Oct 21, 2022 · 12:58 pm
Melanzane fritte – made with eggplants from the backyard vegie patch, just like the crumbed, fried eggplant slices that Nonna Gia and Sofie cook together in, The Proxy Bride. I’ve put these ones on one of Nanna Francesca’s plates and next to them is a little pot I bought in Italy to stand in as a ‘chilli pot’ (though I confess mine has salt in it at present!)
I hadn’t planned to include recipes at the end of this book but when I was writing about the food in it, I found myself cooking many of the dishes to remind myself of them. Since the way I learned to cook from my grandmother was mostly by watching and tasting, measurements were always a ‘handful of this’, a ‘dash of that’ and if I asked, ‘But how much?’, the answer would be a shrug and something like, ‘Just enough, of course, see?’ It was certainly interesting to try to pin down exact recipe measurements and in the end I thought it might be lovely to share these too.
You might also recognise the cornicello, that amulet of luck that can only be given as a gift, never bought for oneself. A symbol of the earth, fertility, healing and protection that’s endured from as far back as 3400BC in a long-held connection with and reverence for nature as well as humans’ reliance on it for food and survival. Looking at this picture I have to smile – eggplants, a cornicello and handed-down recipes, that’s certainly a little bit of southern Italy going on in northern Australia. 💛 Zoë xx
Filed under books + writing, kitchen stories
Tagged as cornicello, corno, crumbed eggplant slices, good luck amulet, handed-down recipes, italian cooking, Italian migrant family life, Italian migrant stories, Italian recipes eggplant, Italian superstitions, melanzane fritte, my Italian Australian life, Nonna's home cooking, red coral, southern Italian traditions, The Proxy Bride Zoe Boccabella
Jul 8, 2019 · 5:17 pm
There are as many versions of caponata as there are cooks… so it’s said. The first written recipes date to the early 18th century but of course it’s one of those dishes handed down over many centuries from mother to daughter (and hopefully a few fathers and sons too). While it’s famously Sicilian, other regions like Calabria also have versions and most likely my (very rustic!) caponata will be completely different when I next cook it. This time I went with pretty much what I had on hand that would suit and baked it instead of frying (although frying creates more caramelisation and is very tasty). I’m guessing many of you will have your own delicious recipes perhaps handed down through generations, such a lovely tradition of cooking and passing on family history. xx
Ingredients (on hand!) for this version of caponata.
Chopped and tossed (in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt and lemon juice).
Baked and ready to serve (warm or cold).
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Tagged as caponata, caponata variations, capsicum recipes, cooking caponata, cooking Italian, cooking with eggplant, cooking with zucchini, handed-down recipes, italian cooking, Italian eggplant dishes, Italian food traditions, Italian vegetable dishes, Italian vegetable recipes, southern Italian dishes, versions of caponata
Mar 23, 2017 · 4:33 pm
Making pasta alla chitarra just as my Abruzzese great-grandmother, Maddalena used to make. The shoebox-sized wooden box strung with steel wires must be ‘tuned’ like a guitar (chitarra). A sheet of pasta is laid over the strings and pressed through with a rolling pin, slicing it into strips. And the pasta sauce is like the ‘gravy’ Nanna Francesca cooked (with a few extra greens I added!)
I certainly don’t use the chitarra too often unless I have a few hours to spare but it was lovely to make this and remember my grandmothers. I like how in a way cooking can bring together different generations, even after some are long gone, as only handed-down recipes can do.
Filed under dishes + recipes, italy, kitchen stories
Tagged as Abruzzo pasta, bringing together generations, cooking family recipes, handed-down recipes, Italian family recipes, Italian food, pasta, pasta alla chitarra, pasta chitarra, pasta gravy