Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The "30 minute Mini Cafe" experience @ Patches

Just a quick blog to let you know that Handz by Patz is presenting the "30 minute Mini Cafe" experience, next Sunday 1st of May at the Patches Market. Join us for a cuppa and a selection of mouth watering delights.

Click here for more info!

Thanks :)
Patz ◦

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tiny figolla bites... with recipe

Anyone taking a look at my hands might think I've been dipping my fingers in paint of something of the sort... but all I've been doing is baking and decorating "Figolli"

Nice rows of "figures" ready to be popped into the oven

"Figolli" are a traditional Maltese pastry eaten at Easter time... apparently the name come from a corruption of the word figure (or figuri in old Italian) and usually in the shape of a lamb or something of the sort. Figolli are usually also large... about 7 to 10 inches in lenght (or width, depending on the shape :p )

So what's different about my figolli? Well they're small... tiny actually. Not more than 1 inch across. One bite and they're gone!

I made them by preparing two pieces of dough, on top of the other, separated by the almond filling in the middle, then used cookie cutters to cut out around 250 small figolli.

It did take some time... and patience... but the upside was that I had loads and loads of off cuts, which I baked seperately and we enjoyed even before the "pretty ones" were iced. YUMM!

I packed the figolli in packs of 3, a little ribbon and a home made tag and star.. and off they go, my little ones, on their own into the outside world.

The recipe I used for these figolli was given to me by one of my teachers, Mrs. Nathalie Barbara. I have to say I was not disappointed with the results. I particularly liked the dough, which resulted in a softer figolla than usual.

I made the dough by hand, and it was easy. I love rubbing the flour and the butter together... the smell reminds me of happiness. Maybe it's because it reminds me of my mother, making figolli, when I was a kid... and how happy and excited we were to eat these goodies.

Recipe is below. Let me know if you make it and what results you get.

In the mean time, Happy Easter to all!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Strawberry festival & a recipe for a chocolate cake with strawberries!

Last week was a hard week... and on friday I was at school till 1:30am, whilst I woke up at 5:30am on Saturday morning, to bake goodies for the evening's "Cuisine, Cultural & Artisan Festival", which was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Brownies & Kwarezimal at my stall

Despite the interesting exhibition and the varied amount of stalls displaying their wares, attendance to the event was very sparse, which was also positive, because it gave me time to speak to some very interesting people. Sales weren't too bad either. It seems that wherever I am, the brownies will be grabbed up immediately. So were the kwarezimal. Most of the pudina was sold to my family and friends who came over en masse and spent the evening chatting around my stall. Some locals bought some of the pudina too, and said they liked it. (They might have been trying to be polite though... :p) On Saturday night I fell asleep much before my head hit the pillow!

My version of the traditional Pudina (bread pudding)

So it was with great effort that I woke up early on Sunday morning, in order to beat the traffic and the crowds attending the "Festa Frawli" (Strawberry Festival). I made it a point to go, because I had heard good things about it, on previous years.

Festa Frawli: Waffles with strawberries and ice cream

But oh! What a disappointment! The stalls were few, the traffic was terrible, even at 10:00am and there was only a single point from where you could buy fresh strawberries! 
Festa Frawli: Mqaret with strawberry sorbet

Festa Frawli: Strawberry lolipops

It wasn't all bad... the strawberries I managed to buy from there were sweet and tasty, the goodies prepared with the strawberries looked nice, and the onee I tasted were also good. There were really beautiful displays of strawberries and flowers and some interesting, cultural entertainment. 

Festa Frawli: Strawberry and flower displays

Unfortunately, the small bottle of "imbid tal-frawli", a strawberry liquor of sorts, I bought for €4.50 from one of the stalls, wasn't too good. 2 sips of it (the second sip was to confirm that it was complete and utter rubbish) gave me a bad case of heartburn and the rest of the bottle went down the drain. All in all I'm not sure the whole trip was worth it at all!

Festa Frawli: Entertainers in traditional maltese dresses

Festa Frawli: Entertainers holding traditional instruments

Apparently there were other things going on in the area, other than the stalls, but I did not see any signs anywhere so we must have missed all of them!

Talking about strawberries, here's the recipe for last week's pictured chocolate cake with fresh strawberries. It was a huge hit and altough I baked it at 7:00pm, not a crumb remained for the next day! So I guess it's worth a try. Recipe adapted from Larousse Gastronomique.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cakes I baked this weekend

Just a quick post today, to share with you 2 cakes I made this weekend. The first one was for a twins Christening party and the second one was for welcoming back C. who was away on work for the last 2 months or so.

Both cakes have a chocolate base (click here for recipe) with a chocolate frosting centre. The chocolate frosting was especially lip licking good! The twins cake had a layer of rasberry jam whilst I put fresh strawberries in the plain chocolate cake.

 Spent the whole day baking and decorating... and absolutely loved every minute of it :-D

This week is an especially busy week. Apart from working at the ITS restaurant, in the bar area, during a theme night next Friday evening, I will also be participating in a Cuisine, Culture & Artisan festival on Saturday evening... so I will be baking all day. Bring it on!!