Newsletters

  • Newsletter 25: Olives

    www.tisjir.com                                                                                28th july 2011                                                    newsletter 

     

     

    Is there a difference in taste between pitted and unpitted olives?

    To evaluate any differences between pitted and unpitted olives, we gathered both green and black brine-cured olives from deli sections at supermarkets, as well as olives packed in plastic and glass containers. After tasting many samples, it became clear that the pitted olives suffered on two counts: They tasted saltier and their flesh was mushier. They also lacked the complex, fruity flavors of the unpitted kind. Here’s why: Before being packed for sale, fresh-picked olives are soaked in brine for periods of up to a year to remove bitterness and develop flavor. Once pitted, the olives are returned to the brine for packing, which can penetrate the inside of the olive and turn it mushy and pasty, as well as increase the absorption of salt. That saltier taste can mask subtler flavors. If you have the time, it makes sense to buy unpitted olives and pit them yourself.  On the other hand, pitted olives lend themselves very well to being stuffed.

    Stuffed Olives

    Nice large pitted olives

    300g fresh breadcrumbs

    40g anchovy fillets

    Fresh garlic

    Fresh parsley

    Little olive oil

    Little vinegar

    Seasoning

    Chilly, optional

    Put bread parsley, garlic and anchovy into a blender, blend to smooth texture

    Add seasoning, add some oil and vinegar. Mix well and fill the olives with a piping bag.

    If you want to use chilly or chilly liquid add before blending.

    Zebbug Mimli

    Zebbug kbir minghajr ghadma

    300g frak tal-hodz frisk

    40g incova

    Tewm frisk

    Tursin frisk

    Ftit zejt taz-zebbuga

    Ftit hall

    Bzar u melh

    Chilly, jekk trid

    Itfa it-tursin, tewm u l-incova go blender u hawwad sew sakemm tigi tahlita lixxa.

    Zid il-bzar u l-melh, ftit zejt u hall.  Hawwad sew u imla iz-zebbug b’piping bag.

    Jekk se tuza chilly, zidu qabel ma thawwad.

     

  • Newsletter 26: Aubergines

    www.tisjir.com                                                                    4th August 2011                                               newsletter 

     

    AUBERGINE / BRUNGIEL

    Aubergines can be bought all year round but they are at their best, not to mention cheapest, from July to September. To prepare, wash the skin and trim off the stalk. Slice or cut the flesh into chunks just before cooking as it discolours quickly.

    This humble plant has played a major part in many popular regional cuisines throughout the world - in French ratatouille, the Lebanese baba ganoush, the Greek moussaka, the Italian parmigiana, the caponata in sicily and the brungiel mimli in Malta.

    The slightly bland flavour of the aubergine makes it the perfect blank slate to which rich and aromatic spices and herbs can be added. In India, Iran and Afghanistan, aubergines are made into hot, spicy pickles to whet the appetite.

    Aubergines not only block the formation of free radicals, they also reduce cholesterol levels. They are also a source of folic acid and potassium.

    MOUSSAKA

    • 3 large firm aubergines
    • olive oil
    • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
    • 1/2 a bulb of spring garlic, if you can get it, or 1 clove of regular garlic, peeled and finely sliced
    • 1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
    • 2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes or 1kg fresh ripe tomatoes
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • a little wine vinegar
    • a large handful of fresh basil
    • 4 large handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 handfuls of dried breadcrumbs
    • a little fresh oregano, leaves chopped

    optional:
    • 1 x 150g ball of buffalo mozzarella

    method
    First things first: remove the stalks from the aubergines, slice them up into 1cm thick slices, and put to one side. Whether you’re using a griddle pan or a barbecue, get it really hot. Meanwhile, put 2 or 3 glugs of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and dried oregano and cook for 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and the garlic has a tiny bit of colour. If you’re using tinned tomatoes, break them up, and if you’re using fresh tomatoes (which will obviously taste sweeter and more delicious, if they’re in season), very quickly prick each one and put them into a big pan of boiling water for 40 seconds. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of cold water for 30 seconds, then remove the skins, carefully squeeze out the pips and cut up the flesh. Add the tomato flesh or tinned tomatoes to the onion, garlic and oregano. Give the mixture a good stir, then put a lid on the pan and simmer slowly for 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, grill the aubergines on both sides until lightly charred – you may have to do them in batches, as they probably won’t all fit into your griddle pan in one go. As each batch is finished, remove them to a tray and carry on grilling the rest until they’re all nicely done. When the tomato sauce is reduced and sweet, season it carefully with salt, pepper and a tiny swig of wine vinegar, and add the basil. You can leave the sauce chunky or you can purée it.

    Get yourself an earthenware type dish (25 x 12–15cm). Put in a small layer of tomato sauce, then a thin scattering of Parmesan, followed by a single layer of aubergines. Repeat these layers until you’ve used all the ingredients up, finishing with a little sauce and another good sprinkling of Parmesan. I like to toss the breadcrumbs in olive oil with a little freshly chopped oregano and sprinkle them on top of the Parmesan. Sometimes the dish is served with torn-up mozzarella on top, which is nice too.

    Place the dish in the oven and bake at 190°C/375°F/gas 5 for half an hour until golden, crisp and bubbly. It’s best eaten straight away, but it can also be served cold. You can use the same method substituting courgettes or fennel for the aubergines – both are delicious. But do try making it with aubergines – you’ll love it!

    MOUSSAKA

     

    3 brungiel

    Zejt taz-zebbuga

    Basla mqaxxra u mqatta fin

    2 sinniet term imqatta fin

    Kuccarina oregano

    800g tadam (2 bottijiet kbar)

    Bzar u melh

    6 imgharef gobon mahkuk

    4 imgharef hobz imfarrak

    Qatta l-brungiel slices. Go tagen aqli il-basal u t-tewm mal-oregano fiz-zejt ghall 10 minuti sakemm il-basal jirtab.  Zid iz-zewg bottijiet tat-tadam.  Ghatti u sajjar ghal 15 –il minuta.

    Ixwi il-brungiel miz-zewg nahat. 

    Go dixx itfa ftit miz-zalza tat-tadam, ftit gobon mahkuk u saff wiehed ta’ brungiel.  Kompli sejjer hekk sakemm tuza l-ingredjenti kola u spicca bil-parmiggan fil-wicc, u l-frak tal-hobz u roxx ftit zejt taz-zebbuga.

    Poggi fil-forn u ahmi ghal nofs sija 190°C/375°F/gas 5.  L-ahjar li sservi mal-ewwel.

  • Newsletter 27: Grilled Mackerel

    www.tisjir.com __________________________  23rd August 2011  ______________________________ newsletter  no.27

     

    AUGUST

    Peppers and tomatoes are brilliant this month, as are plums and aubergines. Late-summer fruits include blackberries and early figs as well as the first of the apples.

    Although the new fresh ingredients of spring are starting to decline, there are compensations in late summer, as greenhouse vegetables come to the fore: cucumber, tomatoes, runner beans and courgettes, plus stone fruit, currants and early apples.  Fish is at its best this season, especially mackerel.

    An under-estimated fish if ever there was one.  Mackerel eaten fresh (which they usually are) are a treat. Mackerel is a lovely fish; very flavoursome and moist with a tender flesh. Grill or oven-bake them – and they’re also real stars at a barbecue. The smaller mackerel are the best size to buy – one fish per person.

    As an oily fish, mackerel is rich in omega 3 fatty acids so is a useful addition to the diet.

     

     

    Grilled  mackerel with salsa verde

    Serves 2

    4-6 mackerel fillets

    olive oil, for brushing

    For the salsa verde

    8 large basil leaves

    1 clove garlic, peeled

    1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt

    2 anchovy fillets in extra virgin olive oil

    zest and juice of 1 lime

    1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

    1 rounded teaspoon grain mustard

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    oven potatoes to serve

    First, line a grill tray with foil and brush it with oil. Brush each mackerel fillet lightly with oil and season, then arrange them (skin side up) on

    the foil. Place the tray about 15cm from the heat and time them for 6 minutes. After that, turn them over and grill for another 6 minutes or until they are tinged golden and the fish is cooked through.

     

    For the salsa verde, simply place all the ingredients in a mini-chopper and chop till you have a chunky sauce. Serve the grilled fillets with the salsa verde and oven potatoes.

     

    Makkarell mixwi b’salsa hadra

    Iservi 2 persuni

    4-6 filetti tal-makkarell

    Zejt taz-zebbuga

    Ghas-salsa

    8 weraq tal-habaq

    Sinna tewm imqaxra

    Kuccarina melh

    2 filetti tal-incova

    Meraq u qoxra ta lumija

    Kuccarina kappar

    Kuccarina mustarda2 imgharef zejt taz-zebbuga

    Iksi tray bil-foil u immshu biz-zejt u roxx ftit bzar u melh.  Imsah il-makkarell bi ftit zejt u qieghed il makkarell fuq il-foil madwar 15cm il-bod min-nar ghal-6 minuti.  Aqlibhom u ghatihom 6 minuti ohra sakemm ikollom kulur dehbi.

    Ghas-salsa, poggi l-ingredjenti kola go food processor u qatta sakemm ikollok salsa – tqattax iz-zejjed, irid li jibqa bicciet fini jidru.  Servi il-makarell bis-salsa u patata l-forn.

     

  • Newsletter 28: Food and Diet

     

    Food and Diet

    Just because you're dieting doesn't mean you have to eat boring, bland foods. You can adapt recipes so that they contain less fat (see list below) Remember, though, that you will lose some creaminess of texture and flavour as a result.

    It makes sense to choose leaner cuts of meat and fish, and eat more chicken than red meat. Bear in mind that oily fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon) has a higher fat content than white fish (cod, haddock, monkfish). Cut all fat off meat before cooking and grill or stir-fry rather than frying or roasting using a lot of fat.

    The now famous advice to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day is a sound one, and should also lessen the desire for sugary.  It’s also important to remember that you can have a little of everything, but not too much of anything.

    The question remains, what can the home cook do to make losing a few pounds more interesting?  Try to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, to make the plate more colorful and pleasing to the eye as well as the palate.

    Some low fat foods which give foods a creamy flavour

    0 per cent Greek yoghurt

    thick and ‘creamy’, with no fat, no sugar and no artificial flavour. This, together with fresh fruit, is a delight for breakfast.
    Natural low-fat yoghurt Greek
    Quark

    A soft, white, skimmed-milk, very low fat cheese.
    Cottage cheese

    The slimmers’ friend, sprinkled with chives and served with a salad.
    Buttermilk

    Buttermilk makes a wonderful marinade ingredient. Both fish and chicken respond beautifully to it, becoming moister and more luscious.
    Semi-skimmed milk

    Those who can’t cope with skimmed milk, should opt for semi-skimmed, which still has some residual creaminess.

     

     

    Spagetti with Capers and Olives (recipe taken from Fil-Kcina m’Anton: No.6)

    Pasta is an incredibly versatile ingredient, satisfying, nutritious, simple to prepare and contrary to what people think, it doesn’t have very many calories.  One musn’t forget that pasta leave you feeling fuller for hours.

    Per Serving – Recipe serves 4

    Calories 359

    Total Fat 8.9g

    Saturated Fat 1.2g

    Total Carbohydrates 58.9g

    Protein 12.0g

     

    Ingredients

    350g pasta (spaghetti)

    400g tomatoes

    200g onions

    100g olives unpitted

    70g capers

    Basil leaves

    1 tbsp olive oil

    Salt and pepper

     

    1.  Skin the tomatoes, chop it into small pieces and place in a bowl.

    2.  Remove the pit from the olives, chop into small pieces and place in another bowl.

    3.  Peel and chop the onions and garlic.  Heat half the oil in a pan and fry them until they start to colour.

    4.  Add the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and mix everything well.

    5.  Add the capers and olives.

    6.  Reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes.

    7.  In the meantime, boil the spaghetti, drain, and keep warm.

    8.  Ad the spaghetti to the sauce when the sauce is ready and stir.  Add in the last half tbsp of oil and stir again.

    9.  Serve at once.

     

    Spagetti bil-Kappar u ż-Żebbuġ (ricetta mehuda minn Fil-Kcina m’Anton: No.6)

    Għaġin imsajjar tajjeb hu prodott verament versatili, jissodisfa b’togħma tajba, nutrittiv, sempliċi biex tħejjih u, kuntrarju għal dak li jaħsbu ħafna, m’għandux ħafna kaloriji.  Wieħed m’għandux jinsa li l-għaġin iħalli l-istonku kuntent għal sigħat sħaħ.

     

    Per Serving – Recipe serves 4

    Calories 359

    Total Fat 8.9g

    Saturated Fat 1.2g

    Total Carbohydrates 58.9g

    Protein 12.0g

     

    Ingredjenti

    350g spagetti

    400g tadam

    200g basal

    100g żebbuġ iswed bil-għadma

    70g kappar

    weraq tal-ħabaq

    żejt taż-żebbuġa

    bżar mitħun frisk u melħ

    Metodu

    1.         Qaxxar it-tadam, qattgħu f’biċċiet żgħar u poġġih ġo skutella żgħira.

    2.         Naddaf iż-żebbuġ mill-għadma, qattgħu f’biċċiet żgħar u poġġih ġo skutella żgħira oħra.

    3.         Qaxxar il-basal u t-tewm u qattagħhom f’biċċiet żgħar.  Saħħan ftit żejt f’taġen u qalli l-basal u t-tewm sakemm jieħdu kulur dehbi. Ħawwad il-ħin kollu.

    4.         Żid it-tadam, il-weraq tal-ħabaq, il-bżar u l-melħ u ħawwad kollox tajjeb.

    5.         Żid ukoll il-kappar u ż-żebbuġ iswed imqatta’ filwaqt li tibqa’ tħawwad.

    6.         Baxxi n-nar u kompli sajjar għal madwar kwarta.

    7.         Għalli l-ispagetti sakemm it-taħlita tkun qed issir, saffih u żommu fis-sħana.

    8.         Żid l-ispagetti u ħawwad tajjeb bla ma tkisser l-għaġin.  Ferra’ ftit żejt taż-żebbuġa fil-wiċċ qabel isservi.

    9.         Servi mill-ewwel.

  • Newsletter 29: September Salads

    

     

    When deciding upon what type of salad to make during this time of year, it's best to use produce that is as fresh and seasonal as possible.

    Whether your ingredients are picked from your garden or bought from the market, foods that are harvested closest to home will offer the best value for your money, palate, and health. A few seasonal salad ingredients to look for this time of year include fruits such as apples (Red Delicious, Fuji are best for salads), pears (look for hard ones such as Williams and Conference – both widely available in Malta), and grapes, and vegetables such as fennel, cabbage (savoy is great!), cauliflower (creamy white, firm, and heavy), broccoli, lettuce (of course!), corn and carrots.

     

     

    Simple Salad

     

    Cucumber

    Tomatoes

    Broccoli

    Bell peppers

    Onions

    Carrots

    Salt and pepper

    Dressing (see recipe below)

     

    Method

    1.  Wash the broccoli, cut out each floret separately and blanch in boiling water for a few minutes.

    2.   When they are done, drain and place them in a serving bowl.

    3.  Wash and cut the remaining vegetables (make sure to cut the onions really thin).  Add to the broccoli.  Mix well

    4.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with the dressing.

     

    Dressing

    6 tbsp olive oil

    4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    Pinch of sugar

    Salt and pepper

     

    1.  Place all ingredients in a jar, close the id and shake well to combine.

    2.  Dress the salad with this dressing.

    3.  The dressing keeps well in the fridge for a week

     

    Insalata Semplici

     

    Hjar

    Tadam

    Brokkoli

    Bzar ikkulurit

    Basal

    Karrotti

    Bzar u melh

    Dressing (ara r-ricetta hawn taht)

     

    Metodu

     

    1.   Ahsel il-brokkoli, aqta fjura fjura u ghalli ghal ftit minuti.  Ara li jibqghu ibes.

    2.  Meta jkun saru, nehhi mill-ilma u poggi go biqja li ha sservi fiha.

    3.  Ahsel u qatta l-haxix l-iehor kollu.  Aib mal broccoli u hawwad.

    4.  Roxx ftit bzar u melh u servi bid-dressing.

     

    Dressing

    6 imgharef zejt taz-zebbuga

    4 imgharef hall balsamiku

    Ftit zokkot

    Melh u bzar

     

    1.  Qieghed l-ingredienti kola go vazett u ghalaq l-ghatu.  Hawwad sew.

    2.  Ferrex dan id-dressing fuq l-insalata u hawwad kollox sew.  Servi.

    3.  Dan id-dressing jinzamm fil-frigg u jintuza fi zmien gimgha.

     

  • Newsletter 30: Pasta

     

     

    Fresh Pasta or Dried?

     

    There is the misguided conception that fresh pasta is better than dried. If you want to enjoy cooking and eating pasta at its best, focus more on buying good-quality dried pasta. Yes, it does cost more, but we’re not talking about great luxury here; we’re talking about a main meal for two people that might cost €2 instead of €1.

    Pastas which may be better bought fresh are ravioli, stuffed pasta shapes and tortellini, which are of a far better quality than most of the dried packs. Once you taste quality dried pasta, it will be very hard for you to return to the industrially produced alternatives. It’s not just the flavour: it also helps you to achieve that al dente texture that is the mark of well-cooked pasta. Poor quality often ends up sticky and soggy.

    When you buy your pasta, make sure it says pasta di semola di grano duro.  The other modern misconception is to serve more sauce than pasta. Good pasta should be enjoyed for itself, with a small amount of concentrated sauce used to merely dress it.

    Pasta ajo e ojo (garlic and oil spaghetti)

    The following recipe proves that pasta is so delicious when it is simple and savored for its own right.  Make the dish truly gourmet with a good quality olive oil.  Maybe use that special bottle you received as a gift and you’ve been saving for “something special”.

     

    450g spaghetti

    2 cloves of garlic chopped very finely

    2 tbsp parsely

    9 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil

    Pepper

    Salt

     

    Method

    Bring to the boil and large pan filled with water.  Boil the pasta.  Pour 8 tbsp of the oil in a pan.  Add the garlic and salt and let it sweat on very low heat.  Remove from the heat when the garlic starts to colour.  When pasta is al dente, drain and place in a large bowl.  Add the garlic oil and mix well.  Add the final tbsp oil, the pepper and the parsley, mix again and serve at once.

     

     

    Pasta ajo e ojo (spaghetti bit-tewm u z-zejt)

     

    Din ir-ricetta turi li l-ghagin huwa tant tajjeb meta huwa semplici.  Ghamel dan il-platt verament specjlai billi tuza zejt taz-zebbuga verament tajjeb.  Forsi ghandek xi flixkun specjali li qlajt u kont qed izzommu ghal xi okkazjoni specjali.

     

    450g spagetti

    2 sinniet tewm imqatta' fin

    2 imgharef tursin

    9 imgharef zejt taz-zebbuga ta' kwalita' tajba

    bzar

    melh

     

    Metodu

    Poggi borma b’hafna ilma fuq in-nar, zid ftit melh malli l-ilma jiftah jghali u ghalli l ghagin.  Ferra 8 imgharef miz-zejt f’kazzola, zid it-tewm u ftit melh u qalli ghal ftit fuq nar bati.  Itfi n-nar malli t-tewn jiehu kulur dehbi.  Kif l-ghagin ikun sar, nehhih mill-ilma, qattru sew u poggih go skutella kbira.  Mieghu zid iz-zejt bit-tewm u hawwad sew.  Zid il-bzar, it-tursin u l-imgharfa zejt taz-zebbuga li fadal.  Servi mill-ewwel.

     

     

  • Newsletter 31: Ricotta & Irkotta

     

     

     

    Ricotta and Irkotta – same thing or 2 different ingredients?

    There is a page on facebook named “Jien irkotta ngħid, mhux ricotta, għax bil-Malti nitkellem. U int?”.  But are both really just the same word in a different language or are they a different ingredient altogether?  The Italian ricotta, is an Italian dairy product made from the whey left over from the production of cheese.  It has a mild, fresh lactic flavor and is low in fat.  It is very popular in Italy - especially in the South of the country and in Sicily, where cannoli are filled with ricotta that has been sweetened with sugar and candied fruit. Ricotta is also used in the Sicilian cassata, tha lasagna, ravioli and manicotti. The Maltese irkotta is a different story.  Whereas Italian ricotta is made from the left over whey – and is therefore a by-product, the irkotta is produced by heating fresh milk in its entirety and adding calcium chloride to form the curd.  Irkotta is a favourite cheese locally, and is used in a number of traditional foods such as pastizzi, qassatat, ravjul, lasagna and cannelloni. It also lends itself well to being used in sweets in the same way as the Italian ricotta such as kannoli tal-irkotta and Cassata Siciliana.  Because of their similar flavor and texture, they can be used interchangeably in recipes.  When a recipe calls for ricotta, irkotta can easily be substituted and vice versa.

     

    Sweet Ricotta and Almond Tart

     

    Ingredients

    400g sweet shortcrust pastry

    200g margarine

    150g sugar

    200g ground almonds

    100g candied peel

    75g almond chopped

    60g candied cherries cut in quarters

    3 Eggs

    Grated rind of 1 lemon

    1 egg beaten

    120ml cream

    400g ricotta

    Method

    Put margarine and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat well to a creamy consistency.

    Add 3 eggs, grated rind of a lemon and beat again, add ground almonds, candied peel, chopped almonds and candied cherries.  Mix the cream and ricotta together to a light texture.  Add to the almond mixture and mix smoothly.

    Grease a round baking tin and line with pastry.  Fill this with the ricotta mixture smooth in the top.

    With the remaining pieces of pastry cut long thin strips, egg wash the edge of the pastry of the baking tin.

    Arrange the strips of pastry into a nest. Egg wash again and bake in a moderate oven 190 Gas Mark 4-5

     

     

    Torta tal-Irkotta Ħelwa u l-Lewż

     

    Ingredienti

    400g ghagina helwa

    200g margarina

    150g zokkor

    200g intrita

    100g konfettura

    75g lewz imfarrak

    60g cirasa mqatta’

    3 bajdiet

    Qoxra mahkuka ta’ lumija

    bajda mhabbta

    120ml krema

    400g irkotta

    Method

    Poggi l-margarina u z-zokkor go bieqja u habbat sew sakemm it-tahlita tigi konsistenza ta krema.

    Zid it-tlett bajdiet u l-qoxra tal-lumija u erga habbat sew.  Zid l-intrita, il-konfettura, il-lewz imfarrak u c-cirasa mqatta’.  Hawwad il-krema u l-irkotta flimkien sakemm it-tahlita tkun hafifa u kremuza.  Zid mat-tahlita ta’ lewz u hawwad.

    Iksi forma tonda bl-ghagina. Imliha bit-tahlita tal-irkotta.

    Bl-ghagina li jibqa aghmel strixxi twal.  Idlek id-dawra tal-ghagina bil-bajda.

    Irranga l-istrixxi fil-wicc, erga’ idlek bil-bajda u sajjar f’forn medju 190C,  Gass 4-5

     

     

  • Newsletter 32: Eggs

     

    Egg lovers will be delighted that previous health warnings about eating eggs have recently been disproved: in fact, the egg is a veritable superfood, packed with good nutrition.

    “Eating eggs won't give you high cholesterol. In fact, eggs are full of high-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals and should be a part of any healthy diet” (Harvard Study)

    A new government study finds they're actually lower in cholesterol and higher in vitamin D than previously thought.  Free-range chickens and organic feed have resulted in healthier eggs – which is why it is also important to look for free-range or organic eggs.

    About 200 studies have looked at the link between eggs and heart disease and found that it's not the cholesterol, but saturated fat that increases the risk of heart disease. An egg happens to be relatively high in cholesterol, but very low in saturated fat. The average large egg contains 212 milligrams of cholesterol, which is quite high.  But that cholesterol does not go straight to your bloodstream and then into your arteries – this is a myth. For most people, only a small amount of the cholesterol in food passes into the blood. The only large study to look at the impact of egg consumption on heart disease found no connection between the two. Saturated and trans fats have much bigger effects on blood cholesterol levels.

    If you've got a high cholesterol reading, you can reduce it by up to 30 percent in less than six weeks, simply by modifying your diet by including plenty of high fibre foods, lean meats and low-fat dairy.

    Regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.  Even if you are on a low-fat diet, eating up to seven eggs a week is okay.

     

     

    Resources:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/08/earlyshow/health/main7329038.shtml

    http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/1999/04.22/eggs.html

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/egg-nutrition

     

     

    Creamed spinach with Eggs

     

    Ingredients

    4 large eggs

    400g spinach, frozen

    250g low fat cream cheese or quark or cottage cheese

    50g mature Cheddar, coarsely grated

    cayenne pepper

    salt and freshly milled black pepper

     

    Method

    Pre-heat the grill to its highest setting. Boil the 4 eggs for 8 minutes and cool them quickly under running water.

    Next peel the eggs.  Cook the spinach in a saucepan and put in a sieve to let it drain and squeeze out any excess water.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in the low fat cream cheese or quark or cottage cheese in with the spinach.

    Now lay the spinach mixture in the bottom of the dish. Next cut each egg in half then lay them on top of the spinach and season well with salt and freshly milled black pepper.   Sprinkle over the cheese then pop the whole lot under the grill, for about 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is beginning to bubble and turn golden brown. Dust with a little cayenne pepper and serve either with some really good bread or I think it goes well with some nutty brown rice

     

    Serves 4

    Amount Per Serving

    Calories 149

    Total Fat                 7.1g

    Saturated Fat        2.9g

    Cholesterol           219mg

    Carbohydrates      2.9g

    Protein                   17.9g

     

     

     

    Spinaci kremuz bil-bajd

     

     

    Ingredjenti

    4 bajdiet kbar

    400g spinaci frizat

    250g cream cheese, low fat, quark jew cottage cheese

    50g gobon Cheddar

    Bzar Cayenne

    Bzar u melh

     

    Metodu

    Ixghel il-gril bil-lest.  Ghalli il-bajd ghal 8 minuti, kesshu that ilma kiesah u qaxxru.  Sajjar l-ispincai go borma u hallih joqtor go passatur u ghasar xi ilma zejjed minnu.  Poggi l-ispiaci go bieqja u hallat il cream cheese, low fat, quark jew cottage cheese mieghu.  Qieghed l-ispinaci fil-qiegh ta’ dixx.  Aqsam kull bajda min-nofs u poggihom fuq l-ispinaci.  Itfa ftit bzar u melh fil-wicc.  Itfa il-gobon fil-wicc u poggi that il-grill ghal 3 minuti sakemm il-gobon jinhall.  Itfa ftit bzar cayenne fil-wicc u servi ma hobz frisk jew ross kannella.

     

    Iservi 4

    Ammont kull porzjon

    Kaloriji                    149

    Xaham                    7.1g

    Xaham saturat       2.9g

    Kolesterol              219mg

    Karboidrati            2.9g

    Protein                   17.9g

     

     

  • Newsletter 33: Fruit

     

    Fruit is one of the most healthy and natural foods in existence.   Fruit contains a large number of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and plant phytochemicals that help benefit health.

    It has been recommended that we should be eating at least 8 pieces of fruit every day in order to gain the full health benefits of eating fruit.

     

    HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING FRUIT:

    potential for weight control 

    reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases 

    reduced risk of developing cancers

    lower blood pressure

    potential to lower cholesterol

    reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes

    potential to slow down age process

     

     

     

    AUTUMN FRUITS:

    Apples:                               

    Apple with their skin are a top source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and are the second most popular fruit after bananas. Apple skin also contains many phytochemicals, such as quercetin, under research for potential health effects.

    Bananas:             

    Bananas provide an excellent source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamin C - nutrients that help promote heart health.

    Grapes:                               

    Grapes are an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese and vitamin K.

    Pears:  

    This bell shaped fruit has several varieties that range from green to gold to red skinned. Its flesh is both juicy and sweet.

    Melons:              

    No melon supplies more beta-carotene, an antioxidant, than cantaloupe.

    Oranges:

    One medium orange provides more than a day's worth of vitamin C and is an excellent source of fiber.

     

     

    HOW TO GET MORE FRUIT DURING THE DAY:

    At breakfast
    Slice fruit over your cereal or just grab a banana before you leave the house.

    For elevenses
    Take apples, clementines, pears or satsumas to work to snack on.

    For lunch
    And have some fruit or a fresh, unsweetened 100% fruit juice for dessert.

    In a restaurant
    Ask for fresh fruit and yogurt for dessert – make sure the meal is low fat and healthy so as not to undo any good work you would have done during the day!

     

     

    RECIPE - BANANA APPLE CAKE

    Ingredients

    100g sultanas

    75ml bourbon or dark rum

    175g plain flour

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    125g unsalted butter, melted

    150g sugar

    2 large eggs, freerange

    300g bananas mashed

    200g apples, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes

    60g chopped walnuts

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and floured or with a paper insert

     

    Method

    Put the sultanas and rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.  Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3 and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.  In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas and apples. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained sultanas and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-11/4 hours. When it's ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.

     

     

    RICETTA - KEJK TAL-BANANA U T-TUFFIEH

    Ingredjenti

    100g passolina

    75ml rum

    175g tqiq plain

    2 kuccarini baking powder

    1/2 kuccarina bicarbonate of soda

    1/2 kuccarina salt

    125g butir, mahlul

    150g zokkor

    2 bajdiet, freerange

    300g banana mghaffga

    200g tuffieh, mighajr qoxra, mqatta dadi

    60g gewz imqatta bicciet

    kuccarina vannilla

    23 x 13 x 7cm tin tal-hobz midluk sew

     

    Method

    Poggi il-passolina go tagen zghir mar-rum u hallih jiftah jghali.  Nehhi minn fuq in-nar u hallih fil-genb ghal siegha jekk tista.  Nehhi ir-rum zejjed li jkun baqa.  Sahhan il-forn ghal 170ºC/gas mark 3. Poggi id-dqiq, baking powderm bicarb u l-melh go bieqja.  Go bieqja kbira hallat il- butir u z-zokkor.  Imbghad ifta il-bajd wahda wahda u fl-ahhar il-banana u t-tuffieh.  Ifta id-dqiq u hawwad sew.  Itfa got-tin u sajjar ghal-sija / sija u kwart.   Hallih got-tin biex jiksah qabel ma taqsam u sservi.

     

  • Newsletter 34: Avocado

     

     

    Avocados: Nature’s Butter

     

    Avocados are a pear-shaped fruit featured in dishes around the world, from ice cream in Brazil to guacamole in Mexico to sweet drinks in Vietnam and the Philippines. The avocados are not only cholesterol free, but are also rich in monounsaturated fat (15% of the recommended daily allowance), making them a healthy and delicious addition to your cooking; we like to use them as a substitute for butter on our bread. They are also rich in vitamins B, E, K and folate.

     

    Your sense of touch will tell you when an avocado is ready for eating: the fruit should gently yield in your palm, but not be too mushy (a sign of over-ripeness).

    If the avocados you find are not yet ripe, sit them on a windowsill for several days, or place them in a brown paper bag and store them at room temperature.

    Note: Once an avocado has been sliced open, it should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice to prevent the flesh from turning brown.

    To peel a ripe avocado, cut it lengthwise around the seed and rotate the halves to separate. You can remove the seed by lifting it out with a spoon, or if you are really talented, you can strike the seed with a knife and twist it out (this takes some dexterity, so if you mess up don’t sue us).

     

    Important note: Avocados should never be fed to non-humans, so refrain from sharing a taste with Fido, Kitty or Tweety. The fruit contains persin, a toxic fatty acid that can be deadly to animals.

     

    Avocados are a classic match with seafood and meats, but we’ve taken a few twists this week with a dessert and a savory dish.

     

     

    Recipes:

     

    Shrimp & Avocado Canapés

    Ingredients

    12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1 avocado
    1 lemon
    4 cherry tomatoes
    1 plash of red wine vinegar
    Salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste
    pumpernickel or wholemeal bread or other rye bread

     

     

    Preparation

    Cut bread into rounds with a 1½-inch cookie cutter and set aside.

    Blanch shrimp in boiling water for a minute or two, just until cooked through; they should curl up nicely. Remove the shrimp from the water and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water to cool. When cooled, blot them dry with paper towels.

    Make a purée of avocado with a squeeze of lemon juice, a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Chop a bit of the fresh dill and toss it with the shrimp along with a small splash of red wine vinegar and tiny dash of salt to season.

    Assemble your canapés by spreading a little of the avocado purée over each round of bread. Top with a dilled shrimp. Thinly slice the cherry tomatoes and top the shrimp with a tomato slice and a small sprig of dill.

     

     

    Avocado Coconut Puddings

     

    Ingredients

    1 small ripe avocado
    ½ teaspoon lime juice
    1 cup milk
    1 cup coconut milk
    ½ vanilla bean
    1 teaspoon orange zest
    Pinch of nutmeg
    ¾ cup sugar
    ¼ cup cornstarch
    3 egg yolks
    ½ teaspoon salt

    ¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut, toasted

    Whipped cream

     

    Preparation

    Purée the avocado with ½ teaspoon lime juice using either a hand-held immersion blender or a food processor. Place the avocado purée, ¾ cup milk, coconut milk, vanilla bean, orange zest, nutmeg, and ½ cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let steep for 10 minutes.

    In a medium bowl, blend the remaining sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks with the other ¼ cup of milk to form a smooth paste. Carefully temper the simmering milk mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to make sure not to shock the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon for about 2-3 minutes, until the mixture beings to thicken, but does not come to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for another minute until fully thickened.

    Strain the pudding through a fine mesh sieve and then pour into 6-8 small ramekins or bowls. Put plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent formation of a skin. Refrigerate until chilled, and serve the pudding within two days.

    Remove the plastic from the tops of each pudding. Place a dollop of whipped cream in the center of each pudding and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Garnish with an orange chip and enjoy!