Conference pear, Barkham blue and walnut salad

Serves 4

There are still good leaves around in the winter months such as watercress, rocket and small spinach leaves. This is a good light salad or starter. Barkham blue is one of my favourite British blue cheeses, made at Two Hoots Cheese (0118-976 0401; or e-mail twohoots.fc@btinternet.com) near Wokingham by Sandy Rose who has also just won the Best British Cheese in the British Cheese Awards. You can also buy it at Paxton and Whitfield (paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk).

Couple of handfuls of small salad leaves such as buck leaf sorrel, landcress or watercress
2 ripe conference pears, peeled, cored and cut into thin 2-inch strips
30-40 good quality walnut halves
2tsp sea salt
1tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
120-150g Barkham blue cheese

For the dressing

1tbsp cider vinegar
2tbsp rapeseed oil
2tbsp vegetable or corn oil
1tsp grain mustard

Put the walnuts on a tray; scatter with sea salt, then drizzle over a tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil. Lightly colour under a pre-heated grill for a few minutes, turning every so often. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing; toss the leaves and pears in the dressing and arrange on plates. Break the cheese into small pieces and scatter on the salad.

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