Thursday, December 29, 2016

Stained glass Christmas Cookies

I usually make stained glass cookie windows for the cookie house at Christmas, but this year I didn't get round to making a cookie house (you can find a recipe here with step by step images if you like) so I made some cookies, just for fun! All you need to do is cut out the cookies with a central pattern and fill the hole with some crushed candy.

The candy will melt while the cookies are baking, and harden as they cool. 

 Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Fruit Platter with Balsamic

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena goes well with fruit, and there is also a Balsamic cream you can buy which is less expensive and ideal to decorate plates.

 Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Fried zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and basil

I have quite a few zucchini in the garden but not so many flowers yet, and I love fried zucchini flowers (you can find the step by step recipe here). So I decided to pick a few little zucchini with the flowers still attached and to stuff them. Clean the vegetables and flower, remove the stigma and the styles. Do not detach from the young zucchini. Mix a few tablespoons of ricotta with a pinch of salt, pepper, roughly broken basil leaves and a drop of olive oil. Stuff the flowers and twist the top to seal. Make a batter with egg, flour, a pinch of salt and thin with a little cold beer of water. Dip the zucchini and flowers in the batter to coat and then pan fry with olive oil, turning them so that they cook on all sides. They should be golden and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and serve. Use the remaining batter to coat zucchini slices, or sage leaves (look here!) or anything you like.

 Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, December 22, 2016

No waste post: Japanese style pickled radishes - and eat the leaves too!

I picked some lovely radishes from the vegetable garden, did you know that you can eat the leaves too? They are full of nutrients, as well as delicious!

Wash the radishes well, then cut in halves (or quarters if big), keeping attached some of the centre leaves. Set the outer leaves aside to use later.

These are the radishes (with the tender centre leaves) ready to pickle.

Add some salt, I used Japanese unrefined salt because I had it, but ordinary kitchen salt is fine.

Put another bowl over the radishes and then a weight on top (a rock, or anything heavy that you may have in the kitchen). Leave for a day and night, move the radishes from time to time if you like, to get them pressed. They will put out lots of water and create a brine.

This is what they will look like the day after.

Put into a jar with their brine and keep in the fridge (they will last a couple of weeks... maybe more but I don't know, we eat them quite quickly!

And now for the remaining leaves: since I had the above raw I decided to cook the rest for a few minutes in boiling water. 

Then I drained them and when cool I dressed them with soy sauce (gluten free readers can use tamari) and lemon juice. The portion looks small, but they are a perfect addition to a Japanese meal...

 like this one!

Vegan Japanese dinner with produce from my veggie garden

Clockwise from top left: rice with vegetable furikake, nimono of radish leaves, silken tofu with chrysanthemum leaves, rice with spinach, gari (pickled ginger). In the centre pickled radishes. Radishes, ginger, spinach and chrysanthemum all came from my garden

Yes chrysanthemum leaves are also edible (I was given a variety that only seems to make leaves, I like to eat them young). and if you want to know how to grow ginger and make your own gari click here

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

In the garden, and a fresh San Pellegrino drink for summer

The garden is full of produce and flowers, and also limes and mint, so cheers to summer in New Zealand with a glass of San Pellegrino sparkling water (just add fresh mint leaves and lime (or lemon). 

What else I have now? Silverbeet and rainbow chards, calendula and radishes (recipes coming soon)

and lovely dahlias.

The peonies are not from my garden (winter is not cold enough in Auckland to grow them, but I love them so much, so here is a photo for my pinterest board :-).

 Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Fried sage leaves - foglie di salvia fritte

I have beautiful sage leaves in the garden now, big and fat, perfect for frying! Make a batter with egg, flower and a pinch of salt, add some cold water to thin it down and coat the sage leaves. Fry in hot olive oil, drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt. Serve with aperitivo. you can also fry sage leaves without batter, just as they are, they are delicious!

And now some flowers from my garden:

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Beautiful Fruit Plates and Fruit Salads

Fresh pineapple, kiwi, banana, raspberries, mango, mandarin, blueberries and strawberries

Nothing better than a colourful fruit plate for breakfast, dessert, or snack! 

Berry fruit salad: strawberries, blueberries and raspberries

Tropical fruit salads: pineapple, banana, mango and kiwi
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


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