A visit that means a lot

Betty ?” I heard a deep male voice over the phone. It sounded like my father. Who else, outside my family and people from my home village in France, would call me Betty? I remained quiet for a few seconds until realizing that in fact, it was indeed my father.

Vous êtes déjà arrivés ?” (Did you already arrive?) I asked, surprised.

I looked at my watch, and then at Lulu who was staring at my hand holding the phone. Then she looked at me, waiting for a push to get the swing moving. We had walked to the park, thinking we’d have time before my parents arrived. “P. est en route pour l’aéroport,” (P. is on his way to the airport) I went on. “Désolée, on ne savait pas que votre avion était en avance.” (Sorry, we didn’t know your plane was early.)

Perhaps my parents’ plane landed early because they felt impatient. It showed right away as they walked into the house to hug and kiss Lulu. Once. Twice. I quickly stopped counting. And instead I watched, and smiled, feeling so happy and thankful for that sweet moment between Lulu and her grandparents. The last time they had seen her was when we visited during the summer. Five months ago. I knew she would look like a different baby. And that she’d be a lucky one to have two fully dedicated playmates with her for two weeks. My parents are so good at it that it has me wonder whether they’ve taken a special class…just teasing. It’s a delight.

So this is what’s been happening in our home. The visit of my parents, as a start, which I’d very much been looking forward to. And me? Working long hours to revise the manuscript of my cookbook. Yes, it’s still going on and I have a new deadline! So add this to that, and this explains why there have not been many recipes and stories in this favorite space of mine. I cannot keep up at the moment.

I’m cooking a ton, mind you. So many foods, in fact. Having my mother in the kitchen by my side is precious. She likes to joke that she is my prep chef. I wish she were here all the time. She’s helping a ton, cooking homey foods for us–dishes I know so well. And miss.

On the night when they arrived, because they were tired from a long journey, I had prepared a light dinner. I made a soup. One that will be for the cookbook.

Vous n’allez manger que des plats qui seront dans mon livre,” (You”ll only eat dishes that will be in my cookbook) I added, laughing, as I ladled steaming red lentil soup in our plates.
Tant mieux!” (Good!) my mother answered.

I could see she was enjoying these simple foods. We had baguette, a wide selection of cheese–cannot have my father over without them–roasted beets and a green salad on the table too.

Et ça aussi ca ira dans le livre ?” (Will this go in the cookbook too?) my father asked when, after we were finished, I brought dessert. I was holding a dish filled with warm pears baked with ginger, lemongrass and vanilla in one hand, and a bowl with plain yogurt in the other.

Ah non, pas ça. Ça, c’est juste pour nous. C’est tout simple!” (Not this. This is just for us. Very simple.)

Within minutes, we cleaned the dish to the last bite.

I had forgotten how nice it actually is to have them over. We really love food in my family.

And it shows.

Thank you for your patience!

Baked pears with lemongrass, ginger and vanilla

Baked pears with lemongrass, ginger and vanilla

(For 4 people)

You need:

  • 4 small pears, peeled, halved and cored, drizzled with lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons blond cane sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 inch lemongrass stick, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Chopped unsalted green pistachios, to serve
  • Steps:

    • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
    • In a small bowl, combine the ginger, lemongrass, vanilla seeds and sugar; set aside.
    • In a pot, melt the butter and add the sugar mixture and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lime juice.
    • Place the pears, face up, inside a dish and pour the sauce over. Add the vanilla bean and bake for 40 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Serve with the sauce, chopped pistachios and plain Greek yogurt on the side.
    Posted in Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, Life and Us


    1. when time is so precious, so nice to spend it simply with family, I can smell the pears from here

    2. pas de commentaire : comme d’hab c’est super interessant et belles photos 🙂 Mais surtout je te souhaite beaucoup beaucoup de plaisir en compagnie de tes parents !

    3. I’m glad you’re having a pleasant reunion. Thanks for sharing the recipe…it’s lovely

    4. How very sweet…..love ur baked pears too…..oh the wonderfully tiny specs of vanilla beans…..
      Que Magnifigue este…bravo!!!!

    5. lovely story and i love your use of lemongrass in a dessert dish. i’m so accustomed to using lemongrass in savory dishes.

    6. Enjoy your parents and their love for you and your little Lulu. I know how it’s precious to have your family with you from time to time. I miss mine, too! Keep going with your book, it will be lovely. cheers Martina

    7. Ah now I miss my parents!! What a wonderful way to prepare the pears, loving the flavour combinations!

    8. OH how delicious and warming! The pears and the treasured visit! I hope your time together is all joyous and magical…


    9. I love to spend the time with my family, it’s the most important in my life. The pears look delicious.

    10. Between Lulu, the grandparents, and the wonderful food, this is bound to be an unforgettable visit, for all involved.

      Btw, I just picked up some pears this morning, and I think they’re destined for this delicious recipe.

    11. Oh lovely, and I bet Lulu just loved it so much. I’ve taken to cleaning all of K.’s plates of food and making larger portions of everything I make for her to feed me too when my husband isn’t home. I know she will love this, haven’t tried lemongrass on her yet. Profitez-bien tous de tes parents. =)

    12. This recipe, as simple as it is, is tempting and has “eat me!” written all over it 🙂 In fact, I think I’ll try it soon!
      And to not spoil anything, the pics are beautiful, as always.

      Glad to see you back here, and “bon courage” for your manuscript. Enjoy those two weeks with your parents 😉

    13. Sounds like everybody is enjoying each other and cooking, and eating and Lulu!!!
      This recipe looks so simple and wonderful…

    14. There is nothing like being in the kitchen with family! Enjoy it! And these pears look amazing – I have never combined coconut milk and pears but it sounds so lovely that I am going to have try it.

    15. what a nice story, and what a delicious recipe, y love love love pears! cheers from london

    16. So glad you are having a lovely time with your parents. Lulu must enjoy their company! 🙂 What a yummy recipe. Enjoy your family time.

    17. What lovely meal and reunion with your parents.
      I must ask…where do you get the lovely bowls you served your pears in?

      I treasure your website…

    18. J’ai guette tous les jours l’arrivee d’une nouvelle recette depuis le risotto. Te voila de retour! Hhhmm, les poires ont l’air delich’. Bon sejour en famille.

    19. It’s so precious to have your family with you from time to time.
      I miss mine very much because they live so far away from me!
      I look forward to your book!
      Justine :o)

    20. Salut Béa! J’etait un peu préoccupée par ton absence, mais je suis heureuse de savoir que la raison est la visite de tes parents et que tu va passer des merveilleuses journées entourée par leur amour.
      Tes poires cuites avec toutes ces épices parfumées sont, peut être, simples, mais leur arôme m’atteint en Italie!!!

    21. Love your writing style- so heartwarming just like your recipes. Have a wonderful time with your family and give Lulu a gros gros bisous for us!

    22. Hi, Bea, what do you do with the left over coconut milk. I presume you are using coconut milk in a can?

    23. Cooking with one’s mother is so special – I never feel closer to mine than when we’re cooking and eating together… I will be one of the first in line to order your book when it comes out.

    24. J’ ai tellement hate d’ avoir ton livre entre les mains !!! Merci mille fois encore pour toutes tes recettes qui sont TOUJOURS un regal pour mes amis et moi. Apres Wellington et Melbourne me voila de retour en France a Toulouse. J’ ai trouve un super chorrizo pour ta soupe aux lentilles blanches, et surtout j’ ai enfin reussi a pocher un oeuf sans que ce soit une vraie cata! finalement en 3 lignes tu sais resumer l’ essentiel ! La soupe etait excellente! J’ apprends tellement avec tes recettes! Merci merci encore

    25. Beautiful post….

      I know you are too busy to answer comments, but at some point I’d be curious to find out in which language you speak to Lulu – English/French 50/50?

      It is nice, she will be bilingual without any pain or struggle – much easier than learning later in life 🙂

    26. Such a lovely time to be had – grandparents and baby. And a lovely meal – these pears are gorgeous.

    27. Bonjour! J’adore votre blog – moi aussi, je suis une expatriée, mais dans l’autre sens, je suis une journaliste New Yorkaise qui habite à Paris et qui blog aussi
      Lafleurdeparis.blogspot.com // http://blogs.premiere.fr/rebeccaleffler/
      I love your writing and your recipes, especially this last post – I know how nice it can be to see your family when you’re living abroad, and especially de partager un bon repas ensemble.
      Enjoy every minute, keep the fantastic recipes coming, and bon appétit !!

    28. Love your blog – Maybe this year I’ll FINALLY get around to doing poached pears. Your recipe combines so many of my favourite flavours. Sourcing good pears in the UK isn’t that easy though. The one’s in the supermarkets are of such variable quality.

    29. Oh Bea, how gorgeous. Love the lemongrass touch. I just can’t WAIT to finally have this cookbook of yours in my hands – I’m so excited! =) xxx

    30. eatured your amazing site on my blog last month in January – and also will be giving my top 10 list of NESTING blogs to blogs.com – you are one of my top ten. Hope you can stop by Nest by Tamara and check it out, make a comment. Keep up the great work!

    31. This is just the type of simple dish that I love…it’s really these simple yet delicious food that makes up the backbone of life…

      I also love having my mom over and she is so good with my little one too…it really warms my heart to watch them together!

    32. Hi Bea, who has not been there before.. no worries!! I try to post as often as I can but most importantly, because I want to and is able to.. Enjoy your time with your mom & dad besides Lulu and P.

    33. Hi Bea, who has not been there before.. no worries!! I try to post as often as I can but most importantly, because I want to and is able to.. Enjoy your time with your parents & family

    34. Hi Bea, I really admire your blog. Your pictures are wonderful. How did you learn to shoot food? Sandra

    35. Ginger is such a great compliment to pears, and I love your addition of lemongrass to add another level of flavor and complexity. Great way to take traditional poached pears to another level!

    36. How lovely to have your parents come to spend time with Lulu. I’m not a grandma, but I do have about 35 great nieces and nephews, so I know how precious that time with the little ones can be. So happy for you.

    37. Beautiful memories you are making. In moments like that, watching my parents with my children when they were babies, I felt like I could almost see into a tiny window of the past went my parents were young. Maybe that was them then, as young parents over my sister and I. Lovely post! ~LeslieMichele

    38. What a nice dessert!
      And waiting impatiently for the book!!! 🙂

      Bon courage!

    39. Can’t decide which I love more, those sweet red and white bowls or those pears. Wait, the pears — I can get my hands on the pears. So lovely. Enjoy your precious time with grandmere et grandpere.

    40. What a beautiful essay – you get across the whole point of food – love, family, nurturing sustenance. And now I know what to do with the 2 kilos of pears my friend just dropped off … thank you and may you continue to enjoy your family’s visit!

    41. Hi Bea- You might recognize my name; I’m a fellow writer for the Boston Globe and a long time fan of your blog. You are such an inspiration.

      I am now living in San Francisco, and while Chicago is not as far from here as France is from Boston, I can empathize with your feelings for your far away family. My mom is coming next month, and I can’t wait to get in the kitchen with her…hopefully, I can post our progress on my new blog http://www.sweetkarolineadventuresinfood.blogspot.com

      I look forward to drooling over your photos and recipes in the future. Happy Cooking!

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    43. I did a post about my favorite food bloggers this morning and borrowed a few of your photos for your part. I hope you don’t mind. Your blog is truly one of my very favorites – love your photography~

    44. bonjour je viens souvent sur votre site car je suis sûre de trouver des recettes simples mais délicieuses et équilibrées mais je voulais juste vous demander que représentait 1 tasse de lentille et de légumes en gramme
      merci beaucoup

    45. I agree, there is nothing quite like watching your parents with your very young child. It allows you to see a side of them that you may have known was there, but that never completely revealed itself before in the same way. A well-loved and much-hoped for baby is such a gift for an entire family. Sounds like you’re having a wonderful, and delicious, visit together! The pear dish looks very tasty, and your photos as always are just lovely.

      Bea, I am eager to know when your book is scheduled for publication. Will it be in 2010?

      🙂 Jane

    46. “C’est tout simple”, mais ça a l’air tellement bon et plein d’amour !

      Profites-en bien !

    47. I have read your blog and admired your photos for so long. Now that you are a mother, I continue to be amazed by the way you still find the time to create such lovely posts. As a mom of two young boys, I realize over and again how often the simplest recipes can be the best if it gives me more time to just be with them. And your daughter will appreciate these family recipes when she can enjoy them more and more. I am also a local Boston Food blogger and look forward to any book events that you may have in the future.

    48. I just made this dish tonight, and it was wonderful. The flavors were amazing. I love roasted pear dishes, and out of all the ones I have prepared, this is my favorite. It had a nice tart but smooth flavor. And the pistachios really added a nice touch as did the exotic ginger and lemon grass. It really made roasted pears exotic in an elegant way. Bravo.

    49. I was on an amazing trip in Africa but without computer…I missed you so much!!! Great post! I miss my parents and my brother very much, but we live in the same country at least. We will be together for Easter holidays, I’m looking forward to taste my mothers amazing dishes again!…And I’m also looking forward to your book!

    50. Wow! It tasted wonderfully!!! My first baked pears that are so delicious!
      Looking impatiently for your book because your recipes are so inspiring and cosy. And of course, the pictures! They are stunning!
      Thank You, Beatrice, for sharing it all with everyone of us following your blog!

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    52. That look sooooo delicious! All of my favorite things combined into one. I will definitely give it a try as soon as I get my hands of some worthy pears. A chocolate cookie cigar on the side and I will be in heaven. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    53. On a essayé et c’était très, très bon… J’ai accompagné d’un petit sablé au zeste de citron et d’un trait de crème au tapioca pandan assez liquide. On a beaucoup aimé ton harmonie citronnelle/vanille/gingembre. Pour moi qui trouve très inhabituel d’utiliser de la citronnelle en dessert, c’était une agréable surprise! Bravo et merci beaucoup pour la recette.

    54. i love pears, an this dessert is already in my list of favorites, well done, cheers from london

    55. Thank you again everyone. I am so glad that those of you who tried the recipe enjoyed it! Makes me *happy*!

    56. Lemongrass in with the poached pears!!! What a gorgeous idea!!! Thanks for the inspiration!!!

    57. Your photography is ethereal… so beautiful. And this recipe – lime juice, fresh ginger, coconut milk, pistachios – I can taste it’s balance and artistry just viewing the ingredients. I enjoyed reading of your warm and lovely family.

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