Another post from last year that never made it out… from October time:
Our pear tree had just given up its rather small collection (16) pears this week. We were worried that after this lame summer they would turn out badly but they proved to be very sweet and perfectly edible. After gruffling a couple straight up, our thoughts turned to preservation for winter (pears in brandy syrup to follow another day) and of course, pear and almond tart.
I’d also picked up some very cheap beef heart from the supermarket, so that made the main course, served in my approximation of how they do it at St John. Heart is delicious, and extremely healthy.
Warm heart salad (feeds three)
500g beef or veal heart, cut into thin strips
150g watercress, roughly torn (or other strong peppery leaves)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
teaspoon of capers, finely chopped (optional)
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
If the heart is whole, trim off any sinew and any blood clots in the ventricles (yum), cut the heart open and spread it flat. Then slice thinly. Put the strips into a bowl, season well with salt & pepper and add the balsamic vinegar and thyme, then pour over a little olive oil and toss it altogether. Most recipes suggest marinading overnight, I managed half an hour and it was delicious.
Make a vinaigrette by whisking together with the white wine vinegar, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, the mustard, the shallots and capers.
Get a grill pan nice and hot and then grill the strips of heart, for a couple of minutes each side. Toss the vinaigrette with the watercress, and the warm strips of heart and serve immediately.
Pear & almond tart
I think traditionally you do this with poached pears, but I wanted ours fresh. I have to write another line in here to make the stupid WordPress formatting look better..
Shortcrust pastry to line a 22cm tart pan*
4 pears, peeled and sliced thinly
125g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
125g butter, softened
*No, I didn’t make my own. Too much effort. Use shop bought or make yours as you see fit.
Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C. Beat the butter, sugar and almonds together. Butter the
tart tin, put the pastry in it, and bake blind (with those fancy little stones if you have them) for 10-15 minutes until just turning golden. Take it out and fill with the almond mixture. Press the slices of pear in a nice fan shape (see my lack of presentation skills in the pictures). Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins or until the mixture is set and golden brown on top. Dust with icing sugar if you like. Serve with cream or creme fraiche.