Monday, October 27, 2014

Tofu with onion weed and flowers


In spring I post lots of recipes with onion weed, and why not: it is free, delicious, and you can eat the flowers too! This one uses tofu, so you can be doubly good to the earth: no meat, and at the same time you forage and get rid off a weed from the garden!

Wash and chop the onion weed (bulbs, stems, leaves and flowers). In a fryipan sauté the onion weed (but keep the flowers aside for later) with a little vegetable oil, and when it smells good add the tofu cut into pieces. Sauté on both sides then add a tbsp or two (according to taste) of soy or tamari sauce, and a tbsp of lemon juice. Cook the tofu on both sides for a few more minutes, then add a drop of sesame oil (optional) and the onion weed flowers. Serve hot.


Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

A basket of veggies from the garden to make salad


Freshly picked: tomatoes, basil, cucumber, radish, lettuce and mizuna.
Make a salad. I just add olive oil, salt and lemon juice so the dressing is not that expensive.
Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A basket of veggies from the garden to make soup


Vegetable soup with: yellow zucchini, green zucchini, plum tomatoes, parsley, chives, celery,
carrot, silver beet, onions. The onion are really small but I can't grow them any bigger in the bush so
I grow them in pots.
Chop, add water (rain water for me, so this too is free!) and salt, then cook. You can add a bit of
extra virgin olive oil at the end.
Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, September 5, 2014

Detox! Celery, rhubarb, cucumber and apple juice


This juice tastes good and feels good! For four glasses I used seven stalks of celery (no leaves this time) half a telegraph cucumber, two stalks of rhubarb from the garden (yes, raw!) and then topped up to taste with natural apple juice (no sugar added). The apple juice is optional, of course, but I like it ;-).



For a change in my weekly bouquet from the garden I picked some parsley flowers. They look quite pretty actually, and there is no parsley smell around (I was a bit worried about that!).


Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Raw juice magic: celery, lemon and apple juice



I am so into juicing these days, and the kids drink all sort of vegetable and fruit juices, the greener the better! This one is particularly good: for four glasses I used half a stalk of celery (I use the stalks and only a few leaves - mostly to give it colour, usually I keep the leaves for cooking) then half a lemon and  to top a little (about 10-20%) natural apple juice. I will make this again and again, too good!


And now for something completely different:


Nearly bought this one… :-)

 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mixed salad leaves (with lots of mizuna) and edible flowers salad



This salad doesn't require much explanation: I have mixed salad leaves (lots of mizuna this year) and an variety of flowers. Did you know that you can eat impatient (busy lizzy) flowers too? They taste a bit like rocket, the best for me are the red ones, but the pink ones are so pretty! Mix and dress with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt.




 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sautéed Asian eggplants and asparagus with Italian herbs (and baby potatoes)


One of my favourite kitchen smells is garlic and herbs sizzling in olive oil! Here I used fresh rosemary, sage and oregano, a couple of garlic cloves, and a few long Asian eggplants, cut into halves or quarters (depending on their size). When the eggplants were done I added the asparagus (which take less time) and sauté the lot for one more minute, then added more fresh herbs, a good pinch of salt, a heavy lid, and turned the heat off. If you leave the veggies like this for 5-10 minutes they will just 'finish' cooking in their own steam.


I had herbs leftover, so I half-boiled some new potatoes, peeled them (sorry Kiwis, but I love to peel my potatoes, unless they are organic) and placed them on a baking try lined with baking paper. I added rosemary and sage, salt and olive oil. I baked the lot and the kitchen smelled lovely.


 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Spinach, banana, blueberry and apple smoothie


Yes we should all eat more raw fruit and vegetables! This smoothie is super easy, for 4 glasses use 2 bananas, two cups of baby spinach leaves, one cup of blueberries and 2 cups of natural apple juice (from Oratia).

Do you like fresh juices and smoothies?


 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Super green juice, and it tastes lovely


Don't mind the basil in the background, it just happened to be there but it is not an ingredient (although, maybe next time I'll put some in, it should taste good!). 

This green juice is 100% vegetable, and yet it is not bitter, and it looks 'greener' that it tastes, if you understand what I mean (I am talking to those of you that scream and run away when they see green juices! hahaha!). Use 60% celery, 35% cucumber and 5% silver beet (or another green leafy vegetable). Celery and cucumber have a mild taste and lots of water so they are perfect for juicing with 'stronger' vegetables (like silver beet, kale or spinach). Try it, you will feel so good drinking it, and after! 


 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fake Fish (made with potatoes, suitable for veg*s)



When I brought this plate to the table everybody laughed, and it is a fun recipe! Finto pesce means fake fish, the original recipe is a kind of pate made with potatoes, mayonnaise, capers and canned tuna (I think very 1960s!). My Mother made it, we lived in the mountains far from the sea, so fish was rare (and frozen or canned). Of course being a veg I don't use tuna for this recipe, but seaweed.

Brush and wash (but don't peel) 1 kg of mashing potatoes, then peel them and pass them through a potato ricer. Add a tbsp of capers, some nori seaweed, shredded, and a few tbsp of Vegan mayonnaise (to taste). Mix well. Shape into a fish and decorate with veggies and more nori ( I cut my nori with a flower cutter). Perfect for summer, and for kids!

Do you have a dish that makes everyone laugh?






Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rose Cordial, step by step


If you have roses in your garden, and they have not been sprayed (organic) you can make your own rose cordial, beautiful and pink! The recipe is the same as for the elderberry flower syrup.


For this you will need 1 l of water, 1 kg of sugar, organic rose petals (at least 1 cup full, but the more the better), 30 g of citric acid and 3 organic lemons. Wash and cut the lemons and put them in a pot with all the other ingredients (or in a large jar, if you have it). Let this mixture stand for three days, stirring from time to time. Don't go over three days or it may ferment. 


After this time filter the syrup through a muslin cloth, squeezing the lemons and flowers well. 





Boil the filtered syrup for 5 minutes, removing any possible scam forming at the top. Cool down and filter again, through a finer cotton cloth this time (I do this in a funnel directly over the bottles. Use as a cordial for water, or as a syrup for cakes and desserts.




 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, May 23, 2014

Strawberry and Banana ice-cream: sugar free, gluten free, raw and vegan


You just need two ingredients: 2-3 bananas, sliced and frozen, and 2 punnets of strawberries, cut and frozen. It is actually better if both the banana and strawberries are quite ripe - jam quality!

Freeze the fruit for a few hours (one day is better) then put in the food processor and blend. Eat immediately. Healthy and yummy!


Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©




Saturday, May 17, 2014

Elderberry Flowers Syrup and Elder flower Tea


Elderberry Flowers Syrup

For this you will need 1 l of water, 1 kg of sugar, about a dozen elderberry flower heads, 30 g of citric acid and 3 organic lemons (I picked some juicy organic lemons from Regina's garden). 


Wash and cut the lemons and put them in a pot with all the other ingredients (or in a large jar, if you have it). Let this mixture stand for three days, stirring from time to time. Don't go over three days or it may ferment. After this time filter the syrup through a muslin cloth, squeezing the lemons and flowers well. Boil the filtered syrup for 5 minutes, removing any possible scam forming at the top. Cool down and filter again, through a finer cotton cloth this time. 


Bottle and use as a cordial (it is very thirst-quenching), or to flavour desserts (like panna cottaor blamanche), ice cream, fruit salads and berries.




Elder flower Tea

I am drying the remaining flowers for tea. Dry them in the shade and keep them for winter: the tea is traditionally used to relieve cold and flu, cough and sore tummy.

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©
 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Elderberry Flower Fritters



Elderberry Flower Fritters

Yes you can eat elderberry flowers!

Shake and clean (no need to wash in water) the elderberry flowers to make sure that there is no dirt (or insects).

Mix 100g of plain flour with a tsp of icing sugar and enough cold water to make a light batter (a bit like tempura). 


Pick the flowers heads by the stalk and drop into the batter, and then into hot oil. Fry, turning once, until the fritters are golden and crispy.



Dust with icing sugar and fresh elderberry flowers, then serve, hot or cold. 



Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Pasta e fagioli soup with Cavolo nero and a ... purple carrot!


I love pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) soup, especially when there is cavolo nero too, this Italian kale is my favourite brassica and makes any soup taste amazing! But the surprise here was a purple carrot. Carolyn brought me one, thinking that with me being a foodie I would appreciate the novelty. I told her that I grew purple carrots but that only the outers skin was purple, and inside they were orange. She was a bit disappointed, but hey Caroly look here: I peeled the carrot and, surprise surprise, it was purple all the way through! I never seen anything like it! It almost bleed like a red beetroot (and had a light beetroot taste too, but maybe that was just my imagination, it mostly tasted like... carrot)! And it coloured the soup too, it looked like a borsch!


For the soup use one large (purple) carrot, peeled and cubed, a bunch of cavolo nero, washed, white vein removed and chopped, and one onion, chopped. Sauté everything with one tbsp of extra virgin olive oil  then add one litre of vegetable stock and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add one can of cannellini beans and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove some of the beans, add one cup of cold water and blend the soup. Bring back to the simmer, then add a handful of risoni pasta. Simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is cooked. Add back the whole beans and cook for one more minute. Serve hot or at room temperature, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The best soup I made in a long time, thank you for the carrot Carolyn, and for the cavolo nero Sue!


Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©