Sincerely, Loree is a lifestyle blog that focuses on travel, books, culture, fashion and slow living on the small Mediterranean island of Malta.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Kitchen Tales: Mediterranean-style roasted chicken

I suppose the question on everyone's lips during this worldwide pandemic is, how are you holding up? In reality, not much is being asked of us. We have to stay home to stay safe. But I can understand how difficult that might me for some people. Even for me - and I notoriously love to stay at home. It is usually not much of a sacrifice for me. But these days it seems as if all that has changed. I miss running my errands, peeking into shops, visiting my parents and, I can't believe I'm saying this, going to work. In the end, it all boils down to the fact that we all miss the liberties we took for granted. The worst thing is that none of us are certain when we will regain them. Uncertainty can cause anxiety and I am sure, that at one point or other, it will visit all of us.

As I've said in my previous post, I am able to work from home, so my kitchen routine has not changed all that much. I am not cooking more meals like some of you are, just the daily evening meal. During the day we eat leftovers or a quick sandwich. But, I try to make the evening meal special - even if it's just an easy recipe. And it doesn't get more easy than this Mediterraean-style Roasted Chicken recipe that I am sharing with you today. This is one of the first meals I ever cooked when my husband and I were married. The recipe came from a magazine, a Woman's Own or Woman's Weekly, back in the mid-90s (which seems like two lifetimes ago). I had thrown out the magazine but kept the recipe because I realised how easy it is to make - and I love easy recipes that don't take too much time to prepare after a day at the office (or the home office now).

It is a really tasty meal and the flavours blend together harmoniously. The rosemary and the chicken work really well together and the coarse sea salt really helps to enhance the taste. To be honest, I had stopped making this dish for a while and this year I 'rediscovered' it. Does that ever happen to you? I tend to do that quite a bit, make things regularly and then get tired of them, giving the recipe a wide berth for a while. Then when I make it again, it's like discovering something new.

If you make it, let me know how it goes. Hopefully, it will become one of your favourite recipes too. I also think it's one of those easy recipes you can make when you have company because you can prepare it and then pop it in the oven. I don't like to make traditional vegetables with it but a fresh zingy salad, maybe with rucola, capers and citrus, is always a good addition. 
Mediterranean-style Roasted Chicken
(serves 4)
4 tbsp olive oil
4 small drumsticks (legs)
4 boneless chicken thighs
2 red onions, peeled and cut into eight
16 small new* potatoes, quartered
50g/2oz black olives (green work just as well)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 2 tsp dried
2 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp groun black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 220C/424F or Mark 7. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan (sometimes I use 2). Add the chicken pieces, garlic opnions and potatoes. Fry for 8-10 minutes over medium heat.
2. Remove ingredients from the pan and place in a roasting tin. Add olives, rosemary and tomatoes and mix well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Roast for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

*I sometimes use regular potatoes and they cook just as well as long as you cut them into bite-sized pieces.

Please continue to stay safe and keep the blog posts coming. It helps inject some sanity into these weeks of isolation. 

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Armchair travel - Part 1

If you would have told me, just 4 weeks ago, that, by the end of March, millions of people (over 1 billion, actually) would be quarantined, I would have laughed. And yet, here we all are and I am, of course, no longer laughing. Like countless millions, I am stuck indoors, working from home and finding it increasingly difficult to blog since I am using my 'blogging space' as my working space and, after 8 hours rooted to the same spot, my 'blogging space, is feeling less and less like the place I so enjoyed going to. But I don't want to lose the nice rhythm I had established since the beginning of the year and I refuse to let COVID-19 get the better of me.

So today, my post will be short on words but big on photos as I take you on some armchair travels that will remind you of all the beauty and open spaces that are awaiting our return. At the end of this post, I am linking, when possible, to previous posts, so that you can really get lost down this particular rabbit-hole, if you are so inclined.

September 2006
Venice, Italy
My first view ever of La Serenissima. I was 5 months pregnant at the time and I will never forget my first view of this enchanting place, rising like a jewel out of the murky waters of the Adriatic. I still think that the best way to see Venice for the first time is from a boat.
Venice, Italy - Sincerely Loree

July 2014
London, UK
It was a very warm day in London and I distinctly remember we were eating egg salad and watercress sandwiches in the shadow of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square and watching the world go by.
Trafalgar Square, London, UK - Sincerely Loree

August 2018
Grand Teton National  Park, WY
Jenny Lake
Pristine, serene and breathtakingly beautiful - a small slice of heaven on earth. The squirrels were really friendly too.
Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, WY, USA - Sincerely Loree

October 2009
Pisa, Italy
Piazza dei Miracoli
The heart of historical Pisa, with its world-famous leaning tower.
Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa, Italy - Sincerely Loree

July 2010
The Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Table Rock Lake
We were spending some days with friends at their summer house in Ozark country. I lay on the deck and watched the sunset. All alone. Pure bliss.
Lake of the Ozarks, MO, USA - Sincerely Loree

July 2012
Cornwall, UK
Oh this place! I will never forget it. History, legends, kings and wizards - the sort of subjects that send my imagination racing.
Tintagel, Cornwall, UK - Sincerely Loree

August 2018
Edinburgh, Scotland
Dean Village
We loved everything about Edinburgh but this village, in the midst of a bustling city, was the cherry on the cake.
Dean Village, Edinburgh, Scotland - Sincerely Loree

Canaveral National Seashore, FL
Big beaches and bigger skies. I remember the intense heat and humidity and, less than an hour after we got out of the water, the mother of all storms.
Canaveral National Seashore, FL, USA - Sincerely Loree

March 2016
Normandy, France
A place of wild beauty and poignant remembrance. Pointe du Hoc formed part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall. It was taken by the Allies on D-Day. Some of the original concrete fortifications and bomb craters exist to this day.
Pointe du Hoc, Normdany, France - Sincerely Loree

March 2018
Rome, Italy
The Roman  Forum
My beloved city. This was my fifth visit but I still haven't had enough. When this madness is over, I will go back.
The Roman Forum, Rome, Italy - Sincerely Loree

I hope you've enjoyed these brief glimpses of some of the world's beautiful places. I plan to do some more armchair travel posts while we continue to be confined indoors and, if you enjoy them, I can continue even after this pandemic is over.

Related posts:

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Solidarity in a time of quarantine

Even after all these weeks of hearing about Covid-19 I am still incredulous that it has come to this. It is amazing to me that here we are, in 2020, thinking that all the things we always took for granted would never change. And yet, the reality is that the world has been brought to a standstill by an errant piece of RNA - because that's what this virus is essentially. A strand of RNA that has gone berserk and mutated from something that causes a harmless common cold to this aggressive strain that is the cause of so much death and disruption. It would be funny if it weren't so serious; the stuff that science fiction movies are made of. But unfortunately, it's the reality that we all have to live with for the time being.

Malta is not yet in lock-down but people are being encouraged to practise social distancing and to avoid congregating in large groups. Our office has shut down and we are all working from home so I am keeping busy for the time being. However, I know that there may be plenty of other people who may not be so lucky. I also know that, during uncertain times like these, it is easy to give in to fear and anxiety, to feel overwhelmed by all that is unknown and by the changes to our lifestyles that we may all be required to make in the future. But, to borrow a phrase from the Brits that was very popular during WW2: keep calm and carry on. Let us remember what is important and cling to it and let us re-learn how to make friendships and memories that last. If this pandemic will teach us nothing else, it will teach us that it's the little things that are truly important and that resilience and compassion comes from inside. Let's not forget those in our communities who are struggling or who are afraid and lonely. We can all do our bit to help.
Valletta - Sincerely Loree

So, today I wanted to share some links that may introduce a bit of levity to this tense situation that we are all living through. Hopefully they will help to get us through these difficult days. 

Photographer Carla Coulson keeps things positives and shares 6 good things that have come from the coronavirus pandemic.

Kim Wheeler of the blog Northern California Style shares some ideas about what to do when you're staying in because of the Coronavirus.

Elizabeth Minchilli talks about the Coronavirus Lockdown in Italy and gives some suggestions how we can help artisans that have been so hard hit by the travel restrictions.

If you haven't heard already, Italians are taking to their balconies and windows and making music to express solidarity with each other and as a reminder that they are all in this together. Girl in Florence has paid a beautiful tribute to these impromptu music sessions in her post: Songs for Solidarity: Italians unite through music from balconies, terraces and windows. They sang everything from the Italian national anthem, to traditional folk tunes and pop songs. Which doesn't surprise me. In my years on this planet I've learnt that the British will remain calm and stoic in the face of almost any calamity and the Italians will sing their way through it.

If you're bored and have some spare time  Natalie Kennedy, of the blog An American in Rome, has compiled a list of 6 Italian museums to visit for free online. You can now visit the Vatican Museums and the Uffizzi Gallery, among others, from the comfort of your couch and without having to worry about getting blisters on your feet.
Valletta - Sincerely Loree

Before I go, I just wanted to say how grateful I am for the blogging and Instagram communities and for all the beauty that so many thousands are willing to share. Of course, I am especially thankful to those that support this little blog.

Stay safe and stay strong. Together we will beat this thing. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Life lately: a birthday, bookstagram and a hike

February 2020 has officially been declared the driest one on record even though, traditionally, it is considered to be the wettest month of the year. Which means that I was looking out of the bedroom window every morning in the vain hope that the sky would be full of big fat black clouds so that I could wear my winter jackets. But it never happened. So they have been idly hanging in my closet all winter and I am already counting down the days to December. I'm just joking. I'm trying to learn to live in the moment and be thankful for each new day.
So let's take a look at some things I've been doing during February.

2020 reading challenge and #bookstagram
My 2020 reading challenge is coming along nicely. In February I finished two thick books: The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris and All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. They are very different books and both excellent in their own way. I continued to struggle with Tess but I refuse to give up and I hope that I will finish it before March is over.
Sincerely Loree

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Ten photos that will make you want to visit Mdina

Perhaps I'm biased because we live so close, but Mdina is definitely one of the few un-spoilt jewels that are still left on this island. Perched on its hill and surrounded by massive high walls and a dry moat, Mdina has managed to retain its 'untouchable' aura for centuries. Thankfully, Mdina has nowhere to expand and all the buildings inside it are protected. Its architecture is a harmonious blend of medieval and Baroque and underneath its streets, an ancient Roman town lies sleeping.

Mdina has a quaintness that rubs off on all those who enter its gates. And it has this propensity to l bewitch you before you even have time to blink. Mdina is one of the last remnants of old Malta. It is what the rest of the island used to look like before it was invaded by contractors and cranes and tractors that, in the name of prosperity and progress, have destroyed the character of this island and robbed it of its soul. 

But Mdina prevails and - as long as somebody doesn't go stark-raving mad and come up with some 'bright' idea to develop it and make it more 'tourist-friendly' - it will continue to charm its visitors while retaining the veil of secrecy and mystery that are such an inherent part of its legacy.

So, without further chatter from me, here are 10 photos that will do the talking instead of me and will, hopefully, make you want to visit Mdina.
Mdina, Malta | Sincerely Loree

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