Serves 4 by Mark Hix
There are still good leaves around in the winter months such as watercress, rocket and small spinach leaves. This is a good light salad or starter. Barkham blue is one of my favourite British blue cheeses, made at Two Hoots Cheese (0118-976 0401; or e-mail near Wokingham by Sandy Rose who has also just won the Best British Cheese in the British Cheese Awards. You can also buy it at Paxton and Whitfield ( Couple of handfuls of small salad leaves such as buck leaf sorrel, landcress or watercress.


  • Couple of handfuls of small salad leaves such as buck leaf sorrel,
  • Landcress or watercress
  • 2 ripe conference pears, peeled, cored and cut into thin 2-inch strips
  • 30-40 good quality walnut halves
  • 2tsp sea salt
  • 1tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
  • 120-150g Barkham blue cheese

For the dressing:

  • 1tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2tbsp vegetable or corn oil
  • 1tsp grain mustard


  1. Cut the walnuts on a tray; scatter with sea salt, then drizzle over a tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil. Lightly colour under a preheated grill for a few minutes, turning every so often. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing; toss the leaves and pears in the dressing and arrange on plates. Break the cheese into small pieces and scatter on the salad.

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