When you grow as many fruits and vegetables as we do, you have to be inventive with cooking them. By this we don’t mean we create original, chef style recipes, but we adapt favourite recipes to include the things we grow and harvest. Often we have gluts of things that are less than easy to store for long periods, and it can get a bit boring eating the same thing every day for two or three weeks, so we have become quite adept, out of necessity, at making interesting things with vegetables and fruit.
Recently it struck us that it might be good to share our recipes. This, of course, means being somewhat more considered about what we are doing in the kitchen, and remembering to take at least one photograph of anything we deem to be successful enough to share.
Thus, this page will grow slowly, as we try to write down and photograph what we do instead of just chucking random combinations of things in pans and hoping for the best.
Bear with us!
We have several pear trees and they do bear fruit every year. Unfortunately, the Scottish climate isn’t the best for ripening them and they are usually cricket ball hard, and about as tasty. This recipe, however, renders them soft and delicious, and it’s about as easy as it gets.
We adapted it from a recipe for Pears Belles Helen, which has you poach them in vanilla syrup and then douse them in chocolate sauce.
Here we poach them in red wine sweetened with a little vanilla sugar and flavoured with whole spices.
What you’ll need
•As many pears as you want to cook
•A bottle of any red wine
•2 cinnamon sticks
•2 star anise
•Vanilla sugar to taste
•A pan that will take all your pears in one layer and provide the space to cover them in liquid.
Peel the pears and put them in a saucepan that will allow them to be covered in liquid without boiling over. Pour over the wine. We didn’t have enough in our bottle to cover them, and it felt too extravagant to open another, so just topped it up with water.
Add the spices, add sugar to taste. We had five pears and added two teaspoons of sugar at this stage.
Put the pan on the heat, bring to the boil and simmer until the pears are soft and translucent. How long this will take will depend on the hardness of your pears, for us it took 40 minutes.
Once the pears are cooked, remove them to a plate to cool and get on with the syrup. Fish the spices out of the wine, turn up the heat, and reduce the liquid to roughly half its original volume. Taste it to see if you want to add more sugar once this is done. And that’s it. You can serve them hot or cold.
We actually did make chocolate sauce to serve with these by simply melting half a bar of very dark chocolate in 250ml of double cream, in a jug in the microwave, for a minute and a half.