Last night was Alfie’s school’s Year 2 Social Evening and the organisers chose to hold it at the local lawn bowls club.
I was desperate and dateless as Carl had double-booked himself and ended up in a seminar on the other side of town so I walked in hardly knowing a soul, adorned myself with a sticky name tag then headed for the bar. I was just taking the first sip of my chardonnay when one of the ‘officials’ let me know they wouldn’t be serving the food until ‘after the game’.
‘Sorry, what game?’ I asked.
‘The bowls.’ And she looked down at my stilettos. ‘Did you bring any flat-soled shoes?’
I arrived in stilettos thinking it was at the club purely because they had a lovely function room. It was fairly obvious I didn’t have any other shoes given the size of my miniscule handbag. ‘Oh, right, the bowling. It’s okay, I’ll just spectate’, I told her with honest relief.
‘It’s okay’, she beamed, ‘You can play in bare feet and we won’t be serving the food until after the game’. And off she went with her clipboard.
I was starving and looking for something to munch but the rules are the rules and there was to be no sustenance until the last ball had been bowled so we were sent outside where under the floodlights we were given a lesson in bowling. Finely he finished and asked, ‘Are there any questions?’
I shot my hand up immediately. ‘I do, I do. Is the aim of the game to hit the little white ball or get your ball as close to it as possible?’ And then everyone secretly wished I wasn’t going to be in their team.
But I did find my way into a team so I removed my lovely little shoes and stood with a chipped pedicure (that my shoes had been hiding) on the damp ground and bowled. It’s not as easy as it looks! Those balls don’t go in a straight line. Our team, ‘The Green Girls’ (because we were bowling with green balls) didn’t win the trophy. If only those others had applied themselves and not sipped wine while looking distracted through all the crucial moments.
At 9pm I excused myself and re-claimed my shoes. I went back into the function room where I was sure I could smell food. I felt no shame in being first to attack the buffet.
And now the Year 2 Social is done and dusted but I have a Year 12 function to attend with Arabella on Sunday – it’s a high tea with no mention of sports! I’m sure I can’t go wrong with stilettos.
Back to the pears.
I made a tarte tartin. The recipes I had all used apples so I just substituted pears. Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial was kind enough to send me a recipe. Celia’s tarte tartin certainly looks better than mine but what mine is lacking in attractiveness it made up for in flavour. I can definitely recommend making a tarte tartin with pears. But to have a look at a beautifully made Tatin, do have a look at Celia’s.
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost: This is a very inexpensive dessert especially if you make this during the apple and pear season when these fruits are in abundance and therefore at their cheapest.
For the Pastry:
- 200g plain flour
- 125g cold unsalted butter, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Filling:
- 125g butter
- 125g sugar
- 8 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
For the pastry combine the flour, butter and salt in a food processor and process. Add 1/4 cup of cold water and process for around 15 seconds.
For the fruit, melt the butter in a large frying pan and sprinkle with the sugar. Arrange the pears, cut side up, on top of the sugar and cook over a low heat until they are caramelised (about 10 minutes). Transfer to a pie dish making sure the pears remain cut-side up.
Roll out pastry slightly larger than your pie dish. Place on top of the pears.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is golden. Turn out the tart onto a serving plate (inverting it so the pastry is now on the bottom) and serve warm with clotted cream.
And that’s if for the pears. There are about six over-ripe ones left and they’ll be cut up and served for breakfast with muesli.
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