insalata di cedro – citron salad

It’s the citrus time of year, as heralded in by my last post. This time it’s the turn of citrons to fall under the knife, but lemons and oranges beware, you may well be next in line for the chop…. I remember the first time I saw (read: gawked at aghast in disbelief) citrons. I presumed they were lemons, albeit lemons which were possibly the result of genetic modification or a nuclear incident. At the 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 →

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 →

parmigiana – aubergine bake

Finally, it’s time to introduce you to my absolute favourite Italian dish. Parmigiana. Love on a plate. Warming, soothing, tantalising, and melt-in-your mouth delicious… There are various versions in the south of Italy, and both the Neapolitans and Sicilians proudly claim it’s theirs. The Sicilian variety is good, and in fact anything that contains fried aubergines is good by definition, the way I see it. On the island, however, parmigiana often contains ham and sliced Continue Reading →

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 →

bietole e lenticchie – chard and lentils

One look at these bunches of vibrant crimson and deep green leaves and I was won over. Nothing could be that beautiful and not taste delicious. I bought myself a bagful, and it was only then that I realised I didn’t have a clue what to do with them. Of course, when in doubt, ask the person doing the selling, which in this case was a man with a white cowboy hat and matching goatee Continue Reading →

fagiolini larghi ammollicati – runner beans with breadcrumbs

Here in Northern Sicily they love breadcrumbs. Not what you would imagine to be the Mediterranean ingredient par excellence, I know, but they pop up all over the place. Sicilians take thin strips of meat, pounded until almost translucent, and cover them with mollica condita (breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan, parsley, oil, salt and pepper. Garlic is often added, and in Palermo also sultanas and pine nuts). They then roll them up and slide them onto Continue Reading →