Fresh ideas: Delicious dishes made with seasonal produce

Posted on: 30th Jan 2016 by: Aldo Zilli


2 duck breasts (about 140g each)

½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 large orange

4 spring onions, finely sliced

2 large carrots, thinly sliced

½ cucumber, thinly sliced

½ Chinese cabbage, finely shredded

2 large handfuls of salad leaves (baby spinach, baby kale, Little Gem)

Large handful of fresh mint leaves

Large handful of fresh coriander leaves

1 pomegranate, halved

For the dressing:

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

Small thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated


PREPARATION: 20 MINUTES (plus resting time)


Preheat oven to 200°C/392°F/gas mark 6. 

Place the duck on a chopping board and score the skin diagonally with a sharp knife at 1cm intervals. Rub all over with the sea salt and five-spice powder. 

Place an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Without waiting for the pan to get hot, place the duck in the pan, skin side down, and cook for about 6 minutes, or until the skin is crispy. Tilt the pan towards you and remove the fat with a spoon. Turn the breasts over and then place the pan in the oven for 8 minutes. Transfer to a chopping board, cover with foil and leave to rest. 

Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Slice off the orange peel and white pith. Cut out the orange segments and set aside. Squeeze any remaining juice into the dressing. 

Mix together the spring onions, carrots, cucumber, cabbage, salad leaves and herbs and toss with the dressing.

Serve the salad with the duck slices, orange and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds. 




110g butter, plus extra for greasing

150g light muscovado sugar

2 large free-range eggs

210g plain flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground cardamom

12 firm, ripe fresh figs, sliced in half

50g flaked almonds

Floral honey, to drizzle

Vanilla yoghurt, to serve


PREPARATION: 30 MINUTES (plus cooling)


Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F/gas mark 4 and grease and line a 20cm spring-form cake tin with parchment paper.

Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until they are incorporated. Fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cardamom until you have a thick batter.

Finely chop 6 of the figs, leaving the rest cut in halves. Stir through the chopped figs and pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Use a spatula to spread it across the base of the tin. Gently press the fig halves, cut side up, into the batter and sprinkle over the almonds.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and cover the cake with foil if you find the almonds are browning too much.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. While the cake is still warm, prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle with honey, letting it seep into the holes. Serve generous slices of the cake on plates with a dollop of the vanilla yoghurt.