Pears in sunlight

I could crop this photo to tidy it up…but the bits of blue sky reflected off the sink and the red bowl, top left, seem to add interest. I have windows on both sides of the kitchen, dual aspect I think they call it? So I get lots of light in the kitchen on sunny days as the sun climbs higher in the sky.

Spring is coming, I can feel the warmth in the sunshine. The trees are about to come into leaf, buds of blossom will be bursting, pink and white clouds. I will have to get out and prune things like our buddliea bushes. They are thugs! And the pears? They remind me we should get our crop from our pear tree later in the year….

Pears poached in port..

Cooked this tonight…

Ingredients :

3 small or 2 large pears

Shop bought pastry, ready rolled

1/4 bottle of port

Double cream

1 egg yolk

Method:

Core the pears as necessary, slice into small pieces.

Simmer the pears in a pan with the port until the pears have softened and the port has reduced and almost dried up.

Place the pastry on baking parchment or grease proof paper on a baking tray.

Cut the pastry into four squares, place the diced pears in the centre of each square and then fold the pastry up around them. Brush with egg yolk to glaze.

Put in a medium to hot oven (I used gas mark 6) for twenty or twenty five minutes or until they are golden brown. I found mine had a bit of a soggy bottom.

Serve when cooled with a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves four (unless you are feeling greedy!).

Baked pear and apple with a pastry top

I made this today to use up some of the glut of pears and cooking apples we had in.

Ingredients:

1 large cooking apple

2 large pears, both sliced and de-cored

A knob of butter,

Lemon juice

Sweetener or sugar to taste

A little water

Shop bought ready rolled pastry

Egg to brush the top.

Method:

Butter a Pyrex glass dish or flan case.

Bakethe pears and apples with a bit of lemon juice and water, add a sprinkling of sweetener, or a tablespoon of sugar over the fruit. Gas mark 6 for twenty minutes in the middle of a heated oven.

Remove from the oven with oven gloves (it will be hot)

Add the ready made pastry to the top, cutting round the shape of the flan dish. Cut two small holes at the centre of the pastry and put the rest back on the fridge to use at a later time. Brush the top with egg and if you are using sugar sprinkle another teaspoon or so on top.

Cook in the oven again on gas mark 6 (just about a middle hot oven) for around twenty more minutes, till it goes golden brown.

Remove carefully from oven and place the flan case on a wire rack to cool. If using sweetener sprinkle it on the top now.

Serve and enjoy on its own or with custard, icecream or cream.

Note: ready made pastry will probably contain WHEAT unless otherwise stated. Always check for allergens. Egg and sweeteners may not be suitable. Use what is OK for you.

Enjoy x

Too much fat in my pear cake

Tasty but a bit too greasy.

I decided to make a pear cake with a couple of large pears off the tree. I didn’t have a recipe to hand so followed the one on the back of my bag of self raising flour.

The ingredients were:

150 grams each of self raising flour, butter and sugar.

Three medium eggs

A small amount of water

This was to make a Victoria sponge. I decided I would add raw sliced pears into the base of my glass flan dish (I don’t have a cake tin or grease proof paper).

Method. It said cream butter and sugar together till its light and fluffy, then add the eggs and a bit of water. Then gently fold the self raising flower in.

Problem. I can’t eat sugar. So I used sweetener that you can bake with. The amounts were questionable. 150 grams when you don’t have scales. So I guessed the amounts and I think I put about 200 grams in. The sweetener said 200 grams was five tablespoons, so I used four instead. Then the eggs? I used three, but they were large. Finally I guessed a mug full of flour would be about right….

I creamed the butter and sweetener together and made it softish and fluffy. Then I slowly added the eggs. The mix started to curdle. I tried adding a bit of flour and it started to look like undercooked scrambled eggs! I got my hand whisk out and tried to beat some of the lumps out. Then I folded in the flour, I made a batter, but still saw flecks of butter in the mix.

So I spooned the mix over the pears in a well greased Pyrex flan dish. I put the cake in the oven on gas mark 4 (medium heat) initially for thirty minutes. When I checked it, there were bubbles of gas coming out of it and it was still pale. So I put it on for another twenty minutes. The bubbles were still happening but the surface felt fim and was golden brown. When I tapped it, it sounded hollow, and when I pricked it with a knife that came out clean.

I eased the cake out of its case. Some of it broke up because it had stuck in the dish. It was greasy, but I cut a section out and it held its shape.

It tasted eggy but nice. The pears had cooked through.

Next time I might start making it with flour, then rubbing the butter into that till its like breadcrumbs, adding sweetener, then making a hole in the flour before adding the eggs. I wish I’d remembered that before I made this cake.

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Some of this years pears

We bought the pear tree as a small sapling from Woolworths about twenty years ago. It’s grown since then and every year it has had a bigger crop of pears on it. This year there must have been fifty. The tree has tipped over because of their weight and possibly the wind, so we’ve had to prop it up. The bark is cracked and coming off in places, and it suffers from black spot, but the pears are delicious. Some of them rotted on the tree, possibly from being pecked by birds. We’ve got most of them off the tree now and are sharing some with friends.

Favourite chair

Favourite chair in the garden, but gradually getting submerged into the garden….I’ve got a bit of concern because although these are really comfortable one has a slightly broken arm and the other one is a bit rusty in laces. I guess they will need oiling before the autumn rains set in.

This prompt was from the Band of sketchers group I’m in. I decided to add colour to the picture after drawing with black ink. It meant that I could add to the shadows and increase the contrast. I used some purple to intensify the shadow as my green permanent markers are drying up and I don’t have anything darker than a mid green/turquoise.

The shape of the chair is picked up with the angle of the branches beyond it. The branches curve up to where the pears hang down from the branches. They are still green but I added yellow and orange to make them show up better. The flowers at the bottom are mid purple Geraniums but again I didn’t have the right colour.

I’m pleased with the drawing. I might try something different soon though. I seem to be stuck in one style……

Pears

Views of the pear tree. They are getting bigger and a small branch has broken off. The sun was out again today although the wind is coming from the north and cooling things down. My hanging baskets have just started to wilt a bit since we hot this dry spell. I’m watering them, but the coll nights and the big gaps in the new fence are making the yard a bit cooler. The time will come when everything dies back. I’m pleased though that I’ve found a small courgette on one of my plants!

Apple tree

In my friends garden

This is a thirty eight year old apple tree that he planted in his garden. It’s huge!

The limbs are massive

It has been a very fruitful year for some fruit trees.

I was amazed, the tree is covered in huge cooking apples. My friend said he weighed one of the large ones and it was over 900 grams. It was a fantastic visit. Seeing someone else’s produce. He also has a small pear tree that is covered in conference pears.

He also has tomatoes which I’m jealous of because I didn’t get any this year!

Pears

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The pears are growing big on the tree and starting to weigh the crown down. Soon they will be ripe. I hope they are ready before their weight snaps the tree! At the moment it’s held up with a block of wood.

Gardening is learning. Finding out how to support plants when they need it. I’ve been told the tree has black spot, but it survives. And is covered in pears.

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Spring again

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Blossom on the trees turned into leaves and a wonderful crop of cherries.

We also have a lot of pears growing and a few apples. The elderberry Bush is starting to fill with fruit and the blackberries are ripening on their bushes. The only thing I miss is gooseberries. My hubby has eaten them all fresh off the plant!

Yes spring was good this year. Good to think of something other than a virus!

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