Italian Chicken with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes

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ITALIAN CHICKEN WITH BASIL AND CHERRY TOMATOES

Ingredients:

4 chicken legs, halved through the joints

Olive oil (approx 4 table spoons)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 bay leaves

100 ml white wine

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon dry oregano

250 g cherry tomatoes

25 g basil leaves, torn into pieces

125 g mozzarella cheese

salt & pepper

Method:

1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the chicken pieces until brown. Drain to a plate.

2. Add the onion and celery to the pan and gently fry for about 10 minutes, add the garlic, bay leaves and fry for a further 2 minutes.

3. Add the wine, can of chopped tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Then reduce the heat, return chicken pieces to the pan and cook very gently, uncovered for about 40 minutes.

4. Then place cherry tomatoes around the chicken, put on top torn half of the basil, following by torn pieces of mozzarella on top and cook for 20 minutes under the lead.

5. Stir in the rest of the basil leaves just before the serving and check for seasoning. Enjoy!

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No-Churn Limoncello Gelato

Inspired by my recent trip to Italy but with an absence of an ice-cream maker, here is my easy version of  Gelato, one which you can achieve at home.

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LIMONCELLO GELATO

Ingredients:

300 ml double cream 

200 condensed milk 

tablespoons grated lemon zest

50 ml Limoncello (plus more to serve on top, if you wish)

Method:

Whisk all the ingredients together until soft peaks form and  then fill 2 x 500ml / 2 x 1-pint airtight containers, and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Serve straight from the freezer. I like to pour some more Limoncello before serving.

Serve on its own, with crumbled cookies or fill a waffle cone for an authentic feel.

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Secret Well

Hello, Dear All!

After a rather long break, I am hoping to recommence a regular service.

I was back in Italy for a while and lucky to visit some not very well known but extraordinary places, which I can not wait to spread the word about.

Not many people may know about the small but absolutely beautiful town of Corinaldo, located in the Marche region of Italy and province of Ancona. Maybe due to the fact that it’s tucked away behind an impressive and imposing 14th century city wide fortification?

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It is known for the birthplace of St. Maria Goretti and every year a festival is held to commemorate this occasion.  Also it is very popular during Halloween with the festival held every October. However, I was more intrigued about another story which brings fame to this place… The Well of Polenta.

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GB Bernardini, Editor of the Italian note book explains!

A local story from the 15th century tells of a peasant who was returning home after a hard day in the fields, carrying a heavy sack of corn meal on his shoulders. Upon reaching the top of Via della Piaggia, which is your typical hilltop town “street” consisting of 109 long steps, he rested the sack atop the well to catch his breath.

While he rested, the sack of cornmeal unfortunately toppled over and flew down into the well. The sack was big enough that he would have been able to feed his entire family for a long time with it, and so in despair, he lowered himself into the well to see if he could…

…well, here the story changes depending on who in town is telling it. Some say he tried to gather up the now wet polenta, some say he waited for it to swell up with water and then began eating it right then and there, some say he simply moped about at the bottom of the well. All agree he spent quite some time down there, and many add all sorts of fun endings such as much of the town lowering themselves down there too, out of worry for him, and joining him in the impromptu feast.

The story quickly became the starting point for the annual historical re-enactment of the Cinquecento “The Contention of the well Polenta” that now in its thirtieth year, is held the third Sunday in July and is the oldest historical re-enactment of the province of Ancona .

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