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 ©


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