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
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
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

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas