Sunday, October 15, 2017

Vivere in Nuova Zelanda: Radicchio e orchidee, la vita capovolta

Radicchio leaves with goat cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, on crackers

Sono mezza veneta, cresciuta con radicchio, non ne sono mai stata entusiasta eppure adesso mi manca. Ma ad Auckland cresce a fatica, troppo caldo e umido nel bush. Tentativi miseri e se non lo mangio quando le foglie sono piccole mi finisce subito in semenza. E cosa cresce invece? Orchidee!! Ho sempre sognato di avere orchidee, e adesso le ho sia in casa che in giardino! In giardino!!! Quando posso vado anche alle mostre di orchidee, queste sono cresciute da professionisti e appassionati, molti belle e curate.










E queste sono le mie (ne ho altre, ma non sono in fiore adesso), un po' misere a confronto, ma gli voglio bene :-). Quelle singole (prese dal giardino) sono in mini vasi giapponesi che svolgono la seconda funzione di appoggia-bacchette.





Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Halloumi with onion weed bulbs, flowers and thyme


The beautiful white and crunchy bulbs of onion weeds to me taste even better than spring onion, plus you can eat the leaves and flowers too (although here I just had the bulbs and a few flowers.

Nothing could be easier than this dish! Pull out the onion weeds from your garden (while weeding) or from any field where they abound (like here in Oratia), wash and clean, remove the outer skin of the bulbs and sauté in a pan with just a little olive oil. Add the Halloumi and cook on on both sides. No need to add salt as the cheese is already salty and its juices will coat the onion weed too. Finish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme (if you like) and some onion weed flowers (just use the flowers which have not formed a seed  pod yet). Serve with salad or in a burger bun, or with pita and olives, or how you like. You will be digging for more onion weed bulbs in no time!

 For more recipe ideas with onion weed click here

For more recipe ideas with edible flowers click here

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Vivere in Nuova Zelanda: Festival Italiano Auckland




Il Festival Italiano 2017 di Auckland si è tenuto la scorsa domenica, concludendo un mese tutto italiano nella città più grande del paese. Il mese, cominciato il balletto di Romeo e Giulietta, il Cinema Italiano Festival e l'apertura della Mostra Corsini alla Auckland Art Gallery, ha inoltre incluso nel calendario piccoli eventi, come concerti, occasioni speciali di prodotti italiani in negozi partecipanti, e naturalmente tante occasioni 'mangerecce', proposte da ristoranti italiani. Un mese anche pieno di premi offerti dalla pagina FB del Festival per far conoscere al pubblico i nostri produttori, importatori, e ristoratori, e ancor più premi donati al Festival, o sorteggiati, come il biglietto aereo per due per l'Italia (o Europa) in Premium Economy con Lufthansa (quest'ultimo era una lotteria per raccogliere fondi per la scuola dei bambini della Dante Auckland).

Ovviamente il festival è stata la giornata più importante, e nonostante il tempo infelice abbiamo registrato migliaia di visitatori, fra Osborne Street e Kent St, Lumsden Green e dentro al Rialto Centre. Musica, mostre, arte per bambini, mercato, e naturalmente mangiare e bere a prezzi politici, perché tutti hanno il diritto di mangiare bene. 

Abbiamo anche celebrato il primo anno ufficiale come Zero Waste Event, mostrando il film di Bottura  sul riciclo degli avanzi alimentari ad un pubblico selezionato, introducendo piatti e bicchieri biodegradabili, organizzando riciclo e monitoraggio dei bidoni, ed eliminando palloncini e altre cose di plastica. Insomma, siamo felici!

Grazie Auckland e Grazie Waitematā Local BoardPeroniNewmarket Business Association, e tutti i nostri sponsor!


The 2017 edition of Festival Italiano was held on Sunday 1 October, with a crazy weather (mostly raining) yet people came in great numbers and ate, drunk, listen to music and had fun! 
























To see more images click here 
Photos by Gianni Flego

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Super quick gnocchi alla Sorrentina



Sorry if I have not posted for a while, the Festival Italiano kept me busy!
And when I am busy I often use pasta or gnocchi from a packet (sorry Mum!).
Here I used Divella gnocchi and Mutti Passata, staples in my kitchen!

Boil a big pot of water, add salt (when it boils) and then the gnocchi, and stir. In the meantime heat the Mutti Passata in a large pan, add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. When the gnocchi raises to the surface of the water remove them with a slotted spoon and place them into the pan with the passata. Stir well then add pieces of mozzarella or bocconcini, fresh basil, more olive oil and a freshly ground black pepper. If you like you can cover the pot with a lid until the mozzarella melts (or place in the oven). It takes just a minute or two, but I like to serve immediately and then let the mozzarella melt in the plates with the hot gnocchi.

This is very yum, but my boy likes to add Parmigiano too... what do you think? I'll go for it :-)



Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, August 28, 2017

Ile des pins and a vegetarian in New Caledonia


I had a wonderful holiday in New Caledonia, the highlight was the Ile des Pins, a magical island with white beaches and lots of fish. My favourite place was the Natural pool (Piscine Naturelle), just look at the videos!










In the mainland (Noumea) we ended up eating Vietnamese (many Vietnamese restaurants, but not so flavoursome compared with the ones in Vietnam) or food from French bakeries (good), and the food at Le Meridienne was Veggie friendly enough for a four day stay (the veggie patty burger was nice and filling, you always find one when you are Italian and don't want to order pasta, the other usual vegetarian option in hotels).


But lets go back to some sceneries!





This is Oro Bay


And our relaxing spot on the beach (although we actually spent most of the time at the Piscine Naturelle... I just wanted to look at the fish!)



But the Hotel grounds are also lovely



There is a famous (one of the firsts) infinity pool, which I never used... I find it strange to swim in a pool when there is the sea available. But it was photogenic, especially at sunset.



Breakfast was relaxing, a good buffet with lots of fruit and French pastries. The baguettes were excellent!


The famous pine trees make a good contrast with palms and are everywhere.




At low tide you can walk all around the bay


And what else for vegetarians a part from coconuts?


Bougna is the traditional Melanesian dish for special occasions: yam, sweet potatoes, taro and other vegetables and meat or fish/seafood covered in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on hot stones in am earth oven for 2 hours. I asked the hotel if they could prepare a vegetarian one, it was the very first time they had such a request but they were happy to oblige. So we had our traditional dish, all vegetarian, actually, vegan! 


Quite a ceremony in presenting it and serving it, They cut all the leaves, dish out some and leave the rest on the table so you can help yourself.  Very delicious and filling, I think that four people could have eaten our portion for two! Highly recommended.


Photos  by Alessandra Zecchini ©

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