Dry season: Add an extra dimension to your fruit intake with Skye Gyngell's sweet snacks

There's still very little fresh fruit in season right now – blood oranges are few and far between and quinces have left us now, so we wait for loquats and the first apricots to arrive. What is not to be underestimated, however, is the use of dried fruits in the kitchen. Almost all fruit can be dried, although their flavour does change dramatically: the sugar content becomes intense and it changes their flavour – though that does not prohibit the goodness of their taste. Buy in small quantities and keep in airtight jars. Look for fruit that is dried as naturally as possible with little added sugar. 1

Dried-fruit compote

This recipe is Persian in origin and was given to me by my friend Greg Malouf.Found in his beautiful book Saraban (Hardie Grant Books, £30), it is the perfect way to eat fruit when not in season. All the dried fruit used in this recipe should be fairly easy to find in Middle Eastern stores or any good health-food shop or delicatessen.

For the syrup

250g/8oz caster sugar
250ml/8fl oz water
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
6 cardamom pods
The peel of one orange
The peel of one lime
1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
12 dried figs
cup golden raisins
6 Medjool dates
6 dried pears
6 prunes
75g/3oz shelled walnuts

Combine the sugar and water over a medium heat in a heavy-based pan, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves, then add the spices and citrus peel, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Add the ginger and dried fruit and walnuts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Once cool, place in the fridge. It will keep well refridgerated for a week or so.

Figs in red wine

At the restaurant, we serve these soft, boozy figs with cheese. For me they work best alongside semi-hard cheeses such as pecorino or wedges of aged and crystallised Parmesan. Once in a while I also like to serve them alongside a soft and creamy Gorgonzola dolce.

750ml/1¼ pints full-bodied red wine
500g/1lb dried figs
3 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp caster sugar
The peel of one orange

Pour the wine into a medium-sized, heavy-based pan. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Add the figs, bay , sugar and orange peel and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. And allow to cool. Spoon into sterilised jars and place in the fridge. Before using, remove from the fridge and allow to return to room temperature. These figs will last for up to a month in the fridge.

Blood oranges and Medjool dates

My mother used to make this for us when we were children, though with oranges rather than blood oranges, as they were not available at that time. It was the closest thing we ever got to dessert in our house. Once she had sliced the dates and oranges, she spread thick Greek yoghurt over the top and placed in the fridge for a few hours to chill. Leave the dates and oranges to macerate for a couple of hours before you are ready to serve, as the juice from the oranges mingles with the sticky sweetness of the dates, which is one of the most delicious things on earth.

Serves 6

6 blood oranges
12 Medjool dates.

Top and tail the blood oranges using a sharp knife, stand on one end and slice down the sides to remove the skin. Now slice the flesh into eighth-of-an-inch pinwheels and arrange on a plate. Remove the stones from the dates, tear roughly with your hands and scatter over the oranges. Squeeze the juice from the flesh that is left in the orange skin and place in the fridge to chill. Serve with thick and creamy yoghurt alongside – thin yoghurt just will not do.

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders