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Cooking a Feast with Sicilian Pantry Staples

Posted by Suzanne on 22 May 2015

The Sicilian House team cooked a delicious, easy dinner on Wednesday evening using Sicilian pantry staples from the award winning UK based team at Marvellous Sicily.

All products from Marvellous Sicily are organic and made in Sicily. They are full of the deep and ancient Sicilian flavours which, says Sicilian culinary expert and writer, Mary Taylor Simeti, ‘were introduced to the island by the end of 12th century’.


The Pantry Staples

We unpacked the Sicilian goodness from Marvellous: Caponata Siciliana, Confettura di Olive Nere, Organic Hot Pepper Pate, Organic Olive Oil and Organic Lemon and Strawberry Jam. All which come from: Graniti, Messina; Pian del Lago, Caltanisetta; and Belpasso. And, we got started.


Using the best bread, we sliced it diagonally and baked it at 180 C for ten minutes - we had drizzled the slices with Marvellous Sicily’s organic olive oil beforehand. The olive oil, from Caltanisetta in the remote centre of Sicily, was full of a green grass flavour with a hint of spice.

Half the slices were topped with the Caponata Siciliana – a stew of eggplants, bell peppers, celery, sugar, vinegar and sea salt and the remaining slices were spread with a black olive preserve, Confettura di Olive Nere; all that was needed of the delicious olive preserve was a smear.

The sweet and sour flavour of the caponata, made with eggplant, a legacy from the Arab interlude in Sicily, was perfectly balanced. And, it took me back to the caponata I have eaten in the homes of Sicilian friends in Polizzi Generosa.

Main - Pasta with Organic Hot Pepper Pate

With 82% hot organic peppers this sauce had a wonderful bite which was balanced beautifully with the simplicity of pasta di semola di grano duro, sprigs of fresh Italian parsley and a piling of grated 36 month old Parmesan Reggiano.

The pepper sauce was heated gently (we used about 1/4 of the 190 gram jar) and once the 350 grams of pasta ( for three people) was al dente and drained we added the sauce, poured some olive oil over and stirred it.


Dessert- Crostata di Marmelatta (a jam tart) with Marvellous Sicily’s Organic Lemon Strawberry Jam.

We have now cooked our first Crostata di Marmelatta. Inspired by Mary Taylor Simeti’s recipes for crostate in her book, Sicilian Food I made the Pasta Frolla (the shortcrust pastry).  And yes we did have to patch the edges a little after we had placed the dough in the pie dish.

We followed her advice and refrigerated the dough for 2 hours beforehand. The oven was heated to 180 celsuis and the pie dish was 25cm.

The Dough

Using the finest Italian flour, 00 farina di grano tenero (ideal for sweets) 210 grams of plain flour was sifted into a bowl, 145 grams of the best butter was cut in to make a crumb like texture then a medium egg and 1/3 of a cup of caster sugar were added. It was worked gently by hand until mixed then it was placed in the fridge for 2 hours, wrapped in plastic.

The dough, when it came out of the fridge was firm and it was left at room temperature for a few minutes. And then, with the warmth of hands, it rolled out well with a pin. I was pleased that on lifting it into the dish only the edges needed patching!


Spreading the Jam

Once spread with a 360 gram jar of Marvellous’ organic lemon and strawberry jam and decorated with strips of crinkle edged pastry it was baked at 180 for about 25 minutes until golden brown with the jam gently bubbling.

Marvellous’ jam retained its Sicilian lemon zest and a hint of fragrant strawberry.

With a dollop of cream (not very Sicilian) we all enjoyed the crumbly, buttery crust, only just sweet, and the perfect floral tang of the Sicilian lemons; another gift from the Arabs.

This is only a taste of what Marvellous Sicily has to offer, head to to see their full range.




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