(Serves 6)


1 vanilla pod
1 bottle red wine
225g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick, halved
2 star anise
zest of 1 orange
6 pears, peeled, cored and cut to stand


Halve the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the black seeds and put in a large saucepan with the wine, sugar and spices.

Put the pears in the pan and poach with the lid on for 20-30 mins.  The cooking time will very much depend on the ripeness of your pears – they should be tender all the way through when pierced.

Remove the pears from the pan, then boil the liquid down until syrupy to form your red wine reduction.