I like Nigella's fluid and accessible writing style. I love the way she coined her words and some of the names of her dishes really cracked me up.Take this Arabian inspired desserts, Figs For A Thousand and One Nights.
A very simple dessert which can be done in 5 minutes which she says is scarcely a recipe really, but so good.
I have just bought some Israeli Figs from the supermarket. It was only recently the supermarkets here started selling fresh figs from Israel and Turkey. These were bought at a sales price of S$2.70 for 4. I have already bookmarked a recipe from Donna Hay's Fast Fresh Simple to to make a fig and gorgonzala tart,but changed my mind after I saw a bottle of rosewater and orange-flower water in the cupboard.
I was then baking Nigella's Kitchen Everyday Brownies for my sister. I have not opened the orange-flower water since I bought it from the Middle East two years ago. I remembered this recipe from Nigella's Forever Summer which uses both essence in this dessert.
While the brownies was baking in the oven, I quickly washed and quartered the figs and prepared the butter sauce. It was a very fast 1-2 minutes preparation.. As soon as the brownies was done, I increased the oven temperature to about 250C and grilled the figs for 5 minutes.
Figs For A Thousand and one Nights
Adapted from Forever Summer
12 black figs(4 green brownish figs)
50grams unsalted butter(12gms)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon(pinch)
1 tablespoon sugar(1 tsp)
1 1/2 tsps rosewater(1/2 tsp)
11/2 tsps orange-flower water(1/2 tsp)
500ml mascarpone cheese(vanilla ice cream)
100grams pistachios (silvered)(20 gms, chopped)
- Preheat a grill or oven to the fiercest it will go.(oven, 250C)
- Quarter the figs, taking care not to cut all the way through the bottom, and place in a heat proof dish into which they fit snugly.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the cinnamon, sugar and flower waters. Stir to combine and pour into the figs.
- Blister under the hot grill or bake in the oven for a few minutes and then serve; it's that quick. Just give each person a couple of figs on a side plate. Splodge alongside some mascarpone over which you drizzle some of the conker-dark syrup, then sprinkle over some of those green,green shards of pistachio. (vanilla ice cream).
It is very good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. One scoop is not enough to Feed for A Thousand and One Nights.
Note:One Thousand and One Nights is known in English as Arabian Nights. It is a compilation of folk tales from the West and South Asian in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. Please note that "Ali Baba and Forty Thieves", "Sinbad", "Aladdin" are Middle Eastern folk tales, but were not part of Arabian Nights in Arabic versions.
Adapted from Nigella's Kitchen
150g unsalted butter
300g light brown muscovado sugar
75g cocoa powder, sifted
150g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
icing sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 190C.
- Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a medium sized saucepan.(12in x 8in)
- When it's melted, add the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon (still over a low heat) to help it blend with the melted butter.
- Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, bicarb,salt and then stir into the pan; when mixed (this will be a very dry mixture, and not wholly blended at this stage), remove from the heat.
- In a bowl or jug, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and then mix into the brownie mixture in the pan.
- Stir in the chopped chocolate and quickly pour and scrape into a baking tin and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
- It will look set, dark and dry on top, but when you feel the surface, you will sense it is still wobbly underneath and a cake tester will come gooey. This is desirable.
This post is linked to Cook Like A Star 'Nigella Lawson' organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids,
Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'for three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'
"'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and i'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! if not, then cut it down.'" Luke 13:6-9
The barren fig tree represents people, and being "barren" represents sin. The parable tells us that the barren tree is given more time so it can produce fruit. If it continues being barren(sinful), eventually it will be cut down. We are just like the fig trees, unless we repent (become fruitful), we will surely perish.