It took a visit from mum for me to realise there was a fig tree in our back garden. I’m not completely ignorant to plants, but our rental has a rather large garden (it was hidden behind the gum trees), and I have been pregnant the entire time we had lived in the house, so hadn’t been getting out to do any gardening.
Fig season is around March/April (Autumn/Fall), however for some reason our figs ripened a little later than that this year. I quickly worked out that I wasn’t the only one waiting for the figs to ripen – I was competing with the birds! The minute a fig ripens it’s a race to see who can get to it first.
I don’t eat figs fresh or dried, but love a little quince paste with blue cheese (accompanied with a late harvest sticky if the combination was to be completely perfect). Mum on the other hand was eating them as she was picking them from our tree.
I popped out to the tree earlier this week to find the last of the figs were ripe and ready for picking, and those that had fallen were not going to waste – Jack (our dog) was munching on them (which explains why he hasn’t been particularly hungry lately – what a gourmet treat for a dog!). Using the last of my figs I decided to make a recipe I had found in the Silver Spoon (Italian cookbook) for Mum. You may be lucky enough to still be able to get figs from the supermarket or greengrocer, even though my tree seems to have dried-up.
Italian Spiced Fig
(recipe from the Silver Spoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
100g / 3 1/2 oz castor sugar
rind of 1 orange, thinly pared and cut into strips (removing the white pith)
12 rig figs
Put the spices, sugar and orange rind in a saucepan, add 500ml water/ 18 fl oz water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the figs and simmer for 5 minutes. Do not allow the syrup to boil. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool. Drain the figs and reserve the syrup, and put them in a dish. Bring the syrup back to the boil and cook over a medium heat until reduced by half, then pour it over the figs. Leave to cool completely.
It doesn’t mention how to serve the figs, mum and I thought warmed with vanilla ice-cream, or mum even suggested with duck!
All I can say is that the syrup tasted beautiful, and mum said the figs were great too!
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