Portsmouth food: Spiced pears shout Christmas

Pears poached in mulled wine, served with mulled wine jelly, tuille biscuit and cinnamon cream
Pears poached in mulled wine, served with mulled wine jelly, tuille biscuit and cinnamon cream

DISH DETECTIVE: A roaringly good Sunday roast at this cracking country pub

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A few weeks ago a Christmas tree was built on Emsworth quayside made of lobster pots.

They had been purchased by local people and will be donated to the Emsworth fisherman who lost their pots in the big storm of 2014.

Everyone who purchased a pot will receive the first lobster that it catches. It was a fantastic idea from the business association that shows great community spirit.

No tree is complete without decorations, so there was a lighting-up ceremony with a visit from Santa who arrived in a red, sparkling sleigh.

As part of the evening steaming cups of mulled wine were served to the adults. They huddled around chatting as the excited children visited Father Christmas.

The smell of cinnamon and cloves shout Christmas and I often poach pears in mulled wine for our December menu.

The trick is undercooking the pears slightly before taking the pan from the heat, and then leaving the pears to cool and absorb the wine.

Pears in mulled wine

Ingredients

4 Pears

750ml red wine

250ml water

200g sugar

Zest and juice of an orange

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 stick cinnamon

6 cloves

1 bay leaf

8 black peppercorns

Method

1.Put all the ingredients apart from the pears into a large saucepan and bring to the boil and turn it down to simmer.

2. Peel the pears, cut them in half and remove the core.

3. When the liquid has simmered for 10 minutes add the pears.

4 Cover the pears with a circular piece of greaseproof paper.

5 Depending on the ripeness of the pears they will take from 8 to 18 minutes to cook.

6 Check with a cocktail stick which will go through the pear fairly easily.

7. Allow to cool in the liquid.

8. Serve with the liquid and a splash of cream.