SICILIAN COOKBOOK: Sicilian Seafood Cooking, photography and food styling


The book will feature recipes for fish (primi and secondi) and vegetables and will be called Sicilian Seafood Cookbook.  The photography is by Graeme Gillies and food styling by Fiona Rigg, but the book will also have photos that were shot in Sicily over my many travels.

There were approximately 70 dishes, cooked and photographed in 4.5 days. We were busy and the photographer and food stylist did an amazing job, as did the team of volunteer friends who were kitchen hands.

 Fiona dresses cauliflower dish for Graeme to shoot

The kitchen and dining room of my apartment was completely taken over by ingredients, implements, cutlery, crockery and decorative props for the week. Most of the furniture was shipped out and stored with friends and neighbours – so many people pitched in to help.

I source most of my ingredients from my favourite and ever-reliable suppliers in the Queen Victoria Market. But I also travelled to the Preston and Kingston Markets for some of the more exotic things such as sea urchins (ricci) – these unfortunately were suitable for the props only and were not very edible.


I found Coorong mullets, urchin roe, wild/line caught species of fish (sustainable) from a couple of specialist, restaurant fish suppliers.  I ended up buying about ten cuttlefish to extract the ink and ended up finally finding a live eel in an Asian food market in Adelaide.

 Room set for pix

Fishing the eel out of the tank was extremely dramatic. Several eels made a bid of freedom, slithering along the market floor, as the person serving me, tried his best to get to grips with one of these slippery creatures.  Finally, after much wriggling and squirming, he succeeded. The vendor was ready to give me a live eel in a plastic bag until I told him that I had to fly back to Melbourne with it. I left the shop with a very fresh eel, which I only had to skin. But that is another story.

Eel- top two pieces are the skin

And in those four days that the photo shoot took place, we all worked extremely hard.

Thanks Graeme , Fiona and the friends who come to help.

8 thoughts on “SICILIAN COOKBOOK: Sicilian Seafood Cooking, photography and food styling”

  1. Hi Marisa, I’m thrilled to hear about your soon to be published Sicilian cookbook. I have been following your blog for quite some time and always look forward to your posts. I’ve successfully tried many of your recipes and particularly value your fish recipes (we should all be eating more fish!) and knowledge and understanding of sustainability and use of seasonal produce (you’ve made us aware of so much variety!). But most of all I love how you give us so much insight to Sicilian cooking and regional cuisine. Bravo! Can’t wait to buy a copy of your book!!

  2. Fantastic news about your soon-to-be-published book on Sicilian cuisine. I know it has been a “slow cook” with a few boil-overs along the way, but your persistance has paid off. Congratulations!

  3. I am excited to hear about your forthcoming publication – which we will be able to buy very soon! It will be a significant addition to the literature on sustainable food and cooking, which is dearly lacking. Its wonderful to have a view behind the scenes of the content and also the hard work in production. Congratulations Marisa, holding my breath for the publication release. BRAVO!

  4. Can’t wait until the book appears on the shelves.
    I expect to be informed, entertained and thoroughly immersed in the culture and cooking of seafood in Sicily.
    If you apply the same passion and energy to your book , as you do on your blog, then this book should be a “corker”.
    Well done and congratulations.

  5. Marisa, it’s wonderful that your first book will be on fish and vegetables. Neither Sicilian food, nor fish, nor to some extent vegetables, are very well covered in the current rush of food publishing. Well done, and just in time for the gift season too!

  6. Your thorough coverage of Sicilian fish and vegetable recipes will really fill a gap in the books on Sicilian cuisine and seafood cooking. And the photographs will show us exactly how the dish should look, which is always helpful! Its going to be a useful and beautiful book by the sounds of your descriptions. I’m looking forward to buying my copy and getting into it!

  7. Well all I can say is……….If the search trips for the correct fish and produce; the planning, the test and tasting sessions; the tireless pursuit of the right dishes, props etc.; an ample does of ‘Italian temperament’; and a week of glorious smells wafting through a particular apartment building in Melbourne are anything to go by? I am sure we have the ingredients of a very interesting cook book. But…….will we be able to cook it like she does? Everything sicilian means what it says. We can expect Marisa’s passion for authenticity and sustainability to be very evident in this new book. Onwards!

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