Friday, February 20, 2015

Traditional Maltese food for Lent and Easter - Links for Anna Sultana's recipes

Kung Hei Fat Choy!
Yesterday was the start of Chinese New Year.
It has a few weeks' worth of traditions to ensure you’ll have a great year. 
Remember… your behaviour on New Year’s Day sets the tone for the year.
No pressure.

Speaking of traditions for starting a new year…

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.
Forty days during which we’re supposed to basically make a few new year’s resolutions and actually do them - at least for forty days. 

The Catholic Church has a few ‘suggestions’ to get the ball rolling.
As with most religions, the hints affect what Catholics eat.
Basically it’s cutting back in general, and no meat on Friday.
In Malta fish such as lampuki, whitebait and salted cod were eaten during Lent.
Also stewed snails (bebbux), stuffed artichokes (qaqoċċ mimli) and fritters (zeppoli).

During the Holy Week bakers also bake apostles' bagel, a large round loaf with almonds on top (qagħqa tal-appostli). 

There are also seasonal variations to certain dishes, for example, adding fresh broad beans to kusksu (a vegetable and pasta dish).

The recipes are delicious, any time of the year.
Maltese are into self improvement, not self abuse.

Here are a few more of Ma’s Lenten dishes:

Lampuki and Qara' baghli biz-zalza pikkanti - Fish and Marrows with Piquant Sauce
Torta tal-Lampuki - Fish and Vegetable Pie
Baked Stuffed Lampuki - Baked Fish
Fried Lampuki - Fried Fish
Baccala alla Marinara - Baked Salt Cod
Bebbux bl-Arjoli  - Snails with Arjoli Sauce
Bebbux bl-Arjoli - Land Snails or Seafood with Hot Arjoli Sauce

Froga tat-Tarja - Spaghetti Omelette

Qaqocc Mimli - Stuffed Artichokes
Qaqocc Mimli - Stuffed Artichokes  II

Zeppoli ta' san Guzepp - Fried choux pastry with sweet ricotta filling and honey coating
Kwareżimal - Almond Biscotti
Torta tal-Ħaxu / Torta ta' l-Irkotta - Easy Maltese Ricotta Pie
Qassatat ta I-Irkotta - Small Ricotta Pies
Qassatat tal-Pizelli - Small Pies with Peas
Figolli - Traditional Maltese Easter Sweet with Royal Icing and Almond Filling (with and without eggs)

Karamelli (Julep sweets)
Pastizzi tal-Inċova (Anchovy cakes)
Qassatat tal-ħelu (sweet biscuits) 


  1. What a wonderful round-up of Lenten dishes, Margaret. I actually did a post about Easter in Malta many years ago on my other website. I found this quote in my archives that I thought you might enjoy. "Before cutting a new loaf of bread, the Maltese used to kiss it and make the sign of the Cross on it with the knife. Bread is treated with great respect as it is considered, in its form and ingredients, the holy bread at the Mass or the Divine presence."

    Thanks for sharing, Margaret...

  2. Hi, Louise!
    Interesting bit of history. I don't remember my parents doing that. Thank you for the quote.

    Bread, and food in general, was something we were always grateful for. During WW II the convoys couldn't get through to Malta and for 3 months the people were starving. Ma said they scraped the rock walls just to have something to fill their stomachs.


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