A Right Pear


Chilli Crab Cakes with Thai style salad.

“Why do you want that one?” a baffled DJ Ozz asks? Mata and I smother our smirks….the detritus of breakfast remains scattered before us and the Gascon sun beats down.

“It’s a nice shape – it’s a perfect shape” I respond, and “It will look lovely on the cheese board”…. says Mata. DJ persists with, It’s too high up, we’ll never reach it, we don’t have a ladder, it’s probably not ripe, oh don’t be ridiculous and so on…..Stepney arrives. “They want that pear” says DJ. “What pear?” says Stepney (hands go onto hips in a familiarly indignant pose). “That one there ” Mata and I point insistently “the one hanging out over the edge”.

“Oh… that one.  Don’t be ridiculous!” Stepney re-takes his seat and pours himself a cuppa…imagining that would be the end of the saga (or rather, hoping it would be). Mata, rises to her feet and starts to work on Rocket, he likes a challenge. Rocket, wanders across the grass to the tree, a glint in his eye – on this occasion he is in league with Mata and I.  Stepney, reluctantly rises and inches toward the IMG_1894tree, realising that resistence will prove futile.  DJ stays put,  calls out “we’ll never reach it’s too high”  he turns his back……a makeshift scaffold begins to evolve, chairs on tables, tables on chairs and so on… and the sun beat down.

“Now, who is the tallest?” Rocket asks mischievously, DJ rolls his eyes and shuffles forward making his protests as he does so.  “He doesn’t like heights” stage whispers Mata….we start to giggle. Precariously balanced at the top of the scaffold, with Rocket and Stepney holding his ankles, DJ waves his arms around in the general direction of the Pear – but he is a good metre short of the forbidden fruit, and the sun beats down. The DJ grabs at another fruit, pulls it off and climbs down emphatically – he stalks back to the safety of the breakfast table. Mata and I say – “it’s the wrong one” …..our words are met with a few hard stares.  Scarred, battered and brown though it was, ( the pear, not the DJ) we were pleased they made the effort.  Mata proudly displays the specimin below, and off we shuffled to load the dishwasher for the first of several more times that day. More tasks were debated but few were actually followed through.IMG_1895

For two days running we produced our cheese plate without said pear,  having completely forgotten it was there…..this was probably because of the piles of cheese and charcuterie occupying the gap in our minds and the space in our bellies.  Eventually we put it into a Thai style salad in place of a papaya or mango and I must say it worked quite well (the salad recipe is featured in an earlier post here …substitute the papaya for some pear..bla bla bla…).  We accompanied the salad with some crab cakes that are very simple to do.

IMG_3954To some white crab meat we added grated ginger and garlic, some chopped green chilli’s, some finely chopped spring onion, a little fish sauce, a squeeze of lime juice and a little salt and pepper. We mixed it through and then sprinkled with flour and enough egg to give a sort of dropping consistency to the mixture. Once done, we put some oil into a frying pan and fried on both sides until golden and crisp. We added a dipping sauce and devoured with the salad.

IMG_3117On another time when in France making Thai food ( as you do) the job of dipping sauce fell to my friend The Marmoset along with Stepney – I’m still slightly baffled as to why we thought it was a job for two people but there you are. Let’s just say that they undertook an extremely detailed approach to their creation and so never again shall I be prescriptive about what should go into said sauce – for fear it may never materialise. For blog purposes  I’ll confirm the ingredients as; rice wine vinegar with a dash of warm water a splash of lime, a squirt of fish sauce, sugar, some chopped chill, cucumber and carrot, There now, no part of that could be measured by minute droplets such as those two did. Back to the tale.

The crab cakes and salad were followed by a Thai red curry made using a lovely cheat of a Tesco finest red curry paste (not many decent curry pastes in our part of France, so we took one with us!)  we added coconut milk and that was that.  I can recommend the sauce, especially for a quick meal with no faffing. I must say that I think the salad would have been nicer with a perfect shaped pear but it was ok, under the circumstances…More tales from the Pyrenees soon.


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