Tired of turkey? Bored of beef? Why not surprise your guests by rustling up this roast pigeon dish by leading British chef Peter Fiori as a main on Christmas day, instead?

Not just a festive treat, Peter’s dish is also one you can gorge on, guilt-free. It contains several cancer-fighting ingredients such as pomegranate and walnuts (which also add to its festive edge) and features in ‘Recipes for Life’ – a recipe book written by chef Peter Marshall and Michel Roux, OBE offering guidance on nutrition and a collection of tasty recipes for cancer sufferers.

Each of the leading chefs who contributed to the cookbook (which happens to hit shelves today, 12 December 2013) including: Andrew Fairlie, Daniel Galmiche, Galton Blackiston, Jason Atherton, John Williams, Mark Jordan, Sam Moody, Simon Boyle, Steve Drake and, of course, Peter, have all been directly or indirectly touched by the disease, making the dish food for thought, too.

‘Recipes for Life’ has an RRP of £25, and all profits made from sales of the book will go towards the Leaders in Oncology Care’s Living Well Programme.

Roast Pigeon with walnuts and pomegranate 


4 squab pigeons, prepped for roasting (ask your butcher to do this)

Pigeon glaze

2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1⁄2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
1⁄2 tsp green cardamom, crushed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp boiling water

Walnut sauce

200g walnuts
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, fine dice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses 1 bay leaf
400ml white chicken stock juice 1⁄2 lemon
10g soft dark brown sugar


100g couscous
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
150ml boiling water
1 lemon, juice and fine zest
1⁄4 bunch coriander


fresh pomegranate seeds


Pigeon glaze

Grind all the ingredients together in a pestle and mortar and set aside until needed.

Walnut sauce

Toast the walnuts at 180C for 8-10 minutes until golden.

While still hot, rub between a tea towel to remove most of the skin. Cool and coarsely chop.

Once cooled, sauté the onion on a medium heat with no colour until soft, add the spices, tomato paste and walnuts and cook for 4 minutes, adding a little water if it begins to catch.

Finally add the rest of the ingredients and simmer very gently for about an hour until the mix is thick and rich.


Place the couscous in a bowl and toss with the olive oil.

Pour over the boiling water, cling film and leave for 8-10 minutes.

Using a fork, gently fluff the grain and flavour with the lemon and coriander.

To serve

Heat a heavy bottom frying pan with a little oil.

Brown the birds on each side for 2 minutes over a medium heat finishing on the back bone. Turn the heat to low and add the pigeon glaze to the pan, basting the birds for a further few minutes.

Place the pan in the oven at 180C for about 4-5 minutes basting the pigeon glaze over regularly. This should give you a pink-medium doneness.

Take out from the pan and remove the legs by cutting around the natural seam with a sharp knife to expose the knuckle and then cutting through the ball and socket joint.