Category Archives: Cook from scratch

Fruity Fridays ! Kaffir Limes…

Kaffir Limes fruity Fridays

 

Kaffir Limes… I have used the leaves in many of the Thai dishes that I cook they are used in many Asian dishes…The trees are small evergreen trees and prickly. The one I had was quite a young one and I had not seen any fruit…It wasn’t until a neighbour gave me some of the fruit that I put two and two together and realised that was the fruit of the tree I had growing in the garden and now we have fruit.

Kaffir Lime tree and fruit

The rind is very bumpy unlike the normal limes I use and when cut open the flesh is quite dry and what juice there is has an acidic, bitter and is very strongly sour tasting.

A complete contrast to the zest which is quite aromatic.

A little zest goes a long way and very finely chopped or added to ingredients it imparts a beautiful citrusy flavour. I have added a little video as there is a knack for chopping the lime leaves very finely.

Here in Thailand, it is also pounded in a pestle and mortar as it is an ingredient in many curry pastes.

Tom Yum Goon

it is added to the iconic Tom Yum soup and other soups and stews here and also is an ingredient in Thai shrimp cakes.

Thai Prawn Cakes

The Madagascans use the whole macerated fruit and make rum I wonder if I could have a go….Carol’s distillery in her garden shed…Does that sound like a plan???

Called Rhum arrange it comes from the islands of la Reunion and Nearby Madagascar as well as the French islands in the Caribbean.

House or homemade rums flavoured with fruits, roots and spices that are macerated for a minimum of 1 month..although it is recommended to let it macerate for 6 months or even longer.

There are as many as 400 different recipes for rhum arrange and some have been macerated for 3-4 years…Wow, I bet they pack a punch!

And there is no end to what things are put into those bottles to “arrange” the rums…it could be a snake or sea urchin or just fruits and spices but all supposed to be quite delicious…

There are two different ways of macerating one is the traditional common way of submerging the fruits and spices into the rum. Then there´s another where you hang the fruits (usually citrus fruits) as they are or with things inserted into the fruits – like coffee beans and hung above the liquid.

The idea is that the aromatics and oils are derived from the citrus and spices without any bitterness from the pith and that´s the reason this method is usually used for citrus fruits.

Rhum Combava (Kaffir Lime)

Kaffir lime fruits

1 litre of white rum (traditionally Rhum Charette) or rhum Agricole

Grated zest of one combava/kaffir lime

1 vanilla bean, split in two

150g raw cane sugar

Mix and infuse the rum for at least 2 months.

I think I could manage to do that and make it into a nice cocktail… Oh Yes!

Nutritionally the benefits of the Kaffir Lime is from the oils in the rind and the high levels of citronella and limonene which are both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

Oil extracted from the leaves is also used for medicinal purposes, it is mixed into shampoos, soaps salves and fragrances.

Most often it is used in oral products or the leaves can be rubbed directly onto the gums as it eliminates harmful bacteria in the mouth.

In the rural areas and villages, you will find many herbs, fruits and vegetables are used like this to help alleviate and cure many ailments as many either are to far away to visit the doctor or cannot afford to or even just prefer to use remedies passed down through the generations.

It is also used as an insect repellant by mixing the juice or oil with a lotion or salve and it reduces the chance of being bitten.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Kaffir Lime…Do you use Kaffir lime or its leaves ????

Please share this post if you have enjoyed it on your favourite social media …Thank you xx

My  Social media links:-

Connect to Carol( Moi)

New additional Bloghttp://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food Column – Hot Cross Buns and Fish Balls.

One a penny, two a penny..time to bake Hot Cross Buns…I hope you enjoy the Easter Recipes that I have for you this week 🙂 x

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

This week Carol Taylor shows us how to prepare Hot Cross Buns and Fish Balls (sorry Carol but I am sure there is a joke in there somewhere).

There have been packets of hot cross buns in our supermarket for the last four weeks, all with long expiry dates (suspicious)… make your own from scratch and enjoy not just the flavour but the knowledge that you getting the real thing.

Carol Taylor’s Food Column – Hot Cross Buns and Fish Balls.

Yes it’s that time of the year nearly Easter although Easter Sunday falls on the 1st of April this year which is also April Fools Day

How many of you remember singing one a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns or am I showing my age?

It became an English language Nursery Rhyme and a street cry referring to those spicy Easter buns…associated with the end of Lent.

View original post 1,691 more words

Smorgasbord Health Column – Processed foods vs. Industrially manufactured foods.

A great post from Sally about highly processed foods… Why do so many still eat processed foods on a regular basis?  Processed foods and ready meals why should we limit how much we eat and also how it affects our health and our families health…A good well researched post…No Gimmicks or untruths just facts… A must read!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Over the last four years, those of you who regularly read the health posts will know that I am very keen on the ‘cook from scratch’ with ‘fresh produce’ approach to eating.

I have been on that mind for over 20 years, even though I do enjoy buying the odd thing that is manufactured such as crisps (potato chips) cereals, bread, they are nearly always from the in house bakery, own brands fresh sauces or organic brands.

But even then, when you see bread displayed without packaging and oddly shaped, it may have been created from frozen dough from thousands of miles away, defrosted, formed into loaves and baked in the ovens.

I came across the following article back in 2015 and I have the link in a special folder of those that I want to keep and reread from time to time. This particular post lays bare some of…

View original post 1,128 more words

Fruity Fridays…Pretty Dragon Fruit.

Carol cooks! Dragon Fruit

It would be lovely AND INTERESTING  to hear about what fruit you get where you live. I know a lot of goods are exported around the world and some you can get everywhere….like The Banana but there are some that you don’t see often or know much about so maybe don’t buy them…. my aim? Maybe you will next time …

But before that…..I will tell you a funny story …… Matum fruit which I will be featuring one week……..I tried to eat the pulpy middle..well I broke a tiny bit away and I could see what looked like clear glue and decided to maybe just taste a little on the tip of my tongue..it was definitely gluey so I didn’t eat any more of it and as I had some more of the fruit thought maybe it was overripe…then my daughter-in-law told me you don’t eat that bit… this is what you eat……Ahhhhhh…the lights were now on…lol

My point? Fruity Fridays are to tell you about different fruits so we know how to use it and enjoy IT and what bits we don’t eat…..

Ok…..Today I give you the very pretty exotic looking Dragon Fruit!

Dragon Fruit

Such a pretty coloured fruit and it just looks so exotic, doesn’t it? Also, known as Pitaya fruit or in Thailand(Kaeo Mangkon). Rich in Vitamin C, B1, B2, B3 and the minerals iron, calcium & phosphorus and one fruit is only 60 calories so a good for you fruit.

It is also said to help lower bad cholesterol levels and its high fibre content can also assist with poor digestion and constipation.

Of course, it also makes excellent smoothies, you can sip your smoothie while it works on your hair follicles..yes if you put the juice on your scalp it will keep the hair follicles open so it’s great for tinted hair.

I am really getting into this smoothie making and today I think is one of my favourite smoothies. I am learning to get the right amount and what I do is take the glass I am going to drink it from and fill the glass with my fruit that way I make just enough and if I am making more than one glass then I double up but it eliminates the guesswork.

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Today’s smoothie was a mixture of fruit and vegetables.

I used a large chunk of  Pineapple, Watermelon, yellow melon and dragon fruit. A slice of tomato, a slice of beetroot, a piece of carrot and a little ice.

Then into the liquidiser and a blitz for a minute and voila a lovely smoothie.

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Troubled with acne and spots then make a paste from a slice of the dragon fruit apply to the affected areas of your face or skin then rinse off with water. Use twice daily for the best results.

The sap of the dragon fruit is also used by making aqueous extracts of its leaves, bark and fruit pulp and is said to aid wound healing and burns.

I then got to thinking about a recipe I came across all these beautiful desserts..brilliant pink Pannacotta’s..but I am not a dessert person as you know unless it’s a high day or holiday…ha ha….. Often served on a mixed fruit platter here or in little tarts…

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Then I come across a recipe for Dragon Chicken..…not a dragon fruit in sight but hey ho….it’s in the name…lol

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Let’s Cook!

1lb chicken breasts cut into small chunks or pieces of chicken on the bone.

Marinade for chicken:

1 egg white

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tbsp cornstarch/arrowroot

1 tbsp soy sauce

Salt to taste.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and coat the chicken thoroughly leave to dry for 30 minutes.

Heat some oil 375 degrees and cook chicken in batches until it is crispy.

For the sauce, you need 2 tsp of finely chopped garlic, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp of finely chopped ginger, 3 tbsp tomato ketchup, 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1/2 tsp of sugar mix all these together. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small pan and add the mixture when the sauce comes to the boil add the chicken and heat for a further 1-2 minutes.

To serve garnish with chopped spring onions, niblets of sweetcorn/peas and or sliced green chillies.

I, of course, would add more chilli flakes and probably a tsp more ginger…just saying..lol…But as you know my mantra is TASTE and TASTE again… until it is perfect for you…

Enjoy!

Carol cooks! Dragon Fruit

I hope you are enjoying these Fruity Fridays if you are please share on your favourite social media it may help someone to eat the right bit of the fruit..unlike me with my Matum Fruit…lol

 

 Don’t forget on Wednesdays over at Sally’s it’s Hot Cross Buns xxx See you there xx

 

Fruity Fridays… The Banana

Fruity Fridays Banana

We have many exotic fruits here, so armed with my camera I went to the local fruit market. Well, lots of oranges are in season at the moment as are Watermelons galore and the mangoes are just coming back into the season….but what I was looking for…not in season

Back home I went disappointed and thinking hard as a lot of the fruits are what I call staples available most of the year and now because of progress available all over the world.

What can I feature??? Well, I am sure most of you can get Bananas in your supermarket which will probably be the Cavendish by name as the original Banana favoured by the supermarkets was the  Gros Michel which became extinct by 1960 as it was wiped out by a fungus called the Panama Disease.

This could happen at any time as Bananas are actually clones and if they become infected with a fungus it just runs rampant and kills them all.

Banana it is then..here in Thailand and in my garden Bananas grow in abundance.

Its scientific name is Musa Sapientum which roughly translated  means  Fruit of wise  men

Here it is called Kluay pronounced glue eye.

Seasons vary slightly around the regions and it is a tree-like perennial and officially classed as a herb, the world’s largest herb as it can reach 25 feet in height. The fruit is also classed as a berry. Did you know that?

Here in Thailand leaves are used to serve food on or wrap food in like these little parcels of tri coloured sticky rice topped with shredded pork floss.

Tri Cloured sticky rice with pulled pork

Coloured Thai sticky rice with pork floss

The saying that you eat with your eyes certainly applies here as so much of the food is just so beautifully served and such lovely colours like this rice isn’t it pretty and all wrapped in a banana leaf.

The purple flowers of the banana are steamed and eaten with a spicy dip see the picture in the header image.

To make Thai spicy dip:
Finely chop one small shallot, 1 clove of garlic, finely slice 6/8 fresh chillies, add 3 tbsp fish sauce and 2 tbsp fresh lime juice…I stir in a little-chopped coriander. If the dip is too salty add a little warm boiled water.

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Thai Chilli Dip

The inside of the skin is also used to stop itching and inflammation of insect bites and burns. It is also said that if you tape a piece of banana skin side down over a wart every night that the potassium in the skin makes the wart disappear with 1-2 weeks.

Mashed and mixed with a tbsp of heavy cream, and a tbsp of honey and then applied to dry hair covered with a shower cap and a hot towel. Left for an hour and then rinsed off before shampooing the hair it is a wonderful moisturising treatment.

There is no end to the properties of this low calorie, no fat, no sodium, no cholesterol berry which is also rich in Vitamin C, Potassium, fibre and B6.

Here it is used to make bread and muffins.

Banana Bread https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/if-your-dreams-dont-scare-you-they-arent-big-enough/

If cooked the banana skins are edible, you will see fried bananas in abundance on the street food stalls…they are fried in batter, grilled on the BBQ in their skins and turned into golden fritters ( Kluay phao)

fried-banana-285222_1920

Banana spring rolls with a sweet dip or eaten green and raw with a spicy dip.

To make Thai spicy dip:
Finely chop one small shallot, 1 clove of garlic, finely slice 6/8 fresh chillies, add 3 tbsp fish sauce and 2 tbsp fresh lime juice…I stir in a little-chopped coriander. If the dip is too salty add a little warm boiled water.

They can be used to make a beautiful Banana Blossom stir fry.

Green unripe bananas are also used to make Tam Maak Kluay which is a version of the famous Som Tam ( Papaya Salad) which I first had from a roadside stall near Bang Tao beach in Phuket and it is beautiful.

My most recent favourite dish with green bananas is a recipe from my blogging friend Reena…I have made it a couple of times now and it is awesome we just keep eating them they do not last very long and a great way to use green bananas when you get so many bananas as we do…

Green Banana Koftas

Ingredients for Kofta’s

Raw Green bananas-2
Cottage cheese—1/2 cup(optional) Did not use the cheese.
Finely Chopped onion- 1/4th cup
Grated ginger- 1 tsp
Chopped green chilli- 1 tsp (or more) I used red chillies as had no green.
Coriander powder- 1 tsp
Shahi Garam masala powder– 1 tsp
Red chili powder- ½ tsp(optional)
Amchur(dry mango ) powder- 1 tsp…I used a squeeze of lime juice.
Corn flour- 1 tbsp(as binding agent)
Chopped dry fruits for filling(cashew, walnuts, raisins, pistachio or dry berries)
Butter cut into very small cubes
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

green kofta ingredients
To Make Koftas
Slit the top and bottom of the bananas. Pressure cook the bananas with skin on till soft. Peel and mash the bananas add all ingredients except nuts, raisins, butter and oil.
Mash everything nicely to make a dough. Its better to use your finger to make a dough. Make equal sized balls out of the dough. Take one ball on your palm and make a hole in the middle with your finger. Fill the hole with dry fruits and a butter cube in it. Close the hole and reshape it like a small oval. Repeat and make such ovals out of the dough. Sprinkle, little cornflour over it and keep aside.

green banana koftas frying
In a deep wok add enough oil for deep frying the koftas in batches of 3-4. Deep fry in medium flame till brown. Do not fry in high flame otherwise, the koftas will be browned from outside and inside it will remain undercooked.

As this was the first time I had made these I didn’t make Reena’s curry sauce but I had a small pot of sauce in my freezer which I defrosted and used with the Koftas. Purely because I didn’t know if we would like them. They were amazing…Well, the menfolk queried the lack of meat but they are such carnivores…lol

green banana koftas in curry sauce
They are lovely eaten as a snack and also with the curry sauce…

As you can see from the original list of ingredients I use red chilli instead of green and lime juice instead of the mango powder and no cottage cheese…I was going to use feta cheese instead but thought I would try them without. The mix of filling for the centres I used pistachios, walnuts and raisins chopped finely.
With thanks to Reena for a lovely recipe for Green Bananas. They are amazing my friend…Thank you

 

Just a piece of trivia...did you know? That more songs have been written about the Banana than any other fruit.

Previous Fruity Friday posts you may have missed.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/fruity-fridays-the-pineapple/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/fruity-friday-the-humble-fig/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/fruity-friday-pomegranates/

Thank you for joining me for Fruity Fridays I hope you are enjoying the posts and recipes if you have any fruits which you want me to feature then please just message me with a name and or picture.

Also sharing is caring so if you love my posts please reblog or share on your favourite social media channel..Thank you xxx

 

Retired no one told me and Orienthailiving weekly roundup…Recipes, ranting and back door trots…

What a week this has been... Have I got the mother of all roundups for you just in case you missed any of my posts…

I started with my recipe for Asian style ribs... And guess what the first time we made them they were awesome but I was the sous chef on that occasion and not paying too much attention…..I was chopping and julienning the ginger and writing down the recipe while taking photos…One’s son was cooking the said ribs… They were AWESOME THE BEST!

Take 2!

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Mum pulled up the recipe and we started preparing the ribs…

There then ensued a conversation as to which soy sauce was used… I had written the recipe down WRONG ….who would think one word would make a difference…Oh, it did! Trust me…. Black Soy…Black Soy Black Soy…I will not be forgetting that!

I have also amended the recipe and apologise to anyone who used just regular soy…

Then it was over to my blog Orienthailiving for a post on the upcoming Songkran Festival…Thai New Year where there are lots of very welcome water throwing which cools you down in this heat…It is a fun-filled few days and this is one of my all-time favourite photos of my grandson enjoying Songkran…complete with a wig, flowery shirt and water pistol.

Aston Songkran

https://myhealthyretirement.com/songkran-thai-new-year-celebrations/

I think this was my rant of the week/century I was/ am appalled at the duplicity of manufacturers regarding the consumer’s health.

Plastics the truth…

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https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/plastic-are-you-confused/

Next another of my favourites Gumbo…

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https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/gumbo-a-favourite-soup/

It is also my monthly post over on TRH time and I have started a Culinary crawl through the alphabet..not sure if Esme realises that she has me every month for the next 2 plus years …hahaha

trh-dream-mug

https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/the-culinary-alphabet-beginning-with-a/

I love waterfalls and we have them in abundance here and this one although a small waterfall is a charming place to visit and I was lucky it was just up the road from my house…a lovely stroll in the sun away…

Ton tai waterfall

https://myhealthyretirement.com/travel-thailand-thai-waterfalls-ton-tai-waterfall-phuket/

Fruity Fridays!

The turn of the Fig…not particularly the prettiest of fruits but very good for you and lovely with bacon but so is everything…Too many and you get the back door trots…but just enough and they keep you regular…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/fruity-friday-the-humble-fig/

Continuing with my Travel Thailand theme for this week is the lovely Koh Panyee, sea gipsy village… complete with a floating football pitch it is a complete village in the middle of the sea

houses on stilts Koh Panyee

https://myhealthyretirement.com/travel-thailand-koh-panyee/

We then saw the lovely Sally reblog a post very dear to my own heart written some time ago and I am saddened that the problem seems to have worsened rather than got better…

cropped-for-web Sally Cronin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/smorgasbord-blog-sitting-special-life-in-a-cardboard-box-the-chocolate-run-by-carol-taylor/

I then thought this post needed another airing …Turmeric

turmeric-root

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/19/turmeric-golden-milk/

Phew…I didn’t realise I wrote so much in a week…

Healthy Eating… A cause dear to my heart… no diets, no counting calories, no feeling guilty…Just a good balanced diet and moderation coupled with your chosen exercises…AND

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https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/healthy-eatinghow-to-lose-weight-and-eat-the-foods-you-love-2/

My final post for this week over on Orienthailiving was the happiest animal on earth The Quokka and they love the sweet potato…

quokka-Rottnest Island

https://myhealthyretirement.com/travel-australia-rottnest-island-home-quokkas/

My Wednesday cookery column over at Sally’s was HOT!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-column-by-carol-taylor-for-all-you-hot-curry-lovers/

Over here on Retired No One Told Me and after typing this lot out…They definitely didn’t! …lol

Is the very tasty, healthy alternative to rice… Tada…Cauliflower rice…Now just in case you were wondering and thought I was teasing you by showing the Pork and Thai basil dish I ate mine with…so I have added the link for you…

SAM_6054

 

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/healthy-eating-cauliflower-rice/

I hope you have enjoyed this roundup and to ensure you don’t miss any more of my posts please subscribe to my blogs…

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fruity Friday…The humble Fig

The Fig…You can get it dried almost anywhere in the world and fresh and luscious from September through to autumn.

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There is nought like the taste of a fresh fig and dried they are different but sweet, with a chewy flesh and crunchy edible seeds.

Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches …The blossoms are inside the fig. Many tiny flowers which produce the crunchy little edible seeds that give figs their unique texture.

They are sweet with a chewy flesh, smooth skin and crunchy edible seeds.They are also one of the only fruits to ripen on the tree.

Did you know? Fig puree can replace fat/sugar in baked goods? Well neither did I until fairly recently a fig puree can be used as a sugar and fat substitution.

Just combine 8 ounces of fresh figs and 1/4 -1/3 cup of water in a blender; puree until smooth. If using dried figs, soak figs in water until softened before pureeing. Use as you would applesauce in baked recipes, as a substitution for both fat and sugar. Replace up to half the fat in a recipe with fig puree, and reduce or eliminate the sugar required.

Or use the puree as a spread over toast and fruits; or thin it out with more water and use as a liquid sweetener for coffee, drinks and in place of honey or maple syrup in your recipes.

The fig is also a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. It has Vitamin A, B1, and B2…. 3 figs have  5 gm of fibre..so if you are not careful you could if you eat too many figs end up with the “back door trots”. This is an old English saying just in case you were wondering.

In the Indian sub-continent, it is made into a soothing, calming salve which if applied by a topical application it can provide relief to Venereal Disease.  Although more research needs to be done to prove its effectiveness.

The Spaniards introduced figs to California in the early 16th century. The priests who lived in San Diego at the “Mission” originally planted the figs and the dark purple figs became known as Mission figs.

Native to the Middle East and western Asia the fig tree Ficus Carica is also a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness cultivated since ancient times it is mentioned many times in the bible and probably why many also believe that it was not apples in the garden of Eden but figs which tempted Adam and Eve. Now that is a thought.

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Figs made their first commercial product appearance with the 1982 introduction of Fig Newtons cookies…I just love fig bars.

Did you know that eating one-half a cup of figs has as much calcium as drinking a half a cup of milk?

Figs also go wonderfully with blue cheese and wrapped in parma ham they are to die for. Just saying…

So all in all like The Fig lots of these herbs, fruits and vegetables which we take for granted or don’t think about even think of trying…and if you did you may even like them… Most have amazing healing properties and I think we should look at what we have growing naturally in our beautiful world instead of buying all these ready-made processed foods which are not even convenient most of the time and full of nasties…

Here endeth the sermon…

This fig sauce is made with dried figs and is lovely over duck breasts or chicken.

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Fig Sauce

  • 12 dried black figs with the stems trimmed off.
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh chicken stock
  • 2 sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 sprig rosemary although I will admit to adding a bit more…
  • Salt and pepper to Taste

Firstly in a small saucepan cook the black figs in the chicken stock for about 10 minutes until soft, remove from the stock and chop finely and return to the stock. Set to one side.

In a small pan melt the butter and add the finely chopped garlic and mushrooms cook for 30 secs don’t allow to burn as garlic it catches quite quickly. Add the brandy and simmer for 1 minute.Add rosemary sprig and fig stock and figs simmer for 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Just serve over your sliced duck breasts it is a lovely rich sauce and nice for that special occasion.

If fresh figs are in season then they are lovely served with the duck breast…

I hope you are enjoying Fruity Fridays don’t forget if you have a fruit you would like me to feature please send me a picture…

Previous weeks posts in case you missed them.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/fruity-friday-pomegranates/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/fruity-fridays-the-pineapple/