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Saturday, 12 September 2009

of fish & figs

First of all thank you for all your enquiries about my arm. It's slowly on the mend. I have taken over cooking duties again. A couple of days ago I got on my bike again, although that may have been a bit premature, it aggrevated the pain again. Give it a few more days and I'll be back digging potatoes.

The other day we had to go to the post office and we took the scenic route back along the river Magra. It was a beautiful day and there were hundreds of fish visible in the clear water: trouts the size of small sharks, as well as a fish called pumkin seed and many smaller fish. Below you see a view towards Vezzano Ligure.

Unfortunately I don't have a UV filter for my cheapo digital camera, so couldn't penetrate the surface to show you the giant trout, but spot the little fish next to my foot.

The weather has continued to be warm and dry and we continue to pick plenty of crops, amongst them figs. Today I thought it must be possible to use some by making a cake. When we got home with a bucket of figs I looked for a recipe. First in my books, then on the internet, but found nothing that took my fancy. Either it was too complicated or I didn't have half the ingredients. So I made up my own recipe and I thought I'll write it down here before I forget how I did it. Unfortunately I didn't weigh anything, so quantities are estimates, but as you can see the cake was so good that we had eaten half before I got around taking a picture of it. It has a lovely moist consistency. Here it goes anyway:


  • 100g soft butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavoured sugar or better the inside of half a vanilla pod
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 70g ground hazelnuts
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 16 figs, peeled
  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  1. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until creamy. Add the eggs and keep beating, next the nuts and keep beating. Finally beat in the lemon.
  2. Puree 10 of the figs in a food processor and add to your mixture.
  3. Mix the flour with the baking powder and stir into your mixture until it becomes a thick, smooth batter.
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased round cake tin. Cut the remaining figs open and lay them on top, pressing them lightly into the batter.
  5. Bake for about 35-40 minutes at 175 C.

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