Ways with mandarins

Simmer equal quantities of sugar and water in a pan with a cinnamon stick, a couple of cloves and bruised cardamom pods and a strip of mandarin peel for five to eight minutes until thickened slightly. Remove from heat and add thickly sliced mandarins and rest for five minutes. Serve mandarin slices with a drizzle of syrup and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Add the finely grated zest of a couple of mandarins to a basic pavlova recipe. When mixture is firm and glossy stir in a small handful of flaked coconut, spoon onto a greased tray and bake in a pre-heated low oven for 1½ hours. Cool in the oven then top with whipped cream, mandarin segments and toasted flaked almonds.

Pan-fry lightly oiled salmon fillets. Cook halved asparagus spears in boiling water for a few minutes then refresh under cold water and drain. Combine asparagus with mandarin segments, halved cherry tomatoes, grated mandarin zest, grated ginger and a splash of balsamic vinegar, toss gently and serve with salmon.

Mandarin, pistachio and herb salad

1 large bunch watercress
3 mandarins
4 sprigs basil, leaves picked
4 sprigs coriander, leaves picked
1 tsp orange blossom water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
50g shelled pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped

Pick sprigs from watercress and place in a salad bowl. Finely grate zest of one mandarin and add to watercress. Peel and segment mandarins and add segments to watercress with herbs. Combine orange blossom water, olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, season and whisk well. Just before serving add dressing to salad and toss gently. Finish with pistachio nuts. Delicious with roast chicken and baked potatoes.

Serves 4

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