When Sharon gave me a large bag of pears I knew what I wanted to do with them. Every year I make a jar or two of these spiced pickled pears which go wonderfully well with all the cold meats and cheeses we have during the Christmas season.
This year, as well as the pears, I have put up a jar of quinces in the same vinegar mixture. I have no idea how successful it will be, but the vinegar has changed to quite a dark red and has a very strong quince flavour.
Spiced Pickled Pears from Delia Smiths’s Christmas
10fl.oz white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
10fl.oz cider vinegar ½ a lemon, cut into thin slices
3inch cinnamon stick, broken
Put everything but the pears in a large pan, heat slowly, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil.
While this is happening peel the pears, cut in half and core. Put into the hot vinegar and poach gently until they are just tender, and slightly translucent. Remove them with a slotted spoon, leaving as many of the spices behind as possible into a heated jar. This quantity of pears, sliced in half, will fit into a ¾litre jar. Boil the remaining vinegar to reduce to a syrupy consistency, and while still boiling strain over the pears in the jar, to cover them. You can fish out the lemon slices to put in the jar, and a few escapée spices won’t hurt, but it can taste medicinal if there are lots. Seal the jar immediately. Store for a month before using. The pears will keep for months unopened.
These cherry sized crab apples are Malus Butterball, they have a wonderful flavour, and I am hoping to make some golden coloured crab apple jelly from the first years crop.
Last week Imogen, in celebration of her birthday took Sharon and me to At the Chapel, Bruton for tea. On their website it says that the premises were previously a 17th Century Coaching Inn, but inside it looks just like a non-conformist chapel.
We ate the most delicious, and huge, Almond Croissants
When we arrived the woodfired oven in the bakery was just being lit, we lingered so long over tea that by the time we left I would think it was hot enought to start baking the pizzas, for which they are well known.
Joe, who is one of the chefs, told us that the pizzas are cooked while the oven is at it's hottest, followed by a wide variety of artisan bread , baked for sale in the shop.
It was a lovely afternoon, thank you Imogen for such a treat.