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Partridge Pear Christmas Salad cookery classes South West
 
 

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This is the place to enjoy Christine's food-related musings – from seasonal food and food producers to cooking tools, food markets and gastro-travel. You'll also find some must-try recipes and invaluable tips and techniques.

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Pears and Partridges

Retailers would have us believe that Black Friday, or even the end of the summer holidays, marks the first day of Christmas, but as a cook I start to feel festive once December is underway. By now there is plenty of fresh produce to enjoy – and I'm thinking particularly of partridges and pears, both of which are in season now. Should your true love present you with these on the first day of Christmas, here's the low-down on what to do with them – before you move on to three French hens, that is.

Partridges are just the job if you are not too sure about daunting gamey flavours. They are milder than pheasant and relatively small – a single bird will serve one. Cooking is straightforward – frying, grilling or roasting for young birds, a moist slow braise for older ones.
As the carol suggests, partridges and pears make a pleasing culinary partnership, as in my recipe Warm Salad of Partridge, Pears and Walnuts.

Though they are a welcome autumn treat, pears have never quite had the mass appeal of apples – until now that is. Famous in certain circles, hip-hop rapper Rick Ross now eats pears as part of a get-fit regime. In a video that has gone viral he gives a "Shout-out to all the pear" and unwittingly boosted the fruit's profile. According to The Guardian, Waitrose has subsequently reported a 38 per cent increase in sales "after a slightly less urban shout-out from The Great British Bake-Off."

A restrained shout-out from the 1920s comes from the late Edward Bunyard, nurseryman and fruit enthusiast. In his poetic Anatomy of Dessert he commented: "a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption". So no slurping please.

 

© Christine McFadden, December 2014

         
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