The happy chefs of Bar Idda (photo). Alfredo is on the right.
Lisa and Alfredo are the proprietors of Bar Idda in Lygon Street. They have returned from their holiday in Sicily full of ideas and enthusiasm for their small, Sicilian restaurant.
On the 5t of July they celebrated their first birthday and their new menu strongly influenced by their recent discoveries of different recipes experienced while in Sicily.
Anthony is the bar person and after discussing the wine with him we selected a bottle of ROSSOJBLEO, a bio-organic, Sicilian Nero d’Avola from Chiaramonte Gulfi (Ragusa). My partner and I then ate our way through many very enjoyable Sicilian specialties. These included:
Hot ricotta soup with home made pasta. Ricotta is very much appreciated by Sicilians especially when it has just been made. Particularly in Ragusa and the environs people visit cheese makers (sometimes on farms) and watch the ricotta being made. Ladles of hot, fresh curds and whey are usually poured on broken pieces of bread and eaten like soup.
Gelatina di maiale (brawn, made with pork- see recipe and photos below) and some affettati (a selection of cold cuts of salumi). An eggplant caponata was also included in this antipasto.
Farsumagru (il falsomagro is a beef, meat roll stuffed with hard boiled egg and can include cheeses , salamini and mortadella). It is braised in a tomato sauce and presented sliced. In this case it was made with minced beef and Alfredo’s version included a little zucchini for colour and variety of textures. Farsumagru translates into false–lean. It contains delectable ingredients including meat, so this is a pun on ‘lenten’ food – during the liturgical seasons Catholics were required to eat simple food and to abstain from eating meat. These laws have relaxed over time.
The farsumagru was accompanied by a warm potato salad with capers and comichons, and a fennel and orange salad with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.
We then had a glass of Malvasia a very rich flavoured dessert wine made by drying Malvasia grapes (bianche– white variety) before crushing. It was an excellent accompaniment to the small fried pastries called cassateddi. There are many local variations to this recipe, and in this version the dough was stuffed with ricotta, cinnamon, and honey. I could taste some alcohol too. (Honey is used instead of sugar in the Ragusa area).
Thank you Bar Idda, for a very enjoyable meal. Auguri e complimenti and may there be many years to come.
Recipe and photo of the Gelatina I make
Gelatina (means gelatine or jellied). It is sold as a Smallgoods food.
In various parts of Sicily the gelatina di maiale is called by a variety of names: jlatina di maiali, Suzu, suzzu, or zuzu.
I found a recipe for gelatina scribbled in one of many notebooks which I use to record recipes when I visit Italy. In this particular notebook from 1980, there are many Sicilian recipes, but on this particular trip I must have visited the relatives in Genova (a Piedmontese aunt married to my father’s brother and living in Genova and her daughter Rosadele who is an excellent cook also). There were also some recipes written in Trieste (my zia Renata was from Rovigo and married my mother’s brother).
I have not made gelatina di maiale for many years but I have nearly always included a half of a pork’s head – this provides the jelly component. The tongue adds texture and extra flavour (you can throw out the eyes).
Over time, I have altered the recipe and include bay leaves and peppercorns and I boil the pork without the vinegar only for about 3 hours (until I can see the meat falling off the bones).
Once it is cooked, I leave it to rest overnight.
The next day I remove the meat from the jelly, I add ½ cup of vinegar and the juice of a couple of lemons to the broth and reduce the liquid down to a third of the original amount.
I shred the meat and place it into a terrine and cover it with the cooled reduced stock. Any fat will rise to the surface and can be scraped off when it is cool (in fact, it acts as a seal).