Stuffed Pork Loin with Cinnamon Sauce

In this slow-cooked Pork Loin recipe we sealed the pork in the frying pan to give it a nice colour. We then cooked the mirepoix with white wine, cloves, peppercorns and stock. We put the mixture into an oven proof dish with the beautiful pork loin on top, we covered tightly with foil and finished it in the oven at 165C for about 1 1/2 hours.

Ingredients

  • Stuffed pork loin (ask the butcher to stuff it for you)
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 70g tomato paste
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 10g ground cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 225ml white wine
  • 2 chicken cubes
  • 250ml water
  • Few sprigs of thyme
  • Fresh rosemary

Equipment

  • 1 oven proof dish
  • 1 oven tray
  • 1 deep frying pan
  • 1 medium pot
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 tong
  • Colander
  • 2 containers, 1 for peelings and 1 for vegetables

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven on 160/170C or gas mark 3/4.
  2. Pre-heat a deep frying pan on a medium-high heat and add some oil. Leave it to get really hot.
  3. Preparing the mirepoix (onion, garlic carrot, celery and leek) chop roughly and leave on the side in a container for now. Add the thyme and bay leaves.
  4. Place the loin on the pre-heated frying pan so it can be sealed. Partially cover it and be mindful of the oil as it can start to be really bubbly and it can hurt you. Leave to cook until it gets a nice brown colour all the way round. When turning the loin onto the other sides make sure you lower the heat and then put it back to medium-high to brown the other side. Also, always partially cover.
  5. When loin is sealed (browned nicely) from all sides you can remove it from the frying pan and put it on the side on an oven tray.
  6. Add mirepoix to the frying pan, add cinnamon, give a stir and let it cook until vegetables are all nice and soft. Keep stirring occasionally.
  7. Add tomato puree, stir and let it cook as much as you can. This adds colour and thickness to the sauce.
  8. Add white wine, bring it to the boil and let it reduce. Make sure you give it a really good stir, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  9. Add the stock, bring it to the boil and let it reduce.
  10. Add peppercorns and cloves.
  11. Transfer mirepoix mix with all the sauce in an oven proof dish and put the loin on top.
  12. Cover tightly with foil and place it in the oven. Make sure no steam is allowed to come out of the foil. Leave to cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  13. After 1 1/2 hours take it out of the oven and put the loin back onto the oven tray. Keep it out of the oven.

Making the Cinnamon Sauce

  1. Place the colander over the pot and pass through the mirepoix. You are left with all of the vegetable juices.
  2. Place the pot on the hob and simmer to reduce to the consistency you prefer.`

Baking Blind

Step-by-step method how to blind bake pastry crust. This method is easy to follow and is necessary when the crust will be filled with an unbaked filling. Blind baking is also used to keep the crust from becoming soggy due to a wet filling.

Equipment

  • Loose-bottom flan ring, 25cm
  • Rolling pin
  • Fork
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Baking beans or dried beans (we used a mix of baking beans and dried cannellini beans)
  • Butter (to grease flan)
  • 200g sweet short pastry (click here for recipe)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
  2. Take pastry out of the fridge and dust worktop with flour.
  3. Roll out (3mm thick) to a circle slightly larger than 25cm diameter.
  4. Take the rolling pin and set it on top of the flattened dough. Press down lightly and let the pin rotate as you push it.
  5. Grease lightly the loose-bottom flan ring.
  6. Place the rolling pin with the pastry at the edge of the ring and push it towards you to roll it out and cover the whole ring.
  7. Prick the pastry with a fork and line with greaseproof paper. Fill with baking beans or any other kind of dried beans. Place it in the fridge and leave for 15 minutes.
  8. After 15 minutes take it out and bake for 11 minutes.
  9. Take it out of the oven, remove greaseproof paper and beans and replace in the oven. Bake for further 9 minutes until pastry is lightly browned.
  10. Take it out of the oven, trim away the overhanging pastry and leave it to cool until required. Use within 24 hours.

Maltese Cheese – Gbejniet

Here’s the full step-by-step process of Maltese Gbejna, from the warming of the milk to the drying and storing. Although it takes a few stages to arrive to the final product, it doesn’t consume you any time and you can carry on with your chores whilst having your delicious gbejniet curing along the way!

Ingredients (makes 10 cheeselets)

  • 2 ltrs mik, we used unhomogenised cow’s milk and as creamy as possible. I you don’t find this kind of milk, you can use full fat cow’s milk.
  • 1.5 tsp Rennet powder
  • 22ml water
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Vinegar, preferably white

Equipment

  • 10 cheese baskets (qwieleb)
  • Food thermometer
  • Large pot to warm the milk
  • Tray or dish to store cheese baskets, a dripping tray is preferred

Method

  1. Warm the milk on a very gentle heat. Use your thermometer to check the temperature of the milk and remove off the heat immediately when it reaches 38C.
  2. Mix quickly the rennet powder and water. Gently stir into the milk. Leave aside for 3 hrs.
  3. After 1.5hrs cut along vertical lines with a knife. This helps the curds and the whey separate. Leave on the side for another 1.5 hrs.
  4. After 3hrs are completed, start scooping the curds until you’ve filled up all of your baskets. Place on the dripping tray.
  5. Sprinkle salt on top of each basket and place in fridge. Leave overnight.
  6. The following morning turn the cheese over and sprinkle some more salt again.
  7. Place in fridge for another 12 hours.
  8. Fresh gbejniet are now ready to eat!
  9. If you prefer dried gbejniet, continue the following steps.

Drying and Storing

  1. Take the tray out of the fridge and cover with insect screen. Put outside in the shade, avoiding direct sunlight. If this is not possible, dry them inside by an open window or a well ventilated room. We use a little fan to help the drying process. They should dry in about two days.
  2. After a day of drying, sprinkle fresh black pepper. This is better done at this stage as it helps the pepper to stick better. Cover again with insect screen and leave to dry to your desired consistency.
  3. Once they have dried to your liking (we normally leave them to dry indoors for 2 days in total) place them in jar full of white vinegar and refrigerate for 24hrs.
  4. After 24hrs, remove from the white vinegar and place them in an air-tight sterilized jar filled with oil and a little bit of vinegar. Make sure that all of the gbejniet get a good coating and keep stored in the fridge.

Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce also known as ragu, is a Sauce made with minced beef. In This recipe we kept the bolognese as simple as we can but we added some mixed spice for that extra flavour. Also a couple of tricks for a good bolognese sauce is one, to cook the tomato paste as much as you can and two, to leave the bolognese sauce simmering for about 2 hours.

Ingredients

  • 1kg minced beef
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 rosemary stalks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Oil
  • 300ml cooking red wine
  • 280g tomato puree
  • 800g chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml passata (tomato juice)
  • 20g mixed spice
  • Dried mixed herbs
  • Seasoning

Equipment

  • 1 pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small knife
  • 2 small containers (1 for peelings, 1 for vegetables)
  • Chopping board

Method

  1. Heat the pot on a medium-high heat and add some oil. When the oil is hot; add the beef, rosemary, bay leaves and mixed spice. Give it a good stir and leave it to cook until all beef turns brown.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and carrots to the pot. Give it another good stir and leave to cook until the onions soften.
  3. At this stage make sure you have the tomato paste, red wine, chopped tomatoes and passata ready to add to the pot.
  4. Start with adding the tomato paste, give it a good stir and let it cook until almost sticks to the pot. Keep stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it the less acidic it will be which will prevent the uncomfortable feeling of heart burn after eating.

Minestrone

When you type the word Minestrone is like you have typed Julius Caesar, there is only one! You will find the recipe here. We started by cutting all the vegetables into small dice, then shallow fry them covered for about 15 minutes. We added the tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. We added the pasta and beans and simmer for about 10 minutes. Off the heat and season. You can serve with some parmesan cheese.

Ingredients

  • 2 large leeks, halved and chopped
  • 4 small carrots, cubed
  • 2 courgettes, cubed
  • 250g whole green beans, cut in half
  • 4 celery sticks, halved and chopped
  • 2 vegetable cubes
  • 2 ltrs water
  • Oil
  • 800g chopped tomatoes
  • 800g cannellini beans
  • 100g pasta (we used penne)
  • Thyme (or any kind of your favourite fresh/dried herbs)
  • Seasoning

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small knife
  • 2 small containers – 1 for peelings and 1 for vegetables
  • Chopping board
  • Peeler

Method

  1. Heat up the pot on a medium-high heat and add some oil.
  2. Add all the vegetables and give a good stir. Put the lid on and leave to cook for about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the water, vegetable cubes, chopped tomatoes and thyme. Cover the pan again, turn the heat to maximum until it starts boiling and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Let it simmer for around 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, add the pasta and the beans. Give it a good stir and cover pan again. Let it simmer again for around 10 minutes.
  5. Turn heat off and season with some cracked black peppercorns and sea salt.

Maltese Bread Recipe

 

 

Tradtional Maltese Bread is a crusty sourdough which is literally to die for! It is the perfect accompaniment to any mediterranean antipasti or simply spread with butter and digest. In Malta it is mostly enjoyed by spreading tomato paste or fresh tomatoes with plenty of olive oil and other traditional accompaniments such as bigilla (a dip made out of dried fava/broad beans). This recipe has been tried and tested several times to reach perfection and we are so happy that we have finally succeeded and are able to taste Maltese Bread away from home and share it with you!

Ingredients – Makes 1 bread approx 450g

EOS 200D_0305

Part 1 (mother dough to be put in fridge overnight)

  • 200g strong white flour or plain flour
  • 2g salt
  • 2g dry active yeast
  • approx. 100ml water (no need to be tepid)

Part 2

  • 200g strong white flour or plain flour
  • 2g salt
  • 2g dry active yeast
  • approx. 100ml tepid water

Method

  1. Start by preparing the mother dough by mixing the flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add water slowly and continue mixing until a dough is nicely formed. You don’t want a wet dough so whilst adding water, knead well until all ingredients are very well combined. If you see that dough is difficult to knead, wet your hands with water and continue to knead. Switch to work top to give it a final knead.
  2. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.EOS 200D_0301
  3. The day after, take out the prepared dough from fridge and let set until you prepare another dough with the same amount of ingredients REMEMBER the water needs to be tepid this time. When ready, mix both doughs together and knead very well.
  4. Cover with cling film and let it prove at room temperature for 2 hrs. Please note that if you have a cold kitchen it will take more time to prove so if you can put it in a warm place such as on top of your cupboards or fridge.EOS 200D_0292
  5. After 2 hrs, knead the dough, you can either half it to make 2 small breads or leave it as a one big bread and give it a round shape.EOS 200D_0282
  6. Grease a baking tray with some olive oil and put dough to prove again for another 2 hrs, this time leave dough uncovered and again in a warm place.
  7. After 2 hrs, sprinkle some flour on dough and if you wish make a cross sign on top with a knife. Bake in oven on mark 7/220C. You can put it straight into a cold oven, no need to pre-heat. Leave to bake for around 30-45 minutes. After the first 10 minutes you can remove bread from the dish and place it directly on oven shelves so heat will be well distributed all over. If you like it crusty, turn the oven on full heat for the last 10 minutes.
  8. Let cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack before slicing. This step is important as you will see and hear the crust cracking naturally, it will make the bread look perfect!IMG_0204

 

 

 

Risotto with Peas and Mint

 

The word Risotto comes from Italy (Ris) for rice and (Otto) for the number eight. It has generated this name because it has to be stirred in the figure of 8 for the whole process. In this Risotto recipe we are using the refreshing ingrediets of Garden Peas and Mint. It makes a great dinner and if you plan ahead it does not take hours of cooking; in just 20 minutes you will have a delicious plate on the table.

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   Ingredients         Serves 4                                       

  • 500g Arborio Rice
  • 2 Shallots                                                                                
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • Few sprigs of thyme
  • 250ml of white wine
  • 2150ml of water
  • 2 vegetable cubes
  • 57g of butter
  • 57g of mascarpone cheese
  • 30g Parmesan
  • 100g peas
  • Bunch of mint
  • Seasoning

Equipment

  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 green chopping board
  • 2 containers 1 for peelings 1 for the shallot, garlic and thyme
  • 1 ladle
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 pot
  • 1 serving spoon

Method

  1. put a pot of hot water on the stove then add 2 vegetables cubes and bring to boil then turn off heat
  2. peel and chop 2 shallots
  3. peel 4 cloves of garlic then add some sprigs of thyme
  4. cook shallot, garlic, thyme for 2-3minutes on low heat

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  1. add rice cook for 2-3 minutes low heat
  2. add white wine reduce by 3/4
  3. add stock 3 ladles at a time and continue this process until nearly finished all the stock (leave 2 ladles)
  4. Now if everone is ready to eat we can finish the risotto we then add the last
  5. remaining stock let countinue to cook until it is near to absorb all stock
  6. add butter, mascarpone cheese, peas, mint, parmessan, seasoning give a good stir
  7. serve

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We’re Back!

Pencil sharpened and ready to go!!

Ok, so we had our baby….. but that was a year ago!! Gosh that went by at a very fast pace. Our little daughter is taking after all of us, full on appetite and ready to taste the world of food (so far..)

Yes, we did take a break from writing blogs but the camera, the cooker and our tummies kept on rolling with even more homemade recipes. You can’t stop that, can you? Not when you live with an ambitious chef who takes control whenever his hands get on more than one ingredient!

Not all went to a halt because we have been uploading new video recipes on our YouTube channel as well as updating older ones. Go check them out! My favourite so far would have to be our Steak with Cracked Black Peppercorn Sauce. It is a very easy recipe and the sauce just speaks for itself.

In the meantime, nights are still long, washing basket never sees its bottom, commuting to work is not the easiest (although we started cycling now which is great), bathing kids when super tired after a long day at nursery doesn’t get any better… and the list goes on and on with this hectic life we live in.

However, we still do not cut short and go for a ready meal from the nearest local take away; and if we can do it, so can you!

Our mission remains to encourage you to cook freshly on a daily basis. Our recipes are easily followed step-by-step guide to your everyday cooking. They’re all tried and tested so no recipe will ever let you down. Your skills will improve and your love for cooking will be the one to follow.

For more homemade recipes do not forget to:

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