Figs were a large part of our menu planning on our retreat in September in the Dordogne. There was a huge fig tree outside the kitchen that was inundated with the most delicious juicy ripe figs, unfortunately along with thousands of hornets and wasps! We had to choose our times sensibly as to when to pick the figs generally first thing in the morning was the best time whilst it was still cool.
Figs are the fruit of the ficus tree, which is part of the mulberry family. The fruit of a fig is actually an inverted flower which blooms inside the fleshy structure. Figs are a great source of fibre and full of vitamins and minerals. Figs have a unique sweet taste, soft and chewy texture and are littered with slightly crunchy, edible seeds. Figs are native to the Middle East and Mediteranean and were held in such high regard by the Greeks that laws were once created to prevent their export.
I thought I would share with you some of the recipes that we served our guests using this beautifully ripe fruit:-
Toast topped with Ricotta, Sliced Figs, Honey and Chilli Flakes
This recipe is delicious served for breakfast with some very crispy streaky bacon crumbled over the top, details are not required as it is pretty straight forward.
Nectarine, Fig and Blue Cheese Salad
60g Roasted Hazelnuts
2 Ripe Nectarines or Peaches
4-6 Ripe Figs
Bag of Leaves
200g Blue Crumbly Cheese
4 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Honey
Salt & Pepper
- Chop the Peaches and Figs into similar size pieces, arrange on the plate on top of the salad leaves.
- Roughly chop the hazelnuts and sprinkle over the top along with some crumbled blue cheese.
- Mix the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the top just before serving.
Fig, Honey and Orange Preserve
500g Fresh Figs
150g Caster Sugar
1 Orange, zest and juice
1 Cinnamon Stick
- Sterilise a 500g jar. Pre-heat your oven to 180 c Wash the jar and dry and put it in the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Put all the ingredients into a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes stirring frequently.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and pour the preserve into your jar. Seal with a lid.
This is delicious served on buttered toast, dolloped over porridge or swirled through yoghurt.
Fig and Wine Chutney
2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
7 Dried Figs (chopped into 1cm chunks)
165g Red Wine
100g Jam Sugar
Pinch of Ground Cloves
10cm Piece of Cinnamon
- In a small pan heat the oil then add the mustard seeds.
- When they start popping add the figs, wine, sugar and cinnamon.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the liquid has reduced and thickened.
- Add the ground cloves remove the cinnamon and put the chutney in a sterilised jar.