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Often when I make a dish that I really enjoy and think I will want to post about, I create a new post and then jot down a few notes, reminders of some of the things I could say, and also possible ‘hooks’ or ‘angles’ to the post.  I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I find I need an angle, a reason for saying this is important…

For this dish, I jotted a few points as usual, and then the post sat there, and sat there, and I just couldn’t decide how to start…which is ridiculous given the topic – I mean, this is haloumi!

soaking dried figs

But I couldn’t decide which way to go, so rather than sitting on the post forever while making this every other week, I’m going ahead with ‘undecided food blogger’s thought processes’ and give you my original (completely unedited) thoughts below.

  • I love haloumi
  • An appetiser that you can pull out with five min notice is just magical
  • Picnic or even camping food
  • Vegetarian bacon

What they can probably be distilled to is yes, I do love haloumi! but this is also really easy (so easy you could take camping), it’s an appetiser/side dish that’s great for omnivores and vegetarians alike, and a truly wonderful flavour combination.

Well there you go, I did come up with an angle after all 😉

To turn to the details, the figs keep really well (see recipe below), so I strongly suggest that you make them in advance.  This is partly so they have a chance to absorb the flavour, but also because preparing the figs is the most time consuming part, and once that’s done (like having a pastry shell in the freezer) it makes the rest a doddle 🙂

figs cooked in spiced syrup

If you do want to take camping/picnicking, transport the figs and syrup in a sealed container/jar where they should keep at least a few days unchilled.  Take the haloumi separately in an esky/cooler, and cook on a BBQ or campfire frying pan as below.

Fried haloumi with spiced figs

Adapted from Karen Martini’s Feasting

For spiced figs:

  • 200g dried figs
  • 120ml red wine vinegar
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs black peppercorns
  • 1 small red chilli (dried is fine)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 200ml water
  • large pinch salt

Cut stalks off figs, cover with boiling water, and soak for an hour.  While the figs are soaking, combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes.  Drain figs, and add to the syrup, simmering for another 5 minutes.

At this stage, the figs can be refrigerated in the syrup for several months.  Once you have eaten the figs, the syrup can be used to infuse another batch of figs if you like.

(If you want to make this with fresh figs, which I kept meaning to do and forgetting, obviously skip the soaking, and I would probably halve and then roast or grill them before infusing in the syrup. These won’t keep as well, but I’m sure would be divine!)

To serve:

  • 1 recipe spiced figs
  • 250-500g haloumi (depending what proportions of figs to haloumi you prefer)

Slice haloumi across into 1cm slices.  Fry in a heavy pan over medium heat (or on a BBQ) for a couple of minutes each side until golden brown.  Lay slices on a serving plate, top with halved figs and a drizzle of syrup and serve immediately.