Aged only eight, Gwen Gravina became an overnight sensation with her cooking videos during the partial lockdown. The bubby girl presented a daily recipe on Facebook and soon gained many followers. Recently, she collected some of her best recipes in a book, with part of the proceeds going to Puttinu Cares. Here are a few festive ideas Gwen would like to share with Times of Malta readers. 

Ricotta-stuffed chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham

(Serves 4 to 6)

4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp oil
8 Parma ham slices
4 tbsp ricotta cheese
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaved parsley leaves
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 200˚C. In a bowl, mash the ricotta cheese with the Parmesan cheese, herbs and lemon zest. Season well.

Take the chicken breasts and cut a pocket into the thickest side. Stuff each with one-quarter of the ricotta mixture, then rub with a little oil. Lay two Parma ham slices on a chopping board, overlapping slightly, and place the chicken on top. Carefully wrap the ham around the breasts, making sure it meets on top.

Flip the breasts over and place them facing side down on a baking sheet. Cook at the top of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. When pressed with a finger, the meat should bounce back.

Chocolate snowballs

200g white chocolate or milk chocolate
25g butter, diced
90g coconut
90g sponge cake


Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Rest the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir frequently until melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, set aside 50g of the coconut. Add the cake to the melted chocolate with the remaining coconut. Mix well to form a chunky paste.

Take spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls, and immediately roll them in the reserved coconut. Place the chocolate balls on baking parchment and leave to set.

Chilli and orange duck

(Serves 4 to 6)

6 small duck breasts, about 200g each
2 tbsp honey
2 spring onions, trimmed
Drizzle of olive oil
Sea salt and fresh pepper

For the sauce
3 large oranges
100g sugar
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp red wine


Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

To make the sauce, peel the zest from one orange using a potato peeler and cut the zest into thin strips. Juice the oranges to make 360ml juice. Combine the orange zest and juice with the rest of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes, or until lightly syrupy.

Trim the duck breasts of excess fat. Season the breasts to taste with salt and pepper and brush a little honey over the skin. 

Heat the oil in a frying pan, set over a medium-high heat, add the duck breasts, skin-side down and fry for three to four minutes, or until crispy and golden. 

Turn over the breasts, then transfer them to the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just cooked through and still pink in the middle. Rest for five minutes before serving.

Cut the spring onions into finger-length pieces, then slice into thin strips.

Slice the duck breasts, arrange on warmed plates and scatter with the spring onion strips.

Spoon over the sauce.

Readers who would like to get a copy of Gwen’s book can send a private message on the Facebook page Gwen’s Cooking Club, or order it through the website

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