Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Figs and Family

In my life, I have upped roots and relocated more times than I care to remember. When asked were I grew up, I can never give a simple answer, but rather have to list the names of several cities and towns were me and my family had lived. This wasn't always a bad thing though, as each new home brought new friends, new experiences and new regional fresh produce. One of our many moves took us to the affluent suburbs of Pretoria and we lived in a big old house with a long established garden. Although this was by no means my favourite house, I remember this garden very fondly as in it there was a mulberry tree, a plum tree and most amazingly a fig tree. We spent many a Saturday up in the branches of these trees, filling our stomachs to bursting point with all the juicy, purple fruits. Since then we have lived in many more homes and I have even moved half way across the world, but I still miss that fig tree.

Although I decided to move to the UK years ago and it's a choice I have never regretted, living so far away from my family has never gotten any easier. There are however things that make their absence almost bearable, regular calls thanks to the wonder of Skype, quickly typed emails to share a joke, or even eating one of their favourite foods. Here, once again my thoughts turn to figs. Not only are they a reminder of days spent back home with family, but they have also come to be a reminder of wonderful visit here in London with my mum and aunty. The three of us, sitting on the steps in front of St. Paul's cathedral, wrapped up warm against the chilly autumn wind and breaking open our figs' purple skins to reveal the bright red flesh inside. This is why, when these fruits start making their appearance in the green grocers and supermarkets, I cannot leave the store without a few of them in my shopping bag.

They are such amazing fruits, that I usually eat them all, fresh and unadorned before I even have time to think about making anything more from them. However, when I brought home a bag full the other day, I somehow managed to stop myself from eating them all and starting thinking of making a dessert with them. Cut into quarters, drizzled with honey, beautifully arranged on a crisp palmier and served with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt, this tasted so heavenly that I completely forgot to take a picture of the end result! I did however remember all the good times, spent in the company of the ones I love.

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