Pasta with Calamari

With sunny days becoming frequent and spring just around the corner, I changed my menu at home this week and decided to add a little bit more fish! So this week I prepared a nice plate of spaghetti with a calamari sauce. Here is the recipe for the sauce. I prefer to serve this with spaghetti, but you can use any pasta you like.

Serves 4
1 large calamari – about 30cm in length
1 medium onion sliced thinly
1 x 400g tin, chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons kunserva
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
150g green & black olives, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon butter

Start off by cleaning the calamari, or ask you fishmonger to do so. Once it’s cleaned, slit a knife across once side of it and open it up into a butterfly. Now cut the calamari into cubes about 2cm x 2cm.

In a pot, place some olive oil and add the onion. Once the onion softens, add the calamari and cook for about 2 minutes.

Now add the kunserva (tomato paste) and the chopped tomatoes and season with the anchovy paste. Add the capers, olives and about 1 cup of water and simmer for 15 minutes. Now add the oregano and stir in the butter and cook the sauce for another 30 minutes or until the sauce has reached the thickness required.

I prefer to serve a thick sauce in this case as it coats the pasta beautifully.

You can allow the sauce to simmer for longer if you wish. Once the pasta is cooked, stir the pasta into the sauce and serve.

You can also prepare the sauce in advance and freeze it.

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Beef Stew

The past few days have really been cold and since i was stuck at home taking care of my little girls with little time on my hands to cook, i decided to make what i call a one-pot meal. This is basically putting everything into 1 dish and letting it simmer/cook!

This week I made beef stew which was also ideal since the weather was so cold that you really felt like something hearty to warm you up before you tuck into bed.
Here is what you need to serve 4 :

500g - 1Kg beef rump. ask your butcher to cut it into chunks
2 tablespoons kunserva (Maltese tomato paste)
1 large onion
2 carrots, peeled & chopped into slices
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 handful peas
1 teaspoon mixed spices
1 beef cube - crumbled
700 ml hot water
Start off by browning the beef in a pot. Stir the beef chunks until they are brown on the outside.
Next add the thinly sliced onion and stir. Make sure the onions are cooked before adding any other ingredients.
Next add the kunserva, vegetables, spices, cube and water. Cover the pot until it reaches a boil then lower the heat, tilt the lid to one side to allow the steam to be released and allow the stew to cook for a further 1hr.
Mix the pot occasionally to make sure that the ingredients do not stick to the bottom of the pan. If the stew is too thick for your taste, add a little more water and stir. You cannot overcook the meat, so don’t worry too much about the cooking time. The more the meat cooks, the softer it will become.
I like to serve this stew on a bed of rice. If you want something a little more rustic, then serve it with a loaf of Maltese bread!

Pasta with fresh artichokes

Artichokes are well in season now and prices have dropped making them very affordable and ideal as part of your weekly supper. Even though most of us are only used to eating these stuffed with a tuna paste, there are various ways of enjoying this delicious vegetable. Artichokes roughly carry around 76 KCalories per 100g. They contain NO fat, cholesterol or sodium. Artichokes are a good source of Iron.
This week I shall be giving you the recipe for pasta with fresh artichokes and fresh tomatoes. This dish takes very little time to cook and can be prepared whilst waiting for your water to boil and your pasta to cook. Here is what you need to serve 2:
4 small fresh globe artichokes
1 large can of tuna
2 tomatoes
fresh parsley
fresh thyme
olive oil
spring onions
vegetable stock
Start off by removing the outer leaves from the artichokes. Cut the artichokes into quarters and slice off the top part of the remaining leaves. Now, place your spring onions in a pan with a little olive oil and add the artichoke hearts. Should fresh artichokes not be in season, you can always substitute with tinned or frozen ones. Now add some vegetable stock, fresh or a diluted stock cube and allow the artichokes to cook through.
Should you be using the tinned ones, then very little stock is required since these are already cooked.
Once the artichokes have softened and are cooked through, add the tuna and tomatoes. Make sure you deseed the tomatoes and cut them into smallish chunks. Next add the fresh herbs and a little more stock if required.
Once your pasta is cooked, drain it well and stir into the sauce. Once you plate the dish, drizzle a little olive oil on each plate.
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Recipe - Gnocchi filled with Ricotta

During lent, there are a number of households over the island which try and avoid eating meat as well as sweets on Wednesdays and Fridays. As happens in most cases when sticking to a particular menu over a period of time, inspiration runs out. So give your menu a change, here is the recipe for gnocchi filled with ricotta.

The great thing about this dish is that you can prepare it in advance and then just cook it at the last minute. Cooking only takes 20 minutes!

Here is what you will need to serve a family of 4
500g Pasta Shells, also know as pasta gnocchi
400g Ricotta
Fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon kunserva (tomato concentrate)
1 large tin aprox 400 g tomato polpa (chopped tomatoes)
grated cheese
2 litres milk

Start off by making your sauce. Fry your garlic in a little oil until it has softened, then add the kunserva and sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over it. Once it has fried, add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes over a medium heat. Should you like, you can also add a teaspoon of butter or margarine to make the sauce creamier. Once the sauce is ready, set aside and allow it to cool.

Now for the gnocchi; mash the ricotta with a fork and add a little hot water if it is too thick. This will soften your cheese and make it better to work with. Add a little chopped parsley and mix well. Now using a teaspoon fill the pasta shells with the ricotta. Should you have a piping bag, using a wide nozzle, filling your shells will be easier and quicker. Whilst you are filling your shells place them in a baking dish. Do not worry if your shells end up upside down, the ricotta will not run out. Once all the shells have been filled and your dish is full, pour enough milk until all the shells have been completely covered. Depending on the size and shape of your dish you might need just under 2 litres. You can use any type of milk be it UHT, fresh, skimmed or whole milk.

Now spread the tomato sauce on top, sprinkle a little grated cheese and place in the fridge, always covered, over night. This will soften your pasta and reduce your baking time.

When you are ready to eat, bake your pasta in a 150C oven for about 20 minutes.

Newsletter - February

With Easter just a few weeks away, I am accepting orders for Figolli & Kwarezimal.

Kwarezimal are made with a mixture of pure almonds and spices and decorated with honey and crushed almonds. €2.00 each

Figolli are made with pure almonds and gift wrapped making them an ideal Easter gift for your family and friends. They are decorated with dark chocolate and flaked almonds. €6.00 each

Last orders for both the Figolli and the Kwarezimal shall be accepted till Monday 10th March, 2008

Don’t forget Valentines’ Day. My special Hot Chocolate made with superior chocolate pieces (60% cocoa solids), just add hot milk to enjoy. The chocolate mix will be sold in family pack weighing 200g @ €7.00 (Lm3.01) or in Valentine's portions including a mug @ €5.00 (Lm2.15).

Please feel free to contact me on or on 9943 1000 to place your orders. Please allow 2 days for orders.

Here are some recipes for you to enjoy making:
Chocolate Cake
Low-Carb Lasagne
Watch out for some Easter recipes in this issue of Best Buy Supplement out with The Times on Wednesday, 16thFebruary.

Did you know? - Shakespeare & Cake
  • Shakespeare inspired at least three puddings with one play.
  • There is a tartlet with a chocolate custard filling called an Othello, named after the famous Moor of the eponymous tragedy.
  • Having set this precedent in patisserie, a tartlet filled with white custard became a Desdemona and (more spuriously) a coffee custard-filled tartlet was named an Iago.