Sicily, the island south-west of mainland Italy is evocative of the sea, sun-ripened vegetables and the scent of citrus. Drawing on these elements, food writer and blogger, Marisa Raniolo Wilkins has produced a book on Sicilian seafood, pasta and accompaniments which will be launched by Rosa Matto on 20th November 2011, with an introduction by the Hon. Grace Portolesi, M.P. S.A., Minister for Multicultural Affairs.
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The book is a historical and entertaining account of traditional and unusual recipes from Sicily, with useful culinary anecdotes and menu plans, as well as information on the sustainability of fish species.
The influences of the Arab, French and Greek conquerors to the island is reflected in the diverse range of dishes presented and in the accompanying photos of baroque villages, Greek temples and souk-like markets.
I asked Marisa what the motivation for writing the book was and she said:
"It was my heritage and appreciation of different cuisines, especially Italian regional food and particularly the food of Sicily that motivated me. My desire was to inspire others to appreciate the variations of Sicilian cuisine and to show that there is more to Italian food than Umbrian and Tuscan."
I asked Marisa how different this book is to similar recipe books on the market and she told me:
"Sicily is an island and that means fish yet little has been published about fish. The recipes are not just a collection of what my mother cooked, which has been the case in most books. I did an awful lot of eating in restaurants as well as with my family who live in Ragusa, some in Catania, Augusta, and a few in Syracuse too. What I tried in restaurants, I spoke to staff about because I am passionate about food and then made comparisons between what I already knew and what I could find out from books, and from speaking to others. Then I recreated the best version of the recipes for the book."
Sicilian Seafood Cooking by Marisa Raniolo Wilkins is published by New Holland. It will be available in bookshops in early November 2011. Cost $45.00.