For something different on Christmas day, why not make this easy roasted pear side dish – a perfect accompaniment to a meat or vegetarian main.
juniper berries 4
pared orange zest 1/2
soft butter 1 large knob
aim for medium-ripe
peeled and thinly sliced
bay leaves 8
olive oil 1/2 tsp
ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
Crush the juniper and cloves in a pestle and mortar, until fairly fine. Add the orange zest and butter and crush to a buttery paste.
Peel the pears, then quarter them and remove the cores. Arrange the pears in a suitably-sized roasting tray. Take the soft spiced butter and dot
it all over the pears.
Scatter over the shallots and bay leaves and trickle over the olive oil.
Season the pears well with salt and pepper.
Place the tray in the hot oven and roast for 20–30 minutes or until tender, turning once or twice with a spatula. The pears and shallots should be lovely and soft and caramelising around the edges when you take them out. Serve at once.