Soppa ta’ l-armla (widow’s soup) is a traditional Maltese vegetable soup.  It will take a couple of hours to make, however it is very filling and will keep for a few days (if there are any leftovers).   You will need:

1 large onion

half a dozen zucchini

2 large carrots

mushrooms

a handful of chopped parsley

1 can of beans

1 can tomato pulp

2 tablespoons tomato concentrate

sugar

You may also use other vegetables in season.   Typically this soup will also have cauliflower, turnip and celery –  however we left them out this time. As you will see it is very similar to minestra (vegetable soup) but with the addition of eggs and goat’s cheese or ricotta at the end – thus making it a well-rounded meal.

Start by chopping up all the vegetables. There is no need for them to be finely chopped.

Now fry the onions. You can add some stock, white wine or just plain water to keep them from drying out too much.   You can also add a tablespoon or two of curry powder.

Start adding the vegetables, starting with the ones that need the longest cooking time.   Add stock/water if the liquid in the pot starts to dry out.   Finally, add the tomato pulp, tomato concentrate and sugar.

Cover the pan and lower the heat. Stir occasionally and leave to simmer for about 2 hours.

Now for the best part: About 15 minutes before serving, place a Gbejna (fresh cheeselet made from goat’s milk) in the soup. Then make a hollow amongst the vegetables with the back of a spoon, and carefully break an egg into this. Make one egg and one cheeselet per person.   Cover the pot and leave to simmer. Do not stir the soup as this will break the egg.  Once the egg is cooked through, serve the portions of soup, egg and cheese.

If you have leftovers, leave them in the pot.  Warm up the soup and repeat the egg and cheese procedure again.  This really is one of those dishes that warms you through and puts a smile on your face, even if it’s a cold, gloomy, rainy day!


This is one of the recipes most of us are familiar with. Marrows filled with meat or ricotta were part of our childhood; sometimes served in a broth. They are also served cold in some households. In either case, easy to make and truly delicious and heart-warming. We made the ones filled with meat, had some leftover filling which we used to stuff mushrooms with and when we had more leftover filling we cooked it and ate it alone. One of our best dishes yet..

You will need:

Fresh stiff marrows/courgettes

400 g minced beef

fresh parsley

Mushrooms, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 eggs

Cheddar, grated

Ground pepper to taste

You will need to choose rounded marrows – one stuffed marrow (i.e. two halves) will be enough for one person.

Scoop out the inside carefully (try not to pierce the outer ‘shell’) and set that aside. Do not throw the inside of the marrow out!

You will need to mash this – to make things easier cook it in the microwave for a few minutes, draining the water that comes out if necessary. Mash it up well with a potato masher or fork.

Now brown the onion in the pan and cook your minced meat. Add a bunch of fresh parsley.

While this cooks preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Grate your cheese finely into a bowl. The amount you use depends on how cheesy you prefer the result to be, so feel free to use as much or as little as you like.

Mix your cooked meat with the mushrooms, cheese and the insides of the marrow.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add to the mixture. Stir well.

Place your marrow halves on a baking tray and using a tablespoon stuff them with the filling.

Place them in the oven for about 40 minutes. You may need to lower the temperature if the marrows start browning at the edges before the inside is cooked well.

These are the mushrooms we also stuffed in the mean time. These took about 15 or so minutes to cook.


For the filling you will need:

  • zest from two oranges (or 1 orange and 1 lemon/tangerine).
  • 454g of treacle
  • 1/2 teaspoon aniseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 350ml water
  • 150g semolina

Heat the water and zest in a pan.   As the water nears boiling point, start to pour in the treacle slowly, stirring constantly.   Add the cloves and aniseed and keep heating and stirring.

Once the treacle begins to boil, remove the pan from the heat.  Now slowly add the semolina, stirring to avoid  any lumps.   Return to the heat once the semolina is mixed in evenly.  Stir constantly and the mixture will begin to thicken.

After plenty of elbow grease, the mixture will be thick enough to hold its own shape.  At this point, take the pot off the heat and leave to cool.

For the pastry you will need:

  • 400g flour
  • 100g semolina
  • about 200ml orange/lemon/tangerine juice
  • 1/2 a pack of butter

Combine the flour and semolina with the chopped up butter. Work the butter in until you’ve broken it down into what looks like breadcrumbs. Slowly add the juice and mix by hand.

Look! No hands…

Knead and fold thoroughly until you get a ball of soft dough.  Once the pastry is done you need to let it sit for a while.

Roll out the dough into a 50cm square.  Then grab the bottom edge and roll up the pastry into a rolled up pastry thing.  Cut off a lump of pastry about the size of your fist and roll this out again.   Slit across the middle to get pastry for two honey rings.

Now spoon some of the filling onto the pastry. Leave at least 2cm of pastry all around the filling.   Wet the edges of the pastry and roll up.  Keep rolling and applying pressure from the centre outwards.   This will even out the mixture and stretch the honey ring.

Twist round and join the ends to make a ring.    Sprinkle some semolina on a baking tray and place the ring on the tray.   Using a sharp knife, make small incisions in the pastry.

Bake  for about 15-20 minutes at 220 degrees or until golden brown.

Leave to cool, as the filling will be very hot.  Break open and enjoy!