Lent is in full swing, the weather is warming up and it’s time to get outdoorsy. So we’ve come up with our favourite picnic snacks to titillate your taste buds without letting you stray from your lenten resolutions! The key is to keep it simple, so you can enjoy the outing without the preparation being a major palaver.
Fresh ftira with tahlita
This is the easiest picnic snack ever. Just prepare your favourite mixture at home on the day, or the day before (it gets even tastier). We love ours with fresh tomatoes, olives, capers, red onion, basil, salt, pepper, plenty of olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar. You can also add flaked tuna to the mix if you want to bulk it up. Simply pour your finished mixture into a large jar, or similar water-tight container, pack a spoon, slice some fresh ftira into triangles and Bob’s your uncle! If you’re feeling really lazy you can take a bread knife, stop off at the baker on the way out and slice on arrival at your favourite picnic spot, or buy mini ftajjar and everyone can have their own.
Traditional Maltese dips
Dips are a tasty wholesome snack you can’t go wrong with. They’re easy to whip up beforehand and you can take fresh bread, galletti, or sliced fresh raw veg with you for dipping. If you don’t feel like making your own, the major supermarkets all offer a variety of dips at their deli counters. Our favourites are Bigilla – a bean paste made with dried broad beans, garlic, olive oil and herbs; tuna – made with good quality canned tuna, onion, mayonnaise, tomato paste, and lemon; and olive – made with black olives, garlic, anchovies, capers, fresh herbs, lemon and olive oil.
Spinach and ricotta pie
Everyone loves a good homemade pie. Spinach is in season, so if you have the time to bake, what better than a gorgeous spinach and ricotta pie?! Other popular additions are peas, broad beans, anchovies, and garlic. It’s just as good cold as hot, so you can easily make this the day before to avoid any stress on the day and it will be even easier to slice up. If you’re pressed for time then take the easy way out and stop at your local pastizzi shop to pick up a selection of spinach and ricotta qassatat. Who said all picnic fare has to be healthy?!
This is a lenten biscuit made with ground almonds, cinnamon, honey, crushed pistachios and almonds, citrus zest, and ilma żahar (orange blossom water). These are quite simple to make yourself, but if baking is not your forte, you will find plenty of these available at this time of year from your local supermarket, baker, or dolceria …just look out for the ones made with pure almond filling if you want to experience this traditional treat at its best.
Fresh local strawberries
Strawberries are in season, so take full advantage of this sweet sumptuous fruit. No need for any fuss, just rinse a big pile of fresh strawberries and place in a firm tub to prevent them getting crushed on the way. You can eat au naturel, or make like the English and take along a tub of whipped cream for dunking. If you like yours super sweet, but want to avoid sugar for lent, then add honey to your cream, or take some squeezy honey along with you to add onto each strawberry before you dip!
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