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katiaANDronald

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    54
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  • Website URL
    http://www.lovesicily.com

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  • Location
    Sicily/UK
  1. katiaANDronald

    A chat with chef Igles Corelli

    I think Chef Corelli has hit the nail on the head with this one. It's a fantastic insight into real life and in particular the realities of life in Italy. So my question is this: In the UK there seems to be a culture of supporting and mentoring cooks - the "big" name chefs take them under their wings and after nurturing them for some time they are send of to restaurants in New York, Melbourney, Sidnay, Hong Kong, Paris where they develop their skills further. Then when they come back they take over one of the many reastaurants that big names (e.g. Gordon Ramsay) have. Jamie Oliver's "fifteen" project is similar. Of course it's not all roses and benevolent "wiser" cooks - it is more about taking care of interests and having the need for good chefs. In Italy there doesn't seem to be this mentoring culture since there doesn't seem to be the need by one famous chef to handle many different restaurants. Is this really the case or am I missing something?
  2. katiaANDronald

    Yogurt

    as a cypriot who grew up on youghurt i have to say that Total is good as many have posted and now that I live in the UK that is the one I buy. Recently, however, I've also discovered Rachel's organic greek yogurt which is almost as good as Total (waitrose). however, I hate to burst the bubble but Total is really just a chemical concoction. there is nothing to replace naturaly strained yogurt as I find in cyprus - we have dozens of brands and it is typically local yogurt made on farms - just a touch of sournens and perfectly strained - I carry two kilos back every time :-) and for a real yogurt lover like my grandmother the best yogurt (or "'oxino' = sour" as she calls it) is the one that has been in the fridge for a couple of weeks, has developed a nice healthy bioculture and is had with sugar or honey!
  3. katiaANDronald

    A year of Italian cooking

    excellent recipes kevin - I am now hungry - very very hungry (or is it just craving- i never can tell...). i don't think there is a way to link pictures directly while typing a post unfortunately (perhaps alberto can check with the powers that be).
  4. i can only back-up what alberto has already said - dried basil hardly ever used . dried oregano is used regularly often - both in pastas but also one of my favourites things when back in sicily a simple salad with tomatoes, dried oregano and olive oil - tasting real tomatoe like this after a steady diet of some plasticky version of a red ball that there typically is in the UK is a treat!
  5. katiaANDronald

    A year of Italian cooking

    I am impressed with the use youghurt - so it does exist in Italian cooking I have to say that the one thing that Ronald of katiaANDronald misses terribly in Sicily is proper youghurt - coming from Cyprus where it is produced in all its wonderful forms I just cannot stand what is available in Sicily - runny, diet-focused chemical mixes that have nothing to do with youghurt.
  6. katiaANDronald

    A year of Italian cooking

    Hat's off Kevin - I've never managed to stick to a one-week planned cooking regime - let alone a whole year! Hope you are not planning to leave Sicily out - remember we now know where you live... Of course one could argue that Sicily itself should be divided into regions since what they cook in Palermo/Trapani is quite different from what gets done in Siracusa/Ragusa/Catania - still that would be taking it a bit TOO far. Have fun and please keep us updated.
  7. aubergines - while they are frying...
  8. Have to agree with Albiston - most Italians I know just do with a coffee. In Sicily, Katia's father always, always has a bowl of latte di mandorla in which he dips bread (for winter) and in summer has just cold water in which he dips bread. My favourite breakfast in Sicily is undeniably granita (typically coffe or mandorla tostata) and brioche (the sicilian granita that is). Of course you only get that is summer.
  9. katiaANDronald

    Injecting food?

    i bow to the mighty force of the eGullet culinary intellect. a wealth of information! the watermelon vodka is an old favourite but surely you can even just top it up through a little hole - although I grant you that injecting it certainly adds to the whole party experience. next time I am in cyprus where we do something called souvla (typically pork or lamb on a spit) I might try injecting some "latholemono (oil and lemon)" during the cooking process rather than just brushing it on.
  10. katiaANDronald

    Injecting food?

    he he - good question. one takes one's hay and places it in water so that the hay is damp. one then take's one's blow torch and applies blow torch to hay until the smell of hay (via the smoke) is release. the hay is then placed in water with the potatoes! now how one comes up with such an idea to start with is a whole different story
  11. katiaANDronald

    Injecting food?

    Hello, last night I was watching a repeat of the BBC Full on Food programme and they attempted to recreate a heston blumenthal recipe for fried potatoes which included sizzled hay (in which the potatoes where soaked for the taste) and, most interestingly, injecting ketchup into the fries once done. Now, I don't think I will be sizzling hay anytime soon but I kind of like the idea of injecting food - any tips out there about what can be done... any bad/good experiences with it. Thanks! Ronald.
  12. Dear Faith, We would be very interested to hear the opinions of a true expert on the current state of Sicilian food and wine. Talking to the locals, especially from the area of Ragusa (which Katia and I know best) there is very much the feeling of a revival - a rebirth. Producers are proud of their products, but not in a flamboyant way - rather a more calm and collected attidute. They are organising events, and getting some recognition. Especially the wine makers seem very confident with people like Planeta getting a lot of exposure. And some very innovative wineries, like COS are trying truly interesting techniques. However, I wonder whether this buzz is simply a localised phenomenon that you feel when in the bubble (i.e. when in Ragusa) or whether it is truly taking place. Looking forward to your reply, Ronald and Katia
  13. katiaANDronald

    Trattoria vs. Ristorante

    Ours for one are pretty much the same wherever we are and are divded into two broad categories. A: If we are looking to be impressed by the ingenuity of the chef we probably already know the place we are going to - so wherever that is in the world its a place that is already in guides, discussed in egullet, etc because the chef is probably already famous or making a name for themselves. We would certainly not walk into any restaurant that claims to be fantastic (and has accordingly fantastic prices) without prior knowledge of the place (after all we are not paid-for food critics!) B: If we just want to have a great lunch in a place we've never been before (and therefore don't know much about) we look for something authentic. We take that to mean "a restaurant that serves local dishes to local people, has been around for many years and is not necessarily on the usual tourist tracks...". These places are hard to find, but when we did find them we also tend to stick to them. Now for case B the issue is that in Italy stumbling upon an "authentic" place is actually relatively easy. In Malta for example its not that easy at all (sorry Malta!)... in the UK its almost impossible (unless you are in the countryside...)
  14. katiaANDronald

    Trattoria vs. Ristorante

    This is an interesting point... largely i agree wtih most of the comments although I have yet to be bored with normal every day italian food. i think there are enough ingredients, seasons, variations to keep us happy! Let me try to explain what I think. So in addition to the very good factors that others have there is perhaps one more element - in many European big cities you tend to find three broad classes of restaurants. Your basic, every day trattoria type thing, your trendy - trying to be trendy chabby chic, casual chic places (where anyone can walk in generally) and your elegant restaurants. I think the middle category in Italy is very unrepresented and when Italians go for elegant they tend to overdo it - which means that they may be somewhat intimidating for tourists that stuble across restaurants. So this means that tourists are actually left with less options. I don't think they would not go for restaurants I just think that there aren't any as tourists tend to know them there...
  15. katiaANDronald

    Trattoria vs. Ristorante

    I think Hathor is absolutely right. I just got back from Barcelona and I can immediately relate to the comment about Spain possibly overtaking Italy as a restaurant destination. I think it is happening because the locals are actively seeking "trendy" places as a night out.... which perhaps is not happening as much in Italy with respect to eating. Even more telling than metropolitan Barcelona was Girona - a relatively small place but with very a disproportionate amount of restaurants trying to look trendy and sophisticated (with decidedly mixed results - since some were clearly trattorie trying to spice up presentation). That aside, I think it is also the case that you go to Italy to get the "real thing" whatever that is - Italy may set trends for clothes fashion but when it comes to food it is really a very conservative country. As ever a happy balance would be the best...
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