All posts filed under: Malta

Maltese November Bone Cookies Recipe

Maltese Bone Cookies with Marzipan Marrow

This month we’re celebrating the most anatomically correct cookie there ever was – one whose astounding details should make it a favorite with medical students everywhere, and one who would be well placed at every white coat graduation buffet. The origins of this beautiful cookie are far humbler than you might think – November Bones hail from the small island nation of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea. Why November Bones? Forget dress up and trick-or-treating; most people in the island nation of Malta skip right over Halloween in favor of All Saints and All Souls Days, two feast days that honor the dead (these more reverent holidays are not about vampires and zombies, but about taking time to honor cherished family members who have passed on). On November 1st and 2nd the graves are cleaned and decorated, but it’s the November Bones (a.k.a. l-għadam tal-mejtin) that stretch the holiday well beyond the two days (they’re sold all month long in many bakeries). Anatomy of a Cookie Usually cookies are just a “shape it and bake it” operation, but November Bones could come straight from a …

Read More
malta.food.img_1680

Monday Meal Review: Malta

THE SCENE: My Misadventures I slide the skillet of Froga out of the screaming hot oven. This is Malta’s beloved mixture of angel hair pasta and eggs. Frittata. Beautiful. Puffy in the center and crisp on the edges. But my mind is elsewhere. I glance over at the counter. It is covered with small, brightly colored chocolate eggs, a giant bag of powdered sugar, fresh lemons and oranges, almond paste, and all my decorating tools. I cannot wait to make Malta’s sweet Easter cookies. I imagine Ava’s face, how she’d light up with delight when she saw the pretty shapes – a flower or perhaps a butterfly, so colorful they seem to leap off the plate. My mind continues to wander as I hoist the skillet and attempt to transfer the frittata onto a large platter. Unfortunately, my hand meets with four hundred degrees of hot, sizzling metal. I leap back from the pan, dropping it with a clatter back onto the stove top, but it is already too late. I am badly burned.  My skin …

Read More
malta.food.img_1505

Vermicelli Frittata | Froga tat-Tarja

Some days are for feeling grown up. Responsible. Full of lists and the determination to check them off. Other days are for bubbles, silly string, and dancing with your shoes off. And eating Maltese Froga. Froga is the adorable lovechild of omelets and angel hair pasta. Yes, pasta in your eggs. Eggs in your pasta. It’s like the noodles are doing a squiggly dance in your breakfast. This is major happy food. Where has it been all my life? In Malta (and nearby Sicily), you can find Froga made with all variety of fillings – ham, prosciutto onion, green onion, parsley, ricotta, spinach – if you like it in a regular frittata, you’ll most likely enjoy it in Froga. The only requirement is the pasta. Be sure to use long stranded pasta – vermicelli (angel hair) or even thicker spaghetti – the most common (and the most fun). Makes 1 8″ “frittata” style omelet. Ingredients: 4 medium eggs 1/4 cup ricotta cheese 1/3  cup parmesan cheese 2 cups angel hair or spaghetti, cooked fresh chopped parsley, …

Read More
malta.food.img_1655

Maltese Stuffed Artichokes | Qaqoċċ Mimli

I often wonder how many people walk by their supermarket’s artichoke display squinting their eyes, unsure of what to do with this prickly porcupine of a vegetable. Being part Italian, I grew up eating artichokes and often take them for granted. I was thrilled this week to read that the Maltese also enjoy a giant, stuffed-to-the-brim artichoke – giving me a chance to indulge yet another time. A stuffed-to-the-brim artichoke is my favorite movie snack. Perfect Friday night fun. The challenge for me this week, with Malta, is getting used to the idea of putting anchovies and olives in my artichokes. Because that’s exactly what they do in Malta. Note: Maltese typically pull the artichoke’s leaves back and get the stuffing in every nook and cranny. Due to the fluffy nature of this stuffing, I had an easier time pulling the center wide open and putting it all there. The choice is yours! Serves 4 Ingredients: 4 large artichokes, stems trimmed and lower, scraggly leaves plucked off 3 cups coarsely crumbled bread (sourdough, if possible) 3 anchovy fillets, chopped finely …

Read More
malta.food.img_1817

Marzipan Easter Cookies from Malta | Figolla

Each week, when I sit down to pick recipes, I am surrounded by a mountain of cookbooks, web sites, and emails (this week I’d like to thank Maltese reader, Jym B. for all his help).  I scan through dozens, if not hundreds of ideas before settling on my selections. Not today. Not with this recipe. I ran across Figolla almost immediately and knew, without a doubt, this sweet treat was a keeper. Reader, Jym, simply confirmed my selection, stating it is a “wonderful” cookie from his Maltese heritage. So what is it? Figolla is Malta’s popular Easter cookie – two lemon infused sugar cookies surrounding a soft, almond paste center. The cookie is decorated for Easter with frosting and a chocolate egg (which is sometimes left in the foil wrapper – a sparkling nugget of goodness). Pretty much amazing, if you ask me. Especially considering daydreamy stovetop travel will take you here to eat it… Makes just over 2 lbs of dough. Quantity of cookies depends on how big your cookie cutters are! This recipe …

Read More
malta.food.img_1866

Menu: Malta

Look at Mr Picky. Specifically, look at his eyebrows. They’re practically touching his hair line. That, my friends, is sugar going straight to his brain.. any ideas for a caption? As for the menu, I think you’re going to do summersaults. Or, at least, squiggly noodle-saults. Every single dish is fun for the whole family. If, when you nibble these treats, you can’t taste Malta’s ocean breeze, then something’s gone terribly wrong. Vermicelli Fritatta (Froga tat-Tarja) [Recipe] Eggs + Angel Hair = a hearty brunch. Our version has ricotta, parmesan and parsley as well. Maltese Stuffed Artichokes (Qaqoċċ Mimli) [Recipe] The bold flavor of garlic, anchovies, and olives in a sourdough breadcrumb stuffing… pressed into artichokes and steamed until tender. Marzipan Easter Cookies (Figolla) [Recipe] Lemon sugar cookies filled with almond paste and frosted until giddy. Traditionally served at Easter. Huzzah! *All recipes and Meal review will be posted by Monday morning

Read More
Malta, Mdina, St. Paul's Cathedral. Photo by Berthold Werner

About the food of Malta

Today I’d love to be in tiny Malta (she’s 122 square miles small). I’d like to bask on a rock in the Mediterranean sun, listen to the crashing waves, and daydream until I smell dinner. And what a dinner it would be… think Italian. Think French. Arabic. Pasta and red sauce. Artichokes. Olives and capers. Rabbit stewed in wine. Fish swimming in soup. The fresh salty air would whet my appetite. And boy would I eat. The flavors are bold and the feelings are bolder. My heritage has taught me that Italians are full of passion and simplicity. I get the same feeling from the Maltese. This is a culture that whips up beautiful, hearty food without muss or fuss. The company is what matters, after all. For a snack, they even enjoy spreading Maltese bread (a nice crusty slightly sour loaf is a good option) with nothing more than tomato paste – talk about simple! If you’re feeling extra fancy, add anchovies, capers, and a drizzle of olive oil. Another simple dish is the Bigilla, …

Read More