Pear Upside-down Pudding

This is a nice chocolatey variation of the pineapple pudding I featured in an earlier post. Chocolate and pears are a great classic combination.

Pear upside down pudding

Pear upside down pudding

1 large tablespoon golden syrup
1x410g can pear halves,drained
8-10 glace cherries
125g (4oz) margarine
125g (4oz) sugar
2 eggs
125g (4oz) self-raising flour
1 heaped tablespoon cocoa powder

Cover the base of a 18 cm (7inch) deep cake tin with the golden syrup.
Arrange the pears rounded side up, on the base of the tin. Place the glace cherries into the spaces between the pears.
Cream the margarine and sugar. Add the cocoa powder and stir the mixture until it is well combined.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then mix in the flour. Beat well then spread the mixture evenly over the pears and cherries.
Bake in a pre-heated oven, 180C (350F,) gas mark 4 for about 50 to 60 minutes, depending on your oven. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pudding and invert the tin onto your serving plate. Serve hot with cream or ice cream.
This pudding serves 6 people. If you want a larger one, use a 10 inch tin. Arrange pear halves over the whole of the base of the tin. Spread the sponge mixture on top and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes.

Tomato and bean soup

tomato and bean soup

At last, the Formula 1 racing season has started. A large part of number one son’s life revolves around it. So it was a very tiring weekend and we have had to put up with lots of yelps of excitement in the wee small hours. Roll on Europe. I can’t really complain because it is probably my fault that he is such a big fan as I was a fan in the 60’s and 70’s. I think mainly because Jackie Stewart lived near us and went to the same school as me although not at the same time – I’m not that old. Well, what has all that to do with soup? It builds up your strength for the gruelling season of F1 viewing. So this is the recipe for no. 1 son’s favourite soup.

1 mugful of dried haricot beans soaked overnight
3 tomatoes, quartered or about 12 tiny ones
2 onions
4 carrots
3 sticks of celery
2 200g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp tomato puree
chopped parsley and thyme (to your taste)
Roughly chop the onions carrots and celery and whizz up in a blender with water. You will have to do this a few times to deal with it all. Reserve some of the carrot and celery just roughly chopped if you like chunky bits in your soup as we do. Add all of this to a large pan with the haricot beans and tins of tomatoes. Then. add the tomato puree, dried oregano and chopped parsley and thyme. Lastly, add the quartered tomatoes and more water. I use my pressure cooker for this recipe as then you don’t have to bother about soaking the beans first, just cook at pressure for about 20 minutes. I add enough water to make about 12 bowls of soup. If you don’t have a pressure cooker then just boil it all up for about 1 hour. Season to taste. Try it, you’ll love it. If you can’t be bothered with the dried beans, try using ordinary tinned beans. Obviously you will only have to boil the soup for about 20 minutes then. I’ve never tried tinned beans but I think it will work fine.