Thursday, 27 August 2009

Thirfty Recipe 3: Spiced Pickled Pears

Well, these are extra thrifty for me as I have access to free fruit. My dad's pear tree was so heavily laden with luscious, grainy, golden fruit this year that the branches were weighted to the ground. I picked 25 perfect pears today and there are still plenty left on the tree.

I love all pickles. But why exactly has Barry Norman changed career from film critic to pickled onion magnate? I suppose 'and why not?' would be his answer to that!

Anyway, these pickled pears are my favourite pickles of all time. They make lovely presents and are perfect with cooked meats, pate or cheese. They're also great chopped and mixed with spinach as a gorgeous salad, wonderful with cauliflower cheese (as I discovered tonight).

I adapted this recipe from a 1950s Women's Institute cookery book. I omitted the rasping malt vinegar and added chilies.

2 kg of pears
1kg sugar (I used golden caster sugar)
1 litre cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of whole cloves
1 heaped teaspoon of chili flakes
1 cinnamon stick
4 fresh red chilies

  • Peel and quarter the pears, cut out any woody bits of core. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pears with a slotted spoon. Retain about half of the poaching liquid. Add sugar, spices and vinegar. Place on a low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the pears and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, until the pears are translucent and softened.
  • Decant into sterilised jam jars.
I got 6 generous jars of pears from this recipe. Considering the pears were free and I was re-using jam jars these beauties cost about 30p per jar. Pretty wonderful.

Anyone with birthdays coming up (Madam Noir) is guaranteed a home-knit scarf and a jar of pickled pears this year! I am managing expectations here! Molton Brown gift sets are sadly a thing of the past!
On another note, Richie (foster-lurcher number 2) went to his new home this afternoon. I was heartbroken to see the little lad go. I can still picture his sweet little face pressed against the rear view window as his new owners drove him off. It would have brought a tear to a glass eye!

Richie (now called Fin) has an action-packed holiday weekend planned. He is going caravanning! Good luck little fella and remember, if the caravan is rocking, don't go knocking!


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