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Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Monday, 22 November 2010

RECIPE: Fig and Vanilla Martini

Let it be know that I am no 'One trick pony'... eating is not my only pleasure. Sometimes you have to broaden your horizons and as much as I love my food, I am rather partial to the odd cocktail and love nothing more than making my own concoctions. I really get stuck into making fruit purees from scratch; everything from fruits of the forest and orchard to lavender and camomile syrups and even tea-based syrups. In my circle of friends, I have a bit of a reputation for being quite the mixologist at times! Granted they can often be quite lethal and as a result, some prove less memorable than others but there is no disputing that they were a hit!

As we enjoy the last of the autumn fruits, I encourage you to guzzle down as many figs as you can before they disappear from our shelves. Wrap them in parma ham and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve with buffalo mozzarella. If sweets are your thing, score a cross in the top of the fig and pinch the bottom to open them out a bit, drizzle with maple syrup, toss some walnuts on to them and bake in the oven at 220 degrees for 10 minutes, serve with vanilla ice cream. It's all about the figs, so blink and you may miss them.

Back to the booze! (Yes, I thought that would get your attention!) I dreamed up a very moreish base for a great Martini using a vanilla pod, some sugar, lemon juice and fig pulp... and here is the quick recipe:

Fig and Vanilla Martini

6 ripe figs
2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod
3 tablespoons of water

Tea strainer
Hand blender
Cocktail shaker (or makeshift one!(

Peel the figs and place them in a pan with the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla pod seeds and 3 tablespoons of water. Boil gently over a low-medium heat (or low if using gas) for 15 minutes. Puree the mixture and strain through a sieve. Fill a cocktail shaker ¾ of the way with ice cubes, add a generous tablespoon of the puree and 50ml of vodka. Shake well and serve and pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a slice of fig or a vanilla pod for the ultimate glamourous cocktail. Delicious.

**TOP TIP** - Any leftover puree makes for a fabulous breakfast preserve, especially with fresh croissants! (Trust me because that's exactly what I did!)

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