Thursday, October 20, 2011

Filled bell peppers: gorgeous Mediterranean taste

Do you know how to make some bell peppers filled with cheese and olives? This is a typical Sicilian side-dish and it has definetely got a great Mediterranean taste. There are several fillings for these vegetables, but I like to do a simple one, not long, nor difficult.

Ingredients & preparation for 4 people:
2 bell peppers
80 gr. green pitted olives
150 gr. Sicilian primo sale cheese
4-5 ts breadcrumb
3 ts tomato sauce
e.v. olive oil

1. Cut the bell peppers in half, remove the inside and the seeds and wash them under running water.
2. Switch the oven on at a temperature of about 180° C.

3. In a bowl or a large dish put the breadcrumb and mix it with the olive oil, the tomato sauce, a pinch of salt and the olives cut in halves or even better in slices. Sprinkle with abundant oregano.
4. Now cut the cheese in cubes.

5. In an oven dish, put a drizzle of oil at the bottom and with a spoon start filling the pepperoni one at a time, first with the breadcrumb mix and then topping with the cubes of primo sale cheese (or any other tasty cheese you like).
6) Place them in the oven dish and let them cook for about 30 minutes or so. Better if you check after 20 minutes and see how the cooking is going, the cheese must melt and the bell peppers have to be quite soft.

Serve them when they are getting warm, it will be the perfect moment because you can appreciate the different flavours of the dish without burning your mouth. This is a typical Mediterranean recipe, also perfectly suitable for vegeterians and I really hope you can enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What do Sicilians eat for breakfast?

Do you know what Sicilians usually eat for breakfast? When I decided to create a food blog I loved the idea of posting not only mere recipes, but also stories, origins and any other information that can be interesting about our way of eating and our habits. So that is what this article is about: our breakfast!
As Sicily is a part of Italy (can't stand those who say the opposite only because it's an island!), Sicilian breakfast at home is like the Italian one: strong black coffee, with or without milk, with few biscuits or some sliced bread with butter and jam, possibly homemade. 

But if you do have breakfast out things change. 
It's still true we can't live without the espresso from the bar or the cappuccino (pic on the left.)

We also love fresh orange juice (squeesed in that moment!) and we usually have some delicacies with it.
The most traditional ones in Palermo and its province are: treccine (twist shaped), millefoglie, ciambelle and brioche; (up above the picture of a ciambella and a treccina).
(You'll also find the international croissants and stuff such as Danish pastries with custard cream, apples, ecc, ...)
The dough of this four things are similar one another, the first two treccine and millefoglie (here on the left a millefoglie) are baked and have sugar on top, they only have different shapes, plus the millefoglie has got raisins as well. Ciambelle (pic on top) are fried and very similar to donuts, at least in their shape, but are bigger, softer and with caster sugar. Needless to say they are the best and all the kids love them!
I remember when I was a child and I had to go to the doctor for blood exams with my empty stomach, after that horrible experience (as a kid) only a big soft rounded ciambella could make me smile again!!! :-)))

Finally there are the briosce or brioche, the word comes from the French. Careful when you use this word in other parts of Italy because in the north (like in Milan) they call briosce a normal croissant, while we don't because as I've just explained for us are two different things!

Our brioches are plain baked buns (oval or rounded like here on the right) and we eat them in many different ways: you can have an empty brioche with your cappucino in the morning, then one with ham and tomato for lunch, which we would call also sandwich, and even one with ice cream for dinner or during the afternoon!

This is how Sicilians love to eat their ice cream in Summer! So they are suitable for every need... ahah :))

Talking about the hot season I have to add that there are many Sicilians who prefer to have a lemon or pistachio granita (correct transl. is slush or ice shaved) with a lovely soft brioche instead of the hot cappuccino during the Summer season, but this is obviously up to everyone's taste and habit, rather than a proper tradition. (By the way, the area to find the best granita is either in the Catania or Siracusa province, so in Eastern Sicily.)

I personally could't live without my morning cappuccino even in the middle of July!

Now you can understand a little bit more about our first meal, and when you come to Sicily you will definetely know what to ask for breakfast!