Monday, 10 October 2011

Sunday Lunch at la Durantie – Part 1

Kristoph and I enjoyed Sunday lunch this weekend with the Comtesse de la Tour and the visiting Good Doctor. They’re taking care of Chateau la Durantie this week, the home of some close friends of ours, and their three dogs.

There are plenty of vegetables and herbs growing in the grounds of Durantie, and literally thousands of apples, pears and quinces falling from the trees in the orchard.

The Good Doctor and Kirstoph agreed some time ago to a competitive “chicken stuff-off,” however Kristoph’s recent thumb injury, means his thumb is encased in plastic and not at its best for chicken stuffing. Consequently, the Good Doctor took the lead in chicken stuffing, with Kristoph offering comments, commentary and general moral support.

I prepared a fig and chevre starter, with figs foraged from a neighbour’s tree, and an apple and raspberry crumble using fruits from Durantie, for dessert. I’ve blogged about crumbles quite extensively, and so in this post have focused on the fig and goats cheese starter. Part 2 of this post focuses on the Good Doctor’s stuffed chicken and roasted autumn vegetables.  

It’s hard to beat the silky sweet taste of figs picked directly from the tree. Figs are extremely perishable, because the best tasting figs are plump and mushy. So if you have a fig tree near you, I suggest keeping a close eye on it. When the fruit are ripe, spend a few minutes enjoying figs directly from the tree. Perhaps ponder the words of "each man under his own vine and fig tree" (1 Kings 4:25), which have been used to denote peace and prosperity.   

Baked figs are simple to prepare. Here’s my version of baked fig and goats cheese.

10 figs
1 small disc of full flavoured medium-hard goats cheese
Ground black pepper

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C. Slice the figs in half and arrange on a baking tray.

Step 2: Chop the goats cheese in small cubes. Place one cube in the small hole inside the small depression in each fig.

Step 3: Drizzle the honey over each fig, and then grind pepper over the figs.

Step 4: Bake for 15 minutes until the figs begin to caramelize and the goats cheese is melted.

If you are lucky enough to have an open fire, I recommend eating these as finger food in front of the fire with a glass of Cote du Rhone.Enjoy!!


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