Photo by Alessandra Zecchini ©
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Do you know the name of these Campanula flowers, and Vegan chocolate pudding with strawberries and edible flowers
Sue gave me these beautiful flowers, the purple ones smell like honey, so delicious!
I believe that they are a type of Campanula (bell flowers), but I don't know the exact name.
Vegan chocolate pudding with strawberries and edible flowers
|Arantxa picked flowers from the garden: roses, lavender, sage, violets and nasturtiums|
For 4 puddings:
500 ml oragnic soy milk (I use Vitasoy, either Original, Milky or Calci Plus)
2 tbsp raw sugar
1 heap tbsp cocoa (the better the cocoa the better the flavour, so don't go for cheap baking cocoa, but for 'hot chocolate' quality)
1 tbsp cornflour
Natural Vanilla essence (or a little cinnamon if you prefer)
Strawberries and edible flowers to finish.
Dissolve the dried ingredients with a little soy milk to make a paste, then add the rest of the milk and mix well. Put on the stove on low and, always stirring, bring to simmering point. Make sure that you stir well, especially around the borders and bottom of the pot, so that the pudding has a smooth consistency. As soon as it start thickening turn the element off, add the vanilla essence (if using) and keep stirring until it has cooled down a bit. Divide into 4 dessert ramekins or small bowls (or teacups) and refrigerate. Cut the strawberries and place over the puddings, then add the petals of edible flowers (I think that maybe there was a bit much here, with lots of lavender, rose and sage aromas… but it was definitely a very perfumed dessert!).
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Well, we did get to 40 months of uninterrupted Sweet NZ blogging events, and I really would like to thank all the host and all the bloggers who took part. All your recaps are listed here!
But in the last year the interest has diminished, in part due to the fact that I have also been too busy to blog and therefore follow the event properly (i.e. writing to bloggers to encourage them to enter), and in part due to the fact that I am not the only busy person around! Many NZ bloggers stopped writing, or are writing less and less. Recently I attended the NZ Guild of Food Writers conference and I was a bit sad to hear that the general perspective in the industry that the NZ Food blogging scene is, basically, negligible. I am not sure if this is true or not (what do you think?) and I like to think that there are still many bloggers out there that update regularly and keep a conversation going, but I am also sure that Sweet NZ is not sustainable anymore, and so I have decided to stop at 40. Thank you to Frances and Arfi who supplied the last recipes for this edition, here is a quick recap:
Raw, vegan and gluten free sweet for Christmas? Homemade marzipan From Only Recipes
Chocolate and plum mousse with Italian meringue base and Fresh As plum powder from Alessandra Zecchini
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Saturday, November 15, 2014
What I like about mousses is that you can just improvise, and as long as you beat well the main ingredients (eggs and cream) you can never go wrong! I made this with Arantxa; while I made the Italian meringue and whipped the cream she whipped the egg yolk, and while she folded the chocolate I folded the plum cream, and there was a lot of licking of spoons and bowl at the end, and 7 lovely mousses in the fridge!
3 large free range eggs, separated
2 tbsp icing sugar
50 ml water
300 ml cream
1 tbsp cocoa2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp Fresh As Plum Powder (plus some to sprinkle)
Start by making an Italian meringue base: whip the egg white until stiff. In the meantime boil the water and icing sugar into a syrup. When the syrup is bubbly, start to thickens and smell like candy (but before is turns white or caramel! Be careful here!) pour it at once into the egg whites, (while beating). Keep beating until the meringue is cold again.
In another bowl beat the egg yolks with the sugar and cocoa for a loooooong time, until light and creamy. In a third bowl beat the cream well too. Divide the Italian meringue into two, add the Fresh As plum powder to one half and beat for one more minute, until the meringue is pink.
Divide the cream into two and fold with the pink and white meringue mixtures. In one bowl you will have the pink plum mousse ready (set aside) and in the other the white 'base' to which you will need to add the chocolate mixture. Do this slowly and folding well.
Pour the chocolate mousse first into glasses or verrines, and then top with the plum mousse. Sprinkle with more Fresh As plum powder and refrigerate for a few hours.
I am entering this recipe for Sweet NZ #40, to enter your November Recipe click here.
And now: two images of some of my favourite flowers, peonies, for my Pinterest Board!
Photo and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I love the fact that I can use my phone to video the birds I see out of the window. We are surrounded by native forest, including plenty of nikau palms, so we have lots of kereru, and we also have flowering trees like puriri, and a one exotic, an Australian frangipani, that tui love! In fact this morning there was quite a fight between two tui for the control of the frangipani, it was like living in a Attemborough's documentary. Here tui and kereru feeding (in peace).
The Tui is an endemic bird of New Zealand that mostly feed on nectar. Here is feeding on an Australia frangipani tree (Hymenosporum flavum).
The New Zealand pigeon or kererū is a bird endemic to New Zealand. The nikau is the only palm native to New Zealand. Filmed in the Waitakere Ranges, Auckland.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
I developed this recipe many years ago when I was living in Japan, and it has two particularities:
it is made with cream instead of mascarpone (which was difficult to find then, but then became my signature dish - thus the name!) and the topping is not cocoa but Italian ground coffee. I also like to use whisky, good quality, it makes all the difference!
Tiramisù di Alessandra
3 free range eggs, separated
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
15ml espresso coffee
20 (1 x 250g packet) savoiardi or sponge biscuits
espresso coffee powder for dusting (or cocoa)
Beat the egg whites into stiff peaks. Lightly whip the cream, then fold in the eggs whites and beat together for a few seconds. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks together with 1 tbsp of sugar until runny. Add to the cream and egg white mixture and beat again for a few seconds, In a wide soup bowl mix the espresso coffee, whisky and the remaining sugar and quickly dip the savoiardi biscuits, sugary side only, in the liquid. Arrange the biscuits soaked side up, in a 5cm deep 20x20 serving dish. Spoon over a little more coffee liquid if the biscuits look dry. Spread hald of the cream mixture over the biscuits and repeat with the remaining ingredients, Bang the dish on the working surface to remove any air bubbles in the dessert and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight,. One hour before serving dust with plenty of ground Italian espresso coffee (or cocoa). Refrigerate again, cut into squares and serve.
Recipe by Alessandra Zecchini ©, from the book Sweet As…easy to make desserts and baked treats, New Holland Publishers NZ
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©
I like to enter this post for Sweet New Zealand #39, the blogging event open to every one blogging in NZ, and all the Kiwi bloggers living overseas! This month of September is hosted by Lesley at Eat, etc.. Click here to enter! And let me know if you are keen to host Sweet New Zealand in November!
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I cannot wait for summer, capsicums and eggplants! Nearly there, in the meantime I use char grilled veggies preserved in oil, they are very versatile for a quick meal. For this dish I cooked a packet of Israeli cous cous (but fregola pasta is perfect too) with just water and salt, then I drain it and rinse it under cold water to cool it down and separate the 'grains'. I added extra virgin olive oil, a few drops of lemon juice, and finely chopped herbs and garlic. Then I mix it with the eggplants. Finally I filled some of the capsicums with it. It needs to rest for a few hours at room temperature, so that the cous cous gets more flavour. Easy and quick, and it makes such an impression!
And now just some pretty things I saw: loved this wallpaper with plates, + real plates!
Cans and tins look good on tables, although I wander if this mackerel was also on the menu too… I don't eat fish so I wouldn't know, and the restaurant, albeit rustic, was not a cheap one!
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©
Sunday, October 5, 2014
|KSDA Kim Santarelli Dance Academy students performing the Tarentella at the Festival Italiano - Auckland|
|Italian market in Osborne St|
|Art of Produce stall|
|Piazzetta and kids area|
|KSDA Kim Santarelli Dance Academy students performing Mambo Italiano at the Festival Italiano - Auckland|
|United Travel Newmarket stall|
|Pranzo, Italian lunch|
|Deanna Tolj and Ken Were from United Travel Newmarket|
|Luca Manghi and Mary-Ann Di Cesare|
|Sandro, Renee and Paolo Rotondo|
|From left: Paolo Rotondo, Festival Italiano MC;|
H.E. Carmelo Barbarello, Italian Ambassador in NZ,
Shale Chambers, Chair of the Waitemata Local Board, Mark Knoff-Thomas - Chief Executive New Market Business Association
|Selling raffle tickets|
|Mark Knoff-Thomas - Chief Executive New Market Business Association|
|From left, Christopher Dempsey - Waitemata Local Board, Pippa Coom - Deputy Chair Waitemata Local Board, Mike Hannan - Peroni Nastro Azzurro NZ, Alessandra Zecchini, Massimo Ciccioni - Dante Auckland President, Shale Chambers – Chair Waitemata Board, Mark Knoff-Thomas - Chief Executive New Market Business Association, Rob Thomas Waitemata Board|
|Fans of Italy|
|Alessandro and Spiderman|
|Alessandra, John and Fiorella|
|Luca and Niccolò|
|From left: In front, Paolo Rotondo, Festival Italiano MC;|
Back: H.E. Carmelo Barbarello, Italian Ambassador in NZ, Massimo Ciccioni, President, Dante Alighieri Society, Mark Knoff-Thomas - Chief Executive New Market Business Association, Shale Chambers, Chair of the Waitemata Local Board
|Sandro Aduso and Mario Magaraggia|