Life on the farm is good.
The sun is still shining every day and I can’t get enough of this alfresco dining. And from a cuisine point of view, we now move promptly on from Gambia to Italy (well, why not?!)
Amy and Andrew share my love of Italian cooking and let me in on their favourite Italian cook book: Gino’s Italian Escape. Not only is Gino D’Acampo rather appealing, but so are his timeless Italian recipes. Gino is a man of my own heart, sharing recipes that are ‘simplicity itself’ containing ‘fresh, top quality seasonal ingredients cooked simply to allow the flavours to speak for themselves.’ Italian cuisine also speaks to me in that family is at the centre of every meal, along of course, with good wine.
I wanted to treat Amy and Andrew to a simple yet special meal that encapsulates these values and thanked them for their kindness and hospitality during my stay. Bring forth Gino!
This tasty little starter packs in some of the best flavours in the world: figs, parma ham, honey and thyme. It is also so sweetly simple to make: chop, stuff, bake (or thereabouts).
Best served outside with good friends and devoured immediately!
Part 2 of the Italian Feast to follow: marinated king prawn and ciabatta skewers with fennel salad, served with herby borlotti beans. I can’t wait!
- 8 figs
- 100g ricotta
- 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 8 slices parma ham or prosciutto
- 3 tbsp runny honey
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- rocket leaves, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
- Cut a cross in the top of each fig, cutting about halfway down.
- Mix the ricotta, chives and lemon zest together and season. Carefully place a teaspoon of the mixture inside each fig.
- Fold the parma ham in half lengthways and wrap a slice around each fig. Place figs on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes, until the parma ham is crispy.
- Put the honey and thyme leaves in a small pan and warm gently for a minute or two. Do not allow to bubble.
- Place a few rocket leaves on each plate and place 2 figs on top. Drizzle the warm honey and thyme over the top and serve.