Thursday, December 10, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
St. Martin's Day (Jum San Martin in Maltese) is celebrated in Malta on the Sunday nearest to November 11. Children are given a bag full of fruits and sweets associated with the feast, known by the Maltese as Il-Borża ta' San Martin, "St Martin's bag". This bag includes St. Martin's Bread (Ħobża ta' San Martin), walnuts (ġewż), hazel-nuts (qastan), almonds (lewż), chestnuts (ġellewż), figs (tin), oranges (larinġ), tangerines (mandolin), apples (tuffieħ), pomegranates (rummien) amongst other things. There is a traditional rhyme associated with this custom:
Ġewż, Lewż, Qastan, Tin
Kemm inħobbu lil San Martin.
(Walnuts, Almonds, Chestnuts, Figs
I love Saint Martin so much.)
A feast is celebrated in the village of Baħrija on the outskirts of Rabat (Malta), including a procession led by the statue of St. Martin. There is also a fair, and a show for local animals. San Anton School, a private school on the island, organises a walk to and from a cave especially associated with St Martin in remembrance of the day.
Several places in Malta are named after this saint, including San Martin on the outskirts of St. Paul's Bay, and Ġebel San Martin outside of Żejtun.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Come winter this vegetable soup is a common aroma inside Maltese homes. There are alot of versions, and everyone adds or discards whatever vegetables they like. This is how I make mine:
Sweat the onion in some olive oil, then add some tomato paste for colour, salt, pepper and finally all the vegetables (cleaned and chopped) and water to cover. Let it boil on a low heat and once all the vegetables are cooked, either serve it as it is or mash it with the potato masher (this is how I serve it cause of the kids). This will certainly warm you up after a cold day. My husband likes to boil maltese sausage and eat it after with some maltese bread and 'gbejniet' (maltese cheese).
Monday, November 09, 2009
Remembrance Day – also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day – is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.) The day was specifically dedicated by King George V, on 7 November 1919, to the observance of members of the armed forces who were killed during war; this was possibly done upon the suggestion of Edward George Honey to Wellesley Tudor Pole, who established two ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
An eleven year old recently found this bomb (butterfly bomb) in one of Malta's valleys. The story interested me and I thought it would be appealing to do a post about Malta and world war 2. This bomb (pictured above) was one of the first cluster bombs to be used, earned its name because of the way it resembled a butterfly when its outer shell opened when released from a plane. This caused the bomb to spin, loosening a bolt and releasing a firing pin that armed the explosive.
Some information I found about Malta during WW II.
During World War II, Malta became the most bombed place on earth – 6,700 tons of bombs fell in just six weeks.
At the outbreak of World War II, Malta was Britain’s most important Mediterranean naval base. As such, it was to protect east-west supply lines while blocking the passage between Italy and North Africa. When Mussolini plunged Italy into the war on June 10, 1940, Malta knew for sure that it was destined to play a frontline role. Europe was nine months into the conflict when, on June 11, Malta suffered its first air attack on the dockyards.
At that point, Malta’s entire anti-aircraft resources totaled forty-two guns, two dozen searchlights and three Gloster Gladiator biplanes which had been discovered in crates and hurriedly assembled. The Gladiators, christened Faith, Hope and Charity, were matched against two hundred Italian aircraft based 60 miles (100km) north in Sicily. On the face of it there was surely no contest, but by forcing the enemy aircraft to bomb from a greater height, the three small Glosters more than earned their keep. The Maltese people no longer felt like a sitting target, and for three long weeks the Gladiators defended Malta’s airspace alone
In December 1940, the German air force moved into Sicily to support the Italians and with two hundred and fifty aircraft the combined Axis forces greatly outnumbered Malta’s aerial strike force. Meanwhile, German and Italian submarines maintained a relentless assault on the supply convoys.
Malta’s worst period of the war was in early 1942, when the air raids never ceased. In April alone, 6700 tons of bombs rained down on the island and on the 15th of that month a special message from the British kind, George VI, informed the people of Malta that they had collectively been awarded the George Cross for their unyielding bravery “…to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history.”
The Maltese minimized loss of life during the war by constructing air-raid shelters and relocating large numbers of the population from Valletta and Grand Harbour are to safer parts of the island. The old railway tunnel between Valletta and Floriana provided a sanctuary for many during the bombing raids and, as in medieval times, people sought shelter in Mdina. Some 35,000 buildings throughout the islands suffered damage or were destroyed during the war, 11,000 of them in April 1942, the worst month of bombing.
Ultimate control of the central Mediterranean hinged on supply lines and in the early months of 1942 the Allies suffered heavy shipping loses in the Malta-bound convoys. For much of the year the country’s civil and military population was reduced to near starvation levels, relying on communal feeding service and being forced to eat their diminishing animal stocks.
In the summer of 1942, Malta was in dire need of food and fuel to continue its struggle against the Axis powers. As the Maltese prayed to Santa Maria, who fest day was due on August 15, Britain sent a convoy of 14 merchant ships under armed escort. As the ships neared Malta they came under massive air and sea attack. Nine merchantmen were sunk, the five remaining included the tanker Ohio, with 11,000 ton of fuel critical to Malta’s survival. On August 13, four vessels limped into Grand Harbour. More prayers were offered to Santa Maria and on the morning of the 15th the Ohio reached Malta.
It took the Allied assault on Sicily in 1943 to effectively end Malta’s close involvement in the war. The island acted as a fighter base during the operation to capture Sicily’s airfields and once this had been achieved the Axis powers were unable to continue their harassment of shipping in the central Mediterranean. For Malta, three years of war had been intense. The islands had endured some of the most ruthless bombing of World War II and it was primarily because the buildings were of stone that huge sections of the towns were not destroyed in the air raids. Nearly 1500 Maltese civilians were killed in the air raids.
The clearing up operations lasted for years. Valletta’s bombed seaboard was still in rubble into the 1950’s and the rebuilding of town around Grand Harbour, now collectively known as the Three Cities, took nearly a decade.
Today there are many reminders of World War II in Malta. Among them, one can visit the Lascaris War Rooms in Valletta where the military operations were carried out. An animated commentary vividly evokes Operation Husky (the invasion of Sicily) and other pivotal events planned in these subterranean passages.
The National War Museum in Valletta is a small museum full of World War II items. There are black-painted Italian torpedo boats, “Faith” (the only surviving biplane of the trio that defended Malta, and the George Cross awarded to the Maltese people.
The three most bombed cities in Malta in World War II were Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea. The Malta at War Museum in Vittoriosa shows a great deal of what happened at that time. Under a deluge of bombs dropped on the Three Cities, the residents cowered, sometimes for weeks on end, in a claustrophobic warren of underground tunnels and honeycombed rooms in the bedrock underneath the landward fortifications of Vittoriosa. Today these underground shelters have been furnished with period props and original artifacts-communal dormitories, private cubicles, birth room , warden’s office and an entire exhibition offering a fascinating and grim insight into wartime life in Malta. The museum screens a documentary about the Maltese resistance made in 1942 with the aim of bolstering the nation’s morale at the height of the German campaign to bomb Malta into surrender.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Dun Mikiel Xerri (Żebbuġ, 29 September 1737 - 17 January 1799) was a Maltese patriot. Xerri studied at different universities in Europe. He was a Maltese patriot who lived under both the Knights of St. John during their time in Malta and the French when they took over the Maltese Islands. He was involved in an unsuccessful revolt to overthrow French rule under Napoleon Bonaparte for which he, together with other locals, was executed on 17 January 1799 at the age of 61.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The balconies are amongst the first characteristics of Malta you notice. The elegant wooden balconies of Valletta (the capital city of Malta) were used as a view point for families to catch up on the business of the street below. Today in Valletta you will see baskets lowered from balconies for the baker to pop in a loaf of bread. The finest and longest balcony is that of the Grand Master’s palace in Valletta. It stretches around corners and along the side street walls.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I have already posted a photo of this particular location, the post's title was Queen Victoria. The reason I am doing a re-post is because the Bibliotecha's facade has been cleaned and it looks beautiful! Obviously one can enjoy this lovely square whilst sitting here at cafe cordina drinking a nice cup of coffee and eating a cheesecake.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Taking part in this year's 17th edition of the Malta International Airshow, which will be held tomorrow and on Sunday are aircrafts from seven countries, with aircraft ranging from F-16 and Tornado fighters to the Harrier jump jet, a water bomber, and the SH60 helicopter used by the commander of the US Sixth Fleet.
This is US Airforce F-15.
Photo and information taken from www.timesofmalta.com
Friday, September 25, 2009
Sweet haven village has been set in the 1980 for the film 'Popeye' starring Robin Williams as Popeye the sailor man. The fun park has a number of activities for children and also for all those young at heart. It is open all year round and it is worth taking the kids and spending a day there.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The pomegranate 'ir-Rummiena' is native to the region of Persia and has been cultivated in Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Mediterranean region for several millennia.
A widespread root for "pomegranate" comes from the Ancient Egyptian rmn, from which derive the Hebrew rimmôn, and Arabic rummân. This root was given by Arabs to other languages, including Portuguese (romã), Kabyle rrumman and Maltese "rummien". The pomegranate ('rimmôn') is mentioned in the Bible as one of the seven fruits/plants that Israel was blessed with, and in Hebrew, 'rimmôn' is also the name of the weapon now called the grenade. According to Webster's New Spanish-English Dictionary, "granada," the Spanish word for "pomegranate," could also mean "grenade.
After opening the pomegranate by scoring it with a knife and breaking it open, the arils (seed casings) are separated from the peel and internal white pulp membranes. Separating the red arils is simplified by performing this task in a bowl of water, wherein arils sink and pulp floats. It is also possible to freeze the whole fruit in the freezer, making the red arils easy to separate from the white pulp membranes. The entire seed is consumed raw, though the watery, tasty aril is the desired part. The taste differs depending on subspecies of pomegranate and its ripeness. The pomegranate juice can be very sweet or sour, but most fruits are moderate in taste, with sour notes from the acidic tannins contained in the aril juice.
Wild pomegranate seeds are sometimes used as a spice known as anardana (which literally means pomegranate (anar) seeds (dana) in Persian), most notably in Indian and Pakistani cuisine but also as a replacement for pomegranate syrup in Middle Eastern cuisine. As a result of this, the dried whole seeds can often be obtained in ethnic Indian Sub-continent markets. The seeds are separated from the flesh, dried for 10–15 days and used as an acidic agent for chutney and curry production. Seeds may also be ground in order to avoid becoming stuck in teeth when eating dishes containing them. Seeds of the wild pomegranate daru from the Himalayas are regarded as quality sources for this spice.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Mgarr ix-Xini Watch Tower in Gozo has been opened this July for viewing after extensive restoration.
The tower, built in 1661 at the entrance of Mgarr ix-Xini Bay, was restored by the Wirt Ghawdex society supported by the Ministry for Gozo.
Both photo and information was taken from one of our local online newspapers.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Seventy years ago today, as London's Big Ben struck 11.15 a.m., the Maltese heard on Rediffusion, the cable radio network the British Prime Minister officially declaring war on Nazi Germany.
Adolf Hitler's regime had ignored Britain's ultimatum to withdraw Germany's attack on Poland by 11 a.m. on September 3, 1939 and World War II broke out.
Bombs were a common occurrence during the war as Malta became the world's most bombed country, historian Joseph Pirotta said.
Although civilians did not feel as threatened when the British first declared war in 1939, on an official level the fear was real as Italy's involvement was inevitable, Prof. Pirotta said.
Malta was one of Britain's most important naval bases and, when Mussolini declared war in June 1940, it was clear the island would become a main target. Prof. Pirotta added that Malta was completely unprepared for war as the British did not take precautions.
BOTH PICTURE AND INFORMATION EXTRACTED FROM OUR LOCAL ONLINE NEWSPAPER.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Lampuki is the Maltese name for the dorado or mahi-mahi, a kind of fish that migrates past the Maltese islands during the autumn. The fishing season for lampuki is from the end of August through to November.
Fishermen cut and gather the larger, lower fronds from palm trees which they then weave into large flat rafts. The rafts are pulled out to sea, usually with the small traditional fishing boats known as Luzzu. During midday lampuki school underneath the rafts, seeking the shade. The fishermen use large mesh nets to catch the schooling lampuki. This method is known as kannizzati and has not changed significantly since Roman times. The lampuki are used both for local consumption as well as export.
When fishing for lampuki, the sea has to be as calm as possible. Larger vessels stay out longer at sea than smaller ones. When fishermen approach the anchored floats, first they have to be sure of the presence of fish underneath them.
Seeing that it is viable to cast the net, the vessel circles slowly around the floats laying the net as it proceeds. When the two wings of the net meet, these are hauled on board the vessel so that the fish caught inside are concentrated in a small area of the net. The float is slipped between the bottom of the net, which is now closed, but for a narrow slit between the lead line. The bottom ropes of the net are then hauled on to the vessel by means of a hydraulic winch thus confining the fish in the landing bag. The time taken for such an operation is less than 10 minutes when professionals do such fishing. This procedure is repeated every time the fishermen detect the presence of a considerable amount of fish under a float.
It is the custom for fishermen from the fishing village of Marsaxlokk to gather in port at the start of the lampuki season and have their vessels blessed by the parish priest.
Lampuki can be fried and accompanied by different types of sauces, such as green pepper sauce or caper sauce. They can be baked or made into a pie. My favourite is fried Lampuki with green pepper sauce.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This spider spins its large orb web to trap its prey. The web is quite strong and can endure the struggling of insects and if the insect is strong and large the spider waits until the prey is exhausted to spin a silken case around its prey. Pray can be large example a cicada orni. The Female is larger than the male. The lobed Argiope can deliver a painful bite and is the largest spider found on Malta.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Saturday, August 01, 2009
With nearly 60 Maltese feasts throughout the year (mostly during the summer months), and nearly 20 on the smaller sister island of Gozo – the Maltese feast, a religious event, is very much part and parcel of the long, hot summer months on the island. and part of culture in Malta. The Maltese feast pretty much follows a long-established pattern, one that has been passed on from generation to generation, from century to century.
Our village's festa is dedicated to St. Peter and it is a custom to take the statue of St.Peter around our shores on a boat and then being brought to shore with a welcoming band and fireworks.
Monday, July 27, 2009
According to our online newspaper, a lethargic lull fell over Malta yesterday as the mercury hit a sizzling 41.6˚C, falling just 1.1 degrees short of the highest recorded July temperature 21 years ago.
The hottest day recorded in Malta was in August 1999 when temperatures soared to 43.8˚C.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
It was built in 1725. Ta' Kola is one of the windmills built by the Fondazione Manoel in the 18th century during the reign of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena. It is situated just off Ggantija Temples in Xaghra and houses a folklore museum.
The miller used to be a skilled craftsman who was very often trained in a wide range of skills. Thus, apart from maintaining and operating the windmill, he used to perform many other secondary jobs. When wind conditions were favourable, the miller used to sound a large shell, locally known as bronja. This served as a signal to the locals who would take their wheat to be processed by the miller. This is one of the very few remaining examples of 18th century industrial heritage in the Maltese Islands.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Ġgantija is a Neolithic, megalithic temple complex on the island of Gozo. The Ġgantija temples are the earliest of a series of megalithic temples in Malta. Their makers erected the two Ġgantija temples during the Neolithic Age (c. 3600-2500 BC), which makes these temples more than 5500 years old and some of the world's oldest man made religious structures. Together with other similar structures, these have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Megalithic Temples of Malta. They are more than 1000 years older than Stonehenge. Originally the temples had roofs. The precise purpose for which they were built is still a mystery, although they are believed to have been places of worship.
The site consists of two separate temples: the South Temple (3600 BC) and the North Temple (3000 BC). The Temples were excavated in 1826.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Comino is a tiny island half way between Malta and Gozo. A delightful, car-free little island just 1 square mile in size, with a jagged coastline and many small creeks, sea caves and a pretty lagoon. Largely infertile but luxuriant in wild thyme. A tranquil haven from busy everyday life. It has two small, sandy bays with excellent swimming and a stunning lagoon of brilliant turquoise blue (overcrowded with day-trippers at weekends).
St. Mary's Tower is the most visible structure on the island. Its background dates back to 1416, Finally, in 1618 the Knights of Malta under Grandmaster Wignacourt erected St. Mary's Tower (Maltese: it-Torri ta' Santa Marija), located roughly in the center of the southern coast of the island. The tower formed part of a chain of defensive towers
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Cittadella is one of the ancient cities in the Maltese Islands. Based in Gozo, Cittadella had the task of monitoring the battles in the Great Siege. Cittadella has similar features as Mdina, in fact it is considered to be another Mdina in the island of Gozo.
In Cittadella you will enjoy the views that it provides. Being a fortification, you will encounter with many historical monuments and other sources of useful information.
One can also view the historical architecture that can be found in Cittadella. You will also love to see the walls of Cittadella and the church based in this fortification.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Gozo, meaning 'joy' in Castilian, is the second largest island of the Maltese Archipelago. Gozo is more rural than Malta and it's inhabitants have their own distinct character , identity, lifestyles, accents and dialects. Like Malta, Gozo too has a wealthy history and I will post some of this in the next few posts. I hope you will enjoy them.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The common Fig is a large shrub or a small tree native to southwest Asia and theeastern Mediterranean region. They can be grown in climates with hot summer like our dear old Malta.
Some interesting information about Figs and health : Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. Dried figs are richest in fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamin K, relative to human needs. They have smaller amounts of many other nutrients. The have a laxative effect and contain many antioxidants.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Hello all, sorry I have not been very consistent with my updates lately, however the heat and being nearly 30 weeks pregnant is not helping me with my hunt for new photos of our beautiful islands. However I do not wish to stop as I love taking pictures and posting them here for you all to see.
This is a photo of a very small bay you will find once you enter Birzebbuga. This is found in front of the restaurant photo I have posted earlier.