Saturday, 5 November 2011

In memory of my grandpa Lance Taylor

Firstly can I apologise to those who regularly read my blog – it has been an unbelievable few weeks and I have been rather aloof when it comes to the blogging unfortunately.

But I’m back and I’ll start with the good news, I have an exciting new job!!
It wasn’t easy, I spent a good week or so filling in the application in the evenings after work then another week attempting to prepare for the interview, hence not finding time to blog.

But last Sunday, when I was about to start the real hard work, my grandpa passed away. He’d been in hospital for an operation but I never expected he wouldn’t come out again, he was so strong, but his old and fragile body couldn’t take anymore, and I think he wanted to be with grandma so he left us.

It was a shock, and needless to say the job interview was put to the back of my mind for a while. In between all this I organised a charity day at work which involved baking 40 cupcakes and a carrot cake. We raised £230 for local hospices and my cakes went down a storm.

Tough does not explain how these past few weeks have been, but I believe my grandpa was with me during the interview and he'd be really proud. So I hopefully start in four weeks!!

I wanted to show off my cupcakes, but seeing as a good percentage of my recipes are baking related, I thought I’d better find something else. Plus, according to the Daily Mail today, the sweet treats are now as addictive as cocaine, and grandpa wouldn't want me to promote that!!

Here's a recipe which is really easy to make but it requires patience while the pears cook, it’s a baked pear salad with rocket, gorgonzola, walnuts and crispy pancetta.
The tastes of the sweet pears and the strong cheese explode and mix together on your palette and it’s a zingy, fresh flavour which tastes like a restaurant dish.

As a starter this is perfect for a dinner party to impress friends. I decided to have it as a main course salad one night, and to be honest the strong flavours were too much, so whilst the photo shows a main dish, I would stick to a start portion in the future. Once cooked, the pears and their sauce will save covered in the fridge for up to five days.


Four large ripe conference pears
8 tbsp maple syrup
8 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
200g gorgonzola, broken up with a fork
50g chopped rocket
75g chopped walnuts
Few strips of pancetta, cooked until crisp
Extra virgin olive oil


Set the oven to 160C/Gas 3. Cut the pears in half lengthways and scoop out the core and pips with spoon.
Drizzle over the maple syrup and olive oil, and a touch of salt and pepper, and bake in the oven for around 2 hours, or until the pears are shrivelled, soft and browned.
Put the rocket on a plate then add the cheese, walnuts and pancetta and drizzle with olive oil, adding a little pepper.
Lay two or three pear halves on top of the salad and sprinkle with a little extra chopped walnuts.

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