On the 1st day of reading…

On the 1st day of reading my library gave to me:
a partridge with a pear brie … sauce.

christmas recipeFeeling festive? Chances are excellent that food plays a part in memories of your favourite celebrations.

So, let’s kick off this celebration of all good things bookish with a look at those most practical and battle-stained of books: cook books.

If you’re after some seasonal inspiration, search for ‘Christmas cooking’ in the library catalogue as a subject – you’ll get some of the loveliest recipe books from which to make your selection. Just follow the link on the image on the left to have a look at that one in the catalogue.

We’d love to hear about your favourite cookbooks, or favourite recipes in the comments, below.

To get us started, I thought I’d share a recipe for partridge (or chicken thighs) with a pear brie sauce:

First up, pat the skin of the poultry dry and season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you’re doing partridge, wrap it in bacon. Roast your partridge or chicken thighs in a baking dish in a hot oven around 200 degrees Celsius fan-forced – I like to put a punnet of cherry tomatoes, some garlic cloves, and a sliced onion in between the pieces while roasting. You can also throw in olives and cubed pancetta if you like. It’s all good.

Slice a round of brie into thin slices – you may prefer to remove the rind, but I don’t mind it.

When the meat juices run clear (should take about 30 minutes) remove from oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. If you have a partridge, cut it in half with kitchen shears. Put on plates, with some tomatoes and onion etc and lay slices of brie over the meat. Top with a pear sauce.

Pear sauce? I’m glad you asked.

You can make the pear sauce up to a week in advance and keep it sealed in a container in the fridge.

Put 2 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in a saucepan.

Peel, core and chop 4 or 5 pears. As you do this, add them to the lemon water and stir to coat, to avoid them browning.

Add half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and half a teaspoon of nutmeg (or substitute with ground ginger or cloves if you prefer).

Put on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until you can smoosh the pear easily.

Remove from heat, allow to cool, and smoosh it with a masher or blend it if you prefer a smooth sauce consistence.

You can eat the sauce hot or cold, and it is a match made in heaven with the brie.

For anyone who would prefer to skip the meat part of this recipe have a look at the delightful pastry-wrapped pear, brie and cranberry sauce creation, with an image of a partridge safely ensconced in its tree, over on the What Will We Do Today? blog.

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