Last year I went out for the day with Wilf (we have been out more than once in a year together, really). He was working and I was having a couple of days off work so he dropped me at the shops in Shrewsbury where I was able to have a good wander round.
Shrewsbury is a lovely old market town, it has a few unusual shops and not so many of the regular high street branches you see in most towns or cities. I particularly like the shop that sells fabric and haberdashery, I do like to make things but I tend to buy up material and hoard it away as I just don’t get the time for sewing these days. Ask Wilf he has a blazer hanging in the bedroom with a button missing, he has given up asking me to put it back on and is going to do it himself.
When Wilf had finished his business he picked me up and we started on the long drive home. As a treat he took me to the Percy Thrower garden centre for lunch. I couldn’t go to a garden centre without a bit of a look round now could I?
They had fig trees on offer so we checked with the staff that they would survive in clay and one came home with us. When I told our friend Aura she asked if Wilf could get her one next time he was out that way which he did.
I think we gave the fig tree to them as a thank you for minding the house and garden when we were on holiday as we hadn’t been able to find anything while we were away (a bit hazy here, the tree may have been given for a different event so forgive me if I’m wrong). A few months later our tree was just coming to terms with being replanted in our garden and beginning to show signs of new leaves.
Wilf had to go away on business for the night and I was left to mind the homestead. After I had gone to bed I heard noises in the garden. It sounded like people running and I jumped out of bed. On went the track suit and wellies – this is scary enough to look at if you know me, I then went charging out into the back garden, torch and mobile phone in hand. Just as a precaution I decided to tap 999 on my handset. So with thumb hovering over the dial button I went to apprehend our intruders.
The dogs were barking by now and I thought we might have chicken rustlers. As I stood on the lawn I was beginning to loose my nerve, I could hear something running at me. My mind registered the running was rather heavy and 4 footed as the torch flicked across two eyes about six foot up in the air. Behind the eyes was a very large horse named Chunky who was galloping fill tilt towards me. The sharp light of the torch brought him to a stop, thankfully! He had broken through the fence between our field, where he had been lodging and our garden. He was enjoying a good run round and some nice fresh grass.
I phoned his owner and we moved the horses into a secure field until the fence could be mended. The next morning I inspected the garden. A few holes in the lawn, not too bad but then I spotted the fig tree. Chunky had munched the top off and then manured it. The tree didn’t survive.
To add insult to injury Aura’s fig tree has done remarkably well this year. Kept in the greenhouse until about mid July it had several fruit on it and just kept looking healthier.
A few weeks ago Wilf came home looking very pleased with himself. He called me out to the car and proudly presented me with a new fig tree. This one is twice the size of the old one. Yesterday we potted it up and it is now living in front of the green house.
I know a nice simple supper or starter dish with figs. Maybe I’ll be able to make it with our own figs next year.
half a fig per person
clear honey to drizzle
A soft goats cheese which you like.
Put the grill on high.
Drizzle the inside of each fig half with a small amount of honey. Line your grill pan with foil to aid with the cleaning up after.
Put the figs under the grill for a few minutes, check them regularly and when they just start to cook take them out.
Add a few slices of goats cheese and a further drizzle of honey then put back under the grill.
The dish is done when the cheese melts. There is a bit personal choice involved here as some people like their cheese bubbling and others like it just runny. The same is true of the honey, if you have a sweet tooth then you may want a little extra honey.
Serve on a small dish with slices of crusty bread if it’s a supper dish or on a couple of nice curly lettuce leaves if it’s a starter. The lettuce helps to hold the figs upright.