the quarterly, quality, life & style magazine
Issue No.3 – Autumn 2011 €4 - where sold
life & style
A note from the Editor Everyone’s indulgences are different. For me, it’s not about labels, it’s about time. Time to do my favourite things, with or for my favourite people. It can sometimes be a bit selfish; me, a good book, a bag of popcorn and no communication devices close by, or catching up on the day’s events with my partner on the sofa and watching TCM or a box-set of DVD’s, it can be preparing a meal for friends from a new cook book and having a whole afternoon to experiment and fuss, it can be shopping after a long lazy lunch on a city break for something frivolous. The concept and content of this magazine is all about time, and how and where to spend it. You’ll notice this one is a bit heavier, so you may need to find a bit more of the precious commodity to enjoy the extra pages. At this point, I’d like to give a special thanks to Jessica for her invaluable assistance! For now though, it’s freshly pedicured feet up for me as the Christmas edition will soon have me running around.
Monique x email@example.com +356 99891722 IndulgeMagazineMalta www.indulge.com.mt
Amber’s artists work, work their way onto my wish list
One woman is overcome by her passion for Tango!
Get the tissues ready. Pierre’s fantastic story is a tear-jerker
Marisa tells us what’s in style this season
It’s curtains up on Theatre Season – Martin shares his ‘must see list’
COMPETITION: Have a paint fight on Dulux – and may the best couple win!
Jean-Marc is in the kitchen
Spa anyone? Debbie goes all out on an Ayurvedic retreat
Phil investigates the ultimate gentleman’s game: Polo
John unleashes trapped memories and demystifies photography related gadgets
Ben is three sheets to the wind in this piece about racing
Malcolm shows no sign of slowing down with performance car race days
indulge is brought to you by Compass Rose Marketing, Shoebox, Triq Gilormu Cassar, Birgu Editorial Assistant: Jessica Xuereb Photography: Kurt Arrigo & The Whirling Dervish Designed by: Porridge Printed by: Print It Distributed by: 3D For advertising enquires, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org All information is correct at the time of going to press. The editor does not accept liability for the opinions expressed nor accuracy of information.
The customary snap and click are the sounds of a camera that Jelena finds herself addicted to, over time they have almost become a part of her. Coming from a family of artists and photographers, for the last 8 years, she has focused her talents on photography. Jelena left Serbia 13 years ago and has been in Malta ever since. She has a full time job, so for now her photography remains a pastime. Jelena believes that she will only ever refer to herself as a professional photographer once she is earning an income from it.
Amber Knights is a creative mother of three whoâ€™s chaotic life includes juggling kids, animals, and art with a good sense of humour.
Both colour and black and white photographs are what entice Jelena to keep snapping, however she is currently leaning more towards monochrome photographs and is drawing much of her inspiration from the natural forms of our Maltese rocks. Black and white photography allows you to train yourself and pay particular attention to the various shapes, tones and textures of your scene. What might seem like an insipid backdrop can be turned into a work of art through a monochrome
shot. Jelena manages to impart the feel and emotion of the scene before her, which in turn has a higher impact on the viewer. Photography is all about capturing a moment, be it spontaneous or cleverly executed, and transferring the memory onto paper. Jelena seems to have grasped this talent effortlessly. The clarity, simplicity and overall impact of her photographs are likely to captivate you from the moment you set eyes on them. Both her black and white and colour photographs seem to mesmerise and engross the viewer, they are both beautifully lucid and strong. She plays close attention to the compostition, perspective and imparts the feel and emotion of the scene fluently. Jelena has covered all aspects of photographic themes, from architecture to portraiture. She has exhibited a number of times in Malta and throughout the month of September will have an exhibition of her most recent works displayed at the Palace Hotel, well worth a visit. indulge / Autumn 2011 â€“ 7
She uses sculpting as a means to selfdiscovery
Dorissa Vella Dorissa, a philosopher and wood sculptor, has always been an artist. She has a background in restorative art and many years experience in calligraphy. Her calligraphy has trained her to have a steady hand, and this skill has had a significant effect and has been invaluable to her carving of wood. Her father was an expert carpenter so her captivation to the various forms and shapes that wood can be developed into must have been ingrained from a young age, however I was extremely surprised to learn that Dorissa has only taken up sculpting in the last year. Her clever and beautiful manipulation of wood belies the absence of formal training to this particular art form. The wood varieties that she uses are plentiful, mahogany, iroko, pine and eucalyptus. Chisels line the table along side Dorissa’s grindstone, which she uses to sharpen her tools, something she cannot do without. Some of the finest examples of her works are reproductions of Neolithic art; she feels that copying such art evokes the memory and feeling of the artist creating the image before her. She is very much moved and inspired by the Neolithic
8 –indulge / Autumn 2011
phase, a large part of our heritage, which has an abundance of art. Many trips to the island of Bali had a significant impact on her desire to sculpt and as she points out, the Balinese display their cultural art in their homes, so why shouldn’t we? Neolithic art paints a colourful picture of a rich culture and as Dorissa explains, it’s not just about studying their motives and human facets, their work delves deep into the mysteries surrounding the cosmos and Earth. The female goddesses in particular seem to elevate her and their qualities and earthliness compliment her work. She uses sculpting as a means to selfdiscovery. Her artistic Nome de plume is MinnISSA – meaning from now, ISSA represents the name of the fat figure repeated in Neolithic Art. She finds herself now, in the moment. She delves into her own sub-conscious and appreciates the creations that spring forth. Dorissa’s carvings are not just about finding herself; she feels that she continues the art and creative legacy of her forbearers. Should you be interested in seeing some of Dorissa’s works, she will be exhibiting them at the wine festival and bread festival in September as well as Notte Bianca in October. You can also contact the artist via her web page: minnissa.webs.com
Doriette Gauci Sciortino Having dedicated most of her life to motherhood and being a grandmother, it wasnâ€™t until nine years ago that Doriette decided that it was time to do something for herself and thus has forged a hobby into a successful career. On first meeting Doriette, I joined her in her garden, her haven and studio were I was pleasantly surprised by a miniature exhibition of her most favoured works. It was very apparent that painting is her passion, her hunger to paint lead by her desire to reproduce and share images that she finds profoundly inspiring. Her father, whom she holds in high esteem, was her mentor. He taught her how to hold a pencil and it was thanks to his love of the sea that Doriette grew up to adore and appreciate seascapes, the main focus of her work, and thus refers to herself as an interpreter of marine scenes, painting vivid depictions of bodies of water. Her visions of the sea become a shared memory; they define particular places and depict a part of our identity as an island. Serene landscapes form part of her collection, however her studies of marine and rock formations are what make her tick and provide her with the inspiration and motivation to paint. Rough seas are her passion and take up a large portion of her collection; she has always given them precedence over other themes.
Her paintings are very much like family to her
As far as paints go, oils have always been the medium she is most comfortable with, her paintings arise from a mere outline in a light yellow colour, almost like a watercolour painting, and are finished off in a bold and striking scene. More often that not she has to rely upon her camera to help build on an image from memory as the scenes she paints are moments that are beautiful but short lived. Over the years, Doriette has participated in many collaborative exhibitions as well as solo ones and she plays an active role in bringing these exhibitions to fruition. Her paintings are very much like family to her, she wants them to be loved and appreciated as she has done whilst painting them. Keep an eye out for her work and exhibitions in the near future. indulge / Autumn 2011 â€“ 9
IT TAKES TWO Natalie Mifsud gave up a career in midwifery to be able to indulge full time in her passion...Tango!
How I indulge â€œAbout 10 years ago, I went to a tango workshop with Charlotte Steward and Eric Jeuressen and just loved it. There was no going back from there and since then, I have found time to practice everyday for approximately 3 hours. My goal is to become better and better as a dancer and teacher and we old regular classes in Malta (see boxout) and I am working on giving some workshops abroad... The tango scene in Malta is growing with the opportunity to join a class or a milonga almost every night. Visiting tangueros, both recreational and professional, have an impact on the scene and allow us to share ideas and knowledge, in fact some visit frequently.
I hold regular courses for beginners, they may find info on www.tangomalta.org. You can come alone, with a friend or with a partner. Wear comfortable shoes with a slippery sole, and ladies, if wearing heels, ensure they have an ankle strap. I find the deeper I delve into the mechanics and culture of the dance the more interesting it becomes. Being a midwife by profession was a huge privilege and loved the job but with my growing love for tango, I realised I had to make a choice as it was beginning to take over. I started having to dedicate more and more time to tango; creating a community, preparing classes, learning, practicing, corresponding, creating social events, organising workshops with visiting teachers etc., took all my time. I cannot imagine a life without tango, in fact, I hardly have time for anything outside of my new life, but I am happy about it.”
During a Milonga it is generally the custom to play a set of 3 pieces of music, usually grouped by Orchestra. Each set is separated by a cortina, a short piece of non-tango music. The cortina is usually the opportune moment to ask someone to dance the next tanda. Here are some pointers for tango etiquette.
Respect the line of dance Always dance in a counter clockwise direction, preferably dancing on the outer perimeter.
Respect your partner’s level of dancing If you are the more experienced dancer, compromise by dancing at your partner’s level.
Talking is inappropriate while dancing tango If you must talk on the floor, keep it to a minimum.
Personal hygiene is essential Bad breath and body odour are common offenders. Perfume is not a replacement for bathing and fresh clothing.
Argentine tango is not a choreographed dance, but is completely improvised combining various elements as determined by the lead (male). The elements include caminar (walk), cruce (cross), ochos (figure-eight), ganchos (leg hooks), giros (turns), contragiros (turns in the other direction), sacadas (displacements), all of which are relatively simple to learn, but do require practice to perfect. Elements are joined to make combinations.
Why not join in one of Natalie’s classes? Begginers courses starting soon Contact email@example.com or for more info check www.tangomalta.org Facebook Argentine tango with Nathalie | Telephone: 21456408 or 79287755
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 11
I Went to See Her, Pa By Pierre J. Mejlak (translation: Antoine Cassar)
bent down, cupping my hand over my eyes, as if shielding them from the sun, and I whispered to him, “I went to see her, Pa. I went to see her.” The last time I visited him, he didn’t look so good. My younger sister had just left, and as usual, she had kept on harping about how he seemed to be getting worse. I felt I should keep things light and so I asked him about the women who had marked his life. That’s how we ended up talking about the Spanish woman. He used to enjoy talking about the women he had known. In those moments he would seem to forget his pain, his eyes would sparkle and suddenly focus. Because since he had gotten ill and been taken to the hospital, the women he had loved during his life had become for him a photo album, which he never tired of thumbing through. And beneath every photo there were another fifty hidden. There wasn’t one single detail that had escaped his memory. Sometimes I used to think he was making it all up, but when a month or two later, he would repeat it
all with the exact same details, the same conviction, the same look and smile, my doubts would disappear. “Thank God I have them,” he would tell me when we were alone. “Tell me how else would I get through these interminable nights?” and then he would usually go on reflectively, “Sometimes I wonder, what do they think about, those other old men like me—alone—if they’ve never known the thrill of loving another woman?” And when he’d be strong enough to argue, I would tell him that maybe they would think about the countries they had visited, old friends they had had, adventures they had lived through, stories they had heard, the work they had done, dogs they had raised, days they had spent swimming in the sun, beautiful moments they had shared. And he would stop me with a wave of his hand, typical of people his age, “No, no, my son. It’s not the same. Oh the number of jobs I had in my life! What do I remember about them all? Nothing. And the number of countries I visited and walks I took...” “How she’d love to see you,” he told
me when we got back to the Spanish woman. “Listen, will you promise me to go and visit her before I die?” And he went on without giving me time to reply. “Go tell her everything and bring me news of her.” He was adamant about my going, and when he saw I was seriously toying with the idea he pleaded earnestly with me to go. “Go talk to her, my son, before I die.” He reminded me of myself when I was young. How I used to ask my mother to deliver messages that I lacked the courage to deliver myself. And he directed me to her house in the same urgent tone of “listen carefully” that he had used before, when in my young days he would explain the way to my grandparents, or to the grocer to buy milk. “Listen carefully. When you arrive at Alicante airport, rent a car,” he’s saying through pursed lips, his shaking hand hidden in his sleeve and with a smile halfway between mischievous and slightly mysterious. “Leave the airport and follow the signs, written in big letters, saying Murcia.”
Pierre J. Mejlak is a novelist and short story writer. He won four National Book Awards and the Sea of Words European Short Story Award. His works include Dak li l-Lejl Iħallik Tgħid (what the night lets you say) Qed Nistenniek Niezla max-Xita (i’m waiting for you to fall with the rain) and Riħ Isfel (southern wind). He is published by Merlin. More info on www.pierrejmejlak.com
12 –indulge / Autumn 2011
Then he looks at me and realizes I’m not taking any notes. “Write it down, dammit!” And I take out a pen from my blazer pocket and start writing on the first piece of paper that comes to hand— the receipt for the biscuits and water I bought for him on arriving at the hospital. “Drive in that direction until the highway splits in two, and on the other side, you’ll be able to see new big signs saying Grenada Almeria. Put on the indicator lights, watch out for the cars behind you, and cross over to the other side. And drive carefully.” I smile but he doesn’t see it because in the meantime he has closed his eyes and lost himself driving toward his Spanish lady. “Now keep going straight ahead till you see the sign saying Mazarron.” I notice his hand. It looks like the arrow on my GPS. “Go where it directs you. By now you should start seeing the buildings, apartments for rent and for sale, and the sea is close by, but you still can’t see it. Do you understand?” “I understand.” “With every few kilometers, you’ll see more signs, and on each one you’ll notice Puerto de Mazarron. Drive in the direction of the port until you see the first arrows that point the way to Aguilas.” He opens his eyes and I can see them shining and much clearer than they had been before. “Are you writing it all down?” “Yes, yes, I am writing. Go on.” “If you get to that point and you can’t see whole kilometers of white greenhouses full of tomatoes, then somewhere you must have taken a wrong turn. If you can see the glasshouses then you have no problem. Straight down the road till you come to a crossroad and on the right you see a small sign which says Puntas de Calnegre. Drive down that narrow road, take your foot off the break, and let the wheels roll. Open the windows so you can feel the breeze from the sea fresh on your face . . . What beauty.” “Pa, cut the poetry. Focus on the signs.” He squints his eyes, smiles, and goes back to giving directions. “Slow down. Be careful of children crossing the road. And from there you should see it—at the end of the road—a villa set apart from the others. Drive up to it. Park. Go out. Move to the sidewalk where you’ll probably find a cat licking clean the skeleton of some fish, and ring the bell.”
My father was sending me to meet the woman he had secretly seen for ten years. And I’m not doing it to please him. I am doing it because I wish to get to know this woman who had made him so happy. I’m going so that I can wordlessly thank her. I wanted to meet this woman who, every time, had filled him up with enough joy to keep him going for months. Then, when every hint of that joy disappeared, he’d go back to Spain on the pretense of business. And we would wait for him to come back carrying a drum, a top, a pair of cymbals, a bag of beads of a thousand colors, and the joyful smile of someone deeply sated. And with the receipt from the hospital canteen stuck to the steering wheel of the Ford Ka that I rented, I am driving and smiling. Marveling at my father’s memory. Because even if I had left the driving in the hands of a monkey it would probably have arrived at the villa without mishap. And now I’m driving down the road to the villa, and I’ve wound down the car window and I am laughing like an idiot, because the breeze from the sea is so fresh on my face … and I’m listening to the excitement of the barefoot children running after a ball on the beach, and their mothers’ muttering at the grocers and the slam-bang noises of their fathers coming from the bar at the other end of the road. And I’m thinking that if I hadn’t cut him short when he came to this part of the trip he would have added these details as well. Then I rang the bell and suddenly I was struck by a hundred doubts. Maybe the woman had died, or moved somewhere else, maybe she’s living with another man and has completely forgotten my father, or wishes to, maybe the house was unlived in now, or had been bought by someone who knows nothing about my father’s affair with the Spanish lady, or maybe she would open but wouldn’t welcome me, or maybe her son would open, and then what would I tell him? The door opens and there in front of me was my father’s Spanish lady. I had no doubt it was her. He had painted her eyes for me. And he had done a good job. Green. With a hint of yellow. Beautiful. And her face! A woman aging gracefully. “When she opens tell her you’re my son, and that you’ve heard a lot about her. Tell her I’m dying but that she is still in my heart, and keeping me company. And then she’ll invite you in and ask you a thousand different questions. Because she’s like that—for your every word she has a question. And then she’ll pour you a little 45.”
“I know you,” she said at the door. “You’ve got your father’s eyes. You haven’t changed much from the pictures he showed me. But don’t stay on the doorstep. Come in. Come inside.” Then she turned to a cat who was staring at me from between her legs. “Get away with you! We’ve got guests.” And after we ate in a kitchen full of pots and pans hanging all around, I mentioned the 45, and suddenly her eyes filled with tears. She asked me to follow her. We went down a spiral staircase, and in the cool interior of the basement, she showed them to me, stored one next to another—bottle after bottle—all of them sporting the number 45 written on them by hand. She had been storing bottle after bottle since the day he left never to return. “I was certain he’d come back one day. It wasn’t the first time he had told me that this would be the last time I saw him. He told me many times that one day he’d stop coming. But I never believed him because—well, yes —sometimes months would pass but he always came back. And since the last time I saw him, I kept going to the garden, gathering the apricots, wearing the same gloves he used to wear when he would gather them himself.” It had become a ritual which she followed to that day. She would come in laden with a box full of apricots, and empty them onto the huge kitchen bench. And with the same knife he had used, she would cut them in half, one by one, and throw the lot into a large boiling pot. And she would leave the apricots bubbling in the boiling water for a minute, so that, just in case there happened to be a small black worm hidden inside any of them, it would be scorched and disappear as if it had never been. “Just like that he disappeared,” she’s telling me with a half-smile which excludes any hint of anger. “Not a letter. Not a phone call. Nothing. That was your father. Either a brightly lit façade that dazzles your eyes or nada.” And then with a large ladle she would scoop the hot wet apricots and throw them in five liters of cognac, and there she’d leave them for a month and a half. Forty-five days. Not one more, not one less. “As he used to do.” Forty-five days, during which she hopes that by the time she’s passing the cognac through the sieve while leaving the apricots out, he would be there, by her side, in her kitchen, surprised that she had continued to make his drink. Then she’d filter the sieved cognac into a glass bottle. On it she’d stick a yellow note, and in a black felt pen, she’d write indulge / Autumn 2011 – 13
Whether he was hoping that somehow, somewhere, we’d meet again. And whether one day, the bell you rang would ring and I’d open the door and find him there. 45—as he used to do—for each day that made the drink what it was. “Because the drink is like us,” he used to tell her, probably in the same tone he used to give me directions on how to get to school on my own. And then—just as he used to do—in the lower corner of the yellow sticker, she’d write the day’s date. “Do you like it?” “Very much.” “No one goes out of here before tasting some of it. And every time we raise a glass, I think of him. “You see... I’ve spent whole months like this,” she is now telling me with a glass of 45 in her right hand, and with her eyes fixed on the apricot trees outside. “I look at the garden and wonder about him, wonder what he’s doing right now, whether he’s forgotten all about me or what memories he’s got of me. If maybe I had disappointed him the last time he was here. Whether I had said something I shouldn’t have, or if maybe I had said something which he misunderstood. Whether he was thinking of coming back one day. Whether he was hoping that somehow, somewhere, we’d meet again. And whether one day, the bell you rang would ring and I’d open the door and find him there.” She stops. Looks at me. Understanding that I have nothing to say, she continues. “It took me a long time to accept the fact that I’d never see your father again. A long, long time. I continued gathering the apricots, box after box from the garden, in the hope that by the time I filled another bottle, he’d be here by me.” I feel I should say something but I can’t find anything worth breaking the silence for. “At first, when I understood he wasn’t coming back, I tried to feel angry at him. I thought maybe the anger could fill up the emptiness in my heart. But I couldn’t be angry at someone like him.
14 –indulge / Autumn 2011
“There was nothing to forgive. Your father never lied. Things were clear from the first time we met down at the harbor. I accepted the arrangement to see him at his convenience. I had thought that maybe I could see and enjoy him without giving him my heart. But by the time I realized that he was my heart and my heart was him it was too late.” Now the cat came in and jumped onto her lap. “Your father taught me a lot. And made me laugh a lot. And loved me. I’m sure of that.” My glass is now empty. She fills it up again. Then she looks at me. “Are you staying long?” * My father died on the dawn of the third day I spent with her. My sister called me early and gave me the news. No one had expected him to go so fast. And on my way to Alicante I cried. And she cried with me. “I went to see her, Pa. I went to see her,” I whispered, my eyes hidden behind my hands pressing the cold shiny mahogany of the coffin. “Does she still love me?” he’s asking me. “She’s crazy about you, Pa. She’s still crazy about you. And guess how many bottles of 45 she has? A cellar full, Pa! A whole cellar full!” And he’s smiling his special smile. “And I brought you something with me, Pa. I got you something.” “A bottle of 45?” “No, not a bottle of 45. Something else. Wait a minute. You’ll soon see what I brought you... she’s here among the crowd.” Translation of “Mort naraha, pa.” Copyright Pierre J. Mejlak. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Antoine Cassar. All rights reserved. First published in translation in the US by Words Without Borders.
PRAISE FOR DAK LI L-LEJL IĦALLIK TGĦID (WHAT THE NIGHT LETS YOU SAY) “Mejlak is the narrator par excellence, winning you over effortlessly” Charles Flores, L-Orizzont
“Tasting the joy of writing” Stanley Borg, The Times
“Mejlak manages to hit emotional pressure points with remarkable skill.” Teodor Reljic, MaltaToday
“Taking Maltese literature into new territories.” Mario Azzopardi
“Two thumbs up. Again.” Jacques Rene Zammit, J’Accuse
“You have to read it” I. M. Beck, The Times
“A delight to read.” Colin Fitz, First Magazine
“The work of a maturing voice” Peter Farrugia, The Sunday Times
Read more: http://bit.ly/okjtxx
2-3 men are diagnosed every year in Malta T
he Action For Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) was founded in March 2007. At that time there was a real lacking in local development regarding this disease, so 4 women namely Helen Muscat, Betty Lee, Esther Sent and Phyllis Muscat formed the foundation and their goals at the time were the following: To lobby political entities for the provision of breast screening programmes and medical services relating to diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. To offer educational support including provision of sponsorships for participation in local and foreign conferences. To raise funds for the acquisition of hospital equipment. To collaborate with other organisations for the raising of breast awareness and the furtherance of the Foundation’s outlined aims. Just over 4 years later ABCF have been extremely successful having reached and achieved every single one of those goals. The most important step forward being the newly opened breast screening unit.
FROM 2007 TO 2011 ABCF has grown and prospered,the foundation have moved forward, the new goal is to constantly and consistently work towards achieving the “European guidelines for quality assurance in breast cancer screening and diagnosis” in Malta and Gozo. The committee at the moment has 6 active members, which also includes one man who is also a breast cancer survivor. ABCF recently spent 4 days at the Meamchic fair at the mfcc on a massive awareness campaign. During this event we raised money through a huge
Zumba event with Maria and Pedro, over 350 women danced for charity. The money we raised covered the cost of the campaign and we reached out to literally thousands of women and spread the word about the importance of self examination and catching the disease early for a better prognosis. As well as fund raising we organised a very successful educational seminar this year for family doctors and general practitioners, areas covered in the seminar included how to refer patients to the screening unit, how to obtain screening results, how to make the patients experience more positive, psychological support and family support, who are the multidisciplinary team and what are their roles, and also alternative therapies.
UPCOMING EVENTS September 18th is car free day! We will be organising our annual ‘walk for life’. This year it will be from ta’ Xbiex and ending in Hard Rock cafe in Bay Street St. Julian’s. We ask for a €5 donation, and all participants will be given a t-shirt, a drink and a healthy snack at the end. Everyone is free to join. No pre registration is necessary just show up on the day. At the end of September the new website will be launched together with some very interesting future events, so keep your eyes open in the local media. On October 6th we will be holding open day at Alfie’s salon for breast cancer. Services that will be available are eye treatments, lifting treatments, make up, aromatherapy, massage, threading, and many hair treatments including facials, blow dry, trims, plaits and restyles. All proceeds made on that day with be donated to the foundation. Appointments are encouraged but drop ins are also welcome. The hours of the function are from 4pm till 10 pm, we will be serving food and wine on the day.
How can YOU make a difference? Membership is an annual fee of €20. We will be offering all new members from September an actionPINK card (see boxout). Donations are always welcome. We are also constantly in the lookout for volunteers for our special events, so if you would like to get involved, become a member, give a donation, or you have a question or query feel free to contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or add us on facebook, Action for Breast Cancer Foundation Malta.
ActionPINK in collaboration with the Action for Breast Cancer Foundation is a discount card for various shops and services. Under the theme ‘I HEART’, the card will give 5000 Maltese women the chance to enjoy discounts from 50 of their favourite outlets around the island on everything women want including: Books, Art, Wines and collectables, Dining & Accommodation, Fashion (clothes, shoes, perfume, jewellery, lingerie), Home, Garden, Kids and Accessories, Gifts & Goodies, Spas, Beauty, Hair and Nails – makeup brand/beauty products and creams, Gym & Nutrition. Cards will be sent to all subscribers during December so are an ideal Christmas gift. For more information call 99661616 or email email@example.com
Courtesy of channel4.com
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 15
Marisa Grima TELLS US
WHAT’S IN STYLE THIS SEASON Now that Autumn is ringing at the front door, our thoughts turn to what we are going to wear for the new season. We start looking around to see what the stores have for us, but at first it all seems like a huge mishmash. What colours are in and which are out? Dresses or jumpsuits? Stilettos or chunky boots? So here are the main trends for A/W 2011-12. TREND NO 1
Folk Knitwear has suddenly been given the ‘chic’ factor, no longer relegated to be worn by grannies, but by cool young things. Layering is the secret, wear with oversized sheepskin coats (faux of course) bell-bottom cords, or over pretty chiffon dresses. Think Just Cavalli, Matthew Williamson and House of Holland. TREND NO 2
Girls will be boys As seen at Yves St.Laurent, Burberry and Lamb. Lean and sharp is the key to achieving this look. Slim trousers, loose jackets, ties, and hair slicked back. Mix tartans with leather, dogtooth with snake print boots... don’t be afraid to experiment.
TREND NO 7
TREND NO 3
Stars and polka dots Dolce & Gabbana started it off with their star inspired collection and suddenly their starry dress was featuring in all the September glossies! If you are brave enough to wear this trend, make it a chiffon blouse. Topshop Unique and Marc Jacobs, showed how in love they are with spots this season, by sending the models down the catwalk, dressed from head to toe.
TREND NO 5
‘70s Leading the way are retro flares, furry waisted jackets,2 tone platforms, but think disco and not hippy…. Gucci and Chloe capture the mood perfectly.
The new skirt length is midi - about 4 inches below the knee- with full, dirndl and circle skirts stamping their ground for the first time since the 50’s having had a short lived flutter in the 80’s. These beauties hide a multitude of sins and are effortless elegant even with a plain white T-shirt and ballet pumps. Jackets should be fitted and cropped at the sleeve and the waist, with killer stiletto heels to show off a slender ankle and a textured clutch just big enough to hold a credit card and iPhone. I hope these style tips will keep you looking super-stylish for the new season ahead!
TREND NO. 4
Colour blocking This trend is still going strong from summer. And is seems our winters are not going to be dreary after all! Colour blocking is still rocking as seen at Roland Mouret, Sass & Bide and Henry Holland. Think purple jacket teamed with a yellow skirt and red shirt. Only for the very brave!
TREND NO 6
Swinging 60’s Think Twiggy, but fast forward into 2011 and you have swing coats, A-line skirts, peter pan collars as seen on the Prada catwalks.
Marisa Grima (pictured centre) stylist, image consultant, fashion event organizer, PR and marketing. Having worked in the fashion/ retail industry for over 22 years, Marisa has amassed a vast knowledge and has a natural aptitude towards finding the right look for the client. For more info www.marisagrima.com
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 17
Gordon Mayo of Toni&Guy GiveS us advice on
REPAIRING SUMMER HAIR DAMAGE & AUTUMN TRENDS
18 –indulge / Autumn 2011
he long, sunny days of summer are coming to a close. If you spent your summer out-andabout, enjoying the sun and sea, it will have likely taken a toll on your hair’s health and lustre. All the elements of summer are against keeping your hair in its best condition. Not only is the sun hard on your hair, we wash and comb our hair more often in summer, which can cause tearing and breaking of the cuticles which protect and strengthen the hair – called ‘mechanical damage.’ Your hairstyle may not last as long and your hair can get frizzy, curly and your style puffy. Fortunately, there are fantastic products and treatments available which can restore the health of your hair and the natural protection it requires. At TONI&GUY, professional Technicians will advise you on the most appropriate treatments and supply you with the latest and very best products available – bringing back your hair’s lustre for autumn and in time for the many special occasions of the coming season.
Autumn is also a perfect time for a new look. In October the TONI&GUY team will be brimming with ideas for up-to-date new looks from the London catwalks. Gordon Mayo, Chairman and CEO of TONI&GUY Malta tells us ‘Fringes and strong multi-colours blend in perfectly with the fashion we have seen on the catwalks this year.’ ‘We are seeing a trend towards ‘London Street’ - a cool vibe with strong bold shapes, interjected with hip, supercool textures. From the 16th to the 20th September, London will start its latest Fashion Week, of which TONI&GUY is again an official sponsor. This gives us an advance look at the spring/summer clothes and hair for 2012.’ ‘I am sure this season we are going to see exciting experiments in hairdressing with shapes and texture and I am looking forward to another great year ahead. As always, my talented team and I will pour all our creativity, energy and passion into inspirational new styles which enhance not only our clients’ hair but their overall image.’
For over 40 years, TONI&GUY has remained at the forefront of the world’s hairdressing industry. TONI&GUY Stylists have undergone the best education on the planet. It is not only the most powerful hairdressing brand in the world but also the most dynamic brand in Malta. With five salons in Portomaso, Sliema, Paceville, Gozo and the exciting new, state-of-the-art essensuals salon in Gzira… a fantastic new look awaits near you! Gordon Mayo, Chairman and CEO of TONI&GUY Malta, started hairdressing in 1972 and furthered his studies at the London Institute of Hairdressing. He opened his first salon in Malta in 1976. Gordon was granted the Maltese franchise of TONI&GUY in 1994, and has since overseen the launch of five salons in Malta and Gozo. indulge / Autumn 2011 – 19
rank Salt has always been synonymous with Real Estate. A business that was established by Frank Salt himself in 1969, is now branching out to a whole new realm, that of Fine Art. Frank Salt was born in 1944 and was educated in Bournemouth and at the university of London. He has been a member of a number of boards, as well as chairman and president of various charitable foundations and associations. Married with three children and five grandchildren he is a family man who has always been passionate about art. It was this and his natural attraction towards fine art that has led him to establishing Frank Salt Fine Art, encouraging him not only to share his passion but to also present the eager art collector with the opportunity to indulge too. A new concept to the Maltese art scene, Frank Salt Fine Art seeks to offer access to beautiful works of art from various artists and periods, in particular art from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Neo Classical. Fine art encompasses art forms that were and still are produced principally for aesthetical and conceptual purposes, the current affairs of the times were prevalent in their paintings. Such paintings are filled with beauty and meaningfulness that the artist has captured through clever manipulation of paint and brush, each individual painting speaks volumes about the era in which it was painted.
Autumn2011 2011 20 â€“indulge / Autumn
Quality Fine Art in Malta has always been hard to come by, until now it has generally been auctions that have given the Maltese the opportunity of purchasing such works. Although antiques were common place in the home 50 years ago and adorned the walls of every household, today’s generations tend to favour more minimalist living areas, nevertheless antiques are still very much admired by the younger generations and one or two antique pieces can be found in the home. Frank Salt is optimistic that there is still a widespread market, the paintings that he is selling through Frank Salt Fine Art are not just a pleasure to have in ones home but moreover are a lifelong investment. Frank Salt has purchased 60 original oil paintings to launch this new business venture of which 90% of the paintings were the work of Academy Artist’s, a highly prestigious title for any artist that gives their work reverence and value. The majority of the artist’s selected have at some time in their artistic lives exhibited at the The Royal Academy in London, a huge honour for any artist. The paintings are reasonably priced, and are valued according to the artists, their talent and
the recognition they have received by their peers over the years. With all shapes and sizes these fine art paintings are presented in a traditional gilt frame that gives them an air of grandeur that they deserve. Currently the oldest one of them dates back to 1801, the rest of the paintings range between the 19th – 20th Centuries. These carefully selected paintings made their debut at an exhibition at the Westin Dragonara Hotel at the end of August however should you have missed the opportunity of seeing them in their full glory, a private viewing can be arranged. Frank Salt does not only want to provide his customers with a gateway and access to fine art but he is also delivering a personal service that allows the client to make requests for a particular style of painting or theme. By providing your email address, Frank Salt Fine Arts will be able to keep you up to date on each exclusive painting for sale upon its arrival in Malta and should you be interested a viewing can be organized in a private capacity. For further details you can contact Frank Salt via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 2137 5263
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 21
Martin Azzopardi takes us backstage
AT THE PREPARATIONS FOR UPCOMING SHOWS
lthough summer is not officially over we are getting to the end of the season and kids will soon be getting back to school and summer activity starts to slow down but the theatre activity starts getting active again. Productions are already starting their rehearsals and theatres are getting ready for the season. Over the next three months the theatre is very busy and there are loads of shows, some happening over the same weekends, so you either chose one of them or go mad and indulge yourself and go to more than one.
The Manoel Theatre has just purchased a new Harpsichord. The decision to get the harpsichord was taken in the light of two important developments. Firstly, the increased interest in the baroque world and its authentic sounds and secondly the establishment of a regular Baroque Festival organised in the theatre itself and in Valletta in January 2013. It is the theatre’s intention to set up this festival
on a permanent basis in a city that was planned and built in the apex of the baroque period. It would be impossible to even contemplate the establishment of a baroque festival without having a harpsichord that is able to hold its own in an ensemble or as a solo instrument and therefore this purchase is undoubtedly a cultural investment. When the first edition of the Baroque Festival kicks off in the latter half of January 2013, the Manoel Theatre audiences will have already experienced for the first time in its recent history, an ensemble, Les Paladins on the 28th October 2011 and a solo recital by Beatrice Martin on the 14th February 2012. Jerome Correas of Les Paladins and Beatrice Martin were directly involved in the purchase of the instrument. Since its resuscitation in the 1960s, the Manoel Theatre has never owned such an instrument. This could be due to a variety of reasons; possibly lack of appreciation and knowledge of the baroque idiom, however the logic of having an international festival in Malta will enhance our knowledge of the baroque world and its complete suitability to its setting; the baroque city of Valletta. For many years before this recent purchase, the Manoel was using a small basic one keyboard harpsichord with very limited use and of mediocre quality. The new Harpsichord has a double keyboard which is essential if one is to use the instrument for more than just
the basic continuo practice. Also, with limited means, the Theatre has tried to opt for a quality instrument that can be used for the most possible types of repertoire in most types of concert performance styles and practice. The model procured was made in 1998 by Jacques Braux who was a highly esteemed French harpsichord manufacturer. His specialty was Franc-Flemish models of his own concept and make. This Jacques Braux is probably the best equipped instrument on the island. Harpsichord playing is a specific performance practice. Of course any pianist can hit the right keys (more or less!) on a harpsichord, but performing on this wonderful instrument requires special training. Since most of the repertoire is quite old, performing harpsichordists generally specialise in old music techniques from both a historical and a musicological point of view. Their frequent position as conductors and/or continuo performers, also implies a high level of expertise on style and aesthetic competence. As mentioned before to inaugurate the theatre’s recently purchased harpsichord, Teatru Manoel presents a concert on the 28th of October 2011 by baroque ensemble Les Paladins; one of the most prestigious baroque ensembles in France. Jerome Correas will direct from the harpsichord. The ensemble presents 17th century Italian dramatic repertoire and the French opéra comique of the 18th century. indulge / Autumn 2011 – 23
On the 15th 17th 23rd September and 2nd October 2011 at the St James NT Live presents One Man Two Guvonors To kick off the third season of NTLive, St James Cavalier presents one of the funniest comedies ever to reach the stage. Carlo Goldoni gets the Brighton Pier treatment in this laugh out loud, sell out hit. See it here before it hits the West End! On the 22nd to 25th September MADC present THE ONE ACT PLAYS FESTIVAL at their Club Rooms in Santa Venera Every year the MADC organise the ONE ACT PLAYS Festival which has been a spring board for many local directors and actors. This festival will feature 5 plays directed by Marta Vella, Franco Rizzo, Justin Fenech, Martina Zammit, Nicola Abela Garrett. Awards up for grabs are Best Production, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Most Promising Actor and most Promising Actress.
alcohol will be available for sale on the night, and the large amount of space available at the Eden Car Park means that those attending do not need to worry about wasting time searching for a parking space. The fact that the event is taking place on the eve of a public holiday means that those attending can let their hair down; relax COMPLETELY; and enjoy the show – without having to worry about waking up early the next day. On the 30th of September at the Teatru Monoel Concerto per L’Unita D’Italia The 2011 - 2012 season opens with “Concerto per l’Unità d’Italia”; a concert of operatic music by Italian composers Bellini, Donizetti, Puccini, Catalani and Verdi. The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and well-known soprano Lucia Aliberti perform under the baton of the theatre’s Music Director Brian Schembri. The concert is being held in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy and the Istituto Culturale Italiano.
On the 8th and 9th of October 2011 at the Teatru Monoel L-Għanja taċ-Ċinju L-Għanja taċ-Ċinju (Socrates’ swansong). This two-act play in Maltese by Joe Friggieri was awarded First Prize in last year’s Francis Ebejer national playwriting competition organised by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. Dealing with the trial and death of Socrates in 399 B.C., the play shows the great philosopher being charged with corrupting the young by his teaching and trying to defend himself in front of a popular jury prejudiced by Aristophanes’ satirical portrayal of him in The Clouds. Produced by Teatru Manoel, directed by Albert Marshall, choreographed by Mavin Khoo, L-Għanja taċ-Ċinju brings together a fine set of actors led by Michael Tabone in the main role. On 10th of October 2011 at the Teatru Monoel Piano Recital by Roberto Combinati Highly acclaimed Italian pianist Roberto Cominati revisits the theatre in a recital featuring Schumann’s exuberant Carnaval and a series of dazzling transcriptions by Sgambati-Gluck, Liszt-Handel, Godowsky-Bach and Moskowsky-Bizet On 15th and 16th of October 2011 at the Teatru Monoel The Firebird Following last year’s success, the International Purves Puppets Company of Scotland will be performing “The Firebird”; an exciting new adaptation set to Stravinsky’s beautiful ballet music; an enchanting story to delight the whole family! On the 14th to the 16th and 21st to the 23rd of October at Sir Temi Zammit Hall, Universtiy of Malta. DnA will be staging
On the 20th of September Yellow Pages presents the Live Stand-Up Comedy
Night at the Eden Cinemas The Eden Comedy Club’s LIVE STAND UP COMEDY night is happening on TUESDAY, 20TH SEPTEMBER 2011 at 8pm. The line up for the night is nothing less than BRILLIANT - with TOP UK COMEDIANS, such as Geoff Whiting, Mark Restuccia, Mark Felgate & Hattie Hayridge (Holly from Red Dwarf) taking the stage and commanding laughter! The motto: ‘Entertain, engage and share the laughter’ – is there for a reason! Eden Comedy Club promises to deliver an unforgettable show that will have everyone roaring with laughter! Food &
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On the 2nd of October 2011 at the Teatru
Following the success of the acclaimed Fourplay and More Fourplay, DnA Theatre Productions will be presenting Even More Fourplay at Sir Temi Zammit Hall, University of Malta on 14-16 and 21-23 October.
Monoel Celebrate US! The 12th May Band Club from HazZebbug will be holding “Celebrate us”; a Symphonic Band Concert featuring euphonium soloist David Childs from the United Kingdom. The programme will feature works by Vella, Ponchielli, Shostakovich, Farrugia-Frantz, Rossini and Jenkins.
Featuring music and dance numbers, comic sketches and filmed snippets all put together with a large dose of acerbic wit and ribald humour the time is ripe for some sacred cows to once again be subjected to some good-natured ribbing. Poking fun at the personalities and issues that make up Maltese news – be they politics,
sex, music or public transport - Even More Fourplay brings back some dearly beloved characters from past editions together with a couple of new ones to remind us that it is OK to laugh at ourselves and the quirks and foibles of the Maltese way of life. The collection of hilarious sketches and musical numbers will be played at breakneck speed by just four actors. But these aren’t just any old actors – DnA Theatre Productions is reuniting four of the island’s leading comics to pull off this festival of laughs - Alan Montanaro, Alan Paris, Louiselle Vassallo and Isabel Warrington. The sketches have been written and developed by Alan Montanaro, James Calvert, Denise Mulholland and Malcolm Galea, while the show is being directed by Herman Grech, Denise Mulholland, Wesley Ellul and Chiara Hyzler. Dubbed “the funniest show of the year” in 2009, extra shows had to be added to the original line-up in order to accommodate the overwhelming demand for tickets. Look out for details ref booking and ticket prices and don’t miss out on an evening that promises uproarious laughter and entertainment.
On the 15th October 2011 at the Teatru tal-Opra Aurora (Victoria, Gozo) Speaking of a love-driven artist, a celebrated singer, and a corrupt police chief, Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca is entirely timeless. Stirred by political intrigue, intimidation and official hypocrisy, this melodrama, set by Victorien Sardou in 1800 and premiered a century later, can be easily and validly be transferred to any time, any where, any how. Tosca follows Bizet’s Carmen at the Aurora; an acclaimed production which was well received by a record opera-attendance which filled Malta’s largest opera house beyond capacity. It returns for the 3rd time at the Aurora theatre, after its Gozo premiere in 1978 and again in 1996. For many, Tosca is Puccini’s best opera. The very instant the curtain lifts, the music erupts, never to let up with its melodic flights and dramatic intensity. With this new production, the Aurora Opera House is set to embrace the very heart of Tosca – its music.
Tosca’s production team has already confirmed the able hands of resident conductor Colin Attard who shall lead the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Scenery and artistic direction shall be once again entrusted to Novella Tabili whose key input in last year’s Carmen received strong critical acclaim.. Tosca, an opera in 3 acts, will be presented at the Teatru tal-Opra Aurora (Victoria, Gozo) on Saturday 15th October 2011 under the distinguished patronage of H. E. Dr George Abela, President of Malta. The curtain raises at 7.30pm. On 21st and 22nd of October 2011 at the Mediterranean Conference Centre Hoi Polloi Theatre Productions will be staging JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT HOI POLLOI Theatre Productions, is working on a fully licensed production (under the license of Really Useful Group, London) of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s family musical, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, indulge / Autumn 2011 – 25
god, Pentheus refuses to even consider the possibility that Bacchic worship has a place in the modern world. Reacting to this insult, the god Dionysus casts a spell over King Pentheus and leads him into the mountains, where he is ultimately torn limb from limb by the ecstatic worshippers. Included in this Dionysian ecstasy is Pentheus’ own mother, Agave. The cast of Bacchae includes Manuel
which will be staged at the prestigious Mediterranean Conference Centre on the Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd of October 2011. The show, directed by Marco Calleja, will feature live singing and a 17-piece live band under the direction of Maestro Brian Cefai, spectacular dancing choreographed by Alison Bird and Johane Casabene and will involve a cast of 30 performers, backed up by a strong 50 membered children’s choir directed by Choir Mistress Stefania Galea; definitely a spectacular family show aimed to kick off the next theatre season in style. Professional Dancer Dorian Mallia, will be starring in the role of Joseph while the role of narrator will be played by Katherine Brown, of MADC panto fame. This production will mark Dorian’s debut in the local musical theatre scene after having performed in a number of contemporary dance shows both locally and abroad. The cast also includes Ralph Mangion and Kate Decesare in the roles of Mr and Mrs Potiphar amongst others. More information can be found on our website, and our Facebook page. Tickets range from EUR 26 to EUR18 and will be available from the MCC booking office as of Monday the 19th of September 2011.
and later another carrying their wives… a musical treat full of humour set in a beautiful mise-en scene. On the 21st 22nd 23rd 28th 29th30th October and 4th 5th and 6th November 2011 at the MITP MADC will be staging The Bacchae MADC is opening its 20011-12 season with a contemporary adaptation of Euripides’ “The Bacchae” at MITB in Valletta from 21st October, directed by Toni Attard The Bacchae tells of how Dionysus the god of wine - , having established his divinity in eastern lands, returns to Thebes, the land of his birth where his mortal mother Semele suffered a horrible and shameful death. The son of Zeus intends to establish the worship which he insists is now his due and is most angered by his homeland’s refusal to acknowledge his divinity.
On 21st and 22nd of October 2011 at the Teatru Monoel Il Paese dei Campinelli Compagnia Corrado Abbati presents a production of the popular operetta “Il Paese dei Campanelli”. The Lombardo and Ronzato operetta is set in a village where bells hang on each door. The bells are supposed to sound each time an act of adultery occurs in the house. The village sees the arrival of a ship full of sailors
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Under his spell all the local women participate in great celebration of dance and wine, attended even by the former king Cadmus and blind prophet Teiresias. When word of this outlandish behavior reaches Pentheus, the young and rational King of Thebes, he orders the immediate arrest of the blonde stranger responsible for the mayhem. Unaware that his strange prisoner is a
Cauchi as Kadmos, Kevin Drake as Teriesias, Pia Zammit as Agave, Philip Leone Ganado as Pentheus and Dionysus is Kurt Castillo The chorus that features prominently in any Greek tragedy, features Laura Best, Coryse Borg, Nicola Abela Garrett, Maria Pia Meli and Marta Vella. This re-make of a 2500 year old classic gives a better understanding of this ancient Greek dramatist’s timeless insights into repression and its consequences in a contemporary and localized setting. On the 29th and 30th October 2011 at the Teatru Monoel The Great Gatsby Teatru Manoel and American Drama Group Europe (ADGE) present Tour de Force Theatre in Malta’s first ever staging of American classic The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, adapted by Peter Joucla. On the 5th and 6th November 2011 at the Teatru Monoel The Magical Variety Teatru Manoel in collaboration with B.L.E.E.P presents “The Magical Variety “ a spectacular production full of magic, illusion and other variety acts by Malta’s leading entertainers; including illusionists, magicians, balloon artists and balancers who will be presenting their most cutting edge performances in a night to remember.
And dont miss... On the 8thNovember 2011 at the Teatru Monoel Jazz Recital Jazz pianist and composer Dominic Galea presents a new set of jazz compositions in a performance with Mario ‘Cocker’ Aquilina on double bass and Noel Grech on drums along with popular jazz classics and various guest artists. On the 9th November 2011 at the Teatru Monoel Concert of Music from the silent movies Jazz pianist and composer Dominic Galea presents a new set of jazz compositions in a performance with Mario ‘Cocker’ Aquilina on double bass and Noel Grech on drums along with popular jazz classics and various guest artists. On the 11th November 2011 at the Teatru Monoel MPO Concert Series The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Resident Conductor
Michael Laus will perform Brahms’s monumental Fourth Symphony in E Minor. Michael Laus takes on the dual role of soloist and conductor in Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto in C Minor. On the 13th November 2011 at the Teatru Monoel Annual Band Concert The annual band concert organized by the “Ghaqda Kazini tal-Baned” will feature the “L’Isle Adam Band Club” from Rabat (Malta). On the 29th November 2011 at the Teatru Monoel Recital by Trio Coriolis Well-known Maltese pianist Kathleen de Domenico in a concert of chamber music along with the “Trio Coriolis” Michaela Buchholz violin, Klaus Peter Werani viola and Hamo Simons ‘cello playing works by Mahler, Beethoven and Brahms.
Well that is it until the end of November and in the next issue I will be looking at the Theatre for the following three months including the build up to Christmas…. Important web address to check the theatre and book are the following: Teatru Manoel - www.teatrumanoel.com.mt St James Cavalier - www.sjcav.org Teatru tal-Opra Aurora -www.teatruaurora.com MADC - www.madc.biz Eden Culture - www.edenculture.com.mt
As part of a series of operas and ballet, ESMERELDA is being streamed live from the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre in Moscow on Sunday 9th October at Eden Cinemas. We have TWO TICKETS to GIVE AWAY to the first person that calls us on 99891722. For more information on the schedule, visit www.edenculture.com.mt Vincenzo Bellini’s NORMA is Teatru Astra’s opera production for 2011. This demanding and highly popular opera will be staged twice: on Thursday 27th October and Saturday 29th October 2011. This production will be undoubtedly the highlight of the tenth edition of Festival Mediterranea, which is organised by the La Stella Philharmonic Society. www. mediterranea.com.mt Fiesole Artistic Productions in collaboration with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura present “Una serata all’operetta – an evening of operetta”. with singers from Laboratorio Lirico Europeo perform ing popular selections from the Viennese, Italian, Spanish, French, English and Hungarian operettas. www.teatrumanoel.com
Martin Azzopardi is an actor, fitness instructor and masseur. When not treading the boards or the (tread) mill, he treads water on his boat and loves the sea. indulge / Autumn 2011 – 27
would go well there. DULUX do a range of
food and we will make sure we put plastic over your
Vee Gee Bee, 2 South Court, Vjal Ir-Rihan, San Gwann T 21 381380 | E email@example.com W www.vgb.com.mt
*The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Both boxes should be filled to participate in the competition. Rules require before and after images of the room. Deadline for entries is 31st October 2011. Winners must agree to publicity in indulge and Vee Gee Bee materials.
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Jean-Marc Bianchi says
THINK ABOUT KITCHEN DESIGN Jean-Marc Bianchi pursued his interior design studies in Rome and has gained 30 years experience creating unique designs for businesses and homes across Malta and offers a vast range of knowledge and solutions to meet clients tastes and needs.
Where do you start? For many of us, the Kitchen is usually the most used room in the home. Not merely because it serves as a ‘refueling station’, but the place where adults congregate, and children come and go, and not solely for the food, but also for the company. Hence, a kitchen not only has to be attractive and welcoming, but functional too.
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Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes, and a lot also depends on the selection and plan of the area earmarked. A useful guideline would be to prepare a ‘check list’, and start off by asking yourself: “What do you want from your kitchen?” Before making a commitment and selecting expensive furniture and equipment, assess your lifestyle, as well as the non-cooking activities you might use the kitchen area for, such as watching television etc., In order to produce a successful kitchen design that matches your daily needs, you need to go back to fundamentals. First establish what it is that you enjoy and what you dislike about your existing kitchen, and use these facts to enable yourself to build up a better picture of your ideal kitchen. Take into consideration how you move about the room; How far is it to the fridge from the food preparation area? Are certain storage cupboards difficult or awkward to access? Are the
worktops sufficient? Is there enough surface area to enable you to unpack the groceries? All Kitchen activities have to be taken into consideration when planning, and do ask yourself how suitable the room itself is. Look at position of window (if any), location of door or doors, height of ceiling, etc., The ultimate function of your kitchen is to prepare meals, so a main consideration would be to decide what sort of meals you would eat in the kitchen, be it just breakfast, snacks, lunches or suppers. And what about actually ‘carrying’ the food to the appointed dining area, be it inside or out? Would you use a trolley, and if so steps or split levels could be a large deterrent. Also a head count as to the number of people that would sit down at any one time, and how often do you actually entertain, be it indoor or outdoor.
All the above would point you in the right direction in the determining the size and type of table that you may require, as well as the space that would be needed accordingly. Being the heart of the home, the kitchen is usually the most commented upon, and this is where you might bring out your true personality though the design and creation of meals for friends and family.
Give your Kitchen Character The personality of a room is determined by the individually selected elements, and it is these elements that need to be functional, as they will be used daily, and constantly in contact with water, steam and heat. A common element that is vastly used in contemporary kitchens is stainless steel. Fridges and work tops, offering a stainless steel finish are highly attractive, and give that air of professionalism, as maybe seen in restaurant kitchens - and is a highly durable material. In Malta, there was a strong accent on rustic kitchens, manufactured with pine joinery and various utensils hanging from wrought iron racks, and this offered a very warm, country atmosphere. Like most things in fashion, style changes, and we again are spoilt for choice with the numerous amounts of manufacturers and brand names so ready available locally. At many outlets, one is met with professionally trained staff that will assist you in ‘building up’ and visualizing your dream kitchen and satisfying your requirements. Really think before you embark on the project:
Do you wish a formal /informal eating area in your kitchen? Do you require a single or double sink unit? Should you choose an eye-level or under counter oven, and why? Do you wish to have your cupboard contents on display (clear glass)? What about your choice of flooring, and lighting? Amongst your needs, do not overlook STORAGE, both for food supplies as well as the equipment including pots, pans, appliances, cleaning materials etc., that you will be using. So, before you go ahead with any alterations, use your check-list to ensure that you have put all your requirements down. Envisage a date of installation and completion, which would also depend on good co-ordination of plumbers, electricians as well as competent fitters.
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 33
EATING OUT Enjoy your meal al fresco
nce you have prepared your gin and tonics, why not enjoy them outside? Maybe you are lucky enough to be able to sit poolside, or in your own lush garden. Perhaps you have a cute courtyard, a terrific terrace or even a bijou balcony where you can sit and watch the world go by? MICRA markets a range of garden, patio, terrace and balcony furnishings in synthetic rattan – a material designed to resemble natural rattan, but weatherproof, durable, and resistant to ultraviolet (UV) rays - so doesn’t fade. It can withstand exposure to the elements for a number of years without rotting or other damage. Cushion covers are completely removable and washable – and you can even order extra sets in different colours!
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MICRA exports outdoor furniture to the USA and Germany, and have recently opened a new showroom in Mdina Road, Zebbug where a selection of the range is on display, though custom designs can also be made to order. With 8 colours of rattan material, 3 different weaves and a myriad of cushion covers to choose from your individual style can be reflected in your outdoor space. Sounds expensive? Compare our prices to others and you’ll immediately discover that our collections are of superior quality, need very little maintenance and priced to suit every budget! Call us on 21431832 or 99999112 www.micra.com.mt
Food is not just fuel. It’s a pleasure that we should spend hours preparing and enjoying. There are so many do’s and even more don’ts that the ritual can be spoilt – we hope this 30 page pullout gives you faith that what’s on your plate shouldn’t be a punishment, but should be a pleasure. On the menu in this food & drink pullout are:
JESSICA GETS A TASTE OF GOOD TASTE
Inspiring recipes The butler, cook and critic meet over lunch at Don Serafino 1953
We show you a different side to Sicily
Ed exposes why restaurants in Malta are so expensive
and how to make them interesting
John Portelli OF THE MALTA ORGANIC AGRICULTURE MOVEMENT
knows his olives Politics on your plate
30 PAGE PULL OUT
will jellyfish soon be on the menu? High blood sugar doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with food
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www.indulge.com.mt/foodanddrink indulge / Autumn 2011 – 35
food & drink
Julian Calascione makes
A Good CUp of COFFEE
reparation of coffee, like anything we eat or drink to savour a flavour, needs some appreciation of the production chain. Coffee is an especially delicate product that must not only be harvested at a critical time but also needs to be carefully roasted. The general idea is to produce a ready-to-cook bean that will be of exactly the right acidity, have an interesting or tasty aroma and good body. These are the essential components of flavour. There are many desirable characteristics – the terms commonly associated with descriptions of coffee flavours are bright, sharp, snappy, caramelly, chocolaty, delicate, earthy, fragrant, fruity, mellow, nutty, spicy and sweet. There are others but that would be going into a realm beyond the scope of this short article. There are also a similarly large number of highly undesirable characteristics, such as rich, bitter, flat, grassy, harsh, muddy and musty, to mention only the more commonly occurring. Coffee must be stored in a clean, dry, airtight container in a cool place. It is definitely not good to store coffee in a refrigerator because it tends to absorb surrounding aromas and too low a temperature sometimes causes damage to the bean or ground product. Never grind more coffee than needed at one time. You cannot beat nature’s way of preserving flavour by leaving the bean whole until it is needed for preparation. Grinding more than you need at one time will leave the excess exposed to the damaging air – and flavour loss will result. Four key things to making a good cup of espresso are – top quality product, correct dose, good quality water and familiarity with whatever coffee-making equipment is available. Allow 7 or 8 grams for a single cup (or 14 – 18 grams for a double).
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If you are to serve a standard cup the choice is extensive, including many popular preparations, such as corto, normale, lungo, macchiato and cappuccino. But you can be more creative or adventurous by adding a spirit to the coffee, such as whiskey for Irish, or rum for Jamaican. Nowadays espresso coffee trends are for various forms, such as pods, capsules, ground and bean, each in a variety of flavours such as light, medium, dark and de-caffeinated; these are now market standards and used by all major producers. I recommend for further reading the amply illustrated and well explained book “From Coffee to Espresso” – published by Illy Coffee Sommeliers. Be aware of the shelf life of the product you buy, especially if you do not serve espresso regularly. It is a valuable maxim that the fresher the product the better the result. I read recently that a single producer estimated selling six million cups of espresso coffee per day in his market alone. I wonder what the world’s daily consumption is?
Julian Calascione, has experience, dedication, qualifications and a specialisation in fine dining, including a 2 Michelin-starred venue. Since then he has set up restaurant management styles for various restaurant venues and is sometimes consulted by the leisure industry. Leisure time is dedicated to family, seaborne activities and nature-watching.
Here Are Some Recipes Using Coffee
Figs poached in coffee with cream Serves: 2 Ingredients 3 figs
Lamb chops in a spicy sauce
200ml strong coffee
100ml coffee liqueur
100g brown sugar 1 tsp rice flour 1 tsp vanilla essence 1 tbsp icing sugar 125g mascarpone 100ml whipped double cream
Method For the figs, bring the coffee, coffee liqueur and sugar to the boil in a pan, then reduce the heat to a simmer, add the figs and poach for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Remove the figs with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Once cool, cut the figs in half. Add the rice flour to the coffee mixture, stir well and set aside to cool. When cool, chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. For the cream, fold the vanilla seeds and icing sugar into the mascarpone. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Spoon half of the mascarpone cream onto a plate and arrange three poached fig halves on each plate. Drizzle the chilled coffee sauce around the edge of each plate.
4 lamb shoulder chops 1 tsp olive oil 4 tsp butter 1/3 cup strong coffee 1/3 cup honey 2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce 1/4 tsp mace 1/4 tsp cardamom 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp curry powder 3/4 tsp lemon juice
Seasoning Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to a frying pan and swirl over a high heat. Sear the lamb on both sides, turning only once. Remove from the pan and reduce the heat to low and add the butter, stirring until it is melted. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients and allow to bubble until thickened. Place the lamb back in the pan and cook for a further two minutes on both sides. Serve with mashed potato and carrots.
Make a coating for steaks with this unusual mix and then grill as usual: 5 tbsp finely ground coffee 5 tbsp cocoa powder a pinch cayenne pepper 30g light brown sugar 1 tsp salt 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
indulge / Autumn 2011 â€“ 37
Anytime is a good time to throw a party, it doesnâ€™t have to be an occasion. Inviting friends for dinner and would rather be the hostess than in the kitchen? Events can be arranged and catered for at Villa Arrigo or one of our other properties, a public or private beach or other location - even at your own home for 12 or more guests. Of course you may wish to host your event aboard your own boat or a charter yacht - all are possible! All our food is freshly prepared and delivered in relevant containers and our professionally trained staff clear up and remove all traces of the event. See our guidelines on menus on www.osbornecaterers.com or contact us on tel: 2142 3214, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
food & drink
FLY ME TO THE MOON By Jessica Xuereb
The other day, my friend and I parked near to Palazzo Parisio and wandered inside for what we hoped was going to be a much needed mid morning treat. After walking through the cool marble hallway, we arrived outside to what turned out to be a most beautiful, peaceful stately home garden. The lawns were well manicured and the trees mature and lush. The gardens walls were blanketed in a carpet of dark green ivy, which was very soothing to the eye. The Luna café tables were positioned to one side of the garden underneath large white umbrellas. A friendly, and rather handsome young waiter immediately guided us to a corner table from where we had an excellent view of the gardens. Other tables were available inside should the weather not be kind. We eagerly studied the menus handed to us and after finding the dessert section and much deliberation, my companion ordered a coffee and lemon meringue pie and I decided on a cool still water and a warm chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce – as I said, we were in need of a treat and this fitted the bill perfectly! We did not have long to wait for our “treats” to arrive and soon discovered that they tasted as good as they looked. The portions were generous and our bill did not exceed €16. Tea lovers should note that various exotic brews are available. Be sure to ask for their exclusive “Tea Menu”! We were offered a spectacular show with a floral tea – it was just beautiful. All in all, the café Luna really is a star on our islands. Great venue, yummy food, friendly staff and last but certainly not least, good value for money. It provides a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I will certainly be back for more, and more and more…
With it’s lavish décor and beautiful scenery, Palazzo Parisio is my new favourite place that I want to escape to - it has the feeling of being in a far away land. It’s large open spaces and gorgeously decorated surroundings allow your imagination to run freely and almost paint its own picture. This magnificent Palazzo was once a home to Malta’s nobility. This jewel is found in the heart of Naxxar, in the main square in front of the imposing town church. Most people complain bitterly about the parking there, but as we all know it just comes down to luck and a bit of perseverance or a bit of a walk. After all, when visiting such grand places parking should be the last thing on your mind. What you will discover inside the Palazzo Parisio is the spectacular Luna Collection. Get passed the tempting gift shop and there is a trio of restaurants divided into in to Luna di Sera, Luna Lounge and last but certainly not least, Café Luna, all of which are beautifully decorated. Each display a different atmosphere and different colour schemes varying from warm reds and pinks which give off a warm and inviting aura to other rooms decorated in elegant blues and cream, which give rise to a more tranquil feeling. Each room is filled with a lovely smell of incense. This tickles your nose and leaves you feeling calm and relaxed. The whole of the Palazzo is beautifully decorated with magnificent types of marble, seemingly priceless paintings and elegant mirrored walls. It is paradise in itself. Somewhere that can offer everything from a full English breakfast to a full blown three course dinner, with Maltese Platters, lunches (kiddies menu and teddy bear’s picnics available) and sumptuous teas served in between seems like an extremely tall order to fill. However, the Luna Collection surprisingly does all of this and more. Palazzo Parisio - Tel 2141 2461 indulge / Autumn 2011 – 39
Tools for the enthusiastic home cook & professional chef
Suppliers, consultants and maintenance of professional catering equipment
8 Mosta Road, St. Paulâ€™s Bay, SPB 02 Tel 2157 7305, 2157 7347 Sta Lucia Street, Paola Tel 2180 2943 Fortunato Mizzi Street, Victoria, Gozo Tel 2155 3792 Email email@example.com Web www.cateringcentre.com
food & drink IVAN MILLER OF ASSAGGI SHARES SOME CHEF SECRETS WITH US
KNIFE SKILLS A sharp knife is a safe knife. Using a dull knife is an invitation to disaster. If you try to force a dull knife through the surface of a food product, it’s more likely to slip and cause an injury. Never, ever grab a falling knife. Just get your hands and feet out of the way. Use the right knife for the right job. Many knife injuries occur when laziness induces us to use the knife at hand rather than the correct knife for a job. Always cut away from - never towards – yourself. If the angle is wrong, turn the product or your cutting board around. Never, ever put a knife in a sink full of water. In addition to soaking probably being bad for your knife handle, putting a knife in a sink full of (likely soapy) water is just asking for trouble. Always cut on a cutting board. Don’t cut on metal, glass or marble. This will ultimately damage a knife’s edge and if your cutting board doesn’t have rubber feet, you should place it on a damp kitchen towel to make sure it doesn’t move while you’re cutting.
Hold by the leg, letting the carcass hang down and then cut through the flesh to remove the leg from the crown. Repeat on the other leg, dividing them into drumstick and thigh at the joint (not bone). You can remove the ‘shins’ at this stage. Cut deeper down the breastbone to separate the breasts and then cut each diagonally in half leaving you with 8 portions of chicken. Deboning a chicken is simple and gives you a whole host of ways to use the bird. Cut any string or elastic and turn the chicken breast side down and remove the ‘Pope’s nose’ and then slice down the centre (the backbone) and remove the ‘oysters’.
Leaving the skin on allows you to flavour the bird and retain moisture when cooking. Infuse some salted butter with chopped onions, seasoning and a bit of lemon juice and then inject between the flesh and skin. Turn the chicken back over and pull the breast skin and cut through the skin where the legs meet the carcass. The legs will fall to the side and now pull the legs out of their sockets.
Season the chicken with some more salt and pepper, put in an oven tray with ½ litre of fresh chicken stock, drizzle with oil and roast it for 1 hour at 165°C.
Assaggi is an Italian style restaurant, tucked away in Qaliet Street, St. Julians. Specialties include pork belly, chicken liver parfait and aged beef. For bookings, please call 2133 6625
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 41
food & drink
Prepare an Indian Summer dinner
Lamb & Potato Curry with Coconut Cream Serves 4 Ingredients
Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onions and cook gently for 20-30 minutes until soft and light brown. Place the onions in a food processor with the chilli, ginger and garlic. Blend to a smooth paste.
250g onions, chopped 1.5 tsp Bart Chilli in Sunflower Oil 1 tsp Bart Ginger in Sunflower Oil 1 tsp Bart Garlic in Sunflower Oil 200g chopped tomatoes 1.5 tsp Bart Fairtrade Turmeric 1.5 tsp Bart Ground Cumin 1.5 tsp Bart Ground Coriander 1.5 tsp Bart Paprika 500g lean lamb, cut into 4cm pieces 100ml Coconut Cream Salt 250g small salad potatoes, peeled & cut into 2-3 cm pieces 1 tbsp oil 1.5 tsp Bart Black Mustard Seeds 3 tsp Bart Coriander in Sunflower Oil
Return the paste to the pan and add the tomatoes, spices, lamb, coconut cream, salt and 100ml water. Bring to the boil then simmer very gently, stirring occasionally for 1.25 hours or until the lamb is tender. Add more water if the liquid appears to be drying out. Stir in the potatoes and continue cooking for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Just before serving, heat the oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds and when they start to sizzle and pop, stir into the curry with the coriander. Serve with rice and fresh coriander.
All the spices within the Bart Fairtrade range are licensed by the Fairtrade Foundation. As well as a guaranteed fair price, the farmers receive a social premium to invest in farming methods and their quality of life. This allows them the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future and offers consumers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their every day shopping.
42 â€“indulge / Autumn 2011
Green Beans with Black Mustard Seeds Serves: 4
Ingredients 50g green beans, trimmed 2 tbsp oil 3 tsp Bart Black Onion Seeds 1 tsp Bart Chilli in Sunflower Oil 1 tsp Bart Garlic in Sunflower Oil
Indian Rice Pudding
Serves: 4 Ingredients
6 Bart Fairtrade Cardamom Pods
Cook the beans in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Drain and drop into a bowl of cold water. Drain again, thoroughly.
Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and crush them in a mortar and pestle.
Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the black onion seeds and when they begin to pop add the chilli and garlic.
125g basmati rice, rinsed & drained 25g flaked almonds 600ml milk 50g golden caster sugar
Add the beans and salt. Cook, stirring, for 8 minutes.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the cardamom seeds and the rice. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the almonds and milk. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed. Stir in the caster sugar and serve.
OF HERBS & SPICES
Bart’s range of herbs and spices are distributed by Strand Palace Agencies Limited and available from the following outlets: Ta’ Natu Supermarket MOSTA • Day Fresh MOSTA • Chain food Store SLIEMA • Conti Confectionery QORMI • Tal-Ginger BUGIBBA
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 43
food & drink
Butler, Cook & Critic by Monique Chambers
ver the past couple of years I have become an olive oil snob. Mostly because now I am more informed and have been subjected to tours and tastings by Sicilian friends. The freshly mown grass and ripe tomato scent, the peppery aftertaste, the hue are all important factors of a good oil, as is the packaging – for a preserving and serving point of view.
and from a team who worked across the water at the Michelin Star Locanda Don Serafino in Ragusa Ibla, you could expect a hint of arrogance, but you can see they all feel differently about food. It is not just sustenance; it is an art form, a sensual experience, it is their life. The concept here is to use the best Maltese and Sicilian ingredients combined with a Sicilian philosophy.
Sitting down on the terrace at Don Serafino 1953 at the Dragonara Casino, I was suitably impressed that after being greeted by the charming Bartolommeo, and seated with a fantastic view of the coastline and with crisp Prosecco in hand, we were invited to taste home made (and still warm) bread and exclusively bottled for Don Serafino, olive oil from Chiaramonte Gulfi, widely accepted as the best region. The oil did not disappoint. Then cheese and salami with honey, which must – we were instructed – be eaten with the hands. A whole new extravaganza at the table for the preparation and delivery of the hand towel.
We had opted for a tasting menu which was just €50, the menu offering a wide selection of predominantly fish and seafood based antipasti and pasta, the mains including the catch of the day and enough to keep carnivores happy.
Bartolommeo explained some options for us and we were warmed with his enthusiasm. So often this element is just a regurgitation of a list of dishes,
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With Tanqueray and tonic shots, we had a selection of Carpaccio’s, beautifully presented and not overly ‘cooked’ with a prawn and mango dumpling which hand on heart can say I have never had anything so divine. With an Etna Rosato, which had, a hint of rose petals came Amberjack, spaghetti con rizzi and a seared tuna with sautéed bitter sweet and sour peppers. The vegetable and salad decorations actually looked too good to eat. The work that must have gone into ribboning and balancing the colours, textures and indeed sculpture made you slightly guilty about demolishing it. However, I didn’t feel at all guilty when the dessert selection arrived. A portion of each almond parfait which had a welcome surprising crunch; caramelised almonds in the midst and a ricotta mousse with zigzags of chocolate strewn as if marking out a graceful spoonful. It’s a given that I will be back, no need for excuses. It is in a fabulous location, parking is on the doorstep, service is professional and friendly, food is excellent and not expensive and to top it all, the ambiance is addictive.
Chef Claudio Schiavone
displays of fish at the fishmonger because of inclement weather. That is when I have to find other solutions and the lack of products is more complicated here then in Sicily. There if I can’t find something from the eastern part of the Island I am sure to find it on the western coast. Malta is too small for that!
Why did you become a chef? There is no real reason why I became a chef. Since I was a child I used to love helping my mother in the kitchen and I was always impressed and mesmerised in seeing her create such wonderful, diverse tastes and I learnt the versatility of sometimes using just one product. I always felt that creating a dish is like a composer creating a melody which excites and releases emotions using only 7 notes, imagine what one can create having all the these fine ingredients and produce from the Mediterranean. Where did you work before? From all the different working experiences I tend to cite those that were the most formative for my career. Working with Vincenzo Candiano of Locanda Don Serafino was very important to me as he first tought me to respect the product, then the most innovative techniques of preparing a delicious dish, but most importantly he transmitted his passion for the Mediterranean kitchen. Another experience that was enlightening to me was a recent work trip in Spain, where I learnt the basics of the Spanish cuisine and new techniques of preparation and cooking.
What culinary cultures have you adopted form Malta / what ingredients have you discovered?
How is it to work at a Michelin star restaurant? I recommend working in a Michelin star restaurant to everyone, because apart from learning the basis of a good quality kitchen and learning the latest of innovative techniques, it will stimulate your creative streaks and grow your gastronomic culture. How is working in Malta different? Malta is a kiss placed on the Mediterranean, it has all the blessings of being a small island, its marvelous colours, the breathtaking countryside, its colourful inhabitants but apart from all the good things it also suffers from the logistical difficulties such as the unexpected cancelled orders because the connections to mainland Europe are late or cancelled. Even worse are the sad and forlorn
Our cuisine is predominantly Mediterranean, based on the respect of the each ingredient; in fact the objective is that the main ingredient is enhanced with simple combinations that give character to the entire plate. This has made it easier for me with most of the Maltese local vegetables for instance, lets take the local cherry tomatoes that bursts with flavour and need not feel in any way inferior to the Sicilian ones. Of particular enthusiasm is the vast choice of fish caught in your seas such as the Barracuda which has unleashed a lot of creativeness in me. What is your advice for budding chefs? To be able to do this work you need a lot of PASSION. From my part I also advise a good dose of humility since even a commis chef can inspire you at times. Apart from all that you need to study, learn and love the territory and its produce in order to be able to maximise on their characteristics.
Maître d’ Bartolomeo Drago introduces Don Serafino 1953 Don Serafino 1953 opened locally last June in an eleagant and informal atmosphere of the Dragonara Casino Terrace enjoying the beautiful views of the open seas. Through the freshest blends of local ingredients and Italian products, Chef Claudio has presented an interesting menu, keeping in line with the principal keys of the Mediterreanean Diet, UNESCO’s recent addition. The cellar presents a diverse list of italian and international wines which combine perfectly with the culinary delights. Don Serafino 1953 is open every day for lunch and dinner and the staff will welcome you and are always happy to assist you. Open all day. Free parking. 21377719
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 45
food & drink
Sicily Take a bit of time to explore what else Sicily has to offer. MONIQUE CHAMBERS takes a tour.
catania STAY at the luxurious Asmundo
‘hotel de charme’ on Via Gisira / Piazza Mazzini (+39 095 21 800 42) The hotel is beautifully designed with spacious rooms with beds which float off the floor with luxurious bathrooms with huge rain showers. It is just one minute from the duomo with the fruit and fish markets in the adjacent streets. The markets are open till around 2pm and Gunter, the patron of the Asmundo will even take you round them, so you can choose your dinner, which he will then prepare for you and deliver an exquisite meal. If he ran a restaurant, believe me, it would have a sky-full of stars.
SHOP like I need to tell you where to head...! But do let me introduce you to a couple of places you may not yet have discovered. For scent and perfume lovers, visit Boudoir 36 on Via Santa Filomena between 1800-2200hrs where the charismatic owner will discuss your likes, explain in floral detail your options and spritz and spray samples for you till you are giddy. The selection is from antique purveyors to modern makers, with packaging you will keep long after the life of the product. This is not perfume you will find on the high street. This is special.
EAT at Il SaleArtCafe on the same street. A trendy but comfortable, casual restaurant which has plenty of room inside and spills onto the trafficless street. While waiting for your selections, pop inside and work up an appetite by viewing the current trendsetting exhibition. We should have stopped after the cheese and antipasti platters, but went on to have steak, tuna tartar, seafood tempura and pasta.
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COFFEE is a main feature of the day and can be repeated as often as one wishes. Prestipino on Piazza Duomo has a vantage point for both those who are seeing and those who wish to be seen, whilst partaking in this essential part of life. May I humbly recommend a mix of their pistaccio and almond granitas? The fountain trickles in the background above the chatter and life in the square, while you tease your pasticci (plural) from the jaw dropping selection. All made on site, all divine. I know, I tried most of them.
PASTA WITH TENERUMI Tenerumi are the leaves (pick the small and medium ones) of the Qargħa Twila, they are similar to spinach in taste, but have a really interesting texture.
Ingredients 400g dried pasta 400g tenerumi 300g tomato salsa 50g spring onion, chopped 200g fresh chopped tomatoes 20g torn basil 100ml Planeta Extra Virgin olive oil Sprinkle of chilli Clove of garlic, chopped
Method Wash the leaves well in plenty of water. Blanch in boiling salty water and leave to cool. Then chop into smaller pieces. Saute the onion and chilli in the oil and add the tomato salsa. Prepare a pesto with basil, fresh tomato and garlic. Serve the pasta al dente with the sauce, topped with the pesto.
Palermo Writing my initial feelings about Palermo could render me with a pair of shoes of the concrete variety and trip to the bottom of the sea. However, after two days to explore a little, I found a couple of things worth seeing. One is the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette on Via Butera, which houses over 2000 puppets from all over the world, with informative panels and videos showing the art in action. Knowing a little gives you a fascinating
find them. There is an authentic show at 1730hrs outside the main cathedral most days and at the museum around 1800hrs though. These are more for adults than children, but you can pretend you are going because of them. Another treat for all the family is a small fresh pasta shop, Giglio Girolamo on Via Cala, right by the harbour, sells a fabulous selection of fresh sauces to complement many varieties of pasta from €7 a kilo, and more flavours of ravioli than I have handbags, for a tad more. If they don’t have what you want ready, wait a few minutes till they make it up for you. And a pizzo of advice for the mafia: charge businesses that don’t remove graffiti from their walls and a) you will earn more but even better b) more tourists may stay and spend more, thus creating more wealth all round. The
insight into social history and the invisible East/West divide of Sicily. Live shows and puppet makers are strewn across the city, though generally, you have to have wandered down an alley to
city is in fact beautiful with masses of intricate stonework and Norman influenced architecture, but it does need a serious clean. Palermo could learn a lot from Trapani.
Trapani It seems in the last two years , Trapani has changed for the better. Not just cleaned up, but it’s as if a – please excuse the pun - ‘flash mob’ have been in and unearthed the city’s beauty in what seems, overnight. The streets are boulevards with palace after palace, the stonework awe inspiring, the street level entrances now chic bars that spill out onto the revamped pavements with artisan shops like Pirilla and MAS Ceramics snuggled in juxtaposition to big name stores. We spent a lot of time cooing in a bead and coral craft shop and not 100 meters away, a ceramicist also benefitted from our visit. The surly staff at Stefania lost out on a pretty woman style-shopping spree due to their incredible rudeness, but don’t let that stop you going. Along the North and North-West coast of Sicily, couscous appears on the menu, typically made with fish, it makes a nice change to spaghetti vongole! indulge / Autumn 2011 – 47
food & drink
Fish Couscous Recipe Ingredients 500g couscous 1kg of boneless fish / prepared shellfish 1 onion, diced 1 large tomato 1 clove of garlic handful of parsley ½ teaspoon of harissa 1 bay leaf salt
Method Cook the fish in about two litres of water, adding the rest of the ingredients except the couscous. Simmer for about 1.5 hours and then add the couscous for the last few minutes (see packet for timings). Allow the couscous to soak up most of the liquid and fluff with a fork when the water is absorbed. Serve hot with chopped parsley as a garnish.
Ryanair may be many things, but it sure breathes life into towns at its journey’s end. The harbour boasts a well-run marina with all the services weary sailors require, and the lungo mare is home to convenience stores and in my opinion, the world’s best ice cream parlour, Panna Montata. The usual flavours are there but he has popcorn ice cream too. So good, we ordered a couple of tubs, one of which made the journey home.
Marsala Life revolves around the antico mercato near the porte Garibaldi in this deceptively beautiful town. By day, a typical food market stocking the freshest fish and vegetables, with old men huddled in deep conversation on upturned crates. By night, the well-dressed brigade come out and promenade around the still elegant centro storico with the market becoming a hubbub of bands and friends. Local ceramic and jewellery artists show their wares and bars seem to appear from the tiny stores behind the hawkers stalls and spill as far as their audience demands. Arriving by boat gives only a hint of its wine making importance with a couple of dilapidated wineries bold enough to still face the sea. Others, including the most famous, Pellegrino, are the cornerstones of the town and worth a diversion. Buying the local speciality from its origins just makes it taste better somehow; but make this variation of cantuccini when you get home, they take minutes
Fig, apricot and nut cantuccini Ingredients 200g plain flour 1½ tsp baking powder 100g caster sugar 30g shelled pistachio nuts 30g shelled hazelnuts 30g sultanas 40g dried apricots, quartered 40g dried figs, quartered 1 tbsp grated lemon zest 2 eggs, beaten
Method Preheat the oven to 150°C. Sift the flour and baking powder and add the nuts, dried fruit and lemon zest. Pour in the whisked eggs and work the mixture into a dough with your hands. Shape into a ‘sausage’ and flatten so that the dough is about 8cm wide. Bake for 30 minutes and remove from the oven, allowing to cool for 10 minutes.Cut into slices and turn onto their sides, return to the oven for another 10 minutes, turning about half way thorough. Remove and allow to cool. Serve with coffee or Marsala.
48 –indulge / Autumn 2011
food & drink
t takes a fool to feel ripped off and then go back for more. Yet judging by the number of times I’ve been told that we’re regularly ripped off at restaurants in Malta, there should only be a handful of them left. The conversation follows a pattern. I’m addressed by someone who is just back from abroad, typically from any part of Southern Europe like Spain, France and Greece and with particular emphasis on Sicily and the South of Italy. They are bursting with accounts of how meals were plentiful and excellent and cost practically nothing. Therefore, the recently-returned holidaymaker concludes, I’m paying too much for my meals in Malta. My experiences in the same countries have varied. I’ve had ridiculously cheap meals at certain restaurants, and I’ve paid more at others than any restaurant in Malta has ever charged me. Let’s stick to the cheaper meals for now. Many accounts of inexpensive delights revolve around seafood. I’ve had meals where much of that morning’s catch was on my plate and I paid less than €20 for the lot of it. These meals are normally enjoyed inside family-run restaurants that have been around for a while and prepare simple meals based on fresh and straightforward ingredients. If, like myself, you enjoy the less-is-more approach to seafood, then you’re bound to be treated to an inexpensive delight. A number of factors make this possible. The family-run, family-owned places have little by way of overheads. The restaurant has been in the family, possibly for generations, and the there is no rent or mortgage adding a couple of Euro to your food bill. Fresh fish has been caught close by, possibly by other members of the extended family, and the food cost per dish is ridiculously low. And since we often stumble upon the too-cheapto-be-true places when we’re off the beaten track, these places depend on repeat business for a living so any overly optimistic margins aren’t ever part of the recipe to continued success.
Keeping the costs low also involves having a menu that changes every day to accommodate the daily catch. If I ‘force’ a particular fish onto the menu, then I must source it at market prices every single day just in case someone orders it. The additional cost of this expensive practice would have to be spread out pretty evenly across the bills of all that day’s patrons.
Happily for us diners, gone are the days when a restaurant could turn a healthy profit by resorting to dodgy practices and even dodgier ingredients. Today, a chef’s hat must very often double as that of a cunning and costconscious bean-counter and the result is something of a circus act worthy of applause. Chefs understand that
These restaurants are also careful with the pricing of items like pizza and pasta, where the food cost itself is very low. A healthy margin can be achieved with food in this category while keeping the price on the menu within a reasonable range. At the other end of the spectrum lies the cost of a beef fillet, for instance, typically in the €50/kg region for a decent cut. The restaurants we rave about as having charged less than a high-street sandwich simply do not offer expensive ingredients at all. So the formula to offering quality food at very reasonable prices involves owning the restaurant, purchasing fresh ingredients from the immediate vicinity, changing the menu to suit the season, and leaving expensive ingredients off the menu altogether. Simple as this sounds, it is a formula that is very hard to replicate for a great number of reasons. Let’s start with owning the place. This is, unfortunately, a matter of luck or circumstance in most cases – neither of which can be counted on. So renting/ paying a mortgage on a restaurant will cause the price of food on the menu to increase accordingly. And the more desirable the location, the higher the premium we diners should expect to pay. Easy, daily availability of fresh ingredients depends very much on the location of the restaurant. While fresh fish and most veg are pretty much staples in Malta, good beef has to travel from places as far flung as Argentina or flown in from Scotland. The cost of transporting meat is significant. It must be kept within a very narrow temperature range across long distances and there cannot be so much as a single dip in transport quality if the freshness of the meat is to be preserved. If a menu is to offer Scottish mussels and Argentinean beef, we can easily predict that the price-tag is by necessity going to match the distance travelled by each ingredient.
hungry diners with money in their wallets demand an equal measure of quality ingredients and passion in the kitchen. They also understand that this has to be done profitably enough for the restaurant to survive while at a price that the diners are willing to pay. And I believe that many restaurants in Malta are coming very close to the right formula. Naturally some are closer than others, and the rate at which peerreviews (blogs, review sites, comments on social networks, etc) spread the word is encouraging more restaurants to seek a balance that will encourage more positive reviews. Just as naturally inevitable is the bevy of restaurants that keep the magic formula at an arms length, abusing of their position to trap tourists and other one-time punters, shamelessly ripping them off. They know that if the victims don’t return, another hungry crop of clueless clients will walk past and swallow their cheaply baited hook. So next time you’re dining out and are seeking unbeatable value, try to be sympathetic of the situation that the restaurant you’ve picked is in. If you believe that you’re treated fairly, let the chef know that they’ve got the right balance worked out. You’ll be surprised that chefs rarely get the encouragement they deserve and a kind word goes a long way. If you feel you’ve been ripped off, let the chef know. Then let your friends and family know. And make sure you don’t ever return – that would be daft.
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 49
food & drink
You can’t top Toppings!
You can certainly ‘have your pie and eat it’ with The Topping Pie Company’s multi-award winning delicious pies, made using 100% natural high quality ingredients. The tradional recipes have been developed by this family-run business, a favourite being their best british pork pie encased in a traditional pork pie pastry crust. There’s a whole range of other divine specialities to choose from, served both hot and cold to your preference - enough to make anyone’s mouth water! Why not try them for yourself. Toppings Pies are available exclusively at The Wembley Store, 305, Republic Street, Valletta. Visit www.thewembleystore.com.
Project Life, a new furniture boutique now open in the heart of San Gwann offers high quality Italian designed furniture available at very competitive prices. A ready made collection as well as custom made models are available to fit the client’s exacting specifications. Call 21 386 164 or visit www.projectlife.com.mt
For more great gourmet specialities and benefit from free delivery all over Malta.
And for something sweet but healthy? Chop an apple and a kiwi into squares. Squeeze a little lemon juice over, drizzle some honey, then add three teaspoons of mixed seeds and nuts from Good Earth. Keep a container handy with sunflower, pumpkin and linseeds, chopped hazelnuts and ground almonds. It’s a great topping for natural yoghurt too! www.goodearth.com.mt
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DRINK DRINKRESPONSIBLY RESPONSIBLY
Lupanara is set in the bastions of Fort St Angelo in Birgu â€“ aka Vittoriosa. An amazing setting for those seeking somewhere slightly off the beaten track with a relaxed atmosphere, extensive wine list and exceptional, well priced food. Reservations: 2180 3086 | 99526500 | 99449086.
food & drink
Monique Chambers shares seasonal recipes
was intrigued and impressed with my first taste of ċentinarja when I arrived in Malta a few years ago, and am still surprised how little attention it is paid by restaurants. This magical vegetable is known internationally as mirliton, cilantro, chayote squash or choko amongst other names, and there are many ways to use it. The fruit does not need to be peeled and can be eaten raw in salads. Cooked or raw, it has a very mild flavour by itself, and is commonly served with seasonings or in a dish with other vegetables as a filler. It can also be boiled, stuffed, mashed, baked, fried, or pickled. Here are a few ways we use it at home:
2 ċentinarja 4 large tomatoes, quartered 4 tblsp cooked long grain rice 2 garlic cloves, chopped 2 large onions, chopped drizzle of olive oil 2 Maltese sausages, skinned grated zest of 1 lime 4 spring onions finely chopped handful of basil
2 kilos ċentinarja, peeled and finely chopped 750g white sugar 2 apples, peeled and diced 2 large white onions, finely diced 400g dates, pitted and chopped 250g ginger, chopped 650ml white vinegar salt and pepper, to taste
Seasoning Preheat the oven to 180°C Cut the ċentinarja in half and remove the seed. Scoop out the flesh and cube; reserve the skins. Mix all the ingredients together and lightly fry in the olive oil for about 15 minutes. Stuff the skins with this mixture and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve with rice and a salad.
Prawn pie Ingredients
3 ċentinarja boiled, peeled & cut up 300kg cleaned prawns, whole or cut up handful of bread crumbs 1 onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 3 tbsp cooking oil 1 egg, well beaten 1 tbsp chopped parsley seasoning extra bread crumbs for topping
Put all the ingredients into a large non metallic saucepan. Cook gently for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent the relish sticking. Bottle in sterilised jars and refrigerate when cool. Serve with your favourite grilled meat – it is absolutely fabulous with pork.
Method Cook ċentinarja until nearly tender. Peel, take out seeds and cut into pieces. Saute onions and garlic in oil in a large pot for about 5 minutes. Add ċentinarja and salt and cook until mashable. Stir constantly and add prawns. Continue until shrimp are cooked then add parsley and bread crumbs. Stir until well mixed. Place in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 180°C for about 20 to 25 minutes.
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 53
food & drink
According to the EU regulations, all olive oil being marketed is to be classified as follows: Descriptions and definitions of olive oils and olive-pomace oils
by John Portelli
he olive tree, a symbol of peace, prosperity, and supremacy. With a documented history going back to thousands of years the olive tree has earned a place in the story of Noah and the Flood when a pigeon returned with an olive branch in its beak, whilst in Greek mythology, Athena competed with Poseidon for possession of Athens. Poseidon claimed possession by thrusting his trident into the Acropolis, where a well of sea-water gushed out. Athena took possession by planting the first olive tree beside the well. The olive tree grows between the 35th and the 45th parallel of latitude north, and one can find 1,590 identified varieties. All the known varieties originated from olive trees domesticated by men more than 6,000 years. Italy and Spain are still today the biggest producers of olive oil with the largest number of varieties found in Italy, with nothing less than 669, on its unique territory, because of its diverse climatic conditions. Today, olive cultivation has spread to countries as far as Australia, Argentina, America, and New Zealand, but the European Union is the leading world producer, accounting for 80 % and consuming 70 % of the worldâ€™s olive oil.
54 â€“indulge / Autumn 2011
Extra virgin olive oil Superior-category olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means Virgin olive oil Olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means Olive oil composed of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils Oil comprising exclusively olive oils that have undergone refining and oils obtained directly from olives Olive-pomace oil Oil comprising exclusively oils obtained by treating the product obtained after the extraction of olive oil and oils obtained directly from olives or oil comprising exclusively oils obtained by processing olivepomace oil and oils obtained directly from olives
To preserve the natural characteristics of virgin olive oils, the use of oil-extraction adjuvants having a chemical or biochemical action are not permitted and any such use will disqualify the oil from being sold as olive oil. To guarantee quality, all olive oils, before being offered to the market need to go through a series of chemical analysis, where very stringent parameters have to be met. Following the chemical analysis, and according to the parameters achieved, the oil is classified into one of the above categories, but this by no means qualifies the oil as yet as sellable product. The oil has now to go through a process of ORGANOLEPTIC assessment (smell and taste) by a qualified tasting panel The first major step in this analysis is to identify if the oil contains any defects. Olive oil is very sensitive to heat, air, light and water and each can inflict damage to it, with each defect manifesting its own characteristics. Since the aromas of olive oil are a critical part of its flavour, the best way to appreciate them is to pour a little bit of olive oil (about 10cc) into a small wineglass. Cup the glass in one hand and cover it with the other to trap the aromas inside while you warm it up. Hold it, swirl it, warm it for a minute or two. Then stick your nose into the glass and take a good whiff of the aroma or “nose” of the olive oil. You may notice the smell of freshly mown grass, almonds, artichoke, tomato leaves, apple or other aromas of ripe or green olive fruit. This is a good time to point out that the word “fruity” in olive oil can refer to vegetable notes, i.e. green olive fruit, as well as to ripe fruit notes. So think of artichokes, grass and herbs as “fruit” when you taste olive oils! Now take a sip (about half a tea spoon) of the oil. Don’t be too wimpy about it; if you don’t get a decent amount you won’t appreciate all the qualities of the oil because it is only getting on the tip of your tongue. You ideally want to get the impressions of the entire mouth and tongue. Suck air through the oil to coax more aromas out of it, and then—this is important— close your mouth and breathe out through your nose. This “retronasal” perception will give you a whole bunch of other flavour notes. Retronasal perception is possible because your mouth connects to your nose in the back. Now swallow some, or all of the oil. Pungency is a peppery sensation, detected in the throat, so swallowing some oil is important. Pungency is a positive characteristic of olive oil. It is a chemical irritation, like the hotness of chillies, and equally appealing once you get used to it. Once you start to get into that spicy kick, it is hard to imagine life without it. Pungency can be very mild—just the tiniest tingle—or it can be intense enough to make you cough. The third of the three positive attributes of olive oil, in addition to fruity and pungent, is bitter. Bitterness, like pungency, is also an acquired taste. As anyone who has ever tasted an olive right off the tree can attest, bitter is a prominent taste in fresh olives.
Varying degrees of bitterness can be found; oil made from riper fruit will have little to no bitterness, oil made from greener fruit can be distinctly bitter. The fruity characteristics you may notice in the mouth include nutty, buttery and other ripe flavours, and a fuller spectrum of green fruity notes. Between one oil and another, the traditional palate cleanser is water, and slices of Granny Smith apple. Another characteristic that is most pronounced in this retronasal perception, is rancidity which is the most common defect.
Learn more about olive oil and its uses at www.indulge.com.mt/enjoyoliveoil
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 55
food & drink
FED UP OF FTIRA?
Liven up your lunchbox These quick and tasty recipes can be made the night before or while you are preparing to go to work!
Salmon cigars Ingredients 1 small can red or pink salmon 2 sheets of filo pastry, defrosted ½ bag of flavoured microwave rice handful of spinach 1 egg, beaten
Method Pre heat the oven to 150°C. Lay out the filo pastry and brush around the edges with the beaten egg. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions and wilt the spinach. Mix the salmon with the rice and spinach and lay in a sausage shape (with about an inch each end of the pastry showing). Fold in the ends and roll. Coat with the remaining egg and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Most Dangerous Cake Recipe in the World This email has been doing the rounds for years but it never fails to perk up a dull afternoon of filing. I have the dry ingredients in a container in my desk - you can use egg replacement powder and marvel for days when you leaving your desk is impossible.
Ingredients 4 tablespoons flour 4 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons oil 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) A small splash of vanilla essence 1 large coffee mug
Add dry ingredients to your largest mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using), vanilla essence, then mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 egg 3 tablespoons milk
Posh egg sandwich
1/2 cup rice flour 1 courgette grated 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 rasher of prosciutto, chopped 1 tsp olive oil Sprinkle of chilli, if desired Round pitta pocket
Method Devour And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now you are only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day!
Beat the egg and add flour - continue beating until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and pour into an egg ring in a hot frying pan with the olive oil for 2 minutes then flip over and cook for a further minute. Meanwhile, toast the pitta pocket and slit open. Fill with salad and the fritter. indulge / Autumn 2011 – 57
food & drink
Will we soon see JELLYFISH ON THE MENU?
he world’s oceans may be completely depleted of fish in 40 years if action is not taken to replenish stocks, the United Nations warns. If we don’t take control of the situation now then as Canadian Fisheries expert Dr. Daniel Pauly has said our children will be eating jellyfish. Is this a fate you would wish for your child? There are many problems facing the world’s oceans today and we are adding to them with our ever-expanding appetite for seafood. It is estimated that more than half of all fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back into the sea dead or dying in a practice known as discarding. There are many economic and political factors, which drive fishing companies to do this. The discarded fish are mostly unmarketable species, under the minimum landing size or of a species that the fishermen are not permitted to land due to quota restrictions imposed by the EU. Discarding has a devastating impact on the environment, causing increased mortality rates to both target and non-target species, often early in their life cycle effecting future fish stocks in our oceans. Long term discarding causes the
58 –indulge / Autumn 2011
natural food webs to change, as it provides increased levels of food to scavenging organisms on the sea floor and to sea birds negatively impacting on the diversity of the fragile ecosystem. As technology advances, modern fishing methods are systematically stripping the life from our oceans. It has been estimated that commercial fleets are 2-3 times the size necessary for the quotas and have decimated the fish stocks. The ocean cannot hope to replenish itself at the rate it is being depleted while ever-growing fleets are continuing to fish in ever diminishing stocks. Scientists agree that overfishing is the greatest threat to the biodiversity of sea life and that despite advances in fishing technology outdated and destructive techniques are still widely used. In 1983 the European Union created the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to manage Europe’s fish stocks. Ultimately, it has failed to prevent over fishing. The most recent figures from the European Commission estimate that 72% of fish stocks have been exploited and the survival of 20% is severely threatened. Europe’s fishing fleets have the capacity to fish far beyond the quotas and the EU
is under pressure to set higher targets to keep the fleets in business. However, the EU continues to provide subsidies to modernise fleets increasing their fishing capacity rather than focusing on improving sustainable methods. It has been estimated that in several member states the subsidies provided by the EU exceed the total value of the fish caught which means that we are paying double for the catch: once through subsidies and once at the market. Reform needs to happen now if we are to be confident that future generations will be able to enjoy the diversity of our oceans. Now is the time to push for change, and influence the reform planned for 2012 to the CFP. Consumers can play an important part in our fisheries, by making educated choices when buying fish. Consumers have a right to know what they are eating and where it comes from. It is only through the consumer’s pressure that changes will take place on how we use our fish resource. fish4tomorrow is a new campaign being launched in Malta in order to give consumers the power through education and awareness to preserve our fisheries. Working together,
Din l-Art Ħelwa, Nature Trust Malta, Greenhouse, Sharklab Malta and GetupStandup, will provide the tools necessary for consumers to make responsible choices that will ensure the viability of local fish stocks for generations to come.
Here is a list of fish that are not on the immediate danger list: Dolphin Fish - Lampuki Common Squid - Klamari Horse Mackerel - Sawrella
fish4tomorrow carried out a consumer market survey during a number of events held during Fresher’s Week at the University of Malta and for European Shark Week in 2010, which revealed that 70% of respondents did not consider fish stock sustainability when choosing which species to consume but given more information would choose differently. fish4tomorrow volunteers also carried out a survey among restaurants and found that the attitude towards the campaign was very positive. Some restaurants were interested in marking their menus. fish4tomorrow aims to raise local consumer, restaurateur and retailer awareness on the importance of acquiring seafood from sustainable sources and to shift Malta’s consumption of seafood towards sustainable options through education at the point of decision making in a restaurant or market. As a consumer of seafood, there are many easy steps you can take to make healthy ocean choices at your local restaurant or market. Ask your retailer or server where the seafood comes from.
Grey Gurnard - Gallina Atlantic Salmon - Salamun (Organic farmed) Mediterranean Poor Cod Bakkaljaw Painted Comber - Burqax Garfish - Imsella Atlantic Bonito - Plamtu Skipjack Tuna - Palamit Brown/Rainbow Trout - Trout (Organic farmed) Anchovy - Incova Cape Hake (from South Africa) - Merluzz If the fish is caught in an unsustainable method, such bottom trawling, it would be wise to choose another item. Be sure that your fish does not fall under the endangered species list, such as many species of sharks and rays. By taking some simple precautions, jellyfish does not have to be on the menu.
Atlantic Pollock (fresh and frozen) Turbot (farmed)- Barbun Imperjal Mackerel - Pizzitun Pacific Halibut Pacific Cod - Bakkaljaw
You can learn more about a sustainable future for our fisheries by visiting fish4tomorrow’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/fish4tomorrow Support fish4tomorrow - because there aren’t plenty more fish in the sea. PETITIONS: Hugh’s fish fight: www.fishfight.net Shark Alliance: www.sharkalliancepetition.org
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 59
food & drink
NO NEED TO SUFFER, WE SHOW YOU HOW TO INDULGE
eing told by your doctor you have high blood sugar, can be devastating news, especially for the sweet-toothed. But it is news that should be listened to and digested properly as high blood levels of glucose may cause several problems and lead to diabetes*, which brings more complications.
Salmon with butterbean puree
So, its obvious, if you have high blood sugar, you need to reduce your sugar intake. In general for good health and steady, sustainable weight loss, lessening our sugar intake is a given. Cutting out known sugary foods is easier than it sounds. Getting into the habit of using a sweetener like SteSweet instead is another. Knowing where sugar is, can be a bit more confusing.
1 garlic clove, crushed
Generally, safety is in most vegetables, beans, whole grains, oats and good quality lean meats and salmon. Foods that should be avoided are processed foods and foods high in fat. Don’t assume an item that is marketed as low fat is better for you than the full fat version. Often, sugars are added to make it palatable! Don’t look to the calories column, check the ingredient list. The higher an ingredient is on the list, the more of it there is in the product. The ‘of which sugars’ is the line that you should compare your options against. Foods that help control high blood sugar are high fibre foods and complex carbohydrates. The much publicised G.I. Diet offers a simple way to lower your sugar intake with a traffic light system - red for avoid, amber for occasional and green for OK. There are some surprises, so don’t guess. For example, couscous is a red light item and pasta has a green light. Broad beans are a no, runner beans are a go. Make your risotto with basmati rice for a green light alterative.
60 –indulge / Autumn 2011
Ingredients: 2 salmon fillets 1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp white wine vinegar 1 tsp grated lime zest 1 tbsp chopped dill 200g butterbeans (drained) 1 bay leaf 125ml chicken stock 250g spinach
Method Combine the oil, garlic, vinegar, lime zest and dill and pour over the salmon in a non-metallic dish. Leave to marinate for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil with the bayleaf and beans and simmer for about 10 minutes. When cooled, according to your preference, puree with a blender or roughly mash by hand. Season to taste. Drain the salmon and dry fry for 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove the fillets and warm the marinade through in the same pan then add the spinach to wilt. Place the salmon fillets on a mound of beans and spinach.
*Diabetes is a chronic disease marked by high sugar levels in the blood and is common in Malta. Diabetes is generally caused by two factors, either the pancreas in your body isn’t producing enough insulin to regulate the sugar levels in your blood or that the muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond to insulin normally (or both). Type 1 diabetes is usually found in children and diagnosed at the age of 20 or older. In this type of diabetes, the body usually does not make sufficient amount of insulin for the body and daily insulin injection are required. The exact cause is unknown. Type 2 diabetes is a lot more common then type 1. It is mostly found in adults yet young people are increasingly being diagnosed with this disease. In this diabetes the pancreas does not make enough insulin to regulate the blood sugar levels in the body, and is increasing due to failure of exercise and obesity. Gestational diabetes is high blood glucose that develops at any time during pregnancy, and can develop in a pregnant woman who had never suffered from diabetes. Women who have gestational diabetes are at high risk of becoming type 2 diabetic and also have cardiovascular disease later on in life. See your doctor for more information.
Chestnut and chocolate roulade 100g SteSweet ¼ tsp salt 4 medium eggs, separated 3 tbsp good quality cocoa powder 100g sweet potato, peeled and finely grated 60g white rice flour 1 tsp baking powder
For the filling: 140ml double cream 2 tbsp *icing sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 200g *sweet chestnut puree
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a Swiss tin with parchment paper and sprinkle icing sugar.
To make sweet chestnut puree:
Whisk the egg whites with 2tsp of SteSweet until stiff. Whisk the remaining SteSweet with the egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the cocoa powder and the sweet potato still whisking.
2 cups chestnuts, roasted and peeled
Add, in thirds, the egg white mixture. The first roughly and more gently for the next two batches. Pour the mixture into the Swiss tin and bake for 15 minutes.
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Lay a clean tea towel and a piece of parchment paper on a solid surface. Once cooked quickly lift the sponge out of the tin using the corners of the lining paper. Flip the sponge so the top is now the bottom – on to the clean parchment paper. Peel off the ‘old’ paper. Roll gently using the paper and tea towel as a casing and allow to cool and set for 10 minutes. Whip the cream and fold in the sweet chestnut puree. Once the sponge has cooled, unroll and layer the chestnut mixture as desired. Reroll (you can add a layer of cream) and sprinkle with cocoa powder to serve. *To make sugar free icing sugar, simply blitz the amount required with cornstarch – 1 cup sugar with 1tsp cornstarch.
SteSweet’s Stevia herbal sweetener is ideal for those who realise the value of having an allnatural alternative to sugar. SteSweet Stevia products are made without the use of chemical extraction procedures and is available as water-soluble tablets in an easy dose dispenser, or as convenient serving size packages (sold in boxes of 50). Enjoy preparing healthy, low-calorie versions of your favourite treats, whether that be cold or hot drinks, cereals, yogurt, or baked pastries and desserts. SteSweet Stevia brings all the natural tasty sweetness you’d like, minus the calories. The signature ingredient in SteSweet Stevia is derived from the leaves of the Stevia plant. This extraordinary plant is native to South America, where it has been used as a sweetener for centuries. Naturally zerocalorie and having a negligible effect on blood glucose, Stevia is ideal for diabetics as well as healthy people
1 cup SteSweet 2 cups of water In a saucepan, combine nuts, SteSweet and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-35 minutes until the majority of the liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Strain the chestnuts, reserving the sugar syrup and transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add syrup slowly until desired consistency is obtained. Allow to cool before refrigerating in an airtight container.
who wish to lose weigh while still enjoying natural sweetness in their diet. Part of the reason why SteSweet Stevia is so natural, and naturally tasty, is because only mechanical and biological production processes are used to extract the Stevia from the plant leaves, thereby completely eliminating any addition of chemicals. Once extracted, Stevia is over 200 times sweeter than sugar, so it is granulated with Inulin, which is 100% fibre and completely tasteless, to reduce this potency to a more convenient level while also ensuring a consistent sweet taste. Moreover, Inulin is great at improving digestion and also boosts health and vitality by acting as an effective probiotic.
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 61
food & drink Lorraine Miceli De Majo explains
FOOD & WINE
orraine Miceli De Majo explains that when it comes to pairing wine with food, there are no strict rules that say you cannot eat what you like with whichever style of wine you choose, as ultimately it is what an individual enjoys most and what combination works best for that person. Pairing is simply the decision of which wine will bring out the best, when combined with a given food. Originally wines styles evolved to complement the cusine of a region, so
this is often a good starting point for finding a wine and food combination. Also when first trying to pair food and wine it is also a good idea and much easier to select the wine first and then build the food around the wine to find the perfect synergy. An example of this is a simple poached chicken breast with a light lemon herb sauce. This could go with a light to medium bodied wine like a Pinot Grigio /Bianco, Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave or Gavi. Now add a cream sauce and you can move up in body to a
fuller wine, maybe a white Burgundy or white Rhone, white Bordeaux or Graves (Semillon) or New World Chardonnay, as well as an oaked Saivignon Blanc or yeasty/brioche tasting Champagne. If on the other hand the chicken is roasted, the flavours are such that it can marry with light to medium reds, like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Beaujolais, Rioja, Merlot or Valpolicella. Grill it and it becomes great with fuller bodied reds, like Bordeaux, Zinfandel, Syrah (Shiraz), Cabernet Sauvignon or Brunello wines.
For many meat dishes, a rich fullbodied white wine is a better match than a lighter red wine. WEIGHT/RICHNESS OF THE FOOD AND WINE The first and most important element to consider should be to match the weight of the food with that of the wine. Rich heavyweight foods like game, roast meats and red meat casseroles, need a full-bodied wine. Powerful red wines are often the favoured choice, although it is the body of the wine which is the most important consideration rather than its colour or flavour Lighter food, such as plain white meat or fish, is complemented by more delicate wine. Although white wines are the normal choice, light bodied, low tannin red wines can also be successful. One must also remember the contribution of the sauce. A rich creamy sauce will need a wine of sufficient body to match the food and flavours that will complement the smooth creamy, buttery taste.
62 –indulge / Autumn 2011
Lorraine Miceli De Majo, A.I.W.S. is a working mother of two, advises clients on wine lists, organises wine tastings, and chooses wine we will consume. She likes to garden and entertain and even finds the energy to voluntary work.
FLAVOUR INTENSITY OF THE FOOD AND THE WINE
OIL, SALT AND TANNINS
After weight, the next most important element to consider is flavour and intensity. Flavour intensity, although similar to weight, is not the same. Think of a food that has a lot of weight but low in flavour, say plain boiled potatoes or plain boiled rice; both are heavy in weight but light in flavour. At the other end of the scale thinks of a plate of raw, thinly sliced red or green peppers; these are high in flavour but light in weight. Wines can be the same. Riesling, for example makes a lightweight wine that is intensely flavoured, while Chardonnay makes a full bodied, heavyweight wine that can be low in flavour. Delicate wines and strong flavoured foods do not match. Also worth noting is the way food has been cooked. Steamed food is lighter than roasted or fried food.
Tannin in combination with oily fish can result in an unpleasant metallic taste, so the general recommendation is to avoid red wines with fish. However, low tannin reds are fine with meaty fish. Wines with high tannin content can also taste bitter with salty foods.
ACIDITY IN THE FOOD AND THE WINE Sour flavours in food make wines taste less acidic, and therefore less vibrant and refreshing. For this reason any acidity found in the food should be matched by acidity in the accompanying wines. Tomatoes, lemons, pineapples, apples and vinegar are all high in acidity. One of the characteristics of Italian wines is their high acidity. This is because much of Italian cuisine is dominated by two ingredients - tomatoes and olive oil, and other acidic ingredients such as lemons, balsamic vinegar and wine are often used - hence wines that go with Italian foods need high acidity.
‘CHEWY’ MEAT AND TANNINS Tannin in red wine reacts with protein. Foods with high protein content, particularly rare red meat will soften the effects of the tannin on the palate. This is why wines from high- tannin grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah/Shiraz, go well with roast meats, stews and steaks. Light, fruity red wines with low levels of tannin, like Pinot Noir, Beaujolais and Valpolicella, will complement white meats because these are low in proteins and lighter than meats such as lamb and beef.
FRUITY FLAVOURS Fruity flavours flavours in food can be matched with fruity/floral wines. For example a Muscat or Zibibbo can be paired with a fruit salad.
SALTY FOODS AND SWEET OR HIGH- ACID WINES Salty foods are enhanced by a touch of sweetness. Think of classic combinations like prosciutto and figs. The same works with wine. Roquefort cheese and Sauternes, or Port and Stilton are famous matches. Salty foods also benefit from a little acidity. Olives, oysters and other shellfish go best with crisp, dry light-bodied white wines like Muscadet or a Sancerre. It is no wonder that Fino Sherry or Manzanilla are classic accompaniments for olives or salted nuts.
SWEETNESS IN THE FOOD AND THE WINE Dry wines can seem tart and over-acidic when consumed with any food with a degree of sweetness. Sweet food is best with wine that has a similar or greater degree of sweetness; the sweeter the food, the sweeter the wine needs to be. German and Austrian wines include many late harvest wines. Also sweet Muscat wines like the Passito from Pantelleria, Sauternes and ice wines are excellent for this purpose with puddings and cheese. indulge / Autumn 2011 – 63
food & drink SMOKED FOODS
On a final note here are some food & wine marriages made in heaven:
Smoked foods need wines with enough character to cope with the strength of the smoking. Lightly smoked salmon is a classic partner for Brut Champagne; smoked meats like pork can benefit from some slight sweetness in the wine like that found in some German Rieslings; smoky barbecued flavours suit powerful oaked wines like Australian Shiraz
Sauternes or Riesling Beerenauslse and foie gras Chablis with oysters Muscadet-Severe-et-Maine with shellfish Claret and grilled steak Red Burgundy and hearty stews
FATTY/OILY FOODS AND HIGH-ACID WINES Wines with a good level of acidity can be superb with rich oily foods, such as a pate. For example, Sauternes works well with foie gras. Here the weight of both wine and food are simillar, and the acidity in the wine helps it cut through the fattiness of the food. This is also an example of matching a sweet wine to a savoury food. Crisp wines such as Riesling and unoaked Barberas can make a good match with fatty meats such as duck and goose. Foods that have been cooked by frying will need wines with high acidity, because the method of cooking increases the fat content.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape with roast lamb (rolled in herbs) Port and Stilton (also chocolate)
Sancerre and chevre cheese
Spicy foods are best matched by wines that are made from really ripe, juicy fruit, either unoaked or very lightly oaked (many spices accentuate the flavours of oak). Wines such as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Rose can work well with highly spiced foods, as can ripe Chilean Merlot. Spicy wines such as Gewurztraminer can also complement spicy dishes. Chablis also works well with these dishes.
Fino or Manzanilla Sherry with olives and tapas
To achieve the best match it is necessary to analyse the basic components in both the wine and the food. The main thing is to try to balance these so that neither the food nor the wine overpowers the other. The main elements to consider are:
1. Match weight / richness / texture of the food and the body of the wine. 2. Match the flavour intensity of the food and wine. 3. Match acidic foods with high acid wines. 4. Match sweet foods with sweet wines 5. Avoid combining oily or very salty foods with high tannin red wines. Other considerations can help us find wine and food combinations where the wine and the food really enhance each other. Read more about these online at www.indulge.com.mt/ foodanddrink
1. Pair chewy meat with tannic wines. 2. Pair salty foods with sweet or high acid- wines. 3. Pair fatty and oily food with high-acid wines 4. Match or contrast flavour characteristics of the food and wine. Sources: Exploring the World of Wines and Spirits by Christopher Fielden in association with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust
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Vin Santo and Cantucci, caramelised peach tart or fruit cake Muscat de Rivesaltes (VDN) or Passito di Pantelleria and Apricot Clafoutis or tart
TROUBLESOME PAIRINGS There are a number of foods that always pose the greatest challenge when paired with wine. Here are a few: Vinegar or vinegar based sauces or relishes like cranberry sauce – Vinegar is wine that has been acted on by bacteria called acetobacter, which turns the alcohol in the wine into acetic acid and water. Because of this, most wines tend to taste spoiled in the presence of vinegar. Look for clean bright, and high acid wines to pair the best; whites being most favorable. Artichoke and Asparagus – As both have weed-like flavours, again it is a good idea to look for high acid, grassy, herbaceous wines like S. Blanc from the Loire as well as NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Egg and egg -based dishes – The sulfurous quality of the egg has a similar effect as vinegar, imparting an unpleasant flavour to softer wines. Again look for clean, bright and high acid wines. Chocolate – The variability of chocolate in sweetness and texture can be difficult to pair with wine. For sweeter chocolate, look for sweeter wines like port or dark VDN. For semisweet or even bittersweet chocolate, look for drier wines; for instance the Barton&Guestier Medoc Privee, a dry red which is full of similar flavours and a heavenly pairing to chocolate tart.
Malta International Airport plc., Luqa LQA 4000, Malta Tel: (+356) 2369 6292 / 6016 Freephone: 8007 6666 Fax: (+356) 2124 3042 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Ratcliffe recalls her me, me, me time at an Ayurvedic haven
he Palace has been sensitively restored by the cghearth group and is now India’s premier pure Ayurvedic retreat. Kalari Kovilakom is a 5* hotel with a difference: it’s a registered Ayurvedic Hospital with fully qualified doctors and therapists. Each guest is totally unique and treated as such with personalised food and therapy programmes. ‘Leave your world behind’ - harmonising the body, mind and soul, based on 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic practices, is the aim of Kalari Kovilakom. The 18 en suite rooms, fragrant with lemon oil, are very spacious, with polished wooden floors, some with four poster teak beds and lovely old window shutters.
My time, my view... Kalari Kovilakom is a place where you leave the cares of the modern world at the front door: a simple gesture by taking your shoes upon arrival for which you are given a pair of flip flops in return, is seal: a closing of one door and the opening of another. Changing into the simple ‘uniform’ of white baggy trousers and loose sleeved tops, again takes away the needs and pressures of life –you no longer need to worry about your choice of clothes – am I in the
68 –indulge / Autumn 2011
right outfit, should I wear my trainers or killer heels? Again, a simple thing helps pull away the veils of your normal life – it’s like a uniform, we all blend invisibly into the scene... The philosophy here is uncomplicated –life is stripped back to the basics. Hence our erstwhile clothes and footwear become superfluous – unnecessary – the simple clothes provided set the tone for the days and weeks ahead – simplicity. Even a carry bag is provided, again simple, made from jute so essentials can be carried (contact lens cases for example). You feel you’re living where every step of the path is prescribed for you. All that’s required is your dedicated, unswerving mindset to restore your body by energising your spiritual essence with yoga and meditation: and to rejuvenate the body by following a course of massages and food prescribed by the doctors: according to the Ayurvedic principles of your body type. It’s not that hard and besides, food cheating is virtually impossible – exact portions are controlled by the Chef, who prepares precisely what the Doctor ordered! There are no fridges of freezers here - each day the ingredients are bought fresh and prepared to order. Laughingly I tried to bribe staff to get me some cola (no outside visits are allowed whilst staying at Kalari) they gently smiled back and answered
–‘Sorry, but our jobs are too valuable to lose!’ Yoga opens the day – a perfect tranquil start, followed by the daily consultation with the Doctor. After breakfast a massage, purgation or specific therapy is followed by Yoga Nidra – the psychic sleep - totally infusing the mind with pure relaxation. No one speaks after the session and the lunch is quiet. The afternoon follows with more therapy and a chance to rest in the bedroom or garden. The supper gong clangs at 6.30, and is followed by the evening’s entertainment, perhaps a classical musical recital, a talk on Yoga or Ayurveda – then early to bed as it’s early to rise. The only concession to modernity is the free wi-fi provided in the bedrooms. Many guests, whilst I was there, were high profile figures of industry and politics and, even in this haven, needed to keep in touch. I had expected to see a majority of lady guests, but in fact, it was a fifty- fifty split between the sexes and ages ranged from 20 to 70 plus. Most were solo travellers - it’s a selfish place to be honest – you have to concentrate on yourself. Guests meet one another on their daily walks around the lovely grounds - an unspoken commandment is ‘thou shalt walk and walk and walk...’ I walked in the
Kalari Kovilakom, the beautiful former palace of Queen Valiya Thampuratti of Kollengode, nestles in 8 acres of gardens with lily strewn tanks (ponds) and a small Temple. cool of the morning before yoga and loved to watch the resident cormorant languidly drying his feathers after raiding the tanks for his morning’s breakfast. Wind chimes tinkle in the soft breeze, and seats, strategically placed under the leafy trees, are perfect for contemplation. On the far side of the lake, cordoned off from the property, I could see locals washing their clothes, small children gambolling like spring lambs in the waters, and cows, ploughing through the shallows, reaching for tender shoots sprouting from the waters. There was life outside as I reflected. As the days passed I felt my life slowly unravel itself, I calmed down, became quieter and relaxed. It was a very deep and meaningful experience. Outcomes were amazing: my blood pressured dropped (it’s still down) my weight dropped by 5 kilos and I felt invigorated and so stress-free. The end comes with a rush of euphoria - no more ginger water, no more purgation. Instead the hustle of life hits you firmly between the eyes. It’s hard to adjust for the first few days – even my precious cola was sidelined as I really didn’t want it. Slowly though the old vices returned – but not, for me, as excessively. I had learnt a little self control – an awareness about my body and the need to pamper it with the good things of life: a fresh slice of papaya, a few minutes of Yoga after a heavy session on the laptop, and relaxing before bed - clearing my mind of all its rubbish before I slept. Now, a few months on I feel far more vital, more alive and certainly more relaxed. For more information on Deborah’s destination visit: www.kalarikovilakom.com
Phil Gibbs explains
POLO T Phil Gibbs is a qualified rugby referee, cricket umpire, and weight-training instructor. He plays for Malta Marauders Veterans rugby team.
he game of kings is not horse racing, as modern race pundits would have us believe, but is actually polo. To understand this, you need to delve into the game’s rather nebulous origins. Although it is generally thought that the first polo matches were played in Persia over 2500 years ago, there is evidence that polo actually originated in Nepal, Tibet and northern India much earlier, between 3000 and 4000 BC. Incidentally, the name polo derived from the word ‘pulu’, which is Tibetan for ball. It is also thought that the game began as a celebration of victory when leaders of the conquering army would hit the head of the defeated leader around, while on horseback. Through these rudimentary beginnings, the game of polo was born, and thus claims the title of being the oldest recorded team game in history! When it reached Persia, it had developed from its rather grisly incarnation into a training method for the King’s elite cavalry. In these original matches there could be anything up to 100 riders on each side, more akin to a battle than a game.
As mounted armies ebbed and flowed across the region of central Asia, polo was adopted as the favoured pastime by the royalty and nobility, not only of the ancient Persians, but also Arabs, Mughals, Mongols and Chinese, hence the title “the game of kings”. In 1859, after witnessing a display of horsemanship in Manipur, India, two British cavalry officers - Captain Robert Stewart and Major General Joe Shearer- established Silchar - the first polo club in the world in Calcutta and re-invented the game. Another cavalryman, Captain John Stewart, wrote the first set of rules. The army subsequently introduced the sport into England in 1869. In 1875, James Gordon Bennett imported it to the United States. A decade later, English and American polo teams met to contest the first International Polo Challenge Cup. Polo has appeared in several Olympic Games, the last being in 1936. It is now played professionally in 16 countries.
Let others play at other things. The king of games is still the game of kings. 70 –indulge / Autumn 2011
How is polo played? Outdoor polo is played on horseback between two teams of four riders on a grass pitch measuring 300 yards long and usually 160 yards wide. At either end are collapsible goalposts 8 yards apart. The objective is simple - to score more goals than your opposing team in the allocated time. This is done by hitting the hard, plastic ball with long handled wooden mallets. The game is split into periods of 7 minutes duration called chukkas. The number of chukkas played varies from 4 to 8 according to tournaments, but is most commonly 6. The game is started by the referee, who rolls the ball between the two teams who are lined up on T-shaped marks drawn either side of the centre line. During play, The rider who hits the ball has the right of way, and other riders must not cross the ‘line of the ball’, which is an imaginary line marking the direction the ball is being hit. Riders may bump each other, but the closing angle of contact must be no greater than 45 degrees. Under certain circumstances, players can ‘hook’ the mallets of the player hitting the ball to disrupt the shot. Players switch to fresh horses between chukkas. Teams switch at the end of each chukka, and after a goal is scored. This minimises any field and wind advantage, and also gives the teams equal opportunity to start with the ball on their right side, as the game must be played right – handed. The game is controlled by two mounted umpires on the field and a referee on the sideline.
Are there specialist positions in the team? Each of the four team – members has a specific role: Number One is the most attacking position on the field. The Number One position generally marks the opposing team’s Number Four. Number Two has an important role in attack, either in scoring, or passing to and supporting the Number One.
Defensively, they cover the opposing team’s Number Three, who is usually the other team’s best player, so they need to be strong players. Number Three is the tactical leader and must be a powerful hitter to feed long balls to the front players, as well as maintaining a solid defence. The best player on the team usually plays in this position, and usually has the highest handicap. Number Four is the main defensive player. They can move anywhere on the field, but usually try to prevent scoring. Their defensive covering allows the Number Three to go on the attack.
What is the handicap system used in polo? Polo players, both male and female, are rated yearly by their peers under the same handicap system on a scale of -2 goals (novice) to 10 goals (perfect). The term “goal” indicates the player’s value to the team. About two-thirds of players carry a rating of 2 goals or less. Only a small number of players advance beyond 3 goals. A rating of 2 goals and above usually indicates a professional player. The team handicap is the sum of each player’s handicap. In handicap games, any difference between the total handicaps of the two teams becomes the starting score. So, if team A has a total handicap of four, for example, and the opposing team B has a total of 6, team A will start the game with a two-goal advantage.
Remember the famous scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts was invited to assist in the ‘divot-stamping’? To keep the surface of the polo pitch in good playing condition, spectators are invited onto the field at half – time to participate in the polo tradition called “divot stamping”, which not only helps replace the mounds of earth, or divots that are thrown up by the horses’ hooves, but also gives spectators the chance to socialise as they walk about, of course in wedges or flat shoes.
JULIAN MAMO DISCUSSES THE LOCAL POLO SCENE How long has the Malta Polo Club been in existence? The MPC was founded in 1868, and is reputed to be the first polo club to be established in the Western hemisphere. How many people play polo in Malta? There are 14 regular players in Malta, competing in up to three teams. Although these are predominantly male, there have been female players in the past. When and where do they play? The season runs between October and May. Games are played on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There is only one polo club in Malta, which is situated at Marsa sports grounds. Do the MPC host teams from other countries? Last season a team from Italy visited Malta to play and, in previous seasons, teams from France, Spain and the UK have also paid visits. What special equipment do I need, and what does it cost? Having your own ponies is a must, if these can be classed as
‘equipment’, and to start with you will need a minimum of two ponies. The best ponies are from Argentina, but you can play on any breed, such as Arabs or other thoroughbreds. Each player has his own ponies. The cost depends on the age, and the qualities of the pony in terms of speed, agility and soundness. If you are a beginner, you will need to budget anything from €2000 - €5000 for each pony. In addition to the initial purchase, the livery costs per pony is €2000 annually. Other essential equipment consists of polo sticks, polo helmet and knee guards. What do I do next? If you are interested in trying polo in Malta, you should be a good rider, have the time available to practice, and possess the necessary courage and stamina to play. If you think you match these criteria, you should call the club secretary on 21382876, and lessons can be arranged to get you started. Cost for membership of the MPC is about €300.
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 71
thank-you for the memory
John de Giorgio looks closely at photographic equipment
aking photographs to capture every move and memory has become commonplace thanks to the huge advances in digital photography. Portable lightweight cameras that allow you to ‘point and shoot’ to full blown automatic digital SLR’s that give a professional image are just two of the gadgets I get to play with in this edition and there’s a little something in plenty of time for my Christmas wish list. Starting with a digital compact camera, which just slips into your pocket or bag and is always ready for action, is the Canon Powershot S95. This is a great little number for taking both still and video images in low light situations thanks to its HS System functionality. It has a 3 inch screen, built-in image stabiliser and zoom lens with an optional waterproof case for days on the boat and to depths of 40 metres. For the pro, the S95 allows the capture of images as RAW files for manipulation with Canon’s bundled software and a fast f/2.0 lens. HD Movies and the unique lens Control Ring for manual control make it the pocket camera for the serious photographer. And where a normal digital camera can struggle to capture detail in shadows and highlights, the S95’s High Dynamic Range shooting mode takes multiple exposures of the same scene and combines them incamera to capture a high contrast scene in detail.
What’s that noise? It’s your holiday pictures screaming to get out! There are various ways to share your pictures, but lets start with the most traditional. Flicking thorough photo albums was a rare occurrence in our home until I got my hands on the Canon PIXMA printer. Printing has never been easier! This machine enable you to release images on virtual libraries, your mobile device as well as wirelessly from your computer and allows you to use your images to create various fun effects like blurred background, soft focus, toy camera (a new phenomenon) and has templates for albums, calendars and comic strips from any HD movies. And if you want to take better photos? It’s time to graduate to a digital SLR camera. There are features to look for which make this investment a good one. It needs to be easy to carry It needs to be happy in low light conditions Look for a long battery life nsure it has a removable memory store as image E file sizes can get big The Canon EOS series appears 5 times in the www.toptenreviews.com with the Canon EOS 1D mark iv at the top spot. To find out more about the cameras in this section, visit avantech.com.mt or http://bit.ly/qZiA4n to see the independent reviews.
John de Giorgio has been a gadget-man as long as he remembers with a long-standing interest in how things work. He has run a software company for the last 27 years, keeping him close to technology
72 –indulge /
How about a digital photo frame to plug and play your life in a slideshow?
Searching for a compact video camera has pretty much the same check list. Ironically, these are usually smaller than a Digital SLR though the image quality is not normally as superior. Make sure you choose a pocket camcorder with a built in USB allowing quick uploads and charging. A ‘stills’ feature and zoom are always useful as are a flash and image stabiliser. Look out for an SD card slot and ports such as HDMI so you can watch your work directly on a compatible viewing device.
For the images you don’t want in print, there are numerous pieces of software and services to enable the sharing of your shots. Photoshop Elements 9 is an easy way to get your images online and across your social networks. It includes templates to create web based albums, greeting cards and scrapbooks all with an easy link of ‘cut and paste’ code for Facebook, Picasa or Flickr. I use www.flickr.com often as a service to share my pictures with my family and friends without taking up precious memory space on my computers or struggling to send large files via email. Flickr allows you to add information to each image and ‘tag’ people so they can be searched and filed and facebooked more easily. Another great tool is www.shutterfly.com which also gives free storage and never deletes images (even the embarrassing ones you wish they would), gives you chance to share a slide show and has a whole host of creative techniques like photo borders and captions and what’s really useful is their printed picture service which lets you print a message / information on the back of each picture.
Silverlit I/R Spy Camera Helicopter I think the most fun to be had behind a camera has to be the Silverlit I/R Spy Camera Helicopter. I haven’t been able to get one to test yet, but it’s on my wishlist! It has an adjustable built-in 1.3 megapixel camera so you can record or take still shots from its remote controller.
indulge / Autumn 2011 – 73
Level 1, The Plaza, Sliema Office: +356 2133 1192 Shop: +356 2134 4646 Email: email@example.com
Ben Stuart says
SUMMER MAY BE GONE BUT THE SAILING SEASON GOES ON S
eptember is here. This is the month that the weather starts changing. The days already started shortening noticeably around mid July with the morning sun breaking the horizon a little later each day. I don’t know about you but, weather wise, it has been a strange summer. Certainly more temperate than those of recent years. Yachting has been good with fair winds predominating from the North West and a refreshing sea; not the plank splitting heat I normally associate with this time of year, which makes me wonder about the weather this coming winter. Certainly late September normally witnesses a change in weather and then again in October. Small boat insurances – those normally berthed on a Masra - tend to be delineated by this and the fact that winter comes, so they expire at the end of September/October. The change is bookmarked by the beginning of school and the re emergence of jeans – regardless of the weather! Ensuring a safe berth for your boat and a reliable person to keep an eye on it for you, helps sleepless nights when the wind starts to blow. It is always a surprise to me how people interpret the meaning of ‘safe berth’. I came across one 40 foot yacht who had eight lines tying him off to one finger pontoon on the port side and four stern lines to the pontoon itself. All were as tight as could possibly be. As if he were trying to stop the boat from moving altogether. This is not necessary. The boat
floats on water and will absolutely move as will the pontoon. All he succeeded in doing was creating a situation where the boat ‘snatched’ aggressively on one particular tying point, chafing lines unnecessarily and putting unnecessary load on his deck cleats and winches. The idea behind mooring a yacht is to keep its movement to a minimum whilst ensuring that there are no violent movements made by the yacht as the sea moves under her. A ship is different. A ship’s deck winch could probably rip the bollards out of the quay, whereas a yacht would probably come out second best in that tug of war. The phrase ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is particularly applicable to the yachting activities at this time of year. Particularly if the yacht is not going to be used that much until spring. Now is the time to eliminate the “ghamilli favur” scenario. Winterised boats fair far better than those who get pushed down on the Things to Do list. What constitutes winterising can be as exhaustive and as detailed as, oh I don’t know, something very exhaustive and detailed. However it can be broken down into four main areas; Engine & seacocks, Housework (interior & bilge), Foodstufs, Deckwork. The depth of detail is down to the individual. One thing is true; do it now or do more and probably spend more, later. For some however, they will be doing the opposite. indulge / Autumn 2011 – 75
Setting up their boats. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is back in town. 22nd October is the date this year and with each year the prestige and stakes are raised. Last year’s race was a cracker. We had some of the worlds dominant professional racing yachts and yet at the finish line after 650 nautical miles through three very different areas of the Mediterranean meteorologically speaking, the race was being fought in a thrilling twelve hours of competitive sailing through the final night by two Maltese crewed boats only for them to be becalmed at the entrance to Marsamxett harbour and missing out by something like 25 minutes – the time it actually took them to sail in the harbour. Legends are made of this, the stories told by grandfather to grandson and anyone else that will listen. This years entries started registering at the end of July and looks to be a growing fleet on last years entries. I reckon 70 plus boats at the start line. Ultimate attendance will however depend on them surviving the rigours or this years races; Rambler for one will be unlikely to make the race although they had fully intended to. For those who are looking at yachting this year’s activity on all fronts is growing rapidly. So lets look forward to what’s coming and why it should excite you;
76 –indulge / Autumn 2011
Rolex Middle Sea Race; 22nd October The 32nd edition of the race, Organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, Hosted by Grand Harbour Marina, the race start is within the Grand Harbour in front of the marina itself. The yachts head up the coast past Sliema before heading up to Sicily, so good spectator viewing. There is a coastal race in the week before which most boats participate in and of course all the shore side preparation for the race. Come down the week before to get a feel of the atmosphere. Then track the race live online and join the traditional horn honking welcome home the moment (after) they cross the finish line in Marsamxette. (any side of the harbour will do) www.rolexmiddlesearace.com
Camper & Nicholsons Grand Harbour Marina Winter Fleet Racing Challenge End November through to end March. The first edition of this Challenge cup sponsored by Grand Harbour Marina. Put a team of four together and spend Saturday afternoons on the water in a series of short races against other teams in identical boats. Grab one experienced sailor and get started. A great way to learn, have fun and compete. www.cnmarinas.com/ghm/fleetrace
Royal Malta Yacht Club Winter Race Calendar www.rmyc.org/races
Malta’s Sailing entry in The Olympics Oh yes. Friday 27th July 2012. Two of Malta’s hottest sailors are assaulting the worlds most prestigious competition in the world’s most demanding sailing category. You just HAVE to get behind these guys. Follow them into the 2012 olympics and further into the 2016. As a taster; here is what Mr. Volkers, their German coach has to say; “The boys are on track with their preparations, they are fighting against much older and more experienced teams, but they are on track to qualify and have a good chance of medalling in 2016 . www.malta49er.com Remember; 86% of our territory is covered by the sea and there are now plenty of ways and reasons to explore it.
Ben Stuart, General Manager at Grand Harbour Marina, talks to us about the pleasures and practicalities of yachting in Malta.
S & D Yachts Ltd
Tel: (+356) 2133 1515, 2133 9908 • Mobile: (+356) 9947 7753 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ultimate drive
You may have the car of your dreams, or may be considering splashing out on one, but where are you going to drive anywhere near its potential locally? No, don’t give me any ideas. Malcolm J Naudi has another idea: a driving experience that will be so memorable you may want to return time and again. 78 –indulge / Autumn 2011
Ever thought of travelling to a racing circuit (with or without your car) and enjoying a track day? Anyone wishing to indulge his (or her) racing instincts may do just that. The market is as wide (and deep) as your imagination since this is what they have been doing in the UK and on the Continent for decades. I have personally experienced two and, with a Formula 1 race coming up at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, this location also comes to mind (a chance visit there some years ago during a test drive revealed that this is also a yearround driving location – albeit on a shortened circuit but still including that unique Eau Rouge bend). Contact the circuit www.spafrancorchamps.be/en to find out what opportunities there are to drive singeseater cars, which I saw in the pit garages during my visit, or anything else that my catch your fancy.
My first recommended stop, however, on your quest for such an experience would, undoubtedly, be Silverstone www.silverstone.co.uk in Northamptonshire, North-West of London. The track and facilities has been greatly improved since I first went there a decade and a half ago. You can join a group on a track day and drive a variety of cars in ‘competition’, including single-seaters, sporty versions of current models (they change constantly), apart from some fun elements, like skid tests, rookie driving experiences and one-to-one coaching with the specialists. Among the perks you can benefit from on a track day are: passes to the exclusive Drivers’ Lounge Hospitality Area, where food and drink is provided free throughout the day; photography and in-car filming services at each session; Track Driver Clinic – free advice on how to improve your driving
Aston Martin Zagato
performance; in-car instruction (free for first-timers); free guidance from a sports psychologist during the course of the session; a lunchtime guest speaker with a Q&A session; and the availability of selected cars from the Silverstone fleet to hire, with mechanical support services on hand. Among the marques that offer driving experiences at Silverstone are Aston Martin, Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, the latest Nissan 370Z and the Mégane Renaultsport 250. Guest manufacturers at selected sessions provide vehicles for guests to test for free on the track. Either speak to a travel agent if you do not wish to go direct so that your entire trip can be booked or use the services of a website like www.drivingdaysuk.co.uk, which have access to a host of race tracks around the UK, including Brands Hatch,
Ferrari 360 Modena
Goodwood, Donington Park and Thruxton, and beyond. My second stop is closer to home, in Parma, Italy, where for over two decades the circuit at Varano de’ Melegari has been home to the Centro Guida Sicura of Andrea de Adamich (the former Formula 1 driver) and his children, in association with Alfa Romeo www.guidasicura.it. You can take a safe driving course, incorporating eco driving, learning how to control your vehicle in extreme situations, how to prevent accidents and everything there is to know about safety. You will get to drive sporty Alfa Romeo cars, including the 8C, in a host of challenging situations, apart from on the track, with the option of driving the odd Maserati. Of course, there are alternatives in nearby Sicily to explore, including
taking your own car, or you can go for other motoring experiences like bike racing and off-road/rally driving. Hopefully this has whetted your appetite and pointed you into new directions. I have always found that a track experience brings out an individual driver’s failings like no other and should make you more respectful of the limits we would rarely test in local driving conditions.
Malcolm J Naudi has been writing about the car business for over 25 years and is a pioneer of motoring journalism in Malta. indulge / Autumn 2011 – 79
LOOK OUT FOR Walt Disney World’s Epcot International food and wine festival 30th September- 13th November www.disneyworld.disney.go.com/ parks/epcot/special-events/epcotinternational-food-and-wine-festival/
Justine MB’s Art Expo Oktoberfest- Beer festival and local foods 17th September- 3rd October Munich Germany. www.oktoberfest.de/en/
19th -21st October 2011. is to be inaugurated by Ambassador Alexander Rallis on the occasion of the visit of the President of the Republic of Greece Karolos Papoulias, and shall be held at the Greek Embassy in Ta’Xbiex
Couscous Festival 20th September-25th September San Vito Lo Capo ( Trapani Sicily) Best couscous chefs from: Israel, Morocco, Egypt, France, Algeria, Tunisia and Italy Compete To determine who is the ‘Capo of Couscous’. www.couscousfest.it/the-event
Master chef live John Turode and Gregg Wallace show their talents at Earls Court London on the 11th – 13th November 2011. www.mastercheflive.com
Nuremburg Christmas Market 1st Sunday of advent - 25th November-24th December in Germany. http://www.germany-christmas-market. org.uk/nuremberg_christmas_market.php
In the next edition - Out 1st December • We show you how to indulge him, indulge her and indulge them – as well of course, yourself! • We get crafty when it comes to gifts • See our handy countdown to Christmas Day • Try our recipes on what to do with hamper leftovers • Kick the season off in style with our guide on what to wear - and what to hunt in the sales • We share our Christmas and 2012 wish lists We are giving away fantastic gifts from our supporters & advertisers, including a day on a boat with S&D Yachts, a makeover with Toni&Guy, a dinner at Don Serafino, tickets from Manoel Theatre, a camera from Avantech and much more - so check your December copy for a winning ticket! indulge / Autumn 2011 – 81