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November 5, 2019

The almond tree was brought to Sicily by the Ancient Greeks who made marzipan with ground almonds and honey. When the Arabs introduced sugar cane to Sicily they started the great tradition of Sicilian marzipan fruits, biscuits, refreshing granita and liqueur made with...

August 9, 2019

Photo Credit: Arancini made at Nonna's Cucina class in June, 2019

Doing a spelling check on a recipe I was writing, I suddenly began to doubt myself and my knowledge of Sicilian cuisine. Was it arancino or arancina/ arancini or arancine?

It turns out that the answer to t...

August 4, 2019

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Last week, I accidentally binged on an Italian language series on Netflix.

Suburra: Blood on Rome is based on the novel Suburra by Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo de Cataldo, itself a seminal  exposé of Rome's criminal underbelly. Bonini is a journalis...

July 3, 2019

I accidentally started a major skirmish at dinner the other night.

Amongst a group of Sicilians, I casually asked what, in their expert opinion, constituted the best cannoli. There was a momentary silence, everyone caught their breath, straightened their spines. Then a...

June 15, 2019

The Monday five o’clock deadline looms large. I am in my study. The computer screen stays blank to mock me. I play with my pencil, sharpening it, soon there’ll be nothing left. I reread several false starts and the writer in me agrees with the reader - those story line...

May 5, 2019

I have a persimmon tree.

It gives me great joy throughout the year. In Spring it blushes with delicate flowers.  In summer it is lush and green with tinges of warm yellow and soft red.  In autumn – oh, the splendour of it – it is fire and light. In this “season of mists...

April 30, 2019

I am leading a small tour to Sicily in October 2019 and so I have been trawling through my photos of previous trips. Memories, names and faces jostle for my attention with recipes, tastes and changed perceptions. I am re-reading, Maria Grammatica’s seminal book on bisc...

April 26, 2019

On Palm Sunday 2019, Radio Italiana 531, held a competition for pizza chiena. The choice of date, though serendipitous, was perfect. I was one of four judges.

Photo Credit: Radio Italiana 531AM. In the station's Maria Donato Boardroom on Port Road. 

Palm Sunday – a...

April 20, 2019

Just a few weeks ago I gave a ‘masterclass’ in our beautiful Botanic Gardens for Diggers Heirloom Seeds, on Olives and Grains - Essentials of the Mediterranean Kitchen.  One of the recipes I demonstrated was for a traditional pastiera napoletana using soaked wheat grai...

March 12, 2019

I recently visited a dear friend at her Carey Gully house for afternoon tea with our friend who now lives in Sydney. The views over the undulating hills were mesmerising, and my attention kept wandering to the horses and the Dorper lambs gamboling over the dry earth as...

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