A week at Granny and Pampa’s house and at last some sunshine! It is amazing what a difference it makes to moods and behaviour (my own included). My girls love to be outside and we took the opportunity to feed the ducks and have a walk. My youngest (18 months) quickly finished throwing her bread to the ducks and couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to throw anything else that came to hand at them. Stopping her fun, she then took off and chased them at full speed, sending them in quacking retreat back into the middle of the pond.
The sun and the cloudless sky and our trip to feed the ducks (a daily feature of life in Florence) today reminds me of our time in Italy and how much I miss it - as does my eldest daughter, who thinks every aeroplane she sees in the sky is heading to our “Italy house.”
At risk of going way off track here (these tangents I take drive my husband and friends mad) she also thought the football she was playing with on Aberdeen beach the other month was heading to Italy when the wind swept it up and carried it out to sea.
In homage to my time there, I thought I would share a rather nice recipe for chicken with you - :
Baked Polenta Stuffed Chicken with Sage
4 Chicken Breasts
8 slices prosciutto crudo
Fresh sage – 12 leaves
For the stuffing:
20g bread crumbs (they don’t have to be fresh but homemade are best)
½ stick of celery
1 small clove of garlic
Fresh sage – about one heaped dessert spoon finely chopped
Fresh thyme – about one teaspoon finely chopped
½ of one beaten egg
Finely chop the sage, thyme, onion, garlic and celery.
Put the polenta in a saucepan (one larger than you would think necessary as the polenta grows quite a bit when you add the water) and add 375ml of water. Heat it on a low heat and simmer and stir for approximately 10 minutes until the polenta is thick and smooth.
Add 20g of the butter and stir well, then add the sage, thyme, onion, garlic and celery and mix well.
Remove from the heat and add the breadcrumbs mix again and then add the beaten egg, stirring well and seasoning with salt and pepper.
Allow the polenta mix to cool and set aside until it can be handled.
Prepare the chicken by slicing each breast open along the middle of one side so you can simply turn it like a page to open it up to add the stuffing.
Take about a dessert spoon of the polenta mix and make into a loose sausage-type shape, open the chicken breasts place the stuffing inside and close over so that none of the stuffing is showing. (There will probably be a little bit more stuffing than is required).
Place three of the sage leaves on the top of each breast and wrap each of the breasts with two slices of the prosciutto crudo.
Mash half the remaining butter (about 20g) onto the bottom of an oven proof dish (I use a lasagne dish for this) and place the chicken breasts close together on top of the butter. Divide the last 20g butter roughly in four and put a piece on top of each chicken breast. Season well and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Cover with tin foil and put in the oven for around 35 minutes – uncover for around the last ten minutes – basting the chicken well after taking off the foil. (I use quite large chicken breasts so the cooking time will be less if you use smaller pieces of chicken)
(Serves 4)I usually serve this with new potatos and a nice green salad. Enjoy!