One, I was aware that it's a Sunday. Two, I was also aware that it is just two weeks short of Christmas. Yet, I, along with my kids and husband, braved the shops to do our late Christmas shopping. For some of you, it might not be late yet, but for me, who never failed to arrive to December with a hole in the Christmas shopping list, I was already getting apprehensive.
We started early to beat the rush and to get a parking space but it seemed like everyone had the same idea. And here I thought I was outsmarting everyone (but of course I was not). Our first leg was also everyone's first leg of the day. Breakfast at the bar! Some finished their breakfast within five minutes because they didn't have kids. I usually like to take my time sitting down on a table and not be hurried but for once I envied the ones who just stood at the bar for their cappuccino and cornetto (croissant) and moved on to their businesses.
On the way to the shops, we got sidetracked by the Christmas stalls selling handmade crafts and gastronomical products from different regions of the country. We almost didn't enter any of the shops anymore because I was able to procure almost everything from the stalls. That saved me from a job I am not so fond of. Bustling in, out and around overheated and crowded shops with two cranky kids was not my idea of fun.
So when we stopped in front of a stall selling beautiful handmade wooden toys, I heard trumpets and saw angels. That little corner saved me from my biggest nightmare. I dreaded going inside the enormous toy store just a few meters away with the two kids. Kids and gift buying in a toy store just wouldn't work. It never really works, not for me nor for any parent. It's the noisiest place there is, with the word, "No!" as the most prominent sound you can hear backed up with the background music of kids whining. For once, I was saved from that concert.
Passing from stall to stall, I was able to complete my Christmas list, even our dinner of different kinds of cheese, ham & bread. What I thought was a disgruntling task turned out to be something wonderful.
|New pecorino cheese flavored with figs and pears from Cortona, Tuscany. Fragrant, a hint of sweetness, fruity and somewhat floral. A bit different.|
We made it back home early enough for lunch. I cooked these chicken rolls with gorgonzola, mascarpone & mushrooms that I prepared the night before. Cooking takes just a few minutes since the bulk of the work had been done ahead. Slicing them gives the meat a better chance to absorb the sauce, thus, making them much tastier and good as opposed to unsliced rolls. So the best way is to get the flavor is to let them soak in the sauce before serving.
And here, let me introduce to you my two new food stylists, Sofia and Riccardo. When they saw me preparing the table outside for the photo shoot, both hurriedly gathered as much acorns as they can carry and decorated the table with... well, acorns. They were happy with their handy work and I was amused. Those acorns are kept with care by these two just in case I would be needing them again in my photos.
Chicken Rolls with Gorgonzola, Mascarpone & MushroomsIngredients:
Serves 3 - 4
- 400 - 600 grams chicken fillet
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Knob of butter
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 30 grams mushrooms
- Parsley, finely chopped
- 50 grams gorgonzola
- 50 grams mascarpone
- Sage leaves
- 1 cup port
- Pound the chicken fillet with meat tenderizer. Rub with the salt & pepper. Set aside.
- Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan. Add the knob of butter. When it melts and is hot enough, add the garlic. Toss for about a couple of minutes or until it turns golden.
- Add the mushrooms on medium - high flame. Add the parsley. Season with salt & pepper. Toss until cooked through. Transfer to an electric chopper to mince. Set aside.
- Mix the gorgonzola, mascarpone & minced mushrooms in a bowl. Set aside.
- Lay one chicken fillet flat on a plate. Put one sage leaf (or half if you like to taste it less). Spoon a dollop of the gorgonzola mixture. Roll to close. Secure with a food stick. Repeat until you finish all the chicken.
- In a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil on medium flame, sautè all the chicken rolls until they get a good golden color.
- Pour the port in the saucepan while putting up the flame. Let the alcohol evaporate. When it evaporates and the sauce thickens, turn off the fire.
- Take the chicken rolls from the pan and slice them to 2 cm. spirals, being careful that they don't crumble. Arrange on a serving plate. Pour the sauce on top, making sure the chicken rolls absorb the sauce well. Serve warm.