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Autumn Salad of Figs and Pears for Dynamic Ageing

A lovely, fresh start to a meal, truly seasonal and full of bright assertive flavours, let alone antioxidants! This is the time of the year when figs truly come into their own, still full of Mediterranean sun and flavour, with a rich purple bloom and deep scarlet heart. The pear, needless to say, has to be totally ripe, juicy and sweet. Try to include oak leaf lettuce, rocket and watercress in the salad leaves – oak leaf for its colour, rocket and watercress for their bite and their high nutritional value.

The cheese needs to be salty and savoury, to offset the sweetness of the fruit. I have used the Violife mature cheddar-style one here and it works very well, as does the feta-style one.

Serves 2

100 g mixed salad leaves

30 ml/2 tbsp hazelnut oil

15 ml/1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 ripe pear, washed and sliced

2 purple figs, washed and quartered

30 ml/2 tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds

15 g/2 tbsp chopped, toasted hazelnuts

20 g hard, salty cheese, ideally plant-based, shaved

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the leaves in a salad bowl, sprinkle the oil, lemon juice and a little seasoning over and toss lightly.

Arrange the salad on two plates, top with the pear, figs and pomegranate, then the hazelnuts and finally the cheese shavings.

Serve at once.

And what about the salad's nutritional talents? Figs are rich in minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper and a good source of antioxidant Vitamins A and K; they are also full of fibre and, as a prebiotic, support the microbiome and digestion.Pomegranates are anti-inflammatory, rich in antioxidants and may help to protect against dementia as well as offering cardiovascular and cholesterol benefits. Pears?Vitamins C and K, potassium, copper and anti-inflammatory properties.Hazelnuts provide fibre, healthy fat and protein, so celebrate these last, sunny and warm days of summer with this sparkling salad.

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