Maltese Cooking with Mary Vassallo Volume 1
Maltese Cooking with Mary Vassallo
These recipes are based on items that are easily obtainable and are mainly what one has in the kitchen cupboards. Herbs can easily be grown in pot planters or flowers beds. As my mother maintains, "You can't beat fresh herbs to spice up your cooking".
Most of my recipes originate from Malta, and are based on those taught to myself and my sisters by our mother. Some have been varied to suit family likes and dislikes. In Malta, one had to make do with what one had or could obtain by bartering from relations, friends or neighbors.
My measuring is not precise, as again when we cook it is "a handful of this, a spoon of that, and so many cups of this". The recipes were never actually measured, but when combined, were always nourishing and enjoyed by all.
For family taste buds and requirements, do not be afraid to omit or add any ingredients or herbs, as sometimes it depends on what is available. In days gone by, fridges and ovens were never heard of. Even now in Malta, not every household has an over or stove - they make do with a cook top type of stove that mainly uses gas. Out in the country villages, dishes that need baking are taken to the bakery, and for a small fee, the baker looks after it until it's cooked. During this time you can do a bit of shopping, visit a friend or attend Mass in a nearby church. By the time Mass is over, your dish will be ready to pick up. They say it is cheaper than using their own power.
The best cooking is found in Maltese homes and villages, as Maltese women take pleasure in their cooking. As they maintain - there is nothing better than a fresh garden vegetable, a home reared rabbit, chicken, pigeon, duck or turkey, or a freshly-caught fish. Pork and beef were an occasional treat, if one was lucky enough to be given some or could afford to buy it from the butcher's. Animals you reared yourself were mostly sold or bartered with butchers, so you only got back a piece of whatever the animal was.
Generally speaking, Maltese cooking is very basic, so use this book as a guide - testing, trying and adapting as you go. Recipe quantities can be halved to make smaller amounts, and most recipes can be frozen if made in large quantities.
Eat and enjoy.
Poultry & Game
Vegetable and Snacks
Pastries, Pies, Pasta & Rice
Biscuits & Sweets
Preserving & Beverages