In my kitchen...
...this February are the first of the season summer figs and fresh black currants. On finding these at the market this morning, Mr K and I went a little delirious. My love of black currants is well documented - but to find them fresh was an absolutely divine treat. Mr K remembers biting straight into bunches of similar beauties when he took a small short cut through a vineyard, near his mother's village on the Greek island of Zakinthos. We tried this approach when we got the currants home - the explosion of sweet, juicy flavor was just incredible - and the method of consumption was lots of fun - and produced many giggles.
The figs were also a wonderful treat on a summers day, these figs in particular had a strong, seductive earthy flavor. Figs are wonderful fresh, eaten just as they are but they are also so versatile in both savoury and sweet recipes. As shelf life of fresh figs is brief, we decided to use the figs straight away. In the fridge we had a lovely round of ricotta from Cyprus - and on our morning marketing adventure, we had also bought a heady Italian white truffle oil. With the addition of some honey - we had a combination fit for a king and queen.
Figs with honeyed ricotta and truffle oil
1/4 cup ricotta
1/4 cup honey
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
White truffle oil
1. Combine ricotta with honey and season with salt and black pepper.
2. Cut figs into quarters, stopping half an inch from the bottom to leave base intact.
3. Gently press the figs open.
4. Spoon the cheese into the centre of the figs.
5. Place on a tray and grill until ricotta starts to brown lightly.
6. Place on a platter and drizzle with a small dash of truffle oil - serve immediately
In my kitchen...
...is a Small bottle of Manzanilla sherry from Andalucia in Southern Spain. It is bright, fresh, very dry but delicate and tangy. It was a perfect match with our lovely figs.
In my kitchen...
...is a gorgeous tin of Spanish paprika with its distinctive smokey flavour, which I bought from Foods and Wines of Spain, on Portobello Road in Notting Hill, London. The proprietor of the store advised that once gathered, the peppers go through a two week period of smoking over smoldering stumps of oak trees. The best peppers are selected and then ground down into this beautiful bright orangey red powder.
I combined this gorgeous spice, with cumin, dried thyme leaves and a little cayenne pepper to make some crunchy, moreish Spanish style almonds to accompany a second small glass of manzanilla.
Spanish spiced almonds
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon spanish paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large egg white
1 cup raw whole almonds
1. Preheat oven to 220C.
2. Combine brown sugar, cumin, paprika, thyme, salt and cayenne in a large bowl.
3. Whisk egg white until stiff peaks form. Add almonds and stir to coat. Pour in the spices.
4. Spread evenly on baking sheet, which has been covered with baking paper.
5. Bake for around 30 minutes and then shake the tray, continue to cook on a lower heat until the almonds are dry and golden.
Until the next "in my kitchen", I hope you find a little moment to stop by Celia's wonderful blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, to see what is happening in kitchens from Australia and around the world...