As you all know I am awfully fond of cookbooks. My motto is you can never have too many of them. Todd would disagree . . . but what does he know? His idea of cooking is holding a tin in one hand and a pot in the other. I have noticed that whilst he might balk at the amount of cookery books I have . . . he never complains about the recipes I cook from them. He's always more than happy to chow down!
I was recently sent this beautiful cookery book Sicily published by Phaidon. It's a pretty hefty book, containing more than 50simple recipes from the Silver Spoon restaurant in Sicily, this book is much more than a mere cookery book. Personally I found it completely fascinating and I learned a lot about Sicily that I hadn't known before.
I always thought of Sicily as being not much more than an Island at the tip of Italy's boot, but I didn't know a lot about it. I just always thought of it as being Italian, but it turns out it is so much more than that.
It is a unique cuisine which can boast influences from Neolithic migrants from Africa and the Arab Peninsula, Greeks and the Romans.
This book is divided into the different areas of Sicily, with a variety of recipes representing each area . . . some 9 different spots and chapters in all . . .
As you can see from the map, each area has their own individual variety of cuisines, depending on the cultures of the people which have settled there and the raw ingredients which are in abundance. Sicily has a unique and varied landscape, comprised of lush and fertile mountains and valleys, arid desert-like plains and a wonderful coastline filled richly with a variety of sea life. Altogether this makes for a delicious mosaic of cultures and cuisines.
The book is filled with beautiful photographs which read like a travelogue of this beautiful Island . . . representing each area wonderfully. I really enjoyed seeing them and reading about the cuisine of each area.
It truly is a beautiful spot. Earlier this year Todd and I had planned on doing a Mediterranean Cruise and Sicily was going to be one of the spots we stopped at. Unfortunately we had to cancel it and so this book has truly allowed me to see this beautiful Island in a unique and interesting way. It is a wealth of information about the climate, the people, the landscape and the food.
Beautiful fresh produce such as these lovely peppers . . . and lemons
Beautiful olives, fresh sardines, pasta, pizzas, tomatoes, aubergines, chocolate, anchovies, capers, cheeses, shrimps, swordfish, garlic, fennel, oranges, pistachio nuts . . . there is no end to the variety and quantity of ingredients which make Sicilian food so beautifully tasty, and this book so fabulous.
One of the recipes in this book is called Pasta Con I Mascolini, or Pasta with anchovies. It looks delicious, absolutely delicious . . . of course as you know the Toddster doesn't like pasta, but he does love pies . . .
I was able to bake him this delicious Chicken Pie, Pasticcio Di Pollo. which he really enjoyed. It was a fabulous mix of chicken, pistachios, almonds, capers, lemon and Parsley and a beautiful crust which was quite unique in that it used eggs, butter, lard and Marsala wine. Totally delicious.
Beautiful sauces such as this Salmoriglio sauce, or Salsa Salmoriglio, consisting of simple ingredients . . . olive oil, lemons, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. Said to go very well with fish, especially sword fish.
Pomodori Ripieni Fritti, Fried stuffed tomatoes. These look gorgeous and I can hardly wait for tomato season so I can get stuck into some of them. Have I ever told you how much I love tomatoes?? Well, I adore tomatoes and these look fabulously delish!
But there is not just savory things in this book . . . there is also plenty of sweetness to be found with recipes for these beautiful sounding sweet fritters called Sfinci, served with a citrus syrup, Panzerotti di ricotta (sweet ricotta pastries), an assortment of ices, granitas, a sweet coffee jelly and sweet biscuits like these lovely Convent Biscuits, or Biscotti Del Convento. (Did you know I love Biscotti? You do now!)
Altogether this is a beautifully presented hard covered book, with gorgeous pictures, a wealth of information about Sicily and delicious sounding recipes.
There are also two great bookmarks included which come in very handy for making note of what you want to make. I hate picking a recipe to make and then having to search to find it because I have lost my place. These bookmarks get rid of that problem. If I had any criticism at all about the book it would be that some of the ingredients are not readily available here where I live at my local grocery stores, although I am sure I would be able to procure them at specialty shops, or with my knowledge of cookery and flavours . . . I could probably quite easily substitute them with something else.
If you are looking for a nice book, with some beautiful recipes, fabulous pictures and which is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, you could not go far wrong in getting this book. Many thanks to the people at Phaidon for sending it to me.
There's all you need to know in that picture there. Available now.