Category Archives: family

Lagunitas Field Trip



Last weekend we went to Petaluma.  We’d only been talking about going for about four years!  But now that the kids are older and can be trusted not to burn the house down, well, we thought an overnight stay, just the two of us, would  be a good thing.

Lagunitas Sampler
Lagunitas Sampler

What made the occasion a must this time round, was that it was Kevin’s b’day. His wish was to go to his favourite brewery in the whole wide world and as luck would have it, it’s only a couple of hours away.  So, just like I celebrated my b’day with my favourite goats, it was only fair that he should celebrate it with his favourite beer!

Having lived here for so long,  I’m still surprised at how much there is still left to see and experience! I was totally delighted by what Petaluma had to offer.   Nobody has ever said that this place is a must see, so my expectancies were kinda low.  Besides, I honestly thought that the whole weekend was only going to about beer and more beer.   But when we started walking around town and saw the cute little antique shops and people just lapping up the sun outside the charming Bistros,  I wanted to stop and savour every minute.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day either.  The sky was blue and the air was warm…and what was that????  Is that French I hear??

Sacre Bleu!! It was!!   It seemed to me that for the most part, the locals were actually french! I could catch snippets of french conversations going on at every corner and bar!  And with French music playing in the air and french decor in every restaurant, I felt like I had just stepped into Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris!  And I fell in love!!

I had almost booked us a room at a Days Inn or Best Western, as Kevin’s only priority was that we were close enough to Lagunitas Brewery so he could have his pint and drink it…literally…and not worry about the driving part.  So I almost did not see this quaint little Metro Hotel just down the road from Petaluma’s Town Center.  It was perfect!! The french decor just added to our french experience and next time we go…and I’m pretty sure there will be a next time…we will definitely stay there again.

The Lagunitas Tour was also very entertaining. We could hear the boisterous laughter from the parking lot which became louder and louder and more enticing as we neared the entrance of the bar!  It was full…the inside bar, the outside beer garden…pretty much every space was taken…but for a tiny corner  at the end of the room.  We sampled some beer while we waited for our tour…well one of us did…and then were led to where the magic happens.

Before we left, we paid a visit to Sonoma which is another very interesting and charming town.  You find anything from Cheese Shops to Hat Shops, and Pottery Shops to Restaurants.

Maybe it was because it was our first get away together with no kids in like ever…but what a marvelous weekend that was…and we both hope to return very very soon!

Happy Birthday Kevin!!


Pastizzi – Camenzuli Style

Flaky Pastizzi
Flaky Pastizzi

Pastizzi ta’ l-Irkotta or Pastizzi tal-Pizelli!  Those are only two of the most popular fillings you will find because nowadays you  may find many more types of fillings…from sweet to savoury but I still think that the original are the best! Pastizzi get a bad rap because the dough contains a little more than your average fat.  Usually a basic dough has half the amount of fat as flour. The pastizzi dough has slightly more but is oh sooo worth it.

Pastizzi for Breakfast
Pastizzi for Breakfast

It is also slightly more work.  Well, when I say slightly, I mean a lot! And also slightly messier…ok a lot messier…but I don’t want to scare you away and really want you to try it, cause when you make it and taste it, you’re going to fall in love. There’s just nothing like that rich, crunchy but melt in your mouth pastry!!   And this recipe delivers! Pastizzi are also great to freeze so you can always have some on hand. Then just pop two in the toaster oven and have them for your lazy Sunday morning breakfast!

Uncle Fredu Making Pastizzi
Uncle Fredu Making Pastizzi

This recipe is one of those that has been passed down to me by my relatives who had emigrated to the US in the early 60’s which means they’d been here for 30 years before I made my appearance and had all that time to finesse everything Maltese!! I have a big family here and rest assured that there’s pastizzi at every gathering and not surprising at all, it would be the pastizzi that would be the first to disappear.

Uncle Alex Making Pastizzi
Uncle Alex Making Pastizzi

Pastizzi call for a mixture of butter and lard OR crisco.  There was a time when just the word LARD would make  me cringe and seeing anyone using it in cooking would immediately make me lose my appetite.  But here is an article I read recently that made me think differently.


  • 1lb all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 9oz water
  • 9oz lard or crisco
  • 3oz butter
Butter and Lard
Mix Butter and Lard

Make the dough by putting the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the oil and water and let it knead for about 12 mins until you have a nice smooth dough. Let it rest for about half an hour. Cut the dough in half. Open one of the halves into a long strip as shown in the photo beneath.

Take both fats and mix them together. Divide in two. Take one part of the mixed fat and slather it all over the rolled out dough.

From the end closest to you, start stretching and rolling while widening the dough as shown. Keep doing this until you reach the other end. You’ll end up with a long rope like piece of dough.

Take one end and roll it into a spiral shape. Put some fat over the top, cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. Do the same with the other piece of dough and remaining fat.

Ricotta Filling
Ricotta Filling


Make the pastizzi filling by mixing 1lb ricotta, 2 eggs and pinch of salt together.

Forming Pastizzi
Take the end of the spiral shaped dough and cut about two inches off the end. Flatten it with your hand as you turn it round and round between your fingers so you can see the ridges of the dough forming. Form it into a circle about 3-4 inches in diameter. Put a dollop of ricotta in the middle.


Ready for Baking or Freezing
Ready for Baking or Freezing.

Fold over and seal and place on a greased dish or on a silpat. Do this until you’ve used up all the dough and ricotta.

You can freeze them at this point. Or you can bake them in a 375 degree oven for about 20-30 mins until golden brown.

As with everything, moderation is the key.  Pastizzi are not the the healthiest of foods, but then neither are croissants or eclairs and it would be a shame if we couldn’t have them once in a while, so go on…have one…you know you want to.


Pastizzi Camenzuli Style
Pastizzi Camenzuli Style


Ren Faire at Casa de Frutta

We had a wonderful day at the Case de Fruita Renaissance Faire.

Capitola Art and Wine Festival

I took my parents to the Capitola Art and Wine Festival.