IMG_20150724_175713This summer Costa Coffee launched their latest innovation; Shaken Iced Coffee, a trend gaining momentum in London, the birthplace of Costa, and one that is set to take the world by storm. I was lucky enough to be invited to the official launch last Friday 24th of July, when the Costa teamed up with the President of the Bartender’s Guild, Rodney Pisani at an event held at Costa Coffee at the Embassy Shopping Complex. Rodney explained to all of us why ice and coffee are the perfect combination. He explained the similarities that exist between shaking iced coffee and shaking cocktails, demonstrating how it enhances the coffee’s rich, smooth flavour while adding a new dimension to the drinking experience.

Now – I’m a coffee devotee and am constantly on the look-out for a great coffee. When it comes to iced-coffee, finding a good one is difficult in my opinion. They tend to taste like watered-down coffee with ice.. but not the one at Costa. I was thoroughly pleased. Not too sweet or icy or milky. Cooled me down following a short hike from the car to their outlet. Yes, finally an iced coffee that works!
Rodney said, “These iced coffees are some of the best I’ve ever tasted…the recipes and methods work really well to ensure consistency of taste and texture.” Yep. And here he is in action… Making iced coffee and iced cappuccino during the demonstration.
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Just like the range of hot coffees, these shaken coffees are made using Costa’s unique Mocha Italia blend of slow-roasted beans, giving people the option of enjoying their usual daily coffee fix shaken ice cold, the perfect refreshment for a hot summer’s day. Rachelle Tabone, Marketing Manager of Costa Coffee said, “They are the best for fuelling and cooling the walk to work or simply relaxing”.

Little did we know that we had been assigned teams so that we’d be asked to make one of these ourselves (note the layers). Well, we did make one, with the obvious messy result – but the others must have been worse because Rodney chose ours as the winning team YAY! Well, practice makes perfect. I might try that again, but in the meantime there’s always Costa.

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Shaken iced coffees are available at all Costa Coffee outlets now in five locations around the island including Malta International Airport, The Point; Sliema, The Embassy; Valletta, Bay Street & Balzan.


This Wednesday 29th July at 8pm Palazzo Pereira in Valletta I will be reading some new poems at an event which utilizes a multi-disciplinary method to explore the Waltz. I’ve been discussing different aspects of the history of the Waltz, its reputation and different stages throughout the past centuries with the artistic director of Cleave [dance-theatre] Brandon Shaw.

I was invited to attend some rehearsals, during which I could get more a feel of what’s going on. In the run up to an evening of Waltz-related events, Cleave [dance-theatre] and other artists involved (watch out for Gisele Grima on piano!) will be presenting a ‘work in the works’ evening in Valletta that is free of charge.

Papa’s Waltz from https://poemshape.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/scansion-papas-waltz1.jpg


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This recipe took a bit of time to make, but in my opinion the result is worth the effort. In addition, the stuffed onions reheat well and they can be used at BBQs too, just cook the second stage on the BBQ with the onion wrapped in foil. Make a few while you’re at it! The following amounts make 2 very large onions but with leftovers for a little wonderful treat too i.e. you could probably fill 4 large onions in reality, or 6 small ones.

You will need:

– either one large or 2 small-medium white onions

– 250 grams minced beef

– 2 teaspoons cumin

– 2 cloves of garlic

– 1 cup beef broth (1/4 cube in water)

– 1/2 cup grated cheese e.g. Parmesan / Grana

– 1 egg

How to make it:

First off you will need to peel and prepare your onions. Remove all inedible skin and then flatten at both ends, ideally using medium to large onions.

Set some water to boil and depending on the size of the onion you need to cook sufficiently to be able to remove some of the middle layers without letting the outer layers come apart. When using very large onions, I needed to boil them for 30 minutes until they were soft enough. Medium onions will need about 15 minutes. You can test their readiness by inserting a knife into the centre, when they are ready for the next stage, the flesh will give easily.

Scoop out of the water and let them cool for ten minutes before attempting to remove the inner layers with a spoon, leaving about 3 layers on the outside and they should look something like this:

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Whilst your onion is cooling down, set your oven to pre-heat to 180 degrees C.

Once you scoop out the inner layers, chop these up and transfer them to a heated pan with a dollop of olive oil. You might not want to use all the onion pieces if you had very large onions to start off with. Add the garlic and meat and cook until all the meat has browned.

Turn off the heat and while your mixture is still in the pan, add half the cheese and the egg and mix thoroughly.

Place the onions in an oven dish and stuff the insides with your mixture to the very top. Cover the tops with the remaining cheese. Pour your stock around the onions and place in the oven for 30 minutes, making sure to pour some stock from the dish itself over the top of the onions (you can do this with a teaspoon, be careful it will be very hot!) half way through.

While the oven was hot, I decided to cook an aubergine too. I wrapped this in foil and let it cook for 30 minutes. Then I scooped out the insides after letting it cool for a few minutes. I mixed the insides of the aubergine with the remaining meat mixture and then topped this up with leftover onion pieces and some cumin and olive oil. Then I cooked this for a further 30 minutes. Delicious!

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