Better late than never – kwarezimal time

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Kwarezimal – Maltese Lenten sweets

Yesterday was one of those leisurely Saturdays that seems to go on forever. An epic lie-in with big bowls of porridge topped with blueberry jam, then a late afternoon snowy walk to sit with the papers in our local coffee shop. We even had time to catch up on a bit of TV, and watch a film. Earlier in the evening, I pottered in the kitchen, while Oliver watched Midsomer (not too sad to have missed that one…..).

Today, however, has flown by – even though we got up at a much more civilised time…. though that could be due to the looooong Passion Sunday Church service this morning. Church, a short and feeble run, a spot of speed-baking, then I felt like I blinked and it was time to march up the hill to our other Church for the wonderful Passion Play, the finale of the Telegraph Hill Festival.

Anyway, we’re now home, dinner’s in the oven, the fire’s lit and apparently the Godfather’s on tonight, so we’re onto a winner. And only two days at work, then a bit of leave before the Bank Holiday.

I cannot believe how quickly Holy Week has come round this year. Maybe it was the drama of Benedict’s abdication and the papal election, but it’s another case of blink and you miss it. I think we’ve managed to stick to fishy Fridays the whole time, but being honest most other good intentions have gone to pot. I’ll try again next year….

I like marking the seasons and religious festivals with food. Christmas food traditions abound, and mark it out as a special time, and I’ve just bought the ingredients for the Easter Figolli (more on them next week).

For Lent, I bake kwarezimal. I’m not sure I’ve ever left it as late as Palm.Sunday before, but better late than never.

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These are traditional Maltese Lenten biscuits, made with no fat and no dairy. They sound as though they should be more of a pennance than a treat, but they’re surprisingly moist, and fragrant with orange zest and spices.

You can read the recipe here from last year, but suffice it to say they are as easy as baking gets. Mix ingredients, add water, drop onto tray, bake.

It also makes far more than I expected…. 70 biscuits! I think I’ll be palming them off at work tomorrow. Though they actually keep like a dream, and in fact get softer and moister with time, so I guess there’s no hurry.

I’ll be starting the Figolli on Wednesday, the. I have a huge gap until Christmas when it comes to seasonal festive baking, which seems a little sad. If anyone has any other suggestions for foodstuffs to mark the year (Maltese bone-shaped biscuits for All Souls, anyone?) I’d love to hear them

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