Zalzett Malti ~ Maltese Sausage

Maltese Sausage
Maltese Sausage

OMG!!  Yes!!!  This is how excited I am at finding the right recipe to make these garlicky Maltese sausages!

Parsley
Parsley

Ask any Maltese person which food they miss the most when living abroad and the top three answers would probably be…Ftira, Gbejniet and Maltese Sausage!  So far I’ve attempted the first two with great success but somehow making sausages seemed a little bit daunting for me. Just the thought of handling meats and the idea of stuffing casings and actually getting the results I craved for, just didn’t seem possible. Until I saw how Karl, from A Maltese in NY, does them and that took away all the mystery. Having a sausage stuffer attachment or a sausage machine would definitely help the process but if you’re like me, and have no room for any more gadgets, you can certainly stuff them by hand.

Coke Funnel
Coke Funnel

 

When I want to make something there is very little that can stand in my way. So the first stop was to go and find a funnel with a tip wide enough to get the ground meat through and into the casings.  Of course, as luck would have it, none of the stores nearby carried any and since time was of the essence (I had waited 20 yrs and could  not wait a moment longer) the next best thing was to make my own.  And it worked like a charm! I got a small 500ml coke bottle and cut the top 1/3 off and used that.

Garlic Cloves
Garlic Cloves

So once I had the funnel, the ground pork, the casings and all the rest, I set about making them.  I am not going to say it is easy to fill these sausage manually as I got pretty frustrated at times. Like when I tried to take a short cut and stuffed more than I should and ended up ripping the casings only to have to start all over again.  But once I got going, and realised I had to be patient and take my time, it was ok.  I shall be making these again and again.  They are worth all the work involved!

 

Ingredients 

4.5 lbs of ground pork butt or shoulder
1oz black pepper ground
0.5-1oz coriander seeds crushed
1-2oz sea salt
10 garlic cloves minced
bunch of parsley finely chopped

I asked the butcher at Whole Foods to mince the meat for me and he was very helpful and even explained to me the difference between the pork butt and shoulder.  How the pork butt has the fat in the meat and the pork shoulder has the fat all around.  I took his word for it. He also said that they use what they call the Picnic to make their sausages as it is “more economical and more flavourful”, and that’s what I used.

Ingredients
Ingredients

Put all the ingredients together and mix well. Fill the casings according to your machine’s instructions.  Or, if you don’t have the machine…start by putting the opening of the casings to the funnel, hold on tight to it and stuff the filling until you get enough to have two sausages any length you like.  Leave about two inches of casing on either side, cut and tie a knot at both ends and twist in the middle.  Prick them all over so they don’t explode when you cook them.  Rinse them and hang them to dry for two to four days in a cool place.

Thank you Karl for sharing your wonderful recipe. Now everybody will be able to taste of Malta wherever they may be.

Drying Maltese Sausage
Drying Maltese Sausage

Kannoli ~ Cannoli

Cannoli
Cannoli

 

Rose
Rose

This recipe has been in my to do list for about three months and the reason I had not attempted it before now is because it is a recipe shared with me by my very talented baker friend Rose and I was so blown away by the taste and presentation of her Cannoli that I felt a bit intimidated to try them myself in case I did not do it justice.

But now that the kids are off from school and I have a lot more time on my hands, I thought I’d give it a try and hope hope hope that I make them half as good as you Rose!

I am probably the only living soul on this planet that is not crazy about cannolis. I love ricotta but mainly in savoury  dishes and find ricotta desserts to  be a bit too heavy for my liking.

So when offered dessert at one of our get togethers at Rose’s house, I opted for the fruit salad, but couldn’t help eyeing the cannoli which were on the top tier of the dessert stand looking down on the other pastries acting holier than thou. But as I reached over for a taste, it took me all of two seconds to realise why.

Cannoli Molds
Cannoli Molds

Cannoli Shells

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 egg slightly beaten
1/4 cup Sauterne wine
egg white + tbsp of water

Cut in the 2 tbsp cold butter in with the flour, sugar and salt.

Add 1 egg slightly beaten.

Add the wine and form into a dough.

Roll out the dough to a 5 setting on the pasta machine.  If you don’t have a pasta machine, then roll the dough quite thin, as you would ravioli.

Cut dough into 4″ circles and form loosely onto metal tubes.

Beat the egg white and brush the ends of the dough to glue the ends making sure not to get any on the metal tube. Make sure you seal properly.

Deep fry in melted Crisco when it reaches 400 degrees, until golden brown and drain the shells on paper towels.

These make about 30 shells depending on how big you make them.

Cannoli Filling

Candied Peel
Candied Peel

2lbs ricotta
2-4 tbsp powdered sugar to taste
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped orange candied peel
1/2 cup chopped candied citron peel
1/2 cup chopped good quality milk or dark chocolate
1-2 drops of cinnamon oil or to taste

Mix all the ingredients until well combined

To assemble Cannolis :

Pipe or spoon ricotta filling into the shells and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

Perfect dessert to have on hand when you’re hosting a dinner because you can prepare both the shells and ricotta ahead of time and assemble them just before dessert time.

Thank you Rose!

Yummmmm!!
Yummmmm!!

Cannoli Tips :

I did not have cinnamon oil so I used ground cinnamon instead.  I hear it makes a difference and it’s on my list of things to add to my baking ingredients for sure. Some people prefer the taste of Fiori di Sicilia…I still have to try that one too.  Apparently it’s a wonderful addition to a lot of baked goods.

Do yourselves a favour and make sure to use egg whites to seal the cannoli dough before you fry them cause they do unfurl if you don’t.

Another tip is, that if you have a pasta machine, USE it.  It gives the cannoli perfect thickness and consistency.  I was a bit lazy to take mine out at first and tried to roll it out with a rolling pin.  It worked ok…BUT towards the end, I decided to use the machine and and realised how much better the shells turned out.

I fried the shells one at a time as they brown really quick and a few seconds makes all the difference between golden brown to charcoal black.

If you made the ricotta from scratch, do not let it drip too dry.  If that happens, add some whey to make it creamy.

If it’s not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste.

Follow all this and you’ll be left with cannolis to be proud of…

Zucchini Bread ~ An Old Faithful

Zucchini Tops
Zucchini Tops

I can’t think of a more appropriate time to post this recipe than now.

This is the first year that I planted zucchini…or rather that the zucchini that I planted are actually rewarding me with its fruit.  Did you know that?? Zucchini is actually a fruit?   A fruit that is prepared as a vegetable.  I thought that was very interesting, because to me, anything green is a vegetable…except watermelon of course.

Happy Birthday Dylan
Happy Birthday Dylan

So this is a quite an old recipe…18 yrs old in fact! As old as my first born and it’s a known fact that I spent the better part of nine months eating this bread.  I’d go visit my family out on Long Island and my  cousin Dianne would never let me go back home without a loaf, all sliced up and ready to eat on the one hour long trip back home. And by the time I got home, there’d be nothing left but a few crumbs.

Dylan Graduation
Dylan Graduation

So this morning, when I went out to the garden and noticed that some zucchini were ready for picking, I had to use it to make this bread.  Also, it’s Dylan’s b’day next week…18 yrs young!!  Where has the time gone??  Seems like only yesterday we were so excited at welcoming our newborn.  And now it’s almost time to say goodbye as he heads off to a new beginning…the college years.

And it all started with zucchini bread!

It’s a simple recipe and makes two medium sized loaves.  Perfect for sharing with friends…your friends will love you for it! Also freezes very well.

 

Ingredients

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups peeled and grated zucchini
2 cups sugar
1 cup salad oil
3 eggs

Just mix everything together.

Pour into prepared greased and floured loaf pans.

Bake in preheated oven at 375 for about 45 mins.

Zucchini Bread
Zucchini Bread

In my opinion, the next best thing to cookies and a glass of cold milk is zucchini bread and a glass of cold milk.  So satisfying and comforting anytime.  Thank you Dianne for sharing this with me…still one of my favourites and not just for the memories!

Ruġġata Tal-Lewz ~ Almond Cordial

Ruggata Tal-Lewz
Ruggata Tal-Lewz

Now that the summer is starting to make it’s mark, I always like to have a bit of Ruġġata tal-Lewz in my refrigerator, diluted with water and ready to pour and enjoy. It’s the perfect thirst quencher and goes down like honey on those hot hot days when it feels like you’re being cooked from the inside out.

Back in the 70’s, my mum would take my sister, brother and me to Valletta on those well known hot Maltese summer days, and after a morning at the market, we would always look forward to going to Zachary Street in Valletta for that chilled ruġġata that would cool our senses or rather induce instant brain freeze. I believe that shop no longer sells ruġġata there as Valletta’s changed a lot since the 70’s.

There would always be a crowd huddled at that little corner window shop with everybody shouting

“Hey, boy, it’s my turn” while waving their liras about to get “the boy’s” attention.

And with great patience he would serve everyone with a smile, knowing that in that heat, everyone’s hot temper would be just about ready to explode.

This is the home made version of our delectable almond cordial…

It might seem like it has a lot of sugar, but don’t forget that you have to dilute this and you only use about a quarter cup to about eight ounces of water and ice!

Ingredients
Cinnamon & Cloves
Cinnamon & Cloves


Ingredients

5 cups water
600gr sugar
lemon rind
12 cloves
1-2 sticks cinnamon
2 tsp almond essence (or more to taste)
1 tsp vanilla essence
evaporated milk (about a quarter cup)

 

Method

Place the water, sugar, lemon rind, cloves and cinnamon in a pot and let it boil.
Reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat.
When the mixture cools, pass it through a sieve to remove rind and cloves.
Add essences and a little bit of evaporated milk.
Pour in clean bottles and place them in the fridge.
Dilute with water to taste.

 

Ruġġata Tal-Lewz
Ruġġata Tal-Lewz