During the October break, Michelle and I took our girls to Charleton Farm, just outside Montrose to pick some late fruits and collect some pumpkins. We have never visited before but it is a fantastic space for kids. The day we visited we were blessed with a glorious afternoon of sunshine thanks to our Indian Summer. I should add that our girls range in age from 7 to 13, and they all enjoyed visiting. Our plan was to pick some late raspberries and brambles (a thorn-less variety and great for kids). Our girls had great fun racing to see who could pick a punnet quickest. We were also able to pick some pears, one of the staff kindly showed our girls how to pick ripe pears and off they went, while we talked about the importance of getting children involved in growing and picking their own food. Unfortunately neither of us were paying attention to just how much the girls were picking and when we did notice, they had picked both of us a large shopping full to the top with pears. Now I like pears, but there is a limit as to how much you can actually get through! On the drive home I realised I’d have to get my thinking head on and come up with ways to preserve the pears as we would never manage to eat them all, and I hate waste.
Now I have made pickled pears in the past, my Dad loves them and they are great with cold cuts and a cheeseboard over the festive period. However this year I fancied making poached mulled pears, great for dessert but also good with cheese. I buy mulled pears but have never made my own so with a quick check as to method I set about coming up with my own version using red wine and whole spices. Once poached these pears will keep for six months in a cold dark space. When I’m ready to use the pears for dessert I like to heat them gently through in the wine, I then remove them to a plate and turn the heat up and reduce the remaining wine to a more syrupy consistency. Plate the pears, pour over the syrup and serve with ice cream on the side. A quick and simple dessert for the busy festive period ahead.5