I was born in Ragusa in Sicily in my paternal grandmother’s bed and raised in the northern Italian city of Trieste where my Sicilian parents met and lived before and after my birth.
I came to Australia with my family in the late 1950s and settled in Adelaide, moving to Melbourne in 2002.Melbourne in 2002.
Italy is a place I have lived and travelled to many times, but Sicily has always intrigued me both as a child and as an adult.
This blog has recipes and information collected over my many visits to Italy but mainly Sicily, my sustained research and learning, observations and memories. Naturally, living in Australia, my blog also discusses Australian produce.I believe that experiencing the differences between Northern and Southern Italy has given me a great opportunity to appreciate regional Italian cooking.
Sicily has a rich history and is the melting pot of many cultures, the result of numerous trade routes, crossovers and conquests.
Because of Sicily’s strategic position between Europe and North Africa it has been a crossroad of some great civilizations. In ancient times it was conquered and colonized by Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. In the middle ages were the Arabs, Normans and Byzantines and later the Catalans, French, Spaniards and Bourbons. The origins of Sicily’s complex gastronomic culture reflect this layering of civilizations.
For all the changes in food the majority of Sicilians are still preparing many of the dishes they have always eaten. However, particularly during my last two visits to Sicily I have noticed that in many restaurants and among the younger Sicilians the traditional, regional specialties are being re-invented into contemporary, innovative cuisine, but there is still strong usage of local ingredients and a respect for history and tradition. The photo below is of a deconstructed cannolo.
I appreciate the diversity in Sicilian cooking and I am fascinated by locality, origins and variations of recipes especially authentic and traditional recipes.
My interest in food is very much driven by my curiosity in exploring my cultural origins and I enjoy visiting my extended family in Sicily who are such warm and friendly people and passionate about food.
I have experience in teaching cooking classes and conducting cooking demonstrations and I have done this in South Australia and Victoria.
I am interested in the cultural, environmental and economic values of food production and as much as possible I want to eat safe, in season, local and sustainable produce.
I have written two cookbooks: Sicilian Seafood Cooking and Small Fishy Bites and have contributed recipes to other publications, the last being Earth Hour: Planet to Plate.
My Two Books
Media Coverage for Sicilian Seafood Cooking and Marisa Raniolo Wilkins
Media Coverage for Small Fishy Bites and Marisa Raniolo Wilkins
Article in Italianicious magazine: