A neighbour knocks on the door on Saturday evening with a bowl of the ooziest figs fresh from her tree and what's a girl to do - she must make paste immediately!
Seriously, these figs were so ripe they weren't going to last another day. Figs are like that. I'm ready and I'm ready NOW - they demand! So I started my preps (it wasn't really one for the bowl and one for the cook, well, maybe it was).
I've eaten my body weight in delicious cheese plates and I've got a few favourite tarty sweety soury pastes and chutneys to go with my cheese but I've never made one before. To make a fig paste is on my bucket list. One day.
I googled, I pondered, I read every recipe book I own and finally settled for my 2 favourite kitchen girls - Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer. I decided to follow their quince paste recipes, substituting the quince for the figs.
My mouth is watering as I type this.
I wasn't put off by the 3 to 4 hours of constant stirring. Wine helped! Some good Saturday night tv helped, too.
Somewhere near midnight I decided it was a thick as it was ever going to get. My 2 favourite kitchen girls said to keep stirring until it's very difficult to move the spoon through the pot. I didn't reach that stage. As it was I overdid it. Sadly the morning revealed a beautifully set slab of fig toffee! It was the consistency of tar. I was a bit disappointed. My neighbour suggested I throw it back in the pan to melt it down and add more moisture.
But you know, that's what being an artist and a crafter is all about, it's all about problem solving. Giving something a try and if it doesn't work out, unpick the last few rows/add another wash/go back to the drawing board, add a dart here, let the seam out there.
So I re-melted the tar slab. In 2 batches. One with a little water added. The other with port! This was strongly encouraged by my man, a bit of a port fiend. I think it worked! They have been drying in their little figgy paste trays for a few days now and I'm ready to pack them up.
And that means I have a good excuse for a cheese plate for this afternoon's happy hour!