Simply Pear-fect!

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” O flower of Scotland…….”

 

This weekend was all about rugby rugby rugby in our household, well to be honest most weekends during rugger season our household is all about the rugby however this weekend was worse than usual as 1) Hubby attended rugby games on Friday 2) Hubby played rugger with his team on the Sat and won some shield or cup or something which means they are going into the semi final for something else [ whoop whoop, victory dance] 3) Six Nations matches watched on TV England vs Wales and Ireland Vs Italy and finally  (saving the best for last) 4) a trip to Murrayfield on Sunday to watch Scotland win against France [Whoop Whoop, victory dance] ……………………think I’m all whooped out!

As a result, there was little time to make meals this weekend so Saturday nights supper consisted of fresh pasta bought from the supermarket. The Shock, the Horror, I should be banned from all food blogs!!  Well, wait until you hear about what I made for dessert.

I always keep tinned cans of fruit in the cupboard as these can easily be turned into a yummy dessert, very quickly.  No, not just dumping them in a bowl and serving with ice cream cira 1970’s, think more Steel Magnolias and Cuppa Cuppa Cake.

Tin of Fruit cocktail with juice, a cup flour and a cup of sugar mixed together in a bowl, dumped into a greased oven proof dish and cooked until golden brown and bubbling! Aces!

Not the most sophisticated dessert, definitely not for those that don’t like super sweet desserts and I know many will wonder, why not just use fresh fruit. What’s the point of this dessert? Well, the point is that I can keep a couple of tins on hand to make a quick dessert, no need to go out to the shop to buy fresh fruit, and no need to then prepare fruit and I always have something on hand to be able to whip up a simple, hassle free dessert. This is a “not planned and I don’t have time” dessert.

Nigella even uses tinned pears and if it’s good enough for Nigella, then its good enough for me. Pioneer Woman also makes a Dump cake  using tinned fruit and again, good enough for Ree, good enough for me ( Wow poetry!) and of course, Dolly Parton’s character,Truvy in Steel Magnolias gives the original seal of approval. If you haven’t watched this movie, you gotta, go do it now!

Since I had tinned pears I made Nigella’s Chocolate Pear Pudding, which has slightly more ingredients than Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa cake, but still ones I keep on hand in the store cupboard and still a very easy recipe.  Although with this recipe you can use any tinned fruit you have, peaches, pineapple, rhubarb, apples, even black cherry fruit filling would work well with the chocolate.

Ingredients

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Butter is missing as its softening on top of the radiator.

 

2 x 415 gram tins of pears in juice, 125 grams of plain flour, 25 grams cocoa powder, 125 grams caster sugar, 150 grams soft butter, 1 teaspoon baking power, 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate soda., 2 large eggs and 2 tablespoons of vanilla.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Drain the tins of pears. You can keep the juice or syrup if you want to but it’s not necessary. My hubbie likes to pour the drained juice over the cooked pudding.

In an 8×8 inch greased oven proof dish, arrange the pears along the bottom in rows.

Then I dump all the other ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix. I just used my hand mixer and mixed until all ingredients were combined and the mix had a dropping consistency ( or until I wanted to eat the mix straight from the bowl!!)

Then spread the mix over the pears, sprinkle over some sugar and place in oven for 25-30 minutes.

Serve with cream or ice cream or chocolate sauce or the remaining pear syrup/ juice.

After an exciting game on the Sunday, singing the National Anthem, lots of shouting “SCOTLAND”, clapping, whistling , watching men in rugby shorts running around, dancing after each try and when Scotland won against France, then the tram queues, cramped trams and a car park blockage resulting in being thankful for having a SUV, I was very very very glad to go out to the Pub for supper and not have to cook.

However, dessert wasn’t on the menu at the pub as nothing took our fancy, thankfully we still had Chocolate Pear Pudding leftovers at home!! Pear-fect ending to a fab day!

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Ticky Toffee Time

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I love getting invited to dinner. I love meeting up with my friends. I love gossiping over lovely meals. I love getting new meal ideas and recipes. I love drinking ( well in my case now drinking non-alcoholic beers and wines).I also love making food for friends, so whenever my hubbie and I get invited for dinner I always offer to make something to bring along, whether its a starter, side or dessert.

We were invited to our friends house for dinner the other night I immediately offered my dessert making services, which was quickly, and I think gratefully accepted.  I then realised that this dessert was not going to be as straight forward as it usually is. This was because as one of our party of friends has a lot of food intolerances, one of them being ….. ……………now you will have to prepare for the shock and then once you are over the shock get ready to give him lots of sympathy as I can’t imagine not having this food in my life…………………………………………………………..he is unable to eat……. the nectar of the gods…. unable to eat…. heaven in a wrapper…… unable to enjoy Easter to its full potential….. he is unable to eat Chocolate. Yup chocolate!

He is unable to eat the component of a lot or definitely most of the desserts I can make. So, I discounted my chocolate meringue, my chocolate mouse, my Guinness cake, my chocolate orange cheesecake.

Given that I’m still new to cooking, I’m not quite an incompetent cook, but I wouldn’t say I was competent, I’d probably describe myself as more ridiculously enthusiastic but lacking in some skills, so this dessert was going to be a challenge………Challenge accepted.

I immediately thought of Pies. He should be able to have pies…. right? However, he is also unable to eat  orange, pears, plums, nectarines, apricots so that discounted using any of these fruits in a pie.

Strawberry Pretzel pie alla Pioneer woman! He can have strawberries so he should be able to have this… yeah … no he is also unable to have potato, corn, maize, soya and flours derived from this so no corn starch or corn syrup. Bye Bye Strawberry Pretzel Pie and Pecan Pie.

Apple pie!! He can have Apple Pie!Sorry, whilst I love apple pie and apple crumble I thought these were too boring for a dinner party. (However I will admit this was the backup plan).

I was at the point where I had all my recipe books out and was frantically flicking through them trying to find a recipe without any of the “no go” ingredients, when my hubby randomly mutters that he thinks he has seen our friend eat Sticky Toffee Pudding (well he actually said Ticky Toffee Pudding as this is what its know as in our house).

Now, I have made Ticky Toffee Pudding before using a Nigella recipe, and whilst hubby gave it the thumbs up, it wasn’t what we would call Ticky Toffee Pudding. The recipe used dark muscovado sugar making it taste like treacle however the pudding we think of should taste of toffee. This made me think that there may be differences between how the English make Ticky Toffee Pudding and how the Scottish make it. I would love to hear from someone if they know more about this. The bonus of the recipe was that it contained no ingredients that our friend was unable to eat.

So Ticky Toffee Pudding it was, however I now needed to either use the Nigella recipe and substitute Brown sugar instead of dark muscovado or find another recipe. Well, I then discovered a recipe that was apparently the original recipe written by the Chef who made Ticky Toffee Pudding first. Given that this recipe was supposed to have originated from a hotel called the Udny Arms in Aberdeenshire, and given that I am too originally from Aberdeenshire, I decided I needed to give it a go.

So I needed…………..    1/4 lb butter, 3/4lb caster sugar, 2 eggs, 1 lb Self Raising Flour, 8 oz dates, 1tsp bicarbonate soda, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 pint boiling water and also 1/2lb butter, 1lb brown sugar, 1 pint double cream for the sauce.

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Oops no butter as again its sitting softening on the window sill

 

First, cream the 1/4 lb butter and 3/4lb caster sugar together until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla. Fold in all the flour. Now I attempted to fold the flour in by hand, but it was taking ages so I placed it back onto the mixer stand. It was at this point I got worried as the mixture was dry and lumpy. Anyway I went on……..

I placed the dates and bicarbonate soda in a bowl and covered with the boiling water. The recipe stated that when the water had been absorbed to then add the dates to the butter/ sugar mixture. However, the dates didn’t really absorb the water. Did the water have to be completely absorbed? I wasn’t sure, but no more water was going to be absorbed so again with trepidation I forged ahead and dumped the dates and water into the mixture and mixed until combined.

Ahhhh haaaaa ( Alan Partridge Style), the mixture obviously needed the water/ date mixture to come together. I then added this heavenly mixture to a buttered  casserole dish, I had excess mixture as my dish only measured 10×7 so I added the remaining to two ramekins. I then placed the casserole dish into an oven at 180°C for 35 minutes. However I ended up cooking this for a further 15 minutes covered in tinfoil for the last 10 minutes to prevent it getting burnt. The ramekens took less time, about 25 minutes.

Then the remaining ingredients, the 1/2lb butter, 1lb butter and 1 pint of double cream are placed in a saucepan over a medium heat and brought to a boil. Yummy Yummy Yummy, do not eat straight from pan as its really really hot, so allow to cool a little. SAM_5703

This was all loaded up in the car  ( wedged behind my seat) for the journey to our friends house, about 1 hours and 30 mins. It was really easy to forget that I had precious cargo and often drove slightly faster until hubby prompted me to slow down. I did not want caramel sauce all over my car.

I didn’t get pics of the Ticky Toffee whilst at my friends house, but we kept the Ramekins for ourselves ( cooks perks) and devoured them the next night. Delish! If you like toffee and incredibly sweet desserts this is the one for you.