Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Quince jelly step by step

I love quince jelly, lovely project for rainy days! Wash and quarter some quinces, removing the pips, then boil the lot with lemon juice and a little water until the fruit is soft and mushy. 

Put the pulp inside a jelly bag, cheaper if you just use a clean pillowcase (I have one which I use just for jellies) and hung it over a bowl (using a broom and two chairs) for a day and night.

This way the juice will drop into the bowl. As a rule if you like a clear jelly do not squeeze the bag! But I confess that I gave it a little squeeze… I wanted to get more out of it!

Measure the juice and add the same amount of sugar, then boil again.

I had lots, so I put half in a container to set, and added Fresh As Raspberry powder to the other half for a quick raspberry jelly. Delicious!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cherry tomatoes with raw nut cheese and edible flowers

After the raw vegan mushroom and nut macaroons here is another cute raw vegan appetizer! Make a cross incision at the base of cherry tomatoes, stuff with some raw vegan nut cheese (recipe here) and decorate with herbs and edible flowers. They taste so good and are incredibly pretty!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Raw Vegan Mushroom and nut 'macarons'

White button mushrooms are delicious raw, and they are vitamin rich, apparently they even have vitamin B12. These little savoury mushrooms 'macarons' make a tasty appetizer, and they look really fancy! All you need is mushrooms and some raw vegan nut cheese (recipe here). Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and peel off the top 'skin', the clean them well with a damp paper towel (do not wash). Fill with a little vegan nut cheese and close together like a macaron.  

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, October 10, 2016

Raw Vegan Cashew and Macadamia Cheese

This is commonly called Vegan cheese or nut cheese, although to me it feels more like a very 'intense' dip. Full of protein and spreadable, it stores well for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

120 g cashews
80 g macadamia
1 small shallot
2 tbsp lemon juice
water (just enough to blend the nuts)
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the cashews for 4 hours, drain and place in a food processor (or use an immersion blender). Add the shallot, peeled and chopped, lemon juice and a little water. Blend until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste (I do this little by little while blending).

Store in the fridge.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Roasted pumpkin medallions with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, Baked zucchini, Lemon basmati and lentils, Instant hummus and Almond dukka

Roasted pumpkin medallions with pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Slice, peel and place onto an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt, smoked paprika, garlic and crushed cumin seeds. Roast until tender. Toast a few pumpkin and sunflower seeds the oven and sprinkle on the pumpkin medallions before serving.

In addition I had the last zucchini in the garden, not quite a marrow but quite big, so I sliced it and baked it too:

Baked zucchini

Wash and slice lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil and salt, bake. That all!

To serve I added some basmati and lentils

Lemon basmati and lentils

Wash and cook the basmati with a small pinch of salt, open a can of lentils, drain from the water and pour the lentils on top of the rice during the last five minutes of cooking. Turn off the heat, add two tbsp of lemon juice and stir.

And to top some instant hummus with almond dukka:

Instant hummus

Open a can of chickpeas, drain and keep half of its water. Blend the chickpeas, water, two peeled garlic cloves and the juice of half a lemon until smooth. Add salt to taste and a little olive oil.

Almond dukka

Toast half a cup of almond, a few sunflower and pumpkin seeds and 1 tsp of cumin seeds. Add a little rock salt, a pinch of paprika or the spice of your choice. Grind and use to top the Hummus.

Well, that was easy, the kids loved it and got eaten in no time!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Gluten free, fat free, sugar free, vegan chestnut and cocoa cakes

 I used one cup of chestnut flour, 2 tsp cocoa, a few sultanas and enough water to make a batter. I poured the batter in silicone moulds and baked for about 20 minutes (until a toothpick came out clean). Very yummy, incredibly filling, and healthy too.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bread stuffed cabbage leaves, step by step

Cabbages are cheap and healthy, and when I buy one I can cook with it for a family of four for three days! Usually I start with cabbage rolls, to use the larger leaves, and these can be done in a zillion ways! I have another  good Vegan recipe here, but today for the filling I used stale bread. But first thing first:

Wash the cabbage leaves (the bigger outer leaves, about 15, and steam or boil until soft but not too soft! In the meantime put one onion, one carrot, two celery sticks with leaves and a little parsley in the food processor and mince.

Heat two tbsp of olive oil in a pan and sauté the vegetables, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

Soak some old bread in water, doesn't matter what kind of bread, I had two white bread rolls and some seed sourdough, so I used those. 

Squeeze the water out of the bread and crumble it into the pot with the cooking vegetables. Add a little vegetable stock if necessary and cook everything for about 15 minutes. Stir often and make sure that the mixture is quite thick and not too watery or runny. Adjust with salt and pepper (I quite like to use smoked salt here).

Spread the cooked cabbage leaves on clean tea towels.

Divide the vegetable and bread mixture between the leaves.

Roll up the leaves.

They look so pretty!!

In a capable pan heat some olive oil (about 3-4 tbsp) and sizzle a couple of garlic cloves and 1 heap tbsp of tomato puree.

Pack the cabbage rolls in the pot tightly,

 if there is not enough space put some on top, during cooking they will 'reduce' and you will be able to move them down into a single layer.

Add about half a litre of vegetable stock, cover and simmer on low for about 40 minutes.

Serve hot (I had mine on polenta!)

The leftovers rolls and sauce I wrapped in filo pastry and made a pie for the second day, and on the third day I still had the centre of the cabbage to use (quite a lot in fact, I had it after a few days though, for variety) for a Vegan Cabbage Bolognese Sauce.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Mandarin and blueberry chocolates

I made these with my daughter, we used Fresh As freeze dried mandarins and blueberries, plus some dark chocolate (the darkest the better for me, and chose a non-dairy one for vegan chocolate). Just need to melt the chocolate and then half dip the mandarin slices. The freeze dried blueberries… sorry but you cannot see them… but we just added a few to the remaining chocolate (after we used all the mandarin slices) and then poured the mixture in chocolate molds. So easy, quick, and petty too!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Roasted onion 'lily'

I saw this idea on Pinterest and loved it! Just peel and cut whole onions from the top into 6 or 8 slices, but leaving the end attached. Then, when you roast the onions they will open like lily flowers.
Of course the Pinterest photo had onions that looked brighter and … raw, yes possibly more photogenic, but surely not as tasty! Roast your onions properly, until they are soft and sweet. I roasted mine with potatoes, adding olive oil, salt and spices (also, I cannot digest raw onions, so I do prefer to cook them anyway). Next time I will try to boil them first and see what happens :-).

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Feijoa and spirulina smoothie

I love feijoas 

They are perfect for breakfast!

For 2 smoothies I just used 6 feijoas (peeled), 400 ml natural apple juice and half a tsp of spirulina.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Red beetroot soup with fresh goat cheese


Red beetroot soup with fresh goat cheese

This colourful soup is incredibly quick and simple to prepare, but the flavour (and look) is almost restaurant-like, and everyone will ask you for the recipe!

1 celery stick with leaves
half onion
half carrot
1 l light vegetable stock
one pack LeaderBrand beetroot
fresh goat cheese to serve
freshly ground pepper (optional)

Serves 4 - Gluten free - Vegetarian

Put the celery stick (cut), half a onion and half a carrot in a pot with the vegetable stock and simmer until the carrot is almost soft (about 10 minutes from boiling point). Add one pack LeaderBrand beetroot and simmer for 5 more minutes, then turn the heat off and let the vegetables and stock cool down until lukewarm. Blend the soup in a blender and pour back into the pot, heat gently and dish. Top with a broken-up slice of fresh goat cheese, adding freshly ground pepper if desired.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chinese broccolini (Kai Lan) with fried tofu and noodles

A quick one bowl dinner with only three main ingredients and a few seasonings.

The main ingredients are was to find in most Asian stores: fresh noodles, fried tofu and some kai lan (Chinese broccolini). As an alternative you can use regular broccolini or any green vegetable (bok choy or kale, for example). Wash the broccolini, heat one or two tbsp of vegetable oil and a few drops of sesame oil in a pan or wok, add the broccolini and sauté quickly then add some soy sauce (one or two tbsp) and cover for one minute. Add the tofu and (optional) 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Personally I love tofu with soy sauce and lemon! Add the noodles and stir well, cover and simmer on low for a minute or two. Done!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, June 20, 2016

Italian Hazelnut cream chocolates - 2 ingredients

Impress your guests with homemade chocolates! They are easy to make and You need only two ingredients to make these chocolates: some dark chocolate (your favourite, I like to use over 70% dark) and some Italian hazelnut paste, I got mine in Auckland from Italian Foodies.

Step 1
Melt the chocolate at bain Marie and line the chocolate moulds (I used silicone moulds). For each mould you will probably need about 1 or 2 tsp of chocolate, let it run to cover the bottom and sides of the moulds and then place the mould in the fridge IMMEDIATELY so that the chocolate sets quickly (you don't want it to roll down the sides and just fill the bottom of the moulds). Use only half of the chocolate, leave the rest in the bowl and keep warm (so it won't solidify). 

Step 2
After 15 or 20 remove the moulds from the fridge and fill with the hazelnut paste, then cover with the remaining melted chocolate. Refrigerate.

Step 3
Before serving remove from ridge, tip the chocolates out of the moulds and serve. Better to store in the fridge if it is a hot day.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Homemade mascarpone with Tawari honey, pistachio and dried strawberries

Homemade mascarpone with Tawari honey, pistachio and dried strawberries

Making mascarpone at home is one of my favourite occupations these days! A part from the 'magic' of it, and the resemblance to a chemistry experiment (I made this with Max, actually, he made it with me in the background giving instructions and liked doing it!) it is also so much cheaper, fresh and delicious that the one you buy! 

For the mascarpone recipe just click here, it is easier that you may think! When the mascarpone is ready just add a tbsp of honey (I used Airborne Tawari Honey) and fold. Divide the mascarpone into 4 cups and it is ready to be eaten or topped with what you fancy. 

For this recipe I just toasted a few pistachios in a pan, then I rub them with a tea towel to take away loose skins and chopped them coarsely. Then I also added some Fresh As dried strawberries, crunchy and full of flavour and aroma. A simple dessert that everyone loved!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Flower fritters

My kids go crazy for these! Only three ingredients

Ingredients: edible flowers
 (I used zucchini flowers and borage flowers - but any edible flower will do)
tempura flour
oil for frying

Clean and wash the flowers. Mix the tempura flour with cold water to make a batter, then add the flowers. Spoon into hot oil and pan fry on both sides until the fritters are golden. Serve hot.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


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