside. Grease a cake or loaf tin and preheat the oven to 190C.

Whisk together the yogurt, sugar, oil, lemon juice and zest. Slowly add each egg. Sieve in the gluten free flour as well as the baking powder and combine well. Add the chocolate chips and mix them in.

Pour half of the batter into the cake tin and add half the blackberries. Then pour the remaining batter and add the rest of the blackberries, pushing them down slightly into the mixture.

Bake for three quarters to an hour or until a skewer when inserted comes out clean.

Leave to cool before pouring over the glaze.

To make the glaze

Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined. Pour over the cake. Leave to set for about half an hour before slicing and serving.

*If you do not like the seeds, strain the puree before continuing with the glaze recipe.

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Baked Tomato, Ricotta & Mozzarella Pasta


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I had some ricotta and mozzarelline that I had to use.  I usually make penne with tomatoes, ricotta and basil, a pasta my mum used to make often, but fancied something baked.  So I basically made the same thing, added a beaten egg and the mozzarelline and put it in the oven !  Mmmmm…delicious!

Ingredients

350g Gluten Free Tortiglioni (I used Barilla)
450g ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp tomato paste
Pinch Sugar
1/2 cup water
1tsp gluten free vegetable stock
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
1tsp chilli flakes
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pkt (150g) mozzarellini (or chopped buffalo mozzarella)

Topping
Combine the ingredients below.

  • 1tsp Gluten Free Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsps Parmesan Cheese
  • Sprinkle of garlic pepper
  • Sprinkle of paprika

Method
Start by making the tomato sauce. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic, but do not let it brown.  Add the crushed tomatoes, the tomato paste, pinch of sugar, the bayleaf, the water and stock.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and let it simmer for a quarter of an hour.   Add the ricotta and combine well with the tomato sauce.  Add the freshly chopped basil, chilli if using, the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease a baking dish with cooking spray or oil. Set aside.

Cook the pasta but leave very al dente.

Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot, add the tomato ricotta mix, the beaten egg, a sprinkle of nutmeg and the mozzarelline.  Combine gently as gluten free pasta breaks easily.  Now put the pasta mix in the greased oven dish. Sprinkle with the topping and place in the oven.  Bake until the top starts browning.  Leave to cool before serving, sprinkling the top with fresh herbs.

 

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Potato & Egg Salad Timballo


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A delicious Potato & Egg Salad served as individual timbales.  Very easy to prepare and assemble and also looks great!

Ingredients (Serves 2 to 3)

1 large or 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/2 red capsicum chopped
1 spring onion, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1/4 cup frozen peas
3 large eggs
3-4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1/4 tsp garlic pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Chives and basil leaves to garnishMethod

Boil the potatoes and carrots, separately.  Drain and leave to cool. Cook the green peas either in the microwave or on the stove according to package instructions.  Leave to cool.  Hardboil the eggs, peel and roughly chop two of them.  Slice the third into quarters.

In a small bowl, mix the mayo, vinegar, olive oil, parsley, garlic pepper, salt and pepper.  Mix needs to be slightly thick.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the potatoes, carrots, green peas, red capsicum, celery, spring onion and chopped eggs.  Add mayo mixture and stir until well combined.Oil 2 or 3 (depending on the size) ramekins or small bowls, and divide the potato and egg mayo between them.

Put a plate over the ramekin or bowl, turn the whole thing over so the ramekin is upside down on the plate, give a sharp tap and the potato and egg mix will slide out.Sprinkle the top with paprika and garnish with the quartered eggs, fresh chives and basil.

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Swordfish Steaks with Fresh Cilantro, Sweetcorn and Tomato Salsa


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Another one of those quick, easy and healthy recipes!  Whilst you grill the swordfish steaks, you can easily prepare this fresh tomato and sweetcorn salsa.  Chopped avocado would also make it even tastier! Nice and fresh for summer!

Ingredients

2 Swordfish Steaks
Olive Oil
3 large tomatoes
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 large can of sweetcorn
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp cilantro (coriander), finely chopped
1 lemon
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Method

Brush the swordfish  steaks with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place in the grill.Start by dicing the tomatoes and the onion.  Put them in a bowl.  Add the drained sweetcorn.  Sprinkle over the minced garlic and combine well.Then grate some lemon zest into the bowl, cut the lemon in half and juice it as well. This will lighten up the salsa, and help to bring out the natural flavours.  Add the cilantro and chilli, if using, to the bowl, and add also the olive oil.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.When the swordfish are cooked, put on a plate and place some of the fresh tomato and corn salsa over it.  Garnish with a cilantro sprig.
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