2 firm William pears or similar
Pinch of saffron threads, pounded
25g sugar or to taste
2.5cm piece of cinnamon stick
2 star anise
Peel the pears without removing the stems. Carefully core them with an apple corer. Slice off the bottom of each pear in order to make them sit straight.
Place the saffron in a heavy based saucepan and add the water, sugar, cinnamon and star anise. Bring it to the boil and add the pears. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until the pears are tender, but still firm.
Carefully remove the pears and reduce the syrup to half its original volume. Pour over the cooked pears and serve on its own or with whipped cream, crème fraiche etc.
1 small pineapple
½ tsp ground turmeric
Salt to taste
25-50g granulated sugar
25g desiccated coconut
2 dried red chilli, torn into pieces
2 ripe, firm bananas
2 tbsps sunflower oil
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 green chilli, finely chopped
12-15 fresh curry leaves
Peel the pineapple and remove the ‘eyes’ with a small sharp knife. Cut it into 8 boat shaped pieces and remove the central core from each piece. Cut into 1 cm wedges and put into a saucepan with the turmeric, salt and sugar. Add 450 ml water, cover and cook over medium heat until the pineapple is tender (15-20 minutes).
Meanwhile, grind the coconut and the red chillies in a coffee grinder and add to the cooked pineapple. Stir in the bananas and remove from the heat.
In a small saucepan or a steel ladle, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, switch off the stove and add the mustard seeds followed by the chilli and curry leaves. Stir these ingredients into the cooked pineapple and serve with plain boiled rice and stir-fried cabbage.