Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Asparagus, mange tout and peas with champagne

Sauté one finely chopped shallot with a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add the stalks, chopped, of a dozen asparagus, stir for a couple of minutes and then add a glass of leftover bubbly and an organic veggie cube (I only use Rapunzel). Let the wine evaporate then add two cups of frozen peas. Add more bubbly if liquid is needed. When the peas are cooked add the asparagus tips and some mange tout or sugar snap peas. Stir quickly to lightly blanch the asparagus tip and sugar snap peas (you still want them very green and crispy). A feast of different textures and greens, and a perfect side veg.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nigella Potatoes, slow cooked in a tajine

The original recipe is here, and I have to say that I make it often because it is one of my favourite potato creations. A curious fact: when I published this recipe the first time I pointed out that it didn't have anything to do with Nigella Lawson, I that I called it nigella potatoes because of the nigella seeds. But funny enough after a few days I started receiving the Nigella Lawson newsletter in my inbox. I never signed up for it, so some web robot must have picked up my blog reference and details, and signed me in! Nigella must have a great PR team!
Anyway, back to the potatoes: the recipe is the same but I cooked the potatoes differently because my husband presented me with a big tajine :-).
Nigella Potatoes slow cooked in a tajine
500 g potatoes (Agria or similar ‘floury’ potatoes)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp nigella seeds
Half tsp ground coriander
Half tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
 fresh coriander (or parsley) leaves

Peel the potatoes and cut into 4-5 cm cubes. Heat the oil in the tajine, then and add the garlic cloves and nigella seeds. 

When the seeds start to crackle add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and a little salt. 

Add the cubed potatoes and coat well with the spices. Stir constantly, and when the potatoes start to become too dry add a cup of water.

Cover and simmer on lowest setting, stirring from time to time and adding water every time the mixture gets too dry. When all the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat. It took me about one hour to cook the potatoes this way, in a normal saucepan they usually get quite mushy, but in the tajine they kept their shape beautifully!

Finely chop some washed fresh coriander or parsley (or a mixture of both) leaves, and add to the potatoes. Stir and serve. It was dark when I took the last photo, so the light wasn't good, but the potatoes were delicious!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkin and coconut soup with coriander and Vietnamese mint

The original recipe is here, but this time I didn't roast the pumpkin because... I had time to cut it! (I don't like cutting pumpkin...). Also I had some celery so I put that in too, plus one carrot and one onion.
I added water and organic veggie stock (Rapunzel), and when the veggies were soft I blended them with an immersion blender. 

 At this point I usually add the coconut milk/cream, but I didn't have any, so I used this coconut powder my husband brought me from a trip to Hainan in China (the place is famous for coconut!). he was told to place the content of a sachet in a cup and add hot water to make a hot coconut drink. We did, and it is ok, basically it is just coconut... but I am not really used to drink hot coconut milk, so I added 4 sachets to the soup instead (we still have plenty more). I simmer everything for a bit longer and then added coriander and Vietnamese mint to flavour.

I love this soup!!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©