My name’s Claire and I’m an addict. A food magazine addict. I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about missing a copy of one of my favourite food magazines. You may be surprised to hear that here in South Africa we get the UK’s Big 3 (BBC Good Food, Olive and Delicious) as well as two excellent local magazines, Taste and Food and Home Entertaining. Given the elevated cost of buying imported magazines, I must spend nearly R300 (or about £25) every month feeding my habit. That’s a scary £300 on food magazines every year.
My habit leaves the OH incredulous. He cannot understand why, with shelves bowing under the weight of cookbooks and folders stuffed with pages from magazines, I can possibly need MORE recipes. He is convinced that I must have a recipe for every conceivable dish known to mankind and that I can’t possibly find anything original in all the magazines I buy.
In truth, he is part right. Many times I hurry home to flick through my latest purchase only to be disappointed when it turns up nothing new. But then there are other times, as is the case with this month’s Food and Home Entertaining magazine, when every recipe wraps its culinary tendrils around my heart and screams “Make me, make me.”
I know I have given a lot of blog time to this magazine in recent weeks but it does do a really good job of coming up with original and fresh recipe ideas. It does a particularly good line in reproducing classic dishes with an innovative tweak – something that always appeals to me. If you aren’t a Safa, then they do have a complete archive of their recipes online at www.foodandhome.co.za It doesn’t have the most user friendly search facility but is worth a look, particularly if you are searching for recipe inspiration for a certain ingredient.
One of the articles in Food and Home Entertaining magazine this month is devoted to pears. It being winter here in South Africa, pears are bang in season right about now. Every single one of the recipes looks amazing but the one that caught my eye first was these red wine and honey poached pears in puff pastry. I am sure I don’t need to bore you again with my exploits making homemade puff pastry but safe to say, I had some offcuts left over from making the apple turnovers and this recipe was the perfect way to use them up.
The magazine classifies this recipe as taking “a little effort” but whilst there is a fair bit of time involved, the recipe itself is really very simple and I think you’ll agree, produces stunning (and delicious) results. Just one word of advice – you need really pear-shaped pears for this dish, no bin-end oddments, otherwise your dish will look eccentric rather than elegant.
*(Sadly) no fee was received from Food and Home Entertaining magazine for this blog post
Red wine and honey poached pears in puff pastry (adapted from Food and Home Entertaining magazine)
- 500ml red wine
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 3 tbsp honey, plus extra to serve
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cardamom pods
- 1 star anise
- 4 pears
- puff pastry (I used about 200g)
- 1 egg
- demerara sugar
1. Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact. Place the wine, caster sugar, honey and spices in a pan with 500ml water and bring to the boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar then turn down the heat so it is just simmering.
2. Place the pears in the liquid and poach for about 25 minutes, or until the pears are tender but still hold their shape. If the poaching liquid does not cover the pears completely, turn halfway through cooking. Turn off the heat and leave to cool in the liquid for 30 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and refrigerate for a further 20-30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roll out the pastry to about 3-5mm thick and cut into 1.5cm strips. Remove the pears from the fridge and dab lightly with kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture. Starting from the top, cover each pear in strips of pastry, working in a spiral pattern and following the natural shape of the pear. At the end of each strip, dab the pastry with a little water before attaching the next strip and continuing.
4. Beat the egg and mix with 1 tbsp cold water. Brush the beaten egg on to the pastry wrapped pears then sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden and crisp. Serve with a drizzle of honey.