Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Flower fritters

My kids go crazy for these! Only three ingredients

Ingredients: edible flowers
 (I used zucchini flowers and borage flowers - but any edible flower will do)
tempura flour
oil for frying

Clean and wash the flowers. Mix the tempura flour with cold water to make a batter, then add the flowers. Spoon into hot oil and pan fry on both sides until the fritters are golden. Serve hot.

And this is my cat Marameo sleeping on the trampoline (I am glad someone is using it!). She is 18 years old now, poor old cat, so sweet but a bit senile, she is shrinking too, and becoming a bit like a kitten, sleeps a lot and demands lots of attention. But she is sweet! The cats are the only ones eating meat in the household, and so far they have been on a raw meat diet, but in the last week I started 'cooking' meat for them (especially Marameo) as they didn't seem to appreciate to much their raw food. When I say cooking I just mean boiling, just boil pieces of beef or chicken, and then give them to them (and the stock too). Personally I find it disgusting, the smell is horrible, but they love it! Do you have any experience of your pets preferring cooked meat to raw meat?

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Friday, February 27, 2015

Is Tiramisù the most adaptable dessert for Fusion Cuisine?

Pineapple tiramisu at Bistro:D restaurant, Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei

Photo by Peter Dowling ©

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beautiful beetroots!

I love making fresh juice with red beetroots, it tastes great and the colour always cheers me up. Then the other day my friend Alan from Dream of Italy gave me an Italian beetroot from his garden, I think that it must be this one. Well, when I cut it I though that it looked so pretty that I didn't want to juice it! So I just cooked it al dente, and then cooled it under cold water and added extra virgin olive oil, lemon and salt. Unfortunately the cooking took the colour away, but it still looked really pretty (scroll down for the photo). Next time I'll get another beet from Alan I'll try it raw, cut into very thin slices.

And then I used a 'normal' red beetroot for my juice!
1 large red beetroot, 6 large carrots, 4 stalks of celery, half a cucumber and 6 pears.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Limoncello Tiramisù

Would you like t make a tiramisù style dessert without coffee? Are you a fan of lemons and limoncello? I had a jar of lemon curd to finish, so I made up this lemon version, and it worked wonders: in fact it tastes so good that no one will be believe that it is so easy to make! Of course I used NZ best limoncello, Limoncello Sovrano

3 tbsp of lemon curd
300 ml cream
1 small glass of Limoncello Sovrano thinned with a little water
12 savoiardi biscuits
Edible Flowers to decorate

Smooth the lemon curd with 3 tbsp of cream, then whip the rest of the cream and fold with the lemon curd mixture. Place the Limoncello in a deep plate and add a little water to thin it down (or use just limoncello - I prefer to thin it down so that my kids can also eat this). Quickly soak the savoiardi biscuits in the limoncello, one side only, then place them in a serving bowl, soaked side up.

 Add some cream and lemon curd mixture and then repeat, making two or there layers (depending on the shape and size of your bowl. 

Cover everything with a final layer of cream and lemon curd mixture and refrigerate for a few hours.

Decorate with edible flowers (I used roses and borage flowers). Serve.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Plum jam with a little brown sugar

I am back to New Zealand and it is still plum season in the Oratia orchards! But is it so hot that plums don't last long after picking, so I had about 1 kg that was far too ripe and soft for eating. I washed and then put the plums in a pot with a little water and boiled them, then I strain them to discard stones and leftover skin and tasted the paste. I usually add 50-60% of sugar (I don't like the 1kg fruit for 1kg sugar ratio they do in NZ), but this paste was already sweet! So I added just 2 tbsp of brown sugar and a pinch of citric acid (as a preservative) and, fearing that the jam wouldn't set, 1/3 tsp of agar agar. If I were to keep this jam longer maybe I would have added more sugar, but I only made 5 small jars and two are gone already!
It is a really delicious and sweet jam, and it is the first time (after 18 years in NZ for me) that plums seems to be so sweet when ripe (almost like in Italy), and a jam need so little sugar - I guess it is due to the dry January we had.
But I really want to try to make a jam with even less sugar (or no sugar at all) to keep, any suggestion?

Remember that the first pears and the famous Oratia Beauty apples are also in season at the Dragicevich Orchard, 556 West Coast Rd, Oratia, Auckland. The Oratia Beauty apples are the first fruit to be added to the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity Ark of Taste
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dreamy Dolomites in Winter, and best skiing

No much snow this year but enough to ski, and to appreciate how beautiful my Dolomite Mountains are! Paesaggi da favola! 

And of course the best ski ever! Below the record of my best day on the slopes, from Val di Fassa to Val Gardena.

After 23+ km I deserved a bombardino (probably about 2000 calories!)

More scenic shots:

Look at this frozen waterfall, dreamy!

We stayed at the Hotel Pareda in Canazei, which has a beautiful pool and wellness centre, lovely staff, comfortable rooms, and where every evening we filled our bellies well.

In Val Gardena I even found a restaurant (at the Hotel Valpudra) with lots of Vegan options, like this delicious homemade rye pasta with seitan ragout with marjoran and cress fragrance. I licked the plate clean! 

And the bread was great too! I love the local pan dur, hard crispy bread with fennel seeds.

Bye bye to a lovely week in the mountains, I hope you get more snow!

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, January 17, 2015

MoMA, a must visit in New York

Did you ever seen the book entitled 1001 Paintings you must see before you die ? Well, if you are on an art bucket list you can tick off quite a few 'must see' just by visiting MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) in NY. 

 Barnett Newman
 The Wild - 1950 (with my kids)
This was an amazing experience for all the family, and as a bonus there was this brilliant exhibition on too (where we could not take photos, sorry!).  And here, not in any particular order, a few of my favorites.

Roy Lichtenstein
Drowning Girl - 1963

Roy Lichtenstein
Girl with Ball - 1961

Andy Warhol
Gold Marilyn Monroe - 1962

Jasper Johns
  Flag - 1954-56

Frida Kahlo
Fulang-Chang and I - 1937

Pablo Picasso
Interior with a Girl Drawing - 1935

Piet Mondrian
Trafalgar Square - 1939-43

Claude Monet
Agapanthus - 1914-26

Alberto Giacometti
Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object) - 1934 (cast c. 1954-55)

Salvador Dalí
The Persistence of Memory - 1931

Max Ernst
Lunar Asparagus - 1935 (cast 1972)

Amedeo Modigliani
Reclining Nude - c. 1919

Giorgio Morandi
Still Life - 1916

Henry Matisse
Dance (I) - 1909

Henri Rousseau
The Sleeping Gypsy - 1897

Vincent van Gogh
The Starry Night - 1889

Vincent van Gogh
The Olive Trees - 1889

Paul Gauguin
The Seed of the Areoi - 1892

Georges-Pierre Seurat
Port-en-Bessin, Entrance in the Harbor - 1888

Gustav Klimt
Hope, II - 1907-08
Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


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