Tag Archives: fig

Chocolate, Fig, Almond and Rosewater “Brownies”

16 Jun

There are roses everywhere here at the moment. I am slightly obsessed and take photos every day as you may have noticed. I love all the different colours. I run past these roses most mornings with the dog. There is one particular garden that has loads of different varieties and the lady of the house takes great care of them. She must be so proud, they are all beautiful.

So all these roses made me start thinking about making something with rosewater. Just to celebrate the rose and so I would have an excuse to show a you all the pictures I have been taking.

Following on from the success of my Date, Walnut & Coconut Energy ” Truffles”, I wanted to make something similar using figs instead of dates. There are fig trees where we run too, the figs are not quite ripe yet but it it got me thinking about fig and rosewater together, a classic Arabian combination.

Rosewater is the flavouring in Turkish Delight. When I was little there was a chocolate bar called Fry’s Turkish Delight. It may still be out there, I don’t know. It had a very exotic advert and a bright pink metallic wrapper. Inside, the rose coloured Turkish Delight was coated in chocolate. At the time it seemed very mysterious and grown-up probably because my dad used to eat it all and not give me any (only joking dad)!

So I definitely wanted to use chocolate with the figs and rosewater.  I found a recipe for chocolate, cashew & almond energy bars  that I adapted to suit my requirements,very successfully indeed.

I am positive that my dad (my biggest fan) will approve. In fact I know he will be making them as soon as he can. The date, walnut and coconut energy truffles are now the “petit fours” of choice on all the best dining tables in Cape Town thanks to my dad. He has little production line going. People are requesting them.

I have to say that, in his version, rather than soaking the dates in water for an hour he soaks them in Frangelico or Amaretto. That could definitely be part of the reason for their popularity, it sounds amazing. So feel free to do that with the figs in this recipe too. I know of two food bloggers who will approve wholeheartedly of this little  “twist”. (Rufus & Caroline!)

These “brownies” are in fact, raw, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and totally delicious. Please don’t be suspicious of their virtue. They have all the chewy, stickiness of a brownie with none of the bad things. Never has healthy tasted so naughty. Dad, I think you’re going to need a bigger kitchen…!

Chocolate, Fig, Almond & Rosewater “Brownies”

makes about 16. Adapted from Sea Salt With Food

  • 300 gr (2 cups) dried figs, soaked in water (or Frangelico/Amaretto) for an hour
  • 250gr (2 cups) almonds (no skin), roughly chopped
  • 60 gr (1/2 cup) hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 75 gr (3/4 cup) pure unsweetened cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40 gr (1/2 cup) dessicated coconut
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-6 tbsp rose water 
  • cold water

Remove the figs from the soaking liquid after about an hour and put them in a food processor with the roughly chopped nuts, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt.

Process until it starts to come together then add the coconut, process again then add the vanilla extract and the rose water a tablespoon at a time. The amount of rosewater you add depends on how strong the flavour is so taste as you go and stop when you are happy with the flavour.If you need to add more liquid to get it to a sticky mouldable dough consistency add a tablespoon of water at a time.

Line a brownie pan or baking tin with baking paper and tip the dough mix in and press it out evenly with a rubber spatula. Put another piece of baking paper on top and use a book or ice cream tub to press it down and make it flat. I made mine about 1 cm thick but you can make them thicker if you like.

Put in the fridge for about an hour before cutting into about 16 pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge layered with baking paper.

Serve some after dinner with coffee as elegant petit fours or take them to work as an afternoon snack bar. Or do like my dad and take them as a gift for the host of a dinner party. They also keep really well in the fridge. If they should last that long…

Buen Provecho!

The Art of the Tart-ine!

24 Nov

It’s a posh word for an open sandwich but it makes all the difference in the world to your lunch break if you can take that sandwich to another level by making it look and taste really beautiful.

The thing is, it is really easy, all you have to do is look in your fridge, come up with a theme and fire up your grill. At the moment, here in Spain, we have a mountain of  ripe tomatoes and avocados both in the height of season, flavourful and well priced.

That’s where my inspiration came from for this Tartine Tricolore. My favourite Italian salad as a toasted sandwich…

 It all starts with the bread, buy some nice bread. Italian would be good to follow the theme. A nice Ciabatta or even Focaccia.

Tartine Tricolore

Serves 2 Vegetarian

  • 1 small ciabatta about 18 – 20 cm
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in half, scooped out and sliced
  • 1 ball mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 large tomato(or 2 small plum tomatoes) sliced
  • mayonnaise
  • basil pesto
  • fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • rocket
  • salt & black pepper

Slice the ciabatta in half lengthways so you have flat sides to pile your filling on. Preheat the grill to high and line a baking sheet with foil. Spread each side with some mayonnaise then spread a small amount of pesto on top of the mayo. Place your avocado slices on each half, then the tomato slices, season with a little salt then top with the mozzarella slices. Drizzle with olive oil then add some freshly cracked black pepper and put the open sandwiches on the baking sheet under the grill for about 2 or 3 minutes until the cheese is melting nicely. To serve scatter some fresh basil leaves & rocket over the top and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. This is the kind of sandwich you need a knife and fork for either that or a very large napkin!!

This next idea started when our friends Terry & Joan kindly brought us some Lancashire Crumbly cheese over from England. The Washer Up is a Lancashire lad and he has cravings for it occasionally. It is a creamy, mild but sharp, crumbly cheese that is really delicious served with something sweet & fruity. This got me thinking about a proper old English lunch called The Ploughman’s. A 60’s/70’s thing served in pubs which consisted of a big wedge of cheese (normally Cheddar), pickled onions, Branston pickle and some sort of scary salad.

I decided to take the Cheese & Pickle thing and bring it up to date by serving the Lancashire Crumbly topped with two types of chutney and watercress…

 Start with the bread again, it should really be something English and crusty, like a Bloomer or something similar. We can’t get that sort of thing here so I used a baguette (sacrilege, I know)! You can use whichever chutney you have around but this combination of Mango & Fig was heaven…

Posh Cheese & 2 Pickle Tartines

Serves 2 Vegetarian

Preheat the grill to high and line a baking tray with foil. Get your four slices of bread or baguette sliced lengthways drizzle with a little olive oil, layer over some generous slices of the cheese and top with a couple of spoonfuls of chutney. I like the contrast of using 2 different types, it stops you getting bored half way through. Stick it under the grill for few minutes until the cheese melts then scatter over some watercress…

The Washer Up says this should be enjoyed with a nice hand pulled pint of warm bitter….mmm. I’d go for a nice chilled glass of Albarino myself.

The next version uses Halloumi, a Cypriot Sheep’s milk cheese that is totally addictive. If you have never tried Halloumi give this a try, I promise you, you will be hooked…

Marinaded Halloumi Tartine 

serves 2 or 3 vegetarian

  • some nice bread, maybe pita or a flatbread (I used a baguette because that’s what I had)
  • 1 pack halloumi, thinly sliced about 1/2 cm
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 80ml olive oil
  • fresh mint, parsley & coriander, chopped
  • the juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • 1 red chilli deseeded & finely chopped or 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sumac* (optional)

*Sumac is a crushed dried berry sold in flakes which is used a lot in Middle Eastern dishes it has a smoky, lemony flavour which is fantastic with the Halloumi.

In a shallow dish large enough to fit in all the Halloumi slices, mix together the olive oil, lime juice, chopped herbs, spices, black pepper and chilli and set aside.

Dry fry the Halloumi slices in a hot pan for about 2 minutes on each side until browned and crispy(you will probably need to do it in 2 batches). When each batch is done place in the oil & lime juice marinade and toss to coat on both sides.

Meanwhile preheat the grill to hot, drizzle your bread with olive oil, place the sliced tomatoes on the bread, season with salt, pepper & olive oil and put under the grill for a minute or so to toast the bread and warm the tomatoes.

When the bread & tomatoes are toasted, layer over the cooked, marinaded Halloumi and pour over some of the herby marinade.

This really is an amazing sandwich, the combination of the salty Halloumi with the fresh herbs, chilli & lime juice is fingerlicking good! If a little messy…. Prepare to feed your Halloumi addiction!

Wild Fig and Mandarin Muffins

13 Nov

Tomorrow morning we are going to help pick olives at a friends finca and Margarita, the hostess, is making lunch for everyone, so I thought I would make something sweet to keep the sugar levels up mid morning. We picked some figs yesterday on our walk and the restaurant has orange and mandarin trees in the garden so that was the inspiration. I’ve made orange & cranberry muffins before so it was just a matter of replacing the cranberries with figs…

Wild Fig & Mandarin. Sounds like a Jo Malone fragrance doesn’t it, and if it isn’t it should be. They smell really good..

Wild Fig & Mandarin Muffins Recipe

Makes about 10 vegetarian

  • 200 gr self raising flour (I used wholemeal)
  • 125 gr caster sugar
  • 100 gr brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large mandarins
  • 200 gr fresh figs roughly chopped
  • 250 ml greek yoghurt
  • 50 gr butter, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl then stir in the sugars and cinnamon. Grate the zest of the mandarins into another bowl then beat in the greek yoghurt, butter and egg until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and fold in gently. Peel the mandarins, remove as much of the white pith as you have the patience for, then cut the segments in half longways. Add the figs and mandarin segments to the mixture and fold in gently using as few strokes as possible. Do not over beat, the mix should be slightly streaky. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with 10 paper muffin cases and spoon the mixture into the cases to about 3/4 full. Bake for 35 minutes until golden and firm.

Eat warm, straight from the oven, or if you can wait for them to cool, make a mandarin icing glaze to drizzle over them. This increases the mandarin flavour and makes them even more moist and scrumptious….

Orange Icing Glaze Recipe

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • about 3 or 4 tsp freshly squeezed mandarin juice

Put the icing sugar in a bowl and slowly whisk in the mandarin juice a teaspoon at a time until you have a thick drizzling consistency. When the muffins have cooled completely take a teaspoon of the icing, hold it over the muffin and drizzle it artistically over the top. Leave it to soak in a bit if you can wait, if not just enjoy straight away with the icing all over your fingers..

Perfect for afternoon tea or a mid morning snack, to keep you going until lunch, maybe!………

Arabian Fig Jam Recipe

10 Oct

Gorgeous Figs

We have so many figs at the moment I think I have tried every recipe there is but this has to be the easiest and it’s great on toast, with goat’s cheese or even in little fig jam tarts!

The flavour of figs lends itself perfectly to the middle eastern spices creating a heady perfume with rose water and orange blossom water that transports you to 1001 warm nights in exotic palaces….

Arabian Fig Jam Recipe

Makes 1 Jam Jar Vegetarian

  • 500gr fresh figs chopped
  • 110 gr sugar
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp rose water
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water
  • a splash of white wine
  • 2 tbsp water
  1. Put the figs, sugar, lemon juice, spices and flower waters in a bowl and leave them for about 30 mins.
  2. Pour the mix into a saucepan, add the wine & water and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 mins until the jam is thick.
  4. Transfer the jam while hot to a glass jar that has been sterilized with hot water. Don’t fill it right to the top and put the lid on.
  5. Leave to cool, then store in the fridge.

Arabian Fig Jam

If you don’t have all the spices etc, don’t worry it will still be delicious!

Fiery Fig Chutney Recipe

18 Sep

Fig Tree

At the moment we have a mountain of delicious gooey green figs picked on our morning walks with the dog. They are fab for breakfast & in salads with goats cheese but having exhausted all these recipes I thought I would use up a load at once by making a spicy chutney to eat with some Manchego cheese. Manchego is a hard, Spanish, cured sheeps cheese which would be perfect with these figs. This chutney is also great  to serve with a cheese board or with cheddar cheese on toast yum!

Fig Chutney

 

Fiery Fig Chutney
Vegan

 makes 1 Jam Jar

  • About 10-12 small green figs chopped into rough quarters
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp onion seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp punch pooran*
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 4 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 4tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 red chilli deseeded & chopped finely (use more or less depending on strength of chilli)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  •  salt & black pepper to taste

*Punch pooran is a whole spice mix made up from cumin, fennel, fenugreek, black mustard & onion seeds. It gives a great rounded flavour to any indian dishes & is available from East End Foods.

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and put in the onion, sugar, spices, chilli, ginger & vinegar. Cook over a medium low heat until the onion is completely softened

2. Add the fig quarters/chunks and cook on low for a further 10-15 mins untill you have a sticky chutney consistencey.

3. Pour into a hot sterilized chutney/jam jar, seal & leave to cool. Then refrigerate for as long as you can wait.

It gets better the longer you leave it!

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