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Potato & green olive taginePotato & green olive tagineThis fragrant tagine (the name of the stew as well as the cooking vessel, which has a small hole in the lid) is good with thick yoghurt and warm flatbread as a vegetarian meal or as an accompaniment to roasted or barbecued chicken, lamb or fish.

Poached pears with caramel sauce, pedro ximénez raisins & honeyed pecans

by Brian Campbell | Cuisine issue #157
Serves: 4A great dinner party dessert.

For the pecans, raisins & pears
60g J Friend and Co Beechwood Honeydew Honey (or your favourite honey)
180g pecan nuts
60ml Pedro Ximénez sherry
180g moscatel or golden raisins
600g sugar
zest and juice of 2 lemons
zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
200ml white wine
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
6 pears, peeled, halved, cored

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the honey in a frying pan and bring
to the boil. Add the pecans and stir to combine then strain the pecans to remove any excess honey. Spread out over the baking tray and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Put the sherry in a small saucepan and heat until warmed. Add the raisins and stir to combine then remove from the heat and set aside to soak for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, put the sugar, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, five-spice, star anise, cinnamon, wine, vanilla beans and 2 litres water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil.

Add the pears to the liquid and cover with a disc of baking paper or a small saucer so they remain submerged. Reduce to a simmer then cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pears from the liquid (you can keep the liquid in the fridge to poach other fruit in).

For the caramel & to serve
100g honey
50g brown sugar
30g butter
herbs to serve (I used baby basil, anise hyssop and chocolate mint)

Put the honey, sugar and butter in a large frying pan. Heat until melted and combined then bring to the boil. Add the pear halves and toss until coated in the caramel.

Serve the pears surrounded by the pecans and raisins and garnished with herbs.

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