Tag Archives: Simple

Maple Roasted Fig and Serrano Ham Salad

I work next door to Borough Market – yay foodie heaven you might think and whilst you’re technically right, I don’t work in investment banking nor have 2 hour lunch breaks so I can neither afford to eat there regularly or have the time to navigate a hell hole of slow moving and oblivious tourists. You know the kind that just stop in the middle of the path and stand there like morons while everyone behind them withers to nothing? Borough is full of them. And then there can be the queues. I found 50+ people waiting at my one preferred lunch stand a couple of sunny Fridays ago. Nope!

Last week we had a new member of the office arrive so we went to the pub for lunch. When we emerged it was hammering it down (love August) and as I had no jacket or umbrella, I thought returning back to the office via the relative cover of the market was a good plan. It wasn’t on the whole but my eye was caught by one of the relatively few reasonably priced produce stalls and I ended up with 4 plump fresh figs for £2. Now – what to do with them?!

I do most of my ‘proper’ cooking when cooking for more than just me, so with a friend heading round for a Saturday evening in, I decided to make us a little salad to precede the spelt pizza I also made.

This was a hearty starter and the portions could be a light lunch. For a more generous main course, just increase the ingredient quantities – you can be quite free and easy with the ratios.

I was going to serve fresh mozzarella with this salad too but my 50% reduced fat ball of cheese was not of ‘eating raw’ quality so I stuck with a small amount of Graceburn Cheese. You could use any kind of fresher cheese such as ricotta, feta or mozzarella or if you are that way included, a soft blue cheese.

Serves 2 – 292 Kcal



4 Fresh Figs
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 large handfuls of Wild Rocket Leaves
4 slices Serrano (or Parma) Ham
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp Graceburn Cheese (or 1 tbsp EV Olive Oil and another fresh cheese)
Sea Salt Flakes

Start by preheating the oven to a quite high temp – about 220c or equivalent.

Slice into 4 Fresh Figs from the top so they are quartered lengthways but don’t cut through the bottom so each fruit remains as one piece. Fan the quarters out slightly and place each in a small lined oven tray.

Drizzle 2 tbsp Maple Syrup over the figs and sprinkle with Sea Salt Flakes. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the figs have softened a little and released some of their juice.

Meanwhile, arrange 2 large handfuls of Wild Rocket Leaves over 2 medium size plates and drape 4 slices Serrano (or Parma) Ham over the leaves.

Once the figs are ready, add 2 to each plate of leaves and ham and stir 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar into the remaining juices

 Tip – If you are using something other than Graceburn Cheese, also add 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the juices and vinegar.

Lightly scatter 2 tbsp Graceburn Cheese over the two salads along with a little of the olive oil marinade from the jar.

Drizzle the salad with the fig juice dressing and serve.

For a heartier meal, why not try this with a side of my super easy Oregano and Chilli Sodabread?


White Spelt Scones for Wimbledon

How very exciting! After 10 years of religiously entering the ballot, this year I finally won tickets to Wimbledon, Court 1 seats on the first Thursday. Unfortunately, although I say ‘won’, you still have to pay for them; so after that outlay, I had no intention of paying another small fortune to feed and water myself there on the day. Cue an epic picnic.

There were strawberries of course, and clotted cream, but it seemed churlish not to make some scones to accompany them. So out comes the old Be-Ro recipe book (see my Cookbooks page for more details) to make ‘Rich Scones’. Of course I’ve adapted the recipe – there is more sugar, no fruit (dried fruit – yuck) and I’ve used white spelt flour with added baking powder to cater for my wheatarded compardre.

Serves 14 – 172 Kcal each


340g White Spelt Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
125g Slightly Salted Butter
50g Caster Sugar
1 Egg
100ml Skimmed Milk
Small Pinch Sea Salt Flakes

Preheat the oven to 200c or equivalent.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Measure 340g White Spelt Flour, 3 tsp Baking Powder and a Small Pinch of Sea Salt Flakes into a medium mixing bowl.

Cut 125g Butter into small squares and add to the flour mix (pic 1).

Rub the butter into the flour until breadcrumb like in texture (pic 2)

Measure 100ml Skimmed Milk into a small jug and add 1 Egg. Mix to combine (Pic 3).

Add the milk and egg mix to the flour mix (reserve a tablespoon of the liquid for later) and combine. Stop as soon as the dough comes together (pic 4).

Tip – Add a little more flour or milk to get a sticky but handleable dough.

Press the dough into a rough rectangle on a floured chopping board. It wants to be about 2cm thick.

Tip – You can do this on the clean work surface but using a board makes clean up easier.

Use a 2 inch fluted cutter to start cutting out rounds and remove each as you go, placing them onto the lined baking tray (pic 5).

Pat the offcut bits of dough back into the main bit as you go for maximum cutting without having to totally re-roll (pic 6).

Continue cutting until all of the dough is used up – I got 14 out of mine – this will vary a little depending on the size cutter you use and the thickness/thinness of the dough.

Using the reserved milk and egg mix, brush the tops of the scones to glaze (pic 7).

Tip – Don’t do what I did and be too lazy to find a bigger bit of greaseproof paper and put the scones straight onto the baking tray. I got away with it because the tray I used was nearly new and still very non-stick.

Pop in the oven for circa 10 minutes.

Take out the oven when golden brown and put on a rack to cool. Or eat them super hot out the oven smothered in butter. Your call.

Split and serve with strawberry jam and clotted cream (in that order, there is no need to go all Devon about it ok!)