zuppa di zucca – pumpkin soup

I wanted something simple. I wanted something quick. I wanted something that would make me feel virtuous after the excesses of Christmas. But I didn’t want something that tasted virtuous. That would have been going too far. I also needed a way to use up the huge slice of pumpkin that had been lurking menacingly in the fridge for days. Pumpkin is a very popular vegetable in Sicily, although despite this it crops up in Continue Reading →

macco al finocchietto – fava bean soup with wild fennel

I won’t even pretend I’m normal, whatever that means. I’m the kind of person who wakes up in the morning and says to himself “I’d love a shepherd’s pie tonight”, and then spends the rest of the day imagining cooking and savouring it, evoking the aromas, picturing the spoon breaking through the crispy potato crust, then watching the rich gravy slowly ooze out to invade the plate like a dark, viscous sea (told you I Continue Reading →

cuccìa – wheat and legume soup for St. Lucy’s Day

Yesterday was St. Lucy’s Day, and traditionally that means cuccìa here in Sicily. There are two versions – sweet and savoury, although the sweet one is much more widespread, and the savoury version has practically died out (which of course is one of the reasons I decided to cook it, albeit with a rather cavalier approach to the ingredients, as you will see…). Either way, the basis of the recipe is wheat, and wheat berries Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →