Thursday, 7 April 2011

Bunch o' grapes starter

I don't know if you know this, but fruit and cheese are a match made in heaven. This is a lovely, fresh starter of a sensible size so as not to spoil your appetite. It's also ideally suited to the warmer weather we're currently enjoying in the UK.

It involves no cooking whatsoever, so you have the whole stove free for the main course. What's not to like?

1 fresh, ripe-but-firm-ish pear for every two people (you can used canned pears if you prefer)
Cream cheese (the lighter versions work just as well)
Seedless grapes (red or white)

    Fat side up
  • Peel and core the pears and cut them in half lengthwise.
  • Place each pear half on a plate, flat side down.
  • Holding the pear in place with a fork, spread it fairly thickly with cream cheese.
  • Slice the grapes lengthwise, and press them into the cheese, until the whole pear is covered.
  • When you serve this starter, Turn the plate so that the pear is fat side up, to give the appearance of a bunch of grapes. To increase the impression, stick a grape stem into the top end of each pear. If you have access to a vine leaf or two to place on each plate, so much the better.

Pears are absolutely perfect with blue veined cheeses such as Stilton or Roquefort. You may like to mash up a bit of this into the cream cheese to sharpen up the taste of the starter a bit. Just take care not to overdo it or the grapes won't stick.

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