Thursday, August 15, 2013

A refreshing Mediterranean iced tea with an exotic twist!

Have you ever prepared an iced tea that is refreshing and tasty and has an exotic twist as well? That is very easy to do. You only need few ingredients: your favourite flavor of tea, sugar, lemon, a small bunch of fresh mint and a piece of fresh ginger, big more or less like a clove of garlic.

So let's start by making a normal tea in the teapot, leave the tea in infusion for at least 15 minutes. Add 2 or 3 spoons full of sugar while the water is still hot, 10 mint leaves or more, an entire lemon cut in slices and the piece of ginger without the skin.

Leave everything together until the tea has reached the room temperature. After a good couple of hours (at least two) remove the slices of lemon and the ginger.

Put the tea in a jug or a bottle and place it in the fridge for other 2-3 hours. You can also take the mint out but I love it so much I keep it there until the moment I serve it. 

With this heat dear friends, don't miss the opportunity of preparing this lovely refreshing drink at home, definitely healthier than the ones you buy it. You can offer it to your friends when they come visit you or to your husband when he comes tired and hot from work. I am sure that they will love it and appreciate the fact that you had this sweet thought and prepared it with love just for them.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Do you want pane e panelle?" My first interview to an Italian newspaper

Dear readers and food lovers,
as I had happily announced few days ago on my Official Facebook page, this summer I had the honour of being interviewed for my blog by
an Italian National newspaper, always interested in finding new Sicilian bloggers to talk about. How exciting!!!

Here it is a recap of my interview translated just for you :-)

What is your blog about?
The blog combines three passions of mine: food, writing and English language. So it talks about Sicilian recipes but not only. For instance, I have written of Sicilian expert Gaetano Basile's new book about food, about the Sicilian chef Natale Giunta fighting against organised crime and about one of the favorite place of judge Paolo Borsellino: the Focacceria San Francesco in Palermo. Obviously common denominator are always Sicily and food.

Why are you writing in English?
Many reasons. I wanted to export Sicilian cuisine, connect with all the numerous Sicilians that live abroad and that miss the colours and parfumes of our wonderful cuisine, and also let other people in the world know about our food and tradition as well.

It's a mortal sin leaving Sicily without trying...
A lot of stuff: panelle, pasta al forno, cous cous, grilled primosale cheese with black pepper, fresh ricotta cheese, brociolone, caponata, fried sardines.
Arancine and the whole rotisserie, pistaches ice cream flavor from Bronte, gelo di mellone, marzipan (pecorelle or frutta di martorana) and everything coming from our patisserie, starting with cannoli and cassata.

Three blogs that you like. because I like the fact that combines fashion and food. L’ora del libro, an Italian blog for those who love reading and Cliomakeup which is all about beauty products and make up.

Three stereotypes about Sicilian cuisine.
The caponata is made only with aubergine/eggplants and not with bell peppers.
The parmigiana has fried aubergine/eggplants and has nothing to do with the city of Parma or with the famous Parmigiano Reggiano.
The ricotta cream for desserts is made with fresh ricotta, sugar and dark chocolate chips only. Some people think there are also pieces of candy fruits, it was an old use, but not anymore.

Which adjective would you use to describe the following things:
Bronte's pistaches: precious
Pane ca meusa/spleen sandwich: poor
Modica's chocolate: historical
Sfincione: with strong character
Caponata: multi-cultural

Tastes and parfumes.
Palermo: pane e panelle and street food in general
Trapani: cous cous with fish and caldofreddo
Messina: pignolata bicolore, lemon and choc.
Siracusa: slushes of any flavours.
Catania: Nerello Mascalese wine.
Ragusa: caciocavallo cheese dop.

Sicilian Chefs. Who do you prefer?
On this matter I have to improve my knowledge, among those who I have appreciated the talent so far there are:
1. Angelo Treno
2. Giuseppe Di Cristina
3. Natale Giunta

Name, origins, job, what you read and what you watch on tv.
My name is Georgia and I am from Palermo. I am a web content editor, I work with social media and web communication. Basically I write, not only for work but for pleasure as well, infact few months ago I published my first novel in Italian entitled: “L’Equilibrista”.
I love Sergio Bambarèn's books, but also the ones that tell true stories. Recently I read two amazing books that every human being on earth should read: Ruta Sepetys' “Between shades of gray” and Immaculè Ilibagiza's “Left to tell”.
On tv I like watching movies that make me laugh and relax, and depending on what happens in Italy, I may also watch programs on current affairs.

Your favorite aphorism.
Carpe diem. It's from the latin poet Horace and means "seize the day". 

Recipe and wine for this summer.
For this torrid summer I would suggest the cous cous with vegs. It's healthy and fresh, and perfect for any occasion. It can go with both a white or a red wine.
I am not a sommelier but I will try a combination with either Corvo Glicine or Cerasuolo from Vittoria. Both rigorously Sicilians!!! 

You can read the original interview here.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sicilian wines: from the pleasure to the healthy properties

What do you know about Sicilian wine? Would you like to discover more? Eve Pierce has written a brilliant new piece for the Sicilian Cuisine Blog about our wines and their superb properties. So if you are a wine lover, or just a curious person, don't miss it! Here she is in her own words: 

"Sicilian wines are having a boom right now so it’s a good time to start sampling the wonderful range on offer not only for pleasure but also for health reasons. According to a new book by Robert V. Camuto the number of commercial wine producers in Sicily has grown from around 60 to nearly 300 since 1990. Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey (University of Nebraska Press, 2010) attributes the boom in boutique style quality wine production to the rediscovery and appreciation of the unique “terroirs” of Sicilian wine.

There are more vineyards and grapes grown in Sicily than in any other region in Italy. Sicilian vineyards have been producing wine since at least 750 BC. The island’s main wine production focused in recent history on their famous fortified Marsala and cheap blends of wine as a major export. Nowadays their wines are winning awards and turning heads across the world.

What’s making some of the Sicilian wines even more special is the impressive number of biodynamic and organic wines being produced. It is made easier by the amazing farming conditions on the island where around 300 days of plentiful sunshine beams on vineyards and the 90 plus day harvest is one of the longest in the world. Frank Cornelissen who ages his natural wines in clay amphorae on Mount Etna says that “Thanks to our climate, Sicily is ‘organic’ by definition”.

Most wine drinkers will be also pleased to hear that Sicilian wines in particular are providing positive health benefits. The effects of a Mediterranean diet with a little red wine thrown in are widely believed to be beneficial but researchers at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Palermo in Italy have found some interesting results when testing Sicilian red wines in particular. 
Some Sicilian reds had a positive effect on many risk factors of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. The University of Palermo has also been involved in a study into why cancer incidence rates in Sicily are 20 per cent lower than the rest of Italy and 33 per cent lower than the USA. The results of the study are found on an Italian cancer website and the significantly reduced cancer rates are being attributed to a substance found only in Sicilian wines called Picetannolo which is commonly used in cancer medicines and treatments. There is a school of thought that also insists washing your hair in wine will reduce hair loss, not to mention make your hair glossier. Red wine is supposed to be more effective than white wine. Whether Sicilian wines will make your hair thicker and shinier we will leave up to you to find out. In the meantime we suggest you taste some of the fabulous Sicilian wines before it potentially goes to waste in the bath.

There is a huge choice of Sicilian wines to choose from. By far the most well known red grape is Nero d’Avola offering flavours ranging from jammy to full and spicy, sometimes blended with the fruity raspberry sweet grape Frappato also lovely on its own. The pinot noir like Nerello mascalese is one of the most appealing reds produced in Etna and Carricante is leading the charge for the whites from the region with a robust flavour.

Whether you choose to sample Sicilian wines for pure and simple pleasure or you want to discover the health benefits for yourself, you certainly won’t be disappointed by the great range and unique local wines of this amazing region."

Thanks again to Eve for her very interesting post. If you want to check also the healthy properties of the Mediterranean Cuisine click