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Roasted fig salad

Light salad with rosemary-roasted figs, watercress and feta. Simple, easy and delicious. Perfect with a glass of dry white wine for autumn dinner.

I hope for many sunny, relatively warm days before winter. Maybe this fall wan't be all warming soups and mulled wine. Just maybe.

Recipe: Roasted fig salad

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 5-6 ripe figs
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • one tsp brown sugar
  • a handful of rosemary springs
  • 2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190C.
  • Cut the figs into quarters and place them in a baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with brown sugar and chopped rosemary.
  • Roast for about 30 minutes.
  • Divide the watercress between two plates and top with slightly cooled figs.
  • Top with crumbled feta and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

Greek salad

What is the last time you had Greek salad? Personally, I have forgotten about it for a while, probably in an unconscious attempt to block out the memories of many bad Greek salads I was served in the 90's. There was always too much lettuce, well, it was mainly lettuce, cleverly covered up with a layer of diced tomatoes and cucumbers, bad olives and poor quality feta. The original version does not include lettuce and it's beauty comes from simplicity and great quality of ingredients. Use ripe heirloom tomatoes, good olives and authentic Greek feta and you no longer need to top everything with vinaigrette. The only adjustment I made was adding crushed chili instead or oregano.

Recipe: Greek salad

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • a handful of good, ripe tomatoes, you can use different types
  • 1/2 of cucumber
  • a handful of Greek olives
  • 1/3 of red onion
  • thick slice of Greek feta
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. of crushed chillies
Method
  • Cut tomatoes into slices or quarters, depending on their sizes. Slice cucumber and onion.
  • Arrange all the ingredients on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chili.
  • You can serve it as a meal with grilled pita or as a side salad.

Camembert baked with figs

Everybody has a bad day every once in a while. Especially when it's getting colder. This baked camembert won't bring back summer heat and late sunsets.

But it will make you feel better anyway.

Recipe: Baked camembert with figs

Serves: 2 (or one if someone really craves cheese)
Ingredients
  • one wheel of camembert cheese
  • one tsp. of olive oil
  • one tsp. of fresh rosemary
  • one tsp. of runny honey
  • a pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • one fig
Method
  • Thinly slice off some of the top rind and score both side of the camembert with a sharp knife
  • Spread a thin layer of olive oil whisked with rosemary and honey on top and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake at 180C for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cheese from the oven and top with thick slices of fig. Bake for another 5 minutes, until the camembert is runny inside.
  • Remove from the oven, top with freshly ground pepper and some more honey if you like it sweeter.
  • Serve immediately with crunchy baguette.

Cucamelon Salsa

Cucamelons, also known as mouse melons, Mexican miniature watermelons or Mexican sour cucumbers, look like tiny watermalons (and you know that I love all things tiny, see: baby eggplants) and taste like cucumbers with a hint of lime. In spite of appearances, they have not been created by a crazy gardener - cucamelons are native to Mexico and Central America. Oh, and they are also delicious!

Recipe: Cucamelon Salsa

Ingredients
  • 300 g of cucamelons, cut in halves
  • 50 g of feta, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped Thai basil
  • 1/2 tsp. of chili flakes
  • juice of 1/2 lime
Method
  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Set aside for at least half an hour.
  • Serve with toasted bread.

Herby feta pasta rotolo

Rotolo di pasta - pasta roll, in my case cut into small pieces and baked with tangy tomato sauce. Hearty casseroles make you think of chilly autumn evenings, but the filling of ewe feta with freshly chopped cilantro and mint definitely tastes like summer.

I used Scotch bonnet pepper to make the sauce. It's fairly hot - according to Scoville scale, which compares the capsaicin concentration in chili peppers, it's on a par with habanero. Those who can sense more than just a fire in their moth claim that its taste is very deep and distinctive. This time I didn't want a very pungent and overpowering sauce, so instead of chopping the pepper, I added the whole thing to the simmering sauce. It resulted in nice, slightly smoky flavour. Give it a try!

Recipe: Herby feta pasta rotolo

Serves: 2 rather hungry people
Ingredients
  • 5 fresh lasagne sheets
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
  • ground parmesan, to taste
Method
  • Place the filling on lasagne sheets, roll and cut into small pieces.
  • You might need to slightly cook lasagne sheets first, depending on how soft they are.
  • Spread the sauce on the bottom of an oiled baking dish. Top with pasta rolls.
  • Bake at 180C for about 35-40 minutes.
  • Before serving, top with grated parmesan.

Recipe: Filling

Ingredients
  • 400 g of ewe feta
  • one tbsp. of crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped mint
Method
  • Combine all the ingredients of the filling. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Recipe: Tomato sauce

Ingredients
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • one small onion, diced
  • Scotch bonnet pepper, whole
  • 5 large tomatoes - scalded, peeled and diced
  • one tsp. of sugar
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
Method
  • In a saucepan heat the olive oil, add onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden.
  • Add tomatoes and whole Scotch bonnet pepper, season with sugar, salt.
  • Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens.
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