Tag Archives: pears

Daily Bread

Breakfast Detail

A slight departure from the usual teatime ideas, I’ve come to worry a little about what I give the kids for breakfast. This is in no small part due to the fussier child admitting to eating nothing but “hot dogs, rice and bread” at school. I mean, you can only shoehorn so much green stuff into dinner, right? Bearing in mind the picky one will only eat apples (and lately only green ones at that) I’ve had to be creative (read sneaky) if she’s going to eat any other fruit for breakfast.

Whilst there are a few things on offer in the morning, 9 times out of 10, it’s “rice crispies please!” Now I’m not knocking the occasional bowl but I’d like to mix it up a bit.

I started mixing rice crispies with some oats, then added spelt flakes and continued to add different textures and flavours until their bowls contained 6 different unsweetened and wholegrain cereals. It’s going to give them far more slow-release energy throughout the day and help build their little bones and muscles.

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Another winning idea I picked up from 5 o’clock apron is the notion of a fruit butter. Not really a butter at all, more of a jam but with a fraction of the sugar. I made a peach and vanilla version earlier in the Summer and I can tell you it was possibly the most delicious preserve I’ve ever tasted. Swirl it into greek yoghurt, spread on bread or dollop onto cereal for a fruitier breakfast. They don’t take long to make and will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks. Annoyingly we’re at the end of the soft fruit season now but plums, apples and anything that will reduce down to sweet, sticky compote will work.

Basically you need a kg of any fruit: apples, pears, peaches, bluberries, chopped but don’t bother peeling.
Throw in a pot with a little water to stop it catching and stew over a low heat until the fruit is broken down and soft.
Pass through a sieve and return to clean pan. Add 30-50g of sugar and maybe a split vanilla pod and cook slowly for another hour or so. This will keep in the fridge for around 3 weeks in a sterilised jar (just pour boiling water inside the jar and lid)

PS This post was supposed to go out on September 15th… last night I made a fruit butter with 2 very ripe pears, 2 tasteless peaches and an apple that had been hiding at the bottom of a weekend bag for a few weeks. Yum. Took 2 minutes to chop fruit and put in pot with water and sugar- no recipe and my son ate half the pot for breakfast this morning swirled in yoghurt…

Daily Bread

Daily Bread

These cold Autumn mornings are calling for a heartier breakfast- a boiled egg with the most robust of soldiers. Here’s an easy, foolproof failproof wholemeal bread recipe from Dan Lepard

400g strong wholemeal bread flour
50g strong white bread flour
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp salt
3 tsp brown sugar
400 ml of warm water
50g melted butter

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the melted butter and 300ml of the water. Bring together with your hand- add more water if the dough is too dry- it should be sticky and fairly difficult to handle at this stage.
Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave for 10 minutes.
Tip onto an oiled board and knead for 10 seconds. Return dough to the bowl, cover and leave for 10 minutes- repeat this process twice and rest for 15 minutes (that means you and the bread).
Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle and roll into a swiss roll type shape. Place in an oiled 2lb loaf tin (with the seam at the bottom) and leave covered in a warm, dry place to prove for 1-1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
Get the oven nice and hot and bake the bread for 15 minutes at 225 degrees, then lower heat to 200 and bake for a further 15 minutes. Tip the bread out of the tin immediately and leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting.
Yum. Eat with lots of butter.

Easter 020

Roast leg of Lamb with lemon, rosemary, garlic and anchovies with Pear Tarte Tatin to follow

Here’s a two-parter that’s not only a Sunday crowd-pleaser, but probably the easiest roast you may ever make. Nothing beats the look of a leg of lamb fresh from the oven. The golden crusty bits on the edge, the rich fragrant gravy, and the promise of leftover lamb sandwiches. This is an incredibly quick way to ensure maximum flavour and hitherto unknown savouriness. And have Monday night’s tea sorted on Sunday. The Pear Tarte Tartin is the perfect solution to a fruit bowl spilling over with overripe pears (or apples if you wish) who seem to have a perfectly ripe window of about 30 minutes before going soft and shrivelled….It looks and tastes like you’ve spent all day making it- not 15 minutes.

Sunday for 4-5

Decent sized leg of lamb (at least 2.5kg)
salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
few sprigs rosemary
1 lemon
3 or 4 anchovies
splash of white wine (the cook gets to drink the rest)

Optional

1 courgette
tin flageolet beans
butter

Heat the oven to 170 degrees C. Make small incisions (7-8) in the lamb and rub all over with salt and pepper. Crush the garlic, chop the anchovies and rosemary and grate the zest of half the lemon into a bowl and loosen with a tbsp of olive oil. Rub well into the incisions in the lamb, place in a roasting tin and splash the wine over the joint. Cook for 20 minutes per 500g plus another 20 minutes. Cover with foil and leave to rest for 20 mins.

If you wish, 1 hour before the end of cooking, slice the courgette thinly and throw into the roasting tray along with the drained tin of flageolets, more crushed garlic, pepper, a few knobs of butter and another splash of wine and return to the oven to braise. Stir a couple of times during cooking.

Easter 017
Pear Tarte Tatin

1x375g puff pastry, rolled to 2mm
50g (2oz) unsalted butter, softened
100g (3 ½ oz) golden caster sugar
2 tbsp Poire William liqueur or lemon juice
4-6 ripe pears

Roll out the pastry and chill until needed. You can now buy ready-rolled rounds of puff pastry which are perfect for this. Peel, core and quarter the pears, squeeze a little lemon juice or Poire William over them to stop them browning. You need a small-medium sized ovenproof frying pan for the next bit. Place the pan you are going to use on the pastry and cut around, leaving an extra 3 cm all the way around. Prick the pastry with a fork.

Easter 015

Preheat oven to 200 deg c. Sprinkle the sugar into the pan, add 3 tbsp of water and allow the sugar to absorb the water. Cook on a low-med heat until it starts to bubble, then in around 5 minutes it will turn reddish brown as it caramelises. DO NOT STIR. Just shake it around a bit. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Tightly pack the pears curved side down and cook over a low-med heat for a further 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and place pastry over the top. Tuck in the edges to form the sides of the tart. Bake for 30 mins and leave to stand for 10 mins before inverting onto a serving plate.

Serve with big dollops of creme fraiche or vanilla ice-cream.

Monday

Stuff warmed pitta bread with leftover lamb, yogurt, and shredded red (possibly pickled?) cabbage and enjoy.