Nothing Like Figs

I'd be hardpressed to find the perfect spot for me in the universe, but I'm pretty sure there will be a fig tree involved. For where there is a fig tree, there is life aplenty. A raucous party with birds of all shapes and sizes will definitely be happening, for instance. For someone who adores fig trees, I'm not a big fan of dried figs or anjeer as they are known in most of India. But fresh figs? Fresh figs, I can die for! The deep purple hues of a fig in the peak of ripeness, with ginger streaks of green calls to me like a beacon. And the vibrant red speckled with seeds that you can see when you bite into one? Um, divine!

So you can imagine my joy when I found plump, ripe figs at the campus' weekly organic farmers' market last sunday. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them - roast them in the oven, with a dash of cinnamon, until they are all oozy and caramelized from their natural sugars. Oh, I'm still salivating at the thought!


Mint and vanilla bean panna cotta with oven roasted spicy figs and a honey balsamic drizzle

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The Magic of Mint

There are a few magical combinations out there that most of the epicurean world loves - raspberry and white chocolate, apple and cinnamon, tomato and basil, mango/pineapple/guava/watermelon and salt/chilli powder/chaat masala, peanut butter and jelly, strawberry and aceto balsamico, caramel and sea salt ... You get the drift. In fact, Mashable has a neat listing of a 100 such food pairings that are so legen-waitforit-dary!

Some of my favorite food pairings involve a surprisingly commonplace herb. This little herb marries wonderfully with chocolate, strawberry, cucumber, and lemon, among others. In my humble opinion, a sprig of mint brings in a shot of magic to many a dish and elevates it to another level. For instance, something just clicks, when one introduces mint to chocolate. Just adding a touch of mint, transports a simple dessert to realms far, far away. To summarize this soliloquy on a sprig of mint, it is the chocolatier's (not that I am one) equivalent of rocket fuel. Period.


Mint and chocolate chip cookies

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