Fig recipe nr.3, trilogy completed – Ice cream with wild figs spoon sweet without an ice cream machine! The time to go to Greece for summer has come again, end of August as always during the past years. And this August I am celebrating 5 years since the second time in my life that I moved to Netherlands. I came so much closer to who I really am during these years. Not necessarily because I live here now, but because I guess that this is what I have always wanted: to get closer to me, to who I am, to what I love and what I need. And at least for now, for this period of my life I got to know what I am, and love and need. Sun in my face, smell of linden trees coming from my open window, a cake baking in the oven and figs.
This is the 2nd wild fig recipe of the trilogy. And the most popular recipe with wild figs in Greece. The ‘spoon’ desserts are made out of a big fruit variety (occasionally also from vegetables). As we serve a portion of the dessert as big as a small spoon can take, they got their name from there. Cherry spoon sweet, water melon spoon sweet, wild fig spoon sweet and so on. Apart from that, they are very very sweet so it’s not possible to eat a lot at once. Unless it’s fig ! Usually served with coffee, it is still common to get a treat like this in smaller cities and villages in the countryside of lovely Greece. Oh, and vegan too!
A bit more than 1 day of preparation – be patient!
Wash well the figs and remove the upper and bottom parts of them.. Create small holes in them with a souvlaki stick or toothpick and let them soak for 2,5h. in a big bowl with water where you have diluted the copper sulphate.
After the 2,5h. wash off the figs and blanch them 3 times, the 3rd time leave a bit more in the water. When done squeeze well so that all water is out of the figs.
Add in a pot the sugar and the 1kgr. water and let it simmer. Add the figs and boil for 25′-30′. Remove from the stove and let 12h (overnight). As the figs will probably still carry extra water you need to let them do it naturally and the next day boil once more adding also the glucose and the lemon juice to make sure that the sirup has the right finish.
Move the dessert in a jar and enjoy every now and then a little spoon full!
The spoon sweet is a great way to preserve fruits also for the winter. As it’s so sweet to eat it all like that you can make other desserts out of it, like the topping on a cheesecake or a simple bundt cake, like the quince chutney cake.
Hail wild figs! Wild figs trilogy is starting! All started with the wild fig tree that was brought up by itself (hence wild) in my parent’s yard. A couple of meters away from the ‘normal’ fig tree that gives close to August the loveliest figs in the world. “Figs! Yes! Figs!” that was me late May when I was visiting my parents in Greece. “What should we do with them?” “Oh but these are no good, they are wild you can’t straight eat them, we usually make the fig spoon sweet of them but not sure that mom has time to do this even.”. They were so pretty, they smelled great, so tender, just amazing. I love figs that’s not new, and the wild ones were also not exactly new to me. I kept seeing them every year but they were in the ‘wild-no use’ category. So spoon sweet it is I said to myself. As I try to eat as healthy as possible the idea of the spoon sweet was great but I knew I was going to eat much of it. But yet I thought ok, I haven’t made this recipe I will try. I brought the figs back with me in Netherlands, in my hand luggage. And yes I made the spoon sweet but I kept some to do the photo shoot for the blog. Just around 10 of them. And then it hit me. There was no way that I would throw away food and especially these beautiful figs that travelled the world for me. I realized how their skin and texture resembles the okra one. They shouldbe great together I thought – and they were!
350gr. fresh okra
10 wild figs
2 big chicken thighs
400gr. fresh tomato juice
80gr. olive oil
3 spring onions cut in medium pieces
1 small onion cut in medium pieces
3 garlic cloves sliced
4tbsp. minced parsley
1/2tsp. sugar to balance the flavor of the fresh tomato
some Feta cheese to serve
Preheat your oven at 180 degrees C.
In a big baking pan add all the vegetables together with the tomato juice, the olive oil and the spices – mix well with a spoon.
Add in the pan also the chicken and make sure that is seasoned well (use extra salt, pepper if needed)
Cover the pan with a wet piece of baking paper and bake for 20′. Remove the baking paper and bake another 35′-40′, the food is ready when the sauce is nicely done.
Serve with some feta cheese and..
You can make this recipe also in a pot as a summer stew if you prefer. In that case add the chicken in the pot first to get a nice brown color from both sides, then the onions with the olive oil and spices for 2′-3′ and then the tomato and some water. Let it simmer for 40′ altogether. This will be a more juice version than the oven one which turns out more caramelized.
Why do you like cooking? If you think about it you will realize all end up to Freedom. No limits in creativity and inspiration. Absolutely endless combinations of food and baking ways of it. A typical example everyone has faced: these ‘I have no idea what to cook today’ that led to delicious and unique recipes that you never thought of before and especially done only with whatever you found in your fridge. Freedom!
2 big red apples, pealed and shred
1 1/2tsp. cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1tsp. lemon juice
Preheat your oven at 200 degrees C.
Put the shred apple kai the ingredients in a small pyrex type glass baking pan. Make sure the pan is small enough to allow the apple to boil and not get burnt (if the pan is too big the mixture will spread and the apple will not have the time to get soft while baking).
Bake for 45′. Remove from the oven and take out the cinnamon stick. Use a blender to directly puree the apples within the pan.
Place the pan again in the oven and bake the puree for another 15′.
Your marmalade is ready! Put it in clean, sterilized jars and..
You can add 2-3 leaves of of Arbaroriza (scented geranium, Pelargonium graveolens)!
A cold night in Rotterdam, looking for a place to have dinner and open to try new flavors we ended up in an Afghanistan restaurant. Netherlands might not have the most sophisticated cuisine, however you can find food from many different cultures. It was the first time I tried Afghanistan food, spices, lamp, vegetables and rice are found in many recipes as I found out later. Rice plates were served in most beautiful and attractive way. It was not as simple as ‘rice’. When it was served also in our table it was exactly like this. Placed in a big plate for us to share, with caramelized carrots and juice raisins, bringing out all spices aroma.
30′ | 4 portions
250gr. basmati rice
2 big carrots cut in long sticks
1 onion cut in small cubes
100gr. black raisins
1 1/2tsp. cardamom
1/2tsp. black pepper
50gr. olive oil
Add the onions in a preheated pan where you previously added the olive oil.
Let them soften for 7′-8′ in medium temperature.
Add the carrots, raisins, sugar, all spices and some salt. Cook for 10′ in a covered pot so that the carrots get caramelized. Your carrots should be holding their shape and not soften too much.
At the same time boil the rice.
Serve the rice adding on top the caramelized carrots and..
For those that love meat: The original recipe has also lamp cooked with the same spices as the carrots.
Beets, olive oil, salt – salad! Cacao, sugar, flour, eggs – dessert! Logic and thinking are usually necessary for progress and success. Or not? What if you start using your senses more? What if you start trusting your feelings more? What if it makes sense something that isn’t logical? What if you start doing more and thinking less? What if you try? And fail, and try again? What if you mix beets, olive oil, salt, cacao, sugar, flour, eggs altogether? Does it makes sense? Not really. It does though feel good when you eat the cacao cake. And that’s all that matters.
250gr. boiled beets
75gr. cacao powder
150gr.coconut sugar (or raw sugar)
2tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
Preheat your over to 180 degrees C.
In your blender you make a puree out of the beets and sugar.
Put the mixture in a bowl and add the olive oil. Mix with an egg whisk smoothly.
Add the spices, vanilla and eggs and continue mixing with the whisk.
Add the flour, baking and cacao powder and mix with a spatula.
Put the mixture in a baking pan and bake for 50′ depending on your oven.
Serve with some cacao powder and..
Serve with some vanilla ice-cream !
You can replace the olive oil with 200gr. butter if you wish.
A year ago I made this great discovery. I’ve found a way to eat ‘horta‘ salad (different kinds of boiled greens). In Greece it’s easy to find many kinds of old greens in open markets, so nutritious and great in taste, amazing! I love them so much. In Netherlands people don’t eat them, I bet you can find them around but I’m not so experienced to collect them myself, I only know how to tell what ‘radikia’ is. Anyway, so a year ago I saw these celery greens, very tender and ‘young’ in my local Saturday market. Alright, fine, they’re not the Greek ones (typical answer). So, yes it’s true they are not. But they looked nice and fresh and basically my only chance to have kind of horta salad in Netherlands. I will try, who knows? The result was so good, I was so happy that I can eat this lovely salad even out of Greece! Next step is to use the celery greens together with spinach in a ‘hortopita’ – Greek filo pie with greens. There is a solution for everything, don’t give up!
serves 2 | 70′
100gr. big black beans or other beans you like
500gr. greens / celery leaves
80gr. olive oil
juice from half lemon
1 minced garlic clove
1/4 tsp. cumin
Soak the beans in water the night before.
Boil the beans in slated water for about 1h.
Boil the greens in a different pot until soft – almost 15′, depending on the type of greens. When ready drain them and pour cold water on them to retain their color vivid.
Mix the boiled beans and greens with the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and spice.
Alternatively you can replace the lemon with vinegar.
I was talking to a colleague at work and she was saying that baking a cake looks impossible to her. Can’t do it, can’t figure out the portions, can’t deal with the oven, can’t beat the eggs, can’t, can’t can’t… Why are we so much afraid really? So alright, I can (I actually want to) bake a cake and I really enjoy it but listening to her I thought of other ‘can’t do’ things I have in my head. Sometimes we are so careful not to fail and in the end we don’t live at all. In reality, every moment that you deal with one of your fears that helps you build a new behavior, a new pattern, a new habit and change the way you think. There were times that my cakes failed so badly that I had to throw them away straight after taking them out of the oven (sometimes even without reaching the baking phase). This didn’t stop me from preparing the next cake though, I din’t even thought that since some cakes failed the next ones have more chances to fail too. Why then with certain occasions we don’t even dare to start? There is no right or wrong if that’s what holds you back. I read once that there was a time that a cake failed. it didn’t rise and that’s how the ‘moist’ cakes were born…
There are so many Christmas recipes, the list has no end. If you want to have a little break and you love Greek food (and especially Crete, yes!) then you should make the pasta with rabbit legs and dry mizithra. This is a ‘hug’ recipe. It looks a simple way to put together ingredients but its taste will move you to some older times, when you were a child and came back from school and the whole house would smell of whatever delicious your mom used to make. A ‘hug’.
We add the olive oil in a pot and warm it up in high temperature. We add the meat and let it get a nice color from both sides.
We add the onions in the pot as well and let them cook for 2′ to get softer. We add, then the lemon juice, salt and pepper and the 400gr. of water. We cover the pot and cook for 45′.
Meanwhile and only before the 45′ are up, we start preparing the pasta. We want them half cooked (as we would normally make pasta). We will finalize them directly in the pot where the meat is. If there is not enough water in the pot of the meat for the pasta to be cooked then we can add some of the water where we have initially baked them.
We serve with the grated mizithra.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
There is no tip here. Just make this recipe, it’s absolutely lovely the way it is!
Saragli is the baklava version that is nicely wrapped, allowing you to simply use your hands to eat it! That means that pleasure of eating it will be even more. That’s my view of course, I just think that when you don’t use any fork/knife/spoon to eat and you do it directly with your hands, you have direct feeling of the food before it reaches your mouth. That way the joy you get is even bigger as all your senses (hands/mouth) are there! In general Saragli is mainly made in Northern Greece, it’s a different version of baklava, made during all year long but mainly for Christmas!
serves 12 | 2 hours
for the dessert
500gr. phyllo dough
350gr. butter 82% in fat (or more)
150gr. walnuts broken in medium pieces
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 vanilla powder tubes
for the sirup
1,5 tbsp. lemon juice
3 vanilla powder tubes
First make the sirup as in the end we want to add it lukewarm-cold in the hot dessert, right after we take it out of the oven.
Add all sirup ingredients in a pot and warm up in medium temperature without covering the put. When the water starts boiling keep it there for another 7′-8′ and then remove from the stove. Let it aside to get a lukewarm temperature.
Preheat your oven at 150 degrees C.
Melt the butter with 2 vanillas in a small pot in very low temperature, don’t cook it only melt it! Butter up a 30x22cm. baking pan and let in aside.
Mix in a bowl the broken walnuts together with the cinnamon and 2 vanillas.
The wrapping process is as follows: In a clean surface (your table for instance) lay one phyllo and butter it’s surface very well with a kitchen brush, add a second phyllo on top of it and butter it up same way. Use a tea spoon to sprinkle the walnuts mixture here and there in the surface of the second phyllo. It has to go everywhere but not completely cover the phyllo, we don’t want to have too much walnut in there. Start wrapping the phyllos smoothy from their short side until you get a log. Using your 2 hands press slightly and very gently the log to become shorter and place it in the baking pan, along the short side of it. We move on the same way placing the logs the one next to the other in the pan until the phyllo dough is up. Make sure that you use a towel to cover the unused phyllo during the process to keep its moist, otherwise it will get dry and break into pieces without being able to wrap properly.
When all logs are in the pan we brush each one with the remaining butter (from the total 350gr. you will use approx. 280gr. for buttering the phyllos and 70gr. to brush the logs in the end before baking).
Bake for 1 hour until your saragli gets a nice brown color.
When you take the dessert out of the oven you let it stay for 1′ and then using a big soup spoon, you add the lukewarm sirup to cover all of it well.
Let the dessert absorb the sirup and rest at least for 30′ before you cut it, you will see that in the end all sirup will not be visible anymore.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Don’t cover your saragli! Keep it in a dry and dark place without any foil on top of it. This way you will make sure that the phyllo will remain nice and crunchy until you eat all your baklava!