A note from the heart of the Mediterranean: Commemorating Fourth of July and Nigma Farm
To commemorate Fourth of July, I have been featuring a 'tour’ around the USA with the cooperation of the US Embassy. I had the pleasure of learning to cook a real TexMex meal with Cyd Marguiles who has been here for three years and is married to Paul, a Senior Officer at the Embassy.
I added so much to my culinary knowledge and Cyd's food is wholesome, hearty and moreish. Cyd made wonderful Margaritas, enchiladas like I have never tasted before and they were topped with chili gravy, an old recipe from her mother Valerie. And the icing on the cake literally was a Texas Sheet Cake, always square, never round!
Cyd took me down memory lane as we sat in her living room and admired her wall of family photos. She is used to life on the move and this summer Paul will take up a new posting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Our tour went from Texas to Arizona where USA Celebrity Chef Brian Emmett visited Sandee Giller and Sandee told me about her innovative online card business and life in Phoenix.
Our next 'stop' was North California to meet cookery writer Fae Nader who shared some more delightful food and highlighted the must-see places around her.
Which brings me to my local food production visits with a scope of making transparent the food chain of our produce. One of my other highlights this week was the inauguration of Nigma Poultry Farm in Qrendi by The Minister of Agriculture, Hon Roderick Galdes.
This is a casual photo with Minister Galdes and his team on the day of the opening in the office of this traditional business with old family values. I notice the picture on the wall of Katy's husband who started the business many years ago and has since passed away. He overlooks the office and I feel his presence even though he is not physically here as I also notice the deep rooted unconditional faith of this family and the pride in their work exhibited by the trophies. It is one of those pictures where the story is in the background and no words are needed.
In the heart of the Mediterranean, the flavor of our produce is amazing. It is so easy to cultivate cuttings, sometimes even with no roots. The soil yearns to nurture anything that comes into contact with it, roots feed on those unique properties of the Mediterranean earth, while all that is visible above the ground is blessed with the magical rays of sun bestowed to us here, shining on our produce until everything brims with flavor.
And it is wonderful to see a substantial investment made at Nigma Farm to bring to us genuine local meat of such a high quality to complement our natural produce; a transparent food chain rather than imported inferior alternatives. do you know where your food comes from?
Each day here we are invited to partake in the celebration of sharing the food of our land, a privilege we have merely by happening to be here, at the right place and at the right time, whatever the reason is that has brought us here…it is a privilege that deserves appreciation. Buy local :)
And from the heart of the Mediterranean, I wish you a peaceful Sunday.
Lea Hogg is a food columnist and feature editor for l-Orizzont . She specialises in the food and cooking of the Mediterranean Region and is writes for Brilliant Baking (UK Magazine). Her work has recently been featured in the Irish Times. She also writes for Independent on Saturdays and is a regular contributor to Air Malta’s inflight magazine Bizzilla. Her blog is www.goodfoodeveryday.wordpress.com