Pollo Alla Cacciatora | A simple, delicious supper dish from Vincent and Mary Price’s A Treasury of Great Recipes

A Treasury of Great RecipesVincent and Mary Price’s A Treasury of Great Recipes is packed with amazing dishes from around the globe, but the one I return to time again is a recipe for Pollo Alla Cacciatora (Chicken Hunter’s Style with Noodles), which they picked up from the famed Royal Danieli luxury hotel in Venice, Italy.

It’s amazingly simple to prepare, using the kind of ingredients that are always plentiful in my kitchen, and it tastes delicious (and at a fraction of the cost of what it probably goes for at the Danieli).

Now, the recipe does call for noodles, but as pasta is never served together with a dish like this, I usually opt for steamed rice. It also recommends using polenta, which I had never tried before – but the results (after a fun and tasty trial) speak for themselves. Check out the photo and recipe below. In the meantime, happy cooking…

Pollo Alla Cacciatora (Chicken Hunter’s Style with Noodles)

SERVES 6
chickens
olive oil
butter
onions
Green pepper
garlic
dried basil
stewed t0matoes
noodles

‘Every little Italian restaurant in the United States features its “chicken cacciatora,” but it is far from being the most popular, or even the most typical, dish in Italy. At the Royal Danieli this chicken in its spicy sauce is served with noodles, as in this recipe, or with polenta, cornmeal mush, that has been cut into slices and fried in olive oil. It’s good either way. The real secret of this recipe’s excellence is the red wine added for the last bit of cooking. That’s the master touch.’ VINCENT PRICE

1 Saute: 2 chickens, about 3 pounds cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stir- each, cut into serving portions, in 4 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 cup butter for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides.

2 Add: 2 cups finely chopped onion, 1 green pepper, chopped, 4 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until onion is transparent.

3 Add: 1 cup stewed tomatoes and stir to mix. Bring to a boil, cover, and ring occasionally.

4 Add: 1/2 cup dry red wine and simmer for 10 minutes longer.

5 While the chicken is cooking, cook: 8 ounces noodles in a pot of rapidly
boiling salted water for 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain.

PRESENTATION
Serve the chicken and sauce over the hot cooked noodles, or better yet, with slices of fried polenta (see below for recipe).

POLLO ALIA CACCIATORA (Chicken Hunter s Style with Noodles)Fried Polenta Slices

Ingredients
1 quart water
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for frying
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil for frying

How to Make It
Step 1: Lightly oil a 6-by-10-inch glass or ceramic dish.

Step 2: Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Cover and cook over low heat, whisking often, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Stir in the butter and cheese, season with salt and pepper and, while hot, pour into the dish. Let stand until room temperature and firm, about 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Step 4: Cut the polenta into 1-inch-thick slices. In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter in olive oil. Fry the polenta slices over moderate heat until golden brown and crisp, about 8 minutes per side. And you should get something resembling this…

 

 

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Oakley Court Hotel | A Theatre of Blood tour of the spiritual home of classic British Horror in Windsor

Vincent Price Legacy UK at Oakley CourtFor the past three years, I have been conducting tours of the many London locations used in Theatre of Blood with the assistance of Mike Grant, who hosts the Theatre of Blood Facebook group page, and it has become a fantastic day out criss-crossing London with fans of the black comedy starring Vincent Price and some of Britain’s finest thespians.

From Kensal Green Cemetery to the banks of the Thames in Putney, we have uncovered nearly ever single location used, but two have eluded us – the infamous decapitation scene in which Arthur Lowe loses his head, and a scene in which one of the meths drinkers is interrogated.

Thanks to some expert sleuthing from Rick Squires, who curates the Vincent Price Exhibit, we learned that Lowe’s scenes were shot in Room 103 at Oakley Court in Windsor: a suitably evocative gothic mansion that has been used in many a classic British horror (and non-horror) film, with quite a few by Hammer (whose Bray Film Studios were situated just down the road), as well as Richard O’Brien’s cult hit, Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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With that knowledge, I decided to organise a day out to Oakley Court, with the added attraction of hiring boats to view what is left of Bray Film Studios which is currently lying derelict, awaiting planning permission to be turned into luxury apartments. But the big surprise for those attending was that they would be able to view the infamous Room 103.

Thanks to Andy Ellis, a dedicated film location expert who had booked the room for the night, our group were able to access the room, where much of the furniture has not changed for over 40 years.

The group also got a further surprise when Andy donned scrubs to give his rendition of Vincent Price’s Dr Hypo – aka Edward Lionheart doing Shakespeare’s Cymberline as it had never been played before. And it also gave me a chance to play dead…

Oakley Court Hotel

Dr HypoIt turned out to be a great day – despite the typical British summer weather (yes, it was wet) – where we got to explore a place that has a deep connection with British film in general. The namecheck of the stars who have filmed at Oakley Court is endless – with those kings of horror Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff being the icing on the gothic horror cake.

The outpouring of thank you’s on the Theatre of Blood and Vincent Price Legacy UK Facebook pages following the day has been really touching and the pictures that were taken are a real hoot (check them out by clicking on the photos, and also here).

Below are a handful of comments which I am hugely thankful for as they really make organising these events so worthwhile. Thank you everyone!

THANK YOU’S…
‘A mind blowing day thanks for organising it Peter!’ Merlyn Roberts

‘The best Saturday this year!!!’ Jason D. Brawn

‘An amazing day spent with the most awesome friends’ Alan Hoare 

‘It was a fantastic day! Thanks Pete and Andy’ Roni Romero 

‘Wow!!! We had such a fantastic day yesterday!!! Thank you so much to all the amazing people there, who made it very special. Most of all Peter Fuller for organising everything for us! you are a complete gent!!!’ Selene Paxton-Brooks

‘Many, many thanks to Peter and Andy for a splendid day and everyone else for being so very friendly and sporting on my first legacy jaunt. Oakley Court well surpassed my expectations – it’s really stunning and still has a powerfully magic effect. The interior wasn’t too messed around with either – it still has a grand gothic style & ambience, while Room 103 is truly to die for! Great to see Bray – dog-eared as it is – and explore film locations via Windsor alleyways.’ Paul Houghton

Thank you so much Andy, a great day and your film knowledge is inspirational. Room 103 was an absolute hoot.’ Stuart Carroll

AND A WORD FROM ANDY…
‘I’d like to say a huge thank-you to all the people involved in making last Saturday so special. I had an awesome time, and have masses of very happy memories (and photos!). It was great to meet old and new friends, and to finally see some people who have only been Facebook Friends up till now, and to capture yet more location shots (particularly in rooms that are not always accessible). I loved the boat trip to Bray Studios and really enjoyed showing fellow fans around, especially inside room 103. The biggest thanks have to go to Peter – if you hadn’t found the publicity shot of VP outside the hotel, we’d never have discovered the Oakley Court bedroom (via Rick Squires’ detective work), and your planning the whole event and organisation of the itinerary, the transport, boat hire and room rota were so efficient.’ Andy Ellis

If you’d like to join us on any future Vincent Price Legacy UK tours, then do sign up to the mailing list here: http://bit.ly/2uWRtp0

 

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A Priceless Birthday Weekend | Celebrating Vincent Price’s 106th anniversary

What a ‘Priceless’ Bank Holiday weekend we’ve just had celebrating Vincent Price’s 106th anniversary with his daughter, Victoria Price, flying in from the US to spend it with us.

Victoria Price at Portobello Road Markets Vincent Price and Jane Asher in Portobello Road MarketsFirst up, on Vincent’s actual birthday (27 May), a small group of fans joined Victoria and myself took a stroll through Portobello Markets (just as Vincent did back in the 1960s when he was filming Masque of the Red Death), finishing with an al fresco Spanish lunch in the sunshine.

Then it was off to Vincent’s favourite London museum, the V&A, which is a treasure trove of art, antiques, fashion, furniture and ephemera. Boy, were we all tired after that…

Sunday found Victoria and I bringing a slice of Vincent Price to Birmingham’s wonderful Electric Cinema (the UK’s oldest working cinema) for a packed-out event where Annabel from Conjurer’s Kitchen presented the audience with a spectacular cake honouring Vincent’s horror classics and topped with a working pendulum (which was won by one of the guests – called Vincent).

Vincent Price's 106th Birthday Cake

Victoria Price at Electric Cinema, Birmingham

Electric Cinema, Birmingham

Electric Cinema, BirminghamWe also showed a special clip show that honoured Birmingham’s love of curry, with a video of Vincent demonstrating how to make a curry from scratch. You can watch it here…

North by Northwest, LondonOn Tuesday evening we held a special evening at the Hitchcock-themed North by Northwest pub in Islington. It’s a fab venue filled with posters and prop replicas from Hitchcock’s films – including a life-size Norma Bates.

North by Northwest, LondonIt was also the perfect location to honour the Masters of Suspense and Menace, so we kicked off with a screening of The Perfect Crime, an episode of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show in which Vincent guest starred, while everyone tucked into some delicious pub grub with a menu that had been given a Vincent Price makeover.

Victoria Price at North by Northwest, London

The audience were then treated to some never-before-seen clips, courtesy of my private collection, and a wonderful presentation by Victoria about her dad’s legacy, which has led to the two of us creating a new venture: ESC Tours.

If you’d like to know more about ESC Tours and sign up to our mailing list, then head over to the website: CLICK HERE

Victoria Price at North by Northwest, LondonIf you’d like to join us next time, or keep up to date with all the project that we are doing to keep Vincent’s legacy alive and relevant, then do sign up to our Vincent Price Legacy UK mailing list, as well: CLICK HERE

Finally, here’s just some super comments about the events we hosted this past weekend. Thank you everyone for coming and making this so special.

Peter Fuller
Curator, Vincent Price Legacy UK

THANK YOU…
Thanks so much for the evening Liz Hopkins. Will stay with me. Thank you Peter Fuller for squeezing us in, a huge success! What an inspirational talk by Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria Price. What a human being Vincent was and indeed his daughter is.’ Matthew Hopkins

It was brilliant – thank you for organising another great event!!!!Selene Paxton-Brooks

Such a moving and inspirational talk from Victoria Price.Julia Morgan

‘A fantastic evening with lots of laughter!’ 😁 Merlyn Roberts

‘Loved every moment of it’ Jason D. Brawn

‘A marvellous affair’ Pete McDonnell

‘Thanks Peter, was wonderful! The past couple of days have been pretty special’ 🙂 Stuart Carroll

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Happy Birthday to Vincent Price!

Today, 27 May 2017, marks the 106th birthday of Vincent Price. So, let’s all raise a toast to the actor, art lover, Anglophile and all-round legend…

Here in the UK, The Vincent Price Legacy UK will be celebrating throughout the Bank Holiday weekend with two very special events happening – one in Birmingham on Sunday and another in London on Tuesday. The London event is sold out, but there is a handful of tickets left for Birmingham. GET THEM HERE

But today, we shall be following in Vincent’s footsteps and doing something that he would have loved… a trip to Portobello Road Market, the V&A and the British Museum.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Here’s some super pics of Vincent at Portobello Road with Jane Asher, his co-star in 1964’s Masque of the Red Death.

Vincent Price and Jane Asher in Portobello Road MarketsVincent Price and Jane Asher in Portobello Road Markets Vincent Price and Jane Asher in Portobello Road MarketsVincent Price and Jane Asher in Portobello Road Markets

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Party Like You’re Vincent Price! A Pop-Up Clip Show Birthday Celebration!

+++++THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT!!!!!+++++

On Tuesday 30 May, Victoria Price will host a very special evening in London at the Hitchcock-themed North By Northwest pub in Islington, in celebration of Vincent Price’s 106th birthday anniversary (Vincent was born on 27 May), and you’re all invited.

BOOK HERE

This event coincides with the UK reprint release of Vincent and Mary’s Come Into the Kitchen Cook Book, so we are offering all attendees the chance to purchase a signed copy of the book when you get your ticket to attend.

In honour of the venue, we shall be screening Vincent’s Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, The Perfect Crime, plus some exclusive never-before-seen treats.

Some great pub grub will be available to purchase on the night. Plus, everyone who attends will be entered into a free raffle to win some fantastic prizes.

BOOK HERE

This will be Victoria’s only London appearance this year, and tickets are restricted to just 40 attendees.

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Conjurer’s Kitchen to host Vincent Price’s birthday in Birmingham

Birmingham-based culinary wizard Annabel de Vetten (aka Annabel Lecter) is cooking up a fantastic event on Sunday 28 May as her Conjurer’s Kitchen plays host to Vincent Price’s Birthday Bash at The Electric Cinema, starting 8pm. Tickets are selling fast, so book now!

BOOK TICKETS

Legendary horror actor Vincent Price is best remembered for his delightfully scary turns in such classic fright fests as House of Wax, The Fly and Theatre of Blood – and also being the voice of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and an inspiration for fantasy directors like Tim Burton.

But Vincent Price was also a Renaissance man with omnivorous appetite for life, art, travel – and fine food. In fact, in the 1960s, the ghoulish gourmand and his wife Mary published a number of celebrated cookbooks – including the lavish best-seller, A Treasury of Great Recipes, featuring a host of Mad Men-era treats, and Come Into the Kitchen, which was devoted to traditional American cuisine. Both of these gastronomic tomes have been given lavish reprints, while Cooking Price-Wise, based on the actor’s British 1970s TV show, will be back in print later this year.

Conjurer’s Kitchen is proud to celebrate the King of Horror’s culinary legacy by drawing from those tomes to call forth gastronomic ghosts of kitchens past iat Birmingham’s Electric Cinema, which will take place over the weekend on what would have been Vincent’s 106th birthday (he was born on 27 May 1911).

Special guest will be Vincent and Mary’s daughter Victoria Price, an author and inspirational speaker, who will pay tribute to her dad with a very personal presentation, and talk about his cultural legacy of inspirational living, dining, and exploring the world.

Expect classic clips, tasty bites, and a few surprises!

BOOK TICKETS

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Girls Like Us | Vincent Price’s wives Edith Barrett and Coral Browne to feature in two 1940s classics at BFI Southbank

As part of the BFI Southbank’s Girls Like Us: British Women and WWII Cinema season in April, the 1946 melodrama Piccadilly Incident, starring Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding, gets a NFT2 screening on Wednesday 19 April (6.15pm) and Sunday 20 April (5.40pm). Co-starring is Coral Browne, the third wife of Vincent Price.

But she’s not the only spouse of the beloved actor to be gracing the BFI, for Vincent’s first wife, Edith Barrett co-stars in the celebrated Val Lewton 1943 horror, I Walked With A Zombie, which screens on Sunday 2 April (8.40pm), as part of their Cult series.

Piccadilly IncidentIn Piccadilly Incident, Wren Diana Fraser (Anna Neagle) returns to England after three years stranded on a desert island to find that Alan Pearson (Michael Wildling), the man whom she married in a London air-raid, had thought her dead and has remarried a woman called Virginia (Coral Browne). This hugely popular weepie teamed Neagle and Wilding for the first time, establishing them as top box-office stars in five more films, beginning with The Courtneys of Curzon Street and ending with The Lady with the Lamp in 1951. It also scored Neagle a Best Actress of the year nod by the readers of Picturegoer magazine.
BOOK TICKETS HERE

In producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Torneur’s famous voodoo chiller I Walk With a Zombie, Canadian nurse Betsy Connell (Frances Dee) arrives in the West Indies and soon gets involved in menacing goings on in the moonlight with Tom Conway’s zombie wife Jessica (Christine Gordon). Much better than its title would indicate, this beautifully made drama is a sort of Haitian voodoo offshoot of Jane Eyre. A little on the slow side, it nonetheless remained Tourneur’s favourite film, mainly because of its poetic qualities. It’s very moody, with a commendably firm central performance by Dee, and great support from Edith Barrett as the mysterious Mrs Rand, who harbours a dark secret.
BOOK TICKETS HERE: 29 March
BOOK TICKETS HERE: (2 April)

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On this day in… 1966 | The Haunted Palace opened its doors to UK cinemagoers

The Haunted Palace

While this American International Pictures horror classic was released in the US in the summer of 1963, it wasn’t until 21 February 1966 that UK cinemagoers got to enter The Haunted Palace.

In 1875, Charles Dexter Ward (Vincent Price) and his wife Ann (Debra Paget) inherit a mansion in the New England village of Arkham, where they find themselves shunned by the local townspeople who live in fear of a curse placed on them by Charles’ great-great-grandfather Joseph Curwen, a necromancer and warlock, who was burnt at the stake for practising witchcraft 110 years previously.

But, just as the Ward’s decide to pack their bags, Charles is taken over by the spirit of his evil ancestor who then sets out to wreak revenge on those who stopped his ‘work’… 

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Roger Corman’s sixth Gothic horror in his Edgar Allan Poe cycle, borrows its title from an 1839 poem by the macabre writer, but owes a huge debt to the nightmarish Cthulhu-verse of HP Lovecraft, as it is loosely based on the 1927 novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

With suitably atmospheric cinematography from Floyd Crosby, and probably one of the best film scores ever from Ronald Stein, this entry in the Corman/Price/Poe cycle is a true classic, while the restrained performance by Price in the dual role of the evil Curwen and the ineffectual Charles adds to the sense of underlying horror.

Along for the ride are some genre favourites, Lon Chaney Jr and Elisha Cook Jr (who adds being burnt alive to his many screen deaths), while this was the last film of Debra Paget, who quit acting soon after.

 

 

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Tower of London (1962) | Roger Corman’s gothic horror take on Shakespeare’s Richard III gets a UK blu-ray release

‘You’ll need someone to hang onto when you come face to face with the blood-chilling terrors in the tower!’

In this tale of murder, ghosts and guilt directed by Roger Corman for Admiral Pictures, 1960s cinemagoers were dared to spend 83-minutes (actually 79-minutes) in the Tower of London – a monument to the corruption of the soul – according to the film’s narrator (Paul Frees).

It is the year 1483 and the body count begins following the death of Edward IV as Vincent Price’s Richard murders his way to the throne of England, killing his brother Clarence, his political rivals, his nephews and even his beloved wife Anne.

Tortured by guilt, the ghosts of his victims return to haunt the newly crowned monarch, and ultimately lead him to his death on a muddy field at the Battle of Boswell from the sharp end of a double-edged battle-axe.

Tower of London (1962)
Vincent Price as Richard III in Tower of London. Click on the photo to see our fab gallery of original lobby cards and UK pressbook

Produced by Roger Corman’s brother, Gene, Tower of London was an attempt by Admiral Pictures to cash in on the success of American International Pictures successful Poe pictures, but was ultimately let down by its cut-price production values. But the one thing it has got going for it is Vincent Price.

Being the go-to guy for gothic horror in the early 1960s, only Vincent could take on this twisted sibling to the macabre Poe-universe, which made him the King of Horror following his genuinely menacing turns in The Fall of the House of Usher and Pit and the Pendulum, and his multiple roles in Tales of Terror.

Plagued by Hamlet’s ghosts and cursed to die like Macbeth, Vincent Price’s take on Richard III – based on ‘a screenplay by Leo Gordon from stories by Poe and Shakespeare’(*) – is like no other – and nor should it be. It’s a virtuoso one-man show in which he goes from quietly ominous to all out ham hysterics – the kind of which would enshrine Vincent’s unique style forever more.

While its not his best work – Price himself admitted he could have done more with the character– his trademark arched eyebrows, wild-eyes and lip curling leers are certainly worth the price of admission, while the occasional flashes of subtlety serve to remind us that Vincent was also capable of truly great performances when reigned in. This would be most evident in 1968’s Witchfinder General, but also in Roger Corman’s HP Lovecraft horror The Haunted Palace.

Tower of London (1962)Vincent’s Richard is not purely evil, unlike his satanic Prince Prospero in Masque of the Red Death. Instead, he presents Richard as a man whose guilty conscience drives him to madness. Before the histrionics begin, Vincent does inspire genuine sympathy for his character in a couple of genuinely poignant scenes: one in which the ghosts of the little princes try to lure him into committing suicide, and when Richard’s mother, the Queen, shows her hatred for her son’s physical deformities (a hump and a limp hand).

Of course, when Vincent turns on the ham, you can’t help but be reminded of his horror film opus, Theatre of Blood, in which he played the vengeful Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart. Venting in the same ‘voice beautiful’ that Lionheart was accused of by his critics in the black comedy horror, Vincent becomes Lionheart personified. It’s quite a hoot.

For more frightfully fun facts about Tower of London, click here…

Tower of London (1962)Arrow’s High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of Tower of London has been transferred from original film elements by MGM, and includes the original 1.0 mono audio (uncompressed on the Blu-ray) and optional English subtitles. This is a super transfer and a must-have in your Vincent Price library, although the cover art really isn’t to my taste. There’s also a collector’s booklet with an article by John Upton (but this was not included with my screener).

Included in the disc are two archive interviews with Roger and Gene Corman, who spill the beans on the problems behind making the picture, as well as a splendid slideshow featuring behind-the-scenes photos (that I have never seen before) from the collection of Brett Cameron, which plays alongside Michael Anderson’s rousing theme tune.

The other bonus is an audio commentary from Hollywood historian David Del Valle in which he describes Vincent’s Richard as ‘a Todd Slaughter performance’, which he ‘dials up to 12’ in the ‘Plantagenet fun house’ haunting scene, and gives a ‘150-watt leer’ in the battle scene. It’s all great fun to listen to. Del Valle also sets the record straight about Vincent’s acting prowess: that for all the camp barnstorming, he was indeed an actor of wide range, which culminated in his one-man show Diversions & Delights. Nice one, David.

The film’s supporting actors also get the Del Valle once over, including Richard Hale, who appeared in The Incredible Docktor Markesan episode of TV’s Thriller and the chap playing the Duke of Clarence (Charles Macaulay), was Dracula in Blacula.

Tara Gordon, the daughter of the film’s screenwriter Leo Gordon, also features in the commentary. Her father’s amazingly varied career could have made a feature-length commentary by itself, and though I would have like to know more, we do get to hear from her about her dad’s association with Roger Corman and his co-writer Amos Powell, who shot himself, while her story about her dad’s fart machine is hilarious.

(*) Roger Corman interview (Arrow Blu-ray, bonus feature)

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