There is a small cluster of jars with dark Bakelite lids that hold ingredients I value, but use only rarely. Precious things such as Italian candied peel, crystallised violets and sugared French rose petals. These jars rarely see the light of day. They must retain a sense of magic, mystery and preciousness.
dark chocolate 100g
flaked almonds 2 handfuls
caster sugar a big pinch
shelled pistachios a handful, roughly chopped
sea salt flakes a few hefty pinches
crystallised rose petals or candied peel
Line a baking tray with waxed or greaseproof paper. Snap the chocolate into small pieces and melt it in a bowl set over simmering water. Avoid the temptation to stir. When the chocolate is half melted, turn the heat off and nudge the solid parts into the melted parts, letting it continue to melt in the residual heat.
Toast the flaked almonds with the sugar in a non-stick pan over a low-to-moderate heat until the sugar starts to melt and the nuts colour lightly.
Make discs of melted chocolate on the paper and scatter each one with chopped pistachios, sugared almonds, sea salt flakes and rose petals or candied peel.
Leave in a cool place or the fridge to set.
• Nigel's new book, Kitchen Diaries II, is published by Fourth Estate at £30. To order a copy for £19.99 (including free UK mainland p&p), go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop or call 0330 333 6846.