Friday, June 20, 2014

Queen's Birthday weekend

The Queen's Birthday weekend in June is one of my favourite weekends of the year.  We have friends to stay, the kids come home, we eat, we drink, we walk.  We have a big dinner party on Saturday night, go to a friend's paddock picnic on Sunday and curl up by the fire on Sunday night, eat more, drink more and watch Masterchef with some commentary from Matt.  I like the tradition of it.  Do you think that if we ever became a Republic that they would abolish it??  I bloody hope not.

We lit a massive bonfire..
Sadly I didn't photograph much of the food I cooked for the weekend, it was just too busy.  Matt did make his best brew yet of mulled wine, but I'm not sure that I can reveal the secret ingredient.  I made a great pudding though, for Saturday night, which was a croissant bread and butter pudding with blueberry sauce and baked pears.  I will give you the recipe for the pudding another day, but here are the baked pears:
 We recently had a visit from a Scottish friend who had been in Tasmania and bought me a jar of the most beautiful honey I think I have ever tasted..
The honey is from the Leatherwood tree which is common in Tasmania, and the trees generally don't start flowering until they are 75 years old.  It has a delicate floral flavour which is the Australian bush in a jar, and I thought would work well with the pears.

BAKED PEARS   Serves 6

6 pears, peeled, cored and halved.  Keep the stems on
1/4 cup castor sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1/4 cup honey, Tasmanian leatherwood if you can get it
Juice of a lemon
50g butter

Preheat the oven to 180c.
Put the pears into a baking dish.
Measure the sugar and mix in  the seeds from the vanilla bean then sprinkle over the pears.
Drizzle over the honey (soften in the microwave to make it more runny) and lemon juice.  Put the lemon halves in the pan too.  Dot the butter over the top.
Add 1/4 cup water and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cook for 30 minutes, then turn them over and give them a baste, and return to the oven for approximately 30 more minutes until the pears are tender and slightly translucent.
Very easy.  These pears would make a lovely pudding on their own with some fresh cream or ice cream or alongside a lemon cake, they would even be wonderful on porridge. 

I know that a Republic for Australia is inevitable and probably necessary.  But in the meantime, long live the Queen and her birthday!
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