Tag: tartine

Orange Blossom Ricotta and Honey Kumquat Tartine with Pistachios

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

A handful of little kumquats have been lying on the window sill for days challenging my kitchen creativity. They were the meager leftovers from my bean and pea salad and I didn’t really feel too inspired to use them. Although I really like these concentrated citrus fruits in combination with vegetables and dairy products, I’m not too fond of eating them on their own, so I had to come up with an idea which would fit their biting tanginess.

I thought of Malta, one of my biggest inspirations and answer to all sorts of open questions in my life. We just booked our flights for this summer, so it’s been on mind since I clicked the confirmation button on the booking page. All that Mediterranean food, our family, friends, snorkeling, the sun and blue sky above my head every day, just the thought of it makes me so happy! And we’ll have a very special guest over for a few days this summer which makes me even happier (and more excited if that’s even possible): Holly, my editor, will visit us from New York to learn more about the country and culture that I praise and write about so much. I’m as excited as a child to show her around, to introduce her to my perfect spots for snorkeling and food, our favourite beach bar for a glass of Ricard in the sunset, my Maltese mama’s and grannie’s kitchens in Msida. I want to walk though the old streets of Valletta and Mdina with her and show her where to enjoy the best pastizzi, qassatat and Spaghetti Rizzi (sea urchin pasta), so much that was once new to me many years ago and opened the door to a mentality that’s so different to mine yet filled my life with so much fun and love!

When I think of Malta, ricotta comes to mind, honey and orange blossom water, I just had to add my kumquats and a few pistachios (unsalted!) and all of the sudden I could see a new sandwich creation before my eyes. I whisked the dairy product with some honey, orange juice and blossom water and spread this sweet dip voluptuously on a slice of fluffy ciabatta bread. The citrus fruit came next, I caramelized the kumquats in honey to soften and sweeten their skin which made them a little sticky and juicy. The crunchy pistachios finished it off and gave this Mediterranean combination an oriental touch. It was as bright as the sunset in Malta and tasted wonderfully sweet and sour!

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

Orange Blossom Ricotta and Honey Kumquat Tartine with Pistachios

For 4 small tartines you need

ciabatta bread, 4 slices
fresh ricotta 250g / 9oz
quality orange blossom water (preferably organic) 1 teaspoon
liquid honey 1-2 teaspoons plus 3 heaped teaspoons for the kumquats
freshly squeezed orange juice 2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons for the kumquats
kumquats, cut in half (lengthwise), 12
pistachios peeled and unsalted, roughly chopped, a small handful

Whisk the ricotta with orange blossom water, 1-2 teaspoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of orange juice, season to taste.

Heat 3 heaped teaspoons of honey in a heavy pan, add the kumquats and 2 tablespoons of orange juice and cook for about 2 minutes on high temperature or until the citrus fruits start to soften.

Spread the ricotta dip on the bread, lay the kumquats on top and sprinkle with the juices from the pan and the pistachios. Enjoy!

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

 

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

 

Orange Blossom Water Ricotta, Honey Kumquat and Pistachio Sandwich

 

orangeblossomricottakumquatpistachiotartine7

Lemon Goat Cheese Tartine with Sango Radish Sprouts

Lemon Goat Cheese Tartine with Sango Radish Sprouts

Sango radish sprouts! Their deep purple caught my attention and was the initial inspiration for my sandwich, tartine in this case as it’s made with a single slice of bread. The colour is mesmerizing, the shades change between a dark violet, almost black, a vibrant green and a dull brown. At home, when I looked at the box with the spouts on my table, the fragile plant reminded me of sea anemones, glowing and a bit unreal. The first bite was more familiar than their look, they taste a bit like pepper cress, spicy and fresh.

A dip just as fresh as the sprouts was my idea for this tartine, in white to achieve a strong contrast to the purple (I couldn’t resist to focus on the look of this week’s sandwich as well). I’m very much into goat milk products at the moment, soft cheese, hard cheese, cream cheese and yoghurt, the flavour that it adds is strong but never overpowering. This time I went for a light yoghurt and stirred in some cream cheese and mascarpone to give it more texture and creaminess. I bought a rustic baguette which is more juicy and tasty than the normal one, it’s almost oily on the inside.

For my dip I whisked 125g / 4.5 ounces of goat milk yoghurt with 1 1/2 tablespoons of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of mascarpone. To add a bit of tanginess I mixed in 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and seasoned the creamy dip with salt and pepper to taste. I spread it on 8 slices of baguette and sprinkled the tartines with a handful of Sango radish sprouts ( you could also use pepper or water cress) and a little more lemon zest.

Lemon Goat Cheese Tartine with Sango Radish Sprouts

 

Lemon Goat Cheese Tartine with Sango Radish Sprouts

 

Lemon Goat Cheese Tartine with Sango Radish Sprouts

 

Lemon Goat Cheese Tartine with Sango Radish Sprouts

Roast Garlic and Gruyère Sandwich

Roast Garlic + Cheese Sandwich

Garlic roasted in its skin is one of these things I can never have (or make) enough of. No matter how many of these little cloves I throw into the hot oven, I always feel like I could have made more. They cook in their delicate peel like in a little parchment pouch, steaming, softening and unfolding all of their wonderful flavours. It tastes less spicy than raw garlic but yet so aromatic, almost sweet and the texture is smooth, a bit oily. It’s a great spread on bread!

Garlic is considered a natural antibiotic which has lots of positive effects on the body. It strengthens the immune system, stops free radicals and slows down the aging process. A tiny bulb that does a lot of good for our body! I strongly believe in the healing and strengthening powers of natural and good quality food. This is one of the reasons why I buy organic food as much as possible. I want natural food which is kept natural, no GMOs, no pesticides, food attuned to the ecological system and not against it. A few years ago I started to drink organic green tea with freshly squeezed lemon juice every morning, since then I haven’t had a cold or become sick!

There must be something in garlic that my body loves and when it comes to roast garlic I feel like I could eat it with a spoon, in strong doses like in this sandwich made with 14 cloves of garlic for just 2 buns! I baked medium sized cloves of garlic in their skin in a 210°C / 410°F hot oven for about 12 minutes until golden and soft (you can cover them with aluminum foil if they start to get too dark). They were so soft that I could mash them with a fork, I just added some salt and spread the paste on the buns. I put a couple slices of Swiss Gruyère cheese on top (120g / 4.5 ounces for 4 halfs) and let them melt under the grill for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. I finished my sandwich off with crushed black pepper and some watercress sprinkled on top.

An oily and dense Ciabatta bread would have been good too but when I saw the Swiss Buns at the bakery which have a similar texture to the Italian bread I thought they would match the Gruyère cheese perfectly, it became a delicious and healthy Swiss sandwich!

Roast Garlic + Cheese Sandwich

 

Roast Garlic + Cheese Sandwich

 

Roast Garlic + Cheese Sandwich

 

Roast Garlic + Cheese Sandwich