Aparty piece

The Press - Zest - - Fads & Faves -

Alessan­dra Zec­chini is not sure she agrees with me that ‘‘cook­ing and bak­ing genes’’ are handed down in fam­i­lies.

‘‘I be­lieve any­one can learn to fol­low a recipe. How­ever there are sev­eral good bak­ers in my New Zealand fam­ily, so it is pos­si­ble my daugh­ter in­her­ited their skills. Even as a lit­tle girl she was pulling up a stool and ‘help­ing’ and she is cer­tainly con­fi­dent in a kitchen.’’

Alessan­dra and her daugh­ter, Aran­txa Zec­chini Dowl­ing, 12, launch their cook­book Party Food for Girls this week. The book had its gen­e­sis when mother hap­pened upon daugh­ter (and friends) or­gan­is­ing food for a birth­day party. ‘‘I was im­pressed with their cre­ativ­ity, but they didn’t have much in the way of re­sources to draw upon.

‘‘We talked about it and thought we could do a cook­book our­selves that might be in­spire young bak­ers. Aran­txa had some very good ideas’’.

Alessan­dra says she has al­ways been ‘‘quite strict’’ when bak­ing with her daugh­ter. ‘‘I’d sooner make cake dec­o­ra­tions than buy them. I don’t like to buy what we could make. And I don’t like waste.

‘‘How­ever, we have sim­i­lar tastes, which is nice, and we worked to­gether on styling for the pho­tographs, which was fun.

‘‘Aran­txa has her say on what is ‘in fash­ion’ or not and I am happy with that, es­pe­cially as cup­cakes are fash­ion­able at the mo­ment.’’

The heart of this house­hold is the kitchen and its large ta­ble ‘‘used not just for meals but for cook­ing and bak­ing and home­work . . . every­thing. It is the Ital­ian way’’.

Party Food for Girls by Alessan­dra Zec­chini and Aran­txa Zec­chini Dowl­ing has recipes for cup­cakes, pe­tit fours, mini piz­zas, sushi, cook­ies, grissini, su­gar roses, and other snacks and party food. The recipes are achiev­able and the pho­tographs are beau­ti­ful; $29.99, pub­lished by New Hol­land.

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