Friday, 4 June 2010

Sicilian Stuffed sardines

As I mentioned in my last post- the kids were on a seafood cooking bonanza.

It started as a result of Mr.11 making a request to go shopping at Vic Market with his dad.

Hubby G came home with a few always when he shops at the market, but I am soooo not complaining!

This time it was a kilo of sardines- with the explanation that "They were only 5 bucks a kilo!" Let it be noted that I love a bargain- and I love Hubby's surprise market purchases so I was not unhappy!

What it did make me think about as a result of Mr.9's  somewhat surprising reaction was "At what stage do we starting getting the "ooks" about food and the preparation of it for eating?"  And by preparation I mean the whole process- from the slaughter,  to the butchering,  to the table.

I was mulling over this because I was a little taken aback by Mr.9's enthusiastic request to gut and fillet the sardines.

A couple of days before we had watched the Italian Food Safari.   Mr.9 had watched it too and had obviously taken in every last bit of information about how they hand filleted the sardines to make Sicilian stuffed sardines.

I was lucky enough growing up in a family that took a great interest in eating lovely food- and for reasons much like mine now- as a celebration of life.  Although I grew up in the suburbs of Adelaide we had our own chickens, ducks, guinea fowl and quails in the back yard.  We used the eggs and we also slaughtered the chooks for eating.

I remember this (the slaughter that is!) as being such fun- sounds gruesome perhaps!  It didn't seem like it to me as a child.  It was just what happened when you wanted to eat a chook.  Dad would do the honours wielding an axe and then us kids would watch in hysterics at the way the chook would run around after with no head!  Perhaps not an act for the squeemish - but we loved it!

The carcass would then get dipped in the boiling copper to loosen the feathers and we would pluck away contentedly........the family together doing these jobs laughing together.  I remember it very fondly indeed.

I suppose growing up doing this helped me have an appreciation and an awareness of the reality of what it means to eat meat, poultry etc.  I guess I took it for granted then,  but now as I watch children who are asked simple questions such as "Where milk comes from?"  and they answer "the supermarket", I realise that I grew up within an extraordinary situation in this sense.  I have never been "ooked" by food.  We used as much as possible which meant eating offal too.  But it wasn't disgusting as it is often thought of but just another part of the animal to eat.

So here we are living in a society where our kids think money comes out of walls and milk comes from the supermarket......hmmmm concerning? Yep, I think so.  And perhaps as we have become more dissasociated with most things we have also become more dissasociated with the preparation of food we have also become more "ooked"- for want of a better term!

I am all for rewinding the clock on a few things such as these old traditions- all the while I am all for modern conveniences such as the dishwasher! Oh hail the dishwasher! I simply would DIE without it.....!!!!!

I have mentioned before that I am all for SLOW childhood a bit like SLOW cooking.  Simplifying life a little and getting back to some of the basic joys we have lost touch with.

It is the simple things like food preparation that I believe bring a family together.

And so it was that I took great joy in Mr.9's enthusiasm to recreate the Sicilian stuffed sardines he had watched on Italian Food Safari.

Hubby G took the whole fish out of the bag and Mr.9 got to work.  He was the one who explained to his dad and hten to his little brother how to do it.

"You rip the head back and then slide your thumb in to the hole.  Then push you thumb along the bone and open it out.  Then take out the guts.  Then you put your thumb under the back bone and slide it along to remove the spine.  Flatten it out and put it on a dish". Well couldn't have said it better myself!

His enthusiasm was infectious as Mr.7 was very keen to get stuck in also.

Hubby and I helped make up the stuffing but the hardest job was done!

Hubby then stuffed one butterfly fillet with the mix of fresh breadcrumbs, lots of parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic and then placed another butterfly fillet on top (a la a sandwich) and dusted them in flour before shallow frying them.

Sooooo more-ish!  And it totally cured me of my winter ills I had been suffering from.  Mr.7 who is usually the least adventurous of all our tribe tucked in and devoured them- much to Hubby G's dissapointment!  He was hoping for more.  Well take a look- how good does that look!!!!!!

Best of all was the fun everyone had working together to prepare soemtihng that we all sat and enjoyed together.  And not one mention of "ookyness" - not once!  Not bad....

For the recipe click here to be taken to the Food safari website.  It's worth the effort guys!

And today's song is one the kids will love!  (Thanks Kiki)


  1. Ooh love sardines -how delicious!

  2. I love gutting and cleaning fish! My dad taught me..yeah, start with the 'hole' Haha!

    hey look I can comment!! At last :-)

    LOVE your Blog immensely, clever, clever, inspiring lady!

    xxxx Danie


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