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Celebrity Maltese Chefs


Anton Dougall

Renowned Maltese Chef Anton B Dougall has been on the culinary scene since the early 70’s. He was one of the first pioneers in the local scene to create a cooking club “Klabb tat-Tisjir”, which is still very active till today. With his monthly recipe cards, numerous cooking books and television exposure, Mr Dougall has revolutionized Malta’s cooking by documenting both traditional recipes and also creating innovative ones using quality local ingredients.

Anton B. Dougall has been an avid chef for over 50 years and his contributions to the Malta’s cooking culture should be highly merited.

Marmurat Tart

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Put the almonds in a heavy bottomed frying pan. Place over medium heat and stir often until the almonds turn golden brown. You can also roast the almonds in the oven. Preheat oven to 1800C, gas mark 4. Spread the almonds in one layer in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn golden. Leave the almonds to cool completely before chopping them in medium sized pieces. Preheat the oven 1900C, gas mark 5. Put all the dry ingredients required for the filling into a bowl and stir them together. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry thinly and line a 24cm diameter, non-stick baking dish with it. If possible, use a loose bottomed tin. This will make it easier to remove the baked tart later on. Press the pastry lightly and firmly all over the base and sides of the tin, easing any overlapping pastry back down the sides, as it is important not to stretch this bit too much. Trim the edges, leaving a small edge of pastry sticking over the edge of the baking dish to allow for shrinkage in the oven. Prick the base all over with a fork and spread some jam over the pastry. Spoon the filling into the pastry case and flat it with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 45 minutes and leave the tart to cool completely before removing it from the tin. Decorate with melted chocolate, almond or sugar paste, royal icing and candied cherries.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

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Cover the lamb with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and roughtly chopped sage. Add the water and the oil in the pan and place the meat. Cover with foil and cook in moderate oven for around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Uncover the lamb and cook for some more time until golden. Switch off oven and let set for at least 25minutes. Serve with potatoes, vegetables, gravy and some ready made mint sauce.

Salt Cod Salad

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The balance of salt cod, potatoes, onions, and fresh parsley makes this salad extremely tasty. Rinse any excess salt off the cod. Place the cod into a large bowl and cover it with cold water. Leave it to soak in the fridge for at least 24 hours, changing the water three to four times. If, upon tasting a small piece after allotted time has lapsed, the cod is still salty, soak it for a bit longer. Put the cod into a pan with the bay leaf and cover it with fresh, cold water. Bring it to just below boiling point over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to stand for about 10 minutes. Remove the cod from the water and leave it to cool, setting the water aside. Once cooled, remove the cod’s skin and any bones and flake the flesh with a fork. Place it in a large bowl. Peel and quarter the potatoes and cook them, over medium-high heat in the poaching water previously put aside, for about 15 minutes or until tender. DON’T OVERCOOK THEM. Drain, allow to cool slightly and then add them to the cod. Wash, peel and finely chop the leeks. Add them to the cod and potatoes. Add the sliced tomato and mix gently together. Wash and trim the parsley, discarding the stems. Dry and finely chop the leaves. Add the chopped parsley leaves to the potatoes and cod. Combine the oil, vinegar, garlic and pepper in a bowl. Whisk the vinaigrette until the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer the salad to a platter and garnish the edges with olives and wedges of hard boiled egg. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until serving.

Whitebait Patties

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Roughly cut the fish. Peel and crush the garlic. Mix well together the egg yolk, crushed garlic, coriander and chopped parsley in a bowl. Add some flour, seasoning and the whitebait to this mixture. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined. Using your hands, shape the mixture into small, round patties. Put some semolina on a large, flat plate and pass these patties in it. Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat, and once heated, add the oil. Gently drop the raw patty into the hot oil. Fry the patties until they are a deep, golden colour, turning them to ensure that each side is done. Keep them in a warm place until they are ready to serve. Serve hot with lemon wedges, tartar sauce and a crisp, green salad.

Roughly cut the fish. Peel and crush the garlic. Mix well together the egg yolk, crushed garlic, coriander and chopped parsley in a bowl. Add some flour, seasoning and the whitebait to this mixture. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined. Using your hands, s

hape the mixture into small, round patties. Put some semolina on a large, flat plate and pass these patties in it. Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat, and once heated, add the oil. Gently drop the raw patty into the hot oil. Fry the patties until they are a deep, golden colour, turning them to ensure that each side is done. Keep them in a warm place until they are ready to serve. Serve hot with lemon wedges, tartar sauce and a crisp, green salad.

Stuffed Calamari

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Clean the calamari. Holding the body firmly, grasp the head and pull gently, twisting, if necessary, to pull the head away from the body without breaking the ink sac. The internal body and tentacles will come out with it. Cut the tentacles from the head just below the eyes. At the centre of the tentacles is a small beak. Squeeze to remove it and discard. Set aside the tentacles. If the recipe calls for ink, reserve it; otherwise, discard the head and ink sac. At the top of the body, there is a clear piece of cartilage. Pull it out and discard as well. If the squid has an outer, spotted, membrane-type skin, pull it off and discard too. Wash the tube carefully, inside and out, together with the tentacles under cold running water. Set the calamari aside to drain. Finely chop the tentacles and set them aside. Pit the olives, slice them into thin slivers and set them aside. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and garlic and fry them gently until soft and golden. Preheat the oven 1790C, gas mark 3. Add the reserved squid tentacles and fry for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Stuff the calamari with the mixture, allowing a little room for the stuffing to expand during cooking. Seal the ends with cocktail sticks. Lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil and place the stuffed calamari in it. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes. Serve hot with tomato sauce.

Octopus Stew

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For a really tender octopus, ask your fishmonger to prepare the octopus in a way that it’s ready for cooking. Once home, place it in the freezer for at least 3 weeks before cooking. Defrost the octopus and rinse it thoroughly, then chop it into bite-sized pieces.  Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.  Cook the octopus for about 20 minutes. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and quickly fry the onions and garlic until they are golden. Lower the heat and add the tomatoes, olives, capers, tomato paste and lemon zest.  Mix well.  Add some water and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the octopus pieces from water and add them to the tomato mixture.  Add the marjoram and basil and half of the wine.  Cover the pan and leave to simmer over low heat for at least 1 hour. Add the potatoes, peas and the rest of the wine. Continue cooking, always on low heat, for another ½ hour. Check the octopus for tenderness and keep on cooking until it is done.  Take care that the stew doesn’t boil dry.  Add some hot water should this be the case. Check for seasoning before serving. Serve with fresh, Maltese, crusty bread.

Maltese Trifle

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Begin by preparing the custard. Put ¾ of the milk and sugar in a casserole. Put it on a moderate heat until it starts to boil. Dilute the custard in the remaining milk and add it to the boiled milk. Cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Remove from heat and leave it to cool. Slice the sponge cake thickly and cover the bottom of a large serving dish with the cut slices. Prepare the strawberry jelly, following the instructions on the packet, using only 2/3 of the amount of water indicated. Pour the jelly mixture over the sponge slices and let them soak. Either add the custard immediately, or else wait until the sponges are well soaked with the jelly. Put the trifle aside until the custard settles. Cream together the fresh cream and the ricotta in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and liqueur and mix well. Spread the ricotta mixture over the custard. Decorate with cherries, halved walnuts or roasted almonds.

Lenten Almond Sweet Kwareżimal

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Lightly toast or roast the almonds. Leave them to cool completely and grind them coarsely.  Put some aside for sprinkling on top of the kwareżimal. Sift the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the almonds, sugar, grated orange rind, orange flower water, ground cloves and egg whites. Knead lightly until the ingredients form a soft dough. Add some water if the dough is very stiff.  Be careful about the dosage as the dough should not be soft;  otherwise, it will flatten during baking. Preheat the oven 1900C, gas mark 5. Lightly wet your hands and start forming the dough into ovals.  Each piece should be approximately 16cm long, 5cm wide and about 2cm thick. Lightly grease a baking tray, or line it with baking paper. Place the kwareżimal on the baking tray and make a criss-cross pattern on each surface with a sharp pointed knife. Bake for about 20-25 minutes

 The kwareżimal slabs should still be soft once they are removed from the oven but will harden up on cooling.  Do not make the mistake of leaving them in the oven until they harden. 

Eventually, they will become as hard as marble and are inedible! 

While still hot, spread the kwareżimal with Maltese honey and press bits of chopped, roasted almonds on top of it.