street food and markets, palermo

The idea was to pop to Palermo for the morning and do the rounds of its three historic markets: Ballarò, il Capo and la Vucciria, eating my way through them, as I sampled the city’s renowned street food. And so it was, half asleep, that I tumbled out of the train after a three-hour journey, to the vibrant buzz of one of my favourite cities. This is Sicily at its most extreme, with breath-taking churches 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 →

sweets for the dead – ossa di morti

Yesterday I was back at my favourite pasticceria, Scandaliato ( The Italians say that “la qualità non ha prezzo” – you can’t put a price on quality. Let me set you straight on that one. You most definitely can, and it’s high. To try and make myself feel better, let’s just say it’s a price I’m prepared to pay. That, at least, is how I’m going to pitch it to my wife. And anyway, it’s Continue Reading →

dolce Natale – sweet Christmas

Sicilians seem to have a traditional dish for every occasion. There are zeppole di San Giuseppe for St. Joseph’s Day, there’s cuccia for St. Lucy’s Day, and pasta ‘ncaciata for the Assumption of the Virgin on 15 August. Not to mention the Easter specialities, which change from town to town. But I’m only scratching the surface here; I could probably dedicate this blog solely to Sicilian feast-day food, and still have plenty to write about Continue Reading →

passuluna – semidried olives

Unprepossessing bunch, aren’t they? These lovelies are passuluna¸ olives which have been left to appasssire, i.e. dry and wither on the tree. These are the gangland thugs of the culinary underworld, bruisers you would cross the street to stay clear of. I won’t pretend – who would believe me, for starters? – that these blackened, shrivelled drupes are universally popular. Many Sicilians, however, wax lyrical about them. I’ve always presumed they’re one of those foodstuffs Continue Reading →