Marshall Street Baths & Poached Pears

My last day of freedom for some time, so on with the nice things.

First, Marshall Street Baths are the most expensive public swimming baths I have been to in London and also, by quite some way, the prettiest.  The roof is barreled.  The surround is tiled.  The floor is marbled.   A fountain with dolphins stands guard over the shallow end.  The depth of the pool in feet at various points is chiselled into the stones.  It’s stunning.  Hard to believe you’re only five minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus.

Second, back to Gelupo.  Today’s flavours were pear, ricotta and cinnamon, and “fresh mint straciatella,” which is to mint choc chip as diamond is to coal.

Third, walking out in the sunshine to see autumn show its colours.  Vines:

Autum crocus:

Dahlias:

Fourth and finally, poaching some pears on a variation of this recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and crew.  I didn’t bother with making the syrup, I just diluted some Monin grenadine syrup instead, which also obviates the vanilla.  The star anise was elusive.  I tried two corner shops and two supermarkets before coming up trumps at the grocer’s just on the right as you come out of Finchley Road tube.  It’s worth the effort though: a warm, liquorice smell that pervades the kitchen.

It is very pretty as it cooks:

And pretty on the plate:

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