The produce lowest in food miles has to be all of that fabulous fresh stuff so many of you are busy growing in your own back gardens! Lots of people seem to be busy munching through very impressive courgette harvests and there have been some fantastic courgette recipes posted including those from Kalyn, Wendy and Joanna to name just a few. I’m also much enthused by the Royal Horticultural Society’s Grown Your Own Veg site complete with blog, calendar and gardening tips. However, I’m all talk and no trousers because life was too hectic here earlier in the Summer to get round to planting much more than a few herbs. There is no such abundance in our garden, but we are starting to reap the rewards of our lovely fruit trees (oh except the poor pear tree, which the blasted cat has killed by scratching through the bark right the way round the base of the tree).
Least productive in the garden is the fig tree, from which we had two figs across the whole of last Summer. Such a rare treat, these were eaten gratefully and unadorned. But this year we have already had at least ten huge juicy figs, not even counting the four we gave to a neighbour who was waiting patiently when we returned from our holiday to ask politely “did we like figs, and were we planning to eat them?”. We were happy to hand over the current ripe batch, and were rewarded by the promise of a donation from his Muscat grape harvest later in the Summer (not sure if this will be before or after he turns it into homemade wine).
It’s a funny thing having so many figs because frankly it hasn’t been the best Summer here in Oxford (OK, so it has in fact been the worst Summer since records began). But figs work to their own timetable, with the small, hard green fruits on the tree not ripening until the year after their first appearance and I suspect that the bumper harvest owes more to last Summer which was how a Summer ought to behave.
Originally inspired by a recipe for Fig and honey milk shake, every second pair of figs that ripen on our tree are turned into this glorious, turkish delight-scented froth. A little bit more sophisticated than your average smoothie and wonderfully fragrant, I can’t help thinking that this would make a lovely finale to a middle-eastern feast, particularly if it was served in pretty gold-edged Moroccan tea glasses (like the beauties on this Flickr photograph).
On an entirely different note, if you are interested in healthy eating then Kathryn Elliot has recently revamped her Limes and Lycopene blog and very smart it looks too! Throughout August Kathryn is running 31 days to better energy, a daily tip with a fifteen minute task to help you finish the month reinvigorated and raring to go. Having returned from Barcelona with a horrible snotty cold and feeling decidedly bleurgh I will definitely be tuning in!
Recipe for Decadent fig and rosewater smoothie
This will take five minutes at most. To ensure that it stays rich and luxurious I haven't added any cooling ice to this smoothie so make sure that the milk and yogurt are both straight from the fridge.
2 large ripe figs or 3 if they are small
150g natural, organic yogurt, the thick sort (about two thirds of a cup)
about 150ml milk (about two thirds of a cup)
1 tsp honey (a fragrant, flowery one)
2-3 drops of rosewater
Tip: this doesn't need to be exact so I just tip in the whole pot of yogurt and then measure a yogurt pot full of milk.
Trim any excessively unripe green parts at the top of the fig and chop each fruit roughly into quarters. Put into a blender and blitz until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients and blitz again until everything is blended and a few frothy bubbles appear at the top. Taste and add extra honey if required.