Risotto biz-zalzett Malti, ful u ġbejniet! (Maltese sausage, broad bean, cheeselet risotto)

Risotto biz-zalzett Malti, ful u ġbejniet

In a large pan (or wok) brown a large chopped onion, two garlic cloves chopped, 3 large Maltese sausages, 3 woody cheese sausages or similar, 3 plain woody or similar, 3 chopped rashers of back bacon; add 5 chopped tomatoes;  add a bowlful of peeled broad beans, another of fresh or frozen peas, 2 mugs rice; season well;  add 5 mugs water, one chicken stock cube, chopped fresh marjoram, 3 tbs kunserva (tomato puree); simmer for about  45 minutes or until the rice is done;  add more water if necessary.  Chop 2 peppered or herbed cheeselets, boil two large eggs and garnish the risotto with the cheeselets, eggs and more chopped marjoram.

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Torta tal-pastard, ġbejniet friski u ful! (Cauliflower, fresh cheeselets and broad bean tart!)

Torta tal-pastard, ġbejniet friski u ful!

For the pastry:

Mix 250g wholemeal flour with 250g plain flour;  add 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda; add 8 tbs olive oil, some salt one egg;  add some water to bind;  rest in the fridge 1 hour before using.

For the filling:

Brown two large onions, steam half a cauliflower, cut in florets;  peel one bowlful of broad beans and another of fresh peas (can also substitute with frozen peas);  butter a rectangular dish add some breadcrumbs before putting the pastry;  add more breadcrumbs on the pastry base and add as following:  the browned onions, cauliflower, beans, peas, two large fresh gbejniet crumbled, 1 grated dried gbejna (cheeselet), 100g grated cheddar, 50g grated grana padano, season well, a good grating of nutmeg (about 2 tbs);  beat 6 large eggs, season well, add 1 cupful of milk to the eggs pour on mixture add more grated cheese/gbejna on top;  cook for about 1 hour in a moderate oven (fan electric 180).


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Sun-dried tomato and rosemary breadsticks!



For the bread dough:  600g plain flour, 2 sachets instant yeast, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, 3 tbs oil, 400ml warm water;  mix all together to form into a dough;  knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes;  allow to rise in a clean, oiled bowl, covered with a tea-towel.  When ready to use, just open the dough into one big rectangle.  Spread it with the sun-dried tomato paste (simply whizz in a processor 6 sun-dried tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic), add some pieces of anchovy, scatter with a handful of fresh rosemary and marjoram, sprinkle 200g grated cheddar cheese.


Fold the dough into two, sealing the edges.



Cut strips from the sealed dough and twist and turn into spirals. Line a dish with baking paper and place the bread sticks cover with cloth and allow to rise for about one hour.  Preheat the oven to full (250) brush with a little water, and bake for about 20 minutes or till golden brown.



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Arancini (Blalen tar-ross)


Boil 500g arborio or Italian risotto rice, add one vegetable stock cube to the water;l prepare the bolognaise sauce (one chopped onion, 2 cloves garlice, 500g lean beef mince, 4 rashers lean bacon chopped, 2 chopped carrots, 1 tin tomato pulp, 4 tbs tomato puree; 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 cup wine, 1 tsp sugar, 1 stock cube, all sauted till thick; cool well); grate 200g cheddar;  add to the cooked rice when still warm;  add 4 tbs tomato juice to the cooked rice; add two beaten eggs and some chopped fresh herbs (parsley, marjoram, thyme) to the rice;  meanwhile prepare the breadcrumb mix ( 200g breadcrumbs, 1 tsp cajun spice,2 tbs sesame seeds, season well);  in your palm add 3 tbs rice flatten slightly, top with the bolognaise sauce and 1 tbs cheese, roll up into a ball; (you can also add a layer of creamed spinach); coat in breadcrumbs.  Line a dish with baking paper and bake in a moderate oven (180 fan electric) for about 30 minutes or till golden brown.

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Beef Wellington

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This is not a Maltese dish for sure but I am including it because it is so good and always impresses guests!  This is my version of beef wellington, where I add spinach (which in the usual version is substituted with mushrooms).


1 whole cut (or two large cuts) of fillet of beef(about 1.5 kg for 5 persons) ; 2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry; 500g steamed fresh spinach; 1 medium onion, chopped; 1 spring onion, chopped; 1 fresh garlic, chopped; 500g of good, lean back bacon.

In a dish put the beef fillet on its own, sprinkle with some worchester sauce;  cook in a hot oven (230 fan electric) for about 15/20 minutes only, till the beef is sealed but still rare on the inside.  In the meantime, cook the chopped onions and garlic in a bit of butter;  add a good grating of nutmeg, season well, add the steamed, chopped spinach; cool.  Cool the beef well after cooking in the oven; reserve any juice for the gravy.

To assemble:  spread the spinach mixture on top of the beef; wrap totally in the bacon slices;  put on top of the opened pastry sheet, wrap up and seal well; brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with some sesame seeds (optional);  bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes till the pastry is golden brown.



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Date, nut and orange muffins

Date, nut and orange muffins

Mix together the following:

600 g sifted plain flour, 250  g sugar, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 large eggs, 12 tbs sunflower oil, 400 ml skimmed milk, 1 packet dates chopped and mixed with 1 tbs flour, 100 g brazil nuts chopped and mixed with 1 tsp flour, zest and juice of two large Maltese oranges. Bake in a moderate pre-heated oven (about 170) for about 30 minutes.


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Spaghetti with mussels and clams

Spaghetti with mussels and clams

Finely chop 4 large cloves of Maltese garlic;  fry in some butter and add the following:  1 tbs cajun spice, zest of one lemon, 1 tbs freshly grated ginger;  add the shell fish (about 4 mussels and 4 clams each) and sprinkle with a dash of soy sauce; add the juice of 1 lemon, and a handful of chopped parsley;  simmer till almost all liquid is absorbed.  Boil 500g spaghetti al dente; chop 3 more garlic cloves, another handful of parsley and add to the drained spaghetti, together with some olive oil and the zest of one lemon.  Serve the shell fish and juices on the garlic lemon spaghetti.



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Festive Buffet

Festive Buffet

This type of meal is especially ideal if you are entertaining a large number of people, and although you  would have spent days cooking, during the meal you can relax with your guests and enjoy the meal!

Pot Roasted Beef

Buy a large cut of beef (around 3 kilos);  brown on all sides in a water less pan;  add one litre of beef stock, some worchester sauce, chopped garlic (about 4 cloves), 2 bay leaves, one glass of wine;  simmer till all liquid is absorbed (about 2/3 hrs);  cool and slice.

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Slow cooked pork loin

This can also be pot roasted in the same way as the beef above;  if using a slow cooker, cook for about 4/5 hours;  first drizzle with some soy sauce and one can of beer, then rub the pork with the following:  1 tbs mixed spice, 1 tbs crushed coriander, 1 tbs mustard seed, 1 tsp ground cloves,salt, pepper, 3 bay leaves;  simmer till browned.  Cool and slice.


Turkey croquettes (pulpetti tad-dundjan)

Process till well combined the following:  about 500g cooked left over turkey, 1 large onion, 1 slice of bread, 1 tbs turkey seasoning, 1 tbs cajun spice, 1 egg to bind;  form into small patties, then in a bowl combine some breadcrumbs, 1 tbs turkey seasoning, 1 tbs cajun spice, salt and pepper, 2 tbs sesame seeds;  freeze till needed and then cook in a moderate oven drizzled with some oil till well browned (you will need to turn them over halfway cooked).


Ham in apple jelly

This is a very refreshing terrine made with gammon;  cut the gammon into wide strips;  peel, core and slice one tart apple;  chop one onion;  in a pan simmer 700 ml apple juice, add the chopped onion, and 2 cloves (optional) add one ham stock cube (or chicken), but do not boil;  when on the point of boiling, remove from heat and add two small jars of gelatine powder (around 40 g);  ; line a loaf tin with cling film;  layer the gammon slices, add chopped parsley, the sliced apples and top with the liquid;  continue layering and adding the liquid and finish with the gammon and parsley;  bring the cling film together to have the terrine completely closed up;  chill for at least 24 hours;  to assemble:  line a dish with rocket leaves, add some slices of good Maltese oranges, take one orange and prick all over with cloves;  put the terrine in the middle of the dish and slice when ready to serve.

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Red cabbage and sprouts frittata

This is a good way of using left-over vegetables from Christmas day lunch;  simply add the cooked red cabbage and sprouts (mine were seasoned with onion, bacon and nuts);  beat 3 eggs mix together and season well, top with some sunflower seeds, and bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes; cool and cut into squares.

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Broccoli and blue cheese frittata

Steam some broccoli (about 8 florets is fine);  saute one chopped onion, leek; beat 3 eggs mix together the broccoli, the sauted onions, eggs, 50g grated cheddar cheese,some parmesan; season well;  pour mixture in a greased, lined dish (with baking paper), crumble some blue cheese on top, and sprinkle with more grated cheddar;  bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes;  cool and cut into squares.

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Spinach and white sauce frittata

Microwave some spinach cubes (about 5) for a few minutes;  mix the cooked spinach with one small packet of bechamel (or use some left over white sauce);  add 3 eggs beaten, one chopped cooked onion, leek, a good grating of nutmeg, season well, grated cheddar cheese and feta cheese (or white gbejna);  pour into a greased dish sprinkle more grated cheese and bake for about 30 minutes.

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Vermicelli slice

Boil 200g vermicelli;  saute one chopped onion, leek, spring onion, 2 cloves garlic, one fresh garlic with 1 pkt chopped lean bacon;  beat 3 large eggs and mix the cooked pasta with the onion/bacon mix;  season well, add chopped parsley, 100g grated cheddar cheese, some parmesan;  assemble in a greased dish, sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs, and more grated cheese, and bake in a moderate oven for about 3o minutes; cool and slice.

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Pate de foie (chicken liver pate)

Saute in some butter 500g chicken liver;  add one chopped onion, 5 cloves chopped garlic, fresh chopped garlic, 1 pkt lean chopped bacon;  add a dash of soy sauce, season well;  when browned, cool and liquidise  with some parsley,add some hot water and some melted butter (this is important to set the pate);  add a dash of brandy;  cool and serve with either brown toast or focaccia. (The pate is in the heart-shaped dish in the pic below).




Sieve 500g plain flour;  add one sachet instant yeast, 1 tbs sugar,1 tsp salt,  5 tbs olive oil a good handful chopped sage; mix well; add 350 ml of tepid water and mix into a dough;  add some flour as you kneed the dough if it is too sticky; shape in 2 balls and allow to rise in a warm area, till doubled in size, in a clean, oiled bow;  line a dish with baking paper;  flatten the first ball and stretch the dough thinly;  repeat with the second ball to completely cover the first layer;  flatten slightly and add a good sprinkling coarse sea-salt, dot with fresh rosemary sprigs and thyme, drizzle with more olive oil, leave to rest for about 30 minutes; preheat the oven to the fullest setting and bake for about 20 minutes or till golden.


The buffet



Also seen in the picture above:  cumin spiced potatoes (recipe in the blog) and stuffed olives.

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Home-made mince meat

Home-made mince meat

Once you try this, you will never buy another jar believe me!

300g raisins, 200g currants, 200g candied peel, 300g sultanas, 200g mixed fruit, 200g light suet, 300g soft brown sugar, 4 apples peeled and thinly chopped, 2 Maltese oranges (zest and juice), 2 lemons (zest and juice), 4 level tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, brandy, vermouth.

Method;  stir and cover fruit with a clean cloth and leave overnight;  put in a very low oven (100 fan electric), for about 3 hours to melt suet;  cool and add 10 tbs brandy, 4 tbs vermouth.  Pack in jars and cover with grease proof paper.



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Chocolate sponge

Chocolate sponge

Beat 4 eggs at room temperature with 100g sugar;  sift 100g plain flour, add 2 tbs cocoa (sifted) and 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and baking powder;  fold in dry ingredients;  bake in a moderate oven (fan electric 180) for 45 minutes;  split in two and fill with cream!


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