Friday, February 28, 2014

Sweet New Zealand #31 Recap

Thank you all who took part in Sweet New Zealand this February, and welcome to the recap! I am pleased to tell you also that you all won these products, courtesy of Fresh As, so please send me an email with your postal address. I look forward to see how you will use them! Also remember that next edition of Sweet New Zealand will be hosted by Frances from Bake Club.

I posted my first entry with the announcement for Sweet New Zealand, and because these days I am really into juices it had to be one!

But then I also posted something a bit more decadent… still, these Italian macaroons are dairy and gluten free, so I almost feel saintly!

Frances from the Bake Club

After many raw entries Frances has baked again, and a yummy banana loaf with walnuts and chocolate chips. Frances is also going to be the host for the next Sweet NZ, so look out for her announcement!

Me again, this had to go in, it was so delicious, a real summer trifle, and I used agar agar for the boysenberry jelly (as well as my husband's good - but not the most prized, whisky)

Marnelli and Christienne from Sweets and Brains

Marnelli seems to be the creative mind behind this one, and after disposing of her old mulfunctioning freezer she now has a new one and can make ice creams like this one. Good one! It looks delicious!

Allison from Pease Pudding

Well, you know how I feel about smoothies and juices, so you can imagine how I love these, and the pic of the first green smoothie is so pretty!

Lesley from eat, etc

In her post Lesley is talking about being able to eat nuts again since her allergic child (boy or girl Lesley?) has grown up and left the nest. And what a start! I love a nutty loaf.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fresh Borlotti Beans

I love shelling fresh beans from the garden, especially borlotti, as they are so pretty!
I usually put fresh beans in soups, or boil them to make a salad (and keep the water for a soup). To cook them slowly in a frying pan takes a bit longer, but they are delicious!

Chop a small red onion and sauté with a little olive oil for a few minutes, then add the borlotti. Stir and add a little water and salt, cover and check form time to time, stirring well and adding more water when needed. It takes about a hour (or more if you simmer on low), so be patient. No need to add tomato paste as the onion will almost melt and make a nice colored sauce. Taste for salt at the end and adjust with black pepper, if you like. 1000 times better than baked beans!

Another bit of news, I am well over the 200,000 page views per month now, so thank you for all of you that visited this blog. :-)

Sweet Reminder

Kiwi Bloggers: remember also that there is one day left to enter your recipe for Sweet NZ, (click here for the instructions) to be in the draw to win two delicious packs of Fresh As products: Raspberry Powder and Strawberries slices. 

 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Boysenberry and whisky trifle and win Fresh As Products!

 I made this a month ago for my husband's birthday (he likes boysenberries). For the first layer I made a vegetarian jelly with agar agar, you can follow the recipe here, but instead of pineapple powder I used a handful of frozen boysenberries. When the agar agar was set I added a layer of sponge soaked in whisky (up to you how much, but don't use cheap whisky unless you want a cheap dessert!). Then I made a vanilla creme like this one and covered the sponge. Finally I added whipped cream and boysenberries. 


Sweet NZ imageThis recipe is for Sweet New Zealand #31, the blogging event open to all Kiwi bloggers (living in NZ or overseas) and expats blogging from NZ. I am the host for February, so if you like to enter a sweet recipe please contact me, or click here for the instructions. As a bonus if you enter this month you will be in the draw to win two delicious packs of Fresh As products: Raspberry Powder and Strawberries slices. You can enter old recipes as long as you add the SNZ logo. You can enter as many times as you like, winners will be chosen with, so you just need to be lucky!

 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Special Fresh As Give Away for Sweet New Zealand, and amaretti macaroons.

Attention all food bloggers and friends of Sweet New Zealand:

Remember to enter your sweet recipes this month (info here - I am hosting so you will need to email me the entries) by February 27th and you will be in the draw to win two delicious packs of Fresh As products: Raspberry Powder and Strawberries slices. You can enter old recipes as long as you add the SNZ logo. You can enter as many times as you like, winners will be chosen with, so you just need to be lucky!

Amaretti Macarons 

After the marzipan here are some amaretti, also made using apricot kernels together with almonds. These are the perfect gluten free biscuits, maybe next time I will make them without blanching the almonds (for a darker colour) except for the apricot kernels: these must be blanched and skin removed as it is poisonous. I add apricot kernels because they taste and smell delicious, like Amaretto liqueur.


200 g almonds
A few Apricot kernels (up to 20)
200 g raw sugar
3 egg whites

Blanch the almonds and apricot kernels in boiling water to remove the skins, then grind in a food processor with half of the sugar (100 g). Whip the egg white until foamy with the remaining sugar (adding one spoon at the time). Fold in the almonds. Spoon on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at 100°C for an hour or until the bottom of the amaretti comes off easily from the baking paper. Let them dry for a night before eating. They last a long time (if you don't eat them first!).

Sweet NZ image

This recipe is for Sweet New Zealand #31, the blogging event open to all Kiwi bloggers (living in NZ or overseas) and expats blogging from NZ. I am the host for February, so if you like to enter a sweet recipe please contact me, or click here for the instructions. Also let me know if you are keen to be a host in 2014, and book a month!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A yummy recipe from Slow Food Waitakere: Onion Weed Dip

Here is another recipe from our Forage to Feast event held by Slow Food Waitakere: onion weed dip. Foraging is healthy and environmentally friendly, and foraging onion weed in Auckland and Waitakere is easy - remember that onion weed is, in fact, a weed, so it can be removed safely!

Onion weed freezes well, just wash and cut into pieces. Every part can be eaten: bulb, stem, leaves and flowers, just make sure that it has not been sprayed or been near busy roads and dogs. To make this dip you just need some creamy feta cheese and onion weed (fresh or frozen). Blend, adding a tiny little bit of water (or olive oil if you prefer) to thin the sauce down if needed. No salt is required as feta is already salty. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and then serve as a dip or spread.

Onion weed can be collected in Spring and stored in the freezer for months. It can also be used in cooking in place of onions, spring onions, chives, leeks and garlic.

 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mostly raw: two juices and a lunch box

While summer produce abounds it is easy to make juices and to eat more raw food.
Green juices are the best, of course, above celery, cucumber and green apple, light and refreshing.

 This one is a smoothie and the kids made it: melon, natural apple juice, banana and apricot, decorated with borage flowers.

And below a fruit lunch box: grapes, melon, watermelon, strawberries and wild strawberries (these are from the garden), plum and apricot, plus some mini pikelets. Easy as!

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Raw, vegan and gluten free? Homemade marzipan

Yesterday I met Kate and Liz here and brought along some homemade marzipan. Note that this is RAW, VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE, so it seems to cover most of the current food trends :-). Click here to see the recipe and step by step images (including how to use apricot kernels). Note that for colouring this time I didn't use berry juice but Fresh As raspberry powder, and also quite a bit of spiraling powder for a darker green hue. The nuts on top are optional, of course.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sushi in a bowl - Chirashi-zushi

I like chirashi-zushi, sushi in a bowl, a part form the fact that you save time, it also looks pretty. For topping you can add what you fancy, here I have avocado, salted sakura (cherry blossoms), nori (cut with a craft puncher) takuan (Pickled daikon), cherry tomatoes and ume paste (I use wasabi but the kids wanted ume…). A perfect light lunch for summer!

Sushi rice

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. Once the rice is ready pour it into a bowl and stir it with a wooden spatula, cooling it with a fan if you can. I then add some ready made sushi vinegar, about 2 tablespoons, but this is my personal taste. If I don't have sushi vinegar I use 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, a little sugar and a little salt (to taste, and I don't like to use too much sugar or salt!). Spoon the rice in a bowl and add your topping. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi on the side, like for rolled sushi.

And now the weekly photos of flowers for my Pinterest Boards, to cheer me up! This morning I tried to delete a spam comment and by mistake I remove almost 100 comments (no spam, your comments!). I tried to get them all back manually and it took ages, plus I am sure that I lost some… blame the spammers! 

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Refreshing orange and carrot juice, garden produce and flops

The juice of the day is just carrots and orange. Usually I have this in winter, but I had a couple of oranges to use and it is refreshing (it has been hot!)

In the garden: we ate all our first corn, and it was sweet and delicious, but I now would like to ask a question to all gardeners out there: when can I pick the second ears of corn? The are still so small...

Zucchini: the ratio in my garden seems to be three yellow for every green one! This happens every year, I wonder why the yellow plant produces lots, and the green one doesn't!
Tomatoes: after a good start only the cherry tomatoes are doing well, the plum tomatoes and beef tomatoes… well, both plants got sick and only gave me a few tomatoes in the end (and the beef are quite small). Maybe I should plant them in boxes in the sun next year! Fortunately I have a zillion plants of cherry tomatoes (mostly self seeding) coming up now, so I am picking about a dozen a day now and the harvest should increase in the next few weeks. The yellow and black cherry tomatoes are not producing yet, but I did plant them later, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a few more weeks of summer!

Off topic, but let's celebrate, I got over 150,000 page views in the last month :-)!

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, February 8, 2014

St Valentine breakfast (or dessert) melon, and more heart inspired ideas

This is perfect if you:

A: follow a raw diet
B: prefer fruit to dessert
C: are on a diet
D: forgot that it is St Valentine and need to make something quickly!

All you need is a knife and a hear shaped cookie cutter. My heart cookie cutters get lots of use, look at some St Valentine examples from the past years:

Heart Biscuits for Saint Valentine
These are decorated with fondant icing, just roll the fondant and cut using the same cookie cutter as for the biscuit below. Brush the (baked) biscuit with a little jam and place the cut out fondant on top for a smooth finish. For more ideas click here.

And these are Vegan

Heart Sushi and Onigiri for Saint Valentine

Vegan sushi shaped like hearts (like in this photos, you can find the link here),  I use a sushi rolling mat for the sushi, but a cookie cutter for the onigiri.

Heart Salad? 
Daikon and beetroot salad, using cookie cutters (and not only hearts)

Heart Cake Pops

Chocolate fondant heart pops, click here

Inside a Heart 
No cookie cutter here, but I love this strawberry pudding! And the chance to take out my heart bowls .


I made these years ago: a Twilight appetizer (tomatoes, EVO oil and Modena balsamic) and Twilight dessert (Black sesame agar agar with rose syrup and rose petals).
They are classy and they are all Vegan, click here to read.

Rich Chocolate, and hand made heart flags

From my book Party Food for Girls, Photo by Shaun Cato-Symonds, Recipe by Alessandra Zecchini © I used the cookie cutter to draw the outlines of the paper hearts.

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini


Related Posts with Thumbnails