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    Maltese food



    Maltese cuisine is not exactly what comes to your mind when one thinks food. Malta has been influenced apart from the aboriginal country style cooking in less prosperous times, from Sicilian (and Italian), Provance (South France) (through the knights as it know that thats were the main chefs came from during their time here) and undoubtedly some British influence (the use of butter, curry, potato chips and mash and so on)

    The most popular and traditional snack would be 'pastizzi' filo pastry filled mostly with Rikotta or mushy peas (found for sale everwhere), but the filling can be done with anything else. Also can be done with a kind of open pastry (not filo) and open from the top called qasattat. Much of the local dishes are baked like baked Maccaroni (Fqarrun fil forn) or baked rice (ross fil forn) i believe are all a Maltese concoction.


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    They look delicious, Maleth, but like a lot of delicious food...fattening.

    The flakiness of the pastry is correlated with the kind of fat used. Lard used to be the preferred type for certain kinds of pastry, including American fruit pies, but hardly anyone uses it nowadays. There's only one bakery I know of that still does it only that way, and it's on a farm on the North Fork of Long Island. There's usually very long lines waiting for the pies. I have to admit I'm not crazy about it...a definitely "meaty" smell to the crust. The default is indeed usually Crisco. Butter is next, in my opinion, for real flakiness, but I prefer the taste of the butter based pastry.

    Well, there I go again! Blame it on the fact that it's on my mind as I spent two whole weekends in December baking with my friend and my daughter, and I'm talking 10+ hour days. It's so labor intensive that we all got very possessive of them...we only give them to the people on the A+ list!

    Do the Maltese cook a lot with rice? We do as well...not just risotto, but indeed, baked rice, rice cakes, rice stuffing etc.

    The timballo starts out with cooked rice, butter, grated Parmigiano, and then you can add whatever you want...just herbs, sausage and mushrooms, vegetables, game birds etc. Some sort of "melting" cheese is often included.



    I usually like the ones with "melting" cheese added because it makes it more moist.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    They look delicious, Maleth, but like a lot of delicious food...fattening.

    The flakiness of the pastry is correlated with the kind of fat used. Lard used to be the preferred type for certain kinds of pastry, including American fruit pies, but hardly anyone uses it nowadays. There's only one bakery I know of that still does it only that way, and it's on a farm on the North Fork of Long Island. There's usually very long lines waiting for the pies. I have to admit I'm not crazy about it...a definitely "meaty" smell to the crust. The default is indeed usually Crisco. Butter is next, in my opinion, for real flakiness, but I prefer the taste of the butter based pastry.

    Well, there I go again! Blame it on the fact that it's on my mind as I spent two whole weekends in December baking with my friend and my daughter, and I'm talking 10+ hour days. It's so labor intensive that we all got very possessive of them...we only give them to the people on the A+ list!

    Do the Maltese cook a lot with rice? We do as well...not just risotto, but indeed, baked rice, rice cakes, rice stuffing etc.

    The timballo starts out with cooked rice, butter, grated Parmigiano, and then you can add whatever you want...just herbs, sausage and mushrooms, vegetables, game birds etc. Some sort of "melting" cheese is often included.



    I usually like the ones with "melting" cheese added because it makes it more moist.
    oh that looks delicious Angela. Have a look at this funny link from Aprils fool Joke from a local paper....and the funny comments (EU banning pastizzi because of their lard content :)) http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles...i-sales.513027. The problem here is that Pastizzi and this kind of baked stuff are available easily all over the place and with traditional methods. It has been the debate of so long now to contributing to the serious obesity in Maltese people that ranks 2nd only to the US (I think) because figures keep changing. But believe it or not we are a Pasta loving nation to the point of addiction, and its been estimated that we eat pasta four times a week which is not healthy especially with the ingredients we put with it.

    Regarding rice, the only typical local dish (But I see you have it too maybe with different ingredients) is baked rice and still sold in fast food outlets in the pastizzerias all over the place. (To be honest I prefer plain boiled with a good thick pork mild curry sauce). Now arancini are also popular but only recently (as in the last 20 years)

    Here is typical ross fil forn (baked rice maltese way)....only difference my mum used to put the rice unboiled before putting it in oven and cooks nice and soft when its done.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Maleth View Post
    oh that looks delicious Angela. Have a look at this funny link from Aprils fool Joke from a local paper....and the funny comments (EU banning pastizzi because of their lard content :)) http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles...i-sales.513027. The problem here is that Pastizzi and this kind of baked stuff are available easily all over the place and with traditional methods. It has been the debate of so long now to contributing to the serious obesity in Maltese people that ranks 2nd only to the US (I think) because figures keep changing. But believe it or not we are a Pasta loving nation to the point of addiction, and its been estimated that we eat pasta four times a week which is not healthy especially with the ingredients we put with it.

    Regarding rice, the only typical local dish (But I see you have it too maybe with different ingredients) is baked rice and still sold in fast food outlets in the pastizzerias all over the place. (To be honest I prefer plain boiled with a good thick pork mild curry sauce). Now arancini are also popular but only recently (as in the last 20 years)

    Here is typical ross fil forn (baked rice maltese way)....only difference my mum used to put the rice unboiled before putting it in oven and cooks nice and soft when its done.

    She's very good...nice knife skills. It looks very tasty, too.

    I'm always quite surprised when I see that the Maltese have a problem with obesity.
    http://www.dw.de/image/0,,16820851_4,00.jpg

    Granted, olive oil, bacon, ground meat, tons of grated cheese, butter and eggs in one dish, plus the rice, is a pretty potent combination, but French and Italian food are pretty fat heavy too. Do you eat a lot of meats as well? Or perhaps it's the local cuisine in combination with a lot of "snacks"? I think you posted once that you import a lot of them.

    Do you have sweet rice torte? Like this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    She's very good...nice knife skills. It looks very tasty, too.

    I'm always quite surprised when I see that the Maltese have a problem with obesity.
    http://www.dw.de/image/0,,16820851_4,00.jpg

    Granted, olive oil, bacon, ground meat, tons of grated cheese, butter and eggs in one dish, plus the rice, is a pretty potent combination, but French and Italian food are pretty fat heavy too. Do you eat a lot of meats as well? Or perhaps it's the local cuisine in combination with a lot of "snacks"? I think you posted once that you import a lot of them.

    Do you have sweet rice torte? Like this?
    No its not known here. Of course it looks mouth watering. Is that typical of any specific region?. The only Rice dessert I knew is the Rice pudding which my mother used to make with a more British kind of recipe. But apart from that I never seen anyone else doing it or presenting it as a desert. The most popular desert for us would be Casatella or Canolli filled with sweetened Ricotta cheese which is undoubtedly Sicilian. Trifle (British), but give it a Maltese twist and becomes a Fivefle . Jam spread Spounge cake with sprinkled liquor, with layers of custard, Cream, Jelly, and fruit. OH im feeling full just saying it.

    Re Meats (traditionally) we are not big on meats. The National dish is Rabbit (fried or stewed) served with boiled potatoes but now its just french fries.Roasted Chicken or Pork with Maltese sausage and baked potatoes used to be the Sunday meal. Never big on steaks (Although much more popular now).

    On the burner slow cooking stews (not caserolles) are very traditional too including thick Minestrone made with pulses (and legumes soup mixes)

    Re obesity there are a number of factors in my opinion, one of them I only mention but I really believe in it. Its lack of exercise. People drive to a shop which is just 5 min walk away, eating big starchy (comfort foods) meals (big portions) late in the day 6 or 7 pm, and a psychological factor inherited from mothers that lived during the last war (when people were close to starving) had grown a habit of over feeding (even forcing I should say) their babies (in better times) and having obese babies was persieved as healthy with all the future repercussions that comes with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maleth View Post
    No its not known here. Of course it looks mouth watering. Is that typical of any specific region?. The only Rice dessert I knew is the Rice pudding which my mother used to make with a more British kind of recipe. But apart from that I never seen anyone else doing it or presenting it as a desert. The most popular desert for us would be Casatella or Canolli filled with sweetened Ricotta cheese which is undoubtedly Sicilian. Trifle (British), but give it a Maltese twist and becomes a Fivefle . Jam spread Spounge cake with sprinkled liquor, with layers of custard, Cream, Jelly, and fruit. OH im feeling full just saying it.

    Re obesity there are a number of factors in my opinion, one of them I only mention but I really believe in it. Its lack of exercise. People drive to a shop which is just 5 min walk away, eating big starchy (comfort foods) meals (big portions) late in the day 6 or 7 pm, and a psychological factor inherited from mothers that lived during the last war (when people were close to starving) had grown a habit of over feeding (even forcing I should say) their babies (in better times) and having obese babies was persieved as healthy with all the future repercussions that comes with it.
    I was always told that it is a coastal alta Toscana and Liguria dish, but I read just recently that it's been served since the 1800's in Emilia, so it's another one of those dishes that people fight over... Local lore says that it was bequeathed to us by Sephardic Jews who settled in Toscana (mostly Livorno, but also some smaller towns) after they were expelled from Iberia. I have no idea if there's any truth in it. It's flavored with vanilla and/or almond extract and lemon peel. In Emilia they tend to use liqueurs as well. I usually throw in a splash of rose water.

    The version I mostly make is from an old Lunigiana recipe. It's slightly less fattening than the one pictured above (which I like better, personally), and looks more like this:


    I used to make it only for Easter. I made the mistake of serving it for Christmas, and now I'm doomed to making it every Christmas, too.

    As for the "Fivefle", everybody steals from everybody else where food is concerned. English trifle became Zuppa Inglese.



    Then along comes tiramisu which is still another variation. I know the English like Gino D'Acampo. This is his version below. It's not very traditional, though...I don't know where he got the idea to use whipped cream.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I was always told that it is a coastal alta Toscana and Liguria dish, but I read just recently that it's been served since the 1800's in Emilia, so it's another one of those dishes that people fight over... Local lore says that it was bequeathed to us by Sephardic Jews who settled in Toscana (mostly Livorno, but also some smaller towns) after they were expelled from Iberia. I have no idea if there's any truth in it. It's flavored with vanilla and/or almond extract and lemon peel. In Emilia they tend to use liqueurs as well. I usually throw in a splash of rose water.

    The version I mostly make is from an old Lunigiana recipe. It's slightly less fattening than the one pictured above (which I like better, personally), and looks more like this:


    I used to make it only for Easter. I made the mistake of serving it for Christmas, and now I'm doomed to making it every Christmas, too.

    As for the "Fivefle", everybody steals from everybody else where food is concerned. English trifle became Zuppa Inglese.



    Then along comes tiramisu which is still another variation. I know the English like Gino D'Acampo. This is his version below. It's not very traditional, though...I don't know where he got the idea to use whipped cream.

    Tiramisu is delicious too (just like Gino D'Acampo hihi) and pretty much a pretty standard desert locally in Restuarants. (but also internationally I guess). As you say there seems to be many different versions of well know deserts, every chef adds their own twist to it.

    Are you familiar with this type of sweet (not much a desert, but more of a sweet snack) made from Carob syrup called Qaq ta L-Asel (Honey ring) its not made of honey though but normally with Carob syrup. They do a kind of substitute now as its not easily available anymore Its very popular locally. Carrube are very popular in the south and often called a chocolate substitute.

    maltese honey ring.jpg

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    No, I'm not familiar with anything like that. As I've said before, in my particular part of Italy we have some good desserts but not as good as those of Campania and Sicilia, in my opinion. I guess most people must be like me, and not have much of a sweet tooth. We save the calories for real food.

    I was surprised to hear you say you eat pasta four or five times a week. I know that they eat it a lot in southern Italy, but that wasn't the case for me growing up. My mother served soup or risotto as the primo piatto as often as she served pasta. Sunday, though, was pasta, but always pasta fresca...you know, egg pasta, not store bought flour and water pasta.

    You must eat a lot of fish, right? Is it the typical Mediterranean preparation?

    (As for Gino...great looks and more charm than the law should allow...It's a devastating combination indeed. He's from Napoli, by the way, and looks it imo.)

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    Im (very) weak confronted by sweet food :). Re sea food its well integrated in our diet too, but it seems that its more like a delicacy these days rather than staple food because its so expensive. Fish farming is a big industry but mostly for import. The traditional one is Lampuki that is abundant around December. Lampuki is still caught fresh. Its fried or baked or cut in pieces to be mixed into a pie filling (torta tal Lampuki). Tradionally Lampuki is cooked in a garlic, tomatoe, capers, olives and mint sauce - but of course everyone improvises these days. This is a long vid so maybe you can just skip parts. Im not too particular fond of this cooking method (coconut milk, youghurt nuts with fish - really not traditional.... but still). Could not find one in English :/


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    Quote Originally Posted by Maleth View Post
    Im (very) weak confronted by sweet food :). Re sea food its well integrated in our diet too, but it seems that its more like a delicacy these days rather than staple food because its so expensive. Fish farming is a big industry but mostly for import. The traditional one is Lampuki that is abundant around December. Lampuki is still caught fresh. Its fried or baked or cut in pieces to be mixed into a pie filling (torta tal Lampuki). Tradionally Lampuki is cooked in a garlic, tomatoe, capers, olives and mint sauce - but of course everyone improvises these days. This is a long vid so maybe you can just skip parts. Im not too particular fond of this cooking method (coconut milk, youghurt nuts with fish - really not traditional.... but still). Could not find one in English :/

    I'm with you...not my idea of how to bring out the flavor of fish. If I'm on the coast and can get that morning's catch, I prefer it as simply prepared as possible...grilled and then dressed with a sauce made out of good quality olive oil, salt, pepper, a splash of lemon and some fresh parsley or whatever herb I fancy...basil perhaps, or southern style with oregano and garlic. (The Sicilian version is called scamoriglio, I think.) If I want to indulge, I might make the sauce with butter as well.


    I like it livornese style too...olive oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes, capers, black olives, lemon juice, and parsley. It sounds a lot like the traditional Maltese version you described, except we add lemon juice, and don't include mint. The Sicilian version is pretty much like the Livornese version except that basil is used instead of parsley.


    I hate it when cooks here in America muck fish up with all these pecan crusted this or that toppings. You don't even know you're eating fish, plus all the health benefits of eating fish in the first place are gone. Proteins should be simply prepared...save your creativity for the starches, which are bland. (The one exception...a really well done crab cake...now we're talking.)

    Ah well, you can see I have strong opinions about food as well as about everything else. I have to control myself on public forums or I'd blister people's ears off!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I'm with you...not my idea of how to bring out the flavor of fish. If I'm on the coast and can get that morning's catch, I prefer it as simply prepared as possible...grilled and then dressed with a sauce made out of good quality olive oil, salt, pepper, a splash of lemon and some fresh parsley or whatever herb I fancy...basil perhaps, or southern style with oregano and garlic. (The Sicilian version is called scamoriglio, I think.) If I want to indulge, I might make the sauce with butter as well.


    I like it livornese style too...olive oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes, capers, black olives, lemon juice, and parsley. It sounds a lot like the traditional Maltese version you described, except we add lemon juice, and don't include mint. The Sicilian version is pretty much like the Livornese version except that basil is used instead of parsley.


    I hate it when cooks here in America muck fish up with all these pecan crusted this or that toppings. You don't even know you're eating fish, plus all the health benefits of eating fish in the first place are gone. Proteins should be simply prepared...save your creativity for the starches, which are bland. (The one exception...a really well done crab cake...now we're talking.)

    Ah well, you can see I have strong opinions about food as well as about everything else. I have to control myself on public forums or I'd blister people's ears off!

    Awesome pics (Preparations!)....totally agree, Thats the only way I can eat fresh fish and really simple to prepare too. Now you are going to make me get some tomorrow.......

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    Reminds me of Sicilian cuisine.

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    Hello thanx for posting videos ! This recipe is very cool as for me - i like maltese food because maktese food is very tasty

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    Looks great I will tr do someday

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