Fig and Cardamom Friands

One of the best things about friands, is that once you have the basic recipe, you can adapt it to suit any season, any type of fruit and any type of spice. In this version I combined two of my favourites, figs and cardamom. I still maintain that this is the perfect size cake because it is big enough to hit the spot but small enough to make you feel that you haven’t overindulged, unless of course, you have more than one which is easily done as they are so delicious.

Makes 12

125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

50g plain flour

115g icing sugar

75g ground almonds

4 medium egg whites

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

4 figs (Cut in half and then each half into thirds)


  • Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas Mark 6.
  • Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with a little butter, then line the bases with circles of baking parchment.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl and add the ground almonds and cardamom. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir the almond extract and melted butter into the flour mixture and mix to combine.
  • Using a large metal spoon, fold a quarter of the egg whites into the flour and butter mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remainder until it is just combined.
  • Divide the mixture into the holes in the tins. Arrange the figs on the top and bake for 15-18 minutes. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • Serve lightly dusted with icing sugar.

Fig and blue cheese quiche

I’m a huge fan of a quiche and have made many of them! There are a lot of blue cheese and fig quiche recipes around, and that’s not surprising. There is something quite tantalising about the combination of sweet juicy figs and the sharp saltiness of the blue cheese. I tend to opt for a creamy blue cheese like Saint Agur Blue or Castello Creamy Blue, but quite often I just use whatever my local Co-op has in stock. In terms of the creamy part of the quiche, I like to use a full fat Greek yoghurt rather than cream or crème fraiche as I have convinced myself it’s healthy. For my pastry, I always use Eric Lanlard’s recipe and may add a herb like thyme or rosemary, finely chopped, or perhaps walnuts.  I don’t really follow one particular recipe; I use my favourite elements from lots of different ones. This recipe is not original, but it has evolved to suit my particular tastes, I think it’s delicious and hope you do too.


For the pastry

400g all-butter shortcrust pastry. (I used Eric Lanlard’s recipe)

250g plain flour

1 tsp fine salt

150g unsalted butter

1 egg beaten

1 tbsp milk

For the filling

Knob of butter

  400g shallots, sliced

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus extra to decorate

4 eggs

400ml full fat Greek style yoghurt

140g blue cheese

8 figs, halved, cut sides brushed with a little olive oil

To make the pastry

  • Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.
  • Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Make a well in the centre and add the egg and milk.
  • Use fingertips to mix and ingredients to make a dough.
  • Turn pastry out onto a floured surface and knead two to three times.
  • Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

Blind Baking

  • Preheat oven to 180°c (fan 160°c)/ gas 4.
  • Roll pastry out and transfer onto a buttered 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin.
  • Prick the pastry and chill for a further 15 minutes.
  • Place a large piece of grease proof paper over the case and fill it with baking beads (or in my case, dried split peas).
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 10 minutes until the pastry is dry and crisp and the top edges of the tart are golden.

To make the filling

  • Melt the butter in a large pan, then add the shallots and soften for 10-15 mins, until golden and squishy. Stir in the thyme for 1 min, then remove from the heat.
  • Beat the eggs in a jug with the yoghurt. Crumble in the cheese and season with pepper and a small amount of salt.
  • Add the cooled onions to the cream mixture and pour into the case.
  • Sit the fig halves on top, cut side up, sprinkle with some more thyme and bake on the middle shelf for 1 hr-1hr 10 mins until the tart is browning and has a slight wobble – the cheese middle will firm up on sitting.
  • Cool for about 15-20 mins, then remove from tin and serve with a green salad.

Figs dipped in dark chocolate with sea salt

It’s fig season! The tree in my garden has produced a bumper crop of figs so succulent and sweet that honey would be overkill. This has coincided with a heatwave, so I’m eating lots of fig salads, figs with yoghurt and orange zest rather than some of the bakes that I usually do. A friend of mine suggested that I just dip the figs in chocolate. Then we decided what would be even better would be if the chocolate was dark, bitter and with sea salt. So now we have the perfect sweet treat, something that is salty, bitter and very sweet and only takes a few minutes to make.

I can’t really call this a recipe because all you have to do is: cut the figs in quarters, melt the chocolate, (I used Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt), cover the figs with the melted chocolate and put them in the fridge to set.