loveSicily Blog

My choice of leaving the UK and starting a cooking school in Sicily on Psychologies magazine

My choice of leaving the UK and starting a cooking school in Sicily on Psychologies magazine

This month our family choice of leaving the UK to move to Sicily to start a new life and career, back in 2004, is featured on Psychologies magazine in Italy.
Leave our post-doctoral careers to move to Sicily and open a cooking school?
Many thought we were crazy, many still think so! Others found us brave! Others understood this was simply a choice, neither bad nor good, just a choice with an unpredictable outcome, like all other important decisions you take in a lifetime!

Pears, Pizzuta Almonds and Vanilla Cake

Pears, Pizzuta Almonds and Vanilla Cake

Big storm today, lots of rain and a sudden temperature drop. Automn is here and I decided it was time for my pears, vanilla and Sicilian almonds cake.
Enojy it for breakfast with a good "caffe e latte" or a vanilla flavoured black tea.
Ingredients:

2 pears
100 g finely grounded toasted almonds with the peal on
120 g sugar + 2 tablespoons (to sprinkle over the cake before baking)
110g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder for cakes
2 eggs
60 ml milk
1 paste of one vanilla pod

Cooking with a Unicredit Bank Team

Cooking with a Unicredit Bank Team

Lots of fun last Monday with a team of Ragusani from Unicredit Bank in the kitchen. It was no team-building exercise as this was already a well-jelled team, a group of people who work so well together to win a prize as Sicily's best Unicredit team. The prize? A a plaque, of course, and a cooking lesson with loveSicily ;)!
So besides the managers coming from Milan and Genoa, we were a loud bunch of Sicilians in the kitchen. It was real fun!

A Sicilian interpretation of Chef Colonna's Cacio e Pepe

A Sicilian interpretation of Chef Colonna's Cacio e Pepe

From Rome's style pasta Cacio e Pepe to loveSicily's ragusano cheese and chilli pepper version.

Chocolate, wine and grapes cakes. Vendemmia 2011

Chocolate, wine and grapes cakes. Vendemmia 2011

To welcome the new "vendemmia" (grape harvest season) I worked on a cake of mine, a 100% cocoa and Frappato wine cake, and developed a new recipe for individual small, muffins like cake with a heart of "drank" grapes.

I chose red grapes produced in Mazzarrone, cleaned them, cut them in half and removed the seeds. Then I soaked them in Nero d'Avola passito wine for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Pasta e cucuzza

Pasta e cucuzza

Sicilian summer recipes include some healthy hot soups. One of the main ingredients for some of these is a long shaped kind of courgette that we simply call cucuzza. We also use "tinniruma" (tenerumi), cucuzza's greens, in summer recipes.

You can find it in markets and even in supermarkets, but this time I got it from Angelo's father in law who has a passion for gardening and made a fantastic vegetable garden to produce organic vegetables for its family.

Almond Harvest 1981 -2011: the legacy is in your taste buds!

Almond Harvest 1981 -2011: the legacy is in your taste buds!

A few years ago I wrote a post talking about my childwood in August explaining how it was not only a time for holidays, the beach, "ferragosto" (15th of August) celebration but also for family gathering in Ispica to harvest almonds and carobs.
My grandmother, Nonna Marietta, daughter of "U Massa Titta" (Titta, or Giambattista Cultrera who was a farmer) had inherited an almond grove dotted with carob trees and we all had to go to help out during the harvest time.

What's Spatulidda o Pesce Sciabola? Silver Scabbard Fish

What's Spatulidda o Pesce Sciabola? Silver Scabbard Fish

One of my favourite fish is "pesce sciabola", in Sicilian spatulidda.
Most non-Italian guests, when I cook this fish in my cooking classes, ask me what it is.
I answer saying that in English the name is scabbard fish, but it doesn't seem to ring any bell at all.

So I thought about writing a small post with pictures to explain a little bit more.

Keeping in touch with loveSicilians...

Keeping in touch with loveSicilians...

It is such a pleasure to receive greetings and news from loveSicilians, people who have been on our culinary tours and spent a full week of cooking, eating, drinking and discovering Sicily with us while sharing some thoughts, ideas and life stories.

Corzetti liguri pasta... made in loveSicily

Corzetti liguri pasta... made in loveSicily

I have to admit that over the years I have become a home-made pasta fanatic and, in general, crazy for any traditional kitchen tools from all over the world, because, as a Sicilian saying explains,: " I stigghi fanu u mastru", it is the tools that make a master.