Showing posts with label honey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label honey. Show all posts

Friday, June 6, 2014

Homemade mascarpone with honey, pistachio and dried strawberries

Making mascarpone at home is one of my favourite occupations these days! A part from the 'magic' of it, and the resemblance to a chemistry experiment (I made this with Max, actually, he made it with me in the background giving instructions and liked doing it!) it is also so much cheaper, fresh and delicious that the one you buy! 

For the mascarpone recipe just click here, it is easier that you may think! When the mascarpone is ready just add a tbsp of honey (I used Tawari) and fold. Divide the mascarpone into 4 cups and it is ready to be eaten or topped with what you fancy. 

This time I just toasted a few pistachios in a pan, then I rub them with a tea towel to take away loose skins and chopped them coarsely. Then I also added some Fresh As dried strawberries, crunchy and full of flavour and aroma. A simple dessert that everyone loved!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sweet NZ image
This recipe is for Sweet New Zealand #35, the blogging event open to all Kiwi bloggers (living in NZ or overseas) and expats blogging from NZ. June's host is Amanda from Move Love Eat  Click here to share you sweet creations with the Sweet New Zealand team! Also let me know if you are keen to be a host in 2014, and book a month for you!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Panforte for National Honey Week, and a lovely lunch at Vinnies

Last Friday I ate a wonderful lunch at Vinnies to celebrate NZ National Honey Week. It was great to meet other people passionate about honey, and also my fellow blogger and friend Mairi from Toast (btw, Mairi just posted the November round up for Sweet New Zealand, click here to look at all the wonderful sweet recipes!).

I haven't been to Vinnies for 10 years (!!) and it was great to chef and owner Geoff Scott, together with his head chef Andrew Hanson they created a wonderful menu for the day, and there were some spectacular vegetarian dishes for me too (the only vegetarian there).  

National Honey Week has ended, but I still like to offer another dish with honey, and since it is now December I like to propose a traditional Italian cake that I often make for Christmas.


This recipes has been lightly adapted form my book Sweet As... (New Holland Publishers).
I love panforte for Christmas, but here in NZ is ever so expensive, and I prefer the home made version anyway, as it is full of nuts and fruit. It took me a while to develop this recipe, I tried with different spices in different doses until I found the one which worked better for me (always use fresh spices though, otherwise the taste will not be the same), and instead of using candied melon most of the time I use candied papaya, which is easier to find in New Zealand. This time I found both, mixed together, so I was very happy. Also, this time I had some rice paper, usually I do without.

For the honey I like to use a creamy type like clover or rata for this recipe.
For the vanilla sugars (white and icing) I just keep them in a jar with a stick of vanilla.

2 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp vanilla flavoured white sugar
2 tbsp vanilla icing sugar, plus more for dusting
1-2 tbsp water, if required
150g (5 and 1/2 oz) citrus peel
200g (7 oz)candied melon and or papaya
150g (5 and 1/2 oz)almonds (or a combination of almonds and hazelnuts - like I did this time)
100g (3 and 1/2 oz) plain flour
1 tsp powdered coriander
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/4 (one quarter) tsp powdered nutmeg

Partly fill a small saucepan with hot water and set over a medium heat. In a bowl put the honey, vanilla sugar and icing sugar with 1-2 tablespoons water, depending on the thickness of the honey. Set the bowl over the pan of simmering water and stir the honey until runny. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the citrus peel, papaya, almonds and all the other dry ingredients. Line the base and sides of a 20cm (8 inch) round baking tin non-stick baking paper, add one sheet of rice paper and fill the tin with the mixture, cover with another sheet of rice paper then one sheet of baking paper, and gently press down the cake evenly in the tin. Bake in a oven preheated to 160°C (325°F) for 25 minutes, then remove the top sheet of baking paper and bake for further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave in the baking tin and cover with a thick layer of vanilla icing sugar. Serve cold in small slices as it is quite filling.

Photos and recipe by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, November 25, 2013

National Honey Week recipe: Parmigiano with Airborne Bush Honey and coffee - Parmigiano con miele e caffè

New Zealand's first National Honey Week ( 25- November - 2 December) starts today, and to celebrate I am proposing something a bit different: Parmigiano con miele e caffè!

I wish this was one of my creations, but I cannot take the credit: it is in fact an appetizer (but also served as a cheese course, or with a good vino da meditazione - meditation wine that I first tried in my village in Italy (Sestola, an excellent Parmigiano producing area) about 20 years ago. It was very fashionable then, and it may be still now for all I know, I am not sure, but it is definitely very original, and too good not to share!

All you need is real Italian Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio (over 30 months aging), good quality creamy honey and good ground coffee (espresso quality). If you cannot find 30 month old Parmigiano, look for a 24 month, or you can try with a younger Parmigiano, but really, here you have only three ingredients, and the better they are, the best the end result.

Cut the Parmesan into bite size chunks, spread with honey and sprinkle with ground coffee. The pairing of these three flavours really works. I used Airborne Bush Honey because I like bush honey, but I also had it with other New Zealand honey varieties, and I guess the honey choice goes down to personal taste (and the coffee choice too... but make sure it is finely ground!).

Happy National Honey Week everyone!

If you like to enter a recipe with honey you could win a fantastic bumper pack of New Zealand honey varieties – including Manuka, Rata, Kamahi, Clover, Honeydew, Vipers Bugloss and Tawari. Prizes also include the Jamie Oliver “Cooks Summer” recipe book (to help you kick off the festive/summer season!), a behind the scenes cooking experience with Geoff Scott, at Vinnie’s and a luxurious meal for two. If you aren’t able to get to Auckland, the team at Airborne will happily organise something equivalent in your area. Three runners-up will also receive smaller honey pack prizes. You can email the link for your entry to:

click here for the full details.

This recipe was one of the finalists!

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, November 7, 2013


The other week I mentioned this competition, so if you are interested please read on and start to think about honey!
How to enter:
All you have to do is concoct a recipe that showcases New Zealand honey. It couldn’t be easier. Manuka honey is our hero honey this year so do consider using it in your competition recipe. However, any honey recipe will be eligible. Geoff Scott, and the Airborne Honey team will be judging the recipes.
Entries will open at 3.59pm on Friday 22 November 2013 and close at 11.59pm on Monday 2 December 2013. Email the link to Jen Boyes at
The winner will receive a bumper pack of New Zealand honey varieties, the Jamie Cooks Summer recipe book (to help you kick off the festive/summer season!), a behind the scenes experience with Geoff Scott, at Vinnie’s and a luxurious meal for two. If you aren’t able to get to Auckland, we will happily organise something equivalent in your area. Three runners-up will also receive smaller honey pack prizes.

Competition Terms and Conditions
  1. Entry is only open to New Zealand residents. Employees and the immediate families of Airborne Honey, Vinnie’s and its agencies associated with this promotion are ineligible.
  2. Airborne Honey reserves the right to verify the validity of entries and to disqualify any entrant who tampers with the entry process or who submits an entry that is not in accordance with these Conditions of Entry.
  3. The Cook Something Yummy With Honey competition commences at 3.59pm New Zealand time on Friday 22 November 2013. Entries close 11.59pm on Tuesday 2 December 2013. 
5. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  1. In the event that a prize, or an element of a prize, is/are not available, Airborne Honey reserves the right to substitute prize(s) in its discretion to the same and equal recommended retail value and/or specification.
  2. Airborne Honey shall not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever which is suffered (including but not limited to indirect or consequential loss) or for personal injury which is suffered or sustained, as a result of participating in this promotion or accepting any of the prizes, except for any liability which cannot be excluded by law.
  3. Airborne Honey shall not be liable for any prizes/merchandise that has been lost, stolen, forged, damaged or tampered with in any way.
  4. Entrants consent to Airborne Honey using the entrant's name, likeness, image and/or voice in the event they are a winner (incl. photograph, film and/or recording of the same) in any media for an unlimited period of time without remuneration for the purpose of promoting this competition (including any outcome), and promoting any products manufactured, distributed and/or supplied by Airborne Honey.

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini©

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

National Honey Week, an opportunity for NZ food bloggers

I received a press release today about the First National Honey Week in NZ, and I though of sharing an extract from it with my fellow NZ bloggers. If you like honey read on! 

Photo by Alessandra Zecchini©

National Honey Week will take place for the first time this year from 25 November – 2 December to raise awareness and support of New Zealand’s sweetest natural resource and to encourage more Kiwis to include it in their diets. Led by Airborne Honey, the country’s oldest brand, a number of promotions and initiatives have been planned to help consumers take part in the celebrations.

Each year, a different hero honey will be highlighted. Manuka is this year’s star.  

New Zealanders will be encouraged to take part in National Honey Week through a series of contests and giveaways on Facebook and Twitter. On top of that, New Zealand food bloggers will be able to enter their honey themed recipes into a “Cook Something Yummy with Honey” competition during National Honey Week. Among a host of other prizes, the winner will receive a behind the scenes experience at Vinnie’s and a luxurious meal for two. 
There are a number of delicious ways to incorporate New Zealand Manuka honey into daily life. So why not start now!

  1. Honey is much sweeter than table sugar. Substitute your daily teaspoon of sugar for a drizzle of Manuka honey in your cup of tea in the morning.
  2. Honey isn’t just for toast! Use Manuka honey in savoury dishes and marinades. The rich, malty tones make it perfect for stir-fries.
  3. Honey can help counter the effects of the 'morning after'. A simple hangover remedy can be made quickly and easily by blending 15ml orange juice, 150ml natural yogurt and 2tbsp honey.
  4. Make sure your honey is the real deal and good quality by checking the label. Look for the pollen percentage (a high percentage means the honey is true to type – Manuka should contain at least 70% Manuka pollen), HMF number (lower the better, HMF numbers below 10 are best as a high number means the honey is heat damaged) and place of origin.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Orange, Cinnamon and Honeydew Tea, and the winner of the J.Friend honey giveaway

Photo and Recipe by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Well, it isn't a tea as such, maybe just a hot drink? But very nice! Squeeze the juice of one orange into a cup, top with boiling water, add a teaspoon of honey (I used beechwood honeydew) and stir with  cinnamon quill. Nice and "Christmasy"!

And now the winner of the J.Friend and Co Honey competition. Thank you to all that took part, sorry for those of you who live overseas (I couldn't include you in the draw) and congratulation to David!!

David, please send me your mailing address (alessandra at clear dot net dot nz) and I am sure that in the end you will share the honey!!!

List Randomizer
There were 38 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
1.             David
2.             Johanna
3.             Peasepudding
4.             Zazie
5.             Andrea
6.             Cheryl
7.             Vanille
8.             Luca
9.             Couscous…
10.         Judith
11.         Timefor…
12.         Olliik
13.         Hope
14.         LaVally
15.         Shelley
16.         Makedomum
17.         Kate
18.         Sirley
19.         Transparency
20.         Ostetrica
21.         Whaywood
22.         Mairi
23.         Amber
24.         Timelyland
25.         Boi
26.         Janine
27.         Amanda
28.         Sugar
29.         Aftertaste
30.         Rod
31.         Nardia
32.         Martina
33.         Gemma
34.         Plum
35.         Athena
36.         Pilgrim
37.         Louise
38.         Cynthia
Timestamp: 2011-11-15 00:52:10 UTC
 And if you missed out, and live in NZ, please remember that there is also this book giveaway, just put your name down by tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kawakawa Tea with New Zealand Honey

Photo by Alessandra Zecchini©

For Black and White Wednesday, organized by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, I am proposing something really 'Kiwi', (although I don't see many New Zealanders drinking it!). Kawakawa tea!!!

I have many kawakawa plants in the bush around the house, the leaves are beautiful and make a lovely tea, and even an infusion used in Māori medicine for several ailments. The seeds can be used as long pepper (the plant is related to the pepper family) and if you like an extra tip, New Zealand bush inspired but created by an Italian (me :-), I use kawakawa instead of vanilla to flavour cremes and custards and panna cotta and so on. To give you an example have a look at my Flan with Kawakawa crème and Kahikatea berries!

But mostly I like to go into the garden/bush, pick a few leaves, wash them and pour hot water over them. One or two leaves per cup will suffice, the smell is truly delicious, and this is foraging at its best because everyone can do it!  And of course I like to add a teaspoon of NZ honey, which reminds me: if you live in NZ and would like to win some artisan organic honey please click here!


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