Morning air is getting crisper and I watch the vine leaves changing their colour everyday. I have no idea how fast summer has slipped away without having a proper swim!
Despite the hectic daily routines at the winery, I thought I’d be respectful of those who are wondering about my whereabouts and waiting for delicious stories. I’m far from my kitchen and real life, and am living a dream life.
I’ve lived through the full ripening seasons here and the harvest has started and the daily work leaves me little time to go online. I’ve learned and am still learning a lot and I’ll share my experiences here once the most important part of the harvest ends.
Are the figs still around?
Before coming back to the winery for harvest, I had a short break at home. Whenever I’m back, I just dive into the kitchen and get cooking, though there’s no one else to eat with.
Farmers markets and streets were full of figs and other forest fruits that show up for a short period, and vegetables for making preserves. I had so many figs everyday, and when I felt I’d just about enough of them, I saw those tiny firm figs neatly arranged in a fruit tray, just perfect for making jam and I couldn’t resist them.
So I made fig jam with cinnamon and cardamon this time. So my minimal preparation for winter was done, though I had to pass up gherkin, pickled cucumber.
There were still a few giant figs sitting in the fridge and I’d decided to cook them.
Fig upside-down cake, fig tart, camarelised figs and cheese wrapped in prosciutto….. so many options to choose from! My final decision was to make a small appetiser to go with wine.
The figs were far too big so I baked them like a pie in ramekins lined with filo sheets. I usually stuff them with goat cheese or blue cheese but since I had a huge log of Tulum cheese my in-laws had brought from the Black Sea recently.
The Black Sea Tulum was different from the Tulum cheese aged in goat’s skin from the eastern Anatolia, specifically Ercinzan. It was milder and with a high portion of cow’s milk to sheep milk.
But you can use any cheese as you like, from mild fresh goat cheese to sharp blue cheese or gooey brie. Since Mr.O didn’t like the tulum cheese, I had to make it edible somehow to finish it!
Each fig was stuffed with cheese mixed with a touch of cinnamon, lavender, cardamon and walnuts.
Then, it was baked for about 30 mins. In the meantime, I cut up some bacon and cooked it to crispness and decorated for an extra taste as well as presentation.
You’d probably wonder what the combination of salty cheese, sweet fruit and baking spices would be like. It’s like eating an appetizer and a dessert at the same time. How convenient! It was a perfect little snack for the earthy red wine I was drinking at the time.
Just today I came up with an idea of ‘Nomad Chef‘ theme for my blog posts during my stay at the winery. I’ve been cooking everyday in the small studio and I found it quite amusing how I still manage to cook up fabulous dishes with foraged ingredients I find at the winery and with minimal equipment. Well, let’s see if that happens. I hope you’re making the most of lovely autumn weather!