A soggiorno in a Sicilian satellite city

Italy is known for its northern wonders, perhaps more so than its southern wonders. The tourists flock to the northern attractions and often miss the south entirely. And even then, those that venture south only happen by the star attractions missing much of the south.

It is true that the south – and I’m talking the very south, Sicily – can be more difficult to tackle as a tourist than her northern counterparts. But your efforts will be repaid in a rich cultural experience. Continue reading “A soggiorno in a Sicilian satellite city”

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Coffee tips for Santa Margherita Ligure

Something a little different for my blog, an infographic. Since moving to the Italian Riviera’s Santa Margherita it strikes me that whilst there is a plethora of cafes wherever you go in Italy. More often than not it is difficult to choose one from the bunch.

After living in Santa Margherita we have tried many cafe’s coffee – often once, twice, three times a day! Continue reading “Coffee tips for Santa Margherita Ligure”

Fresh paint for a new season

It’s an exciting time in Santa Margherita, February marks the start of the new season. Or at least getting ready for it.

If the shops haven’t opened as Santa Margherita awakens from its January hibernation, you can be sure that they’re still closed for renovations for the coming season. Continue reading “Fresh paint for a new season”

Salami day: A vegetarian elbow-deep in pork fat

We have just had a salami making day – and by we I mean the boys. As a non meat-eater I hesitantly said yes to having my house turned into a pork-a-looza. I thought all of my senses would be overwhelmed by the process, but I was wrong. By making myself the photographer I managed to remove myself from the reality of it and enjoy the process for what it was. Yes there was pork and pork fat everywhere, and some bleeding – there were some questionable knife skills – but all in all it was a entertaining day.

At the start of salami day the kitchen is clean and ready to go.

Salami_ready

and the butcher’s tools are ready to go.

Salami_knives

The fridge was overloaded with 20 kilos of pork, 2 kilos of pork fat and a massive ball of salty intestines – and naturally they were all lady pigs!

Salami_fridge

Preparing the intestines, even though they never made it through to the finished product – the ease of the artificial casings won out in the end.

salami_intestines

To start skin the pig – the first incident happened here, man down temporarily to treat a bleed. The bleed continued to be an ongoing problem throughout the day but commitment to the cause meant work must continue.

Salami_dicing2

Dice the meat to the very specific size of small enough to fit through the grinder. Including any fat that you can save from the removed skin. And if you thought that would be enough fat, let’s throw in the 2 kilos of extra fat for good measure.

Salami_dicing

Salami_diced

All diced, two injuries down and 22 kilos of porky goodness was turned into a pile ready for the grinder.

Salami_ready_grind

Salami_grind

Spices are very important and it is highly recommended to consult the recipe periodically throughout the day and it is particularly important when considering how much salt and how much spice should be added.

Salami_recipe

Now add the secret ingredients: conserved peppers, spice mix – heavy on the chilli and paprika – and some red wine, precisely measured – ‘yeah that’s about a cup’.

Salami_peppers

salami_spices

Liberally add in the flavour…

salami_spice_mix

Now it is time to get elbow deep in pork fat and spices. Get ready for a paprika tan!

Who mixes the salami mixture you ask? Is it decided by straw drawing? Is it the job that everyone shies away from? Well no, it is quite easily decided upon actually – who has the least hairiest arms!

Salami_mixing Salami_mix

And at this point, even though I can’t figure out how you take any spices out it is essential to do a taste test. Verdict: the correct amount of chilli and wine, although not unanimous on the chilli.

Salami_test

Time to commence the salami filling, the most tedious of jobs – once you’ve passed the using of knives – is tying string. This can make or break your salami, literally!!

Salami_string

Once you get the ball rolling the process gets easier, helped along by the red wine that didn’t make it into the salami mix.

Salami_filling

Finished product: 6 hours later, 22 kilos of pork and fat turned into 2 dozen salami ready to be aged. May the waiting game begin – will this salami be edible in a few months?

Salami_finished

The final bit of last year’s salami for a sneak peak at what the finished product will hopefully look like.

Salami_prior