THE best laid plans, eh? As I made this dish up for the photograph, there was about half a foot of snow outside the café.
Hardly the backdrop for what I thought would be a lovely idea for the Easter holidays, and a very definite warm-weather, spring-like dessert.
I’d have been better off doing a jam roly-poly, given the plunging temperatures. Nevertheless, I’d had nothing else planned, so we must press on. This week, it’s a rather unusual recipe, but one I’m sure you’ll find delightfully easy and entertaining, especially if you have young children.
It’s a great dish to bring out at parties, but can be equally entertaining for adults with a sense of humour.
You’ll have already seen the picture, so you can see just how cute our bunnies on the lawn are. Cooking with children is a very rewarding activity, and has many benefits. Not only is it nice to see the magic of ingredients out of shopping bags slowly turning into something they can eat, it’s also a good way to start them learning about good nutrition.
It’s often easier to get a child (or anyone for that matter) to eat something if they’ve made it and explored it themselves. And nothing beats the look on a child’s face when they see something amazing come out of the oven or fridge.
It’s worth the potential mess your kitchen may sustain. Just!
I can’t quite remember where I first saw this dish presented, but I think it was in one of my mum’s old Reader’s Digest cookery books. I remember it struck a chord with me, and I’ve been meaning to make my own version ever since.
Finally, all these years later, I’ve finally got round to it, just in time for the unwanted Arctic blast! Hopefully by the time you get round to making this with your family, the weather will have turned a bit more seasonal and suitable!
Essentially, it’s a classic combination of poached pears and jelly, but a bit of creativity makes it a joy to behold, and a few tweaks give it a fresh flavour. You could make the jelly from scratch using gelatine or agar, but you will need to check your bank account before you buy enough limes to make up a pint! Easier to buy a packet of jelly cubes and replace some of the water with fresh, zesty lime juice yourself. The sugar flowers were kindly provided by my talented wife Tracy, who is a dab hand at sugarcraft, but you could use real edible flowers, bought sugar petals or simply leave them out altogether.
I just thought they added an authentic touch to the ‘lawn’, along with the grated lime zest, which gives it a nicely mottled, grassy effect.
You could even save time and use tinned pears, but home-poaching gives much better and tastier results. If you’re cooking this dish in an ironic way for a grown-ups’ dinner party (something I somehow imagine will be just as popular as the junior version), I suggest you substitute the water in the pear-poaching syrup for a splash of nice dessert wine (dial down the sugar a little), or perhaps give the lawn a little watering with a slug of vodka.
It’s an easy recipe, and you can tinker to your heart’s content. Poached apples, or even peaches would do for those not keen on pears.
And the ‘bunnies’ could quite easily become cows, sheep or even aliens on the planet Zod. Get creative! Aprons on!