Now where were we???
It’s been a while and I have so missed stopping here. I cannot wait to show you all what we have been up to lately and I promise there will be lots more gorgeous pics in my next post. We have a beautiful new cooking school. It is warm, it is inviting, it is everything I wanted it to be and more. It has two ovens (yes two ovens!!! I still smack myself! ) and an absolutely indulgent 5 metre stone bench top that every time I walk up the stairs and see it, I want to give it one enormous heart felt cuddle. I love this space. It feels like it has always been here. I hope you love it too. We are adding to it and growing with it and it has been a really exciting process. It probably goes without saying though that to get here, has been a whirlwind. I think the last month might just have been the busiest of my life (am I blocking out having three daughters under the age of four a few years ago? Likely, yes). Today I can feel it. My body feels it. I feel a little run down and my secret wish is to go crawl in to my bed for a week….socks on, covers pulled up high, a good book and a good bowl of chicken soup bought to me when my bell might ring for it. It never ceases to amaze me how the human body holds out, runs with you and then…… it just knows. It knows that you can slow down (just a little) and although it seems unfair, it makes sense….I have to listen to my body more. I have to be kinder to it.
I cannot tell you how much I have missed the writing and the posting of my recipes in my little place here in cyberspace. It has become a little like a diary and one that I hope my sweet daughters might one day read. Although there is so much work to catch up on, today is the first day I have had this new space to myself. There are no tradesmen, I have slow music playing, the beautiful lamps are on, it is cosy, I feel reflective and I want to write. Some call it procrastinating and I believe they might be right but it feels good. It is like therapy. Slowing down, listening to my body (allelujah), regaining some normalcy and writing about what I love which generally involves good food and great people.
The weather has suddenly turned here in Melbourne. We went from 37oC the previous weekend to 17oC this weekend just gone. The warmth will come back for a short stint I am sure….. I hope. It makes me appreciate the seasons all the more. Here comes autumn with all it’s wonderful produce. It is all about the pears and the stone fruit for me right now and with this sudden cold snap and a little slowing down, this here is the recipe for me. Slow roasted pears and autumn fruits with home made labne. This is so simple, it is hardly a recipe. We have enjoyed it a lot of late both at home and in some of the cooking classes. What happens when you put pears with a little butter, a little vanilla, a little sugar and a touch of spice? It is a true delight for your tastebuds – a real treat. It looks amazing and do I have to tell you about the smell? This dish will fill your home with such wonderful aromas that ‘they’ will come beating down your door.
Relish Mama have proudly taken part in Australian Pear month to support local farming communities. You can vote for us here (an we would love you to) and by doing so you will go in the draw for a dinner for two but more than anything, I would so love you to cook this for yourself. It is a true winner.
Roasted Pears with autumn fruits and honeyed labne yoghurt
4 Beurre bosc pears
500g other autumn fruits such as plums; preferably Angelina / Sugar plums, ripe black figs, royal gala apples, peaches, nectarines
150g Melted butter
1 Vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped
150g caster sugar
1 Vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Honeyed labne (start this the day before or cheat & buy sweetened yoghurt if short of time)
1kg Natural Yoghurt (preferably organic)
½ cup honey
Preheat oven to 180c.
Cut stone fruit in half & remove pips. Rip figs in half (if using) & place on tray with
your choice of autumn stone fruit. Peel and core the pears and place pear halves in baking tray. Peel and core the apples and cut in to wedges.
Place the butter in a saucepan and heat with the vanilla pod. Spoon the butter and vanilla mixture over the fruits and roast in oven for approx 20 mins. Toss the fruits and spoon over some of the juices and roast for a further 15 minutes or until tender & golden in colour.
In a small saucepan, dissolve sugar into the water, stirring often. Add spices & lemon zest & cook for 10 minutes & allow to cool.
For the labne, line a mesh strainer with a piece of muslin or a clean / new chux cloth & set over a large bowl. Place the yoghurt in the strainer, then gather the cloth up around the yoghurt & secure it tight with string or a rubber band. Place in fridge & allow to drain for at least 12 hours until thickened & creamy. Remove labne from cloth & discard liquid in bowl.
Whisk in honey until well combined & smooth. Chill until needed – it will keep for 3-4 days.
To serve, place the fruit onto the serving plate, drizzle with some of the spice syrup & dust with icing sugar. Serve with the labne and chopped pistachio’s or roasted almonds on top, if desired.
Alternative savoury serving options:
The fruits are also wonderful with meats ie chicken. You can heat any left over fruits very gently in a saucepan with a splash of red wine vinegar (optional) & serve with meats. Can also be served with a cheese plate.
The lovely images of our new cooking school were taken by the very talented Tamara Erbacher.