Our stories regarding food, travel and life in Sicily...
Posted on Friday 11th of January 2013 under Food and Drink
I have been teaching cooking classes to hundreds of people for a decade now and the best part of the experience has always been sharing our passion for food, personal kitchen anecdotes, cooking tips and exchanging recipes. People who have been to my classes know the atmosphere is always relaxed, no one panics if things do not come out as expected and the main focus is always learning with fun.
But obviously, I have also encountered some common cooking mistakes I try to point out during classes and now thought it was time to share them with you too.
My Christmas recipe for this year is my version of a classic dish they prepare in Ragusa for special occasions like San Giovanni, Christmas or New Year's Eve: Jaddina China, stuffed hen.
As always with Sicilian recipes, there are various versions and each family has a secret ingredient or process to make it.
Every year I like to prepare some Christmas foodie gifts for my friends, homemade biscuits, Modica's chocolate, jam, preserves...it makes me happy to do something for the people I love and hope they like it too. This year I prepared some citrus flavoured salt, last saturday my kitchen smelt like an orangerie.....just wonderful!
I prepared three different kinds, lemon, orange and kumquats. I then placed them in some recycled soda bottles I had saved during the year.
We are now used to going from short sleeves strait to winter coats in Sicily. Like last year, until the end of November we were still sitting outside for a coffee or a meal and now we are facing "polar temperatures" with snow in Messina and other parts of Sicily. This drastic change of temperature calls for drastic diet adjustments, so people started cooking traditional winter soups. I made a simple "pasta che ciciri". Sometimes I prefer a creamy chickpea soup, but this time I went for an even more earthy "pasta e ceci".
I love artichokes in every possible way, simply marinated, in a salad, cooked in charcoal, in risotti and other primi piatti, as a side dish, in batter and many other recipes. The one below is a traditional Sicilian recipes which turns them into a fantastic full vegetarian main course, "carciufili ca' muddica" (breadcrumbs stuffed artichokes). In Sicily you can find them with various names as "cacocciuli", "cacuoccili", "carciuofili", in Italian they are simply "carciofi". This is my grandmother Elvira's version.
On the 11th of November, we celebrate San Martino, St Martin, a soldier of the Roman Empire who became a Saint for his great humility and generosity.
The summer season in Sicily offers wonderful fruits and vegetables, aubergine, peppers, peaches, melons, etc etc but the absolute king of Sicilian summer vegetables is Its Majesty Il Pomodoro, simply ripe, sweet and juicy tomatoes of all kinds.
Posted on Tuesday 14th of August 2012 under Festivities
On the 15th of August, most Italians celebrate the Ferragosto with their families and friends having a big meal and having fun. However, in certain areas of the country, especially in Sicily, the day is still closely dedicated to the religious celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven with ancient rituals, processions and special traditions taking place every year.
Another Mediterranean summer delight? Melanzane, of course!
Call them eggplants or aubergines as you prefer, but it does not change the fact that they are a delicious gift of nature. And what would Sicilian cuisine be without them? Can you imagine Sicily without its famous Pasta alla Norma with fried melanzane and ricotta salata?
Posted on Monday 06th of August 2012 under
Modica has its first Olympic gold medalist, Giorgio Avola. Last night, the Italian men's fencing team beat Japan 45-39 to take the gold in the men's team foil, winning Italy's third gold medal in fencing during the 2012 Olympics and Giorgio Avola's performance was simply amazing!