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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Akshay

Ode to Simple Things

When Pablo Neruda wrote “Ode To Common Things” his aim was to elevate everyday items like salt, a chair, a table, or soap, to metaphors, vehicles for the greater existential questions that haunt our lives, capturing the often overlooked beauty that lies in overlooked things.

Far from having Neruda’s literary talent (or any literary talent at all for that matter), I just wanted to leave this post here, to celebrate the simplicity of flavours, ingredients and traditions that I grew up with in Sicily.

I’m just back in London after spending the most part of the last 3 months in my Sicily. I have a huge backlog of recipes I wrote and shot while there, but for now, I’m just leaving you with this:

“Pagnotta Inciminata” - a soft bread loaf typical of the cities of Ragusa and Modica, made with durum wheat flour. For this bread, you can use the recipe for the pizza base from my previous post but omit the olive oil.

Ricotta di Bufala (Buffalo Ricotta) - Ricotta is a true religion in Sicily and every Sicilian will have a strong opinion as to who makes the best ricotta, whether sheep or cow’s milk ricotta is better (sheep is definitely better!), whether you should add or not add sugar to ricotta ravioli (you should!!), and so on and so forth…

This buffalo milk ricotta was an absolute revelation to me with its delicate, unique flavour. It is produced by Magazze' - a buffalo farm from my province - that produces the most amazing varieties of cheese from buffalo milk. Their “provola” cheese is to die for too.

Bread and ricotta are topped with thinly sliced pears, olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Heaven on earth, my friends.

And for a blast from the past, the small bamboo bell-shaped containers you see on my table are called “cavagne” and they were traditionally used to transport ricotta while it was still hot and *just* made. These are more ornamental than functional, as the actual cavagne would usually be much bigger.

Word of the Day


(Bread, pronounced pà·ne)

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