I don’t menu plan, it’s all the rage right now, apparently it’s supposed to save you time and money. That’s great, but what about a daily dose if use-your-imagination? I get frustrated that I’m boxed in, that there’s no flexibility, no choice, no spur of the moment kitchen flare.
So each morning, I look in the fridge, have a think about proteins or even whole meals that are in the freezer and I plan from there. I definitely buy things on grocery day with intent. I mean, there’s only one reason that there’s a ham hock in the freezer, I just don’t know when that pea and ham soup will appear on our menu.
So our grocery days are always just a top up of what we have. We always have a full pantry, the staples are there and even on the last couple of days of the fortnight, we can scrape together a nutritious meal.
Market days are a bit more fun. We only buy local and seasonal. Walking down the aisles of the small barn where the local produce market is help a bag of pears caught my eye. My constant need for snacking requires something healthy, because it’s generally easier to grab an unhealthy snack, especially since Easter has just passed.
Turns out the pairs were cooking pears, and terribly grainy. So what else do you do, but poach them and make a cake!
This cake is dense, but light, has a wonderful texture and is enhanced by the secret soft sweetness of the poached pears on the inside.
Do you menu plan? Do you organise you meals days, weeks or hours in advance? Or knock something up right before dinner?
- 500gm pears - peeled, quartered and cored
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 cloves
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 200 g butter
- 200 g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 70 g ground almonds
- ½ cup sour cream
- Put water, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves in a medium pot, stir until sugar dissolves.
- Add pears, cover with baking paper and lid and simmer for 10 mins.
- Remove pears with slotted spoon, keep poaching liquid.
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius, butter a bundt tin.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mix well between each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
- Gently fold in dry ingredients, and sour cream.
- Spoon half of mixture into pan, cover with poached pears, cover with remaining cake batter. Smooth with spatula.
- Bake for 50 mins, cool for 10 mins, then turn out onto cake plate and spoon some of the poaching liquid over the cake.