Saturday 14 September 2019


Il barocco? Un lusso con Pinnock e OrliÃ…„ski

Jakob Josef Orlinski, singing Vivaldi and Fago in the Duomo on Thursday evening, accompanied by Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert. It was beyond merely memorable. It was sublime. The very stones of the cathedral resonated to Orlinski's voice. Arguably, the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.

Tonight's dinner:

Ravioli of chicken and herbs

Rogon Josh, Basmati Rice

Pistachio souffles

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Fig fritters

Image result for fig fritters

We have a glut. 
Of everything, pretty much. 
I've bottled pears,and apricots, and nectarines. I've made apricot jam, and, just now, half a dozen kilos of white peach jam. I've made many (many) kilos of apple puree,with sugar and butter and lemon zest and cinnamon, which will do for apple puddings and as the base for tartes aux pommes as we wade into the autumn and winter months. And then, there are the figs.  Thus far, only the green ones - of which we have about six fruiting trees - but the purple ones will be upon us as well by the end of the month. We've been ploughing through them with yoghurt and honey, for breakfast (in tandem with luscious yellow peaches from the weeping peach tree, and raspberries, which I've been harvesting  by the handful every morning for several months now), and they've done service as well in roast fig ice`cream, and in fig tarts.
Fig fritters, though, is a discovery. And an excellent one. Probably the best discovery of this summer, along with chestnut honey ice cream, which is stratospherically good (standard custard base for ice cream of 5 egg yolks, to 50g sugar, to 250 ml each of cream and milk; add to this 2 tbs of chestnut honey when making the custard, and then continue as normal: the result is stellar!)
This recipe comes from Janet Mendel, from her highly recommendable 'Cooking in Spain'. In the same chapter as her recipe for banana pancakes, which is also surprisingly good.

Approx 1 kilo fresh figs; 2 eggs, separated; 150 ml milk; 1tbs olive oil; pinch of salt; grated zest of 1 lemon; 12g flour; 1 tbs sugar (plus extra to sprinkle at the end); vegetable oil, for frying.


1. Halve or quarter the figs, depending on their size. If the fleshy top is merely 'fleshy',then cut it off and discard it.

2. Combine everything else, apart from the egg whites, in a liquidizer, and let stand in the refrigerator for two hours.

3. Beat the egg whites until loosely stiff, and fold them into the mixture. 

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a wide pan - I find a wok is best for this kind of frying, it gives you maximum depth of oil for a relatively small amount of the stuff, and so limits wastage - and once the oil is good and hot, dip the individual bits of fig in the batter and drop them into th oil; if the oil is hot enough, the batter should seize pretty much on contact. Turn them to fry the other side after about six seconds.

5. As each batch is done, remove them from the oil onto kitchen paper to drain. Sprinkle with sugar before serving. Excellent with vanilla ice cream