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 →

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 →

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 →

insalata strombolana – stromboli salad

I have a deep, enduring love for capers. As soon as the weather warms up (in other words, now!), I’ll pull them out of the store cupboard and start adding them to salads, pasta and fish dishes. Capers for me, like apricots, olives and chilli peppers, are an essential foodstuff. Their salty, floral, aromatic kick is addictive, like kissing lips still wet from the sea… Olives and chillis I can (and do) grow myself, but Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

insalata di arance e finocchio – orange and fennel salad

A classic winter salad here in Sicily, when fennel and oranges are at their best. It’s even better when made with blood oranges, but for those I’ll have to wait until later in the season… Fennel and orange is the basic version, although I like to add capers and red onion (in this case, I used the sweet, mild onions from Tropea, across the Straits in Calabria) and sometimes small black olives, not to mention Continue Reading →