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summer The Malta Independent on Sunday JULY 2018


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Fine dining –

It’s time to take advantage of our wonderful summer months and make dining out even more of a special event

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nd since this should mean a break from everyday habits and locations we’re saying let’s ‘bring back the picnic basket’. We are now so used to humping freezer bags and fast food boxes, soft drink cartons, wine and beer bottles, and vast meals that end up in various stages from raw to cremated, that it has become the norm. There are the bags of charcoal, briquettes and mini gas bottles needed to fuel the barbeques, the hefty collection of chef’s tools, plates, glasses and plastic boxes, containing everything from artichoke hearts to zabaglione, that need carrying to a suitable site, and a long, effort-laden wait till everything is

cooked. This, if you have a thread of civic pride and responsibility, culminates in the disposal of leftovers and rubbish, the disabling and cooling down of cooking facilities, and, unless you are lucky enough to park on site, a steady trek back to your transport home. Put like that it all sounds a bit rough and ready and, frankly, in most cases, something only kids and adolescents really enjoy. And, at the end of the day they would probably be just as happy with a fast, fried, family bucket of something featuring chips. But a picnic, says long summer lunches, sunset suppers, style and sophistication or rustic charm. It says delicate, ready-cooked food, homemade

AL PONTE PIZZERIA & RESTAURANT

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l Ponte is renowned as one of the best restaurants on the island. It is highly esteemed for its delicious Mediterranean food complimented by a wide selection of local and foreign Wines. The restaurant’s open kitchen allows everyone to appreciate our chefs at work preparing mouthwatering dishes including a wide selection of pizza cooked to

perfection in our renowned stone oven. This celebrated à la carte restaurant boasts a rustic vaulted ceiling leading to a beautiful terrace, for the enjoyment of al fresco dinning available throughout the year. Al Ponte also offers a Cafeteria Menu including a Baker’s corner during the morning hours, whereas the full menu is served from mid-day onwards. Al Ponte Pizzeria & Restaurant MARITIM Antonine Hotel & Spa George Borg Olivier Street, Mellieha MLH 1021 Tel: 00356 2289 2245 E-Mail: info@alponterestaurant.com Facebook: alponterestaurant


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SUMMER STYLE fruit squashes and chilled wine in flasks. It hints at pure relaxation on huge cushions, colourful rugs, hammocks and pretty deckchairs, under trees, or in the shade of rocks or a beach umbrella. It’s true, a picnic menu needs planning to avoid fiddly preparations. But this will make packing and serving up much simpler, and avoid the need to take too many sauces and condiments. The choice of food is all important. Sandwiches are safe enough, but stick to fillings that will stay in place and not turn the bread soggy. They should also be no bigger than three-bite size. In fact, nearly all picnic food should be canapé size, and complete. Wandering around with bits and dips is just a nuisance and requires far too many plates to serve things from. Main courses can take the form of bowl food; so much easier to manage than a plate, knife and fork etc. Lots of time and effort can be saved by preparing and individually packing

picnic meals so they are ready to eat as soon as they are needed. And the most delicious deserts hardly even need packing – almost all fruit comes in its own wrapping.

All set

In a beach, boat, or countryside setting a beautifully laid table, or even an attractive cloth spread out on the ground and loaded with cool, colourful dishes is an instant invitation to relax and enjoy an al fresco meal in good company. In fact, the surroundings and atmosphere are what makes a picnic so special. Choose a setting as far away as possible from noise, traffic and other distractions; but not too far off the beaten track unless a hike to the location is something everyone has signed up for. Light, folding furniture, large air cushions or those with beautifully patterned, strong linen designs, woven rugs or mats in hessian, or any of the new eco-fabrics that are becoming so popular indoors and out, plus cooler boxes and picnic hampers will create your outdoor dining room. Themed or matching crockery, napkins and glasses will add a certain style and continuity, especially if mixed with arrangements and ‘table’ centres made from wild flowers, twigs, branches, drift wood, shells and stones found in the surrounding area. Add sturdy, weighted umbrellas for shade or decorative lanterns and torches to complement the moon and star light, and your setting is complete.

Ambience

For complete calm and peace of mind (always the object of a lovely picnic!) it would be wonderful if everyone observed a phone embargo, if only for the first hour or two, so the mood is set. And, to coin a cliché, silence is golden. A meal eaten outside should need nothing more than the background sound of the sea, the chirping of birds, buzzing of bees and the rise and fall of conversations. There, it’s been said; but if that’s not enough then someone will be bound to have an i-gadget that plays whatever music the occasion calls for. And talking of buzzing bees, and other insects, it’s a good idea to have repellents and insect proof wipes nearby to discourage the little horrors. See Put

Off the Pests, page 7 to find one that will suit you. Some subtly scented candles can also be a nice touch. But avoid the cheap, heavily scented versions that smell more like public loo cleaners than a seascented breeze. Peace of mind also means being prepared, so include, torch batteries, a first aid kit and, to be produced only in a children’s emergency one or two tablets. We spend so much time under the weight of places to be and things to do, that even meals are often just fitted in. A picnic is a way to re-experience the leisurely vibes of getting away from all that; a detox of the mind, if that is your thing, or an utterly delightful example of summer magic with good food and company thrown in.


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FUN AFLOAT w latest INFLATAB Every since sharing space on a packed bus with a huge blow up flamingo we've taken a second look at pool toys.

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orget little paddle boats and ride astride plastic Nemos and unicorns, the latest pool accessories are aimed at everyone from 'tweens to third age; and they are really fun. But the more attractive they appear the more safety conscious we should be when using them in both pools and the open sea. It should never be forgotten that these items are not swim aids and children who can hardly swim still need proper armbands or swim vests, until they are competent and confident, even out of their depth. When they are left around in or near a pool children are bound to rush in to play with

Don’t let UNWELCOME GUESTS come into YOUR HOUSE “Waiter, waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!” True, similar jokes do put a smile on our face, but yet these jokes do also incite serious discussion – That of pest control in our homes and commercial premises. Of all pests, cockroaches are undoubtedly the most repugnant to most people. This feeling is not unreasonable, as cockroaches are just as efficient as flies at spreading germs. Their habits are dirty in the extreme and they

move indiscriminately from dirt, drains and sewers to food, cutlery and crockery. They eat prepared food that is left out overnight and some can survive even in fridges. They will, of course, eat anything available and can survive several months without food. At Comtec we recommend that at this time of the year a treatment against common crawling insects is carried out with a residual insecticide. All our technicians are professionally trained not just to apply an insecticide but to also inspect and investigate from where cockroaches might be gaining access. We also provide a DIY solution where we provided ready to use insecticides that can be applied around the house against common crawling insect. Another tedious pest encountered during the summer months are the ants and at Comtec we have a brilliant solution to eliminate the ants inside the house since the product eliminates the ants from the nest. The ants bait stations are odorless, safe to use around children and pets and very effective. All our treatments are delivered by a team of professional trained pest control technicians backed with years of experience to bring peace of mind to our customers.

them. However, there should always be a competent adult nearby whenever children are playing with these toys. Parents watching their children bouncing about like dolphins with the apparent support of a novelty plastic float may easily get the impression that their children are better swimmers than they really are. If one of these inflatable toys should spring a leak for any reason disaster could happen in seconds. And a colourful slice of pizza or a mini dingy could quickly become an object of terror to a child who falls, or is pushed off it and feels trapped under water or unable to reach the edge of the pool. Even more care needs to be taken when these novelties are


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with the BLES taken to a beach. Think sudden changes of depth in the sea levels off rocky beaches, sharp objects that could tear the rubber and plastic, strong currents or sudden high winds that could carry them away, complete with little passengers. If you are ever more than an arm's length from a child with a floating toy or craft at least have it tied firmly to a rope, and keep hold of the rope; tying it to somewhere on the family motorboat may not be as secure as you might imagine. And so to us grown-ups, who, let's face it, can be as irresponsible around water as any child, given the wrong circumstances. For safety's sake: If you must paddle off round the bay in search of peace and quiet go no more than a few metres off shore. Stay off the airbeds, blow up mobile phones and slices of watermelon, if there is anything more than a very light breeze, which must be blowing inland, obviously, and flat calm seas. Never be tempted to sleep off a boozy lunch in a pool armchair, or clinging to a large, airfilled swan, banana, bottle of wine, or equally unreliable support. The pool may be less than two metres deep but if you accidently roll off it may

not turn out to be the amusing story you would hope for. Anyway, you probably

KINNIE gets a facelift Malta’s own favourite soft drink, Kinnie, has been given a new contemporary visual identity which is featuring in a new multi-channel communications plan. The new brand identity, strongly reflected in new packaging designs, reinforces the brand’s premium credentials, inviting consumers to rediscover ‘The biggest flavour under the sun’. “An intrinsic part of Maltese life, Kinnie will surprise and delight consumers with its new packaging and communications. This summer, Kinnie will be celebrating simpler times, drawing on its heritage as ‘The Mediterranean classic since 1952’,” said Kinnie brand executive Maya Muscat Azzopardi. Susan Weenink Camilleri, Head of Marketing & Communications, explains, “We have looked

at world trends and listened to local consumers across generations and across the Maltese islands. The result is a redesigned brand that takes a positive step forward, whilst making a warm and nostalgic nod to the past. The package line-up includes a new one-litre bottle as part of our strategy to offer consumers more choice in line with evolving consumption trends. “As we look towards further expanding Kinnie to overseas markets, this redesign indicates our determination to establish Kinnie as an equally loved brand outside Maltese shores.” The Kinnie portfolio includes Kinnie, Diet Kinnie and Kinnie Zest, produced, marketed and distributed by Simonds Farsons Cisk plc.

know all that already. You may even be perfectly capable of mustering enough puff to do all the inflating without a

pump; though who would want to? So grab the nearest slice of lemon or grinning turtle and jump in.


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ROOM at the top Roof gardens and terraces are having a moment and the craze for furnishing these outdoor areas is creating relaxing spaces in all kinds of homes.

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ext time you walk down your road, or round your village, look up every now and again and spot how many roofs, penthouse terraces and large balconies show signs of habitation. We are in an age of dense housing, what was once a washroom has grown into a penthouse studio with terrace. Houses are marketed as having sole use of roof and now hammocks and plants hang on roofs, instead of washing. Summer draws us outside and a cool roof or terrace can be arranged into an ideal place to entertain, work from home or simply hang out. Assuming you already have a suitable area, all you need to do is choose how to adapt it. If you are thinking of it as an extra entertainment space, consider how far away it is from the hub of the house. If it's a flight or two of stairs away you may want to provide the means to run a small fridge to keep drinks cool, or a microwave to warm up a snack when you feel like it, instead of going up and down stairs all the time. If you are lucky enough to get a lot of sun on the terrace for most of the day it will be worth turning it into something special, since you will have so much use of it from early spring right through to late autumn,

not to mention the bright, sunny days we sometimes have in winter. In fact it would be worth installing a fire pit to create a romantic urban winter wonderland. Sources of shade and shelter are important on terraces, especially those near the coast or in exposed areas. There is so much scope when choosing these you are almost spoilt for choice. Think of the surrounding environment, are there views you want to see or sites you want to mask? If privacy is a priority how will you ensure you can have it without compromising light and appearance? Pergolas, trellises, which can be hung with plants, real or imitation, and wooden blinds hung from specially mounted frames are all attractive ways of screening an area. Where privacy is not such a concern, they can be moveable to provide shade and decoration where and when necessary. The walls and flooring will already be in place but they can easily be tweaked with

some coats of paint, shelving, carefully placed mirrors and even pictures, posters and other personal pieces to make the space the personal. Floors can be paved or covered in decking or a mock grass effect. And, although it counts as outdoors, colourful Kilims look great, especially if you are also considering ottomans, huge floor cushions and a whole Arabian Nights thing. A water feature, either on a wall or the ground creates a relaxing, cooling vibe and makes an interesting focal point. There are loads of designs to choose from and if you surround it with pots of plants or a clever lighting, the effect will be even more striking. Furnishings depend entirely on your style and taste. From ocean liner deck to rustic cabin veranda, seating and soft furnishings are up to you. They can either be built in, useful if you want something custom made to your own design, or bought from any one of the dozens of

garden and home shops around. You may even go creative with brightly painted rescued pieces, or stage a foreign piazza look using lots of ferro battuto chairs and tables and cream canvas umbrellas. Terraces and roof gardens really come into their own at night so lighting is very important. Whatever you chose, position it well; you need to be able to see what you are eating and where you are going easily, but anything too bright will ruin the atmosphere. Spots on dimmers are effective in a modern setting. Floor lights can work in some areas but, in general uplighting does not show people in a very flattering light, pun intended. Lanterns are gorgeous, so are tea lights, although they constantly need replacing, and simple rows of fairy lights can still be amazingly effective. Experiment and decide what suits you best. However you revamp your terrace or covert your roof space you will wonder why you left it so long. You'll have a place that feels quite remote from the rooms indoors, where you can step out for a meal, a break in the day or simply to enjoy the feeling of freedom you get from being outside. You will have somewhere to enjoy entertaining or spending quiet time with someone special. And it will be a real joy.


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Put off the PESTS Even if you are unfazed by crawling or flying insects some of them can be both annoying and dangerous so it's best to keep them away.

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here are any number of electronic lights, mats and zapping gadgets, incense type burners and sprays for the spaces around you, plus gels and sprays to put on, to keep insects away but using sources of energy and chemical formulas are environmentally unfriendly and natural methods are a good way to go. Fly screens, keeping foods covered and surfaces clean and having a tight-fitting bin lid are all ways to discourage pests in general, but some need individual treatment according to their breed or type. Fruit flies can be trapped by filling a small with apple cider vinegar and covering the top with plastic wrap, held on with an elastic band with a few holes punched in it. The silly little things will make a bee line for it. House flies are a major nuisance at this time of year, probably because all the rubbish around provides food and breeding accommodation. They can be halted though by a large bunch of basil leaves soaked overnight in water. Strain the infusions into a spray bottle for a natural fly spray. Flies also hate a lot of great-smelling plants, including lemon

Moths hate lavender

verbena, basil, mint, thyme, rosemary, lavender, bay and chamomile. Putting pots of these near open doorways and windows will not only keep the creatures out but will also look really attractive. Candles with similar scents may work just as well at night or when the plants are unavailable. Wasps are fine as long as you keep still and don’t panic them, or accidently bite into one that has landed on a piece of fruit or in a drink. They will certainly leave you alone if there is a jar of water with fruit juice or a spoonful of jam in it nearby. And if there’s a perforated top or some chicken wire to stop them flying out again they will soon be out of your way. Ants, indoors or out can be trapped in a jar containing a mix of borax powder, sugar, and water and a wad of toilet paper. Punch a few holes in the lid of the jar before fastening it. If you can see their pathways, sprinkle them with borax which they will take back to their nest to their detriment. NB keep borax away from children and pets. Cockroaches are particularly horrible and tough, but you can deter them by keeping plug holes covered, mending any leaks, inside and out, as soon as

they are discovered. And, they like a drink so try putting a little beer into a small plastic water, ready halved with the top inverted into the base for the insects to crawl in. The beer will leave them drunk and incapable and easily disposed of. Yes, really. They are also put off by borax and something called diatomaceous earth. Finding traces of food moths when cooking summer’s special meals can be prevented by keeping opened packets in plastic boxes, air-tight jars or the fridge; and by leaving dried bay leaves in the cupboards. Clothes moths are killed by high heat so before putting it away for summer dry-clean or wash woollen items and put them through the dryer, but only when they are dry, or they might shrink. This means you can avoid the dreaded seasonal smell of moth balls later. Any other moths will be put off by lavender and sandalwood and cedar oils. When your favourite mosquito deterrent, and the obvious citronella, geranium and lemon balm don’t seem to be working turning on an electric fan will boost the power of the scents and prove too strong for the mozzies to fly

Plants against flies

Fruit flies Fruit fly trap

The cockroach bar through and blow the bugs away. Eggshells, sawdust and salt on the soil will stop snails and slugs in their tracks, and you can tackle ticks with tea tree oil. And so to spiders; if you can possibly tolerate them, at least high up in corners or anywhere outside, by trapping flies, mosquitoes and gnats they are one of the best exterminators you could find.

Borax destroy the ants which take it into their colonies

A do it yourself insect repellent It is safe for adults and children, who will probably enjoy mixing it up, and this how it’s made Put ½ teaspoon of salt and 5 drops of essential oil – choose from tea tree, citronella, lemongrass, rosemary and myrtle, or mix one or two to make five drops, into a 250 gm- spray bottle. Wait until the all the oil/s have soaked into the salt and fill the bottle with water. Give it a good shake every time you spritz it. And be careful to keep it away from the eyes.


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