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.

Cold comfort: Mark Hix's makes the most of root vegetables with his

Winter doesn't have to be about exclusively eating warming stews, braises and heavy stuff. Salads with seasonal wintry ingredients can be enjoyed equally as much as lighter, summery salads. And although I admit that it sounds unlikely, roots and tubers, either raw or slightly cooked, make delicious salads, especially with a few winter leaves thrown in.

Tamada, 122 Boundary Road, London NW8

Sunday lunchtime can be the loneliest time of the week for the exiled traveller, yearning for the comfort food of their distant homeland. So my guest, the American musician Loudon Wainwright, got excited when I told him I was taking him for lunch in a Georgian restaurant. That was until I explained I meant Georgia the country, not the state. "Oh... great," he lied feebly.

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Sweet as a nut: New-season walnuts are creamy, delicate and a cracking

Autumn is the time to be on the look-out for fresh nuts, especially walnuts and the young sweet hazelnuts known as cobnuts. It doesn't surprise me that some people turn their nose up at walnuts, but I think that's because very few have access to the new season's crop. Young walnuts, known as wet walnuts, are sweet, creamy and earthy, whereas an older nut not stored properly will quickly turn rancid. Always buy nuts in their shell and store them in a cool, dark place.