6-8 Firm pears such as Beurre Bosc

Salt water about 20ml salt per litre to prevent pears from browning. I find it easy to prepare the pickle first, then you can place the pears directly into it as you peel them, then you can forego the salt water

For the pickle you need

300ml cider vinegar (or white grape vinegar)

100ml water or white wine

200ml sugar

5ml salt

5 All Spice or Pimento

10ml Fennel seeds

2ml peppercorns (I use a mix of black, white and pink)

2-3 Star Anise

1-2 Quills cinnamon

A strip of lemon zest

To prepare

Peel the pears thinly either keeping them whole, with the stalks on or cutting them into halves or quarters. Halves and quarters will have a better and quicker brine penetration.

Peeled pears turn brown very quickly, so either dunk them into salt water or directly into the brine.

To prepare the brine, place all the ingredients into a non-reactive (stainless steel or enamelled) saucepan. Bring it to the boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the pears and allow to simmer until the pears are tender when tested with a vegetable knife or a skewer.

Allow the pears to cool in the liquid. Store in a non-reactive* container in the fridge until required.

Serve in a salad, with a terrine or with cheese.

If you are making a salad use equal quantities of the pickle juice and olive oil for a delicious dressing

* what is a non-reactive container

Most metals react with the acid in the vinegar, unless you are using stainless steel or enameled containers, but then check that the enamel has no chips ! Glass or porcelain are safe as they are non-reactive!