Monday, November 27, 2006
Quite often I turn to Tamasin Day-Lewis for inspiration. Her Simply the Best offers fine seasonal recipes highlighting produce and meat at its prime. I have yet to make her Sticky Gingerbread, which she suggests be served with her vanilla and orange blossom water Poached Pears. After making Assabih bi Loz (Almond Fingers) in September, I was worried about using orange blossom water again. My angelheart Eric had said, in his tactful way, that it tasted like soap, and I was not even being heavy-handed. To my delight, he was keen to see how it would work with the pears.
This makes enough for four if accompanied by the sticky gingerbread (I will make it soon!), and is filling for two if served as is. I fiddled with the recipe on account of what we had on hand, so in parentheses find Tamasin's suggestions. We used bartlett pears, which have a tropical aroma that pairs well with citrus.
(from Tamasin Day-Lewis' Simply the Best)
2/3 pint (400ml) water
2 1/4oz (67g) granulated sugar (vanilla caster sugar)
2 slices of lemon peel (and 2 slices of orange peel)
1 vanilla pod and its scooped-out seeds
2/3 tablespoon orange blossom water
4 firm but ripe pears, peeled, stalks left in, lightly coated with lemon juice to prevent oxidation
1) Make the sugar syrup by boiling the water and sugar with the lemon peel, vanilla pod, and vanilla seeds. Boil until thick, but do not let it turn brown.
2) Add orange blossom water and the pears.
3) Cook at a gentle simmer until pears are just tender when pierced with a skewer - roughly 20-25 minutes.
4) Leave to cool before serving.
The pears hold up really well to the lemon peel and orange blossom water. In fact, the orange blossom recedes a little in the flavor on account of the vanilla, though its aroma lingers. The most exotic of scents filled the kitchen as the pears were being poached; the most delicate of lemon and vanilla aromas wafted throughout the apartment. I look forward to accompanying poached pears with Tamasin's Sticky Gingerbread on a much colder night.
But yes, you most absolutely get Nigel Slater's Appetite (perhaps a Christmas Present) because it is so different to the Kitchen Diaries. Much more writing, less pictures, more of his philosophy. Really great!
Saffron - Thank you for the kind comments. I popped over to your blog, too. Fortunately, one of my closest friends is Italian, so he can translate for me :-)