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Sun dried Tomatoes

Tomato Passata sauce, part 1

Tomato Passata sauce, part 2

Older and wiser.

chicken breast with a pesto pocket wrap in ham


The weather here in Umbria is still very beautiful , the sun is still hot and we haven`t had any rain for days and days  , it’s amazing when I think that this time last year we had started to light the fire in the house.

 Because of this weather my vegetable garden is still going strong, the  aubergines and chilies are still flourishing, and as for the tomatoes I have fifteen plants with lovely ripe fruits which are continuing to ripen. In fact I should be able to make another 8 or 9 jars of passata for the winter months, the only problem being is where to put them. The cupboards are full and even under the bed has been used.

I also made the most of these sunny days to plant some broccoli, cabbage, fennel and salad  … …. Later, after so much hard work ,it didn`t help my aching back when a couple of old farmers ( 78 years old) shook their heads at my late planting.  Because the rumor in the village is that very cold weather is coming soon. So my two old friends were very worried that all my little seedlings will suffer a trauma with the  climate! MAMMA MIA  I never do the right thing for these old farmers, with a smile on their faces  and a pat on my shoulder, they proudly show me  their winter plants  : fennel cabbage, broccoli and everything is already MASSIVE … … … Ok ok I know “the land is low,” as my two friends always tell me and ” working the land is hard work and effort”. “Yes  I know” I say to them ” this is why I have an incredible pain in my back” and my adorable little old men have  a good laugh and tell me that MAYBE this year my winter vegetable garden will be ok ,” so well done, Brava  Simona “they say…..but then they laugh again as they go on their way !!!  I must admit that in the past I have always had bad luck with my winter vegetables, because the frost ruins  the whole crop, this year I hope I will do better.

 So please keep your fingers crossed for me and at the same time, try this fantastic recipe. I created it  this summer and it has been a big success, so I’m very  happy to share it with you. Ciao for now from me and both my  old friends from Allerona village.

Serve 4 :

4 chicken breasts, 120grams each slice

5 pitted black olives

A handful of  pistachios

A handful fresh oregano

2tablespoons parmesan cheese

 Evo oil

8 slices prosciutto ham

500 grams cherry tomatoes

Salt and pepper, a teaspoon dried oregano

How it works: for the pesto: Blend together pistachios, fresh oregano, black olives, parmesan and Evo olive. Get a thick pesto (not too creamy).

Cut a lengthwise pocket in each slice of chicken breast , and fill with plenty of the pesto. Repeat for the other slices of chicken. Lay out ,on a working board ,2slices of ham side by side, slightly overlapping. Place the chicken breast to the edge of the  2 sliced ham and roll up. Repeat for remaining chicken breasts .Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place on a baking tin . Make sure that the chopped tomato side  is facing upward.  Season with Evo oil, salt, pepper and dried oregano. Place the 4 chicken breasts in the same pan. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees for 25 minutes.

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