Buttered pears

September 13, 2006

Buttered pears

Here’s a a quick dessert we made this evening. After a long day of sanding, painting and plastering we felt we deserved something sweet and buttery. With quantities of double cream even Enid Blyton would consider excessive. It’s dead simple and is a perfect way to soften up any rock-hard pears you’ve got knocking about.

Buttered pears

1. Peel and core your pears, and cut into thinnish wedges.

2. Melt a tablespoon or so of butter (for 3 or 4 pears) in a frying pan and saute the pears on a low heat until golden brown.

3. Turn them over and sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar. Leave on the heat to caremalise.

4. Keep an eye on them. They can catch and burn if you get distracted by daydreams, crosswords or randy squirrels. Once they’re soft, arrange them daintily on a big white plate.

5. De-glaze the pan with water, or booze. We used a small glass of white wine. I reckon vodka or whiskey would do the trick. Boil it briefly and pour over the fruit.

6. Serve warm, with lashings of thick cream, custard or ice cream.

I couldn’t really taste it because my mouth had been laid waste by a combination of plaster-dust and toothpaste. Maths chick assured me they tasted grand. If you try them yourself, let me know. I always like to get a second opinion.

Grill pan alley

August 2, 2006

Grilled pears

Maths chick is away for a few days, visiting the olds in Spain. Gastropunk is left to his own devices.

But what’s the fun in a veg box that you can’t share? It’s a lonely pursuit. Like being a veg-box hamster, running endlessly on a wheel, never getting anywhere. At night I dream I’m condemned to endlessly roll a giant water-melon up Muswell Hill, only to slip near the top and watch it roll back down, crushing half of Crouch End into a big pink, pulpy mess.

Perhaps it’s time for a holiday.

Anyway… I’ve rediscovered the joys of grilling this week. I have a canary-yellow cast-iron Le Creuset grill that has largely lived a decorative existence up until now. A recent comment left by babylemonade (nice pseudonym, by the way) threw up the concept of a grilled pear and tomato salad. Seemed like an idea worth half-inching. So we did.

And once you’ve got a griddle all hot and ready for action, you may as well indulge in an extended grilling sesh. Here’s a couple of combinations we thought worked well…

  • Grilled aubergines, tossed with chopped garlic, olive oil, green chilli, seasoning and bucket-loads of parsley
  • Grilled pears, tossed with tomatoes, walnuts, balsamic vinegar, a little sugar and olive oil

Grilled salads

Maths chick’s top grill-pan tips:

  1. get the griddle smoking hot before adding anything to it
  2. if necessary, lightly oil the poor veg you’re about to frizzle, rather than the pan
  3. don’t fiddle with the griddle – leave the veg in one position to ensure strong black stripes – it’s all in the visuals, man

Anyone else have any favourite griddle-pan recipes?

Poaching fruit

June 29, 2006

Mullet in the kitchen

This is the first week we’ve received the Riverford fruit selection. The fruity goodies arrived in a cute mini-vegbox and cost a ‘non-trivial’ (a phrase I’ve heard more than a few times today…) £7.50. For our hard-earned pennies we received a punnet of apricots, a generous portion of strawberries, pears, braeburns and gooseberries. Some bananas turned up in the fruit bowl but I suspect they’d escaped from the root-of-all-evil giant Tesco in Slough.

One week on and we’ve only managed to polish off a couple of apples and the strawberries. The pert little strawberries were heartlessly macerated in lemon juice and sugar for half an hour, then wolfed down in front of the Wimbledon highlights on TV. We were watching Tim Henman getting slaughtered by Federer in the first round. Big bowls of strawberries and British sporting humiliations seem to go well together – the two constants of summer-time in England.

So tonight I was faced with yet another veg-box crisis. How to prevent fruit decompostion on an unprecedented scale? The answer came in the unlikely form of a simple water and sugar syrup. Half a pint of water and 3 or 4 oz of white sugar. Boiled together briefly. Lowered the gas and slid in the fruit seperately – halved apricots, gooseberries topped and tailed, pears peeled and quartered. Each of these only required a couple of minutes poaching (the apricots dissolved into mush due to a distracting phone call from her indoors). After this, boil down the syrup until its quite thick and sticky and pour over the poached fruit. Oh yes, and I added some lemon peel and cinammon bark to the syrup at the beginnning. Fancy shooting.