Friday, August 30, 2013

Anna Sultana's Qaghaq tal-ghasel #2 - Treacle Rings, Maltese Style


I once heard that if you asked ten Jewish philosophers about a point in the Bible, you would get ten different interpretations.

Maltese cooks are like Jewish theologians.
There isn't one definite recipe for anything.
And they - the recipes - are all good.

Even Ma had a few variations on her old favourites.
I recently posted a variation Ma had on bread pudding or Pudina.
Back in 2010 I posted her recipe for Qagħaq tal-għasel. 
But there was another recipe Ma also used.

As with the Pudina, try both recipes.
Honey, jam, treacle…
Suit yourself.


                        Qagħaq tal-għasel 

Grease a baking pan
Preheat oven to 400º 
Bake 20 minutes

Combine in a large bowl
400 grams flour
100 grams semolina
Rub in
200 grams margarine
Mix in 
100 grams sugar
1 egg yolk
Knead, adding enough 
milk to form a smooth dough.

Combine in a large saucepan
400 grams treacle (molasses)
400 grams sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
grated rind of an orange
grated rind of a lemon
4 cloves
3 teaspoons anisette
1 teaspoon allspice
142 ml water
Simmer until it thickens.

Add, stirring constantly
2 teaspoons semolina
Simmer until the mixture thickens,
Remove from heat and cool.

Roll out dough into 6 long strips (8 cm x 30 cm long).
Place a portion of the filling down the centre of each.
Roll pastry over the filling and join each end of the roll to form a ring.
Put rings on baking sheets.
At intervals of 6 cm cut small slits.

Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anna Sultana's Bread and Butter Pudding (Pudina tal-ħobż bil-butir la Ingliża)


A couple of days ago I posted a different recipe for Ma's Pudina tal-Ħobż.
Pudina was the dessert that got us through the times when Pop was out of work.
And, no, Pudina is not what most North Americans expect to be served when they hear the words 'bread pudding'.

But Maltese did learn a few recipes while we were part of the British Empire.
Especially when we visited English friends or were eating in a restaurant.
So, yes, we did have Bread and Butter Pudding.
It was a popular recipe in some circles.

Bread and Butter Pudding was something Ma made to settle a nervous tummy.
A handy recipe to have on hand for when the kids are in school.


Don't have currants?
Raisins or dried cranberries are also good.
Chocolate chips have also been known to work with the younger crowd.


                        Bread and Butter Pudding

Preheat oven to 350º
Grease an 8" square pan

Remove the crusts from
6 slices of bread
Butter the slices, stack them and cut into cubes.
Place the bread in the prepared pan.

Sprinkle over the bread
50 grams currants 

In a bowl beat
2 large eggs
Add
425 ml milk (about 2 Cups)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Stir well and pour over the bread in the prepared pan.
Sprinkle over the top
1 teaspoon sugar
Allow to stand 30 minutes.

Bake 60 minutes.
Serve warm or cold.
And don't forget a hug.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Anna Sultana's Pudina tal-Hobz #2 - Bread Pudding, Maltese Style


A little while ago I posted a recipe for Ma's Pudina tal-Ħobż.
The pudding that eats like a cake.
It's a great way to use up stale bread.
Waste not, want not.

Well, as with most Maltese recipes, there's more than one way to make Pudina.
And everybody has his own variation.
And they are all good.

Ma had another Pudina recipe up her sleeve.
This recipe is simpler.
Try them both. 


The custard powder is found in the pudding section of the grocery store.
It's one of the ingredients in nanaimo bars, a popular Canadian treat.

Don't have sultana raisins?
Use what you have.
Ma would understand.


                        Pudina tal-Ħobż

Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a 9 x 13" pan

Cut into chunks
about 2 pounds bread, any kind
Place them in a bowl, and cover with 
575 ml milk (about 2 1/3 Cups)

Add
25 grams margarine, melted
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
50 grams sugar
Mix well.

Add
2 large eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon custard powder
200 grams sultana raisins
50 grams mixed peel
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 Tablespoon vanilla 
100 grams coconut, shredded

Stir until everything is well combined.
Turn into the prepared pan.
Bake 60 minutes.
Check if the pudding is done by inserting a skewer in the centre.
If the pudding is done, the skewer should come out clean.


Ah, Pudina... 
Like I said about Ma's Timpana, Maltese get giddy when it comes to starches. 


Although this recipe tastes a little better cold.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Anna Sultana's Zeppoli ta' san Guzepp - Fried choux pastry with sweet ricotta filling and honey coating

Back in March, 2010 I wrote about Carmela Soprano's Sfingi, and 
I wrote about them, but I didn't give the recipes. 
Yes, I know, beginner's mistake.

I had said that Sfingi and Zfineg are pretty much the same.
Both are prepared for the feast of St. Joseph.
Well, here's the recipe for Ma's Żeppoli ta' san Ġużepp.
The recipe makes about 24 to 30 Żeppoli.
Yes, they are small.

If you've never had a Żeppoli, it's a tiny ball of puff pastry which is fried like a doughnut ball, split open and stuffed with a ricotta and candied fruit and nut filling.  
The filling is strictly for St. Joseph's Day.

Well, that's what tradition says.
But sometimes  Żeppoli is the perfect ending for a meal.
Or for the budget.
So suit yourself.

St. Joseph knew what it was like to feed a family on a budget.

Hint:

If you don't have a deep-frying thermometer, test the oil by slipping a bit of the dough into the oil.  It should sizzle and turn brown in 1 minute.

Want to avoid the whole frying scene?


                        Żeppoli ta' san Ġużepp

Filling

Place in a bowl
350 grams ricotta
Mash it to remove any lumps.
Add
50 grams milk or dark chocolate, chopped
100 grams candied cherries, chopped
100 grams roasted almonds or hazelnuts, chopped
Stir in 
50 grams confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix well.

Pastry

In a medium saucepan place
125 ml water
50 grams margarine or butter
Simmer until the margarine melts.
Bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in
100 grams flour
Stir until the mixture forms a ball.
Remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes.

Beat in, one at a time
3 eggs
Beat until throughly mixed and smooth.

In a deep saucepan or deep fryer pour
about 2 inches vegetable oil
Heat to 375º on a deep-fry thermometer or test with dough.
Drop mixture by spoonfuls into oil.
Don't crowd or they won't fry properly.
Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Remove the Żeppoli with a slotted spoon.
Drain on paper towels.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Cool.
Slice before serving and fill with the ricotta mixture.
Arrange them on a platter.

Pour over the Żeppoli
liquid honey

Sprinkle over the Żeppoli
100 grams roasted almonds or hazelnuts, chopped


Żeppoli is just another word for Zfineg.
Yes, really.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Anna Sultana's Turtle Stew, Maltese Style (Chicken Stew or Rabbit Stew)


I've been reading Yann Martel's Life of Pi.
It's an amazing book and was the source for an incredible movie.
If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, it's about a shipwrecked boy and a Bengal tiger trying to survive for 227 days while lost at sea in the Pacific Ocean and the boy's efforts to get food.

It's always about food.

Chapter 70 was about butchering a turtle.
Not the easiest thing to do in the best of circumstances.
Quite an adventure for the boy, Pi, who was trying to survive on a raft.
The tiger, Richard Parker, was resting comfortably in the life boat.
Sometimes life is just like that.

Anyway… back to the book and the turtle.
Chapter 70 is not for the squeamish.
Twitching muscles, spurting blood, exposed fat, guts and bones - let alone the separated head that kept on gulping for air and blinking its eyes - are not great to read about just before tucking into a meal.

After reading that chapter I'm amazed that anyone ever thought turtles would be something good to kill, cook and eat.
I mean, someone must have been very hungry to attempt the deed.
Turtles do put up quite a struggle.
And they do know a few tricks to protect themselves.


Ma had told me about eating turtle in Malta.
Turtle was the stuff of family tales, like the lampuki and the octopus.
Something one couldn't easily find in New York in the 1950s.
Or in the north end of Winnipeg.

Well, one eats what one can get.
And if you can get some turtle, you might like to try this stew.

If you can't get the turtle, well, it's an interesting recipe to read.
And the recipe works with rabbit or stewing fowl, too.
At least that's the way I remember having it.


                        Turtle Stew

Clean and wash
sea turtle, about 2 pounds
Cut into small pieces.

In a dutch oven heat
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Add
the prepared sea turtle
Fry a few minutes.

Add
3 large onions, sliced
Fry until golden.

Add
1/4 Cup tomato paste
Stir the tomato paste into the onions.

Add
3/4 Cup water
1/4 Cup raisins
1/4 Cup olives, chopped
2 apples, chopped
4 chestnuts, chopped
1 Tablespoon capers
1 green pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon mint
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Cup red wine

Simmer gently for 1  1/2 hours, or until the pieces of turtle are tender.
Add more water (or wine), if needed.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve hot with crusty bread.
The stew also goes well over pasta.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Feng Shui and My Least Favourite Room, part 3 by Margaret Ullrich


Tonight will be full moon number eight for 2013.
Full moons are supposed to mean a job's been completed.
Well, I'm still working on the same project I started two months ago

Make your least favourite room your favourite.

And I'll probably still be working on it when the next full moon appears.
But I feel pretty good about the progress I've made.

Two weeks ago, when we had a new moon, I decided to enjoy summer.
And I have been.
Paul and I have just gotten back from a vacation in Ottawa.
We had a lovely time.
Clearing the room took a back seat to enjoying life now.
And that makes sense.

By the next full moon I should be done tossing the garbage out of that room.
Or not.
There aren't any Feng Shui police to check on my progress.
And summers are too short to waste.


About tonight's full moon...
According to the folks at astrology.com:  
Last month brought a full Moon in Aquarius, while today brings another full Moon in that same sign of the Water Bearer, lending extra attention to group efforts… 
The task during this emotionally heightened time is to maintain a balance between your needs and those of others… 
this is still a good time to join forces with others. 


Two full moons in Aquarius.
During them both I've been working on the same project.
But I've also been learning to take part in group efforts.
Even when it's just a group of two.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Anna Sultana's other Qaqocc Mimli - Stuffed Artichokes, Maltese Style


A few months ago I posted Ma's recipe for Qaqoċċ Mimli.
It's my favourite.
And I hope you enjoyed it, too.

Like I said in that post, Maltese recipes are often just a guideline.
Some folks prefer a certain flavour, like garlic.
Other folks hate a certain flavour, like garlic.
Sometimes there's a sale.
Sometimes a gardener has a good crop and wants to use it before it goes bad.


That post was about one way Ma prepared artichokes.
But of course she had other ways, too.
And she would be open to suggestions.
Especially if it used an item that was on sale.


                        Qaqoċċ Mimli

Serves 8

Artichoke Prep Work

The 8 artichokes are soaked in salted water for 25 minutes.  
Then the leaves are opened by taking the upside down artichokes 
and smashing them against a table top.  


The Stuffing

Mix in a bowl
8 Tablespoons parsley
2 Cups plain bread crumbs
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 olives, chopped
8 anchovies, finely chopped 
8 Tablespoons Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Gently spread the artichoke leaves apart and lightly stuff the artichokes.
Place the artichokes in a pot large enough to hold them upright.


Cooking the Artichokes

Add to the pot
3/4 inch water

Drizzle over the artichokes 
4 Tablespoons wine vinegar

Cover the pot and place over medium heat.
Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.
If the water evaporates away add more warm water so they won't scorch.
Cook until the leaves can be easily pulled out, about 1 1/2 hours.

Serve hot.
Although some folks prefer them cold.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Anna Sultana's Pudina tal-Hobz - Bread Pudding, Maltese Style


Most of our meals were finished off with fresh fruit.
There were some traditional treats for the holidays.
And Maltese pastries on Sundays.

But then there was Pudina tal-Ħobż...
We had quite a bit of Pudina when Lily Tulip left College Point. 
Pop was out of work.
Every week he'd bring home a few bags of day-old bread.
Ma would turn them into Pudina tal-Ħobż
Well, we never went hungry.

Pudina tal-Ħobż is the Maltese take on bread pudding.
And, no, it is nothing like the North American bread pudding.

It is NOT buttery bread covered with creamy custard. 
Not smooth comfort food eaten with a spoon. Nope.
Ma may have called it a pudding but Pudina tal-Ħobż was more like a cake. 


                        Pudina tal-Ħobż

Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a 9 x 13" pan

Cut into large chunks
about 2 pounds bread, any kind
Place them in a bowl, and cover with water.
Let sit an hour.
Drain the water and squeeze the bread until it stops dripping.

In another large bowl combine
1/4 Cup margarine, melted (or 3 ounces oil)
1/2 Cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 Cup chopped mixed peel
grated rind of an orange
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup sultanas
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 Cups milk

Add the squeezed dry bread.
Stir until everything is well combined.
Turn into the prepared pan.
Bake 40 minutes.
Check if the pudding is done by inserting a skewer in the centre.
If the pudding is done, the skewer should come out clean.


Ah, Pudina... 
Like I said about Ma's Timpana, Maltese go beyond simple into downright retarded when it comes to starches. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Anna Sultana's Stuffat tal-Qarnit - Octopus Stew, Maltese Style l Octopus Information


Okay, some fish can be easily replaced.
Bluefish can replace lampuki in Ma's recipes.
Haddock is another good substitute.


But, then there is the octopus situation.
Ma sometimes made Stuffat tal-Qarnit.
Qarnit Stew.  
Qarnit is Maltese for octopus.  
Octopus is the stuff of legend.

And sometimes the stuff of science fiction.
Check out It Came from Beneath the Sea, a dandy 1955 Sci-Fi film about a giant octopus that attacked San Francisco. 


A few years ago I mentioned that Carmela makes Octopus Salad.
It's a green salad topped with bite-sized pieces of cooked octopus.
The fun part is finding octopus if you don't have Carmela's connections.
That and cooking it until you can actually bite into it.

If your grocery store is like mine you'll find a bag labeled Seafood Combination.
There are tiny octopus tentacles in it.
Not quite the same, but beggars can't be choosers.


A bit of octopus trivia…
Octopus is known in Hawaii by Hawaiian or Japanese names (he'e and tako).
In Hawaii Octopus is also a popular fish bait.
Imagine having it so readily available!

Octopus is a common food in Mediterranean cuisine. 
On the Tunisian island of Djerba, people catch them by taking advantage of the animals' habit of hiding in safe places. In the evening they put ceramic pots on the sea bed. The next morning they check them for octopuses. 
In the Greek islands octopuses are often caught by spear fishing close to the shore. 

No matter how you catch them, octopus needs to be cooked a good long time.  


                        Stuffat tal-Qarnit

Clean and wash
octopus, about 2 pounds
Cut in small portions.
Simmer in salted water until tender.

While the octopus is cooking, start the stew.

In a dutch oven heat
2 Tablespoons olive oil 
Add
2 large onions, sliced
Fry until golden.
Add
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Cook 2 minutes.

Add
1 Cup red wine
8 olives
1 Tablespoon mint
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 Cup raisins
1/2 Cup mixed nuts
the cooked octopus
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
Season with
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer gently for an hour.
You should stir it occasionally.
Add more liquid (either water or wine) if it becomes too dry.

About ten minutes before serving add
1 Cup peas
Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve hot with crusty bread or pasta.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Anna Sultana's Lampuki and Qara' baghli biz-zalza pikkanti - Fish and Marrows with Piquant Sauce, Maltese Style


One of the things Paul and I have done during summers is fishing.
Our first catfish was a real adventure, both to catch and to eat.

We're not artsy when it comes to fish.
We don't mount them as souvenirs.
We eat them.


When people move to another country they often have to face a change in diet.
Sometimes it's obvious - spaghetti in Italy, tacos in Mexico.
A more subtle problem is the change in what is available in the market.

Learning to cook the local varieties of fish can be a real adventure.
Lampuki, a popular fish in Malta, are in season from August to December.
They migrate in the Mediterranean Sea.
Lampuki won't even go near Sicily, so guess what my chances are of finding them in a store in the north end of Winnipeg, on the Canadian prairies.

Ma faced the same problem when she went to the store in College Point.
She often cooked bluefish, which was easily available.
Especially during the summer, when we went on Sunday drives to Sheepshead Bay.
Pop used to buy bluefish fresh from the fellows who liked to go fishing, but who didn't like to eat that stuff.  
This was in the 1960s, when real American men ate red meat.
Yeah, and dropped like flies from high cholesterol.


But I didn't give exact measurements.  
Sorry about that.

The main trick to substituting for a Maltese fish recipe is to get a fish with a bit of density to it.  
Sole will just melt to mush in most Maltese recipe.
Bluefish worked well in Ma's recipes. 


                        Lampuki biz-zalza pikkanti


Zalza pikkanti

Place in a large skillet and heat
2 tablespoons olive oil

Add
2 onions, sliced
Fry until golden.

Add
1 clove garlic, minced 
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
Cook for about 3 minutes.

Add
1 Tablespoon sugar
6 olives, chopped
1 Tablespoon capers, chopped
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Cup meat stock 

Simmer for at least an hour.

While the sauce is simmering, prepare the fish:

Combine on a plate
1/2 Cup flour
salt and pepper

Cut into slices across the bone
1 medium sized lampuka, cleaned
Dip the slices into the seasoned flour.

Fry the slices in hot oil until golden brown.
When slightly cooled remove the bones and skin.
Place the fish in a warm platter.
Pour the sauce over the fish.

Lampuki biz-zalza pikkanti can be served hot or cold.


Some people wonder what vegetable would go well with a sauced fish.
With the Lampuki you could serve Qara' bagħli.
Qara' bagħli biz-zalza pikkanti are Marrows with Piquant Sauce.
Yes, the same Piquant Sauce. 

Marrow is just another name for squash.
Ma said sweet potato squash was popular in Malta. 
It's similar to zucchini.
But the sauce would go well with any squash you have.


While the sauce is simmering, prepare the marrow:

Wash and slice
marrows, about 2 pounds
Fry them until both sides are golden.
Place them in a warm platter.

Qara' bagħli biz-zalza pikkanti can be served hot or cold.


You could make a quick dinner by placing the fried marrows in a casserole, 
then topping them with the fish and sauce.
Tuck the casserole in the refrigerator and you're set for a cold dinner.
Some crusty bread would be nice for dipping into the sauce.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Anna Sultana's Pixxispad Mixwi - Grilled Swordfish, Maltese Style


A while ago I posted Carmela's recipe for Tonno alla Griglia.
Tuna Steaks with Lemon and Oregano.
It's an excellent recipe for the barbecue.

Ma had a recipe for Grilled Swordfish.
She couldn't easily find it, either.

Ah… swordfish.
It's something guaranteed to bring a smile to my local butcher/fish monger.
He gets a laugh whenever I ask for exotic ingredients.
Swordfish is exotic for a shop in the north end of Winnipeg.
I should take pleasure in knowing I make him laugh.
I should, but I don't.
He also enjoys teaching me.
Which I don't mind.

Swordfish is a bit of a problem.
I wrote about it in the post for Carmela's Swordfish Rolls.
So I won't repeat all the history here.
Just a reminder - swordfish has high levels of mercury.

If your butcher doesn't have any swordfish steaks, don't worry.
Swordfish, an oily fish, has firm and thick steaks, which grill well.
You can substitute mackerel or tuna.
Mackerel, tuna and shrimp are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Shrimp has low levels of mercury and is considered heart healthy.
You can also use skinless, boneless chicken breast.
Which is always available, and is often on sale.

Hint:
The pan should be 4 inches from the heat.


                        Pixxispad Mixwi

Serves 4

Prepare a medium hot fire in a grill, either charcoal or gas.
Or preheat the gas grill or broiler.

In a small bowl whisk together
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoon parsley, chopped

Generously brush with seasoned olive oil
4 swordfish steaks, about 1 inch thick
Season with
salt and pepper to taste

Grill the swordfish, turning once, about 10 minutes.
While grilling, baste frequently with the seasoned olive oil.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Anna Sultana's Bebbux bl-Arjoli - Land Snails or Seafood with Hot Arjoli Sauce, Maltese Style

Ma's recipe for Bebbux bl-Arjoli is one of my most popular posts.
If you haven't tried it, it's a recipe for Snails with Arjoli Sauce.
Yes, snails.
But it's a very good sauce recipe.

This is a slightly different recipe.
Try both and see which you prefer.

In Malta snails are collected after the first Autumn rains in mid-October.
Then the snails are starved before being cooked.  
This is done by keeping them in a pot for a few days.
Ah, tradition!

I have never been able to find fresh snails in my local grocery store.
Neither could Ma in College Point, New York during the 1950s or 1960s.
But Arjoli Sauce goes just as well with shrimp, or clams, or mussels.
And shrimp, clams and mussels are easier to prepare.
Shrimp is also sold pre-cooked.

I'll give the instructions for preparing snails.
If you're using one of the other three, or something else, well,
I trust you to know what to do.


                        Land Snails with Hot Arjoli Sauce

Wash thoroughly in salted water a few times
4 pounds snails

In a medium pot of salted boiling water add the snails.
Simmer until the snails are cooked.
Test if the snails are cooked by trying to remove the snail from the shell.
If cooked, the flesh comes away easily.
Drain and remove each snail from its shell.
Place on a large platter.

Hot Arjoli Sauce

Mix well together
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon garlic, crushed
1 hot red pepper, chopped
3 Tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon vinegar

Pour sauce over the cooked snails.

The snails should be served hot with the sauce and any green salad.
They can also be served with hobz biz-zejt (Maltese bread with oil) 
cut into small pieces as an appetizer or first course.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Feng Shui and My Least Favourite Room, part 2 by Margaret Ullrich

Tonight will be new moon number eight for 2013.

It's been a whole month since the last full moon.
And I'm still working on the same project I started a month ago

Make your least favourite room your favourite.

I'm still working in baby steps.
That room is not really that big.
There's just so much crap in it.


The worst of it is over.
But it's going to take some more time.
I'm handling the stagnant energy a section at a time.
Half the room is free from stagnant energy.
The other half… don't ask.
         
         Actually, it doesn't look too bad, if I do say so myself.
         But I know it will never become my favourite room.

         According to Tisha's list…
  • determine what is my least favourite room.
  • determine what it is about the room I don't like.  
  • envision what I would like the room to be.
  • completely clear everything out of the room to remove stagnant energy.
  • clean the room: vacuum, mop, dust, paint the walls.
  • create my vision… only put in it what I love… be creative.

It's been my least favourite because it was a mess.
I would like it to be an uncluttered room, no more and no less.
My vision?
I don't really need anything like a retreat or a sewing room.
I prefer working in my kitchen.
The view from the large picture window is my favourite scene.
Especially in the summer when I can see my garden, the birds and the sky.

That's another reason why that room has been my least favourite room.
In houses built in the 1980s the windows in the smaller bedrooms are high.
It's impossible to look through them, whether you're in bed or at a desk.
It's supposed to make the room safer for young children.
But the lack of a view makes it feel like a closet.
And no amount of clutter tossing can change that.

Poor little room… it's safe but lacks a view.
In a few more weeks I hope it will be a tidy room.
With all of the garbage gone.
But it will never, never be my favourite room.
The things I love are in my bedroom and kitchen.
And that's enough for me.

It can serve as a guest room, when needed.
It will never be a room I can really use for myself.
         I mean, how many sanctuaries can anyone use?
         Lotus flowers and their murky roots do not a room make.
         I need to be able to see outside.


About tonight's new moon...
According to the folks at astrology.com:   A new Moon always signals a fresh beginning, and this one in the Fire sign of Leo is sure to ignite your creativity and passion! Don't let anything hold you back from pursuing your goals now… 
the more original you are, the more likely you are to get the attention and help you need…  Whatever you do, start something…  invest in something that you'd like to see become more important in your life.


Summer is almost over.
I want to get out more and enjoy it.
I also have a few projects I'd like to start now.

I'll declutter my least favourite room when there's time.
Even if the room were empty, it would never be important in my life.
I won't let it hold me back from more important things.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Anna Sultana's Ful bit-tewm - Broad Beans and Garlic, Maltese Style

Got an e mail…
Is there a Maltese recipe that is good for serving broad beans cold?
Yes, of course.

Bigilla, which is also prepared from broad beans, is best served hot. 
But broad beans can be cooked in advance and served cold.


For the Ful bit-tewm recipe the beans are not mashed.
It would be messy on a cracker.
But it can be served cold as a protein side dish with a salad.

It can also be mashed and served as a cold dip.
And some folks prefer Bigilla cold, too.
We're talking beans… suit yourself.


                        Ful bit-tewm

Remove the outer pods of
1.750 kgs (about 3 pounds) butter beans

Place in a saucepan
the prepared beans
5 garlic cloves, more or less
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
500 ml (about 2 Cups) water
salt and pepper

Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until the beans are cooked.
Add more water if needed.

The beans may be served hot or cold.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Anna Sultana's Fazola bit-tewm - Butter Beans with Garlic, Maltese Style


Sometimes the easiest meal is the best meal.
Especially when it's hot.
Instead of a hot meal, serve a healthy light cold spread.
A nutritious dip with some bread and fresh vegetables can be just enough.

Ma's dips were protein packed.  
Her Bigilla was to us what peanut butter is to a North American kid.

Bigilla is a bean dip that can be served with crackers or raw vegetables.  
It's best served hot.  

Fażola bit-tewm is a bean dip that is best served cold.
Perfect for this time of year.
Or any time you'd like to give your guests a bit of variety.


                        Fażola bit-tewm

Soak overnight
400 g butter beans

Drain the water. 
Place the beans in a saucepan.  
Cover with fresh water.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until the beans are cooked.
Add more water if needed.

When the beans are soft, drain and let them cool.

Stir in
4 crushed garlic cloves, more or less
salt and pepper
olive oil
chopped parsley

Serve cold.