Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Haute Vegan Cuisine: Asparagus and onion weed soup with edible flowers

This is so easy to make, but looks impressive and tastes delicious.


1 big agria potato
1 bunch asparagus
3-4 onion weeds with flowers
1 l vegetable stock
nasturtium flowers and baby leaves
sage flowers
violet flowers

Peel the potato and cube. Clean the asparagus, remove the woody stalk ends and cut into small pieces keeping the tips aside. Clean the onion weed, set the flowers aside and cut the stalks. Place potato, asparagus spares and onion weed stalks in a pot with the vegetable stock and simmer until all the veggies are soft. Add the asparagus tips and blanch. Remove the asparagus tips and blend the rest of the soup. Serve and top with the whole asparagus tips, decorate with nasturtium flowers and baby leaves, sage flowers, violet flowers and onion weed flowers. Eat everything!

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ochazuke, Japanese comfort food

When I was teaching Italian in Japan I once asked my students to tell me what was the typical Japanese dish they had for dinner, one answered ochazuke, and everybody laughed! Ochazuke meant that you lived alone, or your mum/wife was out for the night and you couldn't cook. Or that you run out of money! For homework they had to write a description of Ochazuke (in Italian) and the week after they came with their recipes and, most surprising for me, they all brought a sachet of flavoring for ochazuke, for me to try. The basic idea is to use leftover plain rice and top it with hot green tea, and then some toppings (and these where the sachets, a bit like furikake, but with green tea added, so that you just needed hot water). Most of the students in that class were young and lived by themselves, thus the need of quick comfort food, and they always had left over rice, and possibly a sachet of seasoning. I got to love ochazuke, but rather than seasoning from a sachet I use some chopped-up nori, some wasabi or ume plum, salted sakura flowers, dried shiso... anything I have at hand really, and then some green tea. 

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Soba with nori tagliolini, onion weed and salted sakura (cherry blossoms)

In this post you saw my idea of cutting nori with a pasta machine. So here is what I did what that cool nori 'fettuccine'.

Just cook the soba and top with the rest of the ingredients. To serve just add a drop of soy sauce.

To make the nori tagliolini … just cut the nori sheet with a pasta machine! For the onion weed... just forage it, wash and cut (you can eat the flowers, stems and bulbs... the lot!). I bought the salted sakura (cherry blossoms) in Japan, I love them, a bit like salted capers really!

 Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Making nori seaweed 'fettuccine' with a pasta machine!

I had an idea! Instead of cutting nori seaweed with scissors (like I usually do) I tried with a pasta machine, with the tagliolini setting. And it works really well! Next time I'll show you how I used it, but for now I just wanted to share the idea! Anyway, great to top rice, soba, soups, salads... so pretty too!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©