Are you an impulsive person? Or one of those wondrous, enigmatic types, who make considered & thoughtful plans about what actions you might want to take? I wish I was the latter, but reality is, I am impulsive & tend to throw myself head long into an idea when it hits me, with little consideration for what comes next. While these impulses are (rarely) life threatening, (think bungee jumping & white water rafting), they often leave me slightly panicked, at times with an empty wallet & always thinking, “Holy crapola, what do I do if …. [insert relevant potential consequences, particularly of the over-dramatised & catastrosphic kind] …?”
Having admitted that, I am still alive & while I don’t always get it right, I manage to work my through my impulses to get a (mostly) positive result, (think starting a blog).
So … in a moment of
madness genius, with no real concept or outcome in mind, I decided to enter the Mamamia Food Blogger Idol competition. I know, not exactly life threatening, but a big deal for me none-the-less. You see, while I love cooking & blogging about what I am cooking, I suck at being competitive & lack confidence in myself & my creativity, particularly when it comes to all the amazing cook / chef / foodie sites out there. But, as is often said, you have to be in it to win it – so without over-thinking it, I decided to just have a go & see where it takes me.
So far, it has taken me here.
When I thought about the flavours in the Rachel’s Yogurt range, (I am already a regular consumer), my mind jumped straight to the Black Plum & Roasted Fig. Whenever I eat this, I have visions of rich, creamy cheese & fresh fruit platters, layered onto salty dry biscuits laden with the sweetness of fig paste, handfuls of crunchy nuts & fresh herbs to cleanse the palette. Seriously, I do!
With all this in mind, I decided to go with a favourite style of recipe that allowed me to bring all these flavours & textures together, to create a rich, moist & oh-so-moreish sweet bread.
Combining the density of wholemeal flour, with creamy yogurt, freshly squeezed orange juice, crunchy dried figs & lightly toasted macadamias, then lacing the sweetness with the subtle saltiness of goat’s cheese & bite of freshly picked basil leaves, this Black Plum & Roasted Fig Bread really is divine.
I know it sounds like there is a lot going on, but the combination of flavours & textures blend beautifully, without one overpowering the other, each element holding it’s place & passing over the taste buds with every bite.
This sweet bread was lots of fun to experiment with, and very quickly disappeared with each version. The one that made it here was deemed the best, with my whole family loving it, especially when served warmed with a big dollop of the Black Plum & Roasted Fig Yoghurt. It works as both a snack or as a dessert with ease.
Here’s how it came together;
- 1 cup dried figs, chopped
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 cups plain wholemeal flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup goats cheese* - or any white cheese you prefer or omit
- 1 cup toasted macadamia nuts, toasted
- 5 or 6 basil leaves, torn or julienned into small pieces
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar - (I used Rapadura unrefined sugar)
- 300 grams Rachel's Black Plum & Roasted Fig Gourmet Low Fat Yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon light flavoured vegetable oil - (I used Sunflower Oil)
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius.
- Place macadamia nuts on baking tray & toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted & slightly browned.
- Lightly grease a large loaf tin, 23cm x 13cm or similar.
- Roughly chop dried figs & place in small saucepan, add 1/2 cup orange juice & bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to low, simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool.
- Using a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cinnamon.
- Add shredded basil & orange zest, mix until well combined.
- Crumble goats cheese into dry mix, add macadamia nuts & dried fig & orange juice mix .
- Toss to coat.
- Using a stand mixer (or similar), beat eggs with sugar until light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
- Using whisk attachment, add in yogurt & remaining 1/2 cup orange juice, whisk to combine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into flour mixture, stirring gently until combined.
- Fold in the oil until incorporated.
- Transfer mix to loaf tin & evenly spread the batter
- Cook on middle rack of the oven about 1 hour or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool for about 10 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack.
- Serve warm, with a dollop of Rachel's Black Plum & Roasted Fig Yoghurt! Divine!
- * - If you are not a fan of goat's cheese, then you can substitute with a feta or omit it if you like. I just find the subtle salty & soft texture of the goat's cheese adds an extra depth to the flavours & compliments the figs & yoghurt perfectly!
So, this is it. My entry in the Mamamia Food Blogger Idol competition. Do I expect to win? No. Would I have a clue what to do next if I did? Not really. Would I like to win? Hell yes! Being able to share my recipes with a wider audience would be awesome. And it’s a paid gig – how could that not be good! I might finally be able to invest in that logo I have been wanting since, like, for ever!
Whatever happens though, I can say that I am proud of this recipe & look forward to sharing more of my favourites with anyone who decides to stop by.
Are you a planner or do you just like to wing it, like me? Are you all about the winning, or just enjoy the challenge of entering?
I hope you like this as much as we do!
Cook! Eat! Enjoy!