Issuu on Google+

TODAY ISSUE NUMBER 27 • APRIL 2014

Easter treats at Debbie’s Café

€2.00 WHERE SOLD

Spring vegetables fresh from the farm The ultimate wedding guide

www.facebook.com/gourmettoday


April 2014

2 7

12

15 23

27 33

35

38 39 40

43 45 57

62

gourmet today

What’s hot in the foodie world Homecooks prepare a spring meal Meet the grandparents at Lovage Easter eggstravagaza Hot out of the oven – Hot cross buns Pippa Mattei’s roast lamb The buzz about the bees – Maltese honey There’s something fishy in Michael Diacono’s kitchen Butcher’s tip – lamb From farm to table Fresh from the farm at Diar il-Bniet Turning nettles into deliciousness The ultimate wedding guide Restaurant review: JUS Dine & Wine Chef profile: Andrew Borg from The Black Pig

Editor’s note I hate the cold. And the dark. So longer days and warmer temperatures make me happy, the longer and the warmer, the better. It seems to me that most people are happier in the spring, happy Facebook posts and a desire to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Even the fruit and vegetables seem happier. Drinking up the sunshine, they are more colourful and full of flavour – just one more reason to happier about the spring. Easter is just a week away which means sugar, and lots of it. Check out Debbie’s Café in Mellieha for some wonderful sweet treats and some deliciously innovative ideas to make with Easter ingredients. Spring lamb is traditional for Easter lunch and Pippa Mattei shows us what to do with a great leg of lamb and then use up all the leftovers the following day. Although people want to eat lamb for Easter lunch, it is not a very popular meat at other times of year. Check out our butcher’s tip and find out what cuts are available and what to do with them. But this season isn’t all about lamb. Check out Michael Diacono’s easy entertaining ideas using fish for a delectable sepia di nero followed by barracuda. We hope you enjoy this issue of Gourmet TODAY and look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions.

35

27

17

Bon appétit!

7 Published by:

Vjal ir-Riħan, San Ġwann SGN 9016 Malta Tel: +356 2138 2741 Fax: +356 2138 1992 www.maltatoday.com.mt

Managing Editor: Saviour Balzan Editor: Rachel Zammit Cutajar gourmet@mediatoday.com.mt

Design: Kevin Grech Photography: Ray Attard Head of sales: Adriana Farrugia Contact for advertising: Miranda Coller - 21382741 ext: 124

Cover: Becky Borg St John from Debbie's Café Cover photo by Ray Attard Printed at: Print It Printing Services


Food News

2

April 2014

What’s hot in the f Are you looking for the real THING? Looking for something special for lunch? Or something comforting for dinner? If it should be baked in the oven then you can be sure to find it at The Oven! Deliciously tasty and always moreish, it is clear that the food at The Oven is the result of the heart and soul Jonathan Zammit puts into his creations. When you think of great meals in the oven, pizzas

immediately come to mind. And this is what they are best known for. A great selection of classic and innovative ideas made with the finest pizza dough, homemade sauce and the best cheeses around. If you’re looking for something a little different then check out their new pizza sandwiches that are taking the world by storm – delicious pizza fillings sandwiched between two pieces of pizza dough. It’s like a pizza but in a sandwich, perfect for when you’re on the go. Check out some of their house specials. The meat-alicious, as its name implies is stuffed to the brim with meaty goodness, meatballs and salami picante mingling with mushrooms, mozzarella, homemade sauce, onions, oregano and mango chutney. Desserts are worth a browse through. Again check out their house specials, the Twirlies – a twirl shaped doughnut divided with chocolate and brown sugar and topped with cream cheese. If that’s not for you check out some of their more classic desserts like the carrot cake, chocolate fudge cake, red velvet or banoffi cake.

Chinese infusion Chinese food has had some bad rap over the years. With the all-evil MSG playing a big role in every dish. Oriental Gardens in Marsascala is putting a stop to all of that, with a completely MSG-free menu. Under new management, Oriental Gardens has been a landmark in Chinese restaurants on the island and is now taking the plunge into healthier Chinese food, where top quality ingredients are key and additives are out of the question. As people are becoming more and more gluten sensitive, so are the menus at Oriental Gardens, with 90% of the menu being gluten free. Oriental Gardens also do great set menus that represent great value for money as well as offering the perfect sample of what’s on offer. Check out their buy one get one free offers every Tuesday and Thursday.

Want to see more? Check out their Facebook page where you can see all of their menus and specials on offer. Oriental Garden Triq il Gardiel, Marsascala Tel: 21632687 • Mob: 77632687 Email: info@orientalgarden.com.mt

If you’re looking for something a little healthier, you need not fell left out. Try one of their interesting salads that will ensure you are not left with food envy, great for ordering in at the office. The Oven Whatever you 73, Birkirkara Road, St. Julians. fancy, check Tel: +356 2133 2525 out their menu Email: info@theoven.com.mt online.

Get ready for a sizzling summer

One of the best aspects of summer is enjoying great barbequed food with family and friends. This is a quality combination of wood or gas oven / bbq made to perfection to ensure your best cooking recipes for this season this year.We offer a full range of stylish, affordable barbeques and ovens in all sizes. By ALFA PIZZA www.alfapizza.com

il Camino 48/49 Fleur De Lys Road, BKR 9063 Birkirkara Mob: 79888999 Email: ilcamino@go.net.mt Web: http://www.ilcamino.net Find us on Facebook


April 2014

Food News

3

foodie world… Meridiana Wine Estate presents Baltis

Meridiana Wine Estate have just launched their latest addition to their range of premium wines. Made exclusively from raisined Moscato grapes, the golden yellow Baltis has a bouquet of dried figs, sultana raisins, dates, hints of citrus and slightly toasted honey notes. The wine’s luscious palate is enhanced by its fresh, crisp finish. The name Baltis recalls the sun goddess worshipped by Phoenician traders around the Mediterranean. Like all Meridiana wines, Baltis is made from hand-harvested, carefully selected, locally grown grapes. This sweet wine is usually served slightly chilled, with cheese, with dessert, or as a delicious after-meal treat. Baltis’ first vintage (2012) yielded just 405 bottles. More info about Meridiana wines may be obtained from www.meridiana.com.mt. Baltis and the entire range of Meridiana wines are available from S. Rausi Trading Ltd of Stadium Street, Gzira, Tel: 2133 0447 www.srausi.com

Summer cocktails by Molecular Fusion Your summer will not be complete until you have tried one of the incredible cocktails conjured up by Molecular Fusion. Perfect for weddings, hen’s parties, boat parties, private events and birthday parties. YOUR event deserves to be talked about! Contact us today for a FREE tasting. molecularfusionbar@gmail.com Email: molecularfusionbar@gmail.com Tel: 99159357

Step inside...and make yourself at home The Townhouse Café in Victory Square, Naxxar is the new up and coming meeting place offering a constantly changing selection of freshly-made sweets and savoury pastries. The Townhouse has opted for an original menu combining the luxury of while-youwait baked scones and high-tea together with a selection of reasonably-priced snacks like its Maltese ftiras with novel fillings. The imposing 400-year old architecture and three-foot thick walls belie the fact that the café

lies in the heart of the town’s busy square. Open daily, The Townhouse’s design offers patrons a place to unwind and make themselves at home at any time of the day.

The Townhouse Café Victory Square, Naxxar Tel: 2756 0396 Email: townhousecafe@gmail.com www.facebook.com/thetownhousecafe

A new look for Delicata’s classic collection The classic collection produced by award winning winemaker Emmanuel Delicata has undergone a transformation to celebrate the wines 21st birthday. The extremely popular range of wines launched in 1993 has been re-packaged with fresh, modern labels and convenient screw-cap closures. The range consists of seven single varietal wines; Donato Chardonnay, Cavalli Sauvignon Blanc, Gabrieli Pinot Grigio, Landini Vermentino, Casella Moscato, Carissimi Cabernet Sauvignon and Marenzio Merlot; all from the 2013 vintage.


Food News

4

April 2014

Eat better, feel better Cooking up a healthy storm Supplement your diet with Rainforest Foods Supefoods for a boost in energy and feel-good factor. Certified by the Soil Association and the Vegan society, their range of organic superfoods provides nutrient-dense wholefoods, processed to maximise nutrient retention and conveniently support modern lifestyles whilst not costing the earth. Get your dose of greens with wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina or barleygrass as well as acai berries, chia seeds, maca powder and cacao. Rainforest Foods are exclusively available at Holland and Barrett outlets in Valletta, St Julian’s, Attard and Fgura

Take a break among the trees Monaci Delle Terre Nere is one of a kind, set in the foothills of Mount Etna. It captures wonderful views of the Mediterranean. This 19th century villa, has 13 bedrooms each uniquely decorated with an essence of reclaimed wood furnishings. It grows it’s own fruit and vegetables with an abundance of olive groves, citrus trees and vineyards, not forgetting the infinity pool looking down onto the glittering Mediterranean in the distance. This boutique country hotel, is ideal for a luxury break away. You will leave feeling rejuvenated, with a sense of calm and a blissful memory.

Monaci Delle Terre Nere Via Monaci sn, 95019 Zafferana Etnea Catania, Italy Tel: +39 331 136 5016 Email: info@monacidelleterrenere.it www.monacidelleterrenere.it

Healthylicious cooking classes are run by Stefania Calleja, a Home Economics teacher and food enthusiast. The concept of the classes focuses on the adaptation of popular recipes to make them nutritionally sound, vegetarian, allergy-free and to suit different dietary requirements. You will get expert tuition to learn to enhance culinary skills and nutritional knowledge on wholesome ingredients to create innovative and fresh tastes. Classes are held in a new fully equipped kitchen and are delivered through interactive demonstrations. Check out the upcoming classes: April: Flavours of the Middle East May: Stunning salads For more information visit the Healthylicious Facebook page or call 79255371

Jazzing up your Wednesdays

JUS Dine & Wine will be featuring live jazz Wednesdays from May onwards. Featuring renowned jazz musicians. This will certainly be a night to remember and comes highly recommended. Also look out for their Bespoke Spanish red wine Contact Sean on 99594459 or Maria on 79264613


April 2014

Food News

5

A step in the right direction Introducing Sammy’s by Culinary Forward Malta, the first question that might cross one’s mind is “What is Culinary Forward Malta?”

a wine pairing option available which brings out the best in flavours of both food and wine. With an in-house sommelier, the extensive wine list is constantly changing with weekly recommend wines specifically chosen to enhance the experience. Open for dinner Monday-Saturday from 19:00 onwards. Stay tuned online for the daily changing menu.

Sammy’s by Culinary Forward Malta 24, Xemxija Hill Xemxija Tel: 27441546 • Mob: 79829423 Info@sammysbycfm.com

www.facebook.com/sammysbycfm

photography by Ray Attard

Culinary Forward Malta started off in 2009 as a small group of young, dedicated and most of all passionate chefs, sommeliers and bartenders experimenting with local ingredients and international techniques to bring a great experience to the table. Hosting a number of tasting menus with wine and cocktail pairing throughout many great venues around Malta for the last five years. Culinary Forward Malta has now found a place to settle along the Xemxija seafront. The newly refurbished Sammy’s, reopened on 13 March with a black board à la carte menu that changes daily emphasising on only local produce to ensure freshness, modest pricing and bringing out the best of what the Maltese archipelago has to offer. A handful of vegetarian dishes are included on the board to be sure that there is something for everyone at Sammy’s. Check out the fresh bread that is baked daily and always with a special twist. Try out their succulent desserts and fresh pasta dishes, which are all made in-house. If you can’t make up your mind, try the six course tasting menu compiled from the daily black board with


Thai food is known for its balance of three fundamental taste senses in each dish : Sour, Sweet and Salty.

facebook.com/attardcofood

Attard & Co. (Foodstuffs) Ltd., Canter Business Centre, P. F. Bilocca Street, Marsa. Tel: 21 237555, www.attardcofood.com


7

gourmet today

HOME COOKS

Easter is just a week away and cooking preparations should be already underway. Lamb is the traditional roast on most families menus, however if you are looking for something a little different then our homecooks have the answer. Pork is a great meat grown locally and is also significantly cheaper than lamb. If you’re looking for something spectacular then get your butcher to prepare a crown of pork and check out Janet Grech’s recipe. For a lighter starter Gaby Holland does an artichoke salad and Sandra Dimech rounds off the meal with a ricotta and strawberry tart, with a chocolate coating on the pastry case that not only adds flavour but keeps the pastry flaky and delicious.

D

photography by Ray Attard

April 2014


8

gourmet today

Artichoke salad on toast Ingredients • 6 large artichokes, washed and cooked until leaves are very tender • Small bunch of parsley • 2 garlic cloves • ½ lemon, juice and zest • 3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced • Bunch of fresh basil • 2 tbsp capers, plus some extra for garnish • 2 spring onions, finely chopped • 12 – 18 broad bean pods • Fresh peas • Extra virgin olive oil • 6 large thick slices of Maltese bread

tomatoes drizzle with olive oil and spoon some anchovy sauce (optional) on the side of the plate. 10. To make the anchovy sauce, blitz together a small jar of anchovies and olive oil.

Method 1. Scrape off fleshy part of artichoke leaves and reserve together with the artichoke hearts (discard the choke if not tender enough). 2. Mash the artichokes and add the finely chopped parsley and garlic. 3. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and season well with pepper, salt and olive oil, set aside. 4. Remove beans from pods and peel. 5. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and blanche the broad beans and peas for 30 seconds. Drain and refresh under cold running water. 6. In another small bowl mix the tomatoes, basil, capers and spring onions. Using a ring mould, cut out 6 circles of bread and toast. 7. To plate individually, fit a slice of toast inside the ring mould and build each terrine with 1/6 of the artichoke mixture. 8. Use a teaspoon to press down lightly, the add 1/6 of the tomato salad and lastly top with beans and peas. 9. Carefully lift ring mould and garnish with some beans, peas, capers and

Suggested wine: Carpene Malvolti - Prosecco DOCG 1868 Extra Dry

Delicate and fruity extra dry aromatic sparkling wine, with an aftertaste of apple, suitable for aperitifs, cocktails, and matches perfectly with light Mediterranean dishes.

April 2014


April 2014

HOM

E CO 9 OKS

gourmet today

Crown of local pork with fennel Serves 10

Method

Ingredients

1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C. 2. Season the pork with salt and pepper. 3. Mix the ingredients for the stuffing and place in the centre of the crown. 4. Place the stuffed crown in a deep oven dish and add the water, carrots and Clementine juice and cook for approx 3 hours until tender and still very slightly pink, basting in its own juices every 30 mins. 5. Whisk the ingredients of the dressing together. 6. Serve with dressing and blanched beans and fennel mash.

• 2 X 2kg whole pork chops (or ask your butcher to prepare a crown of pork) • 1 cup water • 3 carrots • 1 Clementine or tangerine, juice only • Salt and pepper

For the stuffing

• • • • •

Bunch of wild fennel leaves 4 sage leaves, chopped 4 shallots, chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped Salt and pepper

For the dressing

• 3 Clementines, juice only • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard • 2 sage leaves, finely chopped

Fresh bean and fennel mash Ingredients

Method

• Fresh fennel bulbs • 1 tbsp butter • 1 tsp fennel seeds

1. Boil the fennel bulbs until tender but still retain a little bit of a bite. 2. Process in a food processor adding the butter and fennel seeds.

What is a crown of pork?

Suggested wine: Livio Felluga Sharis Venezia Giulia IGT A fairly pale lemon colour in the glass, Livio Felluga Sharis offers an aromatic and alluring nose of white flower and subtle cinnamon and white pepper spices. Savoury green apple flavours provide a base, before the spice notes of the nose emerge again.

A crown roast is formed by taking a regular bonein pork loin (that’s the big muscle that runs along the back of the pig), and forming it into a circle with the ribs pointed skyward. In order to do this with a single rack (about 10 ribs), you need to cut into the spaces between the ribs so that they can splay out a bit. However, by doing this, you end up increasing the surface area of the pork, which can cause it to dry out more than it would if it were still completely intact. Better is to buy a crown

roast formed by both bonein loins attached end-to-end, making them large enough to form a circle without any unnecessary cutting. Ask your butcher to prepare it for you. Aim to have about a rib and a half per person, or a two per person if you’re looking for leftovers.

D


April 2014

HOM

E C11 OOK S

gourmet today

Strawberry and ricotta tart Ingredients For the crust

• • • •

250g plain flour 125g butter 40g icing sugar 1 egg beaten

For the filling

• • • • •

500g ricotta 100ml fresh cream 1 tsp vanilla essence 2 tbsp icing sugar 1 tbsp lemon juice

For the topping

• 60g dark chocolate • 400g strawberries • 3 tbsp strawberry jam mixed with 1 tbsp water

Method 1. To make the pastry, put butter, flour and icing sugar in food processor. 2. Pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 3. Add beaten egg and pulse until it comes together. 4. Knead gently, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 30 mins.

5. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the pastry to fit in a 23cm fluted tart tin. Prick base well with a fork, then chill for 30 mins. 6. Preheat oven to 200°C. 7. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake for 15 mins. 8. Remove the paper, turn down to 160°C, then cook for a further 10 mins or until golden. Cool on wire rack. 9. Melt the chocolate bain-marie and using a pastry brush cover the base and sides with the melted chocolate. Allow to dry. 10. Whisk ricotta with cream, add icing sugar, vanilla and lemon. Whisk again until smooth and creamy. (If using local ricotta it is best to first pulse it in a food processor to make it smooth). 11. Pour into cooled tart case. 12. Gently heat the jam and water till melted. Do not let it boil. Pass through a sieve and leave to cool slightly. 13. Arrange sliced strawberries on the tart. Brush over the strawberries with the jam and leave to cool. 14. Refrigerate for about 3 hours before serving.


12

gourmet today

April 2014

A grandmother’s influence Last month Gourmet met the brains (and the heart) behind Lovage, a restaurant in Qawra that brought a little flair, a lot of fresh ideas and a tender touch to cooking. This month RACHEL AGIUS took a trip to the sun-kissed seaside town to talk to chef patron Matthew Schembri and the woman who brought a love of cooking – and a knack for creating great dishes from whatever is to hand – into his life; his grandmother Maria.

Maria: My family owned a bakery up in Mgarr. We’d make bread, obviously, but we also made things like almond biscuits and roly-poly for christenings. And people would bring their Sunday roast to cook in the oven. The bakery closed after my brothers, who ran the place, emigrated to Australia. But cooking has always been important to us. I have seven children and family lunch on Sundays is a huge affair. About thirty hungry mouths to feed! During the week, when my grandchildren visit, I like to bake sweet things. It’s nice to have something homemade with tea. I try to make a variety of things to keep it interesting. I love cooking rabbit though – you can do so much with it, from roast to fried to part of a pasta sauce. Nothing we eat comes out of a jar. I like to make everything myself because how else are you going to know what’s in it? I use whatever is in the cupboards at the time and whatever fresh ingredients I have laying about. But nothing is ever pre-made. My mother taught me to cook, although I wasn’t allowed to help out in the kitchen as a child, and it is something that the rest of the family is interested in too. We used to live in Mosta as children but moved to Mgarr quite early on in my life. You start to notice the differences in the way people cook things. Take pumpkin pie, for example. In Mosta and Mellieha, it’s a very simple recipe. Just pumpkin, rice, olives and tuna in pastry. Some villages add currants and other ingredients. And some villages do not

Matthew: We like to talk about cooking make it at all. It’s funny to think how preferences differ between one place and another. Matthew was always hovering around my kitchen when he was little. He liked to get involved, get his hands dirty and help me cook. Now, every time I eat fish, I think of him. Always changing with the seasons and always the freshest possible, well-cooked fish always reminds me of him. I was very proud of him when he opened his restaurant. In fact my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary here – filled the whole place! I’m very proud of him.

a lot. I was professionally trained but I learnt so much from her before that. I remember her making bread pudding, just using whatever she had available to make something delicious. Her making bread pudding is one my earliest memories in fact. She taught me to scavenge, really. The menu changes according to what is in season but individual dishes are added or removed depending on the quality of ingredients available in that particular season, whether it’s fish, meat or vegetables. The focus always has and always will be on freshness. I have my grandmother to thank for that too. We don’t really have any family secrets or special


recipes. But there is one thing that truly stands out in her cooking and it is the one thing I can never manage to recreate. My grandmother makes the best baked potatoes I have ever tasted. The recipe includes the potatoes, peas, onions, a lot of pepper and a dash of olive oil. But the one ‘secret ingredient’ is the dish she uses. It’s an old thing - its years began to show a long time ago with its dents and scratches. That dish combined with those ingredients makes for truly delicious potatoes. And everyone in our family loves them. Some like the ones on the top; the crunchy, slightly burnt ones. Others like the softer ones in the middle and others still like the

13

gourmet today

I like to make everything myself because how else are you going to know what's in it? I use whatever is in the cupboards at the time and whatever fresh ingredients I have laying about. But nothing is ever pre-made. ones at the very bottom of the dish, soaked in those fantastic juices. Any family members who visit always make a beeline for the oven if they know she has cooked these potatoes, so they can pick out their favourite parts. I’ve tried to achieve the same result in the restaurant but without that dish it is simply impossible. That will remain something only

she can make. At the end of the day, both Matthew and his grandmother agree that everything should be made from scratch and that nothing should come out of a jar. This spills over into Lovage where Matt put's every single effort to using only the very best of the freshest ingredients, with passion and creativity.

photography by Ray Attard

April 2014


Trade Enquiries www.practicaltrading.com.mt • Tel: 00356 21449184/21480392/3


Easter eggstravagaza

Easter celebrations are around the corner, and after the forty days of fasting there is no better time to get in the kitchen or plan a family get-together. Gourmet TODAY takes a look at the best spots to spend a day out and if you chose to spend it at home, what you should be making

D


35% +5%

nt

Normal Discou

nt

Further Discou

Furniture at...

ing

...well worth liv *30% discount on kitchen appliances applies

Flamingo Complex, Cannon Road, Qormi | Tel: 2279 4218/9 Fax: 2144 5983 | Email: furniture@flamingo.com.mt | http://www.flamingo.com.mt

YOU’RE IN SAFE HANDS THIS

AT LE MERIDIEN ST JULIANS HOTEL & SPA WE INVITE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TO DISCOVER…

www.lemeridienmalta.com/easter

LE MERIDIEN ST. JULIANS HOTEL + SPA 39, MAIN STREET, BALLUTA BAY ST JULIANS STJ 1017 T: +356 2311 0000

infolmsj@lemeridien.com lemeridienmalta.com

N 55° 35’ E 30° 14’


Easter at Debbie’s

When you think of Easter, a few ingredients come to mind – chocolate, in the form of Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies, almonds that fill the traditional figolla and lamb, the perfect roast for Easter lunch. Becky set up Debbie’s Café just over a month ago and has since had huge success in the little village of Mellieha. What makes Debbie’s Café so special is the innovative way she uses traditional ingredients. Check out some of her Easter recipes – chocolate cupcakes decorated with sugar-coated eggs, an orange and almond cake that is completely gluten and lactose free, and a delicious lamb sandwich with feta cheese and hummus, perfect for leftovers on Easter Monday! Head up to Mellieha to check out what else she has on offer!

D

photography by Ray Attard


18

gourmet today

Chocolate cupcakes Makes 32 cupcakes

Ingredients

• • • • • • • • • • •

350g flour 600g sugar 140g cocoa 2 ¼ tsp baking powder 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 ½ tsp salt 3 eggs 350ml milk 180ml oil 2 tsp vanilla 120ml hot water

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. 2. Line cupcake case. 3. Mix all dry ingredients together. 4. Add wet ingredients and mix together. 5. Fill cupcake cakes two thirds of the way up. 6. Bake for 15 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

Butter icing Ingredients • • • • • •

200g butter (softened) 350g cocoa 625g icing sugar 2 tsp vanilla 2 tbsp golden syrup 12 tbsp cream

Method

1. Mix cocoa and icing sugar together. 2. Beat in dry ingredients to the softened butter. 3. Add vanilla and golden syrup and continue beating. 4. Slowly add cream till buttercream is light and airy. 5. Pipe chocolate icing onto cupcakes once cooled and decorate with mini chocolate eggs and chocolate sprinkles.

April 2014


April 2014

19

gourmet today

Orange and almond gluten and lactose free cake Almonds are synonymous with Easter as the key ingredient to Easter figolli. In today’s world, food allergies are becoming more and more widespread, however you do not have to forego all the things you love. This is an easy recipe that will cure people suffering from gluten or lactose intolerance from their sweet tooth without upsetting their digestive system.

Ingredients

• • • • •

6 eggs 250g ground almonds 250g sugar 2 oranges 1 tsp (gluten free) baking powder • Icing sugar for dusting

Method

1. Turn oven onto 150°C. 2. Boil 2 oranges for hours. 3. Place oranges in food processor until smooth. 4. Grease and line a 9-inch pan. 5. Separate 6 eggs. 6. Whisk egg whites till they

form stiff peaks. 7. In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar until light and airy. 8. Add ground almonds and orange and continue to whisk. 9. Slowly beat in egg whites to the mixture trying to keep as much air as possible in the batter. 10. Pour the mix into your pan and bake for 50 mins. 11. Check the cake after 40 mins with a skewer, if it comes out clean it is ready. 12. Dust with icing sugar once cooled.

D


20

April 2014

gourmet today

Lamb ftira Use the leftover lamb from Easter Sunday’s roast or roast your own especially for this ftira. It’s definitely worth your while!

Ingredients

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

1kg boneless lamb shoulder 2 onions 4 and 1 garlic cloves Sprig fresh mint 2 glasses white wine Salt and pepper 1 tin chickpeas 1 lemon, juice only 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp tahini Feta cheese Ftira Rocket

Method 1. Place lamb, chopped

onions, 4 garlic cloves, mint, white wine, salt and pepper into a baking tray and cover in foil. Cook for 2 hours at 160°C. 2. Place chickpeas, 1 garlic clove, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt and pepper into a food processor. Blitz until smooth. 3. Once cooked, place the lamb, some of the cooked onions into the ftira, add hummus, crumbled feta and rocket, Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil to serve.

Debbie’s Café is open for breakfast, lunch and tea from 9am to 7pm from Tuesday to Saturday and on Sunday from 9am to 1pm. Check out the vast selection of breakfasts including full English and American pancakes, great sandwiches to eat there or take away and a selection of home-made cakes and desserts that will leave you desperate to be back for more. Debbie’s Café Gorg Borg Olivier Street, Mellieha Tel: 2765 4101


The spirit of the city If Valletta had to have a heart, then Ellul Wines and Spirits has undoubtedly chosen the prime location. Situated just a few paces away from the Law Courts at the corner of two of Valletta’s most beautiful streets - whether you make your way to Ellul’s Wines and Spirits from Republic Street towards Upper Santa Lucia Street or through the cobbled paving in Treasury Street, as the sun starts to hit Valletta and shifts it from a solitary sonata to a vivid concerto of colours and smells, the crisp cream umbrellas and chairs neatly poised in Santa Lucia Street host their early morning clients, some eagerly awaiting their daily croissant, as their petit déjeuner, others expecting their strong cappucino or espresso before they embark on their day of hustle and bustle in the City. The afternoon sun greets a different type of customers, and namely those who either have a sweettooth and are looking for that something sweet to hush it up, or those who feel like a quick lunch, away from the clutter of Republic Street and those others who would rather just sip at a glass of wine or a tot of whisky complimented with a hand-rolled Cuban, Domenican Republic or Honduras cigar from the vast collection which the Elluls proudly host. Whatever time of the day it may be, at the Ellul’s business is good. Founded by Fortunato Ellul, who was then known as ‘Tal-Maxxata’, things have come a long way for the Elluls. Although the ‘Maxxata’, an anisette based alcoholic drink which Fortunato Ellul used to make way back in 1860, is no longer produced by the Ellul family, they have indeed excelled and made sure to make their 154-year old experience unsurpassable. A late art-deco oak exterior surrounds the entrance to the shop which Matthew and Andrew, now the fourth generation of this enthusiastic line of businessmen, hosts a vast selection of fine chocolates, spirits, decanters and a charming collection of luxury wines from all around the world, a variety of best vintages, chilled at the right temperatures in a climatecontrolled wine cellar ready to be shared by those who are passionate about wine and about life. This is their secret to keeping 152, Santa Lucia Street, Valletta a landmark for all those looking for both their average bottle of wine or for something more. The Elluls have expanded their wine collection to include premium fine wines and related accessories,

21

gourmet today

as well as distinctive individual and corporate wine gifts, with the aim of bringing the best of the wine worlds to enthusiasts throughout Malta. This stunning collection is also supported by Wine Tasting Sessions that usually take place on weekly evenings - an event that has become synonymous for the Ellul brothers passion for everything right. “We strive to enhance our customers’ wine drinking experiences by offering a vast selection of wines from around the world. With more than 500 unique domestic and imported premium wines on our shelves, Ellul Wines and Spirits has a flavour for every palate. Our selection of hard-to-find collectors’ wines and affordable everyday wines offers a special something for every wine lover. Additionally, our expansive range of wine-related accessories prove the perfect compliments to the wine enthusiast’s world,”

claims Director Matthew Ellul with a passionate shine in his eyes. Whiskey lovers are also spoilt for choice since the Elluls make sure to supply their customers with a broad range which crosses Europe and the world as far as Japan and back. Whiskey Classes have also become a much awaited event at the Ellul’s, with whiskey fans eagerly awaiting this event with much anticipation. With the same enthusiasm as his older brother, Andrew, also a Director at Ellul’s Wines and Spirits, explains, “Whether you prefer to sip and enjoy (as we would recommend), or take shot after shot, it goes without saying that whiskey has long been the go-to spirit for men across the globe. Our love for whiskey runs deep, which is exactly why we took the time to bring various blends from around the world. We’ve got all the best gifts for those of you that are obsessed with whiskey the same way we are.’ Once the magic of the moon hits Valletta’s pedestrian pavements and the Elluls entertain customers with these evening sessions - a legacy carried on by four generations of the Ellul’s is truly felt alive. The Ellul generation lives on through Matthew and Andrew Ellul who make sure that customers at Ellul Wine’s and Spirits do not only visit this charming shop because it suits all their needs, but because their customers know that they both share their passions with the same intensity as they do, whatever they may be. For upcoming events, queries or private or group wine or whiskey tasting bookings, contact us on ellulwines@gmail.com Find them on Facebook: Ellul Wines and Spirits.

photography by Ray Attard

April 2014


The art in baking

Emanuel’s Bakery Traditional baking takes time. Mark Mangion talks to RACHEL ZAMMIT CUTAJAR about sticking to traditional methods to ensure the quality they have become famous for, whether they are baking their traditional Maltese loaf or the sweeter hot cross buns. Traditionally Lent is a time of fasting and giving up sugary foods and drinks. However hot cross buns, which contain very little sugar, are in at this time of year. At Emanuel’s Bakery, tradition is everything. The 60-year-old bakery has produced traditionally baked bread using methods passed on from generation to generation. However Emanuel’s grandsons Matthew, Mark, David and Joseph have felt the need to get creative and diversify from the hobza Maltija. Mark Mangion has taken over the sweet department and makes not only traditional sweets like hot cross buns and kwarezimal but other delicious sweets. When I walked into the bakery the display was filled with oreo

23

gourmet today

Hot cross buns Ingredients

• • • • • • • •

50g sugar 337ml milk 540g flour 1 tsp cinnamon 54g butter 1 eggs 100g sultanas 1 pkt yeast

For the crosses •

75g plain flour

For the glaze •

3 tbsp apricot jam

Method

and caramel cupcakes and the strawberry muffins in the oven smelled delicious. Mark’s day starts at the crack of dawn, with production starting at 5am to have soft and shiny hot cross buns ready for sale by 9:30am. “The process takes around four hours to complete as you need to allow the hot cross buns time to prove. However the rest of the process is relatively simple,” he says. This is what sets Emanuel’s Bakery apart from the rest. They use good quality ingredients with simple cooking methods that take time. “Rushing the process may make the bakery more efficient but it sacrifices quality and to our family that is unacceptable.” He reads the recipe off a scrap of paper and happily returns to glazing the hot cross buns. Emanuel’s Bakery is open from 3:30pm until 10pm for bread and from 6:00pm until closing for pizzas.

1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. 2. Leave to cool until tepid. 3. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. 4. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough. 5. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heel of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. 6. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. 7. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a

Emanuel’s Bakery Triq il-Mithna, Qormi Tel: 21482239

warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size. 8. Add the sultanas and spices and knead to make sure everything is distributed. 9. Leave to rise for 1 more hour until doubled in size. 10. Divide the dough into 20 even pieces. 11. Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more. 12. Heat oven to 220°C. 13. To make the crosses, mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water adding the water 1 tbsp at a time. 14. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. 15. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown. 16. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

Find them on Facebook

photography by Ray Attard

April 2014


Trade enquiries: 21223755 / 21225039 Silver Patrón can also be bought at Capt. A. Caruana, Valletta and Baystreet The perfecT way To enjoy pÁTron is responsibly.


April 2014

25

gourmet today

Life is short eat more cake It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. Gourmet TODAY has tracked down and taste-tested some of sumptuous homemade cakes. French Affaire has the most delectable sweet treats on offer.

French Affaire • RU21, Tigne Point, Silema. • Tel: 79629262 • Website: http://frenchaffaire.com.mt/

Find us on Facebook

photography by Ray Attard

This coffee shop delight is the latest addition to the bustling meeting place at the edge of Tigne point. Inspired by the French daintiness and décor, French Affaire is aiming to give you the impression that you are having an affair with the French coffee and sweet delicacies – a truly unique experience. Its simple interior, French décor, exquisite desserts, breakfasts and coffee make it the place to be for a romantic date or a family gathering. In addition to the dining-in, al fresco or by the bar, patrons can also order their favourite desserts and cakes to take home. Pastry Chef, Charles Camilleri is firmly established in the patisserie world with has years of experience and you can tell he takes great pride in the quality of his cakes, with wonderful attention to the art and the science of pastry. Go a head have an affair. Our favourite has to be the exotic mousse and the classic French Napoleon, a mille-feuille of puff pastry and crème patissiere – absolutely scrumptious and will be back to try more cosmic desserts.


aster Traditions at Phoenicia

Easter Buffet Lunch at Phoenix Restaurant €45 per adult. Live music by Tony Polidano and Richard Edwards. Kids under 5 eat free courtesy of the Easter Bunny, children 6 to 11 only €22 each. Hotel Phoenicia is traditionally the place to celebrate Easter by indulging in a family feast. You will be greeted by a refreshing Mimosa to sip with our compliments before enjoying a copious traditional buffet luncheon at the Phoenix. For adults, Pegasus features a tasty 3-course Easter table d'hôte lunch that goes above and beyond with live carvery at only €34 per person. If you're too busy for lunch, our Easter-themed afternoon tea buffet at the Palm Court Lounge is a suitable setting for such a special family occasion which includes Easter-inspired treats complemented by music from maestro Sammy Galea. Easter Sunday at the Phoenicia, a tradition ... Forever.

FOREVER PHOENICIA Hotel Phoenicia Malta, The Mall Floriana Tel: (+356) 2122 5241 dine@phoeniciamalta.com www.phoeniciamalta.com


Easter and its leftovers

27

D

photography by Ray Attard

Easter is the perfect excuse to indulge in lamb, whether by roasting it or preparing any other lamb dish. The traditional leg of lamb is not only delicious as slow roast lamb, but the next day the remains make the delicious barley soup and with any meat to spare, you can make scrummy minted lamb pasties. Here’s a look at how to feed your family of four for three meals.


28

gourmet today

Slow roast leg of lamb with rosemary and anchovies Ingredients

• 2kg frozen leg of New Zealand lamb • 12 sprigs of rosemary • 6 cloves garlic, halved • 75g butter, softened • 12 anchovy fillets, halved • Black pepper • ¼ bottle white wine • 1 lemon, juice only

For the gravy

• 2 tbsp flour • Some water that the potatoes have been boiled in

For the fresh mint sauce

• • • •

A 2 4 2

small bunch of mint leaves approx. 25 g tbsp Maltese honey tbsp malt vinegar tbsp boiling water

Method

1. Preheat oven to 220°C. 2. With a small sharp knife, make about 12 incisions 5cm deep and insert the garlic halves, an anchovy half and a sprig of rosemary into each incision. Push in with your finger. 3. Cream the soft butter with the remaining halved anchovies and smear it all over the leg of lamb. 4. Grind over lots of freshly ground pepper. 5. Place the lamb in a suitable roasting tin, and pour the wine around and squeeze over the lemon juice. 6. Put in the oven and roast for 15 mins. 7. Turn down the temperature to 180°C and roast the lamb for a further 2 ½ hours basting with the wine juices now and again. 8. To test for readiness insert a skewer in the lamb, the juice that runs out should be clear not bloody. 9. Take the lamb out of the oven and cover lightly with foil leaving at least 15 mins before carving it. 10. Meanwhile make the mint sauce and the gravy. 11. Put the roasting pan onto two hob burners, add the flour mixing in all the time. 12. Finally add the water that potatoes have been boiled in, stir well and then carefully sieve into the gravy boat if serving right away, or if not into a heatproof jug which can be heated in the microwave when needed. 13. To make the mint sauce, put mint leaves and vinegar, honey and boiling water into a food processor and whizz till well mixed, stopping and scraping down once if necessary. Pour into small jug or bowl. 14. Carve lamb and serve with gravy and the mint sauce and your choice of potatoes and vegetables (mashed potatoes are good with this). 15. The next day, remove 175g of the meat left on the bone and set aside for your lamb pasties. Keep the bone and any remaining meat on it for the Barley soup.

April 2014


April 2014

29

gourmet today

Minted lamb pasties Ingredients

For the pastry • 200g plain flour • Pinch of salt • 50g margarine • 50g lard or white fat • Water to mix

For the stuffing

• 175g cooked lamb, finely diced (or see note below) • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped • 3 tbsp cooked peas • 100g boiled potatoes, chopped • Salt and freshly ground pepper • 2 tsp freshly chopped mint or leftover mint sauce • Beaten egg to glaze

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. 2. Sieve the flour with a pinch of salt into a bowl. 3. Add fats and rub in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 4. Add sufficient cold water to mix to a pliable dough and

knead lightly until smooth. 5. Wrap in foil and chill for 30 minutes if possible. 6. Mix together the chopped lamb, onion, peas, potato, salt and pepper to taste and the mint or 2 tbsp mint sauce. 7. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cut into four circles 18cm in diameter (use a large side plate). 8. Divide the meat mixture between these, placing it in the centre of each. Damp the pastry edges with a little of the beaten egg and bring together at the top to form a pasty. Press well together and crimp the edge. 9. Place on a dampened baking sheet and brush with more beaten egg. 10. Cook in a hot oven for 15 mins then reduce oven to 180°C and continue for 15 to 20 mins, until well browned. 11. Serve hot or cold with a salad or tomato wedges.

I use up lamb left over from a roast for these, however if you do not have that, buy some lamb and using this raw diced lamb fry gently in 25g butter for 5 to 10 mins before mixing with the other ingredients. This recipe can be doubled if you want to make 8 pasties.

Barley soup With the leftover bone and any meat still on it, you can make this excellent ‘meal in a soup’.

Ingredients

• 1 lamb bone from a roast, leave any remaining meat on the bone • 3 medium potatoes, peeled • 1 onion, peeled • 2 carrots, scraped • 1 stick celery • 150g pearl barley • Rock salt • Freshly ground pepper • 3 litres water • 1 lamb stock cube (optional)

3. Remove the bone, leaving any good chunks of meat in the soup. 4. Remove the celery and discard. 5. Serve this soup very hot with fresh Maltese bread and butter!

Method

1. Wash and peel vegetables and cut into bite-sized pieces. Put into a large pot, together with the bone, and add water to cover. 2. Bring to the boil slowly, then simmer for 10 mins. Add salt and pepper and the barley. Cook till the barley is opaque and cooked through (1 hour or until the vegetables and meat are very tender)

D


Exclusively imported by Charles Grech & Co. Ltd., Valley Road, B’Kara T: 2144-4400.


April 2014

31

gourmet today

Easter Simnel cake This cake was originally baked in England for Mothering Sunday but is now traditionally baked for Easter and is topped with 11 balls representing the 11 disciples (minus Judas!) The word simila means a fine flour in Latin.

Ingredients • 100g glace cherries • 225g butter left out of the fridge overnight • 225g light Muscovado sugar • 4 large eggs • 225g self-raising flour • 225g sultanas • 100g currants • 50g chopped candid peel

• 2 lemons, grated zest only • 2 tsp ground mixed spice

To garnish

• 2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed • 1 egg beaten • 450g ready bought marzipan for the filling and topping, or even better make your own

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C. 2. Grease and line with parchment the bottom and sides of a 20cm highsided cake tin. 3. Rinse cherries under warm water and dry with kitchen paper and cut into quarters. 4. Put cherries into your cake mixing bowl and add the soft butter, sugar, eggs, self-raising flour, sultanas, currants, candied peel, lemon zest and mixed spice. 5. Beat well until thoroughly mixed. 6. Take marzipan out of fridge and take away one third putting the rest back into the fridge. 7. Roll out the third of the marzipan into a circle the size of your cake tin. 8. Put half the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin, and then top this with your rolled out marzipan. 9. Put the other half of the cake mixture on top of this and smooth the top of the cake. Bake in the oven for 2 ½ hours until risen, brown and firm to the touch. Test with a skewer which should come out clean. After about 1 ½ hours, you might want to cover with a sheet of foil so cake does not brown too much. 10. Leave to cool in the cake tin for 10 mins then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. 11. When the cake is cool, brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam and roll out half the remaining marzipan to fit the top. 12. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate. With a sharp knife mark a criss-cross pattern on the marzipan. 13. Form the remaining marzipan into 11 balls. 14. Brush the marzipan with the beaten egg and arrange the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. 15. Brush the tops of the balls with beaten egg and carefully place the cake under a hot grill until the top is lightly toasted and turning golden. 16. The cake is now ready to put on a serving board and suitable Easter ribbon tied round it. This cake recipe is adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe

Make your own marzipan Ingredients • 350g blanched almonds • 350g sieved icing sugar • 3 egg yolks • 2 tbsp lemon juice • 1 tbsp brandy • 1 tsp orange blossom water (ilma zahar)

Method

1. Whizz almonds in processor till ground (or buy ground almonds) add sieved icing sugar and whizz again till

mixed well. 2. Put egg yolks, lemon juice, brandy and ilma zahar into a small jug and mix well. 3. Add this to the almond mixture and blend again till marzipan is bound together. 4. Take out and knead with your hands. 5. Put into a polythene bag and put into fridge until ready to use. (Can be made up to 2 days in advance).


32

gourmet today

Take your pick from the World of Wines

The World of Wines shop at Blue Harbour, Ta’ Xbiex marina, is Malta’s first wine boutique that promises the most prominent world class wine brands that are locally available from a various number of dedicated importers. The wines of Palladino, Zonin, Masi, Gaja, Frescobaldi, Luce, Antinori, Banfi, Buondi Santi, Donna Chiara and Donnafugata are just a part of extensive Italian portfolio. Bordeaux and Burgundy Grand Cru are being literally cascaded down to many rarely known ‘village’ wine appellations. The choice of Champagne is spread over by large selection of greatest names and formats that currently go up to six litres (8 bottles). M de Minuty 2013 – Chateau Minuty With the sun finally showing itself, it’s time to get the pink stuff back in the fridge again. To start the spring off we’ve chosen arguably the best Rosé of them all, Minuty. Famed for being drunk on the beaches of the South of France, Château Minuty is the benchmark when it comes to dry, light, crisp Rosé. Located only a stone’s throw from St Tropez, their vineyards overlook the Mediterranean. This wine is made from 100% Tibouren grapes, grown almost exclusively in Provence. This wine is perfect for summer barbecues, salads and tapas. This rosé is quintessential of the local style, with the blend employing the little-known Tibouren grape, a variety grown almost exclusively in Provence. Pale honeysuckle pink, it offers a clean nose of citrus fruit, offset by subtle floral and candied notes. Fresh acidity makes for an incisive and lively palate, with a rounded feel. Partner with the delicate flavours of fresh shellfish, or with a mozzarella and sunripened tomato salad. Charles Grech & Co. Ltd., Valley Road, B’Kara Tel: 2144 4400

Imported by Charles Grech & Co. Ltd, Valley Road, B’Kara

April 2014


April 2014

gourmet today

The buzz about the bees

33

Without the honey bee, human life is threatened according to Einstein’s theory. Ray Sciberras shows RACHEL ZAMMIT CUTAJAR around his hives and talks about the important job these tiny creatures do and the golden rewards for keeping them happy Council of Science and Technology and the Earth Science Faculty at the University of Malta. Using a technique developed and patented in Malta, DNA is extracted from the pollen in the honey so that information can be obtained on its origin. This will determin true Maltese honey over products that use imported honey while claiming to be local. With three harvests every year of around 20kg to 25kg of honey per colony, and plans to increase his colonies from 35 to 135 in the coming months, there is sufficient produce to serve local industry as well as some for export. Though honey is their main product, Golden Island also produces a number of other products, courtesy of the bees. Health products such as propolis - sealant the bees use in the hives and has been attributed many health benefits and acts as a natural antibiotic. Royal jelly, a natural steroid the bees feed to queen bee larvae, is used as a dietary supplement and is said to have anti-ageing properties. Bee’s wax is used in pharmaceutical products, candles made from bee’s wax. To get a better understanding of the buzz around the bees, contact Ray and arrange a tour of the hives and the truly local products they produce.

Honey and More Triq Znuber, Mosta Tel 21412900, 79582078 Web: www.goldenisland.eu Email: honeyandmore@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/pages/Honey-and-MoreGolden-Island-Ltd/197626436979775?fref=ts

photography by Ray Attard

As we get into our bee suits, Ray zips me up to make sure none of the bees can find their way in. He tells me about his life before beekeeping, working at the drydocks as a contractor following a physics degree. One day, when going to view a property, the owner showed him around his beehives. Interested by the intricate workings of the hive, Ray did a course in beekeeping at MCAST and joined the other 200 or so beekeepers in Malta and invested in three hives. Three hives soon became 10 and then 20, at which time he decided to quit his job and keep bees commercially. As we walk through the orchard in Attard, the air is heavy with the scent of orange blossom. Ray explains how the different seasons produce very different harvests. The flavour of the honey depends very much on the pollen the bees have access to, and Ray moves his bees around to areas where pollen is abundant at different times of year. The spring harvest is orange blossom, while in the summer the bees move to Mellieha to produce thyme honey and in September they move to Rabat where their will be flavoured with carob and eucalyptus. Understanding the varying flora and fauna has led to a research project Ray is undertaking with the Malta


34

gourmet today

April 2014

Charles Grech appointed to officially represent Marchesi de Frescobaldi and Luce della Vite Tuscan wines Charles Grech wine division has recently entrusted an official and exclusive distribution of famous Tuscan wines produced by Marchesi de Frescobaldi and Luce della Vite, the Super-Tuscan wine brand owned by Marchesi de Frescobaldi. The name Frescobaldi summons up a venerable tradition of involvement not only in winemaking but also in the areas of Italy’s art, culture, and history that stretches back more than 700 years. The family has been in the wine business since the 14th century, and in the 15th and 16th centuries, they were wine suppliers of the Royal English Court and the Papal Court. The head of wine sector Zoran Crncevic adds, “We are very proud to have become partners with the Frescobaldi family. Their prestigious wine brands are fully in line with our ‘on-trade’ and wine boutiques’ strategy and we feel very privileged to be also associated with some of the finest wine estates in Italy. Along with Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Louis Roederer, Achaval Ferrer and

number of others, Marchesi de Frescobaldi and Luce della Vite wines will surely add an extra star to Charles Grech wine portfolio. We truly look forward to working with Marchesi de Frescobaldi and Luce della Vite wines and contributing to its further success.”

McGuigan crowned World’s Best Winemaker Multi-award winning wine producer McGuigan Wines has claimed the title of ‘world’s best winemaker’ for the third time in four years at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) in London. Having already won the award in 2009 and 2011,

McGuigan Wines was awarded the title of International Winemaker of the Year at the awards ceremony in central London. In the 43 year history of the competition no winery, whether from the Old World or New World, has ever been awarded International Winemaker of the Year three times. The key to winning the latest International Winemaker of the Year trophy was McGuigan Wines’ performance across the competition, with an unrivalled and rarely achieved 100% success rate - 39 wines entered; 39 medals received. McGuigan Wines was awarded the International Semillon Trophy in addition to 9 Gold, 22 Silver and 8 bronze medals including eight ‘Best in Class’ awards. On accepting the award, McGuigan Wines chief winemaker Neil McGuigan commented: “To have won International Winemaker of the Year for the third time in four years is an outstanding result for Australia and the McGuigan brand. We’ve come along way from our humble beginnings in

the Hunter Valley. To be the only winery in the world to have won ‘world’s best winemaker’ three times is a testament to our commitment to quality. We can now proudly say that we are now one of the most awarded wineries in the world.” Exclusively imported by Charles Grech & Co. Ltd, Valley Road,B’Kara T: 2144-4400


April 2014

gourmet today

Something fishy Cooking for a small group of friends or family should not be a chore, but a pleasurable past time. For a casual meal, where everybody is in and out of the kitchen, think up dishes where someone else can pitch in as well. A risotto is a great example. Get a friend to do the stirring whilst you can look after the drinks or nibbles. The dessert has been prepared beforehand and is happily lounging in the fridge, whilst the fish is quite content sitting in its dish, swimming in white wine, ready to be popped into the oven. See, it all sounds easy, and it should be as long as you enjoy yourself. No excuses. Get cooking.

35

Michael Diacono is chef patron at Giuseppi’s in Mellieha. For more information contact Michael on 99493579.

Nero di seppia Serves 4

Ingredients

• • • • • • • •

2 onions, peeled and chopped finely 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped Olive oil to fry 500g cleaned cuttlefish, chopped, ink sacs retained Salt and pepper Pinch of chilli pepper 2 glasses dry white wine 4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped or 1 tin polpa

1. Heat some oil in a large pot and stir fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes till softened, but do not allow to brown. 2. Add the chopped cuttlefish and season. 3. Stir well and fry on high heat for about 5 mins then add the white wine. 4. Cover, lower the heat and simmer gently for about 30 mins, checking often to make sure that the fish does not dry out. Add more wine if necessary. 5. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for a further 15 mins. 6. Place the ink sacs into a small bowl with a little water and tear them carefully with a sharp knife then add to the sauce, stirring all the time. Rinse out the small bowl with water and add to the sauce, scraping out as much of the ink as possible. 7. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. 8. You may use this sauce to serve with pasta or to prepare a risotto. 9. Prepare a risotto in the usual way using a good fish stock and add the nero towards the end of cooking.

Getting your fishmonger to clean the fish makes this dish so easy to prepare

D

photography by Ray Attard

Method


36

gourmet today

Baked Barracuda with a mushroom and prawn stuffing Serves 4

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • •

1 kg barracuda, filleted 200g small prawns, peeled 150g mushrooms, chopped 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped Parsley, chopped Salt and pepper 2 glasses dry white wine Olive oil 3 bay leaves

Method

1. To prepare the filling simply mix the prawns with the mushrooms, add the onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and parsley. 2. Lay one fillet of the fish in a dish. Season and fill with the stuffing. Lay the other fillet on top. 3. Add the white wine, olive oil and bay leaves. Cover with foil. 4. Heat oven to 200°C and bake the fish for about 20 mins.

April 2014


April 2014

gourmet today

37

Lemon posset with pistachio and fennel biscotti Makes about 8

Ingredients

• • • • •

900g fresh cream 260g sugar 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped 5 lemons, juice only 1 lemon, zest only

Method

1. Warm the cream in a large pot with the sugar and vanilla seeds. 2. Heat till the creams reaches boiling boil then remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest. Stir well. 3. Leave to cool slightly then pour into serving cups or flutes. 4. Place in the fridge overnight to set.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Pistachio and fennel biscotti Ingredients

• • • • • • •

225g flour 1 tsp baking powder 170g sugar 95g butter (room temp) 2 eggs 50g pistachio nuts ½ tbsp fennel seeds

Method

1. Sift the flour and baking powder and place in an electric mixer. 2. Add the sugar and mix. 3. Add the chopped butter and work till well-amalgamated. 4. Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk lightly. 5. Add to the flour and work to form a dough. 6. Add the nuts and seeds and mix in. 7. Knead lightly on a board then form into 3 long sausage shapes. 8. Place on baking paper but do not put too close to each other as they flatten and spread whilst cooking. 9. Heat oven to 170°C and bake for 20 mins. 10. Remove from the oven, then cut into biscotti and bake again for a further 10 mins till browned.

Grand Vin de Hauteville range of premium wines have been awarded over 18 international medals including Gold and Silver in London, Burgundy & Bordeaux.


38

April 2014

gourmet today

the

Butcher’s tip Snow White Butcher’s in Mgarr, take all the work out of meat preparation for you. However if you’d rather do the work yourself, they offer great tips to help you along. Spring lamb With Easter right around the corner, lamb is on nearly everyone’s menu. But which cuts to buy and how to cook them? Snow White Butchers of Mgarr have some tips to help you make the most out of your Easter. Lamb is beautifully flavoured and needs very little seasoning, however it goes well with robust herbs like rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, mint and garlic. To ensure the best flavours, trim excess fat off the lamb and rub with herbs and spices on both sides. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Only add salt just before cooking as marinating with salt will draw moisture away from the meat, drying it out. Leg of lamb The most popular cut of lamb for Easter is a whole leg. For prefect roast lamb remove the marinated leg from the fridge 30 mins before cooking as a piece of meat at room temperature will roast more evenly. The amount of fat outside and marbled through the meat will determine cooking time and temperature. For lean meat, cook at 230°C for the first 15 mins and then reduce the heat to 175 and continue roasting for 1 hour per kilo, for medium rare. For a fattier piece of meat roast at 160°C for a longer period of time to allow the fat to slowly melt and baste in its own juices. 1 hour and 15 mins per kilo should allow the roast to be cooked to medium rare. Alternatively you can take the meat off the bone (butterfly it), marinate it and cook it on the BBQ.

Lamb cutlets A little bit more expensive than some other cuts the cutlets are great if you don’t have a lot of time to prepare. Cook them on the BBQ or a grill pan for three to four minutes on each side for a fantastic Easter meal prepared in minutes.

Lamb steak Lamb steaks come from the leg of the lamb and are simply sliced with the bone in the middle. Treat them like any other steak and cook in a pan or on the BBQ.

Getting the temperature right

Determining when your roast is done is best checked with a thermometer 42°C will give you a rare roast 58°C will give you a medium-rare roast 68°C will give you a medium-well roast Cooking beyond this temperature will render your roast dried out and tough. The USDA recommends cooking roasts to 68°C.

Lamb shanks The lamb shank is the portion of meat around the shin of the animal, below the knee. This cut is best slow-cooked for two hours in herbs, garlic and wine. For more information contact Snow White Meat & Poultry Market Zebbiegh Road, Mgarr, MGR 9036, MALTA Tel: +356 21575346 m: +356 99475131 Email: snowhite@maltanet.net Web: www.snowwhite.com.mt


39

gourmet today

From farm to table

Food trends have thankfully moved away from massproduced items with infinite shelf lives in favour of fresher options, produced both locally and traditionally. RACHEL ZAMMIT CUTAJAR talks to Dorianne Kurtcu at Diar il-Bniet about how she grew up wanting out of farm life but very soon missed the fresh air.

The huge success that Diar il-Bniet has had since it opened, is testimony to changing trends, where people are becoming more concerned about where the food they eat is coming from. Walking around the 180 tumoli that make up Diar il-Bniet, on a gloriously sunny day, Dorianne talks about her family’s connection to the land, a farm they have tended to for generations. Her father now runs the farm, with her brother and one more full-timer, growing seasonal vegetables, vines and olives as well as looking after some chickens, geese and sheep. While Dorianne was growing up she wasn’t keen on following in the family footsteps and wanted to get away from farm life. A university degree in banking and finance landed her a job at a bank, however she soon realised that she missed not only the fresh air of the Dingli

farm, but the freshness of the food she had become accustomed to eating. Realising that people were becoming more and more concerned about where their food is coming from, setting up a restaurant at the family farm seemed a natural progression. “Eating fresh is something we lost a little bit with the introduction of large supermarket chains and importers. We’ve lost the idea of seasonality and will buy food items that have been grown hundreds of miles away in glasshouses. Not only do these items have a huge carbon footprint but they also lack the flavour that

seasonally grown fruit and vegetables contain.” “The idea of Diar il-Bniet is not only to deliver the very best of local, seasonal produce but to show our customers how things are produced. We will eventually be opening up the farm, so that our customers can see how things are grown, and re-connect with the earth. We want our customers to see the entire process of bringing the food they eat from farm to table.” Naturally the food they serve at Diar il-Bniet uses produce grown and made by hand at the farm. Traditional recipes, the type that remind you of your grandmother, are used to bring out the simple flavours of fresh produce. Whether it is a strawberry that was picked just a few hours before it gets to your plate, dried figs or fresh gbejniet, everything has gone through the hands of Dorianne’s father and her brother. Dorianne explains why the Dingli farm is such a special place. “What gives Dingli an edge is that the highest point on the island and this is where our water table starts. We have fresh water almost throughout the year and only rely on external sources towards the end of the summer. That and the fertile land ensure the richest fruit and vegetables on the island.” After a trip around the farm we went back to the café where Dorianne brought out fresh Maltese ftiras, stuffed with their own homemade kunserva, their own olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs and warm tuna pulpetti. Tucking into one of those is definitely worth the drive, but after taking in the fresh air of the Diar il-Bniet farm and seeing where all of it comes from makes every bite even more delicious.

Diar il-Bniet 121 Main Street, Dingli Email: info@diarilbniet.com www.facebook.com/diarilbniet

photography by Ray Attard

April 2014


40

gourmet today

What’s in season at

Diar il-Bniet Fresh on the farm

The spring has arrived at Diar il-Bniet and with it come bright, sunshiny days on the farm and an abundance of spring vegetables. Nothing says spring more than strawberries – fresh, huge Diar il-Bniet 121 Main Street, Dingli Email: info@diarilbniet.com www.facebook.com/diarilbniet

and juicy, perfect for eating on their own, sprinkled with a bit of sugar, accompanied by their favourite partner fresh cream, or made into more delicious recipes like this strawberry cake. As broad beans come into season, aside from nibbling one or two as we potter around the kitchen, we transform them into a delicious traditional soup, kusksu, bubbling with flavour

Maltese stuffed artichokes Ingredients

• 4 artichokes • Maltese loaf crumbled (if a bit stale better) • Tuna chunks in oil • 6 cloves garlic, minced • Lots of fresh parsley finely chopped • Capers • Olives • Sundried tomatoes • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper • Olive oil

Method

1. Mix all these ingredients well. 2. Stuff the filling between the artichoke leaves, make sure you fill them really well, push the leaves with your fingers so you make space where to fill in with the filling. 3. Make sure that the mixture is not dry and add olive oil if necessary 4. Place in a pot with cold water at the bottom and bring to a boil, cover the pot for around 30 mins. The artichokes are ready when it is easy to pull out one of the leaves. 5. Drizzle some more olive oil on the artichokes and serve immediately. 6. Serve with plenty of fresh Maltese bread.

and a fresh gbejna, that comes from the sheep on our farm. Make the most of what’s left of artichoke season with some of our delicious stuffing – tuna, olives, capers and Maltese bread. They won’t be around for much longer! Come and visit us at Diar ilBniet and enjoy some of our traditional recipes and take home some of the freshest fruit and veg on the island.

April 2014


April 2014

41

gourmet today

Strawberry cake Kusksu Ingredients • • • • • • • • •

Onion Salt and pepper Water Carrot 2 potatoes Broad Beans, peeled Tomato purée (kunserva Kusksu Fresh gbejniet

Method

1. Fry the onion with some salt and pepper. 2. Add in the water and allow to boil. 3. Add carrot, potatoes and broad beans. 4. When the vegetables are tender, add the tomato paste and kusksu and allow to cook until tender. 5. Add the fresh gbejniet at the end and serve with fresh Maltese bread.

• • • • • • • • •

2 eggs 120ml grapeseed or canola oil 200g sugar 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced 300g cups all-purpose flour, divided 1 tsp baking soda 60g dark or light brown sugar, firmly packed ½ tsp cinnamon 70g butter, salted

Method 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. 2. Spray a large loaf pan (or a 12-cup muffin tin) with non-stick cooking spray. 3. Beat the eggs, oil and granulated sugar together until the mixture is thick and pale, about 1 min. 4. Add the strawberries and beat at low speed about 30 seconds, just enough to break up

the berries a bit. 5. Sift together 220g of the flour and the baking soda into a small bowl. 6. Add to the bowl and mix briefly, just until everything is combined. 7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 8. To make the crumble, mix together the remaining 80g flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. 9. Cut the butter into small pieces and add them to the flour mixture. 10. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it has the texture and feel of wet sand. 11. Sprinkle the crumble generously over the batter in the pan. 12. Bake the strawberry cake for 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean. 13. Cool the cake in the pan about 10 mins, then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. 14. Serve at room temperature with our fresh strawberry jam.

photography by Ray Attard

Ingredients


April 2014

43

gourmet today

Nutritious nettles By Gaby Holland

The stinging nettle, or common nettle and hurrieq in Maltese is a perennial weed that grows prolifically in gardens and fields. The word “nettle” describes more than 40 different flowering plant species from the Urtica genus, which comes from the Latin word “uro,” meaning, “I burn.”

Nettles facts • Washing your hair in a nettle-based shampoo is meant to be good at getting rid of dandruff and make hair more glossy. • A “Be Nice To Nettle Week” takes place in the United Kingdom every May to celebrate its important role in the natural world. • Stinging nettles provide the only food for many species of butterfly larva. • The German army used nettle fabric to make army uniforms during World War I.

Nettle soup Serves 2

Ingredients

• 3 cups of nettle leaves (pick the topmost leaves) • 1 leek or onion • 2 cloves garlic • 1 small potato • Chicken or vegetable stock • Salt and pepper • 2 tbsp lemon juice • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt • Few crushed hazelnuts

Method

1. Wash nettle leaves, drain and place in medium sized pot together with a chopped leek or onion, the garlic, the peeled and the chopped potato. 2. Cover with chicken stock and bring to the boil. 3. Simmer for roughly 20 mins until all vegetables are tender. 4. You may need to add some more stock but add just enough or your soup may end up too thin. 5. Season well and stir in the lemon juice 6. Serve hot with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and crushed hazelnuts.

The plant is native to Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, and is found throughout the continental United States. Nettles are readily available in spring and summer, it’s leaves and stems are covered with long, fine bristly hairs that can irritate and blister skin when accidentally brushing against them. These nasty weeds are not popular because of their sting and because they are invasive and need frequent controlling in order to stop them from taking over the gardens. However these weeds can be put to good use instead of being overlooked and avoided. These prickly leaves have long been used for as a medicinal herb and can help in treating arthritis, anemia, hay fever and kidney problems, among other ailments. The leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium and are a good source of incomplete protein too. The good news is that once cooked the sting is removed from the plant and you end up with a nutritious, green leaf that tastes very much like spinach. Another plus is that this plant grows wild so if you do not have a garden to harvest you can easily forage the leaves from a nearby field. A pair of gardening gloves should be worn when picking to avoid being stung. To cook nettles, wash and

drain, discarding stems. Place the leaves in a pot of boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until wilted. Use them as you would use spinach; in a soup or a quiche, with pasta or even as an alternative to traditional pesto sauce. This nettle soup was surprisingly tasty and the garnish can be varied to suit your taste.


44

April 2014

gourmet today

Easter traditions

At Zammeats we love Easter traditions especially having a seven generation long tradition ourselves. This Easter make your lunch or dinner a unique one with a Scottish frenched rack or a roast lamb leg joint by Millers of Speyside, supplied exclusively to Zammeats. Herb-crusted rack of lamb

Serves 8

Ingredients • 4 fresh Millers of Speyside Scottish racks of Lamb cut in half with 3 bones per serving from Zammeats @ Arkadia butcher shop & J&M Butcher • Salt and pepper • Olive oil

For the crust

• 4 slices of stale bread made into crumbs • 150g grated Parmesan from Zammeats Delicatessen @ Arkadia Portomaso • Good bunch fresh parsley • Few Spring fresh thyme, coriander and rosemary • 2 tbsp English mustard (or substitute with Dijon) • Splash of olive oil

Method 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. 2. Place lamb on cutting board fat side up. 3. Lightly score the fat layer with a sharp knife. 4. Generously sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper, ensuring it is thoroughly coated. 5. Heat some olive oil in an oven safe pan. Seal the lamb by holding each side in the oil long enough to develop colour. 6. Transfer the pan with the lamb into the oven and bake for 15 mins. 7. To make the crust, place all of the ingredients for the crust except the mustard into a blender and pulse several times until it looks green. 8. Pour the mixture into a deep dish (bowl or plate) and set aside. 9. Remove the lamb from the oven and brush generously with mustard. 10. Dip the lamb into the crust mixture coating it completely. Dip several times to ensure an even coating. 11. Allow meat to rest for a bit. 12. Place it back into the oven for 3-4 mins when you’re ready to serve.

Roast leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary

Serves 8

Ingredients • 3.8kg fresh Millers of Speyside Scottish leg of lamb, off the bone from Zammeats @ Arkadia butcher shop & J&M Butcher shop in Gzira

For the garlic and rosemary butter

• 3 large garlic cloves, minced • 20g butter, softened • 4-5 stalks fresh rosemary, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove the lamb from the fridge and allow it settle to room temperature. 2. To make the garlic and rosemary butter, combine the garlic, butter and rosemary. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mash to a paste with a fork. 3. With a sharp thin knife or a metal skewer, make between 30 and 50 small incisions into the flesh of the lamb. They should be large enough for you to stick just your fingertip into. 4. Work the butter and garlic mixture into the lamb by massaging it into the meat, trying to work it into the holes. 5. Place the lamb in a roasting tin, place in the preheated oven. Cook for 1hr and 45 mins. 6. Allow the lamb to rest for 10-15 mins, covered in foil to keep it warm.

Zammeats Tel: 79405205 Email info@zammeats.com www.facebook.com/Zammeats


The ultimate wedding guide The first rays of sunshine in the spring signify the beginning of wedding season – Wedding bells, wedding dresses, wedding cakes. Gourmet TODAY takes a look at some of the best wedding services available on the island to take the stress out of planning your wedding

D


46

gourmet today

April 2014

JUS and Molecular F Putting spectacle and substance into

JUS Catering will create a fabulous menu to tantalise and impress your guests. Nothing is impossible, no idea too wild, no menu to complicated. JUS will always deliver spectacular restaurant style food to your events. Bespoke menus, served with style and flair. JUS Catering Sean 99594459 Maria on: 79264613. Find them on Facebook: Find us on Facebook


April 2014

47

gourmet today

r Fusion

Mint infused Limoncello and Amaretto spheres

o your event

Eveyone wants their wedding to be the one of the century and that is exactly what MOLECULAR FUSION are best at.

Smoked Manhatten

and innovative thirst-quenchers which enable us to serve amaretto bubbles and B52 bites, as well as grenadine pearls and daiquiri spaghettis. Molecular cocktails are safe, and as for chemicals you hear about, the truth is, they have been a part of our food and culinary traditions for decades now, as every time you mix something, you use chemistry. Molecular Fusion is just taking the chemistry of mixology a step further, mostly to play with textures, looks and taste. At Molecular Fusion, we tap into your sense of smell and encourage different sensations whilst sipping these amazing cocktails. We genuinely believe that part of the cocktail experience lies in

the theatrics of the service and we perform our routines to provide an entertaining, yet efficient service. Give your guests something more to talk about aside from the bride’s beautiful dress! Every couple has their own style, their own song, their own favourite restaurant or place. So why not have a favourite Molecular Cocktail? Since you cannot have a sip, try having a look at some Molecular Fusion cocktails on our Facebook page. Your free tasting is just a phone call away. None of our cocktails are served at any bars on the island. Be exclusive, be different, be exciting! From sweet to sour, we serve cocktails that will wow you and your guests.

Tequila Sunrise

B52

Crazy Gorilla After Eight

Edward Bonello 99159357 molecularfusionbar@gmail.com

photography by Nik Media

Weddings are wonderful events; the entire experience from the engagement to the honeymoon is a momentous occasion for the bride and groom. Along the journey to matrimony there are many parties, showers and receptions that call for a few hit Molecular Cocktails. Molecular mixology is one application of molecular gastronomy; it means cooking with modern tools. Molecular cocktails are the modern style of drinks, and take advantage of many technical innovations from the scientific disciplines. Molecular mixology blends physics and chemistry to revolutionise the tastes and textures of beverages. The result? New


48

April 2014

gourmet today

Specialist caterers with a world of experience If you are looking for a specialist caterer for your special day, look no further than Mariannu. With experience of over 60 years, they have developed into a company that can provide the perfect blend of sensational food, inspiring ideas and friendly and professional staff. Whether you’re looking for traditional fare or innovative ideas, the buck stops here. Since opening in 1950, their policy has always been to provide high quality and go that extra mile for customers. Our late-grandfather Manuel Cachia started a modest business selling ice-creams. Since then, the company has continued to grow and excel. We know from experience that a pleased client is an investment for the future. Mannarinu caterers want you to be able to relax and enjoy your celebration. Their experienced team is at hand from start to the finish making sure the day is everything you could wish for. From lavish occasions to small intimate nuptials, classic and traditional to modern and quirky, we pride ourselves in providing a high quality service that is tailored to your needs and expectations. Food is their passion and we are more than happy to help create a unique menu if you have a specific menu in mind. Whether you want an elegant reception with chic canapés, outdoor reception or welcoming buffet with all the trimmings or even a selection of all of the above, giving importance to fine detail. The choice is

endless. Mannarinu pride them in providing first class food, always creating innovative ideas. For example coffee being served in edible wafer cups, their unique one of a kind coffee table, chocolate fountains, personalised cakes and so much more.

Mannarinu Caterers St John’s Street, Valletta Tel: 21245080 • mobile: 99499664 Email: info@mannarinu.com Web: www.mannarinu.com You can also find us on facebook


49

gourmet today

A wedding up at ... The Villa The 19th century, tastefully-renovated Villa is centrally located, overlooking the beautiful Balluta Bay. Although it is in within the five-star Le Meridien grounds, it is a totally independent venue, run by Chef Patron Chris Hammett. At The Villa, we cater for small, intimate celebrations as well as larger scale events and bespoke weddings. Our three main outdoor terraces make the most of the beautiful spring sunshine and the large umbrellas make the terrace pleasant well into the colder months. We also have two large indoor venues as well as an intimate private dining room for smaller events. The award-winning restaurant makes The Villa the perfect choice for any event or celebration of any

kind, with a brigade of chefs to cater to your every requirement. Your every wish can be turned into a reality for any event as every detail is tailored to your specific wishes. Whatever the nature of your event and whatever your budget, The Villa can cater for your needs. We invite you to the make The Villa yours to enjoy for any occasion. For further details email - info@thevillamalta.com Contact details 39, Main Street, STJ1543 Saint Julian’s, Tel: 2311 2273 Email: info@thevillamalta.com Find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thevillamalta

www.thevillamalta.com 39, Main Street, Balluta Bay, St. Julians E-mail: info@thevillamalta.com Tel: 2311 2273

photo by Martin Petterson

April 2014


50

April 2014

gourmet today

Say it with candy Make your wedding a sweet one, with a sweet bar or candy cart that will not only make your guests feel like kids again but will really brighten up the venue. Candylicious has gained a reputation for a lavish and unique sweet display for your wedding, birthday parties and events. We can create a beautiful display, the themes, colours and varieties to choose from, a rainbow of yummy sweet, the ideas are endless. Our displays and products are all designed with you and to suit your budget, something different and unexpected for your guests that will make their lasting impression a sweet one.

Candylicious 6, St Frances str. San Gwann, SGN 2351 Tel: 27029117 • Mob: 77451526 email: candylicious_cp2@yahoo.com Web: www.candyliciousmalta.com Candylicious Malta

Give your guests something to remember A sure way of showing your guests how grateful you are for them taking time out for your wedding is to give them memorable, personalised wedding favours, which can make your event even more special. From luxury soap, to little love potion oils and perfumed custom bath salts, there is something special for every occasion. Their herbal infusions and teas are a must try. All these ideas are a thoughtful way to assist your guests commit your wedding day to memory.

Soap Cafe Web: www.SoapCafeMalta.com Tel: 27883675 • Mob: 99883675 Monday to Friday: 16.30pm - 19.30pm Saturday: 10.30am - 14.00pm www.facebook.com/soapcafemalta


April 2014

51

gourmet today

Creating a fairytale wedding Every girl dreams of her wedding day right from childhood, so finding the right venue for that special day that fulfils every childhood fantasy is so important. Justine Pergola of Palazzo Parisio talks to Gourmet TODAY about what makes her home stand out from any other venue How would you describe the venue? A privately owned 19th century stately home with beautiful surrounding Baroque gardens, enriched and endowed with immense style and opulence. Although it may seem very grand and a premiere heritage attraction in Malta it has the feeling of a home and it is personally run by the family and although overwhelming at first sight the atmosphere is friendly and unobtrusive. A lthough the Palace itself may seem of the past it nevertheless has a very modern appeal and each piece you may discover has its own story to tell. What best describes Palazzo Parisio is fruitful symbiosis of tradition and innovation. Elegant, romantic and luxurious – a winning combination for a wedding! Palazzo Parisio is a place of calm and relaxation where every guest feels

special. Whether you want to enjoy a festive banquet, an excellent meal or a romantic evening out – Palazzo Parisio has a reputation for its diversity, bringing together under a single roof history, an award-winning restaurant, a trendy lunch time restaurant, a cosy tea room, an established catering operation and magnificent gardens. Thanks to this variety and our unique location in the heart of a Maltese village, Palazzo Parisio is a popular meeting place for many different social occasions. What makes it so unique and different from other venues? The essence of the Palazzo Parisio experience can be best exhibited in the setting of a wedding. This is where creativity is at its best! The venue is incredibly versatile and lends itself to just about anything, a venue for any occasion. It has a superb level of comfort and noble flair. A wedding at Palazzo Parisio whether in the exquisite gilded ballroom or in the classic baroque gardens offers the couple the perfect balance between lavish and luxurious on the one hand and informal and cosy on the other. Large enough to host reception style weddings, yet cosy for those more inclined to a seated reception, which seems to be more of the trend today. Both gardens on the premises can cater for up to 1000 guests. People who choose to get married at Palazzo Parisio want to experience tradition in a fairytale setting. Another important point is that we have achieved all this thanks to the enthusiasm of our dedicated staff, many of whom have been with us for many years. As

a family business it is of utmost importance to us that every single member of our team not only feels comfortable in their job but above all also regards themselves as part of the family. Is attention to detail important to you? Attention to detail is key at Palazzo Parisio. It makes all the difference. A lot of care and thought goes in to the planning of a wedding be it the menu, the table setting, setting the scene and the entertainment. Time is spent with the bride to fully understand her vision and we do our utmost to fulfil her wishes. My mother the Baroness and I are often personally involved in setting the scene and supervising every detail. This is our home and those who choose to get married here are doing so in our home not at a ‘venue’ and therefore our love of hospitality as a family extends to our business. We cannot think of anything more wonderful than being able to look after each and very single one of our guests personally. If you had to sum up the venue in 5 words what would you say? Bespoke, enchanting, unique, magical, private touch. Palazzo Parisio Pjazza Vittorja,, Naxxar Tel 21412461 Web: www.palazzoparisio.com www.facebook.com/palazzoparisio


52

April 2014

gourmet today

Give your customised wedding gifts a Mediterranean touch Looking for the perfect wedding gift? Why not go for something more Mediterranean? With Mediterranean Ceramics you can be sure that the bride and groom will feel the Mediterranean warmth of your wedding for years to come. After over 20 years working and managing manufacturing operations in the earthenware and ceramics industry David and Brian Grima established Mediterranean Ceramics in 2010. Inspired by the Mediterranean technique of ceramics and pottery David and Brian Grima invested their knowledge and capital to establish a ceramics studio in Malta which brings together various international artists and ceramists to promote the skills and spirit of Maltese and Mediterranean craftsmanship. Mediterranean Ceramics has specialised in the production of Volcanic and Lava table

Bringing you the very best in traditional and contemporary Souvenirs / Favours and Invitations for every special occasion, specialising in: Weddings Communion and Confirmation. The Cake Shop has a huge assortment of souvenirs/favours and gifts to cater
to any taste and any occasion throughout the year.

tops, kitchen counters and customised orders. Visit the Mediterranean Ceramics Studio at the Ta’ Qali Crafts village and relax their fully equipped cafetria.

Choose from wide selection of traditional ready-made wedding favours or personalise them to your own taste in a wide variety of styles, themes and colours. We are Manufacturers, Distributors and Wholesalers For more information visit our shop, now we are also taking appointments in the afternoons to suit your time. Or log onto www.thecakeshopmalta.com

Mediterranean Ceramics Ta Qali Crafts Village, Rabat, ATD4000 Malta Tel: 20105552/3 Mob: 9943 4555 Email: info@mediterraneanceramics.com

The Cake Shop 652, St Joseph High Street, Hamrun, Malta (Opposite BOV Bank) E-mail lucasimports@onvol.net Tel: 79233089,27551155


53

gourmet today

A small company with a big heart You may have happened across Bali Stuff when stuck in traffic on the road leading towards Naxxar. What you may not have realised is that this little company can create the most spectacular wedding with a personal touch. Your big day is one that you want to remember forever and no detail is too small for owner Johanna Zammit who will deliver a highly personalised service. Johanna believes that an extraordinary wedding is not simply planned, but created. A combination of experience, creative flair and logistical planning will ensure that your perfect day goes exactly according to plan. No matter what, no matter where, “can’t be done” is just not part of her vocabulary. The ‘wow’ fac-

tor is guaranteed. The studio is like Aladdin’s cave, unassuming from the outside, but as soon as you step inside you will be mesmerised by the decorative pieces Johanna is working on. The wedding comes alive from the first meeting with the couple and then moves into the second phase of on-site meetings which then lead Johanna back to the workshop where she has spent many a late night covering lampshades, beading crystals and pearls, decorating votives and mason jars among other things. If you are still unsure, log onto the Bali Stuff website and see what some of the happy couples have to stay after their special day.

Bali Stuff Tal Balal Road, Naxxar Tel: 2157 4913/7959 6209 Email: jayzed@maltanet.com Web: http://www.balistuffmalta.com/

photography by Ray Attard

April 2014


54

gourmet today

Keeping your cool whilst planning a wedding Planning a wedding can be stressful no matter your budget. There’s the venue, the food, the cake, the service to worry about and then worry about making all of them mesh into a flawless day. James Caterers take the stress out of the planning phase of your wedding with one company that looks after everything. James Caterers have been providing their consummate wedding service for over 20 years, and are now the biggest wedding caterer on the island. But how have they managed to remain so popular across all wedding budgets? James Caterers offers all-inclusive packages at incredibly affordable prices. This means that betrothed couples can avoid the unnecessary headache of dealing with a number of different and conflicting suppliers; instead they can trust in James Caterers to supply food, drink, service and even a venue for the special day. This coordinated package means that your wedding will be catered under one management and one brand, avoiding the usual confusion that surrounds multiple caterers. James Caterers have always maintained that

their service should work with the budgets of its clients, and not against them. Therefore they offer a flexible package system which can be changed to suit every wedding. James Caterers have access to over 18 different venues across Malta, meaning that whatever your preference or budget, they will have worked in an environment that suits you. These range from palazzos to chic venues, and are matched by James Caterers’ modern approach to wedding catering. The company provides catering solutions across a number of industries and companies, and is perfectly placed to help make your special day as great as it can be with their exquisite food and drink at affordable prices. James Caterers Velleran Street, Fgura FGR 1900. Tel: (+356) 2189 6290/1 - 200 Fax: (+356) 2189 6371 Email: sales@james-caterers.com Web: www.james-caterers.com www.facebook.com/JamesCaterers

April 2014


April 2014

55

gourmet today

Make your wedding a five-star event The Westin Dragonara Resort Situated in a peninsula surrounded by the sparkling Mediterranean Sea and boasting countless outdoor and indoor venues, the Westin Dragonara Resort is a five-star wedding location to be envied. Take your vows in our magical Sunken Garden or with the sea lapping at your toes at the Reef Club Peninsulas and celebrate in style with a reception or an elegant dinner on Quadro’s elevated Verandah with it’s breath-taking sea views. Other unique venues include the Bedouin Bar, which is situated right at the water’s edge, the Reef Club Pool Deck, Palio’s Lower Terrace, Quadro on the Reef, the Pavilion Hall and the Grand Dragonara Point Ballroom. At the Westin Dragonara you will definitely be spoilt for choice and your dream wedding will become a solid and beautiful reality. · Exclusive Sea side venues catering for small weddings as well as large weddings of up to 1,000 guests. · Lavish indoor venues ranging from the traditional Dragonara Point Ballroom to the stylish Pavillion Hall.

Packages: We have all-inclusive wedding packages at various prices to suit everyone’s budget. These packages include an endless array of delicious food, four hours open bar, a red carpet entrance as well as complimentary consultation to ensure that your dream day is definitely one to remember. A one night complimentary stay at the Westin Dragonara Resort is also offered to the bridal couple. All your needs will be seen to in minute detail by our expert team, from your very own in-house wedding specialist to the professional banqueting and culinary team that will create a personal and fantastic food selection. The in-house services range from menu printing, place name cards and various table decorations. We also offer guidance for the general atmosphere of the venue, which can be created by the use of fjakkoli torches, elegant chair covers, candleholders as well as original themed weddings. We cater for traditional-style weddings and modern original themes both with a five-star service and quality. Food items may be selected upon

requests from our itemised list consisting of the many different flavours and specialties from all corners of the world. We also give you the opportunity to create your own personalised menu. Wedding Specialist Robert Vella has been in the wedding industry for the past 22 years, and started his career organising friends and family weddings and then moved on to organising weddings of all styles and budgets. Throughout his career he has organised and assisted over 2,000 weddings! At The Westin Dragonara Resort, Robert assists the bridal party by offering professional advice when it comes to wedding themes, venue décor, choosing the right menu and different food stalls as well as timings assistance to ensure that your dream wedding day is turned into reality.

Contact details Dragonara Road St Julian’s Phone 21381000 events.dragonara@westin.com Website www.westinmalta.com


Exclusively imported by Charles Grech & Co. Ltd., Valley Road, B’Kara T: 2144-4400.


photo by Ray Attard

A passion for molecular gastronomy Molecular gastronomy has been one of the latest trends over the last few years. RACHEL AGUIS makes her way to Jus Dine and Wine in Attard to check out how Sean and Maria are altering the physical and chemical properties of their ingredients to give their diners something to write home about

D

photography by Matthew Toy-Kid Gauci


58

Nestled in a narrow street, a stone’s throw away from the Attard parish church, Jus Dine and Wine presents itself with the kind of unpolished minimalism that one has come to expect from newly opened restaurants. It seems that these days, the patron’s focus is directed squarely at the culinary offerings he is presented with. In some places this works, in others it does not, particularly when the fare is not nearly enough to occupy the senses with. At Jus, this was certainly not the case. The establishment has been open less than a year and already there seems to be a firm grasp on what the evolving menu tries to achieve. Walking in to the converted townhouse, one finds a small bar area downstairs. Up the tight spiral staircase – and I do not envy the staff who must negotiate the ascent laden with plates and bottles – a small room, occupied by half a dozen tables, affords a view onto the quaint fountain that sits right in front of the restaurant. The rough-hewn walls are thick, the tiles underfoot bearing the original symmetrical

gourmet today

designs in an array of colours. Whoever put the place together was sensitive to the beauty of local architecture, a quality that seems to be going extinct as smooth surfaces and neutral tones take over our interiors. We were met at the door by a young man who greeted us warmly and led us upstairs. Sean Xuereb Conti and Maria Sammut, the team behind Jus, emerged from the kitchen to welcome my companion and me and talk us through what they had planned for us. Soon afterwards, a cloth drawstring bag arrived at our table. Inside was fresh bread that was almost too hot to touch. Any fresher than that and we’d have been eating dough. The first dish had a deceptively simple description – a fish platter to share. It sounded innocuous enough. What it turned out to be was a vast slate slab, occupied by a formidable selection of seafood. Fried calamari was heaped between two types

April 2014 of salmon – a smoked variation and a thinly sliced sashimi – and four king prawns, neatly lined up. An Argentine Passo Blanco Pinot Grigio complemented. The platter was equal parts familiar and novel. In what I later realised was a recurring theme, the devil really was in the details. The prawns were cooked in Pernod and with celery, a choice that Maria would later explain takes advantage of the vegetable’s subtle sweetness. The halved zebra tomatoes were topped with balsamic vinegar pearls, our first encounter with the molecular gastronomy concept our hosts were so passionate about. The pearls had a smooth texture, cool slippery beads not unlike enlarged caviar. The slightest pressure however had them explode, releasing their flavor in a tiny satisfying burst. Scattered across the salmon was a white olive oil dust. It drew out the fish’s flavours while retaining its own. After a palate cleanser – a delightfully crisp lemon sorbet in champagne – a rack of lamb with a herb crust and a port and red wine jus made its way to our table, along with a 35 South Merlot. This dish is one that is perhaps familiar to those who follow the restaurant’s online presence, as pictures of it often take centre stage. And this is for good reason. The pink gradient of the perfectly cooked lamb contrasts nicely with the almost electric green of the herb crust and the rich dark red of the jus, making it a very photogenic combination. The meat was tender and the crust offered a strong but not overpowering collection of herbal flavours, with rosemary and parsley coming through most vividly. The olive oil dust made another appearance and had a crumbly, almost cheese-like appearance. It caused a momentary neural confusion as something that looks one way turns out to taste a completely different. Here too its subtle presence complemented but did not overwhelm. A small bowl of mixed vegetables accompanied, including some of the most well treated asparagus I’ve ever tasted. Some unsolicited cook-


April 2014

59

gourmet today

ing advice – if your asparagus is floppy, you’ve made a terrible mistake. The jus was excellent and its robust, moreish flavor made further sense when Maria revealed that pork fat was used in its rendering. It took all our restraint not to salvage those last drops from the plate by means of that still-warm bread. I am not ashamed to admit a split second of trepidation when our desserts came out of the kitchen. Two Chinese soupspoons each held what looked to be a bright orange and slightly translucent egg yolk. My hesitation was allayed when

the description came. These Amaretto spheres, as they were called, looked like they could easily be from the future – a new space age approach that reduced entire meals to single-gulp portions. That is, in fact, the technique applied here. It felt like what I imagined a raw egg yolk would feel like – a thin film surrounding a gelatinous centre. Once it encountered some resistance, the sphere burst, releasing the Amaretto essence into the mouth in a somewhat surprising detonation. A small but nonetheless satisfying conclusion to a thoroughly enjoyable meal.

Jus Dine and Wine 13, Main Street, Attard Tel: 21424647 Mob: Sean 9959 4459 • Maria 7926 4613 Jus Dine and Wine is open from Monday to Saturday for dinner from 8pm till midnight and on Sunday for lunch between 12:30pm and 4:00pm. Closed Tuesday. From 1 May closed for Sunday Lunch but open in the evening from 8pm - 12:30am www.facebook.com/JUSDineWine

The brains behind the food Jus Dine and Wine is the brainchild of two good friends who wanted to try something different. Sean and Maria both had extensive experience in the industry as freelance chefs when Sean discovered the weird and wonderful world of molecular gastronomy. Two years of research resulted in the birth of this fusion of familiar and unexpected, hidden away in the old streets of Attard. When the experiment that was Jus began, there were a few obstacles. Finding the right staff was one. In its short life, the restaurant has already seen about fifteen staff members come and go as they realise just how much hard work is required to retain the level of service the chefs demanded. Wine tastings are held every other month, partly to discover new wines and partly to train employees

and have them become comfortable making appropriate pairing recommendations. From the olive oil and white balsamic vinegar concoction presented with the breadbasket to the neatly pressed tablecloths, it is the attention to detail that sets Jus apart from other establishments and what Sean and Maria hold the most dear. Their goal is to give the patron a complete gastronomic experience that focuses on the essences of food – colour, flavor and texture – with a little ‘science experiment’ feeling thrown in for that wow factor. Part of the reason this has worked out so well for them is that they are living their dream day by day. “There is nothing better than looking forward to waking up to do what you love doing most,” they explain.

photo by Ray Attard

D


60

gourmet today

Lamb French rack with a mustard and herb crust served with a port and red wine jus Serves 4

Ingredients • 2 x 8-bone racks of lamb, French trimmed • 50g parsley • 50g mint • 50g rosemary • 200g breadcrumbs • Salt and pepper • 30g mustard

For the port and red wine jus

• • • • • • • •

2 shallots 1 tbsp oil 50ml port 50ml red wine (preferably a Merlot) 1 bay leaf 500ml demi-glace 20g butter Salt and pepper

Method 1. Combine the mixed herbs with the breadcrumbs and blend in a food processor. (This can be made up to a day ahead and kept in the fridge) 2. Preheat oven to 220°C.

3. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. 4. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. 5. Add lamb and brown well, turning occasionally, about 10 mins. 6. Transfer lamb to baking pan. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into centre of lamb registers 54°C for medium-rare, about 20 mins. 7. Let lamb cool for 10 mins. 8. Brush mustard all over lamb. Coat Lamb with the herb crust, coating completely. 9. Return lamb to baking pan, meat side up. Roast until crumb feels dry but is not colored, about 3 mins. 10. Let lamb rest 5 minutes at room temperature. 11. To make the jus, gently fry the shallots in oil, in a saucepan. 12. Add the port, red wine and bay leaf and allow to simmer until it has reduced to approx 1/3 of a cup (approx. 25 mins). 13. Add the butter and demi-glace and whisk until it the butter has just melted. 14. Season with salt and pepper.

April 2014


A place you’d like to know

Sistina Wine & Co THE PLACE If you enjoy the fine things in life, Sistina Wine & Co is the place to be. Whether you wish to treat yourself or your loved ones to a selection of top-notch wines from all over the world, gourmet food, fine teas and coffees, discuss business over a bottle of wine or simply unwind in a warm and welcoming ambiance, Sistina Wine & Co is the perfect spot.

THE LOUNGE The place is just so inviting, accommodating (free wi-fi) and perfect to simply sit and have a glass of wine (or a cup of tea) that you’ll find yourself simply watching the comings and goings, listening to good music – think acoustic, classical, indie; and tasting the wine.

188, The Strand, Gzira, GZR 1210, Tel: +356 2131 416. e-mail: info@sistinawineco.com

sistinawineco


62

gourmet today

April 2014 Name: Andrew Borg Age: 32 Originally from: Malta Chef and owner at: Black Pig Restaurant


April 2014

63

gourmet today

Chef profile Andrew Borg of the Black Pig in Valletta talks to Gourmet TODAY about what inspires him and what makes for a successful chef

I do not really know the reason why I became a chef and I don’t think it was a choice. It felt natural. However, I never remember myself being slim. Since I was 13 years old, I remember myself trying to cook for my family. I do not really have any childhood memories specifically related to food. There are no nostalgic memories of my grandma baking pies or of myself stealing strawberries from nearby fields, just a keen interest in food that developed as I got older. What was the inspiration behind the Black Pig? I am deeply fond of anything relating to pigs. It is the only animal that you can eat every part, without waste. I would say it is the best meat we produce locally. The black pig is somewhat of a delicacy in Sicily and we even had a few in Malta before the English brought over its pink cousin. Homer Simpson’s Spider Pig always makes me smile. What gets you up in the morning and how do you maintain your enthusiasm? Besides the five wake up alarms what really gets me up in the morning are financial commitments. Before I opened the restaurant, my priorities were cooking good food and having people enjoying themselves. But the reality is that to make Black Pig a success first I have to take care of my financial commitments, then of my staff. Only once those are taken care of do I have the power to start thinking about cooking. This is the order of my priorities, once you mix these priorities up, the business will fail. How do you keep what you are doing fresh and innovative? I keep what I am doing fresh thanks to my small number of trusted suppliers, who I have been working with even before opening Black Pig. My suppliers decide what items I have on my menu. I

trust them completely. Innovation comes naturally when working with such people. If my butcher gives me a quality piece of lamb and the farmer has some great peas and broad beans, thinking up a dish that includes all three items comes easy. I still cannot understand how there are menus that have, for instance, asparagus as a fixed item on the menu all year round. Travelling, dining in restaurants and books help me keep in touch with what is happening on the European food scene. In fact, at Black Pig you are not going to find any molecular gastronomy (such trend is now considered outdated). What ingredients could you not live without and why? Miso, olive oil, sparkling water. Miso: I think miso makes everything taste better. Olive oil: I use a local olive oil from Siggiewi that is so good, I no longer serve butter with the bread in the dining room. Sparkling water: Besides the amount I drink, I use it to finish sauces, tartar, dressings and stocks. What makes Black Pig so special?

this, then you had better think of a career change. It also helps if your life partner understands all this. Is the matching of food to wine/beer/champagne really that important to the diner? Yes, it is. At Black Big we have a small wine list that is updated almost every week in order to better match food with wine. In terms of wine, we are moving toward biodynamic wine since we believe in the philosophy behind it. If you could have anyone prepare you a threecourse meal what would it be and who would you most like to cook it for you? I wouldn’t mind having Hannibal Lecter cooking for me an offal-based meal. No questions asked. Last but not least what is your guilty pleasure? The doughnuts found at the doughnut stands of our local village feasts. I’m fascinated by the doughnuts moving along the conveyor belt and falling into a stack of sugar. One day I will serve a doughnut-inspired dessert at Black Pig and call it ‘Homer’s drool’.

It’s not special. We have a mediocre, incomplete dining room. I had one of the top architects in Malta come to eat at the restaurant and express his irritation at the look of the restaurant. It’s not even in the best spot in Valletta. What we have is a small menu that will be further reduced in the coming weeks. The scope is to take the best out of each ingredient and although I use elaborate cooking methods, I make an effort to make the food look simple, sometimes we are so limited that we have different menus for different tables. What tips do you have for aspiring cooks? Learn the basics, work hard, do not make money your priority, travel, dine at different restaurants and spend at least three to five years working in good restaurants. If you’re not prepared to do all

Black Pig 95/96 Old Bakery Street, Valletta VLT1456, Malta Tel: 2122 1606 • 7922 1606 Email: info@blackpig.com

photography by Ray Attard

Why did you choose to become a chef and what childhood memories do you have?


For those

Classic moments Malta - Attard & Co. Foodstuffs Ltd. Tel: 21 237555 • Gozo - Abraham’s Supplies Co. Ltd. Tel: 21 563231


April 2014

65

gourmet today

Sweet seasonality Food choices in the business community in Mriehel have been limited in the past, especially if you are looking for something healthy. At least that was the case until Karrot & Ko set up shop. A casual and innovative café brings healthy lifestyles and a daily changing menu to keep diners always interested in what’s on the menu. Fresh ingredients and healthy cooking methods are number one priority at Karrot & Ko. No pre-cooked chicken that seems to be acceptable to plenty of places on the market. At Karrot & Ko the only chicken that makes it through the doors are EU-grade chicken breasts, which are then steamed to perfection in-house. Although innovation is what keeps things fresh at Karrot & Ko, they are also firm believers in tradition, offering a great variety of traditional foods and sweets associated with different seasons – and Lent and Easter are no exception. Pick up some of their delightful kwarezimal, made from recipes passed down

through the generations, making you feel like you are at your grandmother’s house. Not to be missed are their sweet qassatat, filled with sweetened ricotta and candied peel, satisfying your sweet tooth during Lent, yet remaining light. So intent are they at using seasonal items that this spills over into their sweets menu. This year sees the first figolli at Karrot & Ko. Owner Karl Grima Bezzina expresses tremendous excitement at combining traditions with fresh food ideas. Veteran pastry chef and ITS lecturer Renato Briffa is right there in the kitchen, preparing some of Easter’s fantastic treats. Like Karl, he believes in doing things the right way, using only the best ingredients, like 100% almonds for their figolli filling. Although Karrot & Ko have breathed life into lunches in Mriehel, if that’s too far out of the way for you, you can make the most of their delivery service and enjoy the deliciousness that is Karrot & Ko in the comfort of your own office.

Karrot & Ko Triq il – Haddiem Mriehel Tel: 2752 7768 EMAIL: karrotandko@gmail.com www.karrotandko.com www.facebook.com/karrotandko


66

gourmet today

April 2014

Frank Salt Mellieha branch w Doing a stressful job has its perks. The Frank Salt Real Estate Mellieha team, having been awarded Best Company Branch of 2013, meet ARABELLA HOGG for a meal at The Seabank Hotel and talk about what makes the team not only great colleagues but also great friends, something, they feel they are then able to transmit to their clients As I enter the Seabank Hotel, I am greeted by two smiling faces outside who came to find me (because I lost my way somewhere between Qawra and Mellieha) it was Robert and Jackie from the Mellieha Branch of Frank Salt Real Estate. They both assured me that it was no problem that I was late and everybody was waiting for me inside. I was introduced to the rest of the team – Jacqueline, Alfred and Patrick (who is the branch manager). We all headed to the salad buffet table to begin what was about to be a lovely light-hearted dinner with a great group of people. My first question for them was about the fact that they had been awarded the ‘Best Company Branch 2013’ and why it was given to them. It was due to the increase of business generated from the previous year, the Mellieha Branch managed to get the best increase out of all the other branches. They were all obviously delighted with this achievement and Jackie added with a beaming smile “the whole team was given a weekend break to Sicily as a reward for the achievement!” Jackie, who mentioned that she was the last to be recruited in this team, said that every single person helped her out when she was new at the office. Throughout her life she has had a whole range of different jobs from teaching to banking “but being here at Frank Salt is the best.” She gushed about how they are a really close-knit team and genuinely good friends besides colleagues. Alfred went on to say its because they have known each other for years – himself, Patrick and Jacqueline had been together in the St Paul’s Bay Branch before the Mellieha Branch had even opened. Robert added “we have some older consultants in this branch, but we kick-ass at a party!” In which everyone broke out into laughter around the table. Its very obvious to me that they are a very close-knit team and they all socialise together – every two months one of the team organises an outing of some sort, they recently got back from a Gozo trip organized by one of the secretaries. The fact that they are a smaller team makes it a lot more personal between them. They offer each other a support system – through work and

Joseph Lupi (Mananging Director), Alfred Dingli, Jacqueline Micallef, Jackie Borg, Patrick Xuereb (Branch Manager) and Robert Caruana.

personal life. Each week they have a meeting together to discuss what they are all going through at work which they call “Brainstorming” to work out problems with clients or properties and see how they can help one another out. There is nothing ‘dog eat dog’ about Frank Salt, which equates into greater success. The Mellieha branch has had a lot of success, not only winning the ‘Best Company Branch’ Award but also Robert got ‘2nd Best Sales Consultant’ and Patrick ‘Highest Value Property Sold’. I asked them why they think they are doing so well, they replied that they are always on the job, looking for new properties so they have

a vast inventory. Robert said, “It is more about making sure you know what the client wants.” Patrick then followed by saying it is also about getting to know the client and not just pushing a sale or rental on to them. He once had a woman from abroad who was going to buy property but then she got cold feet about the island so he dedicated a whole day into taking the lady around Malta, to make her fall in love with the place. She eventually did, and bought a place in Gozo. This is truly a dynamic group, they each bring something to the table and have passions and hobbies outside of real estate. Jackie loves to cook for her teenagers and taking them to


April 2014

67

gourmet today

nature trusts “to teach them to appreciate and take care of this beautiful island.” Patrick is a talented photographer and has collections of his photography from his travels to South Africa and other remote parts of the world. Alfred and Robert have football fever, bickering in front of me about whose team is the best! Jacqueline is the true wild child of the bunch, she has worked for Frank Salt for 12 years and is very much involved in the training programme of all the new secretaries who join the company. With a shock of curly red hair and colorful clothing she tells me about her three children and four grandchildren, her love for music festivals, travelling, painting and nightlife. She then went on to tell me with a gleam in her eye “I was recently chosen by Frank Salt, along with nine other colleagues to go on a trip to Las Vegas! We were there for a week, brainstorming ideas, whilst also having a good time the Frank Salt way (meaning no expense spared. It was a once in a lifetime experience.” As we go back to the buffet stand to get our main courses (a range of pasta, meats and fish) it comes across to me that working for Frank Salt puts employees in a very happy environment. The company provides a lot of incentives for the employees. The group told me about annual team building activities, group trips and social occasions. “It is a high stress job, its no walk in the park but the company puts on these things to lighten the

mood, provide support and relieve stress.” The humour in this branch also seems like it would break up a tough day with a little joke or prank. Jackie tells me that she has a wicked sweet tooth and the rest of her colleagues always hide the office chocolates from her so she drives herself mad rooting around in their drawers looking for them! Besides the fun and games, this branch works very hard and they get a range of both local and foreign clients who are all looking for different things. The locals are sometimes a bit more challenging as they usually have a very strong idea of what they want so it is a challenge to make them look outside of the box. The foreign clients like houses of character and in more quaint areas. Many also go for rental properties, often before taking the full plunge and purchase their own and the Mellieha branch boasts of a fully fledged property rental division and the consultants all know the best properties in the quaint villages, central towns and seaside areas. “Knowing not only the property, but also the history, geography and economy of the island always helps when closing a deal” says Alfred. It seems that the people at the Mellieha branch really enjoy what they do. So what is the way forward for them? “Doing what we do best but better!” said Robert. “As a consultant its is great to meet people, but no sale is easy, when you solve a problem – there is no big-

ger buzz.” Frank Salt seems to really care for the client regardless of the deal “we are very selective on who we employ, I’d rather have an empty desk than have someone who will tarnish the reputation of the company and not give the client the best service” Patrick firmly added. The morale from this group is really incomparable, the evening was closed off with some final lines that perfectly summarised my understanding of them - “we love our job” stated Robert “and we love our branch” added Alfred. We make it a point to never let down clients that puts their property needs in our trust. This is what makes the Mellieha branch and Frank Salt Real Estate as a company a cut above the rest. Frank Salt Real Estate’s belief has always been that of putting its clients first. ‘People who walk through our branches are treated to as professional a service as can be. We sit down with our client and listen to what they need so that we can better understand how we can be of help. We do not just show them properties but guide them to make a proper decision looking at all factors – future plans of the clients, budgets, tastes and lifestyle. We respect the trust they put into us and try to pay them back through an outstanding customer experience, adds Patrick passionately. For more information log onto www.franksalt.com.mt

photography by Ray Attard

works hard and plays hard


thecateringcentre

Suppliers, consultants and maintenance of professional catering equipment

8 Mosta Road, St. Paul’s Bay - Tel: 2157 7305 • St. Lucia Street, Paola - Tel: 2180 2943 • Fortunato Mizzi Street, Victoria, Gozo - Tel: 2155 3792 Web: www.cateringcentre.com • Email: info@cateringcentre.com

The new shape of good homemade past. Imperia’s PastaPresto all in one pasta maker. The powerful electric motor allows you to make your sheets of pasta even quicker than before in six different thicknesses and two types of Pasta: taglitelle and fettucine.


April 2014

69

gourmet today

The very best of the Mediterranean La Barca Summer is in the air and what better way to enjoy the best this season has to offer than by enjoying a meal overlooking Malta’s prettiest beach, Ghadira Bay. The Tunny Net Complex offers a variety of restaurants including Maya Beach, the hot and spicy MexiCo. Mexican Bar and Diner and La Barca, a fabulous outlet offering the best fresh fish caught from the seas just a stone’s throw from your table. Spring days are warm enough to spend them on the beach and a day on the beach is hungry business, the sea and the sand opening up your appetite, and satisfying that hunger with fresh local fish is the perfect ending to a fantastic summery day out.

your food digest and bring on a well deserved sleep after a long day enjoying the very best of the Mediterranean. While dining at any of the Tunny Net Resort restaurants patrons can take advantage of the Seabank Hotel underground car park, out of the blistering sun, for a nominal fee of €1 for a three hour window. Whatever the occasion, La Barca offers the perfect setting, overlooking the picturesque Ghadira Bay, be it a get-together with friends, a birthday party, an engagement party or a small scale wedding. La Barca is the most beautiful at sunset so be sure to book an early table, and if you’re not used to dining early, have an aperitivo and enjoy the warmth of the remaining rays of the sun and the spectacular view of the beach below. Sitting in this idyllic setting brings back holiday memories and instantly transports the diner to a place where problems seem miles away. The restaurant boasts a wide range of fresh fish dishes, meat dishes, pasta and traditional Maltese cuisine from their à la carte menu. On leaving the restaurant you will be stuffed to the brim, but what better way to aid digestion that a walk along the beachfront, inhaling that salty sea air to help

La Barca is open daily for lunch between 12:00 and 15:00 and for dinner between 17:00 and 22:00.

La Barca Tunny Net Complex, Marfa Road, Mellieha Tel: 21521332 • 99470665 Web: www.tunnynet.com www.facebook.com/labarca.mediterraneancuisine


TO

% 9 9 REAL

POTA

Quick and easy, deliciously

smooth instant mash

Think of convenience foods, fast food, ready-prepared meals and you would be forgiven if perhaps a packet of instant potato mix does not readily come to mind. But actually this is one of the healthiest and quickest to prepare.

Mr. Mash contains 99% r eal potato No salt is added and Mr Mash contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Mr Mash is Low in fat and is Gluten Free and suitable for Vegetarians.

Collect Mr. Mash empty packs and exchange for gifts and money vouchers at: CD Gift Scheme, Vincenti Buildings, 15/2 Strait Str, Valletta. Tel: 2123 6629, Trade Enquiries Tel: 2146 0375 (Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 1.00pm)


April 2014

South Africa’s al fresco companion Simonsig Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch, South Africa begins with pleasant aromas of guava, pear, apple and apricot. Tasting the wine reveals more delicious fruit, similar to those found on the nose except that they all come with a tinge of honey on them in the mouth. Medium-bodied with good acidity, the wine also has a nice chalky texture that comes out on the long, smooth finish. It’s the ideal palate friendly wine with which to entertain friends or enjoy an al fresco lunch. Its cutting edge acidity makes it the ideal partner to fresh seafood as well as traditional breyani or even spicy Mexican tacos. Distributed by Attard and Co.

71

gourmet today

Latteria Soresina: All the goodness without lactose

Now you can enjoy your bread, cereal and other favourite dishes without compromising on flavour with Latteria Soresina LACTOSE FREE milk and butter. Try it for yourself! Distributed by Attard and Co.


72

gourmet today - events

April 2014

events

Mazda 3 launch GasanZammit launched the new Mazda 3 earlier last month where members of the press were treated to a breakfast affair and then challenged to test their driving skills and knowledge with a series of tests and trials organised by the comic duo DanUSan.

Chris Sultana, Sander from DanUSan and Tonio Darmanin

Martina with DanUSan

Mazda 3

Gourmet Today recipe index Starters Artichoke salad...................................................................8 Sepia di nero......................................................................35 Mains Crown of pork.....................................................................9 Lamb and hummus ftira................................................20 Roasted leg of lamb..........................................................28 Lamb pasties......................................................................29 Lamb and barely soup.....................................................29 Stuffed barracuda.............................................................36 Herb-crusted lamb rack.................................................60 Desserts Strawberry and ricotta tart .........................................11 Hot cross buns................................................................23 Easter chocolate cupcakes...........................................28

Almond and orange cake.............................................29 Lemon posset .................................................................37 Easter simmel cake........................................................31

Sides Fennel mash.......................................................................9 Mint sauce .......................................................................28


Enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch with your loved ones on Easter Sunday. Feast on a mouth-watering spread of dishes from all corners of the globe in addition to the all time favourite, Lamb Carvery. Homemade traditions are being given a five star touch this Easter. Our award winning team of pastry chefs is busy preparing figolli and Easter eggs for you to take home or to give to your loved ones. These delectable goodies are available to purchase from our Harbour View Lounge, which is open 24 hours a day. For more information and bookings please call 2125 0520 or email food.beverage@excelsior.com.mt

www.excelsior.com.mt



Gourmet TODAY Issue 27