Tag Archives: Cooking Classes with Marisa Raniolo Wilkins

ARTICHOKES from the growers

I collected 30 fresh artichokes from a grower in Werribee ….freshly picked.

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To my kitchen bench….

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Into a container…

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To Waratah Hills Vineyard Tasting Room for a culinary event on Saturday 20th September 2014

I am so looking forward to it.

For recipes, use the search button on the blog and key in “artichokes”

Marisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

SICILIAN CASSATA and MARZIPAN AT EASTER (Food and Culture in Sicily, La Trobe University)

I usually coat my cassata with marzipan and every time I do this people tell me how much they have enjoyed eating the marzipan and how it compliments the flavours of the cassata.

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The last time I made cassata with marzipan was Saturday 23 March at Food And Culture In Sicily: Easter Cookery Workshop offered by La Trobe University and once again the people who attended the session liked the marzipan and said that they had never enjoyed eating it in the past.

The session began with a very interesting lecture on the history of food and feasting in Sicily, Italy and the Mediterranean.  Dr Gillian Shepherd is Lecturer in Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Director of the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies at La Trobe University. During her lecture she focused on the literary and archaeological evidence for food production and consumption in the ancient world.

The lecture was followed with a food workshop and cooking demonstration that reflected 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.

The cassata was very appropriate for this session, not just because of its derivation, but also because it was essentially and still is an Easter dessert. In time it has also become popular for Christmas.

Sicily produces large quantities of almonds and almond meal is used extensively for making traditional almond sweets and pastries. Marzipan fruit originate from Sicily and Sicilian pastry cooks are esteemed and employed all over Italy.

Marzipan when made in the traditional method is made by cooking a strong syrup of sugar and water and then adding freshly ground almonds. The mixture is kneaded till smooth (like bread dough) and then shaped.

The modern and easiest way is to make it with almond meal, icing sugar and water. It is still kneaded and rolled with a rolling pin. Unless you can buy fresh almond meal it is best to blanch the almonds and grind them yourself.

Over the years I have been making marzipan and adapting a recipe from Bitter Almonds, Recollections and Recipes from a Sicilian girlhood. Maria Grammatico has a very famous pastry shop in Erice in Sicily and her recipes have been recorded by Mary Taylor Simeti.

This is the original recipe:
2 cups (300 g) whole blanched almonds
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar *
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
In a food processor, grind the almonds with about 2 tablespoons of the sugar until very fine, almost powdery.
In a food processor or in an electric mixer, combine the nuts, the rest of the sugar, the water, vanilla, and the almond extract.
Process or mix until the paste is very smooth. Remove to a marble slab or other cold work surface dusted with confectioners’ sugar and knead briefly by hand.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Marzipan will keep almost indefinitely in the refrigerator.

****This is what I do: I use 2 cups of ground almonds and 1 and ½ cups of pure icing sugar combined with ½ cup of caster sugar – this adds the crunchy texture that compliments the ground almonds.

I really like the taste of natural almonds and if I am using fresh almonds I see no necessity to use vanilla or almond extract.

I usually mix the sugars and almond meal with my fingers and add the water slowly. I am cautious with water because if the mixture is too wet I may need to add more almonds and sugar. I knead it as if I am making bread and if it needs more water I add it to make the mixture pliable.

This is not the first time that I have written about Cassata or Easter or Marzipan and there are many other posts about these three topics on this blog.

This post has the recipe for making cassata:

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La Trobe in the City – Ancient Mediterranean Lecture Series, FOOD AND CULTURE IN SICILY: MENU FOR EASTER COOKERY WORKSHOP

This was one of the workshops offered by La Trobe University as part of the 2013 lecture series. It was held on Saturday 23 March 2013.

Marisa displays cime

The session began with a very interesting lecture on the history of food and feasting in Sicily, Italy and the Mediterranean.  Dr Gillian Shepherd is Lecturer in Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Director of the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies at La Trobe University. During her lecture she focused on the literary and archaeological evidence for food production and consumption in the ancient world.

I accompanied the lecture with a food workshop and cooking demonstration that reflected 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.

The recipes I cooked were:
Maccu (pulses)

Caponata (eggplants, peppers, nuts, breadcrumbs). Will be eaten with bread.

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Pasta che sardi – Pasta con le sarde (Sardines, breadcrumbs, currants, pine nuts, wild fennel)

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Ficatu ri setti cannola – Fegato di sette cannoli (Pumpkin, sweet sour sauce, mint)

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For the workshop I collected some wild greens and the audience was able to see the differences between the wild variety and the cultivated species; wild fennel is one of the ingredients in Pasta Con le Sarde.

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Cassata (pan di Spagna/sponge cake, ricotta, nuts, marsala, citrus peel, chocolate and marzipan)

SEE:
SICILIAN CASSATA and MARZIPAN AT EASTER (Food and Culture in Sicily, La Trobe University)

FOOD AND CULTURE IN SICILY: EASTER COOKERY WORKSHOP

 

MERCATO, Adelaide, Saturday Cooking Class

MERCATO

Some photographs of cooking demonstrations held at Mercato on Saturday 10th November 2012:

More photos on Mercato’s facebook page.

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MERCATO, Adelaide, Friday Cooking Class

MERCATO
Some photographs of cooking demonstrations held at Mercato on Friday 9th November

Friday 9th.

MORE PHOTOS:

More photos on  Mercato’s Facebook page.

 

 

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MERCATO, Sicilian Seafood Cooking, Cooking class

 

MERCATO

625 – 627 Lower North East Road CAMPBELLTOWN

Mercato is market in Italian.
If you are in Adelaide, you must visit this store. It provides all lovers of things Italian with a wide selection of small goods and cheeses, grocery items and produce, packaged sweets and biscuits, wine, cooking implements, crockery, cookery books and cookery classes and more. It is the perfect store for cooks and lovers of food and wine .
I will be conducting a cookery class at Mercato in November.

See link:

 

mercato
The Mercato shop

Last year we had the wonderful Marisa Raniolo Wilkins launch her new cookbook
“Sicilian Seafood Cooking” at Mercato, to rave reviews.

We had such a great response to Marisa’s book that this year she is coming back to
Mercato for an exclusive cooking class to be held just for our valued customers!

Sicilian Seafood Cooking Class

Join us on
Friday, 9th November 2012
in the Mercato Demo Kitchen
625 – 627 Lower North East Road CAMPBELLTOWN
as Marisa cooks up a Sicilian storm!
She will be showcasing some of her favourite recipes from the cookbook
such as Pasta con la Sarde and even a Cassata for dessert.

Please call Mercato on (08) 8337 1808
or you can simply book online by clicking on the link below
BOOK NOW
                                                                                                                                             
Have you joined us on Facebook or Twitter?
A great fun way to keep up to date with what’s happening
at Mercato on a regular basis.

          

 

mercato
Trading hours:
Mon-Fri 8.30am – 6.30pm
Sat-Sun 8.30am – 5pm
Public Holiday 9am – 3pm

 

 

 

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