I hate talking about the weather -  the final destination for any conversation on its last legs, drawing it's last, choking, rasping... breath. I can hardly believe though, how crazed the weather here has been. In the last 3 weeks, I've felt like a jetsetter, going through 2 or even 3 countries in the space of a day. Scorching afternoons have given way to blustery evenings, followed by torrential 30-second downpours that have finally settled into muggy, sweat-soaked restless nights. Would you believe that when I started putting the pears into the dessert coupe, it was sunny and by the time I'd carried everything to my balcony to shoot, it had started to pour in buckets?!

Challenged by the whimsical weather, I made this simple but equally flighty dessert that is lovely served either warm, to comfort on chilly days, or chilled, to cool you down when the heat becomes intolerable. So, come on Mother Nature, bring it on! I'm ready for anything... except a blizzard! The flavourings were inspired by a Thai titbit that consists of dried tamarind pulp flavoured with sugar, salt and chili ; it's hot, sweet, salty and sour all rolled into one, and highly addictive. Do try to get Forelle pears as 3 or 4 halves will fit perfectly into almost any short, wide glass, for a very pretty dessert. Looks aside, these pears have a wonderful texture and a mildly buttery, sweet flavour.

I like this just as it is but if you want something a bit more indulgent, serve the pear halves and syrup over a generous scoop of coconut or vanilla ice cream, or to keep it lean and healthy, a mound of lime or mango sorbet or granita. A word of caution: one bird's eye chili is plenty and this innocuous looking dessert packs a slow burn. Garnish with a few slivers of chili as fair warning, or, leave them out, if you are that  kind of host ;)

The first few mouthfuls will taste like any ordinary poached pear, but after the third or so bite, the chili will start to make its presence felt, as your lips begin to tingle deliciously. What fun for those serving then observing, the unsuspecting! Try not to look too much like a Cheshire Cat when you're sitting opposite intended victims...

Prep 10 mins     Cook 10 mins     Serves 3 - 4

1 cup Sauvignon Blanc, any dry white wine or dry white vermouth
1 cup water
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, use bottom half, trim and bash
1 fresh bird's eye chili, slash down the middle but don't cut through
2 level Tbsp fine sugar
6 small Forelle pears, peel, halve and core, leaving the stems on
Fresh sweet basil leaves to garnish
Chili slivers to garnish

Combine the wine, water, lemongrass, chili and  sugar in a small, deep pan. Stir until sugar dissolves. Avoid aliminium or cast iron cookware as discolouration will occur.

Add the pear halves to the liquid and bring to a boil. When liquid boils, turn heat down to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes (turning over halfway through cooking) or until pears feel just tender when gently squeezed.

Turn off heat and leave pears to steep in liquid another 5 minutes. Remove pears from liquid and strain syrup to clarify. I find disposable coffee filters very effective for this. Discard the chili and lemongrass. Pour the syrup over the pears, cover and chill for about 2 hours, or serve while still warm.

Serve 3 or 4 pear halves per person, with the syrup spooned over and garnish with  sprigs of sweet basil and a sprinkling of chili.

But wait! I'm not done yet. Because of......

Another Surprise !!
It's so true about it not raining but pouring, when it rains! Two days ago, I was pleasantly surprised to receive my first ever blog award and today, Kristy at My Little Space, passed these beautiful awards on to me. In this case, there's no such thing as too much rain.

Congratulations Kristy, on receiving these lovely awards and thank  you so very much, for passing them on to me, out of so many bloggers that you know! I am honoured. And now, I am done!