A tasteful introduction to Sicilian cuisine

Italy is a foodies paradise, and each town has its own particular specialities. From region to region and city to city, each place has its form and interpretation of pasta, typical seasonal ingredients, wines, cheeses, and desserts. It would take months to work your way around the boot and taste everything. Without the luxury of…

A humble olive harvest

There is something humbling about participating in a traditional olive harvest. Every couple of years, I get to help my husband, and his family gather olives to make oil for our own family. Everyone loves the taste of good high-quality oil, and I refuse to do without it. I grew up eating olives, and I’m…

The prickly situation of the Fichi d’india

Mountains of prickly pears cactus plants line the roadside spreading out into the uncultivated land, they thrive in the lava soil and produce a much-loved fruit, in Sicily. The flat, irregular, leaves of the fica d’india are oval-shaped, a little bit bigger than a table tennis racquet. The fruit of this cactus ripens gradually around…

Reflections on a summer garden

I am probably the worst gardener in the world, name a plant, and I've probably killed it usually by forgetting to water it. Strangely enough, both my parents and grandparents were (and still are) fantastic green thumbs. Our family always had terrific vegetable gardens. In the summer we never needed to buy tomatoes, basil, eggplants…

Le stravaganti Tabacchere

Uno dai più prelibati frutti dell’estate siciliana è la Tabacchere, una strana piccola pesca schiacciata dall’intenso sapore. Ho visto la prima volta questa, apparetemente mini frutti insignificanti al chiosco di frutta e vedura al mercato e credevo fossero un tipo inferiore delle pesce normali. Mi ero veramente sbagliata, le Tabacchere sono un capolavoro barocco dei…

Eating the Springtime

One of the life lessons Italy has given me is the special taste of eating according to the seasons. There is something wonderfully simple and logical about living with the natural worlds shifting seasons, as if you are following a natural internal rhythm. Today we are all spoilt by supermarkets who have everything we want…

Carciofi affumicati e arrostiti

La primavera Siciliana è triste perchè il tempo passa da giorni piovosi a giorni di forte sole. Il vento di Scirocco nasce dal deserto Africano e soffia a lungo durante tutte le stagioni. I fiori bianchi sugli alberi da frutto si mescolano con il grigio della passata stagione. La primavera è come un  armistizio che…

Searching for San Valentino

A skeptic Valentine As for me I think I am in serious danger of falling flat on my face here, you see I’ve never been the romantic type. I’m the one who encouraged my brother and his former girlfriend many years ago on Valentine’s day to fake a wedding proposal to get a free meal…

The humble Panettone

I grew up eating Panettone, every Christmas, at my Sicilian grandparents place it was traditional fare to cut slices, for afternoon tea, of this gigantic aromatic Christmas cake filled with sultanas, dried lemon and orange zest. Every year that Panettone deceived me with it’s light and fluffy appearance, I’d bite into it’s tall and slender…

A tasteful introduction to Sicilian food

Without the luxury of a twelve-month gourmet tour, I’d like to offer you a brief appetizer of my own little piece of Italy, Sicily whose cuisine shows off its history and location at the centre of the Mediterranean. The most important thing to remember is that all Italians take food very seriously and sustenance is officially…

Sicilian Tomatoes, Benedica

The fertility of Sicily’s volcanic soil is well-known and thanks to the Sicilian habit of having a vegetable garden I’ve never been without fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare throughout the year, from eggplants, capsicums, chili peppers, basil and tomatoes in the summer to peas, potatoes, pumpkins and broad beans in the winter. There is…

Postcards from Sicily: Funky winter fruit

One funky winter fruit common here in Sicily are these gorgeous fruit called Corbezzoli in Italian or Mbriaculi in Sicilian. They are fuzzy little slightly spiky balls of sweet goodness. Apparently when animals eat too many of them they ferment in their stomachs making them slightly drunk. According to Google translator these are Arbutus fruit,…