In light of the COVID-19 precautions...


Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use hand sanitizers that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Avoid close contact with anyone who appears sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then toss the tissue in the trash.

Disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.

Talk to your doctor if you develop symptoms.

Stay home if you develop symptoms.

Avoid nonessential travel to areas with active COVID-19 outbreaks.


Visit the website for your local health department for updates.


If you are caring for an older adult:

Know what medications are needed and help them have extra.

Monitor food and medical supplies and have a back-up plan.

Stock up on non-perishable food to reduce shopping trips.

If a loved one is in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the residents and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Pumpkin Scones, Pumpkin Recipe Links and the Full Flower Moon


A week ago, in honour of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and his bride, Meghan, I posted the recipes for No knead Orange Scones and Clotted Cream.


We’re so glad the weather was good, the wedding went smoothly and everyone had a brilliant time.
Ah… royalty and marriages. What’s not to love?


Another thing to love is another pumpkin recipe.
Pumpkin is a staple ingredient in Maltese cooking, so of course it found it’s way into a scone recipe.
Just think - 
the flour is a starch
the pumpkin is a fruit 
the egg is a protein
the cream is a dairy

This recipe has something from each of the four major food groups!

Yes, a pumpkin is a fruit.
It has seeds, just like a tomato.
Yes, a tomato is a fruit, too.
It’s so good to learn something new every day!


Are you a pumpkin lover, too? Here are a few more old favourites:


Desserts






Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins - Margaret Ullrich

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars - Margaret Ullrich

Soups


Anna Sultana's Pumpkin Soup, Maltese Style, 
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin Pie Spice


Anna Sultana's Kawlata - Vegetable Soup with Meat, Maltese Style

Anna Sultana's Kawlata #2 - Vegetable Soup with Meat, Maltese Style


Anna Sultana's Minestra tal-Haxix #2 - Vegetable Soup, Maltese Style

Anna Sultana's Soppa tal Kirxa - Tripe Soup, Maltese Style


Hints:

If you don’t want to serve these scones with butter or clotted cream, you can also drizzle a simple glaze over the scones.

                                                Glaze 

Combine in a small bowl
!/4 Cup confectioners’ sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice or water (more or less)
Drizzle over the scones.

Of course, they are also good plain.


                           Pumpkin Scones
                       
Grease a large cookie pan         
Preheat oven to 425º F        

Makes 8 scones

In a large mixer bowl mix together
2 1/2 Cups flour
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Make a well in the centre and add
2 Tablespoons butter, melted 
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1 Cup canned pumpkin
Mix well.
Add
1/8 Cup milk
Stir enough to combine.
Add more milk (about 1/8 Cup milk) to make a soft, but not sticky, dough.
Turn out dough on a floured surface and knead gently.
Pat dough into an oblong, about 1 inch thick.
With a floured knife cut into 8 rectangles.
Place scones on prepared sheet.
Bake 20 minutes
Serve warm with butter or clotted cream (or see hints)


About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

May 29 - Full Flower Moon, 10:29 a.m. The visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Though the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it is considered “full” for the entire day of the event, and appears full for three days. May’s full Moon is called the Full Flower Moon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Anna Sultana’s No knead Orange Scones and Clotted Cream

Goodness, time just flies!
Has it really been about seven years since we baked a batch of Ma's Orange Cranberry Scones to enjoy while we watched Prince William and Kate Middleton get married?
Now we’ll be able to see his brother, Prince Harry, and his lovely fiancé stroll down the aisle.
I can’t wait to see what Meghan will wear!

During William and Kate’s wedding one of the TV announcers mentioned how folks in Merry Old England were sitting down to a brekkie of tea and scones, too.

In keeping with the situation, I plan to bake scones to serve with Twinings English Breakfast tea.
Tradition is important, after all.

Scones are very easy to make.
As it is a British recipe, we Maltese make them, too, using an assortment of fruits and juices, as well as milk and cream.
Want to serve a variety? Try one or two or all of these recipes:

All would be delicious with a cup of tea… or a Cosmopolitan or two. 


To do it up in a right proper, veddy British way, the scones should be served with clotted cream, which is also called Devonshire or Cornish cream.
Clotted cream has a nutty, cooked milk flavour and as much fat as butter.
It is a thick cream made by heating cow's milk and then letting it cool slowly so that the cream rises to the surface and forms "clots”. 

The Clotted Cream will keep for about a week in your fridge and can be added to mashed potatoes, risotto or scrambled eggs.
It is also delicious with berries, fruit, a slice of pie, or as a topping on any dessert you’re serving.
Well, just about any dessert... probably not on an iced cake.


Hints:

About the clotted cream…
You might be able to find clotted cream in the dairy section of your supermarket.
Most likely, you won’t find it in a North American store.
Not too worry. It’s not hard to make.

If you don’t have a double boiler place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water.
After you scrape off the thicker part of the clotted cream, you’ll be left with cream that is thinner than heavy cream.
Don't toss it. It can be added to beverages or dishes, as you would half and half.

In a rush? Have mascarpone? You’re in luck. You can use mascarpone to make fake Clotted Cream:
Place in a large bowl
4 ounces mascarpone
1 Cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 or 2 Tablespoons sugar
Zest of lemon or lime (optional)

Beat until the mixture looks like softly whipped cream.  
Use right away or cover and refrigerate the cream until serving time.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Not sure if you'll have any use for a tub of mascarpone?
It is a soft unripened cheese that has the texture of sour cream.
Its mild flavour is great with fresh fruit and it is an ingredient in Tiramisu.
You've probably enjoyed it already.

                        
                           No knead Orange Scones
                       
grease a large cookie pan         
preheat oven to 375º        
bake 30 minutes

Makes 15 scones

In a measuring cup beat together
1 Cup orange juice
1 Egg
Add
1 Cup raisins
Set aside

In a large mixer bowl mix together
3 Cups flour
1/2 Cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cut in 
1/2 Cup margarine

Add
orange juice / egg / raisins mixture
Stir just enough to combine well
Drop on prepared sheet
Bake 30 minutes
Serve warm with butter or clotted cream


                           Clotted Cream

Yield: about 1 cup clotted cream

Place in a double boiler
4 Cups heavy cream

Heat over medium heat to bring the cream to 175º F, stirring occasionally so that the cream will heat evenly. 
Once you reach 175º F, bring up the temperature to 200º and allow the cream to cook about 45 minutes to an hour. The cream should get a cracked skin. 
Remove the top of your double boiler or bowl and place the container of cooked cream in a pan of ice water to cool quickly. 
Cover the cream with plastic wrap and place the container in the refrigerator.
Let it sit overnight. 
Carefully skim the clotted cream off with a shallow spoon and layer it into a bowl.
Serve it as you would serve butter.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Sweet Heart Pound Cake for Mother’s Day

The weather’s been so odd lately.
Guess what - Mother’s Day is this weekend.
You’ve been reminded.

A light cake goes well with anything, whether it's a formal meal or a barbecue.
Speaking of Mothers and cake, I just remembered a cake that Ma surprised us with one Spring day.
She told us that the clipping said that it had a sweet tart flavour.
I forget who started it, but we started to tease her about making a sweet heart cake.
Well, you know how family jokes go… from then on we called it Ma’s Sweet Heart Cake.
And we enjoyed it every time she made it.

Actually, that name suits it.
It’s delicious and uses up whatever you have in your fruit bowl.
In my book, anything that is that accommodating is a sweet heart of a recipe.


Hints:

You can line a greased regular loaf pan with parchment paper leaving about a 2 inch overhang on the sides, so that you can remove it easily.

This is a cake that is open to suggestions.
You can use 1 Tablespoon each of your favourite three from the following: orange zest, lemon zest, lime zest and grapefruit zest, finely grated, instead of 3 Tablespoons of just one type of zest.
Or you can use half and half, or two to one. Your choice. It’s your cake.

Zest is a handy thing to have. You can wrap zest in plastic wrap or aluminum.
You can also place it in a small freezable bag or container.
It stays good up to a month.

Instead of the orange or lemon extract you can use 2 Tablespoons of any citrus juice or vanilla extract in the cake.

You can also top the cake with a Simple Syrup:
Place in a heatproof measuring cup or bowl
3  Tablespoons water
Heat water in a microwave until hot. 
Add 
1/4 Cup sugar
Stir to dissolve. 
Stir in 
1  Tablespoon lime juice
1  Tablespoon lime zest, finely grated
Allow simple syrup to cool to room temperature. 
Brush the simple syrup over the completely cooled cake. 
Let the simple syrup soak into the cake before serving, at least 15 minutes.

About the syrup… 
instead of the lime juice and zest, you can use orange, lemon or grapefruit.

If you’re in a rush, or Mom prefers a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, that works, too.
Like I said: it’s your cake.

Your Mom prefers banana pound cake? No problem. Make


                                                Sweet Heart Pound Cake

Heavily grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan

Sift together in a medium bowl
1 3/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Set aside.

Combine in a small bowl
1/4 Cup sour cream
1  teaspoon orange or lemon extract
3 Tablespoons of orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit zest, finely grated (or see hints)
Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350º F

Place in a large mixer bowl
1 Cup butter
1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add, one at a time, beating well after each addition
4 large eggs

Add half of the dry ingredients into the large mixer bowl.
Blend on low speed until just combined. 
Add in all of the sour cream mixture. Mix until well blended. 
Add in the remaining dry ingredients. Blend just enough to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Place into the preheated oven. 
Bake for 70 to 75 minutes.
A toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Remove from oven and allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. 
Run a knife around, between the cake and the cake pan, to loosen the cake.
Carefully remove the cake from the pan.
Place onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
When cooled, place the cake on a pretty serving platter.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting:

                                                Frosting 

Place in a medium bowl
3 Cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon lemon or orange extract
Add 
1/4 Cup water gradually, beating until the glaze is  smooth.

Spread the frosting over the cake.
Sprinkle over the top
3 Tablespoons of lemon or orange zest, finely grated


About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

Look to the southeast after dark to see Jupiter, shining at magnitude -2.5 in Libra. The king of the planets reached its opposition to the Sun on May 8th, so it’s up practically all night this month. Jupiter is edging slowly westward toward from the 2½-magnitude star Alpha (α) Librae (Zubenelgenubi) nearby.

May 15 - New Moon, 7:48 a.m. In this phase, the Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight and is completely invisible to the naked eye.

May 17 - Look to the west-northwest sky at dusk to see the slender crescent Moon, 9-percent illuminated, to the left of the brilliant planet Venus. Venus hangs at practically the same height, moderately low in the west-northwest during twilight all through the month of May.