Once your 1 hour is up, remove it from the bowl and knead it into a ball yet again. Now roll it out into a long roll. If you think the roll looks too big don't worry. Bring the ends of the roll together to form a ring. Allow the ring to rise one last time for about 45 to 60 minutes then bake in a pre-heated oven at 225C. Once the bread is in, lower the temperature to just under 200C.
Your bread should be ready and golden in about 20 minutes. If you prefer a darker loaf, then leave it in for another 5 to 10 minutes. The best test to check whether your bread is nicely done on the inside is to tap the bottom of the bread. If it sounds hollow, then the bread will be good.
Allow the bread to rest for about 15 minutes before you eat it as this will cool the bread slightly making the inside nice and light but still allowing you to eat a warm loaf.
|Photo Courtesy of Mark Soler|
Apple and Celeriac Soup
300g Celeriac, peeled and chopped
about 3 small apples or 2 large ones, again peeled, cored and chopped
5cm fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
about 2L stock - to be added slowly
I have gone back to making this dish from scratch after tasting some of the versions on sale. There is some good quality Bigilla on sale, however the home-made version always tastes better. 1 packet of 250g of beans will give you a large bowl of Bigilla to store in your fridge for a couple of days or to add to your summer buffet table.
No need for busy people to panic, I prepare this dish in a couple of minutes. The only thing you need to think about is to soak the beans in cold water, preferably from the night before.
Preparation (if you can call it that) actually takes longer than the actual process of cooking it. What you need to buy is the dried brown small beans known as Ful ta’ Girba.
Once you soak the beans, it is best to change the water as often as possible. This does not mean every 5 to 10 minutes but every 4 hours or when you notice the water turning a dirty brown.
Once the soaking is complete, drain the beans from their water and rinse under running water.
To cook the beans it is best to use a pressure cooker as this reduces the cooking time to 30minutes. Alternatively, you can boil the bean in a normal pot. In this case, the beans will need to be cooked for close to 1 hour. The duration of the boiling also varies according to your soaking process. If you have soaked them for less than 8 hours, then you will need to increase your cooking times. The best test to check if the beans are cooked is to squash a bean slightly with your fingers.
Cooking time is complete when the beans appear to start melting and the water would have taken the dark brownish colour. Should you be using a pressure cooker, stick to the exact cooking time given above.
Next, with the beans still warm, blend the beans in a food processor adding enough cooking water to have a liquid consistency. At this point, the Bigilla should look like the mixture of an un-cooked cake.
Add the following to the beans whilst you are blending. These amounts are correct for 1 packet of 250g dried beans.
1 heaped teaspoon of Maltese sea salt
1 whole garlic clove
1 red chilli pepper (or some dashes of Tobasco)
A large handful of parsley (about 1 cup)
About 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
Place the mixture into a tray or plate, spread it out evenly and allow it to cool. It is very important that the Bigilla is quite liquid when it is still warm as once it starts to cool the beans paste will harden up.
Now chop some more fresh garlic and parsley very finely and spread them over the dish. Drizzle a generous helping of olive oil and serve. This dish can be stored in the fridge of weeks if kept in an air tight container.
Bigilla can also be made with the large type of dried bean however the smaller ones are used in the original recipe. It is important to buy your dried beans in small amounts since the beans will double in size once soaked. Just as a rough indication, 200gr of dried beans will give you up to 6 portions of dip. Enjoy !
This recipe has been previously published in the Best Buy Supplement, out monthly with The Times.
Fresh Beans are well in season now and if you have an abundance of Beans in your fridge, here is a delicious soup you can prepare. I know that most of us locally use the fresh beans to make "Kosksu bil-ful" pasta with beans, but i have been trying to come up with a simple yet delicious soup for a couple weeks so here goes. You will need the following -
1 medium onion - finely chopped
1 medium potato - peeled and chopped into little bites
1 medium leek - sliced
500g fresh broad beans - podded and peeled.
Start off by placing a little bit of oil in a pot and add the onions. Cook until they have softened slightly. Next add the potatoes and the leeks. Add the beans and enough stock to cover the vegetables completely.
Allow the vegetables to simmer for about 30 minutes and once the stock is reduced switch the heat off and let the pot rest in the same burner - now switched off and with the lid on for another 10 to 15 minutes.
This soup needs time for the delicate flavours to seep into the stock so don't rush it.
Even though the recipe calls for fresh beans, if they are out of season, you can replace them with frozen ones even though the taste will be slightly different. Do not use the tinned beans however and the taste is lacking considerably.
Serve this soup with some crusty Maltese bread and some fresh gbejniet - Cheeselets
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To make this tea-time cherry cake you will need –
Pour the cake mixture into a 9inch non-stick cake pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160C for about 30 minutes.
Even though the temperatures we had were 0C,1C,2C and possibly even 3C we were still happily slicking our ice-cream whilst holding onto our woolen hats, scarfs and gloves!... and even though we were in the northern part of Italy, we ended up discussing and buying "crema di pistacchi". And no, we weren't the only mad ones in the land. People in Italy buy and eat ice-creams on a regular basis in winter too, and even though at one point we ended up in a some-what empty town and came across possibly 5 people in total roaming the streets, the 2 gelateria in the town were open and also well stocked!
So coming back to Malta thinking that the weather now is even hotter than I left it a couple days ago, I sat on the plane and planned my recipe hunt to then get down to making some ice-cream possibly over the weekend. But of course, my plans went out of the window when I landed in cold wind and rain and instead of taking out my ice-cream machine ( which by the way, has a permanent place in the freezer and ready for any emergencies) I got some wood out of the garage and put on the fireplace once again!
But hey, that's Maltese weather for you... hot in February and cold in March.
So back to warming meals... thinking of stews and soups this week.. will keep you posted with anything I come up with.
Watch out for my Easter Desserts this week. They will be published in the Best Buy Supplement, out this Wednesday 10th with The Times... there is also a cheat version of the Classic Italian Tiramisu without the egg mixture.. so worth a try for those of you who won't go anywhere close to uncooked eggs.
ice-cream recipes on this blog
2 medium onions
4 new potatoes - or you can use 2 medium sized potatoes
1/2 tangerine, grated. - if these are not in season, you can substitute with an orange
1 cup of water
At this point, put your oven on and set it at 160C
The address to the site will still remain the same so you need not change your links, bookmarks etc!
Time to move on though.... so please excuse me if my posts become less regular.
As I always, if you need any recipes or if you wants to tips, do not hesitate to post your comments on the site and i'll be more than willing to help you out!
I was looking for something easy to prepare with a packet of 500g minced beef. I wanted something simple to prepare and yet delicious; something that is low in fat, low in Glycemic index and at the same time something warming for these cold winter days.
As I searched through my stash of recipes I came across a curry recipe there was no turning back. A little tweak here and there and this is the end result.
As I write this article I'm sampling it and I can assure you that if you love curry and have little time to cook your mid-week supper, then this dish is for you. Here is what you need to make enough for 2 to 3 or to make a dish for 1 which you can eat over 2 days.
500g minced beef
1 large onion – finely chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons curry paste – medium
2 tablespoons of mango chutney
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon mustard powder
Fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon rock salt
½ cup sultanas
1 cup oats
1 cup milk
4 beef tomatoes - sliced
Cook the onion and the garlic in a pot and once they start to soften, add the minced beef. Make sure to mix the mince whilst it's cooking so that it will not clump up.
Now add the curry paste and cook for about 2 minutes before adding the mango chutney and the dried herbs and spices.
Lastly add the sultanas and remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the oats and place the mixture into a baking dish about 20cm x 15cm. Arrange the cut tomato slices over the mixture.
Now in a separate bowl, mix the milk and the eggs together and pour the mixture over the tomatoes.
You can bake it at this point or else you can allow it to rest for about 1 hour and bake later.
Once you are ready to bake, preheat your ovens to 160C and bake until the top custard has hardened and is nice a golden.