Friday, 17 February 2012

Biskuttini tal-Lewz (Almond Biscuits)

I recently discovered, which is a great resource for Maltese recipes and also sells Maltese foodstuffs in the online shop (very tempting, but the shipping costs to the UK are horrendous!).

I decided it was time to do a bit of baking and I fancied trying something Maltese, as I've never made any Maltese sweets before. I opted for Biskuttini tal-Lewz or Almond Biscuits. I have also heard these referred to as Almond Macaroons and they are quite Macaroon-like - being crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.

I have never made anything like this before so wasn't sure if they were cooked properly inside, but I was assured by relatives with more baking experience than me that they were fine.

Reactions to these biscuits were mixed: basically people who love the flavour of almond loved them and people who were not so keen on almonds found them too almond-y. I read somewhere that they go nice with a coffee and if I were a coffee-drinker, I can totally see that. The aroma as they were cooking was amazing.

I made a couple of mistakes - I think they should be a fair bit smaller than the giant biscuits I made. And I would have loved to have made them with rice paper on the bottom, but after making a special trip out to Sainsbury's only to be told that, after a long time searching, "I thought we did it, but we don't do it anymore," I thought I would just bake them without. A shame, because I still have a childish love of rice paper (it's paper that you can eat!).

I did find an alternative recipe here, which I might try next time because unlike the recipe I made it includes vanilla essence and lemon juice, which may take the edge of the almondiness (I am just making up words now).

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wedding Cake

It may or may not have escaped your notice that I am getting married. In May.

There's not a huge amount I can tell you about the food yet, other than give you a list of the kind of food we're having. We've eschewed the idea of a sit-down meal in favour of something more informal  to entertain our guests. Plus I love a good buffet.

The idea is that canapés and drinks will be served after our afternoon ceremony, followed a bit later by afternoon tea (sandwiches, scones and cakes). Then a nice buffet spread for our evening guests.

And then of course there will be the cake. I'm quite excited about the cake now. It's going to be a square, 3-tier affair (one chocolate sponge layer, one lemon sponge layer and one fruit cake layer) with a daisy theme.

We met with Kathy of Kathy's Cupcakes & More last night to discuss our ideas with her and to sample some of her cake. Kathy had kindly made us some cupcakes with our theme on to give us some ideas and so that we could try her cake.

Sorry about the poor quality of some of the photos. My fiancé was rushing me to take the photos so he could eat them! And very scrumptious they were too. The finished cake will be a lighter blue, but it was really good to get an idea of how the cake will look and what kind of designs we can have on it. I am very excited to see the finished product now!

If you are interested in finding out more about Kathy's Cakes, please visit her Facebook page: Kathy's Cupcakes & More.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Pot Roast Guinea Fowl with Sausage and Apple

I prefer the taste of guinea fowl to chicken. And they were on offer in Sainsbury's, so naturally I bought one. And then I remembered about a great Nigel Slater recipe for pot roast guinea fowl from Tender Vol. II. This cookbook, along with Vol. I, is still my favourite cookbook ever. There's something about it which is so down to earth and unpretentious - it is simply good, uncomplicated food.

Guinea fowl is good eating. But what would make a guinea fowl even better? Sausage and apple, my friends. And brandy. Behold the fowl:

Imagine, if you will, the slight gameyness of guinea fowl, with salty, meaty sausage, sweet apple, soft, melting potatoes, a hint of bay leaf and brandy, all caramelised and gooey in a pot.
Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.