Samuel Farruġia, a professional chef with a career spanning over 17 years is the founder of The Maltese Cook. Sam has travelled around the world, working in diverse locations. He has recently moved back to Malta and once again is working on an exciting new venture. He’s ready to share what he has learnt along the way as well as his take on delicious, wholesome food. The Maltese Cook is a name which represents his love for local talent, produce and creativity.

The Maltese Cook is reinventing Ftajjar to give our delicious Maltese Ftira the attention it deserves. After all, it is recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity! With such a versatile product that allows so much creativity, we have taken a playful, yet delicious new approach. We pair this with good quality toppings to go hand in hand with our traditional freshly baked Ftira sourced from a 3rd generation baker to make an amazing snack, or even a meal if you are hungry!

The Maltese Ftira is the perfect canvas for creative foodies!

Aw Ġbejna!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 a ftira

50g butter

50g plain flour

400ml whole milk

50g grated smoked cheese

Pinch of nutmeg

1tbsp onion powder

100g good quality sliced cheddar

50g thinly sliced eggplant

100g fresh ġbejna (sheep’s cheese)

A few pickled jalapeños

A couple of rosemary sprigs

Salt and pepper

Extra virgin olive oil to finish

METHOD

Gently bring 400ml whole milk to the boil in a small saucepan with the onion powder and nutmeg.
In the meantime, melt 50g butter in another saucepan, then add 50g plain flour. Stir continuously until a paste forms, this is called a roux. Continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add the milk to the roux gradually, stirring as you go, until you get a smooth sauce.

Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring continuously, until the sauce has thickened. Lastly, add the grated smoked cheese, season to taste and set aside to cool. Preheat Oven to 200°C. Now for the assembling. Once your béchamel has slightly cooled down spread a decent layer around the surface of the ftira. In this order, add the sliced cheddar, sliced eggplant, pulled apart goats’ cheese, pickled jalapeños, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.

Place in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until the top is golden in colour and the bread is crunchy in texture.

Finish off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and wash it all down with a nice glass of white wine.