Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fresh Broad Bean Dip

This is the dip made with the children of Oratia School Enviro Group.
Shell the larger beans, cut the smaller beans. Boil in hot water for 4-5 minutes. Drain, add two peeled cloves of garlic and blend.
Add olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oratia School Garden

The school garden at Oratia District School was full of winter veggies.
We collected the veggies, cooked them together and ate them!
For a full report please go to

Sunday, October 26, 2008

One potato, two potatoes...

Thank you to all who attended the opening of the Waitakere Slow Food Photographic Award on 22 September 2008.

We had a great evening with wines provided by Coopers Creek and a Potato based menu:

Petite and Perlas potato canapés with sour cream and red caviar
Roast potato rolled canapés with rocket salad and gorgonzola piccante cheese
4 types of Focaccia with potatoes (just potato, potato and pesto, potato and Moroccan seasoning, and potato and cheese)
2 types of Spanish Tortillas (potato and red onion, and potato, spring onion and cheese)
Rich Potato and Chocolate Cake
Potato and corn meal gluten free soft biscuits
Thank you to Sue, Rosemarie and Annette for helping with the catering.

Keep scrolling down for the Rich Potato and Chocolate Cake recipe.


It was great to see such a variety of entries exhibited and on behalf of Slow Food Waitakere I would like to thank the artists who submitted a photo, and congratulate the winners:

Jill Jessop – K Road, 1970 (Society) Christine Johannis – Still Life with Mashed Potatoes (Food) Elizabeth Mertens – The Universal Vegetable (Amateur) Max Nyenkamp – My Favourite! (Special mention)

Thank you also to the Judge for the event, photographer John Chapman, to Lopdell House gallery manager Lesley Smith, Public Programmes Coordinator Mels Barton, and all the staff at the Lopdell House for their great support.

The event was possible thanks to the generosity of
A.S. Wilcox, Ecopac, and Fujifilm.

The exhibition will run until 16 November 2008.

Lopdell House Gallery
418 Titirangi Rd
Waitakere City
Ph 09 817 8087

Alessandra’s Rich Potato and Chocolate Cake

800 g potatoes
50g butter
400 g sugar
3 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50 ml Cointreau liquor
5 free range eggs
200 g self rising flour
2 tbsp candied citrus peels

For the chocolate ganache
250 g dark chocolate
250 ml cream
Candied citrus peels to decorate.

Peel and cut the potatoes. Boil until soft, and then place into a food processor with the butter. Mix until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, one at the time, and always mixing between additions. Fold in the citrus peels at the end. Line two 23 cm round cake tins (or equivalent size square tins) with baking paper. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for approximately 30-35 minutes. Take out of the oven but let the cakes cool completely in the tins before moving them it onto a serving plate. To make the ganache: gently melt the chocolate with the cream at bain-marie (double boiling). Spread the ganache over the cakes and sprinkle with some more citrus peels.

Serve cold, cut into very small pieces.

Recipe copyright © Alessandra Zecchini 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Building my vegetable garden

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini©

Over the last few days I have been planting a lot...but also harvesting!

Monday, October 13, 2008

One potato, two potatoes...

Slow Food Waitakere Photographic Awards 2008

One potato, two potatoes…

Wednesday 22 October 2008,
Lopdell House Gallery
418 Titirangi Rd
Waitakere City
Ph 09 817 8087

Winners will be announced on the evening.

Exhibition runs 23 October – 16 November 2008

This event was made possible with the support of:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oratia Farmers Market

Photo by Chris Hoult

The Oratia Farmers Market is on again!
Every Saturday, 9 am to 12 noon, at Artisan Wines - 99 Parrs Road - Oratia, Waitakere City
For more information contact:

Here are my picks from the market:

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini©

The best ice cream in Auckland,

Karlene & Terry, artisan beekeepers,

Bush honey, my favourite Earthbound Honey!

While Aldo and Mary-Ann are in Italy for Terra Madre,
Aldo's sons, Marco and Leon, are looking after the salads stall.

Go and visit them next Saturday!

Antoine making ravioli.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mini Rose Upside-down Cupcakes

Use the same recipe as
One sponge cake, many uses.
And a muffin/cupcake tin.
Tip the cupcakes.
Make a syrup with a little water,
sugar, and a tbsp of rose water.
Pour over the cupcakes and decorate
with rose buds.

The rose buds are dried
(Chinese Rose Tea)
Available in Chinese and Asian shops.
Rose Water is available in many
Middle Eastern shops.

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini©

Monday, October 6, 2008


From my garden this week...

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini©
Colourful carrots

Three broccoli heads left...

And broccolini

Camellia japonica


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Italian Film Festival

Director Silvio Soldini
photo by Alessandra Zecchini©

The 13th edition of the Italian Film Festival in Auckland opened on 1 October at the Rialto Cinemas in Newmarket. The Festival's special guest this year is Italian movie director Silvio Soldini, who was was officially welcomed to New Zealand with a Powhiri at the Marae of the University of Auckland. For more information about the Italian Film Festival please visit:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I inherited...

Rhododendron hardy hybrid or yakushimanum?
It has the leaves of the first and flowers of the latter...

Camellia reticulata?
This is a big tree sheltered by native trees.

Rhododendron ciliicalyx

This smells wonderful!

Arum lily

There was too much of this and it took a few years to control it down to a small clump.


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