Bumper crop of pears

home grown Conference pear.  Sweet and nutty – other than eating fresh here are two of my favourite ways to cook them.I flavoured a bottle of red wine with 3 whole cloves, a stick of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg and 4 tablespoons of honey. When the wine begins to simmer, I gently lowered the peeled pears into the pan and spooned wine over the pears.  Bring back to a gentle simmer and cook pears for about 1/2 hour or until cooked through.

Remove pears.  Strain wine to remove spices, return wine to the pan and add a tablespoon of brown sugar.  Boil gently until wine becomes thick and syrupy. 

To serve, I placed one pear in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and scattered some toasted flaked almonds over-  incredibly yummy! 

This lot is destined for the freezer to later make into fruit crumbles.  I just roughly cut up several pears, sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon added a few tablespoons of water and gently steamed them.  Also good spooned on top of granola with yogurt for breakfast.



Several chefs and restaurants are showcasing ‘goat meat’ this month.  Although not widly available we found two butchers in Leeds market selling it.  We got a leg of goat -1.400kg for £7.00-a bargain!! As we were not sure how old the goat was we thought slow roasting would be best, but not in the oven but the slow cooker.

I marinated it overnight in yougurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, curry powder and cumin powder.

Next morning,  I scraped off the yogurt reserving it and in a frying pan browned the meat all over and placed in the slow cooker.

In the same pan I sautéed a chopped onion, 3 cloves of crushed garlic, few slices of ginger, 200g of chopped tomatoes salt and pepper and added this to the slow cooker.

I added the yogurt I had scraped off into the slow cooker and mixed everthying together.  Covered and cooked on medium heat and after 9 hours the end result was achieved when the meat was pulled off the bone using two forks.   The meat was soft, tender and so lean, the sauce was creamy and just the right thickness. I sprinkled the leg with coriander and served with some basmati rice.

We were really amazed at how well this turned out so will be using more goat meat.

Grilled Octopus

1 octopus, head sliced and tentacles entact

1/2 lemon cut into pieces

a few sprigs of parsley

a couple of cloves of garlic

s and p


freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

a good pour of olive oil

pinch of oregano

s and p

pinch of red pepper flakes

Simmer octopus with other ingredients in enough water to cover for about 30 minutes. Let octopui cool in the liquid.

Drain and place in a bowl with the marinade ingredients, mix well and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Have your grill plate really hot and sear octopus until golden brown-3 to 4 minutes each side-brush pieces with marinade from time to time.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

We chose to use the tentacles only for this dish and the head was used in the stewed octopus (previous post).

The tentacles were very tender and nicely chargrilled and crispy.

Octopuses or Octopi

Apparently debatable as to which is correct!!

We bought two and decided to cook two ways.  

Stewed Octopus

To prepare your octopus first cut just under the head and just above the tentacles – known as the eyes and beak.  Remove all the ‘gunk’ from the head-turn inside out as this is easier.  Rinse under cold water and peel off the skin.  Discard skin. Separate tentacles and rinse under cold water removing sand and dirt from the suction pads and the skin. Cut into bite sized pieces.

500g octopus

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 sprig of rosemary

1 glass of white wine

200g ripe tomatoes, chopped or 400g canned tomatoes

handful of chopped parsley

s and p

extra virgin olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic and sprig of rosemary.  Remove rosemary after a few minutes (just flavouring oil) and add octopus. Sauté for a few minutes and add wine, burn off a little then add tomatoes.  Season to taste, cover and cook slowly for 1 1/2 hours.  If liquid running dry add some boiling water occasionally.  Once cooked sprinkle with chopped parsley.


The sliced head was tender and the legs just a teeny bit chewy but the sauce was rich and so flavoursome. Definitely going to try this again.

Fish Galore

We drove to Kirkgate market in Leeds early Saturday morning and it is an absolute joy to see the selection of fresh fish on display.  The crabs and lobster were still moving, wild seabass and whole salmon very tantalizing, oversized and normal prawns glistened, clams and oysters tickled a fancy and turbot and brill laid flat.

We bought a kilo of palourde clams which was cooked with garlic, chilli flakes, lemon juice and splash of white wine for lunch-fresh and yummy.

Dinner was a turbot baked on a bed of carrots and herbs.  Unfortunately, fish not as fresh as we had hoped for and also it was under seasoned so not a huge success.


Province of Brindisi and the Apulian Region.

Rented this beautiful house for a week.  The house was amongst olive trees, walnut trees, almond trees, pomegranate, figs and prickly pears all of which we used to make various salads during our stay.  The main house had two bedrooms, a third was the pool room and the fourth was a separate trullo.  A trullo (plural trulli) is a dry stone hut with a conical roof.

Loved our Italian adventure!  Great people, food and wine!  


Traditional Italian fare.    Here we have some cold meats, fried zucchini in a tomato sauce, cheese, tomatoes with buratta cheese and orecchetti  with pesto. In Puglia region this pasta is quite popular. The pasta is shaped like an ear and its meaning is ‘little ears’.  We had it with mushrooms, pesto, seafood and in a soup.  

Seafood in Trani Harbour.

Our first lunch in Ostuni – antipasto and aperol spritz.