Almonds and pistachios as often used in Sicilian cooking as both are grown extensively in Sicily. The parsley and capers accentuate the attractive green colour of the pistachios.

The breadcrumbs are made with 1-2 day old bread – use good quality bread, for example sour dough or a pasta dura. Remove the crusts and make crumbs.

INGREDIENTS
fish, 100g-150g for each piece
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the paste:
80g pistachio (unsalted), chopped finely (but not too powdery)
80g almond meal or blanched almonds chopped finely
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup capers, chopped
½ cup of finely chopped parsley
½ cup of fresh breadcrumbs
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
a little salt and freshly ground pepper
PROCESSES
Make the paste by mixing all of the ingredients together – use a mixer if you wish.
Heat the oven to 225C
Line a baking tray with baking paper and coat it with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle a little salt on each piece of fish and drizzle a little olive oil on each.
Place some paste on each piece of fish and spread it over each piece of fish – use your fingers.
Cook for 10-15 mins (according to taste). This will depend on the size of the fish, the thickness and how cooked you like your fish to be. If you cook your fish for longer you may need to place some baking paper on top of the fish to stop the topping from burning.

 

 

Blue cod on sticks

I bought this fish at the Queen Victoria Market. What motivated me to buy it was the sustainable label. My fish vendor does not usually label his fish as sustainable and I was quite impressed. In fact I shook his hand.

I chose to ignore the fact that it comes from New Zealand – flown in daily the vendor said.  Unfortunately it is not exactly local. It was $32.00 per kilo. It weighed one kilo.

He always asks me if I want whole fish filleted. I always say no.

‘Best steamed’ he said. So I chose to bake it in baking paper – in cartoccio – it keeps in the moisture.

I wanted to taste the fish not drown it in flavours so I chose simple flavours: caper berries, slivers of garlic and some parsley and fresh rosemary and bay leaves to stuff the cavity of the fish.

You will notice that the fish is greenish-blue to blue-black in colouring. It is a white fish with medium texture and the flesh remained very moist.The Blue Cod are caught sustainably because potting is used – The pots are baited and once the fish is inside they are trapped. Each pot is set at a size that allows younger undersized fish to escape and any by-catch is released unharmed.

If I want sustainable fish I have to be prepared to pay for it and you can see why the price is high.

Either use 2 sheets of baking paper or use one sheet of baking paper on top of some metal foil. The two layers will help prevent the paper from breaking when you put it in a serving dish.

Uncooked blue cod

INGREDIENTS
1 fish, 1k – I used Chatman Islands Blue Cod
fresh rosemary and bay leaves to insert in the stuffing
3 large garlic cloves, cut into slivers
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
caper berries, about 10
½ cup of chopped parsley

PROCESSES
Preheat oven to 220C
Make sure the cavity of the fish is very well cleaned and stuff it with the rosemary and bay.
Place 2 large sheets of baking paper on a baking tray, sprinkle it with salt, pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle a little parsley some garlic slivers and some capers on the paper and place the fish on top.
Repeat what you did on the bottom of the fish on top of the fish.
Wrap the fish completely in the paper and place it in a baking pan, then bake in the oven for 25- 30 minutes. (I prefer my fish not to be overcooked). Remove the pan from oven and leave the fish wrapped up in the paper for an extra 10 minutes.

cooked blue cod

Take it out of the paper and keep the juices as the sauce. Drizzle a little extra olive oil on top and some more freshly ground black pepper – I cannot help being Italian!

pasta with baby fennel

I live in an apartment in Melbourne and have a balcony where I  can only grow herbs. Fortunately I am very close to the Queen Victoria Market – it is my stamping ground. I am able to buy bulb fennel and bunches of leafy fennel (fronds attached) at one of my favourite stalls: B Shed, Stall 61- 63) in the Queen Victoria Market.

The stall is owned by Gus and Carmel and they grow some of their produce. Gus is Calabrese. He knows that I cook Sicilian food and I like to use this type of fennel for my Sicilian Pasta con le sarde that includes wild fennel as one of the ingredients. It is frequently used in Sicilian food to add a particular aniseed taste to many dishes.

We are not able to buy bunches of wild fennel (finucchiu sarvaggiu in Sicilian) in Australia and not everybody can go out and forage for it – you will recognise the plants by the strong aniseed smell and taste, strong green colour and fine fern like fronds. I collect the soft, young shoots of this plant, recognised by their lighter colour. This fennel is unlike the Florentine fennel and has no bulb. Because of its strong smell and taste, animals and insects tend not to eat it, so it can be prolific. I always ensure that the plant looks healthy before I collect it, after all it is a weed and it could have been sprayed. If I were to grow wild fennel in my garden I would collect the seeds (yellow flower heads) which when dry develop into seeds and plant them.

 

baby fennel

But for those of you who cannot get wild fennel there is some salvation. At the end of the fennel season the fennel plant produces some flat bulbs, which never mature.

Gus has given me his recipe for one of his favourite pasta recipes. It is cooked with anchovies, fennel fronds and topped with fried breadcrumbs. He tells me it is Calabrese (from Calabria). I say that it is Sicilian and in fact in Sicilian it is called ‘Pasta cca muddica’.

But Gus forgets that he has already given me this recipe, he gives it to me every year when I buy the immature bunches of fennel from him.

For recipe see:Pasta con Finocchio

What I do not tell Gus is that in some parts of Sicily they add grated lemon peel and in the Aeolian islands they add capers and in Siracusa green olives. There are also versions where it is made without the fennel. Simple, but all good.
Very Good.

Not a bad space to be walking into. Salchichon, loganiza everywhere and the Jamon  hanging from the ceiling. Notice the wine as well being sold at this smallgoods shop. It is Spain of course.

tapasJPG

Spain equals tapas –a flourishing industry since the Middle Ages. There are plenty of other delights to be found in Spain, but food is always a large part of my enjoyment and a priority anytime I travel  .

madrid-markets small goods

I have been too busy to write a post about the fabulous prepared tapas-type foods that one can easily buy at Markets in Spain.

madrid salamini

And I am not just talking about the classically simple to complex small plates of goodies found in Spanish bars, restaurants and tavernas, but of the ready – made delicatessen type goodies to take home.

jamon

Wine is so cheap in Spain (in comparison to Australian wine) so on a number of occasions it was easy to buy some ready made ingredients and drink good wine in one’s hotel room, or as in our case in Madrid in an apartment which came with excellent cooking and serving facilities.

madrid fritos

 

 

My second book, Small Fishy Bites, was released by New Holland on 1 October 2013. To mark the occasion, on the evening before, friends joined me for a celebratory dinner at the Moat Bar and Cafe in Little Lonsdale Street below the Wheeler Centre.

The Moat was the perfect place to launch the book, enjoy excellent food and wine – a brilliant match for the occasion.

Thanks to all my friends who enjoy eating and cooking fish and whose contributions have enlarged my repertoire of recipes.

Printed media

From: The Australian  Michelle Rowe: Food Detective, October 05, 2013 12:00AM

I took the following comment by Michelle Rowe to be a positive rather than a negative and I appreciated being mentioned in her weekly column.

She praises Sicilian Seafood Cooking and for this I am pleased. And there is a hint that in spite of its title, Small Fishy Bites could be OK.

DETECTIVE accepts that with so many cookbooks out these days, it may be difficult to think up a title that has not already been claimed, but she wonders whether anybody could have fixed upon a less-inviting moniker than Small Fishy Bites? She trusts the new book from Marisa Raniolo Wilkins, who also wrote the very good Sicilian Seafood Cooking, holds more promise than its distinctly fishy title.

Equiem, online portal, Melbourne cookbook author gives Friday night fish ‘n chips the boot, Bronwyn Eager, October 2013

Oh Yum Magazine, New Zealand

The Victorian Writer, Food and Wine, Voices: Bring to the boil, Simmer slowly, Marisa Raniolo Wilkins, November 2013

Yorke Peninsula, Country Times ,  Yorke Peninsula Seafood in Cookbook, Wendy Burman, 22 October 2013

EVENTS

Cooking Class at Mercato, Adelaide, 22 November,