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please note
This recipe was edited 6 January 2010 after a reader pointed out the green ginger was missing from the recipe — thanks Christine!

harvesting wild
Nothing tastes as good as wild, but care does need to be taken as many of these wild harvests are regarded as noxious and sprayed by local councils and farmers. Blackberries are a fruit that particular care needs to be taken about and we always get well back off of the main track to collect fennel seed and other wild treasures.
if in doubt
ask the people living nearby they will surely know what the local council does, and failing a good answer ring the local council.

pear, green ginger and
wild fennel paste

makes 30cm slab

1500g firm pears, peeled and cored weight
60g green ginger, peeled weight finely grated
1200g sugar
1200g water
5g wild fennel seed, dry roasted and crushed
2g salt
25g agar agar

method
Prepare a metal container for the paste by lining it with baking paper or you can make the paste straight into silicon forms.
Put the pears,green ginger, sugar and water in a large saucepan and place on high heat. Stir just long enough to lift the sugar from the bottom. Boil until they pears are soft and the liquid reduced by about half.
Remove the pears and puree them or use a stab mixer, add the fennel and salt.
Add the agar agar to the syrup and boiling rapidly, add the pear puree. Care needs to be taken because it plops like quince paste, you know like a mud hot spring and is quite dangerous. Boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes then scrape into the prepared tray.

Allow to cool completely,stand a rack on top and cover with a towel.

The next day, wearing food service gloves, cut into manageable portions and wrap in baking parchment.

shelf life?
This was a new recipe in 2009. We refrigerated 90% and are left the other 10% at what is basically cellar temperature 16–18°C. The paste was all packed wearing food service gloves, but the paste that wasn’t refreigerated quickly developed mould.

options — we have been rolling pieces in crushed pistachio… looks and tastes gorgeous!