Spicy Poached Pear with a Baby Spinach, Stilton and Roasted Walnut Salad

Pear with Stilton and Walnuts with smoked duck

Spicy Poached Pear with a Baby Spinach, Stilton and Roasted Walnut Salad is a light and refreshing dish that is ideally served as a starter. It is easy to prepare and serve, and leaves plenty of room for the main course.

6 portions
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10-15 minutes



  • 6 pears
  • 750ml red wine
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 red chilies
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 cm ginger
  • 4 cardamom pods


  • 120g Baby Spinach, washed
  • 300g Stilton
  • 60g walnut halves, roasted in moderate oven for 10-15 minutes


  • 40ml white wine vinegar
  • 120ml walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp seeded mustard


  1. Pears: Place the red wine, caster sugar, cinnamon stick, chilies, star anise, ginger and cardamom pods in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Leave it to simmer for 15 minutes so that the flavours are infused. With a small knife cut an uneven zig zag into the skin around the top of the pear near the core. Peel the pear being careful around the zig zag pattern. With a sharp knife or decorer, remove the core. Place the pears in the simmering liquid and reduce the temperature to just a simmer and leave it to cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave it to cool. Serve or Store in a sealed container with a little of the cooking liquid in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  2. Dressing: Place all the dressing ingredients in a container and whisk them together until well combined or place them in a jar and shake them together. Serve. If not serving directly, give the ingredients a quick whisk or shake before serving.
  3. To Serve: Place a pear in the centre of each plate and distribute the spinach leaves around the plate. Crumble the stilton over each serving of spinach and scatter over the walnuts. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.