Pear Gingerbread Cake

For some reason I associate Halloween with gingerbread although I am not sure why! And I mean real gingerbread, not a biscuit but a rich, moist, sticky cake. I have been looking for a good recipe for years now and I am thrilled to say that this recipe is outstanding. The addition of pear is fabulous and the edges of the cake, turn to almost toffee.

I adapted it from an American recipe with cups as measures and the mixture is really runny which makes it rather worrying to bake. Make sure your tin Is big enough, keep your oven low and if the cake looks as if it is getting too brown, cover it with foil. Just keep going until it is cooked and it will be worth it.

Pear Gingerbread Cake

250g soft brown sugar

250g butter, melted, cooled

3 pears, peeled, cored, cut into 2cm slices

340g golden syrup

2 eggs

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, sifted

325g plain flour

3 teaspoons ground ginger

200g sour cream or crème fraiche

Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan-forced. Lightly grease a 6cm-deep, 23cm (base) square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.

Sprinkle 100g sugar over base of prepared pan. Pour 80g of the melted butter over sugar. Arrange pear slices in a single layer over butter and sugar.

Place remaining butter in a large bowl. Whisk in syrup, eggs, soda, flour, ground ginger and remaining sugar. Stir in sour cream. Pour batter over pears. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand for 10 minutes. Turn out on to a platter. Serve.

Pear, Apple and Rosemary Juice

Riverford are running their juicing  box at the moment so it is time to make the most of it. I have been experimenting with herbs in my juices recently. I know it is a bit kooky but I believe that we all have a herb which we identify with.

Rosemary is my kind of herb – robust, assertive and gutsy. I also believe that when you instinctively crave something, it may be because it contains something that you might be deficient in. Rosemary is high in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, a good source of antioxidant vitamin C and very high in iron. This Pear, Apple and Rosemary Juice was delicious. But try experimenting with your own choice of herbs and see how you get on.

Pear, Apple and Rosemary Juice

Makes one glass

3 pears

2 apples

Generous sprig of rosemary

Chill your fruit. Cut into suitable sized pieces. Put the rosemary into the juicer first. That way, when you add the fruit it will help extract the most from the herbs.