limoncello – lemon liqueur

I remember my first, probably illegal, foray into liqueur production. Like many great discoveries, it happened by chance. A bottle of orange squash, barley water or something similar had slipped down behind the desk in my room at school and had lodged behind the radiator. When I came across it many weeks later, it smelt distinctly alcoholic, looked radioactive, and was probably poisonous, but it tasted pretty good, along the lines of Grand Marnier (OK, Continue Reading →

i ruggeri, messina

As I mentioned the other day, we were having bad weather, at least officially. So even though it was a Friday evening, the bars and restaurants were pretty empty. Our chosen dinner venue, I Ruggeri, was no exception, despite being top of tripadvisor’s list of the city’s 414 restaurants. Of course, I feel I should mention that at least in Italy, tripadvisor’s definition of “restaurant” is pretty flexible. “Restaurant” no. 2, for example, is actually Continue Reading →

fresh tuna salad – insalata di tonno fresco

What I really needed yesterday evening was a steaming, hot beef stew. But of course, that would have meant, amongst other things, planning slightly ahead, at least slightly enough ahead to slip to the butcher’s in the morning and stock up on stewing steak. Before you ask why, having missed my morning window of opportunity, I didn’t just buy some meat in the afternoon, I should tell you that butchers here only open in the Continue Reading →

abbuffata di Natale – Christmas blowout

Well, here we are, back from the hols. As I drag myself away from the scene of carnage that is my kitchen, I feel just about ready to write about food again, after three weeks doing nothing but cook and eat it in what I would like to think of as heroic quantities. You will no doubt be expecting a blow-by-blow account of my culinary escapades, but that would be like asking Homer if he Continue Reading →

cavolfiore affogato – braised cauliflower

Of course – and those of you who have read other posts will realise there’s a pattern emerging here – Sicilians have a different name for it, and not only a different name for it, but a name that everyone else uses to indicate something different. In this case, similar, but nevertheless distinctly different. Because they often call cauliflower broccolo. So if a Sicilian says he’s cooking pasta con i broccoli, you might get pasta Continue Reading →