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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Figs deserve stuffing like Hugo deserves a slap

My book club met last night to discuss our latest reading experience - The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. Opinions of the book ranged from loving it to hating it, and it is filled with characters that you'd happily punch in the face so it was a lively discussion. As per usual the talking was interspersed with much eating as we all enjoyed the dishes that everyone had brought along to offset their opinions, be they sweet or sour.

Bookclub table of delights - chocolate fudge, stuffed figs, upside down cake, chocolate brownies, nibbles, spiced nuts, vegies, hommus and tahini, felafel, beetroot dip, cheese and crackers, Turkish bread, olives and a selection of wines.

My brain has been taking its sweet time returning to me from Melbourne these past few days, but luckily my daydreams yesterday started to shift from tennis back to food, and inspiration finally struck about what dish I should bring along - dates stuffed with blue cheese, and wrapped in prosciutto. It is not such a stretch to go from daydreaming about tennis to daydreaming about dates - have you noticed that tennis players are some of the few male athletes that have decent attributes in this area?

As it turned out, the shop that I went to get supplies only had small, disappointing, un-tennisy dates so I had to re-evaluate my recipe and got some dried figs instead. They also had gorgonzola on special so that made my cheese decision for me.




Gorgonzola Stuffed Figs in Prosciutto

Ingredients
Dried figs
Gorgonzola (chilled)
One strip of thinly sliced proscuitto per fig


Method
1. Make a small slice with a sharp knife down the side of each fig, then use your fingers to 'puff' them open to make room for the cheese.
2. Melt some cheese, put it into a piping bag, try to pipe it into the figs, realise what a stupid thing this is to do and how you've just made far more work for yourself, throw the bag into the sink and try another stuffing method.

Stupid AND disgusting! I hope my next piped icing doesn't taste of gorgonzola

3. Get small balls of the chilled cheese and poke them into each fig using a teaspoon, then tidy up the outside if necessary. Shake your head at how easy this is and why you thought piping would be clever.

Stuff that fig, stuff it good, stuff that figgy just like you should

4. Wrap each fig in a strip of proscuitto (I trimmed most of the excess fat off mine first), securing with a toothpick and sitting them in a tray with the slit side up.



5. Bake in a moderate oven for around 20 minutes or until you can't resist the smell anymore and have to try one.


37 comments:

Karine February 4, 2010 at 10:11 AM  

I want figs! :)

By the way, you are a lucky one to go to Melbourne to see tennis :). That's another reason for me to go to Australia. I know there is the US Open and even the Canadian Open but still, the Australian Open is when it is so cold in Canada, it gives me a good reason to go to Australia. And the wine too :)

Cakelaw February 4, 2010 at 11:55 AM  

These look amazing!! I have always wanted to read "The Slap", but haven't got aorund to it yet. Were you in Melbourne for the Australian Open? It is my favourite city in the whole world.

Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz February 4, 2010 at 12:10 PM  

Oh love mixing cheese with a sweet element. And now I am curious about that book!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella February 4, 2010 at 12:51 PM  

OK THIS is a book club I'd love to join. I've heard the same about The Slap, it really divides people! Not the figs though, oh no, not the figs :)

Iron Chef Shellie February 4, 2010 at 5:43 PM  

Oh how fancy!
I should write a book... I so badly want to stab the girl I work with... maybe I can fall over with the stanly knife in my hand? :P
x

penny aka jeroxie February 4, 2010 at 6:56 PM  

Figs. A forgotten fruit for me. Thanks for the reminder.

Cajun Chef Ryan February 5, 2010 at 3:21 AM  

These figs look like a wonderful treat indeed!

CCR
=:~)

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite February 5, 2010 at 8:54 AM  

I wanna join YOUR book club! I love how you had inspiration for a dish then just rolled with the punches when the ingredients you wanted weren't available. What a creative take on the cheese-stuffed cheese wrapped in proscuitto. Yum!

Food lover February 5, 2010 at 10:23 AM  

There is no better combination than figs and prosciutto - yum! You should also try figs, prosciutto and goats curd risotto; it's the best. You stuffed fig bites look amazing

Ange February 5, 2010 at 11:48 AM  

The Slap is on my to read list as well & cant wait to get to it, what was your opinion?

Belle@Ooh, Look February 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM  

Hehe, I can't believe you tried to pipe the gorgonzola - so squishy! The recipe sounds alright, though I'm squeamish about dried figs, something about all those seeds. Maybe a fresh fig would be better for moi.

Charlie February 5, 2010 at 12:16 PM  

Well you know I wouldn't recommend the book, but these fig-things were the best - and I don't even really like figs, so that is saying something I think :P thanks for putting this one up!

Emma @CakeMistress February 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM  

Must finish this book! Gah. Really enjoying it so far though.
Your pics make me want to abandon my vego ways to have a taste. But I can testify that fellow bookclubbers were virtually drooling over these :)

Now that I think about it, we're fortunate to be a posse of booklovers AND super-gourmands. So much win :)

Rilsta February 5, 2010 at 1:10 PM  

You stuffed those figs good! :P I can just imagine how fabulous that stinky oozy cheese would have been!

Re the piping bag, here in Melbourne you can find disposable, thick plastic piping bags and they are the absolute BEST! You have to buy them in a roll of 100 but it works out to be about 30c each. All you need to do is cut a hole in the bottom, put your nozzle through and throw it away once you're done (minus the nozzle of course). Yes, it is sort of wasteful, but I reckon is more wasteful to use the amount of water and detergent I need to clean out a disgusting buttery piping bag! :)

3 hungry tummies February 5, 2010 at 2:24 PM  

This goes straight to my to make list! Wonderful job!

Ladybird February 5, 2010 at 6:52 PM  

Yeah that Hugo sure did deserve a good slap - what a brat! (great book...)

Your book club sounds fun! Two of my favourite things - good food and good books :)

Simply Life February 5, 2010 at 9:27 PM  

oh those look like they're just popping with amazing flavors! Would love to try one now! :)

Isabelle February 5, 2010 at 9:31 PM  

These figs look delicious! I love the combination of figs and prosciutto, I’m going to try this wonderful recipe!

Karen @ Citrus and Candy February 5, 2010 at 10:14 PM  

Fig and prosciutto... sweet and salty... is there a more heavenly combination? I could do with some of these now... minus the cheese for me of course :)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 6, 2010 at 12:08 AM  

Karine - my friend's fig tree is going crazy right now so I'm lucky enough to be enjoying fresh ones too :) And yes, I am super lucky to have been to the tennis, it was so much fun! Perhaps I'll see you there next year :)

Cakelaw - Thanks! Yes, was there for the tennis, and have just adjusted back to being home again. Definitely going back next year, it was so good. Psyched me up to improve my tennis playing too.. I need the skills to go with my nice tennis outfits, hehe.

Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz - it tends to be a winning combination! It's an interesting book, have a read if you get the chance.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - we'd happily have you on board, though you might put the rest of us to shame with your cooking :)

Iron Chef Shellie - Oh this is a story I'd be interested in. Please don't stab her though, I think your cooking opportunities may be somewhat limited in prison and I'd hate to see your blog suffer.

penny aka jeroxie - Figs, glorious figs! Eat them fresh, eat them dry, eat them cooked inside a pie! :D

Cajun Chef Ryan - thank you! :)

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite - you can join and bring tasty food, and Neil can join and bring tasty wine! No horse saddle stuff though. Thank you! Hope the tummy is feeling better xx

Food lover - I agree! Oh yes oh yes definitely good with goats curd too, and putting it all in a risotto sounds delightful, I'll have to remember that, thanks!

Ange - As much as I found parts irritating, and detested most of the characters, I enjoyed it and would recommend it as an interesting read.

Belle@Ooh,Look - I know, what a moron!! You should try doing this with Medjool dates then, I think (if you can find them for a decent price). I understand about the seed factor, it's a bit out of control!

Charlie - hehe, yes. Thanks mate, I'm super happy to have impressed a non-figgy person!

Emma @CakeMistress - Thank you :) I was in a funny non-sweets mood and am kicking myself for not having nabbed a piece of your brownie/fudge to take home with me. Lost opportunities :( You are right, we are incredibly fortunate. You forgot the part about us all being breathtakingly gorgeous too, though.

Rilsta - thanks, hehe! Oooh yeah baby, stinky oozy cheese all the way, I'm so glad I have developed my grown-up tastes and love it now. Brilliant about the disposable piping bags, I've only ever come across those lame thin disposable ones, will definitely keep my eyes open for them. Thanks for the heads up, I totally agree about the water wastage!

3 hungry tummies - Oh great, what a compliment, thanks!

Ladybird - I wanted so badly to slap him myself, though I think I wanted to slap Rosie even more! It's lots of fun and lots of good eating :)

Simply Life - thank you! Such a simple combination yet works well.

Isabelle - thanks!! Please do, it's quite tasty :) Lots of combinations possible too (and I thought of adding chopped nuts to the cheese but couldn't be bothered)

Karen @ Citrus and Candy - I'm loving sweet and salty right now, devouring my way through a packet of yoghurt covered pretzels as I type this in fact!

Pam February 6, 2010 at 8:21 AM  

I could eat WAY too many of these beauties. Yum!

Renee February 6, 2010 at 2:49 PM  

They looking AMAZING- I adore figs and we have just found out we have a fig tree in our backyard in our new house! Thanks for the comments on our blog! (www.poachedperth.blogspot.com)

P.S I LOVE those owl cupcakes in your header....SO CUTE! I am a owl/deer freak!

Rose February 6, 2010 at 7:09 PM  

I'd love to stuff Roger Federer's figs, hur hur. I'd love to try this dish sometime, but I have to admit that I've always been a little bit scared of the prosciutto-fruit combination.

The Perth Breakfast Bitch February 6, 2010 at 7:12 PM  

I only discovered figs a couple of years.. eating the fresh of the tree at my ex's house. (a reason to get back together? haha).. and I LOVE THEM. This recipe looks awesome. Thanks for sharing it with us.

5 Star Foodie February 6, 2010 at 10:04 PM  

Figs sound so good with gorgonzola inside! Excellent appetizer!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 6, 2010 at 11:05 PM  

Pam - me too, which is why I made sure to take them where other people could eat them for me! Thanks :)

Renee - Thank you! That is fantastic, you lucky thing.. I hope the previous owners/tenants don't strip it bare on their way out! Happy to have found your blog :) Thank you, I'm quite proud of those cute cupcakes, I'm an owl fiend too :D

Rose - I wasn't overly taken by Mr Prince Charming Federer until I saw him playing in person, and now I understand the hype. He's quite mesmerising, as much as I didn't want to be taken in by his charm. Fight the fear, it's totally worth it!

The Perth Breakfast Bitch - perfect reason for reacquainting with your ex, but only for fig season, hehe. Thanks, and you're welcome! Figs rule, woo.

5 Star Foodie - thank you! A shame I used up all the cheese though, I've got some lonely crackers sitting on the bench..

Arwen from Hoglet K February 7, 2010 at 5:33 AM  

I love the idea of a bookclub with delicious food - it combines some of the best things in life. The figs sound divine!

MaryMoh February 7, 2010 at 6:23 AM  

This looks creative. What a way to dress up a simple fig!

pierre February 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM  

nice way of cooking figs but tell me more about the upside down cake !pierre

A cupcake or two February 7, 2010 at 6:21 PM  

Connor I love the title of your post. ehehe it made me laugh. I am not a big fan of figs but the gorgonzola and fig combo is making me curious. They look amazing. I want one.

Trisha February 7, 2010 at 7:47 PM  

Love the fig rap! Oh and hope you get all the gorgonzola out of the piping bag & nozzle!

Annette @ Wellness WA February 7, 2010 at 10:52 PM  

Wow Conor! You are pretty amazing.

I obviously am not so keen on the proscuitto (sp, whatevs) but it's super interesting none-the-less!

I'd like to maybe try putting fetta in there instead, mmmmm! FETTA!

I really want cheese & tomato on saos now, on a completely unrelated note.

Ps. If you would like to do a review of your acupuncturist for my website at some point I'd love that xx


PPS. THEY HAVE 'ORGANIC DOUGHNUTS' at the freo markets. I think this falls nicely into both of our respective website categories, I wasn't game enough to try it Today but APPARENTLY they're low in fat?! Despite being deep fried... in rice bran oil. ANYWHO! Just thought I'd give you the heads up. The blackberry jam one looks delish.

Bromography February 8, 2010 at 11:11 PM  

An interesting book, lively discussion and scrumptious snacks...what a great book club! I have made many mistakes with piping bags so I sympathize.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 9, 2010 at 11:51 AM  

Arwen from Hoglet K - I couldn't agree more :) thanks!

MaryMoh - as nice as a naked fig can be, sometimes they need a little fancying up :)

pierre - I have no information to give! I was in a funny non-sweet mood so I didn't even try a piece :(

A cupcake or two - thanks! :D perhaps the gorgonzola and prosciutto would distract you from the figiness? I find gorgonzola to be quite distracting ;) (I'd also recommend this combo using medjool dates too)

Trisha - hehe, thanks. I think I did, but I guess we'll really find out next time I need to pipe something...

Annette @ Wellness WA - haha, thanks! Ooh yeah I think a goat feta would be lovely in there. Cheese and tomato saos? Oh man I haven't had those for ages! How could I have forgotten about those?
P.S. Haven't been for ages but will keep in mind next time I'm there.
P.P.S. Whoa, really? And low in fat? I find that hard to believe but am willing to give them a try anyway. Totally checking them out next time I'm down thataways. Cheers!

Bromography - thanks, I totally agree, we're a lucky bunch to have these nights every month or so! Damn piping bags, keeping us on our toes.

Chef Fresco February 11, 2010 at 8:12 AM  

I love these! Perfect treat! How fun your book club looks!

Mr. P February 14, 2010 at 1:14 AM  

I wanted to start a book club at work, and everybody said no. I need more intellectual friends.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 16, 2010 at 10:35 PM  

Chef Fresco - thank you! Yeah I'm lucky, 'tis a great group!

Mr. P - maybe you could start off small, like with a TV show club? Then build up to subtitled TV show club, then to a newspaper club then a novella club then a book club?

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