Recipes from food stylist Nicolas Ghirlando: Fish fingers to Friday nights.

Nice pear

Pear, blue cheese and walnut salad

The drive south took four hours. We didn’t say a word during the journey. Mile after mile of flat, treeless landscape passed by the windows of the van as the cold evening light turned to black.

Bridgette and I practically grew up together, which is why, all those years later, it made it hard to have to kill her.

I’ve finally finished reading two very long books (I highly recommend A Little Life if you fancy 800 pages of amazingly written bleak misery) so have returned to the world of trashy thrillers for a while to have a breather. It’s a rather like the home kitchen, sometimes I can be found cooking long and involved dished that take time and concentration, and sometimes a dish as simple as this does for a quick meal. They are just as satisfying in different ways and now the weather, warming and sunnier, makes a light meal seem less of a diet and more a choice.

That’s not to say something rich and deep is banished until autumn, last night we eat a hearty venison carbonade, cooked long and slow and full of flavour. But soon, these will be put aside until the days shorten again.

This isn’t even really a recipe, more a combination of things. I’ve used gorgonzola as I find Roquefort, even though a favourite of mine, to be a little, well, slimy, for this. There’s no reason you couldn’t use a blue stilton or similar, but it should be a little more on the crumbly side than the wet.

Tossed through with some ripe pears, peppery roquette, some crumbled walnuts and dressed with a little excellent olive oil, thick balsamic and a pinch of salt and pepper, this really is five minutes work between you and deliciousness. Thrilling.

One pear per person, ripe but not falling apart cored and cut into chunks
Gorgonzola, a few lumps here and there, crumbled and tossed through
A handful of walnuts, lightly chopped
A handful of roquette each
Good olive oil and balsamic
Salt and pepper to season

Mix it all together and serve. It’s nice with some crusty, toasted sourdough too.

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