Spicy Fig Jam

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Our espaliered fig had its first crop this year and I have been amazed at the abundance of the fruit. Last week I made some fig bars and yesterday made some spicy fig jam. The jam is delicious either on toast, bagels or with biscuits and cheese. Am sure you will be able to think of many ways to use it.

I used this recipe as a base – but though I had less fruit, I didn’t decrease the amount of spices. I love spicy mixtures – and usually up the levels in most recipes (though am careful on chilli side of things!). 700g of fruit made about 4 small jars – so not a huge amount – but definitely enough to keep us happy for a wee while.

Yummy figs ready for dicing

Spicy Fig Jam

Ingredients

  • 700 g fresh figs,  washed and diced
  • 700 g white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cooking apple cored, peeled and diced
  • A little water if required

Instructions

  1. Place the figs, sugar and spices into a large non-metallic bowl. Stir to coat the figs well. Cover and leave for 6-8 hours or overnight.
  2. Put the figs and spiced sugar into a preserving pan or large wide-mouthed pot. Add the diced apple, land stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook rapidly for 15 – 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft and setting point is reached. Stir as required.   If it is taking a while for your jam to get to setting point, turn heat down and let bubble away until it is ready.
  4. Let jam cool and if needed either mash with a potato masher or put mixture into a food processor and whizz until full broken down.   I left about 3 tablespoons out of the food processor and then added it back to the mix. 
  5. Add jam to previously sterilised jars. Seal.

Filo Pomegranate Pork Parcels

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Curry? No. Chicken? No. Pasta? No. Though the ingredients were available, they just didn’t rock my boat. We did have some pork mince in the fridge and Mr MWCED said “use that filo up”, so that was a start. I felt like something a little different to our usual, and found some great middle eastern recipes – it feels a bit wrong to use pork, but as (1) we don’t eat beef or lamb and (2) I had pork, well I’d just have to go with it (and absolutely no disrespect intended). I love pomegranate molasses flavour – though for some reason the bottle seems to sit at the back of the pantry and I forget about using it. So, out you come and flavour up tonight’s dinner!

I got the original recipe from here – though made a few alterations. After googling “znoud el-sit” the most common recipe seems to be a sweet deep fried pastry and not savoury. I don’t do deep fry – and the body doesn’t particularly like it either – but definitely want to try one of these one day – they look very bad but very very good.

I served the pork with Israeli couscous (cooked in a vegetable broth, then sliced spring onions, mint, parsley and coriander, s&p added) and a healthy green salad (freshly picked from the garden).

For those with moderation, one of these with sides would probably be enough. For the likes of people like me who just don’t have enough resolve to be moderate, then 2 was plenty. If I could have, I would have had 3 – because they were so good! At least there is something left over for lunch tomorrow!

Recipe:

  • ⅓ cup             pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup)             olive oil, plus extra, to brush
  • 1                      large onion, finely chopped
  • 250 g               pork mince
  • 1-1/2 tbsp        pomegranate molasses, plus extra, to serve
  • 6 sheets          filo pastry, fresh or thawed

Spice mixture:

  • ½ tsp               allspice
  • ½ tsp               black pepper
  • ½ tsp               ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp               ground coriander
  • ½ tsp               ground cumin
  • ½ tsp               ground nutmeg

Instructions

To make spice mixture, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Place pine nuts in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until browned, then remove from pan and set aside. Add oil to the pan with onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 6 minutes or until browned. Add the spice mixture and ¾ tsp salt and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in toasted pine nuts and pomegranate molasses. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on a clean work surface or chopping board, with a long edge facing you. Brush the half closest to you with oil, then fold in half lengthwise. Turn filo so that the short edge is facing you and brush with oil. Place 1/6th of the cooled filling along the short edge closest to you, leaving a 2.5 cm border on sides and bottom. Roll short edge over filling to enclose, then fold in the 2 longer sides and roll up to form a cigar shape. Place seam side-down on prepared oven tray and repeat with remaining filo pastry and filling to make 6 rolls.

(you can make these rolls larger or smaller.  If larger I’d use 2 sheets of filo pastry per roll)

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve pastries with extra pomegranate molasses and some hummus on the side.

Herby Israeli Couscous
Rocket & Cos, Red Onion and Garden Tomato Salad, dressed with Balsamic Syrup

Ginger Meatballs and Coconut Broth

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Saturday night – need something that is reasonably easy to eat for Mr MWCED had a tooth extracted/stitches so doesn’t want anything too hard on his gums. I had pork mince and a quick search on my favourite food blog soon found the inspiration. Thank you once again, Smitten Kitchen.

The original recipe suggests that the broth is sieved – but I wanted to ‘beef’ it up with some vegetables so added some onion, celery and carrots. You can add whatever else might be in the magic fridge – I would.

This would serve about 4 people – though I’d probably add a few more veges, make more meatballs or have a side of something. While I halved the original recipe for the meatballs I kept the broth at around the same amount of ingredients – for you can never have enough of a delicious broth, right? Chile is up to you – you could use more, or less.

MEATBALLS

  • 500g minced pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1-1/2  tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  •  teaspoons salt

BROTH

  • One 165ml can coconut cream
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • salt
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced celery stalk
  • 1 small carrot thinly sliced
  • 100g baby spinach
  • Coriander and mint for serving

Make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 220 celsius. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Make small size meatballs and place them on a baking tray about 1-inch apart. Bake until the meatballs are golden brown and just cooked through, about 12 to 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the broth: In a large saucepan, combine everything except the spinach and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat so the broth is simmering. Simmer 10 minutes, until the flavours are infused into the broth. Season to taste, if needed, with salt. 
Add the meatballs to the broth, return to a simmer, cover, and simmer until cooked through and tender, about 10 to 15 more minutes. Add spinach and cook just to wilt. Season the broth with salt and lime juice if necessary. Serve with herbs, additional chiles, lime wedges, rice and roti.