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Eat the Seasons - October 2014


Fruits, Nuts & Fungi
Apples, blackberries, chestnuts, elderberries, figs, grapes, pears, quince, tomatoes, walnuts.  Lots of lovely mushrooms; chanterelles, chestnuts, horse mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, parasol mushrooms, puffballs, giant shaggy ink caps and summer truffles

Vegetables & Herbs
Beetroot, borlotti beans, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, courgettes, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins & squash, rocket, salsify, scorzonera, spinach, turnips

Meat & Game
Duck, wild goose, grouse, guinea fowl, hare, mallard, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, venison, wood pigeon

Fish & Shellfish
Cod, crab, eels, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, prawns, scallops, sea bass, sprats, squid, brown and rainbow trout

 

Going out of season

Aubergine, beetroot, butternut squash, chicory, cobnut, damsons, elderberries, fennel, fig, globe artichoke, lamb, mackerel, pear, plums, radish, raspberry, rocket, sweetcorn, watercress


Come on all you ‘hunter gatherers’ this time of year is just perfect for searching out free food in local parks and hedgerows!  Whilst blackberries are past their best there is still time to seek out elderberries, wild mushrooms, chestnuts, wild rocket, watercress, quince and figs. There is something strangely pleasing about knowing that this former Surrey farmland continues to provide food 100 years on!!

 

Roasted Figs wrapped in Parma Ham with Blue Cheese

(serves up to 4 as a starter)

Preparation 20 minutes

When left to ripen in the sunshine figs are a truly luscious fruit.  Some prefer to peel the fig before eating, but in fact the whole fruit is edible.  They are best kept at room temperature, as chilling suppresses the flavour.  If you have too many to eat at once, fig jam is delicious or they can be poached in syrup and served with a little crème fraîche or mascarpone.  This is a wonderful, easy & delicious starter.

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe, fresh figs
  • 8 slices Parma ham
  • 750g/3oz Italian blue cheese (we suggest Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Dolcelatte)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze
  • A small bag of rocket (or other salad) leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  • Place the figs on a baking tray. Using a sharp knife, carefully make an incision halfway down the fig in the top in the shape of a cross, so the top of the fig opens up when squeezed lightly.
  • Cut the cheese into small lumps and then divide it between the figs, pushing pieces down into the tops.
  • Carefully wrap two slices of Parma ham around the middle of each fig, leaving the top uncovered.
  • Sit the figs on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese has started to melt and the ham begins to crisp.
  • Divide the salad / rocket leaves onto 4 serving plates and place 1 fig on top of each pile of salad.  Drizzle over the balsamic glaze and the olive oil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Serve immediately, while the cheese is still warm.  You can drizzle some honey on top too if the fancy takes you!