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To Start & To Finish.

To Start & To Finish.IMG_6161

It’s been an interesting week…a couple of fantastic exploring trips with some of our guests & a rather large cooking class with a heap of lovely Danish visitors.

We had the return of our jet-setting royals & all the activity which that incurs, as well as the continual business necessary to make the palazzo apartments & our guests, feel cared for & welcome.

On two consecutive days we hired a taxi for 3 of us one morning, & then a mini bus for 7 of us the next day, to do some touring around & checking out some of the awesome landscapes, architecture & history.

Our driver was both accommodating & knowledgable, which was very fortunate for us, because as well as the fascinating & expected tourist information, he also had an intimate knowledge of the superb local foods.IMG_6145

This meant we got to stop & sample the best pastries in a few different places :))

Recently out of the oven & billed as the freshest ricotta pastries in Sicily, with just a hint of chocolate & a light dusting of icing sugar, they were filled directly to order & remained shatteringly crisp with just a touch of warmth. Truly a taste sensation!IMG_6163

The huge incomplete Greek temples, the grottos built into the cliff face, the astounding churches, the marble & the timber! The craftsmanship, the ingenuity, the sensitivity & the engineering feats of the seemingly impossible!

As it has all been said a million times before, our humble praise & awe could never define these remarkable structures. It is indeed a unique experience one must personally absorb….IMG_6116

And the vistas! Prettier than any postcard you could ever imagine! Steep, jagged mountains capped in cloud, lush green hills dotted with wildflowers, & copious wild fennel plants waving in the breeze, all consuming evidence that spring has sprung…

Our eclectic group of strangers, from several corners of the globe, found ourselves high up in one of those quaint little mountain top villages. Many, many centuries old, I found it fascinating that all the narrow roads were hand paved in time-smoothed pebbles, precisely & repeatedly patterned.IMG_6173

With walls shrouded in fog just metres from our faces & our bellies incessantly rumbling, we stumbled upon an old family restaurant, scrubbed & renewed, open fire burning, warm & welcoming. It was like a simple gift from heaven :))

Ahhh! The food was good… made with love & care, you could see, taste & feel their passion. And we were gently embraced. Over that table, with that food & wine, in that environment, we all became family, strangers, staff & community.

IMG_6167And today we partake in another of the Duchesses wonderful cooking classes…there’s the wonder of the Palazzo, the terrace gardens for all the fresh citrus & herbs, there’s the markets & all the local history along the way, & naturally the Duchess herself.

Then there’s the actual cooking class, lot’s of informative fun, Palermo style, & our meal served at the grand dining table, with all the little white gloved waiters, crockery sealed with the family crest, crystal ware & silver service. It’s fresh & informal while being very stylish…IMG_5835

After our 3 course meal, finished with coffee & the regional Marsala of course, the Duke, who has joined us for lunch, & the Duchess graciously show us around their amazing home.

The stories are seductive & the couple are mesmerising…. we are all exhausted, & perfectly sated :))

Here are two of the recipes we made today! Add these with the previous post which only needed a pasta & a dessert for a wonderful long table of Sicilian sharing….


Pasta with Green Cauliflower, Pine Nuts & Currants

2 heads green cauliflower, cut into florets & cook in salted water for about 10 mins. Remove with slotted spoon & reserve water.

1 med. chopped onion, saute in oil few mins, then couple tblspns, reserved water & let onion melt slowly rather than saute.

3 anchovy fillets, mash into onion, then add cauliflower & 1 cup reserved water. Simmer 10 mins. (Cauliflower must be almost mashed)

1/2 tspn. saffron threads in warm water. Add to broth.

3 tblspns. pine nuts & 3 tblspns. currants. Add,  combine, season & simmer another 5 mins.00240

Cook pasta in boiling cauliflower water til al dente. Reserve 1 cup water, drain pasta & add sauce. Toss gently, add some pasta water if needed.

Serve with toasted breadcrumbs. Make from dried breadcrumbs toasted in splash of olive oil in fry pan.

Citrus Jelly (Orange, Tangerine & Lemon Jelly)IMG_5856

1 lt. freshly squeezed & strained fruit juice

3/4 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of citrus)

10 small sheets gelatine & a few drops of sweet almond oil.

Pour half juice in bowl & add gelatine. Boil other half with sugar until dissolved. Pour the hot into the cold & mix well. Coat moulds lightly with almond oil & pour the juice in. Set in fridge for a few hours.IMG_5855

  1. Ahhhh Palermo… she is forever in my heart 🙂

    • And mine too Val…it is indeed a memorable experience :)) Thanks for sharing it with me xxx

  2. Hello sweets,

    As always your blogs are just a treat to read and the pictures take my breath away. You must be having the most amazing time – i’m as green as your broccoli with envy! I hope you are having a fantastic time, we miss you heaps and love you even more. Can we Skype for a catch up some time soon? HUGE love xoxoxoxo

    • Oh gorgeous girl….I didn’t see this notification til just now, so what a lovely surprise :))
      Thanks for the pictures thumbs up as that’s high praise indeed form a fabulous photographer such as you…
      Isn’t the green gorgeous? And it’s cauliflower…I haven’t seen this pretty one in Australia.
      We are 8 hours behind you guys… will pm you
      ciao bella xxx

  3. It’s delightful, Veronica. I plan to send this to my friends so they can enjoy it too.
    Many thanks,
    Martha & Stephen

    • Oh Martha, aren’t you kind…thank you :)) It was delightful spending some time with you. A
      nd maybe your friends would also like our facebook page :))
      big love, ciao Veronica xx

  4. Everything looks so colourful compared to Osaka, it certainly brightens up my week. I sent you a couple of emails, but I’m afraid you didn’t get them, maybe they went to your junk folder. Anyway, we’re working on getting the knife and I’m looking forward to hearing from your friend.
    toodles, Joo

    • Hey lovely…so glad you are reading my letters/posts :)) will check junk folder for missing emails, & thanks heaps for scouting for beautiful Japanese knife for me…so excited to be getting another one!!!
      I’m sure we could find plenty of beautiful colour in gorgeous Japan….big love xx

  5. More great photos – so impressed. Pasta recipe sounds beautiful but obviously white cauli wouldn’t look so impressive. Do you think it would work as well with broccoli? Or even a combo of both. Maybe not. I’m sure I’ve seen green cauli somewhere so will scout around and let you know if I find.xx

    • Oh thanks Fran…the green cauli does taste subtly different but I’m sure you could use either, I will give a combination of both white cauliflower & broccoli when I get home I reckon :))
      Yes, please do let me know if you find the green one…they are beautiful!
      Trust all is fabulous on the sunny coast
      big love xx

  6. Your style is very unique compared to other folks I’ve read
    stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity,
    Guess I will just book mark this web site.

    • Thanks so Reagan…& welcome to our party :)) looking forward to hearing from you some more… cheers Roni xx

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