Saturday, May 22, 2010

Of pie and pears

Last Monday, feeling the need to cook for as many people as possible (I know, who get's that craving?), I invited Miss V over for dinner.
Being fluey, I'd been craving chicken soup for a good week and had bought a lovely chicken for just that purpose. I hadn't really thought much past the chicken though, so I ended up low on ingredients for the soup I had in mind - a Thai-style ginger-filled broth. So I bunged the chicken in a pot, threw in some vegetables and a few seasonings and hoped for the best. Entree done.
Now, my family are huge carnivores. Growing up I remember nights involving meats-other-than-beef were savoured only once a week. I'm not a huge meat-eater. My cravings for roast lamb kind of foil any vegetarianism ideas I've ever had, but I don't need meat every night - once or twice a week usually satisfies the carnivore in me. So in an effort to reduce my family's meat intake, and save myself from beef overload I've hitched us to the Meatless Mondays bandwagon. This meant main for the night was vegetarian, which much excited me. I pulled out my tried and true Spanakopita recipe, made by a real Greek lady on SBS's Food Safari and used by me at least once a month, always to rave reviews.
Being a cold night I decided to put a bit of a twist on the typical Greek salad for the side, and threw some tomatoes, olives, red onion, and baby cucumbers in a a fry-pan to get some heat under them, then tossed through the fetta at the last minute. I'd already marinated the onions in caramelised apple balsamic and that, with the juice from the tomatoes, was enough to make a nice warm dressing. V caught the foodlove and decided to photograph the yum for all to see:

Dessert. So impressed by my efforts! Does that make me sound obnoxious? If dessert was placed in a ratio of effort to tastiness I'd say it would look something like this 1:5000. Or maybe this:

I couldn't find any bowls big enough to sit them how I wanted to, but I still think they looked alright. What exactly are 'they'? Let's call them Spice Poached Pears with Orange and Pistachio Cream. In reality they're just pears poached in red red wine with a chai teabag thrown in for flavour. My mum hates cream so I used 250g of cream cheese and about 5tbsp of icing sugar with 1/3cup of orange juice to create a fake orange cream, and then sprinkled each dollop with a good serving of crushed pistachios. (The cream was so good we had it the next night with a dodgy pizza shop dessert and it improved it no end.) When the pears were done, I added some Nebbiolo Verjus - purchased from here (as was the apple balsamic) - with the pan juices to create a delish little syrup to spoon over the finished dish. Soooo good.
Did I mention while dinner was cooking V taught me guitar? She's giving me lessons which I'm so excited about. I'm going to be a rock star (in my dreams)!


  1. You've inspired me to poach some pears this week!

  2. I'm addiced to them now, I want to make them every night. Perfect winter dessert!