World Figolli Day 2012

By Ms.Gourmet on March 9, 2012 12:16 PM
Last year I came up with a hair brain idea to host World Figolli Day ©. One year on, and it's proved to be less hair-brained. Thanks to its huge success in 2011, it seems to be turning into a regular calendar event! Hence, we're running World Figolli Day © again this year and the event is open to everyone!

The idea behind World Figolli Day © is that you turn off your iPhone and shut down your MacBook and then head into the kitchen with your kids, nieces, nephews, nanna and nunnu and have a bonding session with some dough and hopefully pass on a few Maltese culinary traditions whilst your at it.

The 'day' is basically a virtual hang-out of figolli makers worldwide but this year we have decided to do things a little differently. As well as the virtual event  we also intend to assemble a physical gathering at the Maltese Community Centre in Melbourne on Saturday the 24th of March. It's a ticketed event and numbers are limited, so it's a case of first in best dressed. If your interested in coming please RSVP here.

If you are a blogger please feel free to blog about your figolli making efforts as we intend to do a round up once the virtual competition is over.
Remember to take photos and or video of your completed creations and then upload your images to the World Figolli Day © flickr group. We will then pin your glorious creations to the World Figolli Day © pintrest board.

Then, come Easter Monday Shane Delia will help me judge the best Maltese and best Australian based figolla. The winners will receive a signed copy of Shane's latest book Maha.


Maussies - Best of Both Worlds

By Ms.Gourmet on October 6, 2011 10:21 PM

Yes, I'm still here, just trying to navigate my way through the second week of school holidays here in Melbourne with two energetic kids and some frustratingly, temperamental weather. Anyway, I just wanted to share this great video that manages to capture some of the more entertaining highlights from the inaugural Maussies Tan-Nanna Helu Manna Cook Off.



Guza's Table

By Ms.Gourmet on September 22, 2011 11:39 PM
Last Sunday I had the great honour of being asked to judge at the inaugural Maussies Tan-Nanna Helu Manna Cook Off. For those of you who are unaware, Maussies is an organization that acknowledges and celebrates the best of both worlds. Hence the Maussies Cook Off was a feast of Maltese culture and cuisine here in Melbourne, Australia.

Ten teams consisting of three amateur, home cooks faced the daunting task of having their dishes critiqued by Maltese Consul General Charles Mifsud, Dean Delia of Maha, Anton Camilleri and myself in the hope of winning the title of best Maussie (Maltese-Australian) Cook for 2011. As if that was not challenging in itself, these home cooks had to then provide a three-course lunch for a very hungry crowd of 200 Maltese.

judges.jpgEach team consisted of three inter-generational family members, for instance, Nanna, daughter and granddaughter or Nanna, Aunty and niece or in some instances Nunnu, son and grandson. Needless to say the William Angliss kitchen here in Melbourne was taken over last Sunday by a handful of colourful and talented Maltese and Gozitan born nannas.

Sandra Mooney, one of the founding members of Maussies was the brainchild behind this amazing event. Her sheer passion, determination and driving force is the reason why this event was such a resounding success. Every person who attended last Sunday's event left feeling completely satisfied by the ħobż biz zeit, braġjoli, minestra, barbuljata, ravjul Malti, kannol ta' l-lrkotta and Guza's outstanding imqaret. Yet, what was even more satisfying was the wonderful sense of national pride that is beginning to emerge amongst second and third generation Maltese living here in Australia.


Since last Sunday's event I have received countess emails and facebook messages from people who participated or attended the Maussies Tan-Nanna Helu Manna Cook Off. Gathering from the overwhelmingly positive response, this will no doubt be, the first of many similar events.


In and amongst all the post euphoria I managed to ask Marija Cilia from the winning team Guza's Table to share with you a bit about her late mama Guza and the profound influence her cooking had on the life of her family. I'll leave you with Marija Cilia's heart-warming tribute to her late mama and her winning imqaret recipe.


Belgian Chocolate Pots

By Ms.Gourmet on July 22, 2011 8:45 PM
As a mama who prepares three square meals a day for two highly opinionated, discerning food critics I find that I have to think on my feet and resort to imagination and inventiveness, otherwise the slightest hint of greenery or legume can trigger off a chain reaction that makes Chernobyl (I kid you not) seem trivial.

I don't know about you, but I just don't have the time or the inclination to pander to the whims of a six and ten year old each and every mealtime. Consequently, one of the ways I have attempted to make my life easier is to employ the use of exotic and elaborate food titles, whilst limiting details, such as ingredients, strictly to a need to know basis. If the ten year old insists on trying to single out ingredients, I find that feigning ignorance or appearing distracted works equally well.

I generally manage to get the little people to try and eat new things by using alluring titles. For instance why call it a lamb stew, when you can call it a spiced Moroccan lamb tagine. An everyday vegetable soup is suddenly elevated to minestrone with herbed polpette and chocolate gelato becomes Gelato di Cioccolato del Cipriani. Even those simple, last minute ingredients such as flour, sugar and eggs can get slapdashed together as a Spanish Peach Clafoutis.

I've also found that this tactic works brilliantly with adults, especially when you're having an impromptu lunch or last minute dinner party and time is not on your side. The quick and easy recipe below is simply a lush, velvety, dark chocolate custard that has been resized and rebranded as Belgian Chocolate Pots. Hence, if your wanting to make these chocolate pots a little more adult, then try adding a splash of Frangelico or Grand Marnier to the mix.



Oranges de Table

By Ms.Gourmet on July 17, 2011 8:34 PM



Seacombing at Manly

By Ms.Gourmet on July 10, 2011 6:40 PM
School holdings here in Melbourne, cold, wet, winter school holidays I might add. So when Stephen suggested we tag along with him for a couple of days while he worked out of the Sydney office, how could we refuse.

Yes the sun shined everyday - simply glorious!



Golden brown texture like sun

By Ms.Gourmet on June 1, 2011 8:27 PM
We promised the kids we'd take them to Daylesford to see the autumn leaves and walk along the lake.

runninginforest.jpgThe trees were magnificent, shades of golden brown and brilliant crimson, we were not disappointed.

autumntree.jpgHad we waited another weekend we would have been hugely disappointed as that gorgeous old tree would have been dormant and bare.


Chewy Cinnamon Cookies

By Ms.Gourmet on May 26, 2011 7:15 PM
We've lived in our old Victorian home without event for over a decade and have never experienced leaks or water damage, until last year. So, rather than continue to leave things to chance, silicon and no more gaps we decided that we needed to attend to a few minor repairs before winter sets in and the heavy rain begins to descend upon us.

What we initially thought was going to be a 10 day straightforward process, turned into a twenty-one consecutive day slog, with a few surprises thrown into the mix for good measure, culminating with me up on a ladder for 17 hours on Mothers days! Easter was a blur, World Figolli Day a challenge and Dante's 10th birthday came and went as we continued to live and breathe in plaster dust and paint fumes.

I'm pleased to report that we are now 'watertight' and that the hardest part of our renovation is now behind us. The lounge room is no longer ensconced in the kitchen and we are all restored to our designated bedrooms of a nigh time and family meals and weekend baking have once again become the norm.

Although the kids proved quite resilient throughout the whole renovating ordeal, Lucia greatly missed walking into the house to the comforting aroma of roast chicken or freshly baked cookies. So last Sunday, while it was raining once again, we spent the afternoon baking these quick and easy chewy cinnamon biscuits, which we then enjoyed with a strong cup of tea.


Swallow before you speak & use your inside voice!

By Ms.Gourmet on May 18, 2011 2:08 PM
One of the most frustrating things about being a mother is the repetitious sound of my own voice. As I bellow each day to the kids to 'eat your breakfast' or 'don't tease your sister' or 'chew with your mouth closed' 'or 'eat your broccoli' I can't help feeling that I'm trapped alongside Bill Murray in a scene from Groundhog Day.

The other day I unintentionally stumbled across this vintage find, from Barn Owl Primitives and I couldn't help but roar with laughter as I felt the years of frustration begin to melt away.

Needless to say I have one of these clever little signs arriving in the mail any minute now!



World Figolli Day 2011 Roundup and Winners!

By Ms.Gourmet on May 14, 2011 10:47 PM
I'd like to apologise for the delay in announcing our World Figolli Day winners for 2011. When I first introduced World Figolli Day back in March I seriously had no idea that the idea would take off the way it did. Your enthusiasm, passion and zeal took me by surprise and then completely blew me away! Hence, as the event gained momentum and more and more people began to jump on board the World Figolli Day bandwagon, the overwhelming demand from participants resulted in us deciding to extend the event for another week.

My initial intention was to encourage families into the kitchen in the hope that this Maltese tradition would be passed down to the next generation of Maltese. Yet as figolli fever began to sweep across the globe we started to see people making figolli not only in Malta and Australia, but also in America, Italy, France and as far as India. So, before I launch into announcing this years winners I'd like to share with you some of the amazing figolli that were made around the world in 2011.

My dear friend Denise from San Francisco who runs the popular food blog Chez Us decided to join in the fun and here are some of her stunningly bright and gorgeous figolli.



My Tiny Chef turns Six

By Ms.Gourmet on April 5, 2011 10:31 PM

On Saturday our baby girl turned six, yes you heard correctly, I said S-I-X!

This year Lucia wanted a cooking party. Ho, hum I wonder where that idea came from? Since we're in the process of renovating our old Victorian terrace which currently looks like a garage sale in a Middle Eastern war zone, I decided that it was probably best that we host her little cooking soiree at The Tiny Chef.

As you can see the tiny chefs had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed mixing, stirring, rolling, baking, icing, decorating, eating, dancing and then some.

Hence, if you're at a loss as to what to do for your child's next birthday, then may I suggest you contact The Tiny Chef? The staff are friendly and professional and the space is both efficient and impressive. Also, their understanding and ability to cater to the needs of children with allergies is commendable.

dante_cupcakes.jpgBaby girl, if you happen to stumble across mama's blog in the years to come and find this post, know that as each day passes I marvel at all that you are. Your whimsical manner, depth of compassion, your contagious laughter and joyous spirit has changed our lives. You have given great meaning to life's journey and because of you I am a better person.


Oh and on a completely separate note here's the link to that interview I did with SBS radio yesterday.

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