Liquorice is a perennial plant belonging to the pea family. The juice extracted from its roots has a bitter-sweet flavour and is used to make sweets, to flavour cough syrups and pastilles and also to mask the unpleasant taste of some medicines.

It is grown mainly in countries bordering on the Mediterranean and also in California.

Though cultivation of liquorice in Britain has nearly died out, the old-fashioned sweets called ‘Pontc-fract Cakes’ are still made in Pontefract in Yorkshire, once the centre of liquorice cultivation in England.

Liujou-Pien is a Chinese dish of pork fillets fried with a subtle blend of soy sauce, sherry, sugar and wine. Serve it for an unusual dinner party dish.