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”!
- 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!
Recipe for the fig jam:
- 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!
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
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…
I enjoy good looking vegetables! A butternut squash is this very handsomely shaped squash, looking like an oversized acorn and sporting a smooth, soft brown skin. It has a nutty taste and here is a recipe where it literally shines!
If you’ve never come across it, do look out for one; it is called “la courge musquée” in French, a delightful name for a delicious vegetable, I think.
- Several sheets of filo pastry
- One diced butternut squash
- Creamy goat cheese, 1 big slice
- Olive oil
- Salt, mace and pepper to season
- Optional: a drizzle of acacia honey to finish off nicely
First roast the cubes of butternut squash in a tray with a bit of olive oil and pinch of salt: Best to rub it all in with your fingers. Roast for 30 min at 180°.
Then put two folded layers of filo into individual tartlets pans and crunch them up a bit with fingers dipped in oil – yes, there is a lot of fingers work here!
Lay the roasted butternut in the middle, put a slice or dollop of very fresh and very creamy goat cheese. Sprinkle with mace and a hint of pepper.
Put under the grill for about 10 min until the cheese has softened and the edges are crispy.
Drizzle with a tiny bit of acacia honey and serve hot!
Best wine match is a muscat de Rivesaltes or Beaume de Venise but any creamy white will do.
Stall in Borough Market
The Beach House goat cheese pannacotta/ My Macrobiotic and veggy version!
I made this for lunch and used ingredients that are non-dairy and suitable for vegetarians. I am trying to keep to my summer diet of fresh vegetables and non animal food but at the same time, I am REALLY missing the cheeses… So this recipe includes a light, fresh goat cheese which is satisfying enough and at the same time, keeping away from the cream and milk of the original version, is better for your digestive system. A fresh yet creamy, flavoured yet subtle, beautiful take on the classic pannacotta recipe.
Ingredients list: This makes 6 portions
- Soya milk 300ml
- Soy cream 300ml
- Fresh soft goat cheese 250g
- salt and pepper
- 1 and 1/2 tsp of Agar Agar (flakes)
Add the Agar (a veggy gelatine)to the cold milk bit by bit, making sure to leave no lumps. Mix well.
Simmer the milk and cream until too hot to touch but not boiling yet. Season.
Add the goat cheese and strain through a fine sieve, pushing the mixture in with a wooden spoon.
Now pour into the moulds – mini puddings pans do very well.
Leave to cool outside then put in the fridge for 1 or 2 hours.
Serve with a salad of mixed leaves and black grapes, dressed with olive oil and light balsamic vinegar. Plus slices of homemade soda bread
on the side!
I am very influenced by the Macrobiotic way and books like “Macrobiotics for Dummies”, at the moment, are on my bedside table – so you will hear more about this new way of eating over the next few weeks, I promise you! And as I understand its workings better and will be able to adjust my recipes more often, I hope you will see the benefits as well and try it along with me…