Slow Food, founded in 1986, is an international organization whose aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenization of modern fast food and life. Though a variety of initiatives it promotes gastronomic culture, develops taste education, conserves agricultural biodiversity and protects traditional foods at risk of extinction. It now boasts over 100,000 members in 153 countries.

Slow Food Auckland, formerly Slow Food Waitakere, is registered as a charitable entity. Registration Number: CC38263, please click here to read our Rules and Regulations

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Eating weeds and flowers, a forager's meal

Do you have onion weed in your garden? Yes it is a weed, but it is edible and tastes very nice too. In fact when I discovered that I could eat it I stopped planting spring onions in the veggie garden, and started foraging instead. The weed has pretty white flowers and a strong spring onion smell. You can eat the flowers, the leaves, the stems, the bulbs... basically everything except the dirt!

Pasta with onion weed and feta sauce

 One of the first things I make with fresh onion weeds is usually a nice raw sauce for pasta: just put the onion weed (every part of it) in the blender (leave out a few flowers for decoration) and blend with a little water, some feta cheese (Vegans can omit this and use a little tofu + salt and pepper instead) and some roasted cashew nuts. Add a little olive oil and toss into your hot pasta. This is a very filling dish and the sauce has a beautiful pale green colour.

Other things that you can make with onion weed, and a variety of flowers from your garden:

Asparagus soup with onion weed and flowers


1 big agria potato
1 bunch asparagus
3-4 onion weeds with flowers
1 l vegetable stock
nasturtium, flowers and baby leaves
sage flowers
violet flowers

Peel the potato and cube. Clean the asparagus, remove the woody stalk ends and cut into small pieces keeping the tips aside. Clean the onion weed, set the flowers aside and cut the stalks. Place potato, asparagus spares and onion weed stalks in a pot with the vegetable stock and simmer until all the veggies are soft. Add the asparagus tips and blanch. Remove the asparagus tips and blend the rest of the soup. Serve and top with the whole asparagus tips, decorate with nasturtium flowers and baby leaves, sage flowers, violet flowers and onion weed flowers. Eat everything!

Quinoa with flowers


1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 small carrot
1 small cucumber
1 bunch onion weed (or spring onions)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
edible flowers (e.g. onion weed flowers, marigold, violets and bok choy flowers)

Cook one cup of quinoa with two cups of water for 20 minutes. In the meantime chop very finely a small carrot, a small cucumber and a bunch of onion weeds (or spring onions). Put the still hot quinoa into a serving bowl, add two tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, the chopped vegetables, the juice of half a lemon and salt and pepper to taste. This dish can be served warm or cold (yes, even if it has cucumber it can be served warm!). Just before serving add edible flowers: I used onion weed flowers, marigold, violets and bok choy flowers.

More ideas:

Bocconcini and cherry Tomato with Borage Flowers
Gorse Cupcakes
Yudofu with Spring Onion

Spring Salad with Asparagus and Flowers

And there is so much more that you can pick, and eat! Come to our Slow Food event this Sunday to find out: click here for details.

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kawakawa instead of Vanilla for baking and desserts

Kawakawa biscotti

If you like to forage in the New Zealand bush you may be familiar with kawakawa, and know that it was used in traditional Māori medicine. Also, the leaves make a great tea! But you can also use the leaves instead of vanilla to flavour desserts: they have a distinctive taste which is good for biscuits, meringues and custard puddings (like Crème brûlée).

Kawakawa meringues

Making kawakawa crème 

Kawakawa crème with wild strawberries, mulberries and rose petals

If you like to learn more about foraging and cooking with kawakawa come to our Slow Food event this Sunday! Click here to find out where and when.

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, November 18, 2013

Special Foraging report: a few recipes for Elderberry Flowers

In this post we saw Regina and Sue collecting some elderberry flowers for our Pop Dining Lunch this coming Sunday. I used the flowers to make a syrup (scroll down for the recipe), and since I had so many I also made some fritters, and saved the leftover flowers to dry for Elder flower tea.

So, as promised, here are some recipes:

Elderberry Flower Fritters

Shake and clean (no need to wash in water) the elderberry flowers to make sure that there is no dirt (or insects).

Mix 100g of plain flour with a tsp of icing sugar and enough cold water to make a light batter (a bit like tempura). 

Pick the flowers heads by the stalk and drop into the batter, and then into hot oil. Fry, turning once, until the fritters are golden and crispy.

Dust with icing sugar and fresh elderberry flowers, then serve, hot or cold. 

Elderberry Flowers Syrup

For this you will need 1 l of water, 1 kg of sugar, about a dozen elderberry flower heads, 30 g of citric acid and 3 organic lemons (I picked some juicy organic lemons from Regina's garden). 

Wash and cut the lemons and put them in a pot with all the other ingredients (or in a large jar, if you have it). Let this mixture stand for three days, stirring from time to time. Don't go over three days or it may ferment. After this time filter the syrup through a muslin cloth, squeezing the lemons and flowers well. Boil the filtered syrup for 5 minutes, removing any possible scam forming at the top. Cool down and filter again, through a finer cotton cloth this time. 

Bottle and use as a cordial (it is very thirst-quenching), or to flavour desserts (like panna cotta or blamanche), ice cream, fruit salads and berries.

Elder flower Tea

I am drying the remaining flowers for tea. Dry them in the shade and keep them for winter: the tea is traditionally used to relieve cold and flu, cough and sore tummy.

To learn more about foraging and eating flowers and wild plants in New Zealand come to our Slow Food event on November 24th, click here to find out where and when.

Photos and recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let the foraging begin!

In the next two weeks we will be foraging, gathering, sourcing, fishing and harvesting all the ingredients for our Feast on 24 November.  Produce, weeds, native plants and edible flowers, as well as free range pork, freegan bread, freshly caught fish and much more will all go on the table. 
This evening Sue and Regina went over to the Ranui Community Gardens to collect Jerusalem artichokes, elderberry flowers and onion weed. Watch this space, as in the coming days we will post more photos of edible wonders (and some recipes too!).

And of course don't forget to book your tickets for our POP Dining Forage to Feast Celebration. Click here for more info!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Forage to Feast November 24th. Get your tickets now.

We are excited invite you to  our Forage to Feast celebration on November 24th. 
Our POP Dining event embraces the Slow Food philosophy - good, clean, fair food and of course celebrates coming together to share and enjoy good food. 
Slow Food is taking the lead in defending biodiversity, improving food systems, pioneering food and taste education and connecting producers and consumers and we value your support. Click here to find out more.
Reducing food waste is a key theme for Slow Food Waitakere and at Forage to Feast we will show you how easy this is to do.
Tickets are limited so make sure you don't miss out.

The  POP Dining Team are putting together a  feast that celebrates foragers, fishers, farmers and friends.
Get your tickets
FI on 02102788841
Anutosh on 8349909

PS.  We will be having a short AGM as part of the feast for members and interested guests (optional)
        We are keen to share what we have been up  to and the exciting stuff we have planned.


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