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Real food: Winter fruits

Seasonal cooking can seem a chore at this time of year, especially if you are not a fan of turnips and cabbage. Carrots and parsnips, however, are almost as tasty now as in the summer and autumn.

Winter fruits, such as oranges and satsumas, offer a promise of warmer times and don't forget the bitter Seville orange is available for marmalade or flavouring duck. Lamb is at its cheapest, with Donovans butcher in Rathgar offering two shoulders for €13.

Adding fruit flavours to meat dishes is more common in North Africa and the Mediterranean but is worth an experiment or two in these colder climes.

Lamb and Orange Stew

This Lebanese-inspired dish has pleasant warming flavours. Feel free to use Mediterranean (instead of root) vegetables. Ingredients: 500g gigot lamb chops, 1tbsp butter, 2 onions, 3 carrots, 2 parsnips, 800g tinned tomatoes, peel of 1 sweet orange, peel of lemon, 1tsp ground cinnamon, 1tsp ground allspice.

Trim the chops of fat and fry in the butter in a large frying pan 'til browned. Remove to a plate. Fry the chopped onions 'til brown and caramelised. Add the tomatoes and replace the chops. Peel the orange and lemon with a potato peeler, tie with a piece of string and add to the pan. Chop the carrots and parsnips into batons. Add with cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper.

Cover the pan with tin foil and cook on low heat for 90 minutes. Remove the orange/lemon peel and check the lamb is tender -- it should come off the bone. Serve with rice or some flat bread.

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