Dried hibiscus flowers
A drink is in order to celebrate the half-term week-end, whether you are at home or away! And because this one is alcohol-free, the children can also enjoy…
I pinch this recipe from Henry Dimbleby, owner of the chain Leon who gave it away in the Guardian, but I have changed the quantities and his call for more sugar. It contains one unusual ingredient, Hibiscus flowers; one that I happen to buy quite often since discovering it in Egypt a few years ago. You can find dried hibiscus flowers in herbal shops, health shops and some exotic grocers. I love the tart taste of this infusion and its beautiful deep crimson colour. It is also very high in vitamin C and extremely refreshing… in the heat.
- 1.5 litre of water
- Dried hibiscus flowers, 50g or two big handfuls
- Fresh ginger, 1 large piece (peeled and chopped)
- Orange, 1 zested
- Cloves, 6
- Soft brown sugar, 150g
Bring all the ingredients up to the boil in a deep pan and simmer for one minute.
Cover and steep overnight.
Pass through a fine sieve and taste to adjust sugar. You might want a bit more.
Chill and serve in tall glasses with ice.
We loved it and my older son might have liked it even better with a large shot of vodka, which is a very tempting option for a Friday night… A votre santé! Salud! My mum and dad always like to invoke health when drinking and for this once it is exceedingly appropriate, given the digestive ginger oils and the vitamin C content!
I raise this alcohol-free glass to my parents with whom I will be celebrating a 50th anniversary in a warmer clime tomorrow: I love you both and I am very proud of you and of what you have achieved in those well-stocked 50 years.
…for my parents 50th anniversary
Moist and fragrant
This savoury tart is a great way to use over-ripe figs or ones that have hardened a bit instead of softening with maturation- which happens quite often to me with imported figs. Make it quickly before the last figs disappear off the market stalls… Or fly over to where they grow! That is what I intend to do myself by the time your get this anyway so this purple tart is a parting gift. I am still chasing the sun…
- 10 figs
- cream cheese, 125g
- soft fresh goat cheese, 125g
- balsamic vinegar, a generous drop
- acacia honey, 1 Tbsp
- pepper mill
- Filo sheets or puff pastry
Prepare the filo sheets (or puff pastry) by brushing them with oil and laying them inside a removable-bottom flan or tart tin. I lay each corner of the filo slightly off the previous ones so they resemble a large flat flower. I would have used puff pastry for a richer tart but I did not have time to make any. Filo is a health-conscious option after all.
Mix the soft goat cheese and the cream cheese together in a bowl and sprinkle a little pepper.
Spread the mix over the filo sheets. Don’t try to cover all as it will melt anyway.
Wash the figs and cut them up in four without peeling them. Just top and tail them.
Sprinkle a thick balsamic vinegar over it all and put in a hot oven for about 20/30 min. The pastry needs to be golden and the figs nice and soft.
Serve at room temperature with a drizzle of acacia honey.
This is a savoury tart but it is so indulgent I would not mind it for starters AND pudding! Don’t know if I invented it or if it has been done before but don’t mind either way because it is a great combination anyhow… Figs, honey and goat cheese… Flavours that sing together in your mouth…
Quick and easy to use up the last figs…
Providing food and away giving recipes is my way to show love and caring. I discovered this recipe whilst researching healthy and strengthening soups to restore energies in convalescents or after an operation. I love it because it is a highly alkaline soup and full of plant power. That does not mean that it does not also tastes delicious and will probably be the last cold soup I will want this year!
I dedicate this to Jim, from New Zeland, who enjoyed it with us in Jersey.
Seasonal display in Borough Market
- Avocados, 2
- Fresh lemon juice, 15 ml
- Garlic cloves, 2
- Tomato, peeled, 1
- Big handful of spinach or kale
- Green or yellow pepper, 1
- Cucumber, 1
- Red onion, 1
Blend in all in a food processor until smooth, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve fresh with big slabs of wholemeal bread. It is a kind of green Gaspacho and it tastes as fresh and healthy as it looks! Go and visit your greengrocer this week end and put together your own version! Let me know and I ll publish it if you wish…
Pure green fuel