Poached pears with ricotta METHOD
Put all the ingredients for the stock syrup into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse while it cools. This can be kept in the fridge until you need it.
Peel and carefully core each pear, leaving them whole and ideally with the stalks on. Lay them in a pan, along with the stock syrup.
Cover with a circle of parchment paper and sit a plate (smaller than the circumference of the pan) on top – this keeps the pears in the syrup while they cook.
Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or a little less if the pears are really ripe – check them with the tip of a knife. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the syrup.
Beat the ricotta a little just to loosen, then mix in the mascarpone and icing sugar, beating to a smooth silky texture. Mix in the lemon zest.
To serve, spread the ricotta on five plates. Sit a pear in each one, with a touch of the cooking liquid. Finish with the chopped hazelnuts.
Sunday 11 November 2018
Parmo, the classic post-pub treat from Middlesbrough, got bad press recently for being a tad calorie-heavy. Here I’ve taken inspiration from Australia, where they use chicken or aubergine. I’ve used chicken mini fillets, but you could slice an ordinary chicken breast into four or even six.
Soak the beans in cold water overnight, or at least for four hours.
Cube the bacon, if using. Drain the beans and put them into a roomy saucepan with the bacon (or the ham bone if using) and enough water to cover to double their own depth – beans need plenty of room to expand.
Bring to the boil, skim, and then turn the heat down. Simmer for two to three hours until they are soft. You may need a little more boiling water – it depends on the beans.
Shred the lettuce and stir it into the soup when the beans are soft. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
Mash the beans a little. Remove from the heat. Fork up the yolks, cream and vinegar, and stir into the hot ( but not boiling) soup. Taste and season. Finish with finely chopped dill. Don’t reheat.
Serve the soup with black bread and a bottle of Romanian red wine.