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…

Postcards from Sicily: Oregano

This summer I photographed this Sicilian Oregano drying in the sun. Oregano grows wild in amongst the Mediterranean scrub of Sicily and is gathered and saved to add flavor to meats and other dishes. As I was taking this photo I was struck by the rustic almost dirty look of the rocks and the herbs,…

Postcards from Sicily: maccheroni

  Sicilian maccheroni, are the ultimate feast. Served with rich Bolognese sauces for every occasion from birthdays to Christmas to New Year. Not for the faint hearted ... your waistline will suffer for them but your taste buds will be in heaven. Maccheroni season is just around the corner ...

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: Tomatoes

Fruit and vegetables always seem more sensuous in Sicily, their colours are more intense, flavors fulsome and form expansive. Our tomatoes this year were an illustration of Sicilian agricultural fertility, they were abundant and delicious too.  

How to peel a fico d’india

The exotic prickly pear (fico d’india) is a delicacy in Sicily and thrives around the entire island. Known also as the Barbary fig (opuntia ficus-indica) it is a species of cactus cultivated throughout the world in arid and semiarid areas and is thought to be native to Mexico. It is best to taste them after…

Fall in Sicily

The beginning of Autumn in Sicily can be abrupt. The gradual changes from one season to the next are now a thing of the past, there are no more slightly shortening days or time for the leaves to go from greens, yellows, warm rusty reds or browns, now the fall begins with heavy rains and…

A September song

I was recently asked via twitter about what there is to be done in September in Sicily. The truth is just as many things as you can do at any time of the year, it probably is a good month to visit the island as the holiday ‘high season’ is well and truly over and…

A Sicilian Summer with Brian Johnston

I’ve always been a lover of the travel writing genre, ever since my mother gave me a paperback of Bill Bryson’s ‘Neither here nor there’ which took me backpacking through Europe before I left high school. Since then I have made my way through many travel writing classics from Paul Theroux to Bruce Chatwin. Many…

Secluded Sicily: Raccuja’s ghosts

I live a few minutes drive from the hometown of my maternal grandparents who migrated to Australia in the 1950’s. Visiting Raccuja is like seeing ghosts pass before my eyes, it’s a strange visceral experience. I grew up hearing my grandparents stories and it is emotional to find myself passing upon their footsteps. Even if…

Postcards from Sicily: Pupi

My son loves knights and dragons. He keeps begging me to buy him one of these marionette puppets, he would be drooling if he saw this big guy. I love the Pupi Siciliani as a form of Sicilian theatre that originated in the 18th Century and retold epic battles and tales of old. It nearly…

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,…

This month in the garden: the Kiwi

  I’ve never been a green thumb, actually I’m the direct polar opposite. If you name a plant I’ve probably killed it. One time I even managed to liquidate two cacti whom I had named Iglesias and Beniamino, they strangely rotted to death after I over watered them (yes I managed to over water a…

A coffee temptation

I’ve always been a coffee drinker. I started off with instant stuff, then graduated to frothy cappuccino, milky latte and now I live in Italy it’s one hundred percent hardcore espresso. I briefly flirted with tea drinking in my youth, in the anglo saxon tradition of taking afternoon tea, so common in England loving Australia…