All posts by Corto Maltese

About Corto Maltese

Everyone knows that food is one of the main pleasures in life, right there after sex, drugs and rock and roll. Not everybody is a food technician. Yet, it is not too difficult or expensive to make good food. I don't believe the fast-food marketing that junk tastes better than good food. It's another economic construct. They are trying to make you lazy. Empower yourself and take control of your diet. Eat well at a reasonable price. Fresh and local. If possible sustainably farmed animals. More importantly, don't waste too much time doing it. No longer than calling a takeaway. Life is beautiful.

Chicken Curry bubbling away

IMG_0028I might have given the impression from previous posts that I am a vegetarian. My passion for food does not allow these limits to my taste buds. I am, however, quite conscious of the brutality of factory farming and the health implications of too much red meat and try to balance my diet and source my meat accordingly. I am still a sucker for a nice juicy steak once in a while.

I cannot really give a precise recipe for this curry as it was improvised on the fly.

What I did basically is I browned the chicken thigh in a deep pan and set aside. In the same oil I fried an onion, a carrot and some celery with a bay leaf. When they started to brown I added some curry powder, masala powder, cumin, dried coriander leaf, one fresh chili, tomato puree and grated ginger. I put back the chicken and added water to cover three quarters of it.  Threw in one chopped marrow and one sweet pepper that I had in the fridge. I covered it and let it simmer for forty five minutes.

I used one cup of Basmati rice boiled in two cups of water with a bay leaf and simmered for ten minutes. I leave this to rest for five minutes before using.


Curries are excellent for using up ingredients which are getting close to their sell by date in the best possible way 🙂

Melange of Marrows with Quinoa

As we draw into autumn pumpkin and other members of the marrow family become more evident at the vegetable markets and greengrocers. This recipe is a take on a traditional Maltese autumn soup “Soppa tal- Qarghat” made from the different marrows; qagħra hamra (pumpkin), qagħra Tork (white pumpkin), qagħra baghli (courgettes) and qagħra twil (long marrow). Any combination may be used. Squash is fine as well but I prefer vegetables that have been grown locally as this is more sustainable.IMG_0012 White Marrow was not available at the market so I used what I found.


Pumpkin, Marrows and Long Marrows in roughly equal quantities. In all 1.2 Kg

Leek                                                                                  1

Organic Quinoa                                                            100g

Cumin Powder                                                               2 tsp

1 small chili pepper

Olive oil                                                                          2 tbsp

Vegetable Stock                                                          500 ml


Wash and chop the leek.

Tip: To remove soil and compost from leek remove the two topmost layers and quarter lengthwise leaving the root. Rinse thoroughly under running water and dry with paper towels.

leek quartered

Easily chop into 1.5 cm  lengths.   IMG_0017

Heat oil in pot and gently fry the leeks. When they start to get translucent add the cumin and the chili and fry for one minute to release the flavour. Add the washed and chunkily chopped marrows to the pot and barely cover with the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes. Add Quinoa, cover and simmer for fifteen minutes. Leave to rest for another fifteen minutes during which most of the liquid will be absorbed.IMG_0024

I served this with grilled flat bread such as flour tortillas.



I made this traditional recipe  for some very special guests. I will introduce them in good time. Ratatouille is a stew of the vegetables that are so prevalent in the Mediterranean in the summertime; aubergines, courgettes and sweet peppers, which originated in Nice and has been adopted by the Provence region. The circumstances dictated that I prepare a copious amount of the stuff, roughly enough for twelve portions but it is easy enough to calculate how much you want to prepare. Just keep in mind that you need approximately an equal amount of all the vegetables, maybe slightly less tomatoes.


The secret of a good ratatouille is to cook the vegetables separately so each will taste truly of itself.
—Joël Robuchon, The Complete Robuchon
  • Aubergines                                      1Kg
  • Italian Zucchini                              1Kg
  • Green and Coloured Peppers  1 Kg
  • Onions                                               1 Kg
  • Tomatoes                                       900 g
  • Garlic                                       one head
  • Olive Oil                                         300 Ml
  • Basil                                             a bunch
  • Salt                                                      2 tsp
  • pepper                                           1/2 tsp


Wash the vegetables and cut them into 2.5 cm cubes. Start sauteing the vegetables one by one on a high heat in a large skillet or wok. Start with the aubergines,IMG_9985

brown them in some of the oil and move them with a slotted spoon to a casserole dish or a large pot. Repeat the process with the courgettes, making sure there is enough oil as the aubergine absorbs a lot of oil. Repeat with the peppers and onions together.IMG_9992

If your skillet or wok is too small do them in batches so you can get enough heat. Once these vegetables are all in the pot add the tomatoes, peeledIMG_9993 Continue reading Ratatouille

Pesto with Cashew Nuts and Rocket

Pesto with Cashew Nuts and Rocket


  • Basil – a large bunch
  • Rocket Leaves- same amount
  • Cashew Nuts- 150g
  • Garlic- 6 cloves
  • Parmesan Cheese or Grana Padano- 3 tablespoons
  • Olive Oil- sufficient quantity to achieve the right consistency


  • Grind the nuts in a food processor and put aside
  • Process the garlic
  • Add the basil leaves (rinsed) and start adding the oil slowly till it emulsifies
  • Add rocket, nuts and cheese and blend to a creamy consistency. The cashews give it a deliciously nutty taste.

pesto Continue reading Pesto with Cashew Nuts and Rocket

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” Paul Prudhomme

The idea to start a food blog came when I discovered that my weight had gone up by 5 kg over a period of two weeks. The point is to create more awareness in myself of what I’m putting inside my body by describing and photographing my food preparations while at the same time keeping a record of my take on classical recipes and also new creations. Simplicity and frugality are the order of the day.

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” Paul Prudhomme