The Ancient Mediterranean Studies Centre at La Trobe University conference: South Italy, Sicily and the Mediterranean.
Hosted by the Centre for Greek Studies and the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, this conference will focus on the movement of people and interactions of culture in the region of Southern Italy and Sicily from antiquity until the present. The conference will run from 17th to the 21st July 2012.
Cooking demonstration for this Conference was held at COASIT in Carlton, Melbourne (A non-profit organisation for Italians and Australians of Italian descent).
Greek and Roman Cultural Interactions: Teacher Professional Development Day
‘Sicilian Cooking Workshop’ – presented by Marisa Raniolo Wilkins, author of the book Sicilian Seafood Cooking. Sicilian cuisine has been shaped over centuries by Greek, French, Arab and Spanish influences. In this class, participants will cook fish in the traditional Sicilian. Marisa will share her experience in the kitchen and love of Sicilian cuisine so that participants learn about Sicilian culture while they cook a delicious meal to share after the class.
This conference has been convened by La Trobe University’s Centre for Greek Studies and the A.D Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies and will be held at the Museo Italiano in Carlton. On the last day of the conference a professional development day has been integrated into the program which will be of particular relevance to teachers of Italian, Greek, History, Ancient History, Philosophy and Classics. The conference and the professional development day both seek to explore the connections between Roman and Greek cultural and ethnic identity and the movement of people in the Mediterranean region of Southern Italy and Sicilian antiquity until the present.
During the morning participants will attend lectures delivered by academics on the cultural interactions between ancient Greece and Rome. After lunch participants have the option to either attend a material culture workshop or a Sicilian cookery workshop.
The menu for this worshop included:
Olive salads and marinaded olives
Crostata di sarde
Pasta with cime di rape and pecorino/ salted ricotta.
Trigle (red mullets) in marinade, cooked on BBQ and presented with salmoriglio
One upon a time, when people talked about “launching” something, they were usually talking about ships and the launch usually involved some celebrity smashing a bottle of champagne across the bow and standing back to watch the hull slide down the slipway and into the water! Or spectators crossing themselves and praying for the vessel’s safe voyages.
My feelings of anticipation, excitement and relief were just as intense when Richard Cornish launched my book, Sicilian Seafood Cooking, at the Museo Italiano in Faraday Street Carlton, last Sunday (6 November).
And while Richard didn’t crack a bottle of champagne over the lectern, and I did not make the sign of the cross, there was certainly plenty of wine, food and bubbles to float my book out into bookstores, and a great crowd of well-wishers who to lent a hand to see it on its way. All of them need to be thanked.
First, thanks to the staff of CoAsIt and the Museo Italiano [link to http://www.coasit.com.au] especially to Carlo Carli who is the Coordinator of the Museo Italiano, and Rosaria Zarro, Italian Education Officer at CoAsIt, who hosted the launch in the spacious and well-equipped conference room in Faraday Street, Carlton.
Special thanks to Richard Cornish, award-winning author and journalist. I have always admired Richard and his writing and I am deeply honoured and seriously grateful to Richard for launching Sicilian Seafood Cooking.
Richard [link to http://www.profiletalent.com.au/richard-cornish ] is best known to readers of Epicure (the Age) and Good Living (Sydney Morning Herald) for his articles on food, concentrating on ethical and sustainable production. Richard has also co-authored a series of books on Spanish cuisine with Frank Camorra, chef and owner of Melbourne’s Movida restaurants. The latest book MoVida Cocina is published in November 2011 so I know how busy he must be.
The wine was generously provided by three producers – two of them, family companies, Coriole and Brown Brothers – and the other, a major producer of wines in Sicily, distributed by Arquilla Food and Wine.
Coriole [link to http://www.coriole.com] provided two varieties of Sangiovese, a wine whose Italian origins are most closely linked to Tuscany. Led by Mark Lloyd, Coriole has ventured further and further into the production of Italian varieties in their McLaren Vale vineyards, south of Adelaide. Coriole began with Sangiovese in 1987, and followed by Nebbiolo and Barbera. The experimentation has continued with plantings of Fiano (recently awarded Best McLaren Vale White Wine), Sagrantino and Nero d’Avola, which is yet to have a vintage – maybe next year.
Brown Brothers [link to http://www.brownbrothers.com.au] provided a sparkling Zibibbo, the Sicilian name for a grape originally named Muscat of Alexandria. You can never finish a meal in Sicily without being offered a glass of Zibibbo! [link to http://www.snooth.com/varietal/zibibbo/] Brown Brothers, who established their first vineyard at Milawa in the lower King Valley, grow the grapes for their Zibibbo at their Mystic Park Vineyard beside the Murray Valley Highway about halfway between Kerang and Swan Hill.
The book didn’t just float out on glasses of Sicilian wine. There was a selection of tasty finger-food (or as they are called in Italian, spuntini).
Fiona Rigg, who was the amazing food stylist for the book, made a Christmas caponata [made with celery]. Being very creative she made some sauces (cipollata and mataroccu) from the chapter Come Fare una Bella Figura from Sicilian Seafood Cooking. [link to http://www.fionalouise.com.au]
The highly capable pastry chef, Marianna DiBartolo, who owns Dolcetti, [link to http://www.dolcetti.com.au] a Sicilian-inspired pastry shop (pasticceria) in North Melbourne, made special fish-shaped biscuits for the occasion, which were perfectly matched with the Zibibbo.
I was really pleased to see the editors of two important publications at the launch: Agi Argyropoulos editor and publisher of Seafood News
[link to http://www.seafoodnews.com.au] which I contribute a recipe to every month. Agi held the publication so that he could include photos from the launch, which deserves a special thank you, and has given it a whole page in the November edition.
And Danielle Gullaci from Italianicious, [link to http://www.italianicious.com.au] the bi-monthly magazine which celebrates all things Italian, and which is publishing an article on me in the January-February 2012 issue.
Others I would like to thank for their contribution to the success of the launch, include:
UCG Wholesale Foods at 58 A’Beckett Street Melbourne for the Novara Mineral Water,
The Sicilian travel experts, Echoes Events [link to http://www.echoesevents.com] for the posters of Sicily and a special thank you to the photographers on the day,
*Entry is free but you must book before Monday by phoning: 9819 1917.
The Adelaide launch of Sicilian Seafood Cooking is at:
Il Mercato, 625 Lower North East Road, Campbelltown at 3.00pm
on Sunday 20 November.
Il Mercato specialises in Italian food, wine and culture.
If you wish to attend the launch please RSVP to Cynthia at Il Mercato:
Sicilian Seafood Cooking will be launched by Rosa Matto [link to http://www.rosamatto.com] – a great friend and a cook I’ve admired and respected for as long as I have known her.
Rosa and I will be introduced at the launch by the newly appointed Minister for Education and Child Development in South Australia, Grace Portolesi MP, the Member for Hartley (which includes Campbelltown).