Tag Archives: sweets

Erice-Craze

The primary reason why I wanted to visit Sicily, was Erice. For those who have visited, they would agree with the steffisays-sicily-erice-castle-ruins-venus-venere-castelloimportance of visiting such a place, and others are curious to know why. Erice situated on top of a mountain, is a medieval fortified town with breathtaking views. You can go for a walk in the cobbled streets, for food, shopping or to indulge in its historical importance.

When we got there, it was very difficult to take it all in – I could not believe that after so many years dreaming about it, I was there in the flesh. We spent a good hour just walking aimlessly enjoying the surroundings. Although it was still April, Erice was buzzing with tourists.

Highlights of Erice:

The views
The below pictures can speak for themselves. Since Erice is so high up, you can capture beautiful photos with the castle and the wondrous beaches all around.

Castello di Venere
Although now in ruins (which date back to the Norman Period), this castle enjoys views all around. It is built on the top-most part of the castle. The reason behind its name which translates to English as the Venus Castle, is due to the fact that at the very spot there was the temple of Venus Eryx, dedicated to the Italian love goddess; mother of Cupid.


Giardino del Balio
As the name states, this is a garden, well sized  and definitely relaxing. It is situated very close by to the castle and towers, which means it’s busy and with gorgeous views. If we had a lot of time on our hands, we would have definitely sat down on the benches and watched the world go by! Unfortunately time was of the essence since we were in Sicily for just five full days, so we had to get on with the next attraction!

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Toretta Pepoli
Built on the slopes of Mount Erice, one can find a small castle which was built in the 1800s. This property was used mainly for meditation and was later on abandoned. In July 2014, it was re-opened again after several years in restoration. One now can visit to admire the architecture and of course the views.

Tasty Sicilian Nibbles
If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, I recommend Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, for the typical Erice sweet: The Genovesi Ericine! We also enjoyed Cannoli Siciliani from there, and I can tell you, it was hard to just choose two from their vast variety!

Photos taken by myself while in Sicily. Kindly seek permission before re-using.. For more photos visit my Instagram page.

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Hobbies To Take Up As Summer Is Approaching

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The clocks have officially gone back! It’s no longer pitch-black at 6 pm. That’s right folks; spring is here. And what does that mean? Summer is just around the corner! Hurrah!

There is a still a little time, though. So how to make the most of it? Here are three hobbies to consider taking up as summer approaches.

Baking

Whether you’re slightly addicted to Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off or not, baking is a great hobby. Sure, buying all the ingredients can be quite costly at first. But actually, once you’ve built up a collection of the basics, you’ll save money on buying the products fresh. A bag of self-raising flour, for example, will be good for at least a handful of bakes.

Baking is also a great hobby for people with strict dietary requirements. It can be a real challenge to find products that are wheat-free or dairy-free. Plus, they tend to be pretty rammed with sugars and sweeteners. By making your own, you are in control of what does and doesn’t go in them. You can also make recipes just the way you like. You can make amazing brownies without pecan nuts if you don’t like them. Or make a triple chocolate cake with whipped cream in the centre; the world is your oyster. You can really let your creative juice flow.

Need some ideas? Facebook groups like Delish post different inspiring recipes every day, both for baking and cooking.

Photography

The days are getting longer, and nature is looking beautiful again. Capture the magic by taking up photography. You can focus on any genre you like, be it people, wildlife, landscape or cityscapes. Or just snap whatever takes your fancy from day to day.

Photography is one of those hobbies that can be as versatile as you like. If you like fast-paced environments, take shots of shoppers, or runners, or sunsets. Or, if you want to take it a bit steadier, go for landscape or nighttime shoots.

Don’t just use your phone either. The pixels might be high, but the quality just won’t match up. Invest in a good quality camera, and a sturdy Camera Bag to keep your purchase safe.

Getting fit

We expect way too much of ourselves when we sign up for gym memberships on New Year’s Day. Yes, the deal they’re offering is great but it is such a good price for a reason. Because hardly anybody then goes. The days are short; the nights are long and there is still loads of leftover chocolate in the cupboard…

Early spring, however, is a far more sensible time to join. Looking at summer holidays gives you some real motivation. Plus, you’ll find going to the gym after work far more appealing. Or, if you don’t want to join a gym, spring and summer weather and light lets you get fit outdoors. Go for a run in your local park. Take the dog with you. If you have one, that is. Don’t just take a random stranger’s dog…

 

Chocolate Chip Rock Buns

I will share with you my winner chocolate rock buns recipe. Now, you may think that this recipe is a bit weird, in the sense that it has ground almonds in it, but I thought this adds to both the texture and the taste of the rock buns. When I was young I used to eliminate this and replace it with flour, but boy was I missing out.

So, these are the ingredients you will need:

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 90 g butter or margarine
  • 90 g sugar
  • 90 g chocolate bits *
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 table spoon of baking powder

*this can be changed to raisins or candied peels or any other fruit you might want to have in your cookies

And this is the magic, also known as the method to make these gorgeous cookies:

  1. Before you start making the dough, make sure you start heating up the oven up to 180 degrees celsius. When making sweets, it’s of utmost important that the oven has reached the desired warmth otherwise it won’t cook the cakes properly.
  2. Sieve the flour and add the salt, sugar and the ground almonds. Make sure this is mixed thoroughly before you add in the butter or margarine. Stir this first using a wooden spoon and then using the ‘rubbing in’ method.
  3. At this moment add the chocolate bits and once this is mixed thoroughly, make a hole and add the beaten eggs. Keep stirring until you get a stiff ‘not so sticky’ mixture.
  4. Split the mixture into buns and place them on your baking tray. Make sure the buns look ‘rough’ and you can achieve this by using a fork to rough in it up.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until they are light golden. Cool the rock buns on a wire wrack. You can add more sugar for extra sparkle but I usually skip this.

And the outcome should be something like this:

rockbuns

I made 8 buns with these measurements; they were around 10cm each, in diameter.

3 Ingredients Brownie Cake

Tried and tested; All you need is 2 eggs, 350g nutella and 150g flour. Mix them together until it forms a rather sticky dough. Place in a dish, and put in a preheated oven, and cook at 160 degrees Celsius. It took mine 25mins to be fully cooked, but always use a toothpick to check if the cake is ready. As soon as toothpick comes out of the cake clean, switch the oven off and wait for the brownie to cool down slightly before eating it.

Below, you can find a photo of the end result. I have added almonds and chocolate chips on top of my cake:

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Bon Apetit!

Maltese Christmas Log

The below is one of my favourite dessert recipes which are quite traditional in Malta during Christmas times. However, I have made this randomly during the year too; Because I am cool like that.
Continue reading Maltese Christmas Log