Thursday, January 17, 2019

Miso Ramen with flowers

This is a quick and easy dinner: I used a mixure of gai lan (chinese broccoli) which have edible yellow flowers, and broccoli, carrots, onion weeds and two types of seaweed (nori and tororo kombu, a kind of 'hairy' seaweed perfect for soups. Clean the vegetables and keep the  gai lan and onion weed flowers aside. For the stock I cooked the carrots, broccoli, gai lang stalks and leaves and onion weed bulbs in a litre of lightly salted water, then I lifted the vegetables out and added miso paste (don't boil at this point, just simmer to mix the miso.  I cooked the ramen noodle in another pot, then lift them out of the water directly in the ramen bowls. Topped with the vegetables and covered with miso soup. To finish top with boiled eggs, seaweed, and the gai lan and onion weed flowers.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Onigiri with Poppies, cornflowers and nasturtiums, and a Poppy Tea

Many of the flowers I plant are edible, and this year I also have poppies! They are beautiful and delicate to look at, and perfect for the kitchen. You can also make tea (it is supposed to help you sleep) but just use a few petals, from one or two flowers... only if you know enough about herbalism and/or botany you can adjust the dose to your body type. The taste is a bit like rose tea, I just add a little hot water and then let it stand until cool (it is a hot summer here). 

The petals leave a beautiful pattern inside the cup :-). 

For the onigiri: 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. While the rice is cooking pick the flowers and clean the petals well, you can rinse the cornflowers and nasturtiums, but not the poppy petals, if you need to just spray with water and pat dry. Cut the petals in small strips with scissor and set aside. Once the rice is ready pour it into a bowl, add some unrefined salt and toasted black sesame seeds and stir it with a wooden spatula. Taste to see if it is 'salty' enough for you, then let it cool down a little. Then add half of the petals and stir. Fill a bowl with cold water and wet your hands, then pick up a handful of rice and shape into a ball. Repeat. Roll the rice balls in the rest of the petals. Serve cold, with Japanese pickled and soy sauce.

And now some compositions from the garden. 

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Gnocchi with asparagus and onion weed, and a garden full of colours

The recipe is very quick, since I used bought gnocchi (to make your own click here). Pick some onion weeds, remove the bulbs, wash them and chop them finely. Keep some flowers aside for decoration (and to eat, make sure they don't have the seeds inside yet, these are quite hard!). Wash the asparagus, chop off the very ends and then cut the stalks into bite size pieces. Keep the spears (tips) asides. Gently fry the onion weed bulbs and asparagus stalks with a little olive oil, then add a little vegetable stock, just enough to cover them, and cook until the liquid has reduced to half. Add the asparagus tips and cook for 5 more minutes.  Cook the gnocchi, when they are ready lift them our with a slotted spoon and place in the pot with the asparagus. Add a knob of butter and stir well. Dish and sprinkle with onion weed flowers.

And now a few images from my garden, and a couple of flowers composition for my Pinterest Board!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, December 31, 2018

(Alessandra's) Terrine of vegetables ‘in scapece’ - and sharing recipes for free on the internet

A friend told me that I should put my recipes on Instagram, in same ways she is right, I spend a lot of time on Insta (more than with blogger) but I don't want to give up my (numerous) blogs the Blogger blog, they are a great archive, a diary, and collected thousands of free recipes, which have been made and shared many times, and also a source of inspiration to a number of people in the food business. Of course many of these have also been 'copied' (without credits of permission) even by some 'sort of famous' food writers and chefs... but I don't mind, I blog to spread the gospel of good, fresh, simple vegetarian food, and it is working. If the the same recipes ideas reach people through AB instead of me just because AB is well know, I am happy for it! Plus in my job I give a lot of recipes away, or consult or write for others. Easy. 
But I admit that sometimes I raise my eyebrows if I see one of my recipes in a magazine (and without permission).  It may be lightly adapted in wording and newly photographed, but I still know, immediately that it was taken from one of my social media because I am well aware of which recipes are mine, down to what percentage, if part traditional of inspired by others. But mostly it tells me more about the people/companies who re-use these resources for their own gain, and to the fact that if you put something online then you should let it go! 

So I am not sure if I will find the time or energy to publish recipes on Instagram as well, I'll start with one of my most loved creations and see what's happens. After all if one of my recipes ends up in a magazine or someone else blog I usually find out because one of my readers tells me, which means that others notice it too, so best to share the best!

Like this one for example, which I first published on this blog 10 years ago with the name of Torta di Verdure in Scapece. Scapece is an Italian way of 'marinating' food, (like escabece in Spanish) but I know that this torta/terrine is my own. I shared it with an Italian food forum and went down very well (as well as it goes down at the table) and I made it many more times since so it is truly tasted. Then a few days ago a took a photo and decided that since it is such an amazing vegan recipe I should share on Insta and with an English name, terrine of vegetables ‘in scapece’. 

I truly do hope that chefs, and everyone else, start making it, it tastes soo good that it has to be shared! Someone may even re-publish it, I don't mind, and perhaps they will choose to add Alessandra's on the recipe? Or maybe a credit in the book? Or send me a box of chocolates and a thank you note :-). Who knows... 

Anyway, I copy and paste the recipe from Insta, try it!!

The best dish of the Holidays is this terrine of vegetables ‘in scapece’. It takes an afternoon to make and at least two days in the fridge after that, but it is AMAZING ❤️🧡💜💚 

Fry many (many many) eggplants, zucchini and coloured capsicums slices in olive oil. Place on kitchen paper and add salt as you work. Peel the capsicums after frying. Layer the slices in a terrine adding chopped Italian parsley and garlic, plus breadcrumbs, after each layer and spraying with some white balsamic vinegar. Press down as you assemble. Use lots if parsley and garlic! Don’t skip layers! Press down well before covering - add a weight on top if necessary. Refrigerate for at least two days before tipping out. Slice and serve 😋 #sharingmyrecipes#vegetarianvibes

Friday, December 28, 2018

L'isola di Niue è ancora un paradiso tropicale

Niue è una piccola isola nazione nel Sud Pacifico,  con circa 1500 abitanti. Ci si arriva solamente in barca o con due voli alla settimana da Auckland e per questo la consiglio a chi ama le isole tropicali ma non cerca grandi alberghi e masse di turisti. 

Isola rocciosa e con con pochissime spiagge minuscole (se cercate lunghe spiagge bianche andate altrove) è piena di caverne, scogli, coralli, e tanti posti da scoprire. Per prima cosa consiglio di farsi la patente locale (basta portare la patente del proprio paese e fare la conversione), affittare una macchina e girarsi tutta l'isola! 

Era il nostro secondo viaggio e anche questa volta abbiamo affittato una casetta così da poter cucinare ed essere indipendenti, molto utile se si è vegetariani (qui potrete trovare un post sulle cose che abbiamo mangiato).  Per i vegetariani, ma anche tutti gli altri, consiglio un tour di una plantation,  l'abbiamo fatto anche 7 anni fa e ci siamo riforniti di taro, cassava, frutta e noci di cocco! 

Peter ed i ragazzi hanno anche fatto diving, ma anche solo nuotando si possono vedere pesci bellissimi, serpenti di mare e coralli, e da lontano le balene! Il video all'inizio di questo post l'ho fatto con il telefonino a bassa marea nella spiaggetta locale di Alofi,  Utuku Beach (dove non c'era quasi mai nessuno!!).  Incredibile vedere questi pesci da 'acquario' nuotarmi fra i piedi!! E senza immergermi!  Sotto alcuni dei posti dove vedere i pesci anche se non si sa nuotare bene :-)

Matapa Chasm

Talava Arches

Limu Pools

Utuku Beach

Ci sono molte camminate da fare, alcune facili altre un po' più difficili (con corde, scale e caverne) una bella foresta, gente gentile... insomma tutto bello con un unica pecca: L'isola è piena di galline e galli, dormono sugli alberi e sono ovunque, ed i galli cominciano a cantare a mezzanotte (!!!!) e si chiamano da villaggio a villaggio... insomma, le prime notti non ho dormito e poi sono passata ai sonniferi, mentre gli altri si sono abituati. In ogni caso, questa cosa non è piaciuta a nessuno e sette anni fa non avevamo avuto questo problema, forse perche' la casa che avevamo affittato era un po' lontana dal villaggio ? Non saprei, in generale ho visto il numero di galli aumentato di tanto!

Tornerò a Niue, magari fra altri sette anni, chissà, nel frattempo mi riguardo le foto di adesso e di sette anni fa, e noto con piacere che l'isola ha mantenuto tutta la sua bellezza, qui tutti i post utili su Niue.

Cartoline da Niue!

C'è solo un resort in Niue, Scenic Matavai Resort, siamo andati una sera a cena e per ascoltare musica, molto carino (anche loro però hanno galli che cantano tutta la notte!).

Artigianato locale

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


Related Posts with Thumbnails