Saturday, February 1, 2020

Vignola - Italy

The town of Vignola, in the province of Modena, is mostly famous for its cherries, and if you visit in spring all the hills are full of cherry blossom, and with cherries in June. When I was 16 I also picked cherries for a couple of weeks in one of the valleys near Vignola, hard work but what delicious fruits!

Anyway, this time I was there in winter, not a cherry in site so I had to console myself with the town's most famous cake: Torta Barozzi, a bittersweet soft chocolate cake, created in 1907 and named after Vignola's famous architect Jacopo Barozzi.

After breakfast in the famous Pasticceria Gollini it is time to visit Vignola Castle

Such amazing frescos....

... and a ghost???

The city is cute and tranquil, no tourists around, but there are some excellent restaurants, so much as many people from nearby cities and towns come here just to eat. Below just a few suggestions (but you better book first, especially for Trattoria Bolognese!)

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Fried paneer with turmeric and cornflowers

My family love paneer, most of our curries have it, and if they don't I often fry some on the side to add to warm roti or chapati breads. For this recipe I added some spices, including a little turmeric, so the blue cornflower petals looked stunning!

Cut the paneer in slices. Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet or frying pan, add a few coriander seeds and a few cumin seeds and then, when the oil is hot, the paneer slices. Fry for 2-3 minutes on one side, then turn, add a pinch of salt and a little turmeric powder and fry on the other side for 1-2 minutes. Turn one last time so the paneer slices are completely coated with turmeric and then turn the element off.  Sprinkle with cornflower petals and serve immediately.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Nasturtium buds in vinegar

When preserving nasturtiums don’t just use the seed pods, the best part are the tiny green buds, the smaller the better although I also add some buds with the orange petals showing (mostly for colour) and also some tiny leaves, which are delicious! The seeds are crunchy so I add some too. Cover with white wine vinegar and keep in a dark place. When you open the jar they really smell like capers! 

 Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Broccolo Romanesco and chickpea salad

Broccolo Romanesco is a beautiful vegetable, but if you cannot find it you can substitute here with a cauliflower. Cut the florets and drop them in salted boiling water, then cook them until soft but not mushy. Cool in cold water and drain, then dress with white wine vinegar or white balsamic (about one tbsp). Drain one can of chick peas (keep the chickpea water - aquafaba, to make vegan meringues or other vegan recipes) and add to the Broccolo. Add olive oil (about 2 tbsp) and salt to taste. To finish add some olives (ascolane olives are the best, otherwise used other marinated olives). Mix well and serve at room temperature.

Photo and Recipe by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Munich, Bavarian Christmas Markets and the best vegan meal in Germany so far


We truly enjoyed a couple of nights in Munich, checking out this beautiful city and all the Christmas markets. 

If you love traditional Christmas things this is the place for you! Every corner of the city seems to have a Xmas market, and they are beautiful by day and even more by night! The atmosphere is festive,  with tourists and locals mingle with mugs of mulled wine (buy the mugs or return them for a refund after drinking).

Hot chocolate and cake break at Woerner's Café  for the best view or Marienplatz. The hot chocolate is a kind of 'mix-your-own': you get a glass of hot frothy milk and the chocolate of your choice on the side, to pour in.

Another interesting place to eat in Marienplatz is Ratskeller, a large cellar restaurant possibly not so good with food but quite cool for ambience. There are a few veggie choices too.

The shops are as cool as the markets for Xmas decorations and cute souvenirs. For food and sweet things I was really impressed with Dallmayr , where we bought our Stollen, and I could have spent hours looking at their amazing Xmas trees in the windows! One tree was all about bubbly, one about coffee, one about sweet things and one about seafood (and even if I don't eat seafood I found the idea really cool and could think of one all about vegetarian food ;-) !!)

The best Vegan meal I had so far in Germany (albeit, I have been in the country only a few times) was at Max Pett - beautiful and juicy vegan 'cheese burger' for Max and tasty vegan Schnitzel for me and Peter with perfect chips (Peter had potato salad instead) and all the trimmings. Big portions, plus a good selection of non alcoholic wines and beers. 

Back to the Christmas markets and shops, and creating memories!

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


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