For good or bad I have returned. Yesterday evening I finally cleared my in-box: having answered all the correspondence and looked at all the Brasscheck videos: I believe that I am ready to record the marvellous meals that are served in this quiet little tree shrouded house in Leeming.

Last night’s meal was a cracker! Diane made a wonderful dish whose recipe was made with olives from our trees that came from a gorgeous little city in western Tuscany called Luca. Luca, not surprisingly, is known for its marvellous olive oil and also from a famous meeting in 56BC of the three most powerful men in ancient Rome at that time: Caesar, Pompey and Crassus; this meeting was called the Second Triumvirate.

We have been using this recipe for about 35 years but it can only be made when the olives are just turning from green to black so that the olives (at least as we appreciate them) gives the dish a strange muted bitter taste that is married to the more relatively sweet taste of the meat in the stew.

The cookbook from which we lifted this recipe is called A Taste of Tuscany illustrated and written by Leslie Forbes from 1985. It is a delightful cookbook with her coloured sketches appearing on every page. She visits nearly every city in Tuscany deriving recipes from those cities.

First of all let me admit that occasionally we have digressed from her recipe by using pieces of chicken rather than lamb because that is what is in the freezer. Her recipe call for: 1 Ka–2 lbs of lamb, 400G—14 oz of peeled and seeded tomatoes, 30 black olives, 8 TB sp olive oil, 2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 wine glasses of white wine, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, and seasonings.

Cook the garlic and rosemary, add the lamb cook until browned, add the wine and cook until most has evaporated then the tomatoes and add to the lamb. Cover the pan and cook over a very low heat until tender: with lamb abut 1 1/2 hours with chicken considerably less. It is best when poured over fresh polenta.

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