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Archive for the ‘fig’ Category

Whiskey figs with oats

There’s something about a hot, steaming bowl of fresh oats porridge on a lazy Sunday morning that somehow sets the tone for the rest of the day. A good, long read of the Sunday papers, a walk in a park in the winter sunshine and a late afternoon nap, followed by a sightly too long, intricately woven Sunday Night Movie, with the wonderful Mr P’s fabulous toasted cheese and a glass of good red wine.

My mother used to make us oats porridge in the winter back home and it still remains an essential part of our routine here, steeped as it is in nostalgia and caring. Of course, we wouldn’t be indulged so much with such adult delights as whiskey and figs, but rather heap our bowls up with a slathering of butter and golden syrup. Our tastes being somewhat more subtle and grown up these days, the smokey, peaty flavours of a good whiskey or scotch paired with fruity figs takes that humble bowl of oats from chilly school morning to the glories of the Sunday breakfast table.

*As with all things cooking, the better the ingredient used the better the results. Don’t skimp on a cheap whiskey, use what ever your favourite nightcap version is; after all, you only use a tiny amount. Naturally, if you don’t do the booze feel free to leave it out.

**Try get dried green/white figs as the flavour is more subtle than the red or black mission figs. I like the softer ones from Iran or Turkey.

Figs in whiskey

Whiskey Figs with Oats Porrige

5 or 6 dried figs, quartered
about 1 cup water
1½ Tbsp good whiskey or scotch
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed with the back of a heavy knife
1 cinnamon stick

whole oats, not the instant kind, enough for 2 people
water for cooking the oats

cinnamon sugar to serve

– combine the water, whiskey, cardamom and cinnamon in a small, heavy based saucepan and bring to a simmer.

– add the figs and simmer over a low heat for 10 – 15 minutes, checking that the pot doesn’t run dry. Top up with water as needed.

– when the figs are done, drain, reserving liquid, and keep warm.

– use the liquid from the figs along with hot water to make up the liquid needed to cook the oats as per the package instructions.

– top cooked oats with figs and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar to serve.

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Muslie

We humans, for the most part, like a bit of ritual in our lives. Well, I know I do. Setting a certain, predictable rhythm to the day creates a sense of purpose and dependability, little ceremonies that break up the chaos in between our modern lifestyles. I like to read in bed with a cup of chamomile tea before turning in for the day, and I like having the time to sit on weekdays over my morning’s emails and news with a cup of good, hot coffee and a bowl of muesli. I usually mix my own muesli from jars of grains, nuts and fruits in the cupboard, but in the spirit of the Christmas Clear Out, I took the opportunity to use up  the various stores of dried fruits and nuts left over from the Christmas pudding and fruit cake and mix up an enormous bowl of muesli to keep in jars, ready to go. Just add yoghurt and that cuppa java.

There’s no recipe for this, just use what ever you have on hand. Start with handfuls of chopped dried fruit: I used cranberries , apricots and cherries for zing; papaya and pineapple for that almost candy like sweetness; and pears, figs, apples and dates for texture as well as raisins, currants, mulberries, prunes and oh, I forget what else. Add a few cups, to taste, of various grains: I used both raw, rolled oats and oat bran and a generous helping ground flax, to which I added poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes and a variety of nuts (brazil, almond, walnut). Sprinkle with cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg and a pinch of garam masala and mix it all up. Make it as fruity or as whole-grainy as you like and you’ll never want boxed breakfast again. Promise.

Muslie fruit mix

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I’m sensing a trend here with individual tarts. There’s something I truly love about individual little servings. I tend to fall in love with an idea, a theme or a genre and then horsewhip it until it’s out of my system for a while.

Our Tuesday picnic dinner was rained out by a thunderstorm, which at least lifted the hot humid conditions to something more suited to a morning game of tennis, but it meant that I had to think of something quickly for dinner in place of the cheese and baguette I’d planned. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe, adapted from one on Frenchfood, ever since I bought some fat, juicy looking Organic Duck breasts from the Healthy Butcher on Queen. It’s also nearing the end of Cherry season here, and I needed to make use of those gorgeous, almost black berries while they are still available. Plus, I still had a bunch of garden rhubarb in the fridge from the Farmer’s market last week.

I’m afraid I didn’t get a picture of the duck, though it was delicious. We just ate it up too quickly! We’re trying to make the most of the long daylight hours and wanted to get out to the park to throw ball before it was too late. Hmmm. It’s lovely being able to spend so much time outside.

Cherry and Rhubarb Chutney

makes enough for 4 – 6 people

1/4 sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
pinch Cayenne pepper, or one small red chili minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups rhubarb, chopped to 1cm pieces
2 cups black cherries, pitted (tart yellow cherries work well too)
1 medium brown onion, halved and sliced

– combine all ingredients except rhubarb, cherries and onion in a heavy based saucepan and heat gently, stirring to melt sugar.

– add fresh ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook about 15 mins until rhubarb is soft and mixture is thick. Allow to cool a few mins before eating.

– serve with grilled duck breast. Yum

Fig Tart


French Fig Tarts

makes 6

Pate Brisee (I used the whole wheat one from the Asparagus tart, but added a pinch of sugar and a pinch of cardamon before adding the chilled water)

6 – 8 black Mission figs, cut into 8 wedges each
1/3 cup ground almond
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
60 ml unsalted butter

– Set oven to 425˚F

– line tart tins with pastry, refrigerate 10 mins, bake blind for ± 10 mins, let cool

– beat almond, egg, sugar and butter until smooth. Refrigerate 10 mins until firm

– divide Almond butter between shells

– arrange figs on top of butter

– bake 25 – 30 mins

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