Sicilian Wine and Food Experience, Thursday 1st October 7pm An intimate event that will see you not only eat and drink in a Sicilian manner but learn as you go.
The event will be conducted by Phil Smith, owner and creator of The Wine Depository.
The Wine Depository is a Melbourne-based bespoke wine retailer and consultancy here to challenge how and when we drink wine. We offer a hand picked (and rigorously tested) range of wines to either enjoy now or tuck in the cellar. We’re known for rare and hard to find wines, lesser known varietals and smaller producers.
The Wine Depository and Phil provide: Wine Cellar Advice Wine Sales Private Tastings Corporate Wine Services **Wine Events and Education Sicilian Wine and Food Experience is one of these events.
From The Wine Depository’s website: Phil knows that every time you taste a wine it is an event and it can be educational. He effortlessly brings these elements together in his wine tasting events, whether a casual tasting or a Masterclass over dinner. The emphasis is on good wines that will broaden your wine drinking knowledge or at the very least be extremely yummy. The Wine Depository often brings a knowledgeable and engaging speaker to take you through the wine selection.
Spring in Sicily is welcomed ‘big time’ and spring produce is embraced.
Sicilians make a fuss about the preparation and eating of seasonal spring produce: asparagus, artichokes, broad beans, fennel and ricotta. It is the time when the island comes alive – flowers bloom, vines sprout and vegetables ripen.
The menu at Waratah Hills Vineyard was a celebration of Spring, and all who attended the class enjoyed all of that produce and the occasion in such a beautiful vineyard.
We ate local garfish rolled around a Sicilian stuffing (commonly used for sardines called Beccafico), stuffed artichokes and a pasta with a dressing made from sautéed spring vegetables, moistened with wine and stock and topped with nutmeg and creamy ricotta.
We drank excellent, matching wines with each course and used local, extra virgin olive oil made by Judy and Neil’s (proprietors of Waratah Hills Vineyard and organizers of this event) neighbours .
Cassata of course was the final culinary jewel; I coated it with not-too-sweet marzipan…..and I have my tongue out in anticipation…(I do not know what I was saying!)
A few dressed Sicilian Green olives at the start did not go astray (garlic, orange rind, chilli flakes, wild fennel fronds, bay leaves, extra virgin olive oil) and a fennel and orange salad as a palate cleanser eaten after the fish was a good choice .
Thank you to all those eager and friendly people who made the event a success.
On Saturday, 20 September 2014 I will be at Waratah Hills Vineyard conducting a lunch time masterclass of Sicilian cooking .
Waratah Hills Vineyard is located on the road to the iconic Wilsons Promontory National Park. It is one of the southern most vineyards on the Australian mainland. The cool, maritime climate wine region is acknowledged as one of the best Pinot Noir producing areas in Australia.
The owners are Judy and Neil Travers. They have a simple philosophy is to do everything possible to produce grapes of the highest quality. The artisan approach to detail involves hand picking by clones in small batches at just the right intensity of ripeness.
Waratah Hills Vineyard was planted 17 years ago in the burgundy style of low trellising and close planting.
It is a beautifully sited vineyard with two acres of Chardonnay planted on a north south slope and seven acres of Pinot Noir separated by a band of trees into two distinctly different areas of the property.
In 2012 Judy and Neil Travers we were delighted to receive the Victorian Tourism Minister’s Encouragement Award for New and Emerging Tourism Businesses.
This is the information on the flyer:
Culinary jewels of Sicily
On Saturday, 20 September Waratah Hills Vineyard is hosting a lunch time masterclass of Sicilian cooking conducted by Marisa Raniolo Wilkins.
Marisa has written two books on Sicilian cooking; Sicilian Seafood Cooking and Small Fishy Bites.
She is a vivacious fusion of cultures and experience. Her food is very much driven by a curiosity of exploring her cultural origins. The recipes and ingredients of Sicily reflect the influences of the Mediterranean from ancient times to the modern day.
Born in Sicily and raised in Trieste before migrating to Australia with her parents, she regularly visits her extended family in Italy and Sicily; each visit adding to her knowledge of first-hand wonderful food experience.
Places are limited for this hands on three-course cooking, eating and drinking experience at $120 per head. Course notes and recipes are provided for you to take home.
The 20th September is in Spring and the menu will feature Spring produce and recipes.
I hope to see you there.
What could be better than a very pleasant experience in this beautiful part of the world!
Check out their wines – you will not be disappointed:
When in Sicily eating Spaghetti With Sea Urchins (Spaghetti chi Ricci) is a must.
They are relatively unknown culturally in Australia and have been next to non-existent commercially.
Sea urchins have a unique taste – they are considered a delicacy by Italians and are popular particularly with the Japanese, French, and Greeks. The gonads of both sexes of sea urchins are referred to as roe (which sounds nicer than testes and ovaries).
They are called ricciin Italy (means curly, the spines of sea urchins are curly at the ends) and when I was a child visiting Sicily, I remember finding sea urchins under rocks on the beach — family and friends wrapped their hands in newspaper and went looking for them at low tide. Most of the time it was very easy to find 4 to 6 sea urchins for each of us to eat raw — the urchins were simply cut in half using a very sharp knife, revealing the yellow-orange roe that was easily removed with a teaspoon and eaten from the spoon with a squeeze of lemon juice.
The next favourite method of eating them was as a dressing for pasta.
In my book, Sicilian Seafood Cooking there is a recipe for this. I had great trouble finding sea urchins to cook (and to be photographed) for my book that was published November 2011.
At the time I found it surprising that there are about 42 species of sea urchins found in Australian waters and although they can be found in many locations, only a few are good tasting. Most are exported to Japan. The market price for fresh, chilled sea urchin roe varies considerably depending on colour and texture.
The Tasmanian sea urchin fishery is now the largest in Australia and I purchased Tasmanian roe from a specialist sea-food vendor (Ocean Made) who deals mainly with restaurateurs. I found some whole sea urchins at the Preston Market but when I opened them I found them very inferior in quality.
In the photographs (from my book Sicilian Seafood Cooking) you see the work of the photographer Graham Gilles and food stylist Fiona Rigg. I was the cook. The photo of the boats at Mondello (Sicily, close to Palermo) is by Bob Evans.
Spaghetti are traditionally used for this recipe, but I also like ricciwith egg pasta, either fresh or dry — narrow linguine — a delicate taste, which in my opinion complement the sweet, fresh taste of the roe.
I ate my best ever pasta with sea urchins in a restaurant in Mondello (close to Palermo) and I am sure that this included lemon – grated peel and juice so I have included these in the recipe.
And one last thing — the sea urchins are not cooked and are mixed with the hot pasta at the time of serving. The aroma is indescribable. Bottarga is sometimes grated on top of the pasta and anchovies are commonly added to the sauce to accentuate the taste, but this is optional.
For 6 people
spaghetti, 500g. If I am using fresh pasta, I use 600g
sea urchins, 3-8 per person
garlic, 4-5 cloves, chopped finely
extra virgin olive oil, ¾ cup
salt and freshly ground black pepper or chili flakes
parsley, ¾ cup cut finely
anchovies, 3 cut finely (optional)
1-2 red fresh chilies cut finely
finely grated lemon peel of 1 lemon, and the juice
½ cup of your best quality, extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top of the pasta at the end.
If you have purchased whole sea urchins, using a short and very sharp knife or scissors cut into the shell and enter the riccio di mare via the mouth (you will see the opening).
Split the sea urchins in half and remove the soft urchin flesh using a spoon. Place the roes into a bowl and discard all the rest. Break up the sea urchins into smaller pieces – they are soft so use a spoon.
Cook the pasta and while the pasta is cooking prepare the sauce.
Heat the ¾ cup of olive oil, add the garlic and over slow heat cook the garlic slowly until it becomes translucent.
Add chili and anchovies – the anchovies will dissolve in the hot oil.
Add this mixture of oil to the hot just drained pasta at the same time as the sea urchins and toss quickly to coat.
Add the parsley, lemon peel and the juice. Toss well to combine. Serve immediately and top each portion with a drizzle of your best olive oil – this is best done at the table.
Finally there has been some interest in eating Sea Urchins:
Date with plates sends chills down urchins spine:
Sea urchins, sometimes called sea hedgehogs, are the black, spiky creatures that lurk at the bottom of the ocean.They prey on the kelp beds that are a vital habitat for the rock lobsters and abalone of the north-east coast of Tasmania and are considered one of the state’s worst marine pests. But have you ever thought of eating them?
Diver and seafood exporter Dave Allen has helped pioneer the sea urchin export industry in Australia and, in the process, has set about saving the reefs from being stripped bare by these pests.
Laura Banks. From Sunday Age, March 2, 2014.
I was pleased to see that sea urchins will be featured in a dinner called The Delicious Pest at The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival on March 9, 2014.
Sea Urchin Roe is seasonal and as mentioned above, it is available from (Ocean Made), fresh and frozen when it is not in season.
We deliver all over Melbourne and Australia wide. We use air freight and provide the freshest sea urchin roe available across the country. All our processing is done with the highest degree of care in order to make our product the best and we pride ourselves on excellent customer service and quality of product. Last year we won a Victorian seafood of the year award for best customer service and quality of product. We have a minimum order of 20 X 100gram or 150 gram punnets. If that seems too much then you could suggest our products to friends to see if they would like to be included in the order. Please also note that when we have further shops open in Victoria then we will list them on our website. Customers can also sign up to our newsletter and stay informed of seasonal conditions, new products or anything regarding sea urchins.
Our new prices for 2015 are being implemented as we speak.
Welcome to Sea Urchins Australia.
There is a sense of celebration associated with eating fish and this recipe for rolled fish could be a good starter to a meal – great for any of these festive occasions.
It is Christmas eve and I intend making these as a starter tonight. It will be a menu of all fish in keeping with the Italian tradition of abstaining from meat; this is a left over practice from days when Catholics did not eat meat during certain days in Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus.
These little morsels are fish fillets rolled around a light stuffing– only herbs, lemon peel and garlic are used. Fillets of small fish (with skin on) are suitable: anything from mild-flavoured whiting, stronger tasting flathead to even stronger oilier fish such as mullet or sardines. They can be pan-fried in a non stick frypan with a little butter or extra virgin olive oil and then eaten with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You may also wish to deglaze the pan with a little white wine or use orange juice (juice of 2 oranges), these will provide a ready-made sauce. For the orange juice option you could use fresh basil as the herb for the stuffing.
I have made these little rolls many times. Sometimes I have deglazed the pan with Marsala (dry), or white wine. I have also used tarragon as my herb and used vermouth. An alternative stuffing can be made using some breadcrumbs (made from 1 day old, sour dough bread), toast them in a frypan with a little extra virgin olive oil. To these add a little minced garlic, chopped parsley, grated lemon peel, a sprinkling of sugar and a little nutmeg. Pine nuts and currants can also be added to this stuffing.
Fish fillets rolled around a herb stuffing is one of the recipes is in my book, Small Fishy Bites.
INGREDIENTS AND PROCESSES
6 fish fillets from small fish, I used King George whiting
fresh herbs for stuffing (rosemary, parsley, oregano or marjoram)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or butter or a mixture of both
salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh bay leaves
grated peel of 1 orange or lemon
Flatten each fillet; if using large fillets, cut into smaller strips. Sprinkle each with a little salt and pepper.
Chop the herbs finely and leave a small sprig to insert at one end of the fish rolls (for decoration).
Mix the herbs, garlic and peel with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or soft butter- this is less Sicilian). Place a little of the stuffing at one end of each fillet and roll up. Secure each roll with a toothpick and place a sprig of herbs at one end.
Sauté fish rolls in remaining extra virgin olive oil and /or the butter.
Add a little seasoning and bay leaves and continue to cook the fish until it is ready.
An imaginative fusion of cultures and experiences that celebrates the diversity and versatility of seafood.
Meals in today’s modern, busy households tend to focus on easy, casual but varied dishes, and Small Fishy Bites follows this tapas trend, showcasing simple, fresh meals that are perfect to share with family and friends.
Each chapter reflects the cosmopolitan life of the author, who, although born in Sicily, spent her childhood in Trieste, where northern Italian cooking styles contrasted with those of her relatives in the south.
Her annual experience of travelling the length of Italy on family holidays underscores her emphasis on sourcing ingredients that are seasonal, local, and tasty.
Small plates are a pleasant way to sample a range of flavours, and they give even the ‘pickiest’ eaters in the family a mouth-watering selection to choose from. There’s something for everyone, meaning they are also excellent for entertaining.
Each chapter covers a range from ‘Tidbits’, featuring bite-sized food such as shrimp or octopus; ‘Cases and Bases’ such as delicious blinis with caviar; ‘Soused and Best Dressed’ offering salads and soups galore; ‘Sozzled’, with oyster shooters; and ‘Hefty Shells’, including mussel brochettes … all quick, colourful, and sure to impress.
Below, photo shoot in my apartment.
About Marisa Raniolo Wilkins
Small Fishy Bites follows the success of Marisa’s Sicilian Seafood Cooking. From an early age, she developed a fascination with food and cooking. She and her family moved to Australia in the late 1950s, settling in Adelaide, where Marisa worked in education, before moving to Melbourne.
PUB DATE: Oct 2013
For further information contact Patsy Rowe
07 5577 8895 or 0407 287 976
Small Fishy Bites celebrates the diversity and versatility of seafood. These recipes recognize the popularity of serving small helpings with easy, casual and varied dishes.
Small morsels are convivial fare that can be shared at social gatherings or as an accompaniment to drinks. They are an easy and pleasant way to sample a range of flavors without the commitment to one entrée or the different courses.
Small Fishy Bites is my second book. Some of you may be familiar with my first book Sicilian Seafood Cooking which includes 120 traditional Sicilian recipes for fish and its many accompaniments – first, second course dishes, sauces and contorni (side dishes).
The recipes in Small Fishy Bites reflect reflect the widening repertoire of cuisines we are exposed to in Australia, especially the Asian and Mediterranean flavors, especially Italian. In the above class at Mercato the emphasis will traditional Italian style antipasto – small fishy bites cuisine, accompanied by wine.
For convenience sake the menu for the cooking class has been divided into Starters, Entrées and Mains, but all the easily prepared dishes can be presented for any course – only the quantities may vary.
Some of the recipes from the book sampled on the night will be:
Scallops wrapped in prosciutto
White anchovy & sundried tomato leaf boats
Fish balls in a tomato salsa
Fish fillets rolled around a herb stuffing
Italian grilled prawns with a fried breadcrumb & herb garnish
Hope to see some of you at this event.
MERCATO 625-627 Lower North East Road, Campbelltown , SA Ph: 0883371808
625 – 627 Lower North East Road Campbelltown SA ph: 08 8337 1808 fax: 08 8337 8024 e: firstname.lastname@example.org book online: www.mercato.com.au
About Marisa Raniolo Wilkins…
Like a true Sicilian, Marisa Raniolo Wilkins is a lively fusion of cultures and experience. She was born to Sicilian parents in Ragusa, but she spent her childhood in the far northeast of Italy in the famous port city of Trieste, where her parents had met. In her summer holidays Marisa would travel to Sicily to visit her relatives. This was where Marisa learnt about food and cooking from her Sicilian relatives.
“My mother always told me that my father’s family knew nothing about cooking, but it was my father’s sisters who were some of my greatest inspirations in the kitchen,” Marisa says.
Marisa and her family migrated to Australia in the late-1950s and settled in Adelaide, not far from where Imma and Mario established Mercato. Growing up in Adelaide, Marisa always kept in touch with Sicily and maintained her interest in flavours and ingredients.
Over the years she has travelled to Sicily many times to visit her extended family, adding to her store of first-hand experience with every visit. Marisa enjoyed a successful career as a teacher and educationist in South Australia before moving to Melbourne in early 2002.
As she was getting settled in Melbourne, and in between jobs, Marisa rediscovered her passion for writing and her ambition to write a book about Sicilian cuisine and to document some of the classic, local Sicilian dishes cooked by her grandmothers and aunties and food that she has eaten throughout the island of Sicily. The result, eight years later, is her book, Sicilian Seafood Cooking, published by New Holland in November 2011.
Photos courtesy of Bob Evans
Modern takes on traditional Sicilian dishes. Although Sicily is not a large Island, the cuisine varies considerably from region to region.
In this food workshop & cooking demonstration Marisa Raniolo Wilkins, author of the book Sicilian Seafood Cooking, will prepare and demonstrate the ways Sicilian cuisine has been shaped and influenced by the dominant cultures of the Mediterranean from the ancient times to the modern day, which includes Greek, Roman, Arabic, French and Spanish cultures.Marisa will share her experience in the kitchen and her love of Sicilian Cuisine.
When you go to Sicily, you must eat Caponata & you may have thought that eggplants are the main ingredient. Marisa will make different caponate
(plural of caponata) which feature different
ingredients that reflect the seasons.
Paired with 2011 Tavignano Verdicchio Villa Torre
Pasta alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma is a traditional dish from Catania.
In modern restaurants & kitchens it is now presented in a variety of creative ways that reflect the inevitable fusions of cuisines across the world. Marisa will prepare different variations of the dish that she experienced in her recent trip to Sicily, including some that use fish.
Paired with 2009 Baglio Curatolo Nero d’Avola, SicilyCucciaYou will also experience a modern version of a very ancient dessert called Cuccia that has deep-rooted religious and seasonal associations.
Paired with 2010 Etna Rosso Erse, Sicily
When: Friday 12th July 2013
Where: at Mercato in the demo kitchen
625-627 Lower North East Road
Tickets: $120 per person This class starts at 6.30pm and runs for approximately 3 hours and includes detailed recipe notes, delicious food matched with a tasting of Italian wine and informative, fun conversation. We also offer all guests 10% discount on any purchases made in-store on the evening This class has a limit of 16 people.
I have had the most wonderful seafood meal in Catania at the “La Vecchia Quercia” in the Garden Hotel in San Giovanni la Punta.
I was a guest of Ristoworld an online not-for-profit organization dedicated to the restaurant and food production industry whose aim is to showcase Italian food internationally. Ristoworld has organised many congregations and competitions to promote culinary skills in the restaurant and hotel trade.
This is an organisation that was first formed in Sicily in 2008, by Andrea Finocchiaro a chef who is based in Catania. This group has grown significantly and there are now delegates and representatives from all regions of Italy and from other parts of the world. I am the Australian delegate.
Apart from Andrea and Fabio Trefuletti (secretary) I met other members of the group. The food was cooked by Costantino Laudani, head chef at La Vecchia Quercia (he is also the delegate of Sicily for Ristoworld). My charming waiter and sommelier was Allessio Valenti (vice president of Ristoworld). Apparently Alessio is Catania’s best cocktail maker. Pity I am not into night life!
Unfortunately not all of the food was photographed. The antipasti were spectacular and there were so many of them…..marinaded fish, prawns, mussels, octopus……caponata with grated chocolate, cuscus.
This is the Pesce spada and cipollata:
We said no to fruit and dessert – we just could not have fitted it in.
La Trobe in the City is designed for anyone with an interest in history, literature and / or ancient cultures.
Click on the link bellow for full details of the Lecture Series.
FOOD AND CULTURE IN SICILY: EASTER COOKERY WORKSHOP
This is one of the workshops offered as part of the lecture series.
Details of the workshop:
Saturday 23 March, 11.00am–3.00pm
Institute for Advanced Study, La Trobe University
Melbourne campus (Bundoora)
Presented by Gillian Shepherd and Marisa Raniolo Wilkins
Cost: $115 (full), $105 (discount)
Registration census date: Friday 15 March
This session will commence with a lecture on the history of food and feasting in Sicily, Italy and the Mediterranean.
Gillian Shepherd will focus on the literary and archaeological evidence for food production and consumption in the ancient world.
This will be accompanied by a food workshop.
Yesterday I visited La Trobe University at Bundoora to check out the venue and finalise the recipes for a demonstration/cooking class I am giving as part of the university’s lecture series on the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean.
The food that I’ll be talking about and cooking for the class reflects the ways Sicilian cuisine has been influenced by the dominant cultures of the Mediterranean from ancient times to the modern day, which includes Greek, Roman, Arabic, French and Spanish cultures.
Some of the recipes will be from my book Sicilian Seafood Cooking.
Since my cooking demonstration is planned for the weekend before Easter, it was natural to select some foods that would be prepared in Sicily at Easter, which is one of the most significant times of the year for Sicilians. Whether they were ruled by Greeks or Romans, Arabs or Spaniards, Easter in Sicily marks the start of Spring and a time of celebration.
It should be a very interesting session and I hope to see you there.
About Gillian Shepherd:
Dr Gillian Shepherd is Lecturer in AncientMediterranean Studies and Director of the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies at La Trobe University.
Gillian studied Classics and Fine Arts at theUniversity of Melbourne before going on to complete a PhD in Classical Archaeology at Trinity College, Cambridge, followed bya research fellowship at St Hugh’s College,Oxford.
Until her recent return to Australia to take up her position at La!Trobe University, Gillian was Lecturer in Classical Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, UK.
Her research interests are the ancient Greek colonisation of Sicily and Italy, burial customs,and the archaeology and art of Greece and Magna Graecia.