Monday, June 30, 2014

Limoncello Zabaione

My mother told me that to make zabaione one must measure the marsala wine with the egg shell. I.e., for every egg yolk use 1 tsp of sugar and the broken eggshell of the same egg for the marsala. 

And it works, but for this zabaione I wanted to finish the end of a bottle of limoncello. Half an eggshell would it been too much!! So I just used a third of that. Hand beat the egg yolks, with the sugar, then put over a pot at Bain Marie (double booking) and keep beating, adding the limoncello little by little. Keep beating until the 'custard' is light and foamy. Pour into shot glasses (won't need any bigger, I can assure you, it is sweet, decadent and … alcoholic!).

The verdict? Although the taste was great and lemony (taking away that 'egg edge'), the small amount of liquid made this zabaione quite firm! Next time I may water down the limoncello, and go back to the eggshell measuring cup!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Poor Italy, Viva Mexico and an improvised Vegetarian Mexican dinner

Well, Italy is out of the World Cup, and I am just glad that I didn't get up at 4 am to watch it happen!
But before the games started the four members of our family picked another nation to support (random, out of a hat) and I got Mexico! You had to dress up, cook something and learn some facts and words from that country… I was lucky! I speak enough Spanish, I like Mexican food, I have been there, and my husband was going there for work that week! So he bought me back a Mexican team T-shirts (looks good) and also some tequila, some Mexican sweets and a cute little piñata donkey. 

Now a part from the sweets (some had milk) the dinner was actually Vegan and just improvised with what I had in the house. I also used tofu, instead of meat. I rubbed the tofu in a mixure of chili, salt, oregano (oregano seems to be the only dried herb really used all over Mexico, although the name is approximative - there are several varieties!) dried coriadner, cumin and smoked paprika. The doses were totally random! Then I sautéed the tofu with a little olive oil. I kept the tofu aside and used the same pot (with the very spicy oil) to sauté some chopped celery and onions, I added some rice, then a can of red beans, and finally a couple of cups of vegetable stock. Lid on and cooked the rice by absorption. In the end I added the tofu, just to warm it up.

For the Guacamole I followed this recipe, with the difference that I didn't have fresh coriander at home, but I used a bit of chili (I always have chili in the freezer). Also because this was a really rushed job (and I had the whole chili, seeds removed) I blended everything with an immersion blender. Quite different texture really, but nice for a change. The tortilla chips came from a packet. Well, this dinner took me 40 minutes to make (including cooking time), so Viva Mexico!!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, June 20, 2014

Torta Bianca allo Yogurt - White Yogurt Cake

I am very pleased with this recipe, of course I always eat all my experiments, even when I am not so happy about them, but this one… I devoured it! It was so soft and light, possibly the
softest-cake-with-taste ever (if you know what I mean… some 'soft' cakes taste like air, or like a bath sponge!!).

butter to grease the tin (I used a ring tin)
3 egg whites
300 g sugar
250 g plain yogurt (I used full fat)
300 g self raising flour
1 pinch of salt
one drop vanilla essence
icing sugar to dust (optional)

Grease the cake tin with butter. Beat the egg white until they form a peak. In another mixing bowl fold the sugar and yogurt with a wooden spoon. Add the flour, salt and vanilla essence and mix well, then add the beaten egg whites little by little and fold. Pour the mixture in the cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Dust with icing sugar if you like.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cavolo nero soup with chickpeas and pasta

A low fat, high protein vegan dish

1 bunch of cavolo nero
1 shallot
1.5 l vegetable stock
1 can chickpeas
plus the same amount of water
1 cup of small pasta 
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Wash the cavolo nero and remove the white stalks. Slice the shallot. Put everything in a pot with the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the content of the can of chick peas, plus a can of water. Simmer for other 30 minutes then blend with an immersion blend, but not too finely, leave some of the chickpeas whole. Bring back to the boil, add the pasta and simmer until the pasta is al dente. Taste for salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil before serving. It is actually better the day after!

And these are the bananas from my garden. I have another bunch on the tree, even greener. But they came a bit late this year and I a ma not sure how to make them ripe now. Any suggestions?

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, June 6, 2014

Homemade mascarpone with honey, pistachio and dried strawberries

Making mascarpone at home is one of my favourite occupations these days! A part from the 'magic' of it, and the resemblance to a chemistry experiment (I made this with Max, actually, he made it with me in the background giving instructions and liked doing it!) it is also so much cheaper, fresh and delicious that the one you buy! 

For the mascarpone recipe just click here, it is easier that you may think! When the mascarpone is ready just add a tbsp of honey (I used Tawari) and fold. Divide the mascarpone into 4 cups and it is ready to be eaten or topped with what you fancy. 

This time I just toasted a few pistachios in a pan, then I rub them with a tea towel to take away loose skins and chopped them coarsely. Then I also added some Fresh As dried strawberries, crunchy and full of flavour and aroma. A simple dessert that everyone loved!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sweet NZ image
This recipe is for Sweet New Zealand #35, the blogging event open to all Kiwi bloggers (living in NZ or overseas) and expats blogging from NZ. June's host is Amanda from Move Love Eat  Click here to share you sweet creations with the Sweet New Zealand team! Also let me know if you are keen to be a host in 2014, and book a month for you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Polenta e lenticchie (polenta with lentils)

Brrrr it is cold! I envy my friends in the Northern Hemisphere now that evenings are becoming chilly, but on the other hand I like to cook nice winter casseroles! This dish is vegan and gluten free, for the polenta recipe I just use polenta flour, water and salt and follow the packet instructions (real polenta takes about 45 minutes, the instant takes 5!). Usually I make soft polenta, thus adding a bit more water, but packet instructions tend to be for the 'harder' type, the one that you pour onto a wooden chopping board and then cut into slices. My nonna (Grandmother) used to make the hard one, and then she cut it with a string attached to the chopping board: no knife needed and even the youngest kids can do it!

For the lentils, wash the brown lentils with water and then soak for a little. Soaking is not really necessary but I like to do it so then I can give them another rinse and get rid off possible dirt that 'escaped' in the first wash. In the meantime sauté a finely chop carrot, celery stick with leaves and garlic (or onion) with two tbsp of olive oil, add the lentils and cover with vegetable stock. You can also add a tbsp of tomato paste, or some herbs, but this time I just added some chopped parsley at the end of cooking. Simmer the lentils as long as you can, stirring often and adding more water if necessary. Adjust with salt and pepper (and parsley) at the end, add another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and save hot, with slices of hot polenta.

And now a little gardening update: I picked this orchid stem from my garden, so happy to have some cut flowers even in winter, and in the garden they seem to attract ants, so it is better to keep them inside. They last a long time too. I have also collected all my pumpkins (4), one is quite big, the others not so, but considering that they came form a plant that I didn't plant I am happy! They look good too, too pretty to cut, but eventually they will get eaten! The Irises instead are not from my garden, but  I am seriously considering planting them, they are so pretty. I am not sure if they will do well in the bush though, anyone has them in their gardens in Auckland?

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


Related Posts with Thumbnails