Saturday, March 28, 2015

Zucchine ripiene - Stuffed zucchini


I have two zucchini plants in the garden, one yellow and one green. They produce a lot, the yellow three times more than the green (I don't know why) and we have been eating zucchini in 100 different ways: grilled, sautéed, fried and tempura, in soups, with pasta… fortunately they are very versatile!
Here I had a few big ones (sometimes I don't pick them for a day and they double overnight! But the important thing is that they don't get to the 'marrow' state - too big and bitter) so I decided to stuff them.
I cut them into two and scooped out the flesh. Then I baked the shells upside down with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil for 15 minutes. In the meantime I blended the zucchini flesh and then added chopped parsley and chives (about 1 tbsp), salt and pepper, a tbsp of olive oil and enough breadcrumbs to make a stuffing (add the breadcrumb one tbsp at the time so that you don't add too much). The zucchini were fresh from the garden and therefore they were very moist, so I needed more breadcrumbs, but if you buy them they may be a few days old and more dry, so less breadcrumbs are needed. I removed the zucchini from the oven, turned them up and filled them tightly with the stuffing. 
In the tray you can see also some zucchini slices, these where from 'regular' size zucchini, and I used them as side veggies.


Bake everything until the stuffing has a nice golden crust and serve.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Plum Jam (using much less sugar that the traditional 'Anglo' recipes)




Jam made with plums from Oratia. I removed the stone and cooked the plums with a little water and some jam setting sugar (this was a present, and I wanted to try it). The NZ jam tradition seems to be 1kg of sugar for 1 kg of fruit (or even more sugar if you make raspberry jam) for an Italian this is too much. I go for 40 to 60%, with the latter being my preference if I need to preserve the jam for a long time (it helps agains botulin). You can taste the fruit better with less sugar :-).





And our cats, Nikita (left) and Marameo (right) are also enjoying the last of the sun, sleeping outdoors all day long! Marameo is 18 now, an old lady cat 


 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fresh borlotti beans cooked in a skillet with red onion


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!



 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Melon and apricot smoothie


 After the green juice of the previous post here is a smoothie, and the kids made it: melon, natural apple juice, banana and apricot, decorated with borage flowers (edible).

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Green Juice for kids


With summer here 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.



Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

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.


Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Beautiful heart melon and watermelon plate



This is perfect if you:

A: follow a raw diet (or don't know what to give to a raw eater/vega/gluten free/allergic/etc.)
B: prefer fruit to dessert (i.e. no time to make dessert)
C: want to lose weigh or to eat breakfast all day long
D: are in love! (BTW, this is perfect for St Valentine!)



All you need is a knife and a hear shaped cookie cutter. 

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini

Friday, December 19, 2014

Raw, vegan and gluten free sweet for Christmas? Homemade marzipan!




Marzipan is the perfect sweet for the Holiday Season, and 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 ©

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Orange and carrot juice: so delicious!


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, and so delicious!!



Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thai vegan green curry



 First I started with a simple paste made with a small piece of ginger (peeled), one shallot (also peeled), fresh coriander (with stalks), green chili (not too much for me, maybe one or two), and fresh lemon grass (one stick). If you have kaffir lime leaves or rind, the are good too, apparently, but I didn't have any so I added a little lemon juice. Mush with a mortar and pestle or with a blender (I used the blender, too hot for the mortar and pestle!) adding salt towards the end. 
Now, the only thing in the paste that came from the garden was coriander, and frozen (from last year) as this year my plant died! I also have lots of frozen chills to use, and a little plant that don't even have flowers yet! 

The veggies: 1 carrot, 2 yellow zucchini, a few tomatoes, a few broccolini, borage tips, green capsicum, Thai mint, basil, onion weed flowers  and borage flowers to decorate.

then: organic tofu and coconut cream.

I cut the tofu and placed it in a pot with the coconut cream plus one can of water (to rinse the coconut cream can). Added the green curry paste and simmered the lot for 10 minutes and then I added the rest of the vegetables in this order: carrots, borage tips, capsicum, zucchini, broccolini, tomatoes (leave a couple of minutes between each vegetable). To stir I used a lemongrass stalk. Then I tasted for salt then I added the herbs and onion weed flowers (because they were frozen), turned the heat off and cover the pot with a lid for 5 minutes. Then I added the borage flowers.

Actually, the curry paste took longer than the curry to make! Serve hot with rice.

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Watermelon juice with lemongrass and mint

  I used the flesh of a small watermelon (blend with ice and a bit of water - to get the blender moving) and then passed the juice through a sieve (not too fine, just enough to keep the seed pieces out) and then stirred it with a stick of lemongrass (best if you can leave it in the fridge with the lemongrass for 30 minutes). My mint is quite 'strong' so I added it only at the end, for decoration and a hint of fragrance. Serve with ice. I am sure that there will be readers that will think of vodka too!






Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

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 ©