Thursday, February 26, 2015

Plum Jam



Jam made with plums from Oratia. I removed the stone and cooked the plums with a little water and some jam setting sugar (this was a present, and I wanted to try it). The NZ jam tradition seems to be 1kg of sugar for 1 kg of fruit (or even more sugar if you make raspberry jam) for an Italian this is too much. I go for 40 to 60%, with the latter being my preference if I need to preserve the jam for a long time (it helps agains botulin). You can taste the fruit better with less sugar :-).





And our cats, Nikita (left) and Marameo (right) are also enjoying the last of the sun, sleeping outdoors all day long! Marameo is 18 now, an old lady cat 


 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fresh borlotti beans cooked in a skillet with red onion


I love shelling fresh beans from the garden, especially borlotti, as they are so pretty!
I usually put fresh beans in soups, or boil them to make a salad (and keep the water for a soup). To cook them slowly in a frying pan takes a bit longer, but they are delicious!


Chop a small red onion and sauté with a little olive oil for a few minutes, then add the borlotti. Stir and add a little water and salt, cover and check form time to time, stirring well and adding more water when needed. It takes about a hour (or more if you simmer on low), so be patient. No need to add tomato paste as the onion will almost melt and make a nice colored sauce. Taste for salt at the end and adjust with black pepper, if you like. 1000 times better than baked beans!



 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Boysenberry and whisky trifle




For the first layer I made a vegetarian jelly with agar agar, you can follow the recipe here, but instead of pineapple powder I used a handful of frozen boysenberries. When the agar agar was set I added a layer of sponge soaked in whisky (up to you how much, but don't use cheap whisky unless you want a cheap dessert!). Then I made a vanilla creme like this one and covered the sponge. Finally I added whipped cream and boysenberries. 





 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Onion Weed Dip, two ingredients only!



A recipe from the Forage to Feast event held by Slow Food Waitakere last year: onion weed dip. Foraging is healthy and environmentally friendly, and foraging onion weed in Auckland and Waitakere is easy - remember that onion weed is, in fact, a weed, so it can be removed safely!

Onion weed freezes well, just wash and cut into pieces. Every part can be eaten: bulb, stem, leaves and flowers, just make sure that it has not been sprayed or been near busy roads and dogs. To make this dip you just need some creamy feta cheese and onion weed (fresh or frozen). Blend, adding a tiny little bit of water (or olive oil if you prefer) to thin the sauce down if needed. No salt is required as feta is already salty. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and then serve as a dip or spread.

Onion weed can be collected in Spring and stored in the freezer for months. It can also be used in cooking in place of onions, spring onions, chives, leeks and garlic.


 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, December 19, 2014

5+ a day with colorful fruit!

 A fruit lunch box: grapes, melon, watermelon, strawberries and wild strawberries (these are from the garden), plum and apricot, plus some mini pikelets. Easy as!



Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Melon and apricot smoothie


 This one is a smoothie and the kids made it: melon, natural apple juice, banana and apricot, decorated with borage flowers (edible).

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, December 15, 2014

Green Juice for kids


With summer here it is easy to make juices and to eat more raw food.
Green juices are the best, of course, above celery, cucumber and green apple, light and refreshing.

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sushi in a bowl - Chirashi-zushi




I like chirashi-zushi, sushi in a bowl, a part form the fact that you save time, it also looks pretty. For topping you can add what you fancy, here I have avocado, salted sakura (cherry blossoms), nori (cut with a craft puncher) takuan (Pickled daikon), cherry tomatoes and ume paste (I use wasabi but the kids wanted ume…). A perfect light lunch for summer!


Sushi rice

Wash the sushi rice (or Japanese rice) several times in cold water, until the water runs clear, and then cook it by absorption. The doses are about 1 and 3/4 (three quarters) cups of sushi rice for 2 cups of water, but that depends on the type of pot. You need a pot with a good lid, or you will loose too much steam. I kind of regulate myself by ear now, since I know my pots and pans. Bring the pot to boiling point, lower the heat and simmer until all the water has been absorbed. Once the rice is ready pour it into a bowl and stir it with a wooden spatula, cooling it with a fan if you can. I then add some ready made sushi vinegar, about 2 tablespoons, but this is my personal taste. If I don't have sushi vinegar I use 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, a little sugar and a little salt (to taste, and I don't like to use too much sugar or salt!). Spoon the rice in a bowl and add your topping. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi on the side, like for rolled sushi.



And now the weekly photos of flowers for my Pinterest Boards, to cheer me up! This morning I tried to delete a spam comment and by mistake I remove almost 100 comments (no spam, your comments!). I tried to get them all back manually and it took ages, plus I am sure that I lost some… blame the spammers! 


Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Beautiful heart melon and watermelon plate




This is perfect if you:

A: follow a raw diet (or don't know what to give to a raw eater/vega/gluten free/allergic/etc.)
B: prefer fruit to dessert (i.e. no time to make dessert)
C: want to lose weigh or to eat breakfast all day long
D: are in love!



All you need is a knife and a hear shaped cookie cutter. 

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Raw, vegan and gluten free sweet for Christmas? Homemade marzipan!!




Marzipan is the perfect sweet for the Holiday Season, and this is RAW, VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE, so it seems to cover most of the current food trends :-). Click here to see the recipe and step by step images (including how to use apricot kernels). Note that for colouring this time I didn't use berry juice but Fresh As raspberry powder, and also quite a bit of spiraling powder for a darker green hue. The nuts on top are optional, of course.




I am entering this recipe for Sweet NZ #40, to enter your November Recipe click here.
Sweet NZ image




Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, November 28, 2014

Orange and carrot juice: so delicious!


The juice of the day is just carrots and orange. Usually I have this in winter, but I had a couple of oranges to use and it is refreshing (it has been hot!)



Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Plum smoothie, and purple heaven



Another day, another smoothie. I used some free stone plums from Oratia Orchard (they have many variety of plums, freshly picked), drinking yogurt, one banana and ice cubes. Perfect for breakfast and I love the colour! In fact I love all hues of purple and plum, here are some of my favourite.




Well, my blueberries should be blue by now, bus a bug ate half of my plant form the inside, and
the birds tend to get to the berries before me as soon as they turn blue! No blueberry jam this year,
but they look pretty in the garden. 


And these I adore, tiny little pansies from the garden.

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Thai vegan green curry




 First I started with a simple paste made with a small piece of ginger (peeled), one shallot (also peeled), fresh coriander (with stalks), green chili (not too much for me, maybe one or two), and fresh lemon grass (one stick). If you have kaffir lime leaves or rind, the are good too, apparently, but I didn't have any so I added a little lemon juice. Mush with a mortar and pestle or with a blender (I used the blender, too hot for the mortar and pestle!) adding salt towards the end. 
Now, the only thing in the paste that came from the garden was coriander, and frozen (from last year) as this year my plant died! I also have lots of frozen chills to use, and a little plant that don't even have flowers yet! 

The veggies: 1 carrot, 2 yellow zucchini, a few tomatoes, a few broccolini, borage tips, green capsicum, Thai mint, basil, onion weed flowers  and borage flowers to decorate.

then: organic tofu and coconut cream.

I cut the tofu and placed it in a pot with the coconut cream plus one can of water (to rinse the coconut cream can). Added the green curry paste and simmered the lot for 10 minutes and then I added the rest of the vegetables in this order: carrots, borage tips, capsicum, zucchini, broccolini, tomatoes (leave a couple of minutes between each vegetable). To stir I used a lemongrass stalk. Then I tasted for salt then I added the herbs and onion weed flowers (because they were frozen), turned the heat off and cover the pot with a lid for 5 minutes. Then I added the borage flowers.

Actually, the curry paste took longer than the curry to make! Serve hot with rice.

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, October 27, 2014

Watermelon juice with lemongrass and mint

  I used the flesh of a small watermelon (blend with ice and a bit of water - to get the blender moving) and then passed the juice through a sieve (not too fine, just enough to keep the seed pieces out) and then stirred it with a stick of lemongrass (best if you can leave it in the fridge with the lemongrass for 30 minutes). My mint is quite 'strong' so I added it only at the end, for decoration and a hint of fragrance. Serve with ice. I am sure that there will be readers that will think of vodka too!




Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rhubarb agar agar with yogurt and strawberries


What to do for dessert with some rhubarb and a few strawberries (regular and wild) in the garden?
 I boiled the rhubarb with 1 tbsp of sugar, added a pinch of agar agar and
made a jelly to be topped with a little yogurt, the strawberries and some edible violets.
Easy!

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

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