Category Archives: Soup

Kusksu

A Maltese Spring Celebration

I had stopped updating the blog due to work commitments. Now with the social isolation taking place and more time at home it seems a good time to start playing with my food again. Also, more hands on deck for peeling ful and pizelli!

Kusksu is a hearty traditional Maltese soup that celebrates the flavours of spring. Pasta shaped like giant couscous is cooked in a simple vegetable broth with broad beans and peas. Towards the end eggs and sheep cheese are dropped in to be poached. In a break from tradition I added some Swiss Chard which needed to be used which added to the colour and the flavour.

The name and shape of the pasta seems to indicate that this dish originates from the period of Arab occupation between the 9th and 11th century. However kusksu has a different texture to couscous and its heavier body lends itself better to slow simmering. It is best to use Maltese kusksu but if unavailable the Italian Tempesta is a good substitute.

If possible use the freshest free-range eggs and unpasteurised ġbejniet. Since this is spring food go for the freshest ingredients including fresh garlic and onion if available. For people not residing in Malta the Ġbejniet can be omitted and for vegans the eggs as well. Still tastes delicious!

Serves 4 (actually finished it between two of us!)

Ingredients:

1 Onion chopped

6 Small Cloves Fresh Garlic chopped

1kg Ful peeled (Broad Beans. Frozen works as well)

500g Fresh Peas peeled (or frozen)

6 Leaves Swiss Chard chopped

1 tbs Kunserva (Tomato Puree)

1.5 L Vegetable Stock

100 g kusksu ( You can substitute Tempesta or Israeli Giant Couscous)

4 Ġbejniet (Sheep Cheeselets)

4 Free-Range Eggs

Olive Oil

S+P

Grated Parmesan optional for serving

Method:

Sweat the onion in a generous swig of olive oil on a medium low heat. When translucent add garlic, stir for a minute and add kunserva. Add ful, peas and chard. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Put in the couscous, cover and after 10 minutes stir and drop in the eggs gently. Cover for another 5 minutes, drop the ġbejniet and leave for another 5 minutes. If it looks too dry add some water and if too liquidy leave uncovered. Throughout the process check the pasta for doneness as different brands might vary in cooking time.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and grated parmesan

Mmm… Heaven!

Broccoli and Barley Broth

Broccoli and Barley Broth

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 Onions chopped

3 Carrots sliced diagonally

3 celery sticks chopped

1 head Broccoli

4 small potatoes scrubbed, cut in half

100g Barley rinsed

1 small chilli (deseeded if you don’t want it very spicy)

1 litre Water

Olive Oil

2 tsp coarse Sea Salt

1 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds

Grated Parmesan

Method

Sweat the onions, carrots and celery in a little olive oi for 5 minutes. Meanwhile cut the broccoli into small florets and set aside. Add the stalk of the broccoli, chili and the potatoes to the pot for another couple of minutes. Add the boiled water, the salt and the barley and simmer for 45 minutes making sure the barley is tender. Remove the stalks and add the florets and pumpkin seeds, simmering for another 10 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan

Winter Lentils with Sweet Potato and Courgette

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This hearty winter soup can be prepared in 20-30 minutes yet will warm you up from the inside. Let it rain!

Serves:  2                       Duration: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 Sweet   Potato

2 Marrows

1 potato

50g Red Lentils well rinsed

1 onion

1 Carrot

1 small Chili deseeded

1/2 tsp Curry Powder

1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

1 litre Chicken or Vegetable Stock

50g Cappellini Noodles broken in 3cm pieces

Method:

Gently fry the chopped onion and carrot in a knob of butter for four minutes until soft. Add the spices and fry for an additional minute to release their fragrance. Stir in potatoes and add the stock. Bring to a boil and add the marrows and the lentils.  Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Add the noodles and cook for three more minutes. Rest for another five minutes to let the flavours mingle. The noodles and lentils will absorb most of the liquid making this a thick soup that goes down very easily on a winter’s night.

Enjoy!