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Celebrity Maltese Chefs and Recipe Enthusiasts

Air Fryer Muffins

Heat the air fryer on 160C for 2 mins. Mix the oil, Hanini yogurt, egg and milk in a large bowl, then fold in the sugar, flour and bicarbonate of soda and combine well. Fold in the blueberries, chocolate chips or dried fruit, if using. Spoon the mixture into silicone cases or an air fryer muffin tin filled with paper cases to three-quarters full. You should be able to make 6-8 muffins, but you may have to bake them in batches.

Place the cases or tin in the air fryer basket and cook for 12-15 mins until the muffins are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Vegan Banana Bread

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Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mash 3 large black peeled bananas with a fork, then mix well with 75g vegetable or sunflower oil and 100g brown sugar.

Add 225g plain flour, 3 heaped tsp baking powder and 3 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice, and combine well. Add 50g dried fruit or nuts, if using.

Bake in an oiled, lined 2lb loaf tin for 20 minutes. Check and cover with foil if the cake is browning.

Bake for another 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool a little before slicing. It’s delicious freshly baked, but develops a lovely gooey quality the day after.

Sweet Ricotta Stuffed Cannoli Shell...

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In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse again until there aren’t clumps of butter. Add the marsala wine and whole egg and pulse to mix well (if needed add more marsala wine) to bring the dough together in a soft dough. Shape into a round, cover, and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Heat the oil in a large deep pot for a temperature of 180c. In the meantime, working with half of the dough at a time, and keeping the other half covered. Roll the dough very thinly onto a well flowered surface. Using a 4 to 4 1/2 inches cookie cutter, cut dough into rounds. Spray lightly the cannoli forms with cooking spray, then wrap these dough rounds around each cannoli form, while brushing about 3/4 inches of one end lightly with the egg white. Press edge of the dough to the opposite side of the dough brushed with the egg white. Carefully immerse 3 or 4 cannoli at a time in the heated oil and fry until golden brown and crisp. This takes about 1 to 2 minutes. ( always check the temperature so that the oil will not burn the cannoli ) Remove from the oil using a metal tong to grasp the cannoli shells ( let oil from inside the forms drain back into the pot ) Transfer onto paper towels to drain. Fold layers of paper towels and wrap a paper towel around the shell to carefully slide from the form. Let the forms to cool and repeat process with the remaining dough circles. At this point one could store these cannoli shells in a sealed box covered with baking paper, then place the cannoli and cover again with baking paper.  

For the filling, in a bowl, mix the Irkotta, icing sugar and whole nuts. Brush some melted chocolate in the inside of the cannoli shells. Dip both sides of the cannoli shells in the melted chocolate and then in the chopped pistachios and let these to dry. Spoon the filling in a piping bag and cut the tip of the piping bag. ( about 3/4 inches down from the tip ) Fill the cannoli shells by piping the filling from both sides of the cannoli shells. Place the filled cannoli on a plate and sift the icing sugar over the ready-made cannoli. Recipe by Tonia Grima

Easter Egg Cheesecake

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Oil a 20cm deep springform cake tin and line with baking parchment. Tip the digestive biscuits into a food bag or the bowl of a food processor and crush or blitz to a fine crumb. Mix with the melted butter, then press into the base of the prepared cake tin and chill for 30 mins.
Roughly chop half the chocolate mini eggs. Beat the soft cheese with the icing sugar and vanilla until just combined using an electric whisk. Clean the beaters, then beat the double cream to stiff peaks in a separate bowl. Gently fold the whipped cream into the soft cheese mixture along with the chopped chocolate mini eggs. Spoon the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base, then smooth the surface with a palette knife or spatula. Chill overnight.
The next day, carefully release the cheesecake from the tin (you may need to run a cutlery knife around the edge to loosen it) and top with the remaining whole chocolate mini eggs to decorate.

Fig Jam

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Put the figs and 150ml water in a large heavy based saucepan. Bring to a simmer and gently bubble for 5 mins or until the figs have softened and released their juices. Add the orange zest, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring regularly for around 5-7 mins or until thick, skimming off any skum that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat and leave to sit for 10 mins.

Ladle the mixture into sterilised jars. Seal with the lids and leave to cool completely. Will keep for six months unopened and 2 weeks in the fridge once opened.

Easy Chocolate Molten Cakes

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Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Butter 6 dariole moulds or basins well and place on a baking tray.

Put 100g butter and 100g chopped dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of hot water (or alternatively put in the microwave and melt in 30 second bursts on a low setting) and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly for 15 mins.

Using an electric hand whisk, mix in 150g light brown soft sugar, then 3 large eggs, one at a time, followed by ½ tsp vanilla extract and finally 50g plain flour. Divide the mixture among the darioles or basins.

You can now either put the mixture in the fridge, or freezer until you’re ready to bake them. Can be cooked straight from frozen for 16 mins, or bake now for 10-12 mins until the tops are firm to the touch but the middles still feel squidgy.

Carefully run a knife around the edge of each pudding, then turn out onto serving plates and serve with single cream.

Red wine poached Pears for Diabetic...

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Peel the pears and slice the bottom part so that the fruit can stand. Place in a small pan and add the wine and the cloves. Top up with the water enough that the pears are submerged in liquid. Place on low flame and simmer until pears are cooked. When ready, place in a separate dish. The fruit can be eaten warm as well as cold. Great to be served with some light yogurt.

Lemon Cheesecake (No-Bake)

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Crush the digestive biscuits in a food bag with a rolling pin or in the food processor. Melt the butter in a saucepan, take off heat and stir in the brown sugar and biscuit crumbs.

Line the base of a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. Press the biscuit into the bottom of the tin and chill in the fridge while making the topping.

Beat together the mascarpone, caster sugar, lemon zest and juice, until smooth and creamy. Spread over the base and chill for a couple of hours.