Celebrity Maltese Chefs
Lea is a TV producer and hosts a daily current affairs and lifestyle show. She is a multimedia content creator and is a consultant for a number of international corporate.
Lea is the author of two cookbooks amongst other publications.
Green Lentil and Carrot Soup
Rinse the lentils, no need to soak and place in a large pot together with peeled potatoes and carrots roughly chopped. Add the onion, the Mayor Polpa and the Spoon Stock. Top up with two litres of water. The vegetables need to be fully immersed so add more water if necessary. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Give it a stir and keep doing this from time to time to make sure the contents do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Keep adding water throughout the cooking time to keep the contents moist and make sure they do not dry up. Keep the soup simmering on low heat until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Test one of the potatoes with a knife. When they are cooked, use a hand held blender on pulse setting and leave the soup in a textured consistency. If necessary, add more water. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. To serve garnish with a fresh goats cheese gibna. Garnish with more parsley and lemon zest.
Apple Almond Yogurt Cake
Preheat the oven to 180C. Finely slice the apples, skin on and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice. Preparing a loaf tin with baking spray. Sift the self-raising flour twice into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add all the other ingredients except for the apples and mix on medium speed for one minute. Clean the batter from the sides of the bowl and mix again for another two minutes. Use a large metal spoon to bring the mixture together and if necessary, add a few drops of water to achieve a dropping consistency. Pour half the batter into the loaf tin and arrange a thin layer of sliced apples on top. Pour the rest of the batter and overlap the thin apple slices on the top. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing.
Prepare the pastry by rubbing in the butter and the flour with your finger tips. When the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs add the lemon zest, the vanilla, sugar and finally the water. Bring the pastry together, wrap in ‘stretch and
seal’ and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Mix all the ingredients together and bind until the mixture looks like dough. To make the ‘bones’ roll out the pastry with a rolling pin. It needs to be quit thick. Brush the top of the pastry with egg white. Place some filling on top of the pastry and then seal and shape into a long ‘sausage’ Cut into portions of 100 g each and shape each piece into the shape of a bone. Place on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 20 minutes. Cover with icing if desired or leave as they are for a healthier option.
Yogurt Jelly Pots
Place the jelly crystals in a large bowl and add some boiling water. Stir until the crystals dissolve then add the yoghurt a little at a time and keep stirring. Add the grated lemon zest and half the quantity of the fresh fruit. Mix then pour into a measuring cup and mix enough water if necessary to make up the required liquid listed on the jelly packet. Stir and pour into glasses. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours until the content firms up. Garnish with the rest of the fruit and some fresh mint leaves just before serving.
Penne with Maltese Sausage
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water following the instructions on the pasta packet. Remove the skin from the Maltese sausage and chop roughly. In a saucepan, heat up the olive oil and cook the garlic and onions on gentle heat. Add the sausage meat and cook. Add the Pelati and keep stirring until it is heated through. Add the wine and a few drops of Hot Pepper Sauce and carry on cooking on low heat for 20 minutes until the liquid reduces. Remove from heat, add the rocket leaves and stir. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Add the cream and stir to blend in well. Garnish with some more rocket leaves. Serve and finish off with freshly ground pepper and a tablespoon of grated Hanini cheeselet.
Lemon and Irkotta Linguine
Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the pasta. Reserve a cup of the pasta water when you drain the pasta. Place the ricotta, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, half the pasta water and grated pecorino in a large bowl. Use an electric blender to combine all the ingredients together until it forms a smooth paste. Heat the rest of the olive oil on medium heat in a large flat saucepan. Add the blended ricotta mix. Add the linguine and stir gently, then add the pasta water little by little until the consistency of the sauce is creamy and coats the pasta. Add the rocket leaves and garnish with Pekorin cheese, pepper and lemon segments. Serve immediately.
Focaccia without Yeast
Preheat the oven to 200C. Brush a baking tray lightly with olive oil. Sieve the flour twice into a large bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and olive oil .Make a well in the centre and pour in the yogurt. Keep your hand stiff and your fingers spread out like a claw and start to mix the yogurt into the flour using a slow and firm circular motion. Keep mixing like this until you have soft dough. Do not knead or rub in but very gently bring it together. Transfer the dough into an oiled baking dish and spread it out by tapping it gently with your fingers. Brush the top with some more olive oil. Make dimples all over on the surface of the dough with your fingertips or use the end of a wooden spoon. Push a small piece of olive, caper, tomato and herbs into each dimple. Then drizzle over the rest of the olive oil and spread with a brush. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 220 C until the bread is golden on the top and bottom, then reduce the heat to 200 and leave for another 10 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and while it is still hot, brush with a little more olive oil over the top and allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving.