Friday, August 24, 2018

Potato salad with Fresh As Tarragon, capers and Friarielli flowers, plus focaccia with Fresh As herbs


I have been trying a few freeze dried herbs from Fresh As and this potato salad is definitely a winner.

Boil the potatoes and peel, then cut and mix with mayo and capers. Sprinkle with Fresh As French Tarragon. I also added some edible flowers from my friarielli (cime di rapa) plants.



The friarielli seeds come for Italian Seeds Pronto, such a great winter crop! Eat the leaves, tips and flowers!


I also tried other Fresh As powders: chili, garlic, oregano, basil and rosemary (plus the French Tarragon) on focaccia. I used letter stencils before adding the powders, just to record what went where. FYI, the garlic becomes orange after baking.





Delicious, and also pretty in a bread basket!


And on some fried eggplants (added after frying, with salt).



 Flowers from my garden








 Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Niue, eating vegetarian from a plantation



Last month we returned to Niue for a holiday, and one of the first things we did was a Plantation Tour with Tony, like seven year ago, to stock up with local produce for a plant based diet. Naturally we started with some fresh coconut to drink.



And some marshmallow coconut to eat. 


We took back quite a lot of young coconuts, from a small one I could get two big glasses of coconut water, if it was a bit bigger two and an half glasses.


After drinking we used the tender flesh, you can just eat it as it is, or use it in cooking (the best was to pan-fry it with olive oil and smoked salt and eat it as 'vegan bacon'. Then we gave the shells to the cat and it cleaned it up! Never seen a cat eating coconut!



Click here for more coconut recipes and creations in Niue.


Next was taro, so much taro, white and pink!






And cassava, a white and a yellow type (I prefer the yellow).



And a type of wild spring onion, very tasty. We also got some basil.


Ginger abounds too, if you are keen.


And this is our bounty!


Taro is very starchy and filling, I made some salads, one with boiled taro, olive oil, salt, basil and spring onions. 


And one with boiled taro, mayo and spring onions.


I also boiled the cassava and then roasted half with olive oil and salt, while the other half I mushed and mixed with falafel mix to make veggie burgers (ok, they don't look 'pretty' but they were pretty good). More recipes here.


No much tropical fruit around a part from bananas, papaya and coconut, but I loved the papayas with a drizzle of Niue Honey and lime or lemon juice.



And for dessert: papaya, banana and young coconut flesh fruit salad, with rum and a little sugar. 


And here something we DIDN"T eat: Uga crab.


And some pretty fish!




Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


Monday, July 2, 2018

Stufato di verdura - vegetable stew


I love chopping colourful veggies, what a treat! 

For this stufato (like a casserole) I used red onions, celery, red, green and yellow capsicums and carrots. Gently sauté the vegetables with olive oil, then add plenty of tomato passata and salt to taste (or an organic vegetable stock cube). Cover and simmer on low for a long time (the longer the better), adding a little water if needed.


A couple of minutes before turning off the heat add some fresh basil leaves and a little more olive oil, plus salt to taste. Enjoy hot or cold.


Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


Friday, June 22, 2018

Pitako - coconut and banana bread from Niue



I have been attending Niue language classes at the Pasifika Education Centre in Auckland, and a few weeks back we also learned to cook Pitako, a type of 'bread' made with grated coconut and bananas (green and ripe) - only! Obviously vegan, sugar and gluten free, very Paleo :-). 


Ingredients: fresh coconut to grate, green bananas, ripe bananas.



Volu e niu ke he apa
Grate the coconut 


Fakapelapela e tau fua futi momoho, fole e tau fua futi ti holo kehe apa.
Mash the ripe banana, peel and grate the green banana into a large bowl.





Lafi fakalataha e futi holo mo e futi momoho mo e niu volo.
Mix the grated green banana, mashed ripe banana and grated coconut.
(for a sweeter pitako add more mashed banana, add more green banana for a less sweet Pitako, I also put a few drops of lemon juice, and next time I will add a pinch of salt - these are not in the recipe but my own additions).


Loegi e laufuti mo e fakatoka e foila mo e taga tao kai.
Hafi e Pitako.
Prepare oven bag and foil or banana leaf. 
Wrap.
In class we used tin foil and baking paper, but at home I had banana leaves (need to be washed and scorched over a flame to soften and remove the central vein to soften. I used the banana leaves to wrap, and then also tin foil on the outside.



Tao ke taha moe hafa kehe ua e tala.
Bake for 2 and an half hours.
(I baked for one hour at 180C, then turned the oven off and left inside for the night, it turned out fine!)


Kai vela poke kai momoko, hahau.
Take out, eat hot or cold.


Taumofa!
Dig in!


Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

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