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Film Released: 1986

Genre: Romance,  Comedy,   Drama
Starring:  Maggie Smith,  Helena Bonham Carter, Denholm Elliott,  Julian Sands,  Simon Callow,  Daniel Day-Lewis
Directed by:  James Ivory based on a novel by E.M. Forster

 

The film is set in he early 1900's and tells the story of Lucy Honeychurch (played by Helena Bonham Carter)  a young Englishwoman visiting Italy for the first time with her cousin Charlotte Bartlett (play by Maggie Smith) as chaperone. Upon their arrival at a pensione in Florence, they find they have been given rooms without a view. Mr. Emerson, a free-thinking  Englishman   (played by Denholm Elliott) is also staying at the pensione with his equally eccentric son George (played by Julian Sands)  and having listened to their conversation,  suggests that the women take his rooms which do have a view. Although Charlotte is very put out by the indelicate proposal, Lucy, with the help of another guest,  Reverend Beebe (played by Simon Callow) who is son to be their vicar back in England, convinces her that no harm will come of it and so they all swap rooms.

 

George is very taken with Lucy and although  she remains aloof to his attentions, he later takes the opportunity whilst on a group outing to kiss her.   Unfortunately, Charlotte happens to witness the kiss and insists they return to England immediately for Lucy's own good.

Back in Summer Street, Surrey, where Lucy lives with her mother (played by Rosemary Leach) and younger brother Freddy (played by Rupert Graves), she settles back into her relationship with Cecil Vyse (played by Daniel Day-Lewis), a somewhat stolid prig of a man to whom she becomes engaged.

 

About the same time, Rev. Beebe announces that new tenants have leased a local cottage but much to Lucy's dismay,  the new arrivals turn out to be the Emerson's, who were told about the available cottage by Cecil when they met by chance at an art gallery in London.   Although the Emerson's are not at all Cecil's type,  he  made the suggestion as a comeuppance to the cottage's landlord, whom Cecil thinks to be a snob.

 

Fate takes a hand when Freddy becomes friends with George, inviting him to the house o play tennis one Sunday when Cecil happens to be there too.  Lucy is mortified at the thought of  both George and Cecil  being at the house at the same time, and her fears are compounded when George finds another opportunity to kiss her and tell her of his love for her. Whilst she rebukes him,  this time in the presence of Charlotte both she and Charlotte realise her feelings for George are strong.  Later that evening, she breaks off her engagement to Cecil on the premise that they are not suited.

 

To avoid gossip, she decides to travel to Greece with acquaintances from her trip to Florence, but shortly before her departure, Charlotte contrives to bring Mr Emerson and Lucy together and Mr Emerson forces Lucy to admit  that she has been in love with his son George all along, leading to the inevitable happy ending.
 

The food aspect  we've chosen occurs in the very first scene of the film, when Charlotte and Lucy are at dinner complaining about their rooms with no view.  During the conversation Charlotte comments:-

 

" This meat has surely been boiled for stock....it's lost all its flavour."

 

It's not clear what the meat was however, we are using our poetic licence to feature an Italian recipe for braised beef which will be tender, succulent and full of flavour.


Happy Cooking!

 

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Italian Braised Beef    HT  MC   90mins

Serves 4      Hot   Lamb  Fish  Herbs Stew  Main Course  Eggless  Italy  Europe

 

Ingredients

1kg/2lb  Braising Steak

4 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Garlic Clove, crushed

1 teasp Dried Thyme

1 teasp Flour

3 tbsp Wine Vinegar

240ml/8fl.oz. Beef Stock

12 Button Mushrooms

Salt and Pepper

Chopped fresh Parsley to garnish

 

 

Instructions

 

1. Cut the beef into 4cm/1 inch cubes. Pat the cubes dry with absorbent paper.

 

2. Heat half the oil in a heavy-based, flameproof casserole. Add the meat and brown on all sides adding more oil as necessary. Add the garlic and thyme, then sprinkle in the flour. Fry the meat gently until golden, turning the cubes with a wooden spoon.

 

3. Pour in the wine vinegar and 240ml/8fl.oz. hot water, scraping the bottom of dish with the spoon to dislodge any pieces of meat which may have stuck. Cover the pan and simmer very gently for about 1 hour, until meat is tender, stirring frequently and adding a little hot water if the sauce reduces too quickly.

 

5. About 15 minutes before the end of cooking time, add the mushrooms and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes.

 

6. To serve - sprinkle over the parsley.

 

 

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