Everyone will sit under their own vineI dare say it was Melbourne's immigrant Italian and Greek population that was responsible for the proliferation of fig trees in the gardens of our city's northern suburbs. We have two in our Melbourne garden, and a large one here in the country. They bear huge amounts of fruit, and seem to thrive on benign neglect, although I must say that a little extra water does result in bigger juicier figs.
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the LORD Almighty has spoken.
Micah 4:4 NIV
Our biggest challenge is beating the musk parrots to the figs. The Italians cover each cluster of fruit in a paper bag, and their lovingly tended trees are a reminder to me of just how beautiful these trees can be if you do care for them. Still, even sharing with the birds, our three trees provide enough in their two crops each summer to keep our entire extended family in figs, and since that number includes a couple of real fig aficionados, that is saying something.
My favourite way to eat figs is warm from the tree. We eat them with soft goats cheese, and they are sublimely delicious.
Jemimah loves them grilled on the barbeque with brown sugar and butter. Oh, how wicked are these - especially with a piece of milk chocolate melted onto each half! We devour them with vanilla icecream or thick King Island vanilla yoghurt. Life doesn't get much better than this, sitting outside on a warm summer evening feasting on warm grilled figs and sipping on a chilled glass or two of Rutherglen muscat.
For friends who don't like the somewhat strange texture of raw figs, I always recommend they try them poached in syrup. We add a couple of tablespoons of Cointreau to ours to make them extra yummy, but vanilla works as well. These, topped with a dollop of sweetened yoghurt, are a family fave as well.
In case you've started thinking that A Peaceful Day is now a gardening blog, never fear. We start back with school on Monday. Jemimah and I will be heading to Melbourne for three weeks of intensive swimming lessons, and I won't be posting about my peaceful garden at all.
It's not all bad in Melbourne though - the figs and the nectarines will be ripe. Mmmmmmmm