Malta, With 3 times more tourists than inhabitants it is a great example of a mass tourism spot. Malta is the ultimate mediterranean holiday in Europe: sun, beaches and cheap liquor. Malta has a really rich history, and the reason for that is mainly due to it’s strategic placement in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. In the past 7000 years Malta has been a part of many empires and conquered a lot; The Romans, The Arabs, The Knights of St. John, The French, and The British. They all left their mark on the tiny island. The capital of Malta is Valetta a beautiful city that is on the Unesco list and for good reason. On less than 1 km² there are over 300 historical monuments. The most important one is st. Johns Co-Cathedral built by the Knights of St. John, they ruled the island in the 16th century. The Knights of St. John were extremely rich and lived their lives to serve God. The cathedral is covered in gold and it’s all real, none of it paint.
To discover the rest of the island you take the touristy bus ofcourse, but you can also go your own way and hop on one of the local busses. All the public transport busses on the island were imported from Great Britain in 1955.
Malta is also of the best diving spots in Europe. The water is so clear that in some places you can see 30 meters deep, the reefs are beautiful and there a few shipwrecks at the bottom of the see when on a diving tour.
Things you didn’t know about Malta:
- During World War I, Malta was also known as the Nurse of the Mediterranean because a large number of wounded soldiers were accommodated on the island.
- Malta is devoid of forests and rivers. Yes, you would not find any of these across its seven islands. Malta is mainly made up of limestone, and there are no hills in the country that are higher than 300 meters.
- You might be surprised to learn that there are more Maltese people in Melbourne, Australia then there are in Malta.
A perfect little handpie to bring for a picknick (i took them to the beach the next day) . Of course you can also eat them immediately. Yummy and delicious, if you leave out the lardons you can make it a vegetarian dish. Please do add a little extra salt if you leave out the bacon.
- small packet of lardons or pancetta (speck or other flavoursome cured ham)four good
- handfuls of mushrooms of choice, cleaned and sliced
- black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- rosemary sprigs – chopped finely to add to the mix
- knob of butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- anchovy fillets (optional and according to taste)
- 200g shortcrust pastry – ready made
- grated cheese (not traditional but damn tasty)
- sesame seeds
- Crisp up lardons over a medium-high heat in a heavy-based frying pan or wok. Remove the lardons, then add a knob of butter (and some olive oil, if needed) before tossing in the sliced mushroom, anchovies, garlic, chopped rosemary.
- Turn heat down to medium. Cook mushroom til the juices run and the mix dries out but make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom, so toss occasionally. Add the black peppe. Remove from heat, add the lardons back in, set mixture aside and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 180°C. Roll out pastry (previously chilled in fridge for half an hour if homemade) to around 3mm and cut out circles using a saucer as a template.
- Place a couple of good spoonfuls of the cooled mushroom mix onto the discs put some grated cheese on top, just off centre, and brush round the edge of half the disc. Carefully fold over the disc, press edges down with a fork or thumbs to seal.
- Make an airhole or some narrow slashes in the top of the pasties and brush their tops with milk and/or beaten egg. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds.
- Bake on a tray lined with greaseproof paper for around 15 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Serve and eat immediately or reheat gently to serve later though can be eaten cold as well.