It could be because my Mum used to poke me in the stomach and shout ‘Pull it in!’ when I was little (page 17 of ‘Stellar Parenting Techniques of the 1970’s) or it could be that I’m very shallow and have bought into the hype about needing a flat tummy to be beautiful.
The chances are it also has something to do with having been pregnant four times and realising that the words ‘trim’ and ‘taut’ will never again apply to my tummy.
I just don’t like it when I overeat and my gut sticks out. But of course I like to overeat and then my gut sticks out.
Why am I talking about this? Well, I recently left Paris (oh, have I mentioned that?) and leaving Paris involved a lot of eating and drinking and farewell lunches and crying and comfort eating. And my gut sticking out.
Floaty summer tops are a godsend at times of fat tummies, but so is Poire Belle Hélène. I had never tried this dessert before, but conscious of my waistline and because it contained pear (healthy) I gave it a whirl.
I was a bit shocked that the pear was cold (it was poached) but topped off with warm chocolate sauce and a little vanilla ice-cream, it worked. Ok, it worked for my palate, but not really for the tummy-has-become-a-tyre thing.
And now, the pear tree in the garden has gone mad. It has decided that this is the year when it will overwhelm me with fruit having done pretty much nothing for the last five years. Thanks pear tree.
But wait! We're at the Summer/Autumn cross-over which means I can alternate floaty tops with bulky sweaters! And I've worked out how to make Poire Belle Hélène in an allergy-friendly way! It's definitely time to over/comfort-eat.
And who really cares about fat tummies? Because soon it will be 'Winter' also known as 'Camouflage Season'. It's my best time of year.
Bring on the Poire Belle Hélène!
Poire Belle Hélène
This is so easy to make. And if you have some of my vanilla ice cream in your freezer, you can dollop that on as well. The pears can be poached in advance (24 hours and kept in fridge) and can even be frozen. Ta-daa!
For the sauce:
100g dark chocolate (dairy free)
1-2 tbsps dairy free margarine
a squirt of agave syrup
vanilla essence / cointreau (well, why not?)
dairy free vanilla ice cream
Peel the pears but leave the stalks in place
Place them in a saucepan and add enough water to cover them. Add a good squirt of lemon juice and a dollop of honey/agave syrup. Cover and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 45 minutes, but keep checking with a skewer to see if they are ready earlier. The flesh will be tender, but not breaking off
Leave the pears to cool in their juice, or if pushed for time whip them out and let them cool...um in the fridge or something
To make the sauce, melt the chocolate in a bain marie. When melted remove from the heat and add the margarine. Stir until melted, putting the bowl back over the steaming water if necessary
Add the agave syrup to taste and then pour over your lovely poached pears
Add a dollop of dairy-free ice-cream if you wish. I'm a bad woman and didn't have any to hand for the photograph. I probably need my Mum's 'Stellar Parenting Techniques of the '70's' handbook don't I?!