Archive for September, 2008

Baked Figs wrapped in Parma Ham

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Home Cooked Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2008 by helenphillips

When I was a teenager, we lived in Turkey, where we would pick green figs fresh from trees, peel them and eat. Much nice than the dried alternative associated with Christmas, or worse still {shudder} Fig Rolls.

This is a simple recipe that I first developed a few years ago, and haven’t done since as I keep missing the figs when they’re in season. In fact, I only came across them by accident in Tesco yesterday when I was hunting for some red onions! I think I was originally inspired by some other fruit and meat combination, but it was such a long time ago, that today I was essentially starting from scratch.

To serve 2 of us, I had:

  • 4 figs
  • 2 slices parma ham
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 0.5 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine (just opened to go with dinner!)

2 of the figs were wrapped in strips of parma ham – the slices I had were wide, so I folded them over lengthways before wrapping them around the figs, and then secured the meat in place using a cocktail stick pushed through the middle. These were placed in a pre-heated oven at 200c for around 10 minutes (the ham needs to be brown and crispy).

The other 2 figs were put to work to make a sauce. They were peeled, chopped and thrown into my food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Once blended together, the sauce was heated very gently on a low heat. Cooking time is nicely matched to the baked figs.

The 2 parts of the dishes were then put together – presentation isn’t my best area, but I’m trying! The sauce gives the dish a sharp and sweet flavour, whilst the crispy ham against the soft fig gives a lovely contrast of textures.  We found sharp knives were required due to the softness of the fig – in much the same way you would find with slightly soft tomatoes.  The downside of this dish is – it doesn’t last long! Of course, you could always provide 2 figs per portion…

Who knew that cake could be so funny?

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , on September 12, 2008 by helenphillips

A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of this fantastically funny blog – “Cake Wrecks“.  As it’s all about cakes, it’s definitely food related – some may even find it inspiring! Readers are encouraged to send in photos that deserve the spotlight.  Some are entertaining, some are shocking. Whichever they are, Jen’s musings never fail to entertain me.

Platters Restaurant, Plymouth

Posted in Food, review with tags , , , , , , on September 2, 2008 by helenphillips

Platters is my favourite restaurant in all the world (and I told the owner so during our last visit). Situated on Plymouth’s Barbican, it’s forte is (unsurprisingly) fresh fish.  For those not so keen on sea food, they also do some excellent steaks. And possibly the best chips in the world.

The restaurant is small, cosy if you are eating with friends, but with the tables so close together, not suitable for a romantic candlelit dinner! The restaurant is family owned and run, and you can always guarantee and friendly welcome. It is constantly busy, so even if you have booked, you may find yourself being sent next door to the Dolphin pub for a drink if your table is not immediately ready. Don’t worry if you haven’t finished your drink, you can take it with you

Their regular menu is extensive, but in addition you need to check the chalk board for the days specials, which vary on what has been caught. The size of the dishes range from big to enormous, whilst the prices are reasonable, meaning that there is more or less something for everyone.

I have eaten there many times before (I may have mentioned that it is my most favourite restaurant in the world!), so have tried several different dishes.  From past experience, we know to skip the starters and go straight to the Main Course, as the portions are very generous.  On this occasion, I decided to be virtuous, skip the chips and opt for the Ciopinno, or which is basically a fish stew.  Besides, I knew whatever my husband ordered would be served with chips and with the huge portions, there would be some spare. Anyway, back to the Ciopinno.  It’s tomato based, with white fish, then King Prawns, Crab Claws, and Mussels, all in the shell. It was delicious. And messy. Do not attempt this dish in a light coloured outfit. In fact, some sort of bib is highly recommended.  Nutcrackers are provided to break your way into the crab, along with the necessary pointy implement to dig out the meat.  I enjoyed every mouthful, but still couldn’t quite clear the plate.  The fact that they give you a big basket of delicious bread at the start of the meal probably doesn’t help!

My husband is not a fan of sea food, which is how we know they do a good steak.  And he still loves the place as much as I do.  He has recently taken some baby steps into the world of fish, and so ordered ‘Surf and Turf’, which adds King Prawns to your choice of Steak.  Once again, he wasn’t disappointed, and enjoyed both Cow and Crustacean.  As previously mentioned, this dish comes with a huge side order of chips, as well as the mushrooms, tomato and peas that come on the plate.  A selection of sauces are offered.

If you have room, desserts are available, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed it!

Menus and details can be found on their website: http://www.platters-restaurant.co.uk/index.htm