As much as I love Christmas, unfortunately, Santa Claus does tend to deliver the odd stinker. Hands up who each year is always given a gift that, no matter how many times that you have said to not be given, is promptly delivered on the 25th December.
For example, a relative always thinks it is funny giving me 2 giant Toblerones, although they have been given to me every year for the past 15 years and each year I say, 'Please make that the last, I'm like a house end and don't need the temptation well into January.'. Or the countless comedy socks and ties, ill fitting underwear, terrible aftershave and usually awful CD by somebody like James Blunt (apologies Blunt lovers) as everybody knows I am obsessed with music and therefore think I love everything musical. NO!!!
One present does seem to take over one of my cupboards though. And that would be the sweet German wine my parent's in law love to give me. Again, they know I love my wine, so the perfect gift for the wine loving son-in-law must be that sweet 2002 Reichgraf Von Ingelheim. But at last, I have found somewhere I can put the stuff. Not down the plug hole, but in a pan with lots of simmering fruit and spices (not much sugar as it is always sweet enough). Then when the fruit has softened, I have a pan full of mulled wine. And all of a sudden, after a few slurps of heady spice fuelled alcohol, that present from hell HAS now turned into the perfect gift for the wine loving son-in-law. Delicious. And Merry Christmas to all sufferers of gift's from hell, there is hope for that unwanted gift I am sure!
PS For anybody that suspects any loathing in my writing, I love my parent's in law to bits. :o)
Spicy Poached Pears
4 'not too ripe' pears, I use Conference, peeled
1 bottle of cheap sweet red wine
4 tbsp honey
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange, punctured
1 - Put all of the ingredients into a large pan. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer with a lid on for 45-60 minutes. Test the pears with a knife, it should glide in easily.
2 - Remove the pears and cool down. Remove the spices and orange, squeezing every last drop as you go.
3 - Take a small amount of the wine and reduce in a pan until you have a thick syrup. Serve the pears with a drizzle of syrup and a spoonful of yoghurt or cream.
These will keep nicely covered in the fridge for a couple of days. Make extra and you have quick classy dessert waiting for you.