Tag Archives: figs

Seared sesame tuna, fig and prosciutto salad

Whenever I can get my hands on juicy plump figs, this is my go to salad. Vibrant and fresh, it’s such a versatile and simple salad, and I love the delicate balance of salt, sweet and savoury. You can also coat the tuna in fennel or coriander seeds instead of sesame seeds (I used what I had available in my pantry).

It makes a healthy light lunch, or would work as a starter for dinner.

Ingredients
Serves 4

  1. 6-8 figs quartered
  2. sashimi grade tuna – about 400g
  3. 4 tbs sesame seeds (I used black)
  4. 2 tbs coarsely cracked black pepper
  5. 2 tbs coarse sea salt
  6. 2 tbs olive oil
  7. 4 large handfuls of rocket
  8. 4-8 thinly shaved slices of prosciutto
  9. 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  10. 2-3 tbs lemon juice
  11. lemon wedges to serve

Method

  1. Combine the sesame seeds, black pepper and salt and place on a flat plate
  2. Cut the tuna into thick strips – about 5cm wide
  3. Coat the tuna with the sesame seed/pepper/salt mix
  4. Heat olive oil in a pan.  Sear the tuna strips on all sides for 1 minute on each side – it should be rare inside.  Set aside to cool for 5 minutes
  5. Thinly slice the tuna and arrange with the figs on top of the rocket.
  6. “Drape’ slices of prosciutto on top
  7. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice
  8. Serve immediately
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Brunch @ the Greenhouse @ the Ritz Carlton

Caprioskas waiting to be mixed

I’m going to attempt writing this post while trying to sober up from a food and cocktail coma from 3 hours of indulgence at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. There for a friend’s birthday, the festive atmosphere was surely enhanced with freeflow champagne and a choice of mojitos, caipirinhas, Bloody Marys and caprioskas (most of which were doubles). Aside from the drinks, the choice of food we had available was impressive.

“Buffet hack” – chawanmushi with caviar

The best thing about buffets is that you can have a little bit of a lot.  The ability to sample as many dishes as you can want appeals to someone like me who has difficulty making her mind up on what to order and often ends up with food envy for my friends and their choices.  The birthday girl added more choice with her “buffet hacks”, my favourite was her topping chawanmushi (Japanese steamed egg) with some caviar from one of the cold starters – perfect.

We all started with cold seafood.  I was focused on oysters, trying the eight varieties of freshly shucked oysters from France and New Zealand and then I spotted a tray of jamon de iberico, of which a small pile made an appearance on every plate I brought back to the table the entire meal.

The awesome roast pork with crackling

My favourite little things at the buffet were a four cheese tart with fig and walnut, the wagyu roast with the best Yorkshire puddings and gravy, the roast pork (mainly for the super good crackling I have to admit) and the very tart lemon meringue dessert.

Four cheese tart with fig and walnut

The four cheese tart came in a pastry shell that was just firm enough to not crumble and was a terrific contrast to the creamy cheese filling, which was the perfect partner to the sweet fresh fig on top.

Yorkshire pudding with wagyu roast

The wagyu roast was so tender – no matter if you sampled a more well done slice from the edge, or an almost blue slice from the middle – and the Yorkshire puddings were the perfect “mop” for the puddles of gravy that were generously ladled over them.

We finished the meal with a generous sample of the 50 cheeses on offer.  I have to admit, after a good camembert and brie, and a wonderfully tangy roquefort, the rest of the cheeses on my plate were there more for the fact that I could actually have that many varieties on one plate.

Lemon meringue

For a five-star establishment, the design and decor of the Greenhouse gives it a slight feel of a buffet in a cheap Caribbean resort – not helped by the live band playing songs like “Guantanamera” – and I think that detracts from the appeal of the whole experience, which is a slight shame, because the food is really very very good.  Perhaps I’m spoiled by the Raffles Hotel Bar & Billiard Room’s more personal serving of their food, along with the more sedate ambiance, but after all those cocktails, I’m sure no-one cared much, and also, for our boisterous birthday table, perhaps it was the best place to celebrate after all.  Happy birthday Chrissy !

The Greenhouse @ the Ritz Carlton Hotel
7 Raffles Ave
Singapore
Tel: 6337 8888

Sunday brunch: 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m


’tis the season…to eat figs.

Fresh Israeli figs

I was thrilled when I popped across the road to the supermarket to find figs.  They are one of my favourite fruits but have such a short season, so I’ll buy them whenever I see them.  The ones I bought today were from Israel – so I’ll have to eat them within a day or two because they don’t keep for too long and they’ve travelled a long way.  Guess one of the downsides of living in a tiny island like Singapore is that you can’t get local produce.

If you buy figs, just keep in mind that they don’t ripen once they have been picked from the tree so make sure you select fruit that are a rich deep purple colour, plump and soft to the touch with unbroken skin.  And as with most fruit, smell them.  If they smell sweet – buy them !  If there is no smell, you can still buy them, just don’t plan on eating them fresh (you could halve them, drizzle them with honey and roast them, served with a good dollop of creme fraiche or marscapone) and if they smell sour, they’re past their due date.

When I lived in Sydney you could usually buy figs for a few weeks so I had the luxury of cooking many fig dishes – one of my favourites being a blue cheese and fig salad.  Simply sprinkle fresh quartered figs over a bed of spinach, crumble blue cheese on top (you could substitute goats cheese) with some toasted walnuts and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Today though, I am going to make one of my favourite fig salads – fig and tuna salad.


Fresh fig and seared tuna salad

Ingredients
Serves 4

  • 6-8 figs quartered
  • sashimi grade tuna – about 400g
  • 2 tbs fennel seeds
  • 1 tbs coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbs coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 large handfuls of rocket
  • 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tbs lemon juice
  • lemon wedges to serve

Method

  1. Combine the fennel seeds, black pepper and salt and place on a flat plate
  2. Cut the tuna into 5cm square strips
  3. Coat the tuna with the fennel seed/pepper/salt mix
  4. Heat olive oil in a pan.  Sear the tuna strips on all sides for 1 minute on each side – it should be rare inside.  Set aside to cool for 5 minutes
  5. Thinly slice the tuna and arrange with the figs on top of the rocket.  Dress with olive oil and lemon juice
  6. Serve immediately

A variation which is even more simple is to top a bed of rocket with quartered figs and layer some prosciutto on top.


The Moomba

Iberico ham with fresh figs and crumbed brie cheese

The last time I was in The Moomba, it was 1999 and I had a looong lunch there before being proposed to !  Needless to say I have very fond memories of the restaurant, but to be honest, have not been back since.

I guess it’s testimony that it’s still around 11 years on, especially in fickle Singapore where so many restaurants have come and gone in that same time.  And I have heard only good things from my friend Christine who does business with the owner and chef.  I even got a surprise gift of some of his home-made Christmas ham from her a few years back and it was delicious.

Another friend and I went there for dinner last Wednesday to celebrate some good news.  To be honest it was our third choice – the first two, Altitude, and Sage, were fully booked on a Wednesday night – so when we walked in to Moomba at 8.00pm to find only one couple in the restaurant, we entered with a bit of apprehension.

The good news is that my doubts were unfounded.  The food was great !

Perhaps Moomba does a roaring lunch trade or perhaps with its location so close to Boat Quay it’s the place to eat on a Friday night.  However, with its shiny new competitors with their spectacular views just around the corner around the Marina area, having only two people seated at 8.00pm isn’t doing it any favours from the street.

I started with Iberico ham with fresh figs and deep-fried brie (pictured above – the pic was from my friend’s iPhone 4 as I forgot to bring my camera).  A great combination where the sweet and salt, soft and crunchy, fresh (from the rocket) and aged worked perfectly well together.

For mains I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a good old steak.  Three types of cuts were offered – I went for the recommendation of the tenderloin and it turned out to be the best on the table – definitely the most flavoursome without being overly fatty or dry.

Even desserts were good – a pecan pie and a sticky date pudding were shared, the sticky date pudding with a creme anglais rather than butterscotch sauce which lightened up the pudding to a point where everything was cleaned from the plates.

I only found out after that the entire upstairs floor is a retail wine space where you can taste and buy a huge selection of wines.

There was the requisite “roo” offered which I think it silly in a restaurant that isn’t branded “outback tucker” because the food at Moomba is sophisticated and delicious.  Is it just poor marketing ?  Is it in need of a facelift or some rebranding ?  I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

The Moomba
52 Circular Road
Tel: 6438 0141

Opening Hours
Lunch 11am – 2.30pm, Monday to Friday
Dinner 6.30pm – 10pm, Monday to Saturday
Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays