Delicious Fig, Feta and Walnut Salad Recipe

2014-03-15 18.35.22

“No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”Epictetus

My farmer friends, Rob and Robby, have a wonderful commercial stone fruit orchard and a couple of handsome old fig trees. In the fig season we often trade produce, and I have the pleasure of coming up with ways to use all of those luscious fruits.

This is a super salad, and satisfying enough to be eaten on its own, although it makes an interesting side dish too.

The combination of the sweet fleshy figs with the crisp lettuce, slightly salty cheese, tangy dressing and those little walnut chunks is, well… 😀

Why not make it and find out? Did I mention this salad is also easy to assemble!

This will serve two to three hungry adults as a main meal, or give four to six side servings. Recipe is easily adapted to smaller or larger serves.

Ingredients:

1 cos lettuce, 2 ribs of celery, 2 green shallots (scallions/spring onions), 1 small apple, 4 to 6 ripe figs, 1/2 cup of walnuts, a few thick slices of good feta cheese.

Dressing:

1 heaped tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk, 1 small teaspoon of mustard powder, salt and pepper, 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of vinegar (I used coconut vinegar and it was sublime!)

Figs Large

Method:

Take a wide, flattish salad bowl or platter.

Wash and dry your lettuce leaves. Rip the lettuce into bite size chunks putting them straight into the salad bowl. Then slice the celery, apple and shallots into small pieces. Toss with the lettuce.

Slice the figs into wedges and place them on top of the greens. Then scatter the walnuts and feta (cut into small cubes) over the figs.

Dressing:

Place condensed milk, mustard, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and vinegar and stir until well combined. Adjust to your taste. Thin if necessary by adding a little water or milk.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

2014-03-15 18.35.34

Mango and Fig Meringue Nests Recipe

2014-02-14 19.10.15

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.” ~ Mother Teresa

This is a VERY easy dessert. Just a little chopping and stirring, but the results are pleasing and the flavours elevate it to a whole other level.

There is usually a packet of little meringue nests in my pantry. It’s amazing how many yummy desserts you can whip up with them in a culinary emergency, like yesterday…

I had a wretched Valentine’s Day on my last day of this round of horror Lyme drugs and spent most of the day in bed, but with the help of a friend I still managed to make dessert for what ended up being a ‘romantic’ backyard candle-lit dinner: just me, Ben, our neighbour Sheryl who’d come to help Ben with some farm work, our three dogs, and all the cows who came and stuck their heads over the fence.

Apparently if you light candles and put a flower behind your ear it’s classed as ‘romantic’. If only I’d known that years ago…

And the moo-ing cows really added to the elegant atmosphere. As you can see from the picture below we all got very dressed up!

2014-02-14 19.12.26 HDR

Anyway, dessert! We were gifted a few juicy mangoes from a neighbour, and I had two fresh figs and a couple of passionfruit from our own farm. Add  a little white chocolate, and a honey and cardamom infused cream and suddenly we have dessert magic.

Ingredients:

4 pre-prepared meringue nests, 1 large ripe mango (or 2 small), 2 passionfruit, 1 large or 2 small ripe figs, 1/4 cup chopped white chocolate, 150ml thickened cream, 1 teaspoon sweet sherry or vermouth, 1 scant teaspoon cardamon powder, 1 dessertspoon of honey

Method:

Chop the mango flesh and fresh figs and place in a bowl. Stir through the passionfruit pulp and then add the white chocolate chunks.

2014-02-14 16.17.49

Pu the cream, cardamom, sherry and honey in a small bowl and whisk together. (You could beat it until whipped and thick, but really, that’s a whole lot of unnecessary effort.)

2014-02-14 16.23.08

To serve, place the meringue nests on a plate and spoon in the fruit topping. Drizzle some of the honey cream over the top. Garnish with a sprig of mint if you so desire.

2014-02-14 19.08.30

 

In honour of Valentine’s Day we also made some naff little hearts from chocolate and strawberry fondant icing pens to adorn our plates too – that’s how fancy we are! 🙂  I swear this entire dessert took less than five minutes to make and assemble.

As we sat in the backyard eating dinner (food!!!) Bert was his usual devoted self. What a wonderful dog.2014-02-14 19.13.10 HDR

And Harry was fixated on my every mouthful me just because he loves me! Luckily they both had a Valentine’s Bone to munch on too.2014-02-14 19.16.40 HDRI’m so glad I made the effort to get out of bed for a few hours. Happiness is sharing time and food with the people (and dogs, and cows…) that you love.

Lots of love to you too, Nicole xx

2014-02-14 19.09.41