Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese part 1

figs and cheese #2

Following on from my first fresh fig experience of the season, I decided to foray further into the fig world and have a go at roasting them.  As a strong supporter of buying local, I popped in to the market we have in the city, to pick up, amongst other things, a handful of figs.

Now this is the thing, every time I go to the market for fruit I forget the golden rule of market fruit.   Which is: all soft fruits bought from the market are to be consumed within a day, otherwise they begin the sorry state of decline so often found in fruit bowls across the country.  I have often been caught out by this market fruit propensity, having got used to buying fruit from a supermarket where they scare each piece into a state of suspended frozen shock, until it’s time to release them into the public domain.

However, I forget all of this and buy myself some gorgeous soft and hard fruits.

Ladened with figs and many other delicious items, I unload and arrange artistically, all the fruit in a bowl keeping the figs separately and, indeed, the plums. To be fair, I think I may have been egging the pudding slightly there.  There isn’t much to putting fruit in a bowl.

Moving on.

This is where I make two fatal mistakes.  Firstly, the figs lounged on a plate for over 24 hours on our kitchen table, and secondly, I balanced a bunch of bananas precariously on the edge of said plate.

‘And what,’ you may ask, ‘is the consequence of said action?’

My beloved figs have gone past the point of no return.  Overnight.  When my back was turned.

So now, having bought the goat’s cheese, I now have to buy more figs.  Could I be caught in an self perpetuating cycle of figs?  Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, apparently what you do is this:

Using a knife, carefully trim any tough portion of the stems from each fig.  Rub each fig all over with extra-virgin olive oil, then slice down through the stem about 2cm.  Make a second cut perpendicular to the first cut, so that you have an X-shaped cut in the top of each fig. (I love the word perpendicular).
Gently pry the edges apart and stuff each fig with about 1 teaspoon of the goat cheese. Place the figs upright on a baking sheet and bake until the figs are plump but have not burst, at gas mark 6 for about 10 minutes.
Drizzle the honey onto the serving plate and place the roasted figs on top of the honey.  Sprinkle with a pinch of the chopped rosemary; drizzle more honey on top if desired.  Serve immediately.*

I shall be endeavouring to rustle up this little number later on today.  I’ll let you know how I get on.


*Courtesy of


Plum Jam

photo (86)

I have, for the last few days, been trying to ignore the pot of plums that have been idling away the hours in our temperamental fridge.   Thankfully, the fridge tends to somehow suspend any type of rotting process for a good few days, which has allowed me to go away and return without having to open the fridge and deal with an ominous odour.

Today, though, became cook or compost for the last remaining plums.  So, I diligently took them out of the fridge and washed them but couldn’t quite face de-stoning them as my finger nails still haven’t quite recovered from the last lot, so I threw caution to the wind, weighed them and bunged them in the pan.

Of course, the thing with plum jam especially is that you need to match the weight of the plums with that of sugar, which I duly did, completely forgetting to take account of the stones, until I had put the whole lot onto the stove with heat underneath it. So, in my attempt to rectify the situation I opened the fridge door to look for the lemon juice.  ‘Give it a tang, and counterbalance the sweetness’, I thought.

And then, a flurry of I don’t know what came over me, and I reached for the lime juice, whipped off the lid, and shook a good splodge in.  Bearing in mind the plums and sugar already had some vanilla extract in there, I was slightly concerned at the amount I had splattered about, but decided that, as it was the last few plums, I could relax and just see how it worked out.

Well let me tell you, this jam tastes absolutely amazing.  Firstly, I need not have concerned myself over the stones as they merrily popped up to the surface and although there is a slight chance that one may be lingering with intent, you can normally tell with jam can’t you?  So, gaining in confidence, the wee boy and I treated ourselves to some fresh bread and slightly warm jam.

I have to say, if you enjoy your plum jam and are not averse to the taste of lime, you will be blown away with this little number.

May I recommend you try it, and give me your verdict?  Alternatively, pop round to mine and have a taste of ours.  Best not leave it too long though, eh?

Making Plum Jam

Image-1 (6)

 I am in the process of making jam.  Plum jam.

The thing is I have now sat here for over two hours and the large bucket of plums we picked from our neighbours tree is just not going down quickly enough.  However, my fingers have slowly been coloured by the skins of said plums and are strong contenders for ‘best camouflage of the year’ award. They look like wrinkly plums.   Moreover, the little blighters of stones are often so tricky to release from their fruity coats that I end up cutting around them.  Someone needs to invent a plum de-stoner. They’d make a fortune.

‘It’s so 10 out of 10 annoying’, as one of the fabulous students on ‘Educating Yorkshire, One Year On’ said last night.  That most definitely wins the my ‘favourite phrase of the year’ award.

All my moaning aside, I am actually a very big fan of home made jams and chutneys. Firstly, there is a self satisfaction in utilising the fruit growing around you.  Secondly, there is nothing like the taste of home made jams and chutneys and thirdly, they make great gifts.  Perfect.

Back to the reality of the day.  Having now taken a short break from the de-stoning of plums, I really should get back on the case or I will lose all impetus and they will sit around in the pan, looking forlorn, unloved and very much like unmade jam.

And not even my most loved would appreciate a jar of ’emperor’s new clothes’ jam.