Tag Archives: Figs

The Culinary Alphabet…The Letter F…

Carol Cook!Culinary Alphabet F

Welcome once again to Carol Cook’s column and today in my culinary trawl we have the Letter F.

I am loving this series as I am discovering terms and names I didn’t know or didn’t think I knew so I hope you are too. You can find me once a month over @ Esme’s Salon

F for me was not as easy as some and not so many terms beginning with F although as I was writing I did think of some more it takes me a while sometimes…getting old…lol

Let’s kick off with the CULINARY ALPHABET…THIS WEEKS LETTER IS F

Falafel, a deep-fried ball, doughnut or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans or a combination of both. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, that most likely originated in Egypt. Usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as taboon; Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of an assortment of appetizers.

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Fenugreek Now I use this spice in my Indian cooking so that was easy. But for centuries, fenugreek has been used by many for its health benefits as fenugreek is not only nutritious but can provide us with numerous health benefits.

Five-spice powder is also another spice familiar to me and one which I use in my kitchen. Five-spice powder is a spice mixture of five or more spices which is used predominantly in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine and to a lesser degree in Asian and Arabic cookery. If you can’t buy 5 spice powder then it easy to make.

Ingredients:

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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/

 

Christmas Recipes… Lighter Puddings

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Day 5 on the Christmas countdown and today I have some lighter puddings for you as I know some either don’t like or can’t eat a Christmas Pudding…

I always make a Fresh fruit salad and anything goes in whatever is in season and I have some lovely choice of some lovely  exotic fruits to choose from here but wherever you live check out your fruit section and I am sure you will find something exotic there and you only need one if it is a dragon fruit or something which can be expensive but they are quite big so only one would be required the only fruit I don’t use and not because I don’t like it but just because the texture isn’t right for a fruit salad is the banana but you could always make a lovely banan split and that would be a lovely alternative to a rich, Christmas pudding wouldn’t it?

The beauty of a fresh fruit salad is that you can make it as large or as small as you like one portion or ten. You can use any fruit that you have and it can different every time.

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The one I always make is very simple I use Oranges, Apples, Grapes, Pear, and section and slice them and add lemon/ lime juice to stop the fruit going brown.

Sometimes I  also add some freshly squeezed orange juice or other fruit juice.

This is now when it gets interesting as you can add a little freshly grated ginger, some crushed lemongrass even treat yourself to one of those exotic fruits you have seen in your local shop or farmers market just to liven it up, change it.

Maybe even a touch of chilli???

Some sesame seeds? Some poppy seeds?? Just sprinkled over the top of your serving???

If I use a soft fruit like melon,  mango, strawberries, peaches, apricots, watermelon or kiwi then I put those in about 15 mins before I serve the fruit salad. Otherwise, they can go too mushy and we like our fruit salad fresh and vibrant, nice and crisp.

And of course here I have access to plenty of fresh pineapples, Lychees and Dragon fruit are plentiful and in season here at the moment so into the mix they go…What is your favourite fruit salad mix???

To jazz it up a bit put your salad into a hollowed out pineapple skin… and make like a little boat…

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You can use any combination of fruit that you like just make sure you use lemon/ lime

juice to stop the fruit from discolouring and keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

It can be served quite simply with fresh cream or clotted cream if you can get it…

Ice cream there are now so many flavours to choose from or make your own a lovely coconut and lemongrass recipe here or add some chilli to the chocolate ice cream or  as my hubby prefers just a good old fashioned custard.

Serve it with your porridge oats or other cereal with natural yoghurt… the possibilities are endless… Have fun when you make one and try different fruits.

Enjoy!

Banana Split

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Now as you know I get bananas by the cartload here and as it’s Christmas then treat yourself just split a banana and create a culinary masterpiece… Ice cream of your choice and why not mix the flavours, some whipped cream or mascarpone and a sauce, chocolate, salted caramel or my favourite a lovely raspberry coulis… Maybe some little marshmallows or some pieces of meringue…Go wild and have fun!

Christmas comes but once a year!

How about a lovely whole baked apple…I remember my dear mummy making these and I used to love them… In fact, I haven’t had one for years…

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Just stuff with some dried fruits, sultanas or chopped apricots maybe a little of the sweet mincemeat? Add some cinnamon or mixed spice… Drizzle with some maple syrup or golden syrup and bake until the apple is soft and the juices are running…A lovely light pudding after your Christmas meal…

Just some baked figs with some cheese also make a lovely lighter pudding so many dishes you can make..A pannacotta with fresh fruit?

What dessert do you make for after your Christmas meal?

I love a creme brulee or fruit salad…I also love a small piece of Christmas pudding but normally save that for later when my lunch has gone down.

Until tomorrow for more Christmas recipes and ideas…

I can now also be found over on my new blog Orienthailiving where if you still have some shopping to do I have some ideas for you some links will be affiliate links for which I will receive a small commision but there is no extra cost to you and it will help get my Amazon account up and running so thank in advance if you do go through my links.

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds who would have thought just what health benefits that little seed can provide for us…Well…Sally has and it is all here in one post with recipes … A one-stop post for healthy food and good health information….I hope you enjoy x

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the series where I provide the nutritional health benefits for a food and Carol Taylor works all week in the kitchen to provide delicious recipes to include in your regular diet. I hope you will go over to her new blog which she has just started: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/ and discover more about her beautiful home in Thailand.

This week we are going to be featuring pumpkin seeds which are not only delicious but contain some very important nutrients that make this a snack that every man should eat once or twice a day.

When I was researching my men’s health book I came across some interesting statistics with regard to the very common problem of an enlarged prostate. In fact if you live to the age of 90 – 9 out of 10 men will have the condition!  Any man over the age of 50 who has a reduction…

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