Tag Archives: Syracuse


Review of Sicilian Seafood Cooking from PSnews by Christine Salins:

A Sicilian-born Australian cook creates a deliciously hearty winter soup, writes Christine Salins

Seafood feast by Christine Salins

I’ve only just discovered Marisa Raniolo Wilkins’ blog, All Things Sicilian and More, but I’ve had great fun reading about her passion for food, especially the cuisine of Sicily, the island of her birth.
Marisa spent her early childhood in Trieste before moving to Australia with her Sicilian parents, but clearly the childhood memories have never left her.
She is, by all accounts, a generous home cook who is passionate not only about using fresh produce but also about sharing her knowledge of food and its traditions.

Food photography Graeme Gillies, stylist Fiona Rigg


Sicilian Seafood Cooking by Marisa Raniolo Wilkins.

Her mother’s surname was Leone, or lion, and there’s a Sicilian proverb that, loosely translated, says “every dog feels like a lion in his own house”.
Marisa describes herself as a lion in control of her own kitchen and she is certainly a fierce advocate of Sicilian cuisine and culture.
So much so that she has now produced a beautiful book, Sicilian Seafood Cooking (New Holland, $45) celebrating the great diversity of Sicilian food and the role that seafood plays in both Sicilian cooking and its economy.
Not only does she draw on her own personal recollections and family traditions, she also takes readers on an historical journey, showing how the cuisine has been shaped by Greek, French, Arab and Spanish influences.
She canvases some of the issues around the sustainability of seafood, and there are some wonderfully evocative illustrations of dishes and Sicilian scenes.
But it’s the recipes, along with the huge number of immensely knowledgeable tips and suggestions, that are the real star, and if you love seafood, you’ll be delighted as I am to join in her culinary journey.
The following recipe reproduced from her book is a deliciously hearty soup for winter. Zuppa di pesce from Syracuse is reputed to be the best in Sicily. Here it is
baked, leaving the fish undisturbed so it does not break up.
You need large chunks of boneless fish – either buy a whole fish, fillet it
yourself and use the heads and bones for the stock, or make the stock from fish carcasses.

Rich Fish Soup from Syracuse Cooked in the Oven

  2kg mixed seafood
 1 cup dry white wine
 2 cups fish stock
 500g tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
 ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
 2–3 celery hearts (pale green stalks and leaves), chopped
 3–4 bay leaves
 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
 2 tablespoons finely cut flat-leaf parsley
 Fronds for fennel, finely cut
 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
 Zest of 1 orange, peeled thinly and cut into large pieces
 Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cut the boneless fish into chunks.
Clean shellfish, molluscs and squid and cut the squid into mouth-sized pieces.
Arrange the fish in an ovenproof pan that will fit all the ingredients.
Add the wine and cover the fish with the strained stock. Add all the other
ingredients. Cover the pan (use foil if you do not have a lid) and place in a
200°C oven for 30 minutes.
Serve with oven-toasted bread.

To find out more about Christine Salins click here.


ORTIGIA FOOD MARKET, SYRACUSE (Sicilian Seafood Cooking)

A Visit to the colourful, Ortigia food market in Syracuse
My Australian friend Sandi was going to Sicily. Her first big stop was Syracuse and she asked if there was anything she could do for me while she was there.



I gave her some photos of some of the stall holders in the Ortigia market in Syracuse and said that if she found these people she was to tell them that they would be in Sicilian Seafood Cooking (New Holland, release date Nov 2011). 

Sandi has just returned from Sicily and this is what she writes:
When Marisa learned of my intention to visit Syracuse to join my sailing friends she asked me to deliver some photographs to some of the stall holders there. Marisa and her partner Bob had taken the photographs whilst they were visiting Syracuse. The photographs of the stall holders are among the many wonderful photographs of Sicily, it’s markets  with their bountiful array of fruit, vegetables and of plenty of fish which are featured in Marisa’s  book entitled “ Sicilian Seafood Cooking”. I was thrilled to be able to do so. I am always excited at the opportunity to revisit the richness of the market in Syracuse – one of my favourite haunts.

It was easy to recognise the stall holders from their photographs despite the fact that the market as usual was crowded with locals buying the wonderful fresh produce.One of my sailing companions spoke Italian and therefore was my translator. They were ecstatic to receive a copy of their photograph and a copy of the cover of Marisa’s book. They listened intently with sparkling eyes and smiles on their faces whist my friend explained who had taken the photographs and why I was delivering them. They immediately remembered Marisa when I showed them a copy of her photograph.  As soon as they heard the explanation they ignored the crowd of customers waiting to be served and rushed from one end of the market to the other waving their photograph and relating their news to other stall holders excitedly. They even told the story to those that hadn’t been listening closely to my friends’ explanation.

All this despite the fact that they were busy with many customers.  No one seemed to mind and all enjoyed the excitement. Two of the stall holders pinned their copy of the photograph proudly on the wall behind their stall. If you visit you will see the photographs and I’m sure they will be pleased to proudly explain where they came  from.