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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.

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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Cracking stuff: Mark Hix adds crunch to classic autumn dishes with

Nuts are a great fresh or store-cupboard standby to have around in the kitchen. As well as their obvious nutritional benefits – they are high in protein and many essential vitamins – they make a lovely crunchy addition to starters, salads and desserts. Our climate is well suited to the growing of nuts, but sadly a lot of our nut trees seemed to have disappeared and we tend to rely hugely on foreign imports. If, however, you are a bit of a forager, then try getting the kids involved – as these days most of them seem to think nuts simply come out of a packet.