Cheese and pears are a delightful combination, and dessert pears make a refreshing change from avocados in this starter. Cornice are a good choice, as they are mouthwateringly juicy when fully ripe. Make sure they are still firm, though, because, as with all pears, they have to be eaten at just the right moment.
2 large dessert pears, ripe but firm
30 ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice
50 g (2 oz) curd cheese
75 g (3 oz) Stilton cheese, crumbled
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) mayonnaise
pinch of mustard powder
pinch of sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) poppy seeds
salt and pepper
1. Using an apple corer, remove the cores from the pears. Sprinkle the cavities with 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the lemon juice.
2. Cream together the two cheeses. Press as much mixture as possible into the cavities, then cover and chill until ready to serve.
3. Just before serving, whisk the oil, mayonnaise, remaining lemon juice, mustard, sugar, poppy seeds, salt and pepper together. Spoon on to 4 individual plates. Cut each pear in half lengthways then slice, fan out and arrange, cut side down, in the dressing.
Serve at once.