Sunday, September 25, 2016

Slice and more, a Sicilian take away in the city of London


Last week I have been invited to an event for the promotion of a new place opened recently in the heart of London. It is called "Slice and more" and is a food take away, where you can find the typical Sicilian rotisserie: calzoni, rollò, arancine, ravazzate, but also pizza and ice-cream.

Opened 10 months ago by three Sicilians and a Scottish man, the place is small and cosy, situated just 3 steps away from Old Street tube station, is the perfect location to stop by and grab some tasty food for lunch or dinner.

The delicious soft dough used for the pieces of rotisserie, made in Palermo style, is prepared in London by a proper Sicilian cook. You can also find the Catania style take away in the city here.

For a Sicilian, living in a place and/or country that is not your own, (whether is Milan, Brussels or London), it can be tough sometimes, just because you miss the simplest things, which 90% of the times come to food.

Finding these places give you in a way the chance to reconnect with your roots, your people, your habits, tastes and flavors. 

 
What I personally loved about it, it's that I was finally able to find the so called "rotisserie mignon", which is the smaller version of the big pieces.

 
It's great because it allows you to taste different things at a reasonable price.

So... if you want to try a new alternative place to have something on the go, this is definitely the place for you.


And, for all the Sicilians who live in London, and in particular for those who are from the western coast, from Palermo and province, now you know where to go when you start having that feeling of nostalgia for something that is so far away, until of course your next vacation comes.




If you are Sicilian with a restaurant or a take away and want to have a review on my blog, just drop me an email at siciliancuisine@gmail.com

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Giarratana onion: perfect for stuffing and roasting


Have you ever heard of the famous onion
of Giarratana? It is a particular quality of Sicilian onion that grows in this little village situated in the province of Ragusa, southern Sicily.



Quite big in shape, it has a skin with white and pinkish grades and it has a very sweet delicate flavor. 

It is the main agricultural product in the village of Giarratana and every August there is a festival that celebrates it.

It can be cooked in several ways, but this Sicilian recipe I am gonna present you today is definitely my absolute favorite side-dish and we often preparate for one of the main festivities, although is extremely simple and you really need few ingredients.


 
Ingredients and Preparation for 4 people:

- 2 big Giarratana onions
- breadcrumb

- E.v. Olive oil
- salt 

- origano 




 
Preheat the oven at 200°. As easy as it looks, now all you have to do is peeling the onions and cut them in slices like shown here in the pics. 

Place them in two large oven trays where you previously have put some baking paper (or if you have the silicon sheet even better) and some oil of olive on top. 

Once you have place the onions, add some breadcrumb, salt and again olive oil and cook them in the oven at 190 or 200 degrees.
 
When they are ready they have to be golden brown in color and very soft in consistency inside, but also slightly crunchy outside.

Now you sprinkle some oregano on top and transfer them on a serving plate, ready to be eaten. 

Everyone will love them, and the kids will start eat them with pleasure. They are just marvellous.
Enjoy!



Thursday, September 8, 2016

The most refreshing drink in Sicily is called "Acqua e Anice"


Do you know what Sicilian people used to drink in ancient times during the hot and muggy Summers? It was simply called "acqua e zammù", literally water and zammù, sold from peddlers in the corners of the street or sometimes in typical kiosks. Zammù is a word that apparently has its origins in the Arab domination (IX° cent.) and comes from the word sambuca, a type of anisette that was distilled in Sicily to make a liquoer and then was probably replaced with star anice seeds.

Photo source: Tuttolionssicilia2013
My grandma used to have this old picture framed and hung on the wall of her living room. It shows a man, called the acquavitaro, preparing some water and zammù to a customer in a corner of the street.

I remember when I was a child we used to go to visit her on a sunday afternoon and I always found mysef staring at that picture in black and white with curiosity about some scene of the past that I wasn't able to recognize.

My grandma loved water and zammù, like the rest of the family


In 1813 the Tutone family continued the tradition of the zammù starting to sell the now called ANICE liquoer in a kiosk in Piazza Rivoluzione in Palermo, and we can say without any doubt that they are until today the undisputed ruler of this amazing product, as they have made it and sold it for more than two centuries now.


Here on the left you can see the typical bottle of the Anice Tutone as you will find it today in shops and markets

The star anice not only is incrediby thirst-quenching, but it also helps digest, so it is perfect in the middle of the day as well as after a rich meal.
 


Its pecularity is the fact that after pouring four or five drops of this scented liquoer, the water assumes some kind of whitish color and if you don't mix it, it will stay at the top of the glass, just like the picture above shows.
 
Besides, nowadays you can buy candies flavored with star anice from the Tutone Company as well, and, in some gelaterias, you can also taste the lovely Anice ice-cream flavor among the many others, that trust me, when it's 38° or 40° degrees is going to be the highlight of your day!

If you are interested in reading more about the Tutone Company clic here.
And if you are just thirsty and dying to taste some "acqua e anice" well... you know what to do now! :-)
A Palermo l’ acqua e anice è molto più che una bibita rinfrescante, è un usanza antica , un rito che si tramanda da generazioni accompagnando la calura dei mesi estivi e conservando il ricordo del refrigerio ottenuto anche durante i mesi invernali. Non stupitevi allora se accolti in casa  di palermitani, vi venga offerto, quasi come si trattasse di una pozione magica , un bicchiere colmo di acqua  su cui galleggia una nuvoletta di anice  e vi verrà chiesto, dando per scontata la risposta affermativa “Gradite acqua e zammù ?”. Le Origini e la ricetta semplice e rinfrescante della granita all’anice. M.Za. - See more at: http://www.saggieassaggi.it/acqua-e-zammu-piu-che-una-bibita-un-rito-daltri-tempi-che-profuma-danice/#sthash.QFyge7ch.dpuf
A Palermo l’ acqua e anice è molto più che una bibita rinfrescante, è un usanza antica , un rito che si tramanda da generazioni accompagnando la calura dei mesi estivi e conservando il ricordo del refrigerio ottenuto anche durante i mesi invernali. Non stupitevi allora se accolti in casa  di palermitani, vi venga offerto, quasi come si trattasse di una pozione magica , un bicchiere colmo di acqua  su cui galleggia una nuvoletta di anice  e vi verrà chiesto, dando per scontata la risposta affermativa “Gradite acqua e zammù ?”. Le Origini e la ricetta semplice e rinfrescante della granita all’anice. M.Za. - See more at: http://www.saggieassaggi.it/acqua-e-zammu-piu-che-una-bibita-un-rito-daltri-tempi-che-profuma-danice/#sthash.QFyge7ch.dpuf
A Palermo l’ acqua e anice è molto più che una bibita rinfrescante, è un usanza antica , un rito che si tramanda da generazioni accompagnando la calura dei mesi estivi e conservando il ricordo del refrigerio ottenuto anche durante i mesi invernali. Non stupitevi allora se accolti in casa  di palermitani, vi venga offerto, quasi come si trattasse di una pozione magica , un bicchiere colmo di acqua  su cui galleggia una nuvoletta di anice  e vi verrà chiesto, dando per scontata la risposta affermativa “Gradite acqua e zammù ?”. Le Origini e la ricetta semplice e rinfrescante della granita all’anice. M.Za. - See more at: http://www.saggieassaggi.it/acqua-e-zammu-piu-che-una-bibita-un-rito-daltri-tempi-che-profuma-danice/#sthash.QFyge7ch.dpuf