Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Los Angeles Venice Beach

Entering Venice
Our holiday started in LA, first time here for me, so I am quite excited to visit a new city, and to play tourist at the very photogenic Venice Beach.

Max and the family buying CDs from street punters

Skate park


Mao's Kitchen
Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Have a great holiday!

Dear all, have a great Summer Holiday (if you are South).
Xxoox Alessandra

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Meri Kirihimete me ngā mihi o te tau hou ki a koutou katoa

Meri Kirihimete me ngā mihi o te tau hou ki a koutou katoa

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all

Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo

Manuia le Kerisimasi, ma le Tausaga Fou

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année


Fröhliche Weihnachten
und ein gutes neues Jahr

¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!

聖誕快樂 新年快樂

Photo by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Parmesan and Borage fritters: four ingredients, gluten free!

Borage flowers are perfect for fritters, and for many other recipes, but I mostly use them for fritters because everyone loves them.

Borage flowers and young leaves (or other edible flowers)
3 free range eggs
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Olive oil for frying.

 Pick the top of the plant as soon as it flowers, about 10 cm of stem with a few young leaves too. Don't wait until the flowers make seeds, these are too hard to eat!!! Rinse the stems well and several times and drip dry them. You can also use zucchini flowers for this, I had just a three in the garden and in they went into a batter made by whisking three eggs with a tbsp of parmesan cheese. Fry with extra virgin olive oil turning once until golden and crispy, and serve hot (but even cold leftovers are great to put into a sandwich, if you manage to save some, that is!).

Would you like more recipes for borage flowers? Try these:

Also check out the blog Cooking with Flowers for more ideas and recipes using edible flowers.

What else is in the garden now? New potatoes! Yum!

And the first tomatoes, finally!

And to finish a couple of photos of flowers in Nan's garden in Christchurch!

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wonderful Italian cheese in New Zealand

Mature cheeses from Emilio's cheese

I had a lovely dinner in Christchurch with Italian friends, and met local cheesemonger Emilio Festa of Emilio's cheese. I love cheese and this was a fantastic opportunity for me to try some NZ made Italian style cheese with a glass of Cracroft Chase Pinot Gris (my favourite Pinot Gris made in NZ by Italian Wilma and Alessandro Laryn). 

Emilio and Adriana
Fresh cheeses from Emilio's cheese
I cannot say which was my favourite cheese, they were all so delicious that it was too hard to decide, but I was moved when Emilio took out the crescenza, something so difficult to find here in New Zealand! I took some home for the family and everybody loved it!

Crescenza from Emilio's cheese

Pity that Emilio's cheese is only sold locally and doesn't make it to Auckland, but if you go to Canterbury check out the local Farmers' Markets around Chch, and Emilio's FB Page to find out where his cheeses are sold.
Only by supporting good local artisan cheesemongers we can truly develop great cheeses in New Zealand.

Photo by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Do you know the name of these Campanula flowers, and Vegan chocolate pudding with strawberries and edible flowers

Sue gave me these beautiful flowers, the purple ones smell like honey, so delicious!
I believe that they are a type of Campanula (bell flowers), but I don't know the exact name. 
Do you?

Vegan chocolate pudding with strawberries and edible flowers

Arantxa picked flowers from the garden: roses, lavender, sage, violets and nasturtiums 
 I made my trusted vegan chocolate pudding, and since we are in season I wanted to top it with some strawberries, and maybe some flowers too? So I asked Arantxa to look after this.

For 4 puddings:
500 ml oragnic soy milk (I use Vitasoy, either Original, Milky or Calci Plus)
2 tbsp raw sugar
1 heap tbsp cocoa (the better the cocoa the better the flavour, so don't go for cheap baking cocoa, but for 'hot chocolate' quality)
1 tbsp cornflour
Natural Vanilla essence (or a little cinnamon if you prefer)
Strawberries and edible flowers to finish.

Dissolve the dried ingredients with a little soy milk to make a paste, then add the rest of the milk and mix well. Put on the stove on low and, always stirring, bring to simmering point. Make sure that you stir well, especially around the borders and bottom of the pot, so that the pudding has a smooth consistency. As soon as it start thickening turn the element off, add the vanilla essence (if using) and keep stirring until it has cooled down a bit. Divide into 4 dessert ramekins or small bowls (or teacups) and refrigerate. Cut the strawberries and place over the puddings, then add the petals of edible flowers (I think that maybe there was a bit much here, with lots of lavender, rose and sage aromas… but it was definitely a very perfumed dessert!).

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sweet New Zealand, this is the end!

Well, we did get to 40 months of uninterrupted Sweet NZ blogging events, and I really would like to thank all the host and all the bloggers who took part. All your recaps are listed here!

But in the last year the interest has diminished, in part due to the fact that I have also been too busy to blog and therefore follow the event properly (i.e. writing to bloggers to encourage them to enter), and in part due to the fact that I am not the only busy person around! Many NZ bloggers stopped writing, or are writing less and less. Recently I attended the NZ Guild of Food Writers conference and I was a bit sad to hear that the general perspective in the industry that the NZ Food blogging scene is, basically, negligible. I am not sure if this is true or not (what do you think?) and I like to think that there are still many bloggers out there that update regularly and keep a conversation going, but I am also sure that Sweet NZ is not sustainable anymore, and so I have decided to stop at 40. Thank you to Frances and Arfi who supplied the last recipes for this edition, here is a quick recap:

Raw, vegan and gluten free sweet for Christmas? Homemade marzipan From Only Recipes

Yorkshire curd tart by Frances from the Bake Club

Chocolate and plum mousse with Italian meringue base and Fresh As plum powder from Alessandra Zecchini

Strawberries with orange and cinnamon, by Alessandra Zecchini


Related Posts with Thumbnails