Tag Archives: balsamic

Tartine of fresh figs and fresh cheese – plus fig jam!

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Another one of my “tartines”

A few weeks ago, I had a windfall of fresh figs from a friend and neighbour and here I post one of my favourite “tartines”!

Ingredients list:

  • Slice of bread
  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Two fresh figs
  • Cracked pepper, optional

Take a slice of Poilâne bread – or any other sourdough or artisan bread with substance- , spread a nice fresh goat cheese over, slice a juicy fig on top, then decorate with chopped basil and Pedro Jimenez reduction or a thick balsamic vinegar. Perfect lunch!

My neighbour grows her figs in central London in her front garden and I enlisted the help of my son on half-term break to go and get a small boxful! They were green but nicely ripe and I decided to do a jam with the rest of it.

Adding vanilla and cinnamon into it, I cooked a truly delicious jam and managed to fill two pots of London fig jam – a very special thing indeed!

Collected in Hammersmith!

Collected in Hammersmith!

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Recipe for the fig jam:

Ingredients list:

  • Figs, 2 kg
  • Jam sugar (with pectine), 1 kg
  • Cinnamon sticks 2
  • Vanilla bean, one scraped
  • Lemon juice of one lemon

Halve the fruit or quarter them and put all the ingredients in a jam pan.

Get to boiling point, rolling for 3 minutes, then reserve until the next day, covered with a grease proof paper so the jam does not develop a skin.

Next day: Get to boiling point again and keep on a rolling boil for 5 minutes.

Put in sterilised jars straight away and screw the tops then turn each jar upside down so the air inside is sterilised through the hot jam.

Enjoy with bread, cheese or just as a spooned sweet.

This is surely a little bit late for figs in most parts of Europe but I am so thrilled I still managed to gather those in my neighbourhood that I can’t resist posting it.

Here is my son, grabbing some earlier!

The gathering

The gathering

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Fig and goat cheese savoury tart

Moist and fragrant

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…

Ingredients list:

  • 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…

To use up the last figs...

Quick and easy to use up the last figs…

>Blackberry jam with balsamic vinegar

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Blackberry jam with balsamic vinegar

Ingredients list:
Blackberries 500g
Caster Sugar 500g
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 cinnamon bark
Vanilla pod split in half
Balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp

Leave the fruit and whole spices to marinate in the sugar for a few hours if you can.
Sterilise 4 or 5 jars in the dishwasher the day before. On the chosen jam day, put the sugar and fruit mix in a jam pan with the lemon juice and zest. Get it up to a rolling boil then turn the hob down a bit and let it bubble for 8 min. Pour the vinegar in the last few minutes. Check the setting by dropping a tear-drop of jam onto a cold plate. It should look thick and jelly-like.
Give a quick rolling boil again then retrieve the vanilla pod and cut the strip in bits. Put one in each jar and pour the boiling jam after it. Screw and turn each jar upside down to sterilise through.
This my godson favourite jam and he can clean up a jar in one single seating! But even if you are not into teenage gluttony, this is an unusual and richly fragranced jam to try on toast and muffins.

>My version of a Mozzarella ice-cream

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Ingredients list:
Egg yolks 4
Whole milk 300ml
Organic Mozzarella 2 whole
Arrowroot
Salt

Beat the egg yolks with 1 spoonful of arrowroot and a pinch of salt.
Boil the milk, turn off the gas at boiling point and slowly pour into the egg mix while beating with a wooden spoon. Then fold the chunks of mozzarella into the hot mixture until melted. I like a bit of “chewyness” so I diced biggish chunks and did not wait till it melted all.

Pour the mixture in a jug and leave to cool. If you have an ice-cream maker, the rest is easy! If not, put into the freezer and take out a few times to beat with a whip until it is set and creamy. Serve soft and not too set on a bed of rocket salad and a drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar- only the best will do…

This is a very subtle and unusual combination of flavours but it works and makes a stunning starter to a chic dinner party. I served it to the family with the previously blogged about risotto and we all enjoyed the experience even if this is not quite proper family fare and I am stretching my blog core subject here!

>Sketch Mozzarella ice-cream

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I took this photo at Sketch and their Mozzarella ice-cream served on a bed of rocket salad drizzled in balsamic vinegar inspired my own recipe.