It’s Sunday. I’ve been sat on my settee since about 3pm this afternoon. The fire is roaring, we’ve had hot chocolate with squirty cream and next to me is a few leftover slices of pear and ginger traybake.
It is utter, utter bliss.
The urge to hibernate is becoming more powerful as I become increasingly aware of the seasons. As we approach Halloween, as the evenings become darker, as we’re forced to do less outside, as the rain comes and the wind begins to howl down the chimney, I finally allow myself to relax. On a Sunday I have the need to be in front of the fire early in the afternoon covering my legs with a blanket; surrounding myself with books and notebooks.
Next to me on the table is an assortment of books and magazines reflecting the time of year. Right now it includes books on hygge as well as Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie. I like to tie in my reading with the yearly celebrations. Mind you, I can’t do ghost stories. But I adore a classic murder mystery. If I’m lucky there might be a re-run of Miss Marple on the TV, too, based around an old manor house surrounded by trees and the forbidding darkness. (There is always a female fox crying out in murder mysteries, which always gives me the chills.)
The pear and ginger traybake recipe below is a British take on Halloween from Bettys who have asked me what my halloween traditions are. And our halloween traditions are, simply, cosying up as a family. We carve pumpkins, we place them by the fire, we bake, draw the curtains, lock the doors, maybe get out the Monopoly and hibernate. My son has asked to watch a spooky programme on the television this year, too, so that should be fun…
Recipe for Pear & Ginger traybake (ever so slightly adapted from the original by Bettys).
- 200g butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g dark soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
- 1 cm stem ginger, grated
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 pears, ripe, cut into 1cm squares
- 2 eggs
- 120mls milk
- 200g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- (To decorate) 50g white chocolate
- Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees fan.
- Prepare a 20-25cm baking tin, at least 3cm deep, by lining with baking parchment.
- In a bowl mix the butter, sugars, vanilla and cardamom.
- Add the grated and ground ginger, plus the diced pears.
- Stir in the eggs and milk then the flour and baking powder.
- Once well combined spread out in the baking tin and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
- It is done once golden and if it springs back when you press it lightly with your finger.
- Allow to cool slightly then remove from the tin and place on a wire cooling rack.
- Melt the chocolate (either in the microwave or over a pan of hot water) and create a spider’s web on top.
- Cut into squares and serve.