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COLIN'S COOKERY COLUMN

Rushmore's

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For details on
my book
"Tales of a
Norfolk Chef"
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Recipe Number Twenty Two November 2004
Baked Pear & Almond Tart

For details on
my book
"Tales of a
Norfolk Chef"
Click Here

Is it me, or is this what they call sods law? But it seems that every set of traffic lights are just waiting for me to get within striking distance, and then they have this desire to turn to red. So there I was sitting at the lights when a car pulls up beside me. Hey look at me! I started off life as a little red Ford but now look at me! The driverís desire to own a fast car had been taken a tad to far. The windows had had a make over with a black tint; the boot had a spoiler that was in no way, even in the driverís wildness dreams, going to benefit the handling of the car. A miss-fitting front spoiler had been added, so stopping the car from ever driving on a road that contained  sleeping policemen. The final touches and insults were a set of wheel trims normally retailing at £75.00 but his was a snip at just £30.00, and the price included a set of go faster strips that went a long way to improve the overall appearance of the car. The only thing that I found I could commend this young guy for, was that he must have just come back from a mission from the Congo or so it sounded from the bang banging sound that was coming from within the car. I thought that he must be giving a lift to at least fifty of the entire long lost tribe from the village of Mango Wally from deepest Africa. I was almost over come in a few seconds by the sounds of the drums as I remembered my holiday in that Bootifull country. The lights changed to green and we both made our move. Looking at the car, I could just make out, through the darkened glass that had worn off in places, the driver. Now by the fact that he was giving it 4000 revs I knew he was up for it. I was only stopped from getting into second gear by 007ís smoke screen as he pushed his foot to the floor. As he slowly drew away, I could see how all the bits and bobs, that had been carefully added to the car, were doing their bit in the performance of the Ford as she drifted from one side of the road and then back to the other as he tried to control the car.

It was only a week later and sodís law played its part again. Same set of traffic lights, so there I was waiting for the lights to change to green and guess what happened? Up pulled this car. Look at me, go on look at me, it seemed to say. So I did. It was a goddess on wheels. Dark blue in colour, the carís body contours were designed by some Italian clever fellow; long and sleek, and not a go faster strip in sight. As we waited for the lights to change, his car engine like a sleeping cat just purred. We both moved away. As the lights changed he was behind me, but as soon as we left the speed limit he showed me what the car could do as he sped past me and he was gone. It was one of the cars that will, if required, travel from nought to sixty in around six seconds.

Nought to sixty in six seconds!!!! I have just done nought to sixty but I must say at a little slower speed. Yes, in September it seemed that the age of sixty years of age was imminent. As I approached the special day it seemed like a barrier in time for me, but now itís gone I feel that one can return back to any age that you wish to be. For me thatís 16 years of age when I was living in the sixties, and with that in mind yours truly is feeling great.

As a special birthday treat I was given a docket from Mrs R. to spend a whole day fishing. The docket was signed in triplicate and stamped by some high-ranking officer. So there was no way she could change her mind. I of course decided that I would take full advantage of this and left Rushmore Towers at the crack of dawn. Still in the back of my mind the thought that at any time the docket for a days fishing may be taken away. I decided to leave as fast as possible and in doing so almost ran over Mrs. Rís old bike, left over from the days when she did the early morning paper round. Since she gave up the paper round she has received hundreds of letters and cards asking her if she will reconsider and return. These have now stopped as Mrs R at last recognised my handwriting, which appeared on most of them. I am glad in a way as it was costing me a small fortune in stamps.  After an hours drive I was at the riverbank. I was today fishing for my favourite fish, the pike, and within a little while I had my first rod set up and I was ready to go. I decided to cast the first of my bait around twenty yards, very close to some reeds and this I did. I had no sooner turned around to pick up my second rod when the buzzer went on my first rod. This sent me running with a strike into a pike of 14.5oz. After around ten minutes the fish was in the net, not a bad start!!

Some people say that they don't understand why we do it. For me it's an escape, it's the hunter in me, it's a way of being with nature, its what you want it to be! When you tell people you then sat on a hard plastic fishing box for the next three hours watching a float that's bobbing up and down they say that you must be mad. I don't disagree with that, it helps to be slightly mad when it comes to watching the float for that length of time, even if its on your sixtieth birthday! Then it happened, just at a time when I thought that I would jack it all in, the red and yellow float just disappeared from view. I could not believe my luck, at last we had a fish on. As I tightened up I knew that that pike on the other end was not going to give up without a fight. 15 minutes later and after a devil of a fight I had the fish in the net. It was at that second I knew that I had just caught what was for me the fish of a lifetime. The pike weighed 27lb, 2oz. What a birthday present, and on arriving home Mrs R. had cooked me my favourite a pear and almond tart! What a day a record pike and a pear and almond tart, one couldn't ask for more even for a lad of only sixteen!!!

Baked pear and almond tart

Make a sweet pastry to fill a 9-inch deep tart or flan tin. Line out the tin with the sweet pastry and once this has been done spread a good layer of apricot or strawberry jam on the bottom of the pastry. Next open a tin of dessert pears, drain off the juice and set aside. Place the pears on top of the jam, flat side on the jam. Now this is where we can cheat a little. Buy a packet of sponge mix add the pear juice, instead of water, to the sponge mix. Once it is ready add a few drops of almond essence and whisk well together, pour the sponge mix into the pastry case and over the pears. When this has been done pop the tart into a medium warm oven for twenty to thirty minutes or until you feel that the pastry and sponge is cooked. Serve warm with custard or a good blob of ice cream, birthday candle well that's up to you!!!

Colin Rushmore

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