Category Archives: Fruit

Pear and Gorgonzola Antipasto


We park our car on a piece of land owned by the ‘Torino’ club, of which we are members. The Torino club exists to celebrate the successes of a football club in the premier Italian league,Serie A, and also to allow local men to go of an afternoon to play cards and drink cheap red wine. For our 10 Euros per year we can park and men only can enjoy the relative calm of the club. Now 2 years ago the organisers at the club, invited me, and other members out for lunch at a local restaurant. As is the way of things around here, lunch turned out to be a 15 course blowout that took about 4 1/2 hours. Of those 15 courses, 10 were antipasti. Antipasti are not meant to fill you up, but more to whet your appetite for things to come. Of course some antipasti are so tasty that you really want more.

Pear and Gorgonzola is such an antipasto. When I first had this many years ago, I was unfamiliar with the taste combination, and until I had my first mouthful I was skeptical that it would work. But it is like other taste combinations, that seem to be heaven sent. You want more, but it is quite rich and in the final analysis, a little is just the right amount. Interestingly this taste combination is available locally as a pizza topping.

It is simplicity itself, using just those 2 ingredients, apart from a little butter to grease the dish, and takes no time at all to produce. If you are hosting a dinner party you must include this as one of the courses.

This recipe is for 2 people, but is easily scaled up for any number.


1 large firm pear

100 gm Gorgonzola (dolce rather than piccante)(sweet rather than sharp), which has been in the FREEZER for 2 hours. It needs to be hard enough to grate.

a little butter


Grease a 25 cm/10 inches dia baking dish or similar size rectangular dish.

Cut the pear lengthwise in to 4 equal pieces. Cut out the core from each section.


If the pear is hard or firm then cut slice 3 mm/ 1/8th inch thick. If it is ripe then increase the thickness and use perhaps 2 pears.

Arrange the slices, close together in the baking dish.


Coarsely grate the Gorgonzola, and spread it equally over the pear slices.


Bake for 15 minutes at 180 C/ 350 F/ Gas 4/ Moderate in a pre set oven or for a similar time under a moderate grill.


Serve immediately on hot plates.










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Filed under ALL Recipes, All Year, Antipasti, Cheese, Fruit

Grape Jelly

I have taken the last of our grapes from the vine to make into jelly. This time of year (mid September) it is a bit of a race for the grapes between me and hornets. We have a large patio and when we moved in just over 9 years ago, we planted 2 vines and trained them over the patio to give some cover from the summer sun, and very well it works too. But when I am standing on a stepladder picking bunches of grapes it is a little unnerving to have hornets buzzing around. They look mighty impressive and they do command my respect, but I have to say that they are not as aggressive as ordinary little wasps, and generally as long as you don’t wave at them they seem to go past you. But there are a lot of hornets around here. More so than ordinary wasps. And we also have what I call dangley-leg wasps, that dangle their legs when flying, but again they seem quite benign, not at all aggressive.

Anyway – Grape Jelly, an easy clear jam to make that has, in my case with our black grapes, a deep purple hue.

This is a recipe using 1kg (2 1/4lbs) of grapes, although the weight of grapes is not important, it is the volume of juice that you yield. So for this quantity of grapes you will get approximately 800gms (1 3/4lb) of finished jelly.

This will keep for a year in a cool place, although we recently had a jar of jam that was 4 years old, and it was very nice too.


1kg (2.2lbs) of black grapes

For every 500ml/16 fl. oz/2 cups of grape juice, you need

675gm/1 1/2lb/3 1/4 cups sugar

100gm/3 1/2 fl. oz/1/2 cup of liquid pectin or equivalent dry pectin

Juice of freshly squeezed lemon


In a large pan crush the grapes and then bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes until soft.

Use a stick blender to turn them into a fine slurry.

Spoon into a jelly bag and allow to drip overnight for at least 12 hours.

Measure the juice into a large pan, calculate how much of the other ingredients you need and add the lemon and sugar.

If you are using dry pectin you should add it at this stage.

If using liquid pectin add it when you have heated up the mixture and all the sugar is dissolved.

Boil vigorously for 5 minutes and test for a set on a saucer kept in the freezer for 5 minutes.

When you have achieved a set, bottle up in clean dry hot screw lid jars.

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Filed under ALL Recipes, Fruit, Jams, Jellies and Preserves, Recipes

Deep Fried Sheep’s Eyeballs



Okay I confess these are NOT deep fried sheep’s eyeballs, however one can,with a little imagination, envisage the initial resistance as one bites into a real sheep’s eyeball and then the sudden relaxing of resistance as the teeth penetrates and the contents empty into your mouth – Got the picture?

I created these many years ago when I was invited to a party and we were urged to bring unusual foods for the party. They are simplicity to make, along as you don’t laugh too much when you are making them.  I presented them at the party as Deep Fried Sheep’s Eyeballs, and they created a great deal of comment. Interesting as well when they were pounced upon by the gourmets and pronounced as the best eyeballs they had tasted! They are just as nice served hot or cold, though probably with a tasty accompanying sauce.

Serves 4 as an antipasti or starter, with preparation taking about 10 minutes and cooking about 10 to 15 minutes


Grapes, the largest and seedless grapes you can buy, green or black

300 ml/10 fl oz/1 1/4 vegetable oil for frying

150 ml/5 fl oz/1/2 cup warm milk

100 gm/3 1/2 oz/1 cup flour

1 egg

packet dried yeast

1 teaspoon of chili powder


  1. Mix together the flour, milk,egg, yeast and chili, and allow to develop into a fairly thick batter for about an hour in a warm place.
  2. Pour the oil into a saucepan so that the oil will cover the grapes, and heat to about 190 C/375 F.
  3. Dip grapes into the batter and fry for about 4 minutes, remove and place on kitchen paper to drain.
  4. Keep them warm whilst doing the rest.
  5. Serve immediately.


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Filed under ALL Recipes, Autumn/Winter, Fruit, Grapes, Humour, Recipes, Spicy