Thursday, July 23, 2009
Thinking back to when you I was a child, the pinnacle of summery suppers and family gatherings was always the cold juicy watermelon that was offered as dessert. Watermelons remind me of the childish embarrassment of having sticky, sweet juice trickling down all over my chin and my clothes. Then, there were the youthful seed-spitting contests with friends. Funnily enough, it was my husband who introduced me to this rude game! Choosing good watermelons can be a tricky task but once you learn the tricks you won't be bringing back home tasteless ones any more. Here, I've jotted down some hints which I gathered from my friends and from reliable vegetable sellers.
Hints to help you choose a ripe watermelon
When you go to the Green grocer to buy one you would want to try and find one that is ripe and ready to eat.
1. First of all look for shiny watermelons. Ripe watermelons will be more dull in colour, but have a shiny complexion. The watermelon should be evenly toned.
2. Look for the yellow or white spot on the watermelon. (This is where the watermelon was sitting on a ground.) Ripe watermelons will be yellow in colour, while white means it isn't yet ripe.
3. Hold the watermelon in your hands and squeeze it. Listen very closely for soft cracking inside. This means that the watermelon is ripe. Don't squeeze too hard or you'll end up squashing it for real. Another way is to knock on the outside of the rind. If you hear a hollow sound then the water melon is ready to eat, but if you hear a solid thud put it back. The fruit is over ripe and you won't be getting very good flavour from it.
3. A vegetable seller once told me that the best way to pick a watermelon is to look for all the brown veining on the rind. The more brown veins the more sweeter it is.
4. Did you know that there are female and male watermelons? I bet you didn't!Females tend to be larger, sweeter and have less seeds than males. To find out if a watermelon is male or female, look at the bottom side and check out if it's got a skirt..(joking) look for a ring that is going in the opposite direction of the other watermelons' circles. Smaller ring sizes, about 19mm, are male watermelons. Female watermelons may have larger circles.
5. Once you buy your water melon eat it within the first few days of getting it home. Everything about it is healthy, and in addition, it won't leave you feeling over stuffed if you eat too much.
And now here's a weird recipe which my mother tried out last summer. I was a little worried this would taste strange but let me tell you, we loved it! And as much as it seems a weird combination it's truly refreshing. The tartness of the blue cheese and the cool flavour of the mint just balance the sweetness of the watermelon perfectly. What's more it only has 3 ingredients!
Watermelon and Blue Cheese Salad (serves 4)
200g creamy blue cheese, crumbled
50g fresh mint, diced
1200g to 1600g watermelon, diced, (about half a large watermelon )
Combine all ingredients in a very large bowl and mix. Refrigerate until cold before serving.
Last but not least,watermelons are not only refreshingly tasty they also have tremendous health benefits. Eating watermelon is almost like taking a multivitamin tablet every morning, but with a much better taste. So keep that in mind whenever you're out buying a watermelon.
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 can of artichoke hearts
about 15 cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 large can of tuna
50g sliced green olives
one large minced clove of garlic
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Parmeggiano cheese, grated
a few rocket leaves to garnish
pinch of salt
Monday, July 20, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Traditional Maltese food is clearly marked with Mediterranean references. Italy, especially Sicily (called ‘the elder sister’), has left significant traces on Maltese food. Pasta dishes like 'ravjul' (ravioli), lasagna, 'imqarrun' (baked macaroni), with their hundreds of sauces, are all dishes of Italian influence. Since Malta is so close to Italy, pasta has always been one of the staple foods of the country.
In a large oven-proof dish put in a layer of macaroni and meat, then a layer of chicken livers and cover with the remaining macaroni. Bake at 220°C for 15 minutes. Reduce to 180 C and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
A perfectly baked 'imqarrun' is crunchy on the outside and moist inside. This dish improves with keeping. You will also find that it slices better if allowed to stand for 30 minutes after it comes out of the oven.
As you can see it's an authentic Maltese one what with the copious salt amounts and ingredients that are so high in cholesterol. No wonder many Maltese of the older generation are so plump! I usually use a healthier version of the recipe with less eggs, salt, and sometimes I omit the bacon and liver. It's definitely a less tasty macaroni but at least more healthy! If you feel like trying out this recipe it's up to you to choose whichever version you deem best.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
The turtles were brought in plastic basins and were covered with wet towels to protect them from dehydration. You can see the silhouette of one turtle in the blue basin.
The first turtle is released! Everyone awaits its arrival with trepidation.