Now is the time to make the most of the beautiful pears that are in season. Cheap and delicious, what more could you ask for? I’m a huge fan of a cheese board and a good chutney or relish is essential to cut through the richness of the cheese. The quantity in the recipe makes two jars, but you can always half the quantities used as it only keeps for about 3 days in the fridge.
(From Olive magazine, October 2015)
2 shallots finely sliced
A knob of butter
6 pears cored, peeled and cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sultanas
50g walnuts roughly chopped
- Fry the shallots in a knob of butter with a splash of oil until they soften without browning. They should be soft enough to squash with the back of a spoon.
- Add the pears, bay leaf, cinnamon, sugar, vinegar and sultanas and stir everything together.
- Cook gently for 10 minutes or until the pear is very tender and the mixture is thick enough to spoon. Stir every now and then to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick.
- Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan. When the relish is cooked, add the walnuts and allow the mixture to cool before storing in sterilised jars.
- Serve with blue cheese and crackers.
I made this apple tart as soon as I got home after buying the cooking magazine, ‘Olive’, October, 2015. Since apples are in their prime and I happened to have a bowl of homegrown ones, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to use them. The recipe itself couldn’t be easier to follow. I was really pleased about how this came out, but if I were to make it again, I would sprinkle the apples with cinnamon and add some sultanas, artistically, of course.
300g puff pastry (I used a ready rolled pack)
Plain flour for dusting
50g ground almonds
50g butter at room temperature
50g caster sugar
1 egg beaten
4 tablespoons apricot jam
Splash of water
- Heat the oven to 190°C/ fan 170°C/ gas 5.
- Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a 20p piece and use a plate approx 25cm in diameter to cut around with a knife. Transfer the pastry to a baking sheet.
- Gently mark a border approx 1cm from the edge. Don’t cut all the way through the pastry.
- Mix the butter, ground almonds and the sugar to make the frangipane. Spread a thin layer over the pastry within the border using a palette knife.
- Peel and core the apples, then slice them thinly. Toss in lemon juice to stop them browning.
- Arrange the apples over the frangipane.
- Brush the border with the beaten egg. Gently knock up the edges of the pastry with a sharp knife by loosening the pastry layers so they rise more.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden.
- Heat the apricot jam and water in a small pan until runny then sieve. Brush over the apples while still warm.