zuppa di fave – fava bean soup

There’s something about autumn, with the nights drawing in, that makes me yearn for rustic food. Really rustic food, the sort of stuff I could imagine people eating in front of an open fire in some draughty cottage a couple of centuries ago. Yes, very Thomas Hardy, I know, very Woodlanders. Although if Thomas Hardy’s characters had eaten a bit more of today’s soup, maybe they wouldn’t have been so unbearably miserable the whole time. Continue Reading →

cardi gratinati – cardoon gratin

You may be forgiven for thinking this is Unusual Vegetable Week, what with chayote followed by mustard greens, and now cardoons (carduni in Sicilian). It’s simply because autumn is when the market stalls are brimming with the new season’s produce, including quite a few local varieties not found widely outside Sicily. Anyway, back to our cardoons, which look like an untamed, grubby version of celery. Sort of celery with attitude, not least because the edges Continue Reading →

senape – mustard greens

Look, I’m really sorry about this, and I wish I could promise it won’t happen again. Problem is, I’m sure it will. It’s all rather embarrassing, but we’ve got a mix-up with the names again. I at least take some comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one to get confused, that even the taxonomists are at a loss. They agree that we are talking about plants from the Brassicaceae family, but it’s Continue Reading →

zuppa di zucchina spinosa – chayote and potato soup

Never heard of chayote before? Well, neither had I until today. That’s not to say I haven’t eaten it, though. You see, this is a vegetable (botanically speaking, a fruit) I discovered here in Sicily. “Chayote for dinner today, kids!” is not something I seem to remember my mother calling out, so for me it’s always only been zucchina spinosa. I’ve never needed to know what it’s called in English before now. If you want Continue Reading →

spaghetti con mosciame – spaghetti with dry-cured tuna

No, before you ask, I am not a paid-up employee of the Tuna Marketing Board. Yes, I know, I posted a tuna recipe only last week, but that’s just a coincidence. Admittedly, with my love for tuna, let’s just say it was a coincidence waiting to happen. However, fishy coincidences aside, I’m sure you’re all wondering just what mosciame is. Quite a few Sicilians from this side of the island don’t know either, so you’re Continue Reading →

peperoncini sott’olio – chilli peppers in oil

This is an illegal substance, or at least probably should be. It definitely looks like a by-product of chemical weapons manufacture. I am, of course addicted, as I am to anything that contains chillies. I have a number of varieties growing in pots on my terrace, and these are my very local source for the raw materials.  You’ll find recipes for chillies in oil/chilli oil elsewhere, but the crucial difference here is that the chillies Continue Reading →