I’m getting ready for a trip away. Rattling through hoards of spices; glass jars pumped full of flours; dried this, dried that; florid jars of homemade jam and hot pickles that are making my drawers sag. I hate to let anything go to waste, so I am on a mission to use up as much as I can before I depart to distant shores. Try to go to the shop a little less.
As I stock take and ponder ideas for recipes I am finding little nooks where I place stashes of food I then have forgotten about. Oh dear, where did all this food come from?! Time for a cook off and a clear out!
Last week, the grocer in the next village on from me was selling figs for under 50p. This ‘bargain’ price had me excited, this is a rare occurrence in this part of the world. I think we import our figs from Turkey so they don’t come cheap. Being such a delicate, easy to spoil fruit I guess the price for such earthy, succulent fruits from the Gods comes at a premium. When I buy a handful and take them home, I feel almost reverential towards the little purple bombs.
Really, I don’t think you can beat the pleasure of an unadorned, perfectly ripe, fig, but with the leaves turning golden, and my collar turning up to beat the chill, I fancied a baked good, steaming from the oven with a dollop of thick cream. Vegan of course. So I pulled up my sleeves, gathered tubs, jars, lined up my bright measuring cups and set about creating a gluten free fig cake, moist as can be and sweet to a t.
As soon as I’ve ruminated on the ingredients, picked a suitable pan to bake the batter, and turned on the oven, my fingers reach for the radio. Depending on my mood, I’ll choose a slice of Woman’s Hour, where I may learn how to cook the ‘perfect’ something or other, or broaden my view of the world with interviews from female entrepreneurs in Africa or India, or perhaps they will be interviewing an actress, or a talkative bee-keeper. Or, if my brain is extra hungry, I’ll opt for a science programme and spend the time having my mind boggled about multi-verses, or string theory. Or, I’ll just pick a music station and sway or sing along (sometimes acutely tunelessly) to the river of songs. I love the cosiness of it. Creating my own little world whilst I create.
4 swollen figs at the peak of their perfection (or more if you can to cover the whole centre of surface of the cake – with the blessedness of hindsight, I would have done this)
1/2 c almond flour
1/2 c sorghum flour
1/2 c chickpea flour
2 Tbs potato flour
2 Tbs flax meal
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 tsp fruit sweetened orange jam or apple sauce
1 tsp almond essence
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (Himalayan preferably – healthier)
Oven Temp 180 degrees – Loaf Tin (lightly coat inside with vegan marg or oil then dust with flour. this will help it to rise as it stops the mix from sticking. The marg helps the cake to easily be removed)
Preheat your oven – 180c degrees.
1.Sift all the dry ingredients, with the exception of the flax meal.
2.Combine this with 2 Tbs water, mix and leave to absorb for five minutes.
3.in a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients.
4.Now add the wet, including the flax, to the dry ingredients and lightly and gently fold together. Pour into the oiled baking tin.
5.Pop into the pre-heated oven. Leave to bake for 25-30 min.
Use a stick of dried spaghetti or a wooden tooth pick to test when the cake is done. If you push it into the cake and it comes out clean…it is ready.
The cake will have a golden top, and the figs bubbling hot and scarlet when it leaves the oven. Have it rest for 15mins before gently turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool.
Slice and drop a generous spoon of thick coconut whipping cream (or soya cream if you are ok with soy). Ooh, or perhaps a cool scoop of creamy, very vanilla, vegan ice-cream. Or how about ice-cream with a hint of rosewater and a sprinkling of crushed, candied & salted pistachios? Whatever is your joy.
The cake is very low fat, moist, gluten free, sugar free and vegan.
India Leigh xxx