Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Honey of an Evening

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat:
They took some honey,
and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note
(Edward Lear)

Join us for an evening of great food, company and honey. Slow Food Waitakere are holding a fundraising dinner to help send local bee keepers and honey producers Karlene and Terry Shaw-Toomey from ‘Earthbound Honey’ to Terra Madre, a conference for small scale food producers, cooks, academics and others from around the world, which takes place in Italy this October.

All are welcome!

Bookings essential

Saturday 11 September, 7pm
Opanuku Studio

Corban Estate Arts Centre 426 Great North Rd, Henderson, Waitakere City

Tickets $45pp ($20 kids) for a fabulous three course meal $40/$18pp if you pay on line before 4th Sept)

A cash bar will be available

For bookings please email: Steve Kesler,

Or for more information phone: Claire Inwood 812 8192, 021 239 2809

For more information about Terra Madre see:

Hope to see you there.


The Slow Food Waitakere Committee

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bella Belluno

Belluno is one of the cutest cities ever.
Surrounded by the Dolomite Mountains
its name derives from the Celtic language:
belo-donum, which means splendid hill.
It is small (population 35,000), elegant,
quiet, and hardly any tourists around!

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

In a bakery I got some traditional breads (including pumpkin bread) and then Kiffel, a sort of savoury croissant, typical of the area. In German the kiffel are called Kipfels, I found a recipe here, I have to say that the ones I got in Belluno were superb, with linseed and sunflower seeds, if I'll have time I will try to make them one day... :-)

Or maybe I'll go back to Belluno!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Orecchiette with chilli white eggplants

The eggplants come from my aunt veggie garden, and they really look like eggs! The chilli is from a pot on my mum's kitchen window. Even if these days I am not eating from my own garden I am taking advantage of theirs.

Put the chilli and garlic in a pan with olive oil, fry for a few minutes and then add the eggplants, cubed. Stir often until the eggplants start to colour. Add a little water and salt and cover with a lid. Stew the eggplants, stirring often and adding water if necessary, until they are soft. At the end add half a cup of chopped parsley, a little olive oil and, if you like, some more chopped garlic and even chopped chili (but only if you like it super spicy!). Cook and drain the orecchiette pasta and then dress with the eggplants. Delicious!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another book

No space for home-grown food? Think again. My friend Fionna Hill has written a book on Nature’s Own superfood – Microgreens – which can be grown on your windowsill.

How To Grow Microgreens by Fionna Hill

Here’s a book that could revolutionise your household meals, keep away those winter chills and get your green thumb working...

Microgreens – the tiny seedlings of herbs and vegetables – pack a powerful punch. Larger than sprouts and smaller than ‘baby’ salad greens, they nutritionally contain higher levels of active plant compounds than mature plants or seeds and can easily be grown in containers on a terrace or windowsill.

With Microgreens, you don’t wait weeks or months for them to come to maturity; most varieties are ready in a week and you can grown them right through winter. Microgreens are the new big thing in growing your own food globally.

This book describes How to Grow Your Own Microgreens with detailed information on 20 popular varieties. The many recipes within the book include salads, nibbles, drinks, sandwiches, dips, soups, desserts, stuffings, wraps, children’s food and garnishes.

Offering a range distinct flavours, from spicy, mild and subtle to hot or nutty and in a multitude of colours...what are you waiting for?!

For further information, for extracts, for an interview with Fionna Hill or review copy requests please contact:

Penny Hartill, Hartill Communications Ltd, 09 445 7525, 021 721 424,

Monday, August 16, 2010


Awakening young readers to the wonders that surround them is the kaupapa (mission) of Sharing Our Stories, a group of committed young leaders who today release their first book in English and Te Reo editions.

The Castle in our Backyard (in English) and Te Pā Kaha kei tō tatōu Iāri (in Māori) is the first book by group member Malcolm Paterson, and is illustrated by young Karekare artist Leah Mulgrew.

Released to mark Māori Language Week/Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, the book invites young readers to enter the history of Auckland’s One Tree Hill/Maungakiekie alongside two modern-day characters.

Tui and his cousin Jennifer are too busy playing a video game to want to visit Maungakiekie – until their Nanny Marei tells them the mountain’s got giants and fortresses, just like their game.

Sharing Our Stories grew as a team project under a leadership programme of the Committee for Auckland.

“We hope that by becoming more aware of our rich history, New Zealanders will enhance their pride in our unique heritage,” said Malcolm Paterson.

The books, from Waitakere City publisher Libro International, are available at good bookstores and online.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Palio of Feltre 2010

I am in Feltre now, my mother's small town in the North East of Italy, under the Dolomiti mountains. I hope to have more opportunities to blog about this place, but for now I just want to leave you with some images of the Palio of Feltre, a three days' festivity which included dinners, races, markets, games, drummers and flag weavers, parades, costumes, music, fireworks and everything that makes you feel that Italy is a magic place.

Last year I wrote an article about it in the Australian press ( here the Italian version) and previously I have written about it in the Japanese, New Zealand and local press. I will do something for next year, to publicize it before the next Palio, which always takes place in the first week-end of August, but just to let you know: this year winner was Duomo, which I congratulate, even if our family supports Santo Stefano....

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

I would like to thank Sue for visiting me from New Zealand to see Feltre and the Palio, and blogger friend Sasa, who lives in Austria and also managed to come to Feltre to meet me. Sorry Sasa if I wasn't able to get you some drummer boys, next time we will time it better :-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

A week in Cagliari and around...

We just spent a wonderful week in Cagliari, Sardinia, in the company of good friends, with clear skies, green and blue waters, white rocks, sweet watermelons, sand castles, sails, ice creams and... I want to go back!!! Anyway, I have already talked about Sardinia here, I even added a new wonderful vegetarian restaurant on the guide, so I will let the pics do the talking now.

Photos by Giuseppina, Arantxa and Alessandra ©


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