Showing posts with label fig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fig. Show all posts

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dairy Free Delight - Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger

Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger

Fig season is so frustratingly short, and my supply that was plentiful last year was decidedly less so this year. They’re one of those fruits that I absolutely love – but there’s no way I’d pay $2 each for them. So unless I scam some from a friend with a tree, I go without. Begrudgingly. This year I only really got to make 2 fig dishes – the Brie Cheesecake (Briesecake?!?) and this one. Fig and ginger is a great pairing. Sweet, sticky figs paired with the hot bite of crystalised ginger is a match made in taste bud heaven. As a fancy appetiser, a fig half with a dollop of goat’s cheese, a few slices of crystalised ginger and a little prosciutto is so amazing. Or the same ingredients as a salad with some peppery rocket and maybe some toasted hazelnuts? Fabulous!

I decided to make this as an ice cream because of a competition. It was to win a kick-arse blender, because my one is a little sad and I really want a commercial grade one, without you know, paying for one. You had to answer what dish you would first make with your blender. And my answer was macadamia milk ice cream with fig and ginger. I’m not sure where the idea came from, other than the fact that you need a blender to make nut milks. And to make it more interesting, I turned it into ice cream. And to make it more exciting, I added fig and ginger. I didn’t win the blender, but I did win because I dreamed up an awesome ice cream. I swapped to hazelnuts because macadamias were more expensive at the time, and I’m quite a big fan of hazelnuts. Use the leftover hazelnut pulp to make protein balls, or dry out and use as a meal in baking.
Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger
Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger
Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger 

Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger
Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger

Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger

(makes about 1L)
1 cup raw hazelnuts
4 cups water (1L)
6 egg yolks
200g caster sugar
8 small figs, halved
50g crystallised ginger, roughly chopped

Soak the hazelnuts for 4 hours (or overnight) in the water. Blend well, then strain through cheesecloth or a clean chux to separate the ‘milk’ from the pulp.

Bring the hazelnut milk to a simmer over medium heat in a saucepan (do not boil, or it will separate). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thickened, at least 2 minutes. Pour the hazelnut milk into the egg mix in a thin stream, whisking as you go. When completely combined, pour back into the saucepan and cook, stirring for around 5 minutes, or until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Strain into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cold.

Brush each fig half with a little honey on the cut side and pop on a tray in a 160C oven, roasting until softened and caramelly. Remove and allow to completely cool.

Churn according to your ice cream maker's instructions, then freeze in an airtight container for a further 2-4 hours to firm up
Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger
Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger
Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger
Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger

Hazelnut Milk Gelato with Roasted Figs and Ginger

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake

Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs
Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs

My first foray into cooking was through baking. I used to help mum bake biscuits and cakes all the time when I was little, then when I was old enough, I was off and running doing it by myself. I'd generally work my way through a well-used copy of the Australian Women's Weekly Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits. It remains one of my favourite baking books with simple, no-fail versions of a lot of classic cookies. I have yet to meet a better ANZAC biscuit recipe! As I got older and other things got in the way of baking as a hobby, my cookies skills were stretched in a more 'practical' way and meals have become my focus. But I still love baking, I just don't do it as often. And as such, I haven't experimented as much. I'm more a special occasions baker. Realistically, I'm more of a baked-goods eater, than a baker!

After hearing about the Secret Cake Club, I knew it was something I wanted to get involved in. It was the perfect excuse to get my bake on, and dust off some skills. The theme for the one I scored a place in was French. Now, everything I know about French baking is that it's notoriously 'finicky'...and that it's delicious. People get extremely passionate about their patisseries and I wanted to make something worthy of the theme, and the event. I didn't have time to learn the secrets of a perfect macaron foot. And I didn't want to splurge and buy myself Madeleine or financier trays. And the only French things I've had experience with - souffles and French Toast - are best served immediately (although someone brought a French Toast that was fantastic!)

So, me being me, I thought I'd go a little bit out of the box and bake something "French", rather than a traditional French baked good that I probably wouldn't do justice. So, what's French? For me, that's cheese and wine. Specifically, soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert. And red wine, like a Cab Sauv, or a Burgundy. The idea for a French Cheese French Cheesecake was borne. It just needed a little fleshing out.

One of my other left-field ideas was to use French Lentils as my "Frenchness". I toasted (on a tray in an 165C oven for around 10 minutes) and ground some lentils into flour to experiment with and found they gave a lovely nutty flavour, but made for the crumbliest of biscuits. A little bit of reading informs me that pulse flours need to be used in combination with other flours because of the lack of gluten, and some arrowroot powder will help it 'stick' and bind together. Voila! Perfect. I changed a simple Sables Breton into an even more French Biscuit by adding French Lentils. The cheesecake was bake on top, and the crowning glory comes from Cabernet Sauvignon Caramel Figs. Traditional French? No. Skamp's French? Totally!

Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs
Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs
Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs
Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs

French Lentil Sable Breton

makes a 23cm cheesecake -serves 10-12
(adapted from Gourmet Traveller)
240g butter, softened
6 egg yolks
260g caster sugar
1/2 tsp ginger powder
105g french lentil flour
10g arrowroot powder
115g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 165C. Line the bottom of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking powder and lightly grease the tin. 

In a small bowl with a handbeater,beat the butter until very fluffy and pale. This will take around 3 minutes. In a standmixer, whisk the egg yolks until creamy, slowly adding the caster sugar until it's all combined. Beat until this is also very light and fluffy. Add the butter in 3 batches, beating until smooth. Then beat in the ginger.

Turn the beater off, then sift the flours and baking powder over the top, then fold until just combined. Spoon the batter into the tin and smooth down the top. Baked until golden and puffed, around 25 minutes. Set aside to cool completely in the tin.

Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs
Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs

Brie Cheesecake

350g cream cheese, at room temperature
350g Brie cheese, at room temperature, rind removed.
4 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 165C

In a medium bowl with a handbeater, beat the brie until light and fluffy. This will alter in time, depending on the softness of the brie you bought, but it could take a few minutes.

In a standmixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the brie, then the eggs and cream. Make sure it's well-combined, but don't over beat because the cheese can separate.

Pour the cheesemix over the sable breton base and tap the container on your counter a few times to remove air bubbles.

Fill a roasting tray with boiling water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Pop the cheesecake on the middle rack. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set with a tiny amount of jiggle in the centre.

Set aside to cool to room temperature

Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs

Cabernet Sauvignon Caramel Figs

150g sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp Cabernet Sauvignon red wine
1 tsp water
6 figs, sliced into quarters

In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and 1/4 cup of water over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then leave it to boil and become a lovely caramel colour. Stir via shaking the handle here and there to keep the liquid moving. And brush any sugar crystals that form down with a wet pastry brush.

When caramel coloured, very carefully add the red wine and extra teaspoon of water. It will fizz and spit at you. Stir through and mix until smooth. Using two forks, drop the fig slices in the caramel, then place on the cake. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the top. You can briefly reheat the caramel over a low heat if it starts getting too solid.


Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs
Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs
Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs
Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs
Secret Cake Club - Brie Cheesecake with Red Wine Caramel Figs

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Skamp's Kitchen - Ricotta, Hazelnut and Fig Cake

Skamp’s kitchen had it’s anniversary on the 4th of February. Yay! I put the call out on my facebook page – how should I celebrate my blogiversary? The overwhelming response was cake. Especially if that cake was shared with my fans! So, there was nothing for it, but to make cake when I got home from work. One friend had the good idea of making a fig cake, given that I was posting a bunch of fig recipes lately, and it just happened that I had a few left.

I decided to make a gluten-free cake, so that when I took the leftovers to work, a few co-workers who can’t eat gluten could still have a piece. And seeing as we were just coming out of January when everyone was still being good with their new years’ resolutions to eat healthier, I also made it with no processed sugar and all healthy fats from ricotta and hazelnuts. The result was a delicious, healthy, moist and nutty cake that didn’t last too long in the work kitchen.

But because I was celebrating, when Lance and I ate ours, I added an extra drizzle of honey. And some melted chocolate. And ate it with chocolate ice cream. Delicious. A dusting of icing sugar would also be a nice touch.

Ricotta, Hazelnut and Fig Cake
(adapted from
250g ricotta cheese
4 eggs, separated
1 vanilla bean, cut and seeds scraped out
½ cup honey
250g hazelnut meal
1 tsp ground ginger
6 figs, sliced into rounds
Optional – chocolate or honey to drizzle

Preheat oven to 150C, grease and line a springform cake tin

Beat the ricotta, egg yolks, vanilla and honey until smooth. Add the hazelnut meal and ginger, mix until fully incorporated.

Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the hazelnut mixture. Pour the mixture into a cake tin, and spread with a spatula. Gently press fig rounds into the top.

Bake for 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the cake tin to a wire rack.

Serve drizzled with extra honey, or melted chocolate. Or both!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birthday Meals - Fig and Apple BBQ Pasta Sauce

My husband and I both tend to have birthday week, at least. Sometimes birthday month. We generally don't buy each other presents unless there’s something specific we find (this is true for all gift-giving occasions). Instead it becomes a week or so full of birthday-related activities. This year, his parents threw their annual party. The day of his birthday I met his boat after work and we had tapas and beers at Monk Brewery with a few friends and the next day I cooked him this for dinner for his Birthday + 1. I had told him I wanted to cook him something special for his birthday and he told me he doubted I could. Everything I cook was special. Bless him.

We are both big fans of ribs. Sticky, BBQ sauce smothered ribs. Preferably smokey. Along with my collection of hot sauces, I have a handful of different BBQ sauces in my pantry, too. I was thinking about how they all have a similar base flavour, and started contemplating what it was that makes a BBQ sauce taste like a BBQ sauce. Basically it’s a combination of sweet, salt and vinegar. The ‘sweet’ is usually fruity. And then it’s got some spice in there. Pretty simple, really. I knew I didn’t have enough time to come home from work and cook ribs (they are so much better slow-cooked), but I still wanted that sticky sweet sauce. I got it in my head to make a pasta, but didn’t want to just use a BBQ sauce from the bottle because they tend to be a bit ‘much’ in large quantities. The vinegar and sugar can take over.

I had been given a few sundowner apples from my parents’ after an orchard trip. I’m not the hugest fan of them to just eat, I find they can be a bit ‘floury’. I like my apples tart and crisp – like pink ladies, or fujis. But, I thought they’d make the perfect sweet base for a BBQ sauce. I added some figs, because I had some. You can always substitute another apple, or maybe a few nectarines or peaches seeing as they’re in season. To me, the sauce turned out perfectly and Lance swears up and down that it wasn’t BBQ sauce but was delicious. I asked him what it tasted like and what BBQ sauce tasted like. He repeated back all of the same flavours for both. What was ‘missing’ was it being further reduced to concentrate the flavours like the traditional condiment – but this was the reason I didn’t want to just use a bottled sauce in the first place. So, I am going to make this again, but cook it in my slow cooker for a few hours to reduce it further, then puree it to make a condiment BBQ sauce. And as a compromise, I am calling this a BBQ Pasta Sauce instead of just a BBQ sauce.

To make the pasta, I had some beautiful little yellow squash and zucchini, then some leftover roast beef that I shredded. Some pork or chicken would go well, too. Then I added a tonne of basil and flat leaf parsley at the end. I wanted it to be more of a vegetable than a herb.
This recipe has a lot of ingredients, but most of them are spices, so don’t get too overwhelmed by that. For me, they are all pantry staples. The mustard seeds and cumin seeds I measured before I toasted and ground them. If you have pre-ground spices, then you’d probably need a little less.

Fig and Apple BBQ Pasta Sauce
(serves 4-6)
2 shallots
4 cloves garlic
2 apples
6 figs
1 shot bourbon
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp smokey paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
½ cup apple cider vinegar

Assembling the Pasta
6 yellow squash, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1 cup shredded cooked beef
Bunch basil leaves, roughly torn
Bunch flatleaf parsley leaves, roughly torn
500g egg noodles

In a large, tall sided pan (I used my tagine pan) on a low heat, add the olive oil and when it’s warmed up, add the shallots and garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes until translucent. You don’t want to colour them, you want it sweet and soft. Then add the apples, figs, salt and bourbon. Stir well, then cover and leave to simmer around 10 minutes while you prep the rest.

In a dry pan, toast the cumin and mustard seeds for 15-30 seconds until the mustard seeds ‘pop’. Add to a spice grinder or mortar & pestle with the peppercorns and grind until fine. Add the two paprikas and chili powder to the spice mix. Mix together the water, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and honey. Pour into the apple mixture. Add the spice mixture into the pan as well and mix everything really well. Cover again and simmer away for at least 20 minutes. The fruit should break down and go mushy turning into a delicious sticky sauce. Check for seasoning.

Meanwhile, place a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Cook according to packet instructions. Add the squash, beef and zucchini to the sauce and cook until warmed through and the vegetables have softened – 10 minutes. Add the pasta when al dente, and the herbs, and stir through. Serve!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Community Inspiration - Chilli Fig Jam with Chorizo tacos

So you might be looking at this and thinking, really? ANOTHER fig recipe? But they’re in season, they’re plentiful and they’re currently being supplied to me for free from a friend’s tree. So I am using them in everything. And loving every single dish of them! And as they are in season, they’re popping up on my Instagram feeds quite frequently and one that caught my eye was from Perth Breakfast – she was making a fig and chilli jam. Um…yum! Two of my favourite things in a jam! Something I was definitely going to try!

As you probably know by now if you’ve read this blog a few times, I am more than slightly addicted to tacos. So my mind immediately went to tacos for a good use of said jam. So beyond the fig jam, the next idea of these was to use a big range of textures. So you have the chewiness of the chorizo, the soft, squishiness of the zucchini, the pop of the corn kernels the crunch of the peanuts and the stickiness of the jam (is stickiness a texture??), the smoothness of the cheese and the crispness of the cucumber. All at once. And it was wonderful.

I used venison chorizo because I have a stockpile in my fridge. When we head down south for a weekend, we tend to stock up on a few products without fail. Venison chorizo, chilli beer sticks and kangaroo biltong from the Margaret River Venison Farm are high on that list. Being venison, it has a more intense flavour than standard chorizos, slightly gamey but not super obviously gamey. If that makes sense? It’s perfect for adding sweet flavours like fig jam to. But any chorizo you’ll have will work. I also served it with the jam still warm. Do this. It blends in with the cheese better as you eat it.
I was deliberately light on the chilli in the jam for two reasons. Firstly, the chorizo already has a heat to it and I didn’t want to overdo the spice, but for all other purposes, I think I would prefer it hotter. And secondly, the jalapenos I used are from my own shrub and they are so inconsistent in their heat. Some are basically capsicum, some will knock your head off – I tend to err on the side of caution. I’m sure you know your own tolerance, add the chilli to your tastes. As per our Instagram conversation (and because I prefer natural sweeteners) the jam is sweetened with honey rather than white sugar. And traditionally, you would add some water but this I deliberately wanted super sticky and thick. You can add a cup of water to make a runnier jam.

Chilli Fig Jam
(makes one 300g jar)
10 figs, cut into 1cm pieces
2 jalapenos, de-seeded and minced
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup honey

First up, make the jam. Add the figs, jalapenos, vinegar and honey to a small pot, bring up to a medium low heat and allow to simmer away for half an hour so until the figs start breaking down and the texture goes all jammy. Around half an hour or so. Bottle in a clean glass jar when still hot.

Spicy Peanuts
1 tsp butter
½ cup raw peanut kernels (no skins)
¼ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp smokey paprika
Pinch sea salt

Heat a frypan, melt the butter and throw the peanut kernels in, toss around for 2-3 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, paprika and salt, toss everything very well to blend. When the cumin seeds are at the ‘popping’ stage, the peanuts should be slightly brown and toasty. Remove to a serving bowl and allow to cool.

Chorizo Tacos
(serves 2)
1 chorizo sausage (around 250g)
1 medium zucchini, diced
½ cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
handful chopped coriander
To serve
Tortillas, cucumber strips, fetta (try get one that’s smoother rather than dry and crumbly)

In the same frypan as above, add the diced chorizo pieces. Leave to fry 5 minutes or so for them to render out some of their fat and start to get crispy. Add the zucchini and corn, and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or so until the zucchini is cooked. At the end, stir through the coriander.

Serve all immediately with warmed tortillas.