Chocolate Orange Fudge Cake

225g margarine or butter
225g dark chocolate
200g caster sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
4 eggs
100g plain flour

Start off by melting the butter and chocolate together in a bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir the chocolate occassionally until the chocolate and the butter has melted. Now add the orange zest

In another bowl beat eggs and sugar until they are pale and fluffly. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs then stop the whisking and slowly fold in the flours.

Do this using a scraper and mix until all the flour is incorporated into the chocolate mixture.

Pour the mixture into an 8 inch cake dish and bake at 160C for about 30 minutes. .

All ovens vary, so your cake might take a little longer to cook. Always make sure to check your cake by insterting a skewer before deciding whether your cake is ready or not. Make sure that your skewer comes out completely clean when you test your cake. Even though melted chocolate is used in the recipe, the skewer has to be clean for the cake to be cooked through.
This recipe has be previously published on Kcina ta' Christine on NET TV

Leek and Cauliflower Omelette

I hope you all managed to have a happy Easter! With the amount of chocolates and figolli eaten over the weekend, it was no wonder that Gyms and fitness clubs were all jam packed!
This week I'm giving you a recipe which is very low in carbohydrates and is also excellent for those of you who are watching their fat intake.
This leek and cauliflower omelette makes a delicious meal for one but can also be doubled in quantity and served as a vegetarian main course or as a crustless pie!
Here is what you will need:
1 medium leek - sliced
half a small cauliflower cut into tiny florets
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
salt and pepper
grated cheese (optional)
In a non-stick pan, place a little butter and cook the leeks until they are just about to start softening. Next add the tiny florets and cook for about 3 minutes.
Now, in a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly with a fork and season with the salt, pepper and the cheese.
Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cover the pan. Cook the omlette for about 5 minutes over medium heat until the egg is cooked through.
Serve this omelette with some rocket salad and some grilled mushrooms!

Sugar Free Figolla

I'm sure that most of you will be baking your figolli this week. So here is something for you to prepare for your diabetic family members!

For those of you who are diabetic and would like to try this recipe make sure that the chocolate and sugar substitute you buy are suitable for diabetic. It is not good enough to read “sugar free” and definitely not suitable is there is “no added sugar” on the labels. These two labels do not make the product suitable for diabetics.

The sugar substitute I use is called Fibre Sweet and is available from Cilia Products in Hamrun, right next to the Parish Church.

Here is what you need to make around 5 large figolli. You can also make these using normal sized cookie cutters and serve them as a dessert!

300g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g butter
200g ground almonds
100g sugar substitute
2 – 3 eggs depending on the size, so add them one at a time
200g blanched almonds

To decorate
150g sugar free chocolate
100g flaked almonds

Sieve together the flour and baking powder in a bowl and add the butter. Rub the butter in with your hands and when all the butter has been worked in add the sugar substitute and ground almonds. The sugar here is not just for taste but it is require for consistency.

Next add the eggs one at a time to form a dough. Once the dough is hard enough to be rolled out but not too hard, take it out of the bowl and place it on a lightly floured working top. To check your dough, you should be able to leave a finger make when you press the dough.

Once you are ready to make your Figolli, pre-heat your oven to 160C. Roll the pastry to about 1cm in thickness and cut using the large Figolli cutters. If you are not planning on coating them with chocolate you could brush them with a beaten egg before baking, if you will be covering with chocolate there is no need for this. Press the blanched almonds into the pastry and bake your figolla in a pre-heated oven at 170C for about 10 minutes.

Once your Figolli are baked to a light golden colour, take them out of the oven and cool on a cooling rack.

Now, to cover your Figolli, melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. If you are preparing this recipe for someone who is diabetic, make sure that the chocolate you use is suitable for diabetics. Cover the Figolli with the chocolate and whilst the chocolate is still runny sprinkle your flaked almonds all over it.

I wish you and your family a relaxing long weekend and a Happy Easter filled with Figolli, chocolates and on a healthier note, Flowers!!

Easter Figolli

Figolli are essentially almond pies baked in different shapes to be eaten on Easter Sunday. Originally decorated with fondant icing but now-a-days you may also find Figolli coated in chocolate.
Although modern additions to Easter such as chocolate eggs and the Easter bunny can be found in most Maltese shops, Figolli are still very popular.

I like to prepare the dough the night before as this gives the pastry time to rest as well as it reduces your preparation time on the day. Here is what you will need:

Makes 10 large figolli
For the dough:
800 gr. Plain flour
400 gr. sugar
250 gr margarine
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 teaspoons baking powder

For the filling
600 gr. Sugar
600 gr. Ground Almonds
4 to 5 egg whites depending on the size

Start off by preparing the dough; sift the flour into a large bowl and add the baking powder. Now, add the margarine and rub it in with your hands until it has been completely dissolved into the flour and you are left with a sandy mixture. Next add the sugar and vanilla and make a well in the centre of your crumbs. Add the eggs and mix the ingredients together to form dough. Set it aside to rest on a floured surface or place it in the fridge overnight.

For the filling, place the ground almonds and sugar together in a bowl and add the egg whites a little at a time mixing after every addition. Once the almond turns into a paste, your filling is done. You should be able to hold the almond paste in your hands and shape it just like you would with pastry.

To prepare the figolli, just roll out the dough to about 0.5 cm in thickness and cut two identical shapes. Place a layer of filling on one of the shapes leaving a boarder around the edge of approximately 1 cm. Make sure not to press the filling too much when spreading since this will cause your pastry to lose its shape or widen and the top (identical) layer will not fit.

Now brush the edges with a little water or apricot jam and place the second shape over it. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for approximately 30 minutes or until the figolli have nicely browned.
Repeat the process until you would have used up all your dough.
Coat your Figolli with melted chocolate or icing and decorate with silver balls.