risotto alle clementine – tangerine risotto

Before we start, I know the Italian and English versions of the title seem to be at odds, but that’s simply because here in Sicily clementines and tangerines tend to go by the same name. The fruit I used seemed to me to be tangerines, so that’s what I’m calling them. Not that it really matters – either can be used. Although we usually munch on these sweet shots of citrus in a half-hearted attempt Continue Reading →

salsicce e carciofi – sausages and artichokes

The original plan was to do stuffed baked artichokes, but I have a nasty cold and just couldn’t muster the energy. I wanted something equally tasty but quicker and less fiddly. The solution was to use the ingredients for stuffed artichokes and to simply mix them together to create a one-dish meal. Same flavours, less work. Deconstructed rustic cooking. Could this be the birth of a whole new trend? The breadcrumbs in fact are not Continue Reading →

insalata di carne – beef salad

Just saying the words “beef salad” makes me feel better about the world, or at least better about salad. When I was a kid, the Sunday evening salad was possibly the meal that depressed me most. Sunday afternoon was depressing enough anyway, but finishing it off with limp lettuce, ice-cold flavour-free tomatoes and salad cream struck me as adding insult to injury, like having Vogon poetry read to you before being flung out of a Continue Reading →

polpette di finocchietto selvatico – wild fennel rissoles

You may be forgiven for thinking I’ve turned pescetarian or something. Judging by recent posts, people may rightly be doubting my carnivorous credentials. If I didn’t get through so much bacon, sausages and rare steak I’d start to wonder myself. I think it must have something to do with the fact that on the whole, Sicilians (at least those living near the sea) don’t understand meat. This becomes abundantly clear whenever I go to the Continue Reading →

tonno al forno con capperi e pomodori – baked tuna with tomatoes and capers

This is a typical way of cooking tuna on the island of Favignana, off Sicily’s west coast. We find the classic island supporting act (the combination of capers, olives, tomatoes and oregano) alongside the omnipresent west coast breadcrumb coating. Breadcrumbs are of course popular everywhere in Sicily, but in western Sicily are often found as a topping, whereas in the eastern part of the island they are used more often as a stuffing, or to Continue Reading →

polipo e ceci – octopus and chickpeas

This recipe came to me in a flash of inspiration one Saturday morning, and although I have since discovered that the octopus-legume combination is appreciated elsewhere in Italy, I still feel some smug satisfaction for having “invented” the recipe before finding out that actually I hadn’t. I say “recipe” because that’s what it is, but only in the same way that “ham sandwich” is a recipe. Unlike a ham sandwich, it does involve cooking, albeit Continue Reading →

pane a caponata – sicilian bread salad

Before we start, no, this is not the same as the by now ubiquitous Tuscan panzanella. There are some crucial differences. For starters, although this is a perfect way to use up leftover bread, it is also good enough to merit buying a decent loaf on purpose. Panzanella quite frankly isn’t. Above all, here the bread is toasted and left in chunks, adding not only extra texture, but extra flavour. This detail also puts it Continue Reading →