Thursday, October 20, 2016

Easiest pavlova recipe ever!

Personally I am not a great fan of pavlovas, but they are so easy to make and a good way to use egg whites, so once or twice a year a make one. This is my easiest recipe so far.

3 egg whites 
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
200g white sugar

Start the evening before.

The most important ingredient is egg whites, use free range and possibly organic eggs for egg whites that have lots of proteins and beat into perfect standing peaks! Start beating the egg whites at high speed with a pinch of salt. Add the vinegar, then the cream of tartar, then the sugar (I add this in three-four goes, but quickly). Don't need to use caster sugar if you are beating at high speed and if the egg whites are really stiff. Sometimes I forget the cream of tartar so I add it after the sugar, nothing has ever happened. Some people add vanilla, but I like pavlova to smell and taste of meringue, not of vanilla! The vinegar takes away that eggy edge, in case you are worried.

Heat the oven at 200°C or more. It has to be really hot!

Scoop the meringue onto a oven tray lined with baking paper, making a circle. I don't like to pipe the meringue, I prefer the 'spatula' look on a pavlova. Place at the centre of the oven then turn the oven off immediately. Leave overnight and don't open the door (oven door, I mean, you can open the other doors in the house!). 

The day after take your pavlova out and decorate with cream before serving, and with the fruit you like best. I even used my homemade cherries in cognac, they work very well as they are not sweet and very alcoholic and go well with the very sweet taste of the meringue.

And if you are into flowers, well, pansies and violets are edible too, and ever so pretty! These are from my garden, they make every dessert, even the simplest, look beautiful!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Soft tofu and avocado sashimi served on homemade disposable bamboo dishers made with bamboo leaf sheath

There is no much to this dish really, just soft tofu with grated ginger and avocado (add wasabi and say sauce) plus some pickles, mostly bought except for the cucumber (recipe here).

The exciting thing for me here are the bamboo platters! I have some bamboo in the garden and it is shedding leaf sheaths. I love those fancy bamboo disposable dishes that you can buy in home stores, so I though of making my own. To clean the sheaths I just placed them in the dishwasher! Some rolled up a bit, but after a couple of days they were flat again! The dishwasher took away the dirt but some black stains remained, which makes me wonder how ecologically they treat the commercial plates, since they are so pale and spotless! But now I can make my own and doesn't matter if they are a little stained, they are natural and lovely to look at!

Photo and Recipe by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Festival Italiano 2016

It rained and poured, but Festival Italiano went ahead, with Italian flair and with a big turnout! Thank you all for braving the weather and coming along, Grazie Auckland!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Homegrown bananas

No much time to blog these days, too busy with this event, so here is just a pic of the bananas from my plant, finally ripen. Making lots of banana cakes!

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Denarau, Fiji and flowers

The best of Fiji can be found in the islands, like here, and Denarau is usually just a 'stopover' (unless you play golf…). But it is convenient for day trips (sea and land), and scuba diving courses (they take you out to the islands from Denarau). For me, what I have enjoyed most are... the flowers!

Sunrise 1
Sunrise 2
Twilight at the port

Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa

Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa

Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa
 And all those flowers and tropical plants!

Bye bye Fiji!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fiji, from the Mamamuka to the Yasawa islands

An ode to blue...

When you enter the Yasawa Islands Group a worrier welcomes you, can you see him on the rock?

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


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