Q I love figs, but I don’t know how to select them at the shops, and how to store them.
A I enjoy figs as well. They’re not only great by themselves but work well in a salad or an appetizer too.
While buying figs, look for those that feel nice and plump and do not have any bruises or marks on them. It does not matter if they are purple-black, as there are several varieties of figs, some of which are white, green or red in colour.
Since figs bruise easily due to a thin skin, it is important that you store them properly. If the fruit is fully ripe, then keep them in a shallow bowl, preferably in a single layer. Cover with cling film and refrigerate. As figs are highly perishable, you need to finish them in two days. If the fruit is still not ripe, leave it at room temperature. Enjoy.
Q How do I make aubergine pickle? I think it’s the culinary world’s best-kept secret!
A There are several ways to make aubergine pickle. Indian cuisine has a spicy variation that is absolutely lip-smacking, but I’ll share with you a simple recipe that is delicious.
First, wash and trim 350g of baby aubergines. Now bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Carefully add all the aubergines, cover the pan and return it to the boil. Once it begins to boil again, take the pan off the heat and drain well.
Let the aubergines cool down, then slice into 5mm thick roundels. If you think the roundels are too big, halve them. Place the aubergine slices in an airtight container. Now prep the remaining ingredients.
Trim and finely chop 4 green shallots, and finely chop 3 small garlic cloves and 1 small green chilli. Add all of these to the aubergine, along with 1 tsp dried chilli flakes, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, and a pinch each of sugar and salt. Mix it well to combine, and then refrigerate.
Ideally you should allow the flavours to develop for at least 2 days before using it.