Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sicily and Almonds

I talked already about Trapani and Erice here, so I won't go on about it, just a few pics, because this time my husband came with me, and because I am crazy about almond sweets! I got this one in Erice.

My husband liked Erice, in particular the temple of Venus, the ancient walls (I really like Daedalus' walls!) and the view.

A part from almond sweets there is coral and ceramic to buy in Erice, but I feel a bit funny about buying coral, I asked in the shop if they can fish for coral and they say yes, if you go out and deep enough. I decided to go for the ceramic.

And then something new for me too, one day we took the ferry and went to the island of Favignana. It rarely rains in that place, and guess what! We rented bikes and started touring the island and got drenched! It was quite funny (in retrospective) as there was so much water and not a single place or tree where to take shelter! Pedal pedal we got to a seaside resort with a little bar and walked in, so wet that everybody sitting there looked at us and smiled (or laugh!). And then, after two barley coffees and a beer the cloud moved towards Trapani.

The sun came out and I felt like incy wincy spider, drying up again (well, my hair took a bit longer but at least my dress wasn't see-through anymore!)

Incredible, after the tempest the sky was really blue, and Favignana looked really pretty and shiny!

The rest of the time we stayed in Trapani, and visited the old city centre and the seaside front.

The city centre is small and easy to walk around. I found it interesting how this looks and feel so different from the 'almost pueblo' style of other parts of the city, even the part were where we stayed, which was just a five minutes bus ride to the centre. Here the view from our window...

And here the city centre:

On our last day I really wanted to take home some almond sweets, so I went in this famous patisserie in the city centre (I don't remember the name... Enza???) which they told me was very good.

I did get my sweets, and some marzipan fruit too, once again my husband could not believe how I could queue for 25 minutes just to buy some sweets (and there were only two customers in front of me!) I guess that he doesn't share my obsession for almonds sweets...

He did have cannoli though, and ice cream, and I had granita (mulberry) and more ice cream in a brioche... and basically most of my diet in those 5 day in Sicily consisted of sweets... and I think that I still have about 100 types still to try. That will be another trip :-)!

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coconut and Eastern Herbs Pumpkin Soup

One day long time ago I started adding coconut cream and fresh coriander to my pumpkin soup... and my life changed!

The fact is that I always found creamed pumpkin soup a little... predictable?
It always tasted the same to me!

This time I also added some Vietnamese mint (one of the few herbs still alive in my garden) and the result was a fragrant pumpkin soup.

Another thing that I have to say about pumpkin is that I hate cutting it! So this time I roasted the whole pumpkin first, in the oven, for well over an hour... can't remember really, but I was baking other stuff and I thought of putting in the pumpkin too, and after a while I added an onion, peeled.

In the end the pumpkin was so soft that I could cut it with a spoon! I removed the skin and seeds and placed it in a pot with the onion. I added vegetable stock and then I blended everything. Finally I added one can of coconut cream and simmered it for 15 minutes. I turned the stove off, then I added some fresh chopped coriander and a couple of stalks (with leaves!) of fresh Vietnamese mint (to be removed before eating).

This is my number one pumpkin soup, definitely!

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cheese making class with Natalie Carrard

Upcoming Slow Food Waitakere Event

Cheese making class with Natalie Carrard - Sunday 7th November

Come learn the art of cheese making with Natalie Carrad at her family farm near Helensville. Natalie will cover how to make mascarpone, panir, four types of yogurt and yogurt cheeses, cottage cheese, quark, cream cheese, slipcote, feta, haloumi, andricotta. Notes will be providedfor all the cheeses.

For the very reasonable price of $55, not only will you learn about how to make these cheeses you will also get to take home some haloumi, ricotta and a Caspian seayogurt starter, and the following week some feta will be available.

The morning will mostly be demonstrations and the afternoon is hands-on and with everyone working as a team to make the feta, haloumi and ricotta. There is lots of tasting so please don’t to eat too much for breakfast!

Please bring a spare pair of clean shoes to change into at the door to wear in the cheese room. Crocs or jandals are easy to slip on and off but anything so long as they are clean is fine.

There will also be consumables and equipment available to buy on the day for those who want to go home and make their own cheese.

Milk (BRING YOUR OWN CONTAINER) $1.20 per litre

Freeze dried yoghurt starter $5 starter packet

Freeze dried cheese starter $5 starter packet

250 ml calf rennet $20

Floating dairy Thermometer (glass) $40

Plastic tubes for slipcote or camembert $2 each

Where: 1882 St Highway 16 (approx 35 mins from centralAuckland - see map at bottom of email)

When: Sunday 7 November. Starts at 10am, finishes at 5pm

Bring some thing for a shared lunch (bring a plate to eat off)

Cost: Slow Food Members $55, Non Members $60 ($10 Slow Food donation towards Terre Marde fundraising). Payable on the day - please bring cash or a cheque (made out to Slow Food Waitakere). There is noeftpost available.

Places are limited to 12 people so book soon!

Bookings are essential - email or phone Sue Greig on 817 8297 secure a place.

Natalie’s number: 027 2757 212

Kind regards,

The Slow Food Waitakere Committee

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


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