If you’re able to get a fire going in your garden or courtyard, you’ll have to think in a different way and learn the same basic science. You’ll make the emotional connections with nature and enjoy really delicious food. It’s clear we’re happier if we can be outside, but the planet seems happier if we’re not. It’s an uncomfortable thought, but one we can learn so much from.

Gill Meller cooking outside
© Andrew Montgomery

By connecting with our immediate environment in a more conscious, sensitive, ancient way, we develop a deeper understanding of how fragile parts of it have become, and may discover new ways we can help to fix it.

I thought I’d found a new one. Something we hadn’t seen before, an undiscovered combination, a pattern in the stars. It turns out, though, I’m not the only astronomer staring up into the night sky, looking for inspiration. Pears and tahini is already a thing! But, I can’t imagine pears, tahini and chestnut honey is, so maybe I will get my badge after all.

Let the fire burn nice and hot for this one, so you can develop some distinct charring on the fruit. That slightly bitter edge works so beautifully with the sweetness of the flesh and the rich, woody honey.

This is an edited extract from the book Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller, with photographs by Andrew Montgomery, which is published by Quadrille, priced £30.


  • 25ml Groundnut or sunflower oil plus extra for brushing
  • 25g Light brown soft sugar
  • 2tbsp runny chestnut honey or your favourite alternative plus extra to trickle
  • 75g Porridge oats
  • 2 Large ripe-ish pears
  • 2tbsp Tahini
  • 4tbsp Crème fraîche
  • Few thyme sprigs, leaves picked (optional)


  • STEP 1

    Set a grill down over a hot fire and, when the embers are glowing and the fire’s giving out a good, steady heat, pop a pan on and add the oil, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the honey, the salt and the porridge oats.

  • STEP 2

    Keep stirring the oats, which will help the sugar and honey melt and stick to the
    flakes as they get hot.

  • STEP 3

    Toast the oats over a medium heat until they are golden in colour and smell sweet and nutty. Leave to cool in the pan while you grill the pears.

  • STEP 4

    Halve the pears. I don’t bother peeling or coring them. Brush them with a little light oil and set them down on the hot grill.

  • STEP 5

    Cook the pears for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until they’re taking on some charring from the bars and beginning to soften.

  • STEP 6

    To serve, spoon a few toasted oats into the bottom of a shallow plate or bowl. Place the pear halves on top. Combine the tahini with the crème fraîche and another tablespoon of honey and mix well. Place a dollop of this next to the pears and finish by trickling over a little more honey and scattering over a few thyme leaves, if you have some.