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Cooking the Season: Lombrichelli with Zucchini & Blossoms

Buon Anno! and welcome to my first post for 2019 with the focus on ‘Cooking the Season’.  I hope you had a delightful festive period cooking your wonderful traditional family dishes and hopefully explored some new recipes to add to your table. I spent time with the family away, time in the garden and catching up on some reading from recipe books purchased at the end of last year; but more about that in another upcoming post.
The year begins with an emphasis on growing our own food the way my grandparents did.My roots have instilled a connection to the land, planting fruits and vegetables that have allowed us to carry on traditions as well as sustain our family. It has taught me to slow down, be patient and appreciate natures time frame in this ever fast paced world; reminded me about the importance of sharing the surplus and not to waste; to be frugal and most of all to respect the land. These underlying values I owe to my grandparents first and foremost and my parents who still choo…
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Cucina Conversations: Noto & a Sicilian Inspired Breakfast

It is stated that nowhere else in Italy can claim the rich and varied history that Sicily and its neighbouring islands have endured. They were invaded by such powerful civilizations as the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, French and Spanish, all of whom have left their lasting mark on Sicilian dishes making this regions food diverse and exciting.  I had high expectations of this region and with every town we travelled through, it didn’t fail to impress.  This is the last of my series on our travels to Sicily, which links back to Part I: Modica & Scacce Ragusane, as well as Part II: Siracusa, Ortigia & Palazzolo Acreide; sharing photos, a short list of favourite places we visited including some popular eateries. 

Here is my contribution to our quarterly edition for Cucina Conversations whose theme is ‘travel and food’; so I conclude our journey through Sicily with beautiful Noto and a recipe for a Sicilian inspired breakfast that includes - granita alla mandorla served with brioscia (alm…

Sicily Part II: Siracusa, Ortigia & Palazzolo Acreide

As promised, here is Part II, following from my last post on Sicily Part 1: Modica  and those amazing scacce ragusane. So our journey continued through the south eastern side of Sicily with my husband’s delightful cousins Anna Maria and Salvatore.  We drove to three additional cities showcasing their ancient beauty and intact Baroque style to include Siracusa and the island of Ortigia; my father in laws home town Palazzolo Acreide and ending our visit in Noto.

Siracusa & Ortigia Island Our base stay was in Syracusa not far from Ortigia Island. I had heard so much about this historic centre from my friend Rosa who runs yearly tours to Sicily, and has published her 2019 Culinary Tour of Sicily itinerary on her website so do check it out.  This island also known in dialect as ‘u scogghiu’ – the rock, is a treasure.    It is connected to Syracusa by its bridges and walking distance to its small but charming market.
This market echoes the Arab influence with its alleys and aromas of va…

Sicily Part 1: Modica & Scacce Ragusane

Eating our way through the south-eastern corner of Sicily was high on our agenda when we touched down after a very long flight from Melbourne.  Catania was our overnight pit stop to normalise somewhat before hiring a car and heading down to Siracusa, to our lovely four day stay(I know, not long enough you say). We always knew that Sicily would require many more visits to absorb and understand its beat, but needed to be mindful of the fact that there were other regions of Italy we needed to fit into our whirlwind family holiday.  
It was recommended that we station ourselves in one spot to then take some day trips to surrounding areas; Palazzolo Acreide being the one definite destination as this is where my husband’s father is from. It is also where his last living aunt still resides in one of the town’s oldest palazzo and we were very excited to meet la zia Carmela. Siracusa and the island of Ortigia also came highly recommended by friends; and the rest, well we left it to the Sicilian…

Cucina Conversations: Timballo di Riso e Melanzane (Rice and Eggplant Timballo)

We are back! You may have noticed that our Cucina Conversations monthly posts missed a few months and that is because we have decided to now post quarterly to fit into our busy lives. This month is all about 'stuffed foods' and for me this means finally posting the recipe for the baked rice timballo encased with crispy golden melanzane (eggplants) I had promised to share a while back.  Truth be told, I had made and photographed this dish for our May edition but couldn't find the time to write about it. Many events got in the way and soon found myself in Italy, and no sooner back in the swing of work. So after a few quiet months, here she is. 
Those who are not familiar with the term timballo or sometimes called timpano, it refers to an elaborate dish typically layered with cooked pasta or rice, and often enriched with additional ingredients. It can be encased in many ways such as a golden crust of pasta, pastry sheets or even vegetable slices and then baked in a deep form…

Rome, Vegan Maritozzi & Latteria Studio

ROME - A Few Favourite Snapshots

Despite leaving Italy just over a week ago and returning back to work, I can still feel the presence of our family and friends we left behind. This whirlwind of a trip was both an opportunity for our girls to learn more about their roots and to further expand their appreciation of Italian art and culture. Just under four weeks were spent in regions that provided the pleasures of  visual and culinary lessons; and so I begin the first of many posts to come with our last destination - ROMA.

This is a city that finally grew on me after my second visit in 3 years; a city that with my first visit left me speechless. I was brought  back to familiar grounds but with a different quarter to explore and understand. It reunited me with my youngest cousin, giving her the opportunity to meet my family and became a destination point for a meet up with one of my Cucina Conversations fellow bloggers and friend - Maria Luisa at Marmellata di Cipolle. She travelled all t…