In the meantime I want to tell you a bit more about my Baby Brother, who I haven't seen for more than a year and missed very much. I briefly mentioned before that he is a coffee roaster, but that's not half of the story. This is what happened. Both my parents were lawyers, and Baby Brother decided to follow in their footsteps. However, after studying like mad for years and qualifying, he decided he'd rather be a filmmaker. As you do.
I was on holiday in the South Island of New Zealand when I got a call from him at four in the morning (time differences not something he appreciated fully at the time). After establishing that there is no major drama, we started talking about his future. He found a wonderful private film school in Wellington which he was dying to attend, and asked me if I'll be able to support him if he did. Of course I said yes (isn't that what big sisters are for?), and we shared a house in Wellington for almost a year.
Baby Brother (left), Director
We had a fabulous time. His homework was to watch as many movies as possible, so we frequented the cinemas alarmingly often. In that time he made a few films himself, and I was (and still am) tremendously proud of him. After graduation he worked on a few film sets, but when his visa ran out, he unfortunately had to come home. He needed a steady job to have his visa extended, and that's not something you find in the film industry.
Back home in South Africa work in the film industry is rather thin on the ground, and he started to look around for something else. Enter the Tribeca Coffee Company, a speciality roastery of fine coffee blends, who needed a master coffee roaster. Typical of the optimism of youth, Baby Brother decided a deep love of coffee must be all that's needed, applied, and got the job. And that's what he does now. He works quite hard, but he has an encyclopedic knowledge of coffee and coffee roasting, and, my favourite, he smells of coffee every night he comes home.
So, in honour of Baby Brother, I give you Pears in Coffee. We all know and love Pears in Wine, Pears in a Spicy Syrup, and Pears in Champagne. But Pears in Coffee will knock your socks off, I promise. The pears are poached in the coffee, and then the coffee is reduced to a syrup with the most intense coffee flavour. It is absolutely delicious. And if you want your house to smell like caramelised coffee for a couple of days, do what I did the first time I tried to make this last week and forget about the coffee on the stove. The syrup will burn to a thick paste that sticks to the bottom of the saucepan, but the smell is divine. Or just do it right the first time, and have the most delicious dessert without having to throw out the saucepan. And don't forget the cream.
Pears in Coffee
Enough for 6
6 pears, peeled and cored
1 litre freshly made coffee
6 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
Place the pears in a saucepan that is big enough to fit the pears snugly. Combine the coffee, sugar and spices, and pour over the pears.
Simmer the pears over medium heat until soft, but still firm.
Remove the pears and keep separate. Turn the heat up and boil the coffee until reduced to a syrup.
Serve the pears with the syrup and some cream.