Foodie Friday: Pear, Blackberry and Eau-de-vie Flaugnarde

pearblackberryflaugnarde(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
3 ripe pears
150g blackberries
4 tbsp pear eau-de-vie or Calvados
25g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

For the batter:
150ml milk
150ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
125g caster sugar
50g plain flour, sifted
Icing sugar, to serve

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Halve and core the pears, then cut lengthways into 5mm slices. Put immediately into a bowl with the blackberries. Pour over the eau-de-vie and toss well to cover.
2. Make the batter. Mix the milk, cream and vanilla essence together. Butter a gratin dish (metal or cast iron is best as it conducts the heat well). Using a slotted spoon, arrange the fruit in the dish and add any remaining eau-de-vie to the batter mixture.
2. Using a powerful beater, whisk the eggs, sugar and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl until the mixture triples in volume and is pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour, then add the milk mixture.
4. Pour the batter onto the fruit, dot with the butter and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until the batter is set. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Sift a little icing sugar over the top before serving warm.

Tip: You need perfectly ripe pears for this. If you can’t find them, then first poach the pear slices in a sugar syrup or sauté in butter until tender.

A World Tour of Music 3 – The Far East

In the musical traditions of China, Korea, Japan and Thailand the silence between the notes is as crucial as the notes themselves, making the music strange to western ears. Ken Hunt urges the unenlightened to marvel at what lies beyond the Great Wall.

While the culture of the Indian subcontinent has coloured the western psyche long enough to produce a receptivity to its two classical music systems, to a greater extent the music of the Far East remains, for western ears, as much a source of perplexity as an untapped source of joy for anyone willing to invest time in its myriad musical traditions. Much of it undoubtedly occupies a spatial and cultural realm of unfamiliar dimensions – ones often demanding westerners can easily dislocate their attention span from. Despite the best efforts of, say, Messiaen and his ballad-expansive rather than haiku-economical Sept Haïkaï, the temporal dynamics and musical organisation of the Orient may fox or nettle western conditioning attuned to that most human of rhythms, the heartbeat, or western bar lengths rather than extended cycles.

China, Korea, Japan and Thailand all have traditions placing great store in the judicious management of the silences between notes. Conceptually, silence can be as intrinsic to the piece’s appreciation as the notes sounded, as in ma (literally space), the note suspended in time and tempo and the surrounding silence, the picture and the frame, in Japanese court music.

Continue reading ‘A World Tour of Music 3 – The Far East’

Wordless Wednesday: Ireland is Awesome

cashel-rock

skellig

doonagore-castle

glanworth-bridge

Storytime: Little Miss Giggles and the New Job

giggles-new-jobYear: 1997
Author: Roger Hargreaves
Illustrator: Roger Hargreaves

Can you guess what Little Miss Giggles does every morning when she wakes up?

Yes, that’s right, she giggles!

And it’s the same story all day every day.

The tiniest thing makes her giggle and giggle.

Some people love Little Miss Giggles giggling… but some don’t.

Little Miss Greedy for instance.

Buy to find out more!

Music Monday: Feast of Light

Candlemas, Imbolc, Purification of the Virgin, call it what you want. It’s a joyful couple of days for Christian and Pagan alike. Whether it is the official wrap of the Christmas celebrations, or an acknowledgement of the lengthening days and the promise of returning spring, there’s music for it.


Month at a Glance

February 2016
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