Hidden jewels: Skye Gyngell's pomegranate recipes will brighten even the darkest days

Crack open the tough shell of a pomegranate and inside is a sweet yet sharp ruby-red treasure that's well worth excavating

Although autumn and winter can seem a barren time for fruit, what little nature gives us is often extraordinarily beautiful. Pomegranates are deeply coloured ruby-red jewels that somehow warm even the darkest of days.

Not too sweet and slightly sharp, they grow under the wide-blue skies of the Middle East, and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes – working well with salty counterparts such as feta. Use them in desserts or in subtle sweet-and-sour sauces for grilled meat.

The only part of the pomegranate that is palatable is its seeds. To get to them, gently tap the outside of the fruit with a rolling pin, cut in half and prise the seeds out using your fingers.

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, www.petershamnurseries.com

Salad of Parma ham, walnuts, pomegranate and ricotta

This is very much an autumn salad – walnuts and pomegranates are perfect right now. Simple in its execution and not too heavy, it is a lovely way to begin a meal.

Serves 4

A handful of mixed autumn leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
A few drops of lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper
16 young wet walnuts
1 pomegranate, seeds only
8 slices of Parma ham
200g/7oz ricotta cheese
2 tbsp walnut oil

Dress the salad leaves with the oil and lemon, then season with a little salt and pepper and set aside while you shell the walnuts and take the seeds from the pomegranates.

Arrange the ham on the dressed salad leaves on a plate, then simply layer up alternatively the ham, small chunks of ricotta, walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Finish with a drizzle of walnut oil and serve.

Grilled leg of lamb with pomegranate and roasted spices

The salty, sweet taste of the lamb works well with the sharp, clean pomegranate. Ask your butcher to bone the leg for you and slice into 200g/7oz pieces, following the lamb's natural muscle groups.

Serves 4

1/2 tsp toasted fennel seeds
1/2 tsp toasted coriander seeds
1/3 tsp toasted cumin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1/3 fresh red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
1 pomegranate, seeds only
1 small bunch of mint leaves, finely chopped
800g/28oz prepared lamb
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Grind the spices with a pestle and mortar until broken up. Place a small frying pan over a medium heat with the oil and, when warm, add the spices and onion. Turn down the heat slightly and sauté the onions for 15 minutes; they should be soft and translucent. Add a pinch of salt, the chilli and vinegar and turn the heat up slightly to burn off the vinegar a little. Add the pomegranate seeds (see introduction) and cook for a minute or so more, add the mint, stir once or twice then remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary.

Rub each piece of lamb with oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat your grill pan and lay the lamb on top, well spaced apart. Cook without turning for six minutes then turn and cook on the other side for five minutes more. This will give you lamb that is pink inside. Remove from the heat and lay to rest for 10 minutes in a warm place. Slice each piece of lamb in half, place on warm plates and spoon over the pomegranate sauce.

Steamed pudding with prunes and pomegranate

Serves 4

For the sponge

100g/31/2oz unsalted butter, plus a little extra to grease the pudding moulds
100g/31/2oz caster sugar
2 eggs
100g/31/2oz self-raising flour
The zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
2 knobs of stem ginger, finely chopped
A little pinch of salt
3 tbsp Pedro Ximénez sherry or marsala wine
12 plump, soft prunes
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 pomegranate, seeds only

Pour the sherry into a small saucepan and gently warm through. Remove the stones from the prunes and chop roughly. Sprinkle over the sugar and pour over the warm alcohol. Set aside to macerate. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4 and butter four pudding basins. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Sift the flour and fold in gently. Finally, add the lemon zest, ginger and salt. Remove the pomegranate seeds from its skin, stir into the prunes and spoon the mixture into each pudding mould, dividing evenly between them. Now pour the sponge mixture on top. Cover each pudding basin loosely with a little buttered foil and stand each pudding on a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes until well risen and cooked through. To test, insert a skewer through the centre; it should come out clean. Run a small knife around each pudding and turn out on to a warm plate. Serve with thick cream.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam