Gardening and the pleasure of sharing

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A few years ago one autumn afternoon travelling through the countryside northwest of Sydney, I came upon a roadside stall selling figs.

There is nothing I enjoy more than picking up supplies this way.  There were a number of different varieties to choose from along with some fig trees in pots available for purchase.  Being a keen gardener and growing my own figs, I had loads of questions about their gardening techniques and the varieties they were growing.

Gardeners can talk forever, eager to learn from one another.  As we chatted away, I had noticed that they didn't have the variety that I was growing.  Mine had been given to me by another keen gardener, it was the smallest cutting in a little pot.  I had nurtured it and it had grown into a lovely big tree.  Once again I had been on a road trip in the country and this gentleman had taken the time to show me all his trees and share his secrets on growing figs.  After sharing the story of my fig tree, I had offered to come back in the winter with some cuttings.

To their surprise I turned up one winters' afternoon with the cuttings.  They were delighted and promised to grow another tree for me, I was to get in touch the following year.  I wrote their business name on my kitchen blackboard so I wouldn't forget and there it stayed for many years as due to illness my driving around the countryside had been temporarily put on hold.  Friends occasionally would enquire about the name "figlicious" on the board as it stayed there year after year and I never stopped thinking about whether the cuttings had been successful.

Finally this autumn I made a visit and they invited me to see the farm.  How special it was to be shown around and to see all the trees that had grown from a handful of cuttings years earlier.  I was in fig heaven eating fresh figs picked directly from the tree.  I was told that the cuttings that I had given them many years ago were in fact known as "Baida" which in arabic means "white" and is a little known variety originally from Persia, whose skin ripens to a beautiful yellow hew with lovely fragrant white flesh inside.

They had never forgotten that winters' afternoon when I had dropped off the handful of cuttings and had wondered what had happened to me.  They were as delighted as I was to meet up again.  With my boot loaded with figs they had kindly given me as a gift, I was reminded that this had all been due to not only the love of figs but of the love of gardening and the growing of ones own.  In my experience most if not all gardeners love to pass on cuttings or seeds so others can enjoy the pleasures they have experienced.

Baked Figs + Prosciutto + Goats Cheese + Salad
serves 4

8 figs
8 slices of prosciutto
150g roll of goats cheese
small packet of micro greens
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

Wash and dry the figs and cut the tops off of the stems.  Stand the figs upright and cut a cross about half way down but not all the way to the base.  Then with your thumb and forefinger slightly squeeze the base of the figs, this will make it easier to fill with the goats cheese.  Make sure the goats cheese is cold, just removed from the fridge, before cutting into 8 slices, as this makes it easier to slice.  Fill each fig with a slice of cheese.  Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each fig then place them on a paper lined baking tray.  Bake in a pre-heated 200C oven for ten minutes or until the prosciutto is crispy and the cheese softened and toasted on top.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately with the salad. While the figs are baking, wash and spin the micro greens.  Mix the olive oil and pomegranate molasses together and set aside.  Place the salad on individual serving plates and serve two figs per person.  Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with salt.

Fig + Buffalo Mozzarella + Watercress salad

12 ripe figs
1 bunch of watercress
small packet of micro greens
6 buffalo mozzarella
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

Wash and dry the figs and cut the tops off of the stems.  Cut the figs in half.  Wash the micro greens and watercress thoroughly and spin dry.  Tear the mozzarella in half and then into quarters.  Place the prepared micro greens and watercress on a plater, then place the figs and mozzarella on top of the greens.  Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Note:  I use a pomegranate molasses that has no added sugar or colour.  I also like to use figs that are about to split their skins, this means I don't have to worry about cutting a cross in the top instead I turn them up upside down and with my thumb and forefinger I squeeze them open.

Figs + Yoghurt + Rosewater


Wash and dry the figs and cut the tops off of the stems.  Cut in half and then into quarters.  Place the figs in a bowl with yoghurt and splash with rosewater. Enjoy this for breakfast or as a snack anytime.

You may have noticed that there aren't any serving suggestions here.  I leave that to your discretion, enjoy.


  1. so beautiful... gardens, rose water and figs are all of my favorite things! thank you so much bernadette for visiting me and opening up such a world so lovely to me! =)

  2. It was a pleasure so rewarding sharing with like minded people, glad they are your favourites too.

  3. Hi Bernadette - I am just having a browse through your lovely blog and wanted to stop here to make a comment. I adore figs but only have a tiny one in a pot in my garden - hopefully there will be figs in the future but not just yet. What I wanted to comment on was your recipe - it is similar to my favourite late summer lunch! I have to buy the figs from the supermarket , but I then cook them stuffed with goats cheese and sometimes wrapped in parma ham - sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and served with a green salad they are delicious.

  4. The toasted pine nuts sound like a nice tasty additional, I will have add that next time. I still have a few left on my tree hoping they will still ripen as we are well into autumn, fortunately it has been incredibly warm. Thanks so much for popping in and sharing your recipe.


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