22. June 2014

Fig Ice Cream & Croatia

Croatia_15 I want to start a new section on my blog – a travel section. I have been lucky enough to explore and see many different parts of the world, despite my young age. Once I got into photography, travelling got even more interesting. Different countries bring different colors, shapes and people. Trying to capture a country or city in its honest and real way is something I wish to be able to do. I have always been better at photographing people, so it’s a challenge I set for myself every time I go somewhere new.

When food – good food – started to become an important part of my life, travelling got magical. All of the sudden I began noticing fruits and vegetables I had never seen before, ordering new foreign dishes and strolling around local markets.
It’s incredible how much inspiration one can find in strange places. You don’t even have to leave the country; I find it the most relaxing leaving everyday life behind for the weekend and spend it on the countryside or a different city.
I know that it can be a bit expensive to travel, but I personally have made it one of my priorities. It’s the same with eating healthy. It’s probably the most asked question I get: “How can you afford eating like this? It’s so expensive!” Yes and no. I have simply shifted my priorities. I try not to spend my earned money on clothes and make up and rather buy food ingredients I love. The rest I save for my travels. Plus if you look into it, you can get pretty good and fair deals for your grocery shopping, but that’s another story…

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During the Easter holidays I took some days off and joined my parents and friends for a trip to Croatia. I have visited Croatia before, a couple years ago, and other than I remembered it being pretty, I did not really know what to expect. Now I can say: this country blew my mind. We found a temporarily home in a small fisherman village on the island of Cres, up in the north of beautiful Croatia. Already the drive from the ferry to the village was incredible. Never have I seen so much green in my life. Trees everywhere, big and healthy looking, old and young; it was hard to make out a spot not covered in green.

The Croatian kitchen is not very costumized for people concentrating on a plant-based diet. Next to the mainland, Croatia consists of hundreds of small islands and has lots and lots of water. It’s no surprise that they mostly serve fish in restaurants. Whenever I came along, I simply ordered the side dishes. My meal would consist of sautéed chard (lots and lots of it), potatoes and tomato salad. In order to vary up my dinners, I went grocery shopping at markets, buying vegetables and fruits that we all cooked together at night. Everyone was assigned to prepare a different meal component and together we were filling our table with roasted vegetables and salads. I remember once making a big pot of chili sin carne, using the leftovers the next day for our avocado wraps, that were all packed up in our bags along with fruits, while we were out hiking. Soon we were eating them in joy after jumping in the freezing ocean to cool ourselves on breaks. For those of us who asked, there was chocolate as well. It was Easter after all.

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It was only April, so it was too early to pick fresh figs from the trees. During summer it’s supposed to be amazing – figs everywhere. I think that would pretty much be my paradise.
On a hike, moving up the hills and inland, we passed a village and discovered a sign that was advertising homemade fig ice cream. We didn’t think twice and were greeted by a lovely woman, who offered us seats in front of her house, handing out the ice cream and lemonades. Originally from Austria, she young moved to South America and has been living all over the place since. These days she felt like settling down, owns a house in a twenty souls village in Croatia, is a shepherdess and during the summer she sells self-made fig ice cream. Sitting there, eating semi frozen ice cream and listening to her story, I felt so incredible happy.
Those days lasted forever and in the end flew by way too fast. I was sad to leave but I tried to remember what I came across in a book the other day: Do not see holidays as a reward of what you’ve done, but as a preparation of what’s to come. I like that.

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When I look back to this happy week, I immediatly think of fig ice cream and I decided to recreate it and share it with you. Since fresh figs are not in season yet, it’s made of sun-dried figs, just as the one I tasted in Croatia. I spiced it with sage, which flavor I absolutely love. It’s so intense that you’ll only need to add very little. Not only sage, also the flavor of dried figs is very intense, so the more water you mix them with, the lighter the flavor will get. (Just keep in mind that the texture will harden, when adding more water.) I made it without the help of an ice cream machine, only using the freezer to turn the cream to ice.

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Recipe

Fig Ice Cream & Croatia

Details

  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 160g dried figs
  • 50-100ml water
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2-4 leaves of sage
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or with the help of an immersion blender, blend the dried figs until smooth. (It helps to soak the figs in water for good 30 minutes before blending.)
  2. Throughly mince the sage leaves and add them to the mixture along with water and apple sauce. Blend again, until everything is well combined.
  3. Pour it into a suiting container or little cups as pictured above and place them in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!
  • Maja

    Croatia is my country, so glad you liked it. It warms my heart when I read posts form people who visited Croatia and are always mezmerized by it. :)

  • Laura

    would substitute the apple sauce for anything else? because, it sounds really delicious, but fiding apple sauce in my country is a bit of a pain..

  • jre

    Is hummus without tahini really hummus or is it chickpea dip?

    Because that’s what I made.

  • Elisabeth

    What’s the name of the village? (It kinda looks like a place on Crez called Valun, but I guess they all have the same structure/architecture)

    Anyway, your photos are amazing!

  • ina

    Beautiful pictures! I just wanted to let you know that I put a link to your granola recipe in my last post. I hope you don’t mind and are okay with it :) Please let me know, if I should modify anything :)

    xox – ina

    Visit me at Petite Saigon

  • Emma

    I made the ice cream into small lollipops, and it is so delicious! I think my sage is a bit strong though :) Thanks for this post!

    • Oh I am glad to hear it! It’s so hard to get across the right measurements of sage – the leave sizes can differ lots! Thank you :)

  • ana

    i’m from Croatia!!

  • Love it! The recipe looks truly amazing!! And the pictures are wonderful, I would like to go there immediately!

    http://recipe-suitcase.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Beautiful photos! X O

    lunabrunel.squarespace.com

Welcome to my kitchen, my colourful world of nourishing foods. Here I choose to live healthy, eating whole, plant-based foods; a happy mix of vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. I am Pauline, a 24 year-old food lover and photographer from Berlin. My recipes are simple, vegetarian dishes with plant-based and natural ingredients only. Perfect for everyday life. You do not have to be a skilled cook to have a balanced and healthy diet – I am not! An open mind and willingness to try out something new everyday shall be enough. It’s an infinite journey, and I am happy about everyone who decides to come along.

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