Dried-fruit compote

This recipe is Persian in origin and was given to me by my friend Greg Malouf.Found in his beautiful book Saraban (Hardie Grant Books, £30), it is the perfect way to eat fruit when not in season. All the dried fruit used in this recipe should be fairly easy to find in Middle Eastern stores or any good health-food shop or delicatessen.

For the syrup

250g/8oz caster sugar
250ml/8fl oz water
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
6 cardamom pods
The peel of one orange
The peel of one lime
1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
12 dried figs
cup golden raisins
6 Medjool dates
6 dried pears
6 prunes
75g/3oz shelled walnuts

Combine the sugar and water over a medium heat in a heavy-based pan, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves, then add the spices and citrus peel, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Add the ginger and dried fruit and walnuts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Once cool, place in the fridge. It will keep well refridgerated for a week or so.