Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Sicilian Festival in Spitafields, London

Are you crazy about Sicilian food and products? Do you miss your local cannoli and the exquisite arancine? Well... stop for a second and read this post.

This week-end in Spitafields, (London) you have the opportunity to breathe and taste a bit of Sicilian Culture. The "Made in Sicily", infact, has arrived in London in a proper metropolitan market where you can find Sicilian food stalls but also artisanal craft, handmade products, an art exhibition.

I rejoyced when I saw my favorite cheese of all times: the primosale, also in the version with black pepper and red pepper, but also the fabulous caciocavallo ragusano.

I also decided to buy a biological honey handmade in an Agriturismo near Noto, in the south of Sicily.

Moreover, especially for the kids, there is going to be a performance of the renowned Sicilian marionettes or puppetts (l'Opera dei pupi).

Don't miss the celebration of such an amazing culture, where not only your stomach will be fed, but also your imagination and your creativity.

The Sicily Festival 2017 is organised by PopUp Market Sicily and takes place in Bishop Square, London on saturday and sunday the 20-21 of May.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Sicilian barbecue: sasizza, stigghiole and carne di crasto

Typical Sicilian barbecue - thanks to Barbara for the pic.

Have you ever heard of the Sicilian word "arrostuta"? And what about the Italian translation "grigliata"? These are normally the names we use in Sicily when we are preparing a barbecue.

Spring is always welcome because the temperature increases, the sun is out, but also every year we have 2 bank holidays in Italy: the 25th of April (the Liberation of the nation from the Fascists) and the 1st of May (the day dedicated to the workers).
These are normally days you spend with friends in which we organised a one day trip out of the city either to the seaside or in the country side, as in Sicily we have plenty of choices regarding where to spend the day.
Whichever place you decide to go to, there is always one thing that normally is associated with that day and that is called, as I was saying,: barbecue or "arrostuta"!!! :D

You need the "sasizza con finocchietto", the typical Sicilian sausage wheel seasoned with fennel seeds, the "carne di crasto" which is meat from the mutton, tender and tasty and finally the stiggliole.

The "stigghiole" in particular are a traditional dish of our street food, part of our poor cuisine. It is not rare to find a "stigghiularo" (the person who grill and sell the stigghiole) in a corner of a street. Let's say that wherever there is smoke there is probably a stigghiolaro nearby. (See the pic here on the right).

Stigghiole are lambs or goats' intestines normally wrapped around a long leek. We eat them hot from the barbie, seasoned only with salt and lemon. There is no neutral zone here, either
you love them or hate them.

Thanks to Mariarita for this pic.

You can obviously add any other meats and vegetables you love: ribs, steaks, our wonderful involtini (beef rolls, see the Messina style ones here) and of course onions, eggplants, bell peppers, ecc...

Finally one very traditional thing is to grill the artichokes at the very end of the fire and although everyone is incredibly full there is always a little space in the stomach for slowly tasting the artichokes one leaf after another.

So if you happened to be in Sicily in one of those days don't be afraid of the smoke you see coming your way, it's probably only a bunch of friends having a barbecue. :-)

*A special thanks to my 2 friends Barbara & MariaRita for letting me use their pictures.