Figs are one of my favourite fruit and the season is sadly so short… Therefore I cannot resist buying them when I happen to find them on a London fruit stall. I found these in Bayswater as I was coming out of my exam room last week and bought a huge bag of it. The smell was all I needed to feel on holiday again…
This recipe was inspired by a dish my friend Sandrine made for us once at her beautiful place Le Domaine des Clos in Provence. Sandrine is married to a childhood friend of mine and I love spending time with them in the summer because they love what they do and they do it well and their friendship is one of the things that I always can count on when I head back to my birth town. I had kept a fragrant memory of this meal and especially of the plump figs, stewed in thick juice and creamy goat cheese that were served as a starter.
Fruit stall in one of Berlin’s markets
- 10 to 12 figs, unpeeled and washed
- 200g of fresh goat cheese
- 150 of cream cheese
- Handful of chopped basil
- Cracked pepper
Wash and cut the tail end of the figs.
Slice them and arrange in an oven proof dish.
Mix the goat cheese and cream cheese together – This is only for the local version as English goat cheese tend to be dryer ; whereas elsewhere you might use a fresh creamy goat cheese on its own.
Drop dollops of the cheese amongst the fruit. Add pepper and basil leaves.
Bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes until the fruit are cooked and the juice has thickened. It is usually even better reheated the next day!
Serve as a starter with some Muscat de Rivesaltes or Sauternes. I adored this with a bottle of Macia Batle Dolce from Mallorca – a sweet white with remarquable balance and powerful aromas of white flowers and almond.
Figs and cheese
Rum and raisin frozen yogurt
To celebrate the hottest summer in many many years – or as far as my memories of London can stretch- I give you a lovely frozen yogurt embellished by a touch of spirit! and a scatter of sultanas.
- Demerara sugar 200g
- Water 150ml
- Raisins sultanas 200g
- Greek yogurt 1 L pot
- Vanilla in “jelly” or vanilla bean, scraped
- Dark rum
Make a syrup with 200g of sugar, two capfuls of dark rum and a small glass (150ml) of water. Melt all of the sugar and reduce the syrup a little bit but without getting to a boil: You do not want to get to a caramel ! Switch off : Throw the raisins in the pan and get them to soak the juice for a little while.
Leave to cool.
Mix a large tub of Greek yogurt (1L) with the cooled syrup and a small spoonful of vanilla jelly – I have just discovered this product and I love it: it’s great and easy to use in puddings and pastry, plus it lasts longer and there is less wastage than with vanilla pods. In the Uk, it is sold at Waitrose: try the Organic vanilla bean paste by Taylor and Colledge.
Beat the yogurt with a whisk, add some rum to taste and pour the mix into your ice-cream maker or just into a container and in the freezer.
The tangy yogurt complements the rum and vanilla flavour so well I do not know why I had not thought of it earlier… This frozen yogurt is delicious and goes very well with fresh brownies. This is indeed how I served it last night to friends from Spain on a very hot summer evening in London… But this week-end, should the nice weather continue to hold, I am heading to West Wittering, my favourite British beach… See you on Monday!
I scream for Ice cream! Except that’s a yogurt…
For me today, there is life BEFORE and AFTER Pedro…
Here is a fresh idea for a sophisticated breakfast or a light lunch:
Take a slice of Pain Poilâne – or chunky wholemeal- , spread it with cream cheese, slice fresh strawberries, chop some mint on top, give it a shake of black pepper and a swirl of Pedro Jimenez reduction and savour with a cup of Earl Grey, a jug of Pims or a glass of Prosecco! I am talking PROPER breakfast here : the kind you want just before you are off to Ascot or Henley or Wimbledon… And the touch of Pedro here is just the thing to make you swoon. If no Pedro, then try just a dash of thick balsamic vinegar or even some dark honey… Though Pedro IS irreplacable, you can make substitutes – much like you do in a football match when things don’t quite work out!!! What on earth is happening to Brazil right now???!!! Come on Guys…
This is light snack food at its best! On top of that, it is super healthy and delicious so why not indulge…
Shop version from Le Pain Quotidien in Marylebone
More of a tip than a recipe but here is another photo to show you how it all gets together – in case you thought the above was complex. This is tomato, basil, artichoke in brine and PEDRO…
A more mediterranean version
I have the pleasure of featuring in the new “Globekid” guide: “Je cuisine à Londres”: Go there to find 4 of my British recipes, alongside with more from the famed “Ateliers des Chefs”. GlobeKid is a new publishing start-up, specialising in travel guides for children: You can download their guides for free in PDF or ebook, customise and personalise them or order them in book form for a few euros.
Vive la cuisine Britannique! Long live British cooking!