Thursday, April 30, 2009

Slow Foodies and Slow gardeners

Slow Foodies and Slow gardeners

For those of you who want to try and grow a few vegetables but are truly frightened about huge expanses of dirt that you know will grow weeds, you are now able to take a small area of the raised mounds in the Slow Food’s plot at the Ranui Community Garden to gradually learn how to grow your food.

This plot has all day sun. There are no trees to shade the plants. It is the perfect place to produce masses of vegetables.

I now have three freezers full of broad beans, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini and garlic, not to mention a large kitchen shelf with sauerkraut, preserved eggplant, lacto-fermented zucchini and cabbage, preserved artichokes, pickled vegetables, green beans preserved in brine, dried tomatoes in oil and all my preserved fruit.  And I hardly bought a vegetable all summer. Plus we use the vegetables for our cooking classes at the Ranui Community House.


For those of you who would like to try but don’t know the first thing about how to grow things, there are classes for you too.  The next one is on Saturday the 16th May - “Grow Your Own Vegetables” - from 10am till 2pm in at my house Ranui. I think it will cost around $40. You will need to book by phoning 833 6280 and you will be given directions and a list of things to bring – gumboots and lunch etc.


I am always happy to help Slow Foodies who take a part of the plot, but I am not readily available through out the week to spend time with people. This class gives you a good set of notes, which we go through thoroughly during the day, so you understand the basics of organic gardening and you will be taught how to raise plants from seed, how to transplant seedlings so they survive, how to prepare a piece of dirt for planting and you will go away with a few plants as well.


Karen Perri

 Below are some photos of the Slow Food Waitakere plot. Karen and Nick did a lot of weeding and raised the beds, and there is space for more planting. 

Slow Food Waitakere 3rd Birthday Party and AGM with wood-fired pizza

Slow Food Waitakere 3rd Birthday Party
and AGM
with wood-fired pizza
Sunday 17 May 2009
at Sue and Dan Greig's
5 Waima Cres
Woodlands Park
Waitakere City
Tel 817 8297
RSVP to Alessandra
Tel 814 8993
by 15 May

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


From my garden...
Tamarillo Tango

Photo by Alessandra Zecchini©

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mexican Salsa Verde

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©
Here are my tomatillos, some are little, some are huge...but they all taste great...
I asked my Mexican primo Alejandro for a salsa verde recipe and this is what he told me:

"About the tomatillos, you can cook them, but if you have time to roast them, much better.

For about 2 kilos of tomatillo use  50 ml of vegetable oil, add 2/3  onions, 4-5 garlic cloves, green chilli, cilantro (as you wish, I use a lot). Salt (as you wish) NO SUGAR. Some people who work with preserves suggest to put sugar to diminish the vinegar flavor. And vinegar. Someone told me that if you put 100ml of vinegar per litre, it preserves well (as long as is refrigerated), and the flavor of the vinegar is not to strong, so there is no need for sugar. Normally big companies put more vinegar and sugar because the product is not refrigerated.

Make some test, with sugar and without and see what happens. I kept some salsas in the fridge for up to 3 months without problems. Frozen salsa may last up to a year or more. "

So I tried with no sugar and little vinegar for a fresh salsa verde to be eaten within a week:

Roast the tomatillos first, then place in a pot with the other ingredients (adding the cilantro at the end) and boil up. Then I used the blender (even if you use an electric blender the seed will remain whole), not sure if Alejandro would approve....
I use this salsa within a week: delicious!

Then I added a bit more vinegar and sugar for a second version, to preserve. 

Place the hot salsa verde in sterilised jars, dried in the oven. Seal the jars with cellophane covers (available in supermarkets) secured with an elastic band, or capsule lids (I use Quattro Stagioni brand). If using capsule lids, place the jars in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the jars. Let the jars cool down in the pot overnight and when they are cold make sure that the capsule has popped by pressing gently on the lid. Cellophane covered jars will last for several months and capsule lid jars for up to one year.

And I put one in the freezer...just to see what happens...

Crema with Passion Fruit

For the crema use 2 free range eggs, mix with 3 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of flour. Add slowly 500 ml of milk and simmer until it thickens, then add 1 drop of vanilla essence.  Stir while it cools and then store in the fridge. Before serving top with passion fruit.

Food Matters

The West Auckland branch of the Green Party is presenting a Green

Party food evening which includes a screening of the movie `Food Matters`

And  food discussion with Sue Kedgley and local Green Foodies Lisa Er

 (founder of Lisa`s Hummus) and Slow Food Waitakere member Karen Perri (Ranui community garden leader and food tutor)


 Thursday 23 April at 7.30pm


Location: Earthsong, 457 Swanson Road, Ranui


 Tickets: $10.00 ($5 unwaged) (All profits go to the Green Party)


 Tickets available on the night or to book contact Karen Perri 09


 or email>



`Food Matters` is a hard hitting, fast paced look at our state of

health. Despite the millions we spend on health, people are getting



 This movie examines the business of disease and the safe, cheap and

 effective use of nutrition for preventing illness. Produced by James

 Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch. <>


 See you there

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

Photo By Alessandra Zecchini ©
The big egg shell is made with dark chocolate and ricies, the small egg with ribbon with marzipan covered with dark chocolate.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tame Eels, Motueka, Golden Bay and Farewell Spit

Reportage fotografico del nostro viaggio a Golden Bay e Farewell Spit, includendo Motueka e un coffee shop/parco dove puoi dare da mangiare alle anguille, cosa interessante per i bambini, si sono divertiti, le anguille erano grosse e saltavano fuori dall'acqua per prendere da mangiare (carne macinata)... insomma, ancora una volta i Kiwi sanno inventare cose dal nulla per attirare turisti! Per il resto il viaggio è stato bello, il tempo non sempre, giornate calde a altre piovose, un peccato per i panorami perché' Farewell Spit è molto bello.

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


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