Thursday, 22 September 2016


Good Afternoon to you,

As you know, George and I love walking.  

I think it would be fair to say, that I am a fair weather walker and George is an all weather walker.

When it is drizzling with rain, he will encourage me to join him for a walk.  I'll huff and I'll puff, but eventually, I will give in and put my walking clothes on and go out with him. I don't know why I make such a fuss when it's drizzling, because once I'm out walking I really enjoy it.

So, having such unexpected warm weather these past few weeks, has been really lovely and I have been enjoying my walks immensely.

Last week, we decided to turn left, out of our house, instead of the usual right. We walked to the top of our road and as we turned, we could see, in the distance, a lady walking her dog.  Nothing unusual in that, but this type of dog I haven't seen in years.

It was a Bassett Hound and he was adorable.

We stopped and chatted to the owner and we discovered the Bassett's name was Gus.  He looked up at us with his big doleful eyes, and started wagging his tail and that was that, we were smitten. 

Bassett Hounds are such an unusual breed of dog, because I feel, their legs, although strong, are way  too short for their body.  I feel they should have longer legs to support themselves, although they seem to cope very well with their short legs. 

While George was stroking him, we stayed and had a little chat to the owner. One of the things she mentioned was that Bassett hounds do not like to be left on their own, and Gus was no different. Gus loves to be around people, the more the merrier.

.... but there is a problem,  the owner of Gus, has to go to work, so  you'll never guess what she has to do. She hires a dog sitter, who comes and stays in the house, to keep Gus company, while she is out at work. The reason for this is, if Gus was left on his own, for more than 10 minutes, he will show his displeasure, by continuously howling, and apparently he could keep the howling up for the whole of the afternoon, until she returns home from work. Which obviously doesn't please the neighbours.... and if you've ever heard a hound howl, you know it can be painful on the ears. 

I loved the fact, that she loved Gus so much, that she hired a dog sitter.

We stayed and chatted for another 10 minutes and then we had to leave.  If we had the time, I think Gus would have allowed us to stroke and fuss him all day, but we needed to get on with our walk and the lady needed to take Gus for his walk, because the dog sitter was due in an hour to keep Gus company while she went to work.

We said goodbye and George turned to me and said, 'I could just eat a liquorice allsort' and I asked what on earth made him think of 'allsorts' and he said, 'Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts' are my favourite.

George had used word association, to make him think, he fancied a Bassett Liquorice Allsort. Before meeting  Gus, he never mentioned anything to do with sweets. In the end, George didn't buy any Bassett Liquorice Allsorts, because once we were halfway through our walk, he didn't mention it again. Not even when we arrived home. So that was just a whim. 

.... but what is not a whim is,

my love of figs.  I adore them. As we don't live in Cyprus anymore, we have to forego the pleasure of walking into the garden, to pick our figs fresh from the tree. Instead, I have to wait patiently for September to arrive, because I know, for just a few short weeks, we'll be treated to a glut of figs.

I buy mine from the Grainger Market in Newcastle, because they are always big and plump and ready to eat. 

Grainger Market is a fabulous place to buy fruit, vegetables and meat.  I was surprised to learn that it first opened its doors to the public in 1835.  I remember visiting Grainger Market as a young wife with Sadie (George's mother) and Auntie Mim (Sadie's sister).  They showed me the best stalls to buy fruit and vegetables and the owners of the stalls always had a bit of cheeky banter with the ladies, which they in turn loved.

While I was waiting patiently, for the fig season to arrive, I was so pleased to see, in the August edition of Good Housekeeping.... my favourite magazine by the way, a recipe for Fig and Parma Tartines.  I'm always on the look out for new fig recipes,  so of course, I was eager to try this one.

I have changed the recipe slightly, to use the ingredients I had in the house. This is something I often do, because I don't want to shop for new ingredients.

So it's on with the pinnie. I have to tell you, I am really looking forward to trying this recipe, as the figs George bought are just perfect.


Serves 4

6 large figs, sliced
4 slices of date and walnut bread
250g tub of ricotta cheese
grated zest from 1 lime
8 slices of prosciutto
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons of runny honey
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Place the date and walnut bread under a pre-heated grill and toast both sides until golden brown.

Place the ricotta cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper into a small bowl and mix together.

Divide between the four slices of toasted date and walnut bread.

Top the ricotta cheese with 2 slices of Prosciutto ham.
Set aside for the moment.

In a medium sized bowl, pour in the balsamic vinegar, the runny honey and mix together.

Add the sliced figs, a few at a time. I added 4 slices. Spoon over the balsamic vinegar and honey mixture.

When the figs are coated, carefully remove from the bowl and place the sliced figs on top of the Prosciutto ham. 

I had some balsamic and honey dressing left over, so I drizzled a little over each toast.

I have to say, the toasts were delicious and my chief taster, George, loved them.

I thought maybe the honey would make the toasts a little too sweet, because a ripe fig is very sweet, but the balsamic vinegar and honey dressing was just perfect.

How could I ever have doubted the team at Good Housekeeping.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,

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