Almost 25 years ago I went on a family holiday to Tuscany. We stayed in a series of two villas in the hills outside of Sienna and it was the first time I saw flat leafed parsley. I celebrated my 25th birthday there and drank too much Dutch Ginever the night before over a barbecue where we ate proper Italian sausages that were thick with meat.
On the evening of my birthday we ate at a nearby restaurant. We sat outside and they produced a special throne like chair for me to sit in and the food came in waves to the table. There was no menu to choose from and we just left it to our hosts to produce the food and bring it to the table. It was one of those meals that would be good to go back to to taste again.
I still have and use every day the chopping board I was given that birthday. It is worn now and slightly concave with the years of having a sharp knife pressing down on its surface. I also still have the great steel pan that I bought from a market stall in Sienna.
When we were there I used it to cook chicken with a tomato and red wine sauce. The recipe came from a book called A Table in Tuscany written and illustrated by Leslie Forbes. For some reason a copy of the book was there in the villa. I can remember buying the chickens with their heads and feet still on. They were chopped up and cooked in the steel pot with the red wine that was delivered to the front door of the villa each morning.