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Today has been equally grey around here.
I’m going through paperwork listening to Gotye, “Somebody That I Used To Know” drinking a cup of tea and nibbling on a dry fig.

I always loved figs.
We had a big fig tree in the garden at the vacation house. Every August, around the time of my birthday the first figs would ripe. They would grow considerably in size their bright green skin slowly turning pale green and their firmness would give way to a certain softness.
Some of them would have honey dripping from them sparkling like gold under the midday summer sun..
You had to look carefully between the leaves and the branches to locate the figs that were ripe enough as not all the fruit would ripe at the same time.
Once located, the “target” fig would be plucked from the tree by gently grabbing it and twisting it around until the stem would release the fig from the branch.
If milk would come out of the stem then you knew the fig wasnt ripe enough. If not you knew, a delicious sweet fig was yours!

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This year, I introduced mister to the fig hunting routine. During our stay at the tiny village of Greece where the vacation house is, I taught him everything I know. And in return, mister offered his help, fig hunting and then sorting,drying out and preparing the surplus of figs gathered.

In the area, almost every household hunts for figs during August.
Wearing a big hat, holding a basket and a metal stick ending on a hook, called the fig hunting tool, men, women and children would wander around the forest edges and hunt for figs.

My grandmother used to say that the best figs to dry out are the ones that fall from the tree by themselves. They are sweet and already a bit dry and thus perfect for preserving them for the winter. Never the less, any fig can be dried and preserved as long as it is ripe enough to be eaten.

Once collected the figs have to be sliced in half and left open with the seeds exposed to the summer sun on a basket. The air needs to be able to circulate during the drying stage so if a basket is not available one could use chicken wire elevated on a wooden frame.

s`zb

After a few days, the figs have to be turned over so that their skin gets golden and dry on the outside as well. Once the figs are completely dried out, a “sterilising” process has to take place to ensure the figs wont get worms but will stay nice all winter long.
Traditionally, this is done by a boiling bath. Nowadays one can opt for freezing them for 10 days.

After that, the figs are ready to be stored and enjoyed for as long as 5 years!:)

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Did you know?
In Greek mythology, the god Apollo sends a crow to collect water from a stream for him. The crow sees a fig tree and tempted by the fruit sits under the thick shadow of the fig tree, waiting for the figs to ripe.. He knows that he is late and that his tardiness will be punished, so he gets a snake from the stream and collects the water. He presents Apollo with the water and uses the snake as an excuse. Apollo sees through the crow’s lie and throws the crow, goblet, and snake into the sky where they form the constellations Hydra, Crater, and Corvus.

And now that you know the story behind the Hydra, Crater and Corvus constellation, here is a handy link that shows you a glimse of the sky and helps you learn to identify the above mentioned groups of stars.
http://www.davidmalin.com/fujii/source/Crt.html

So.. on the 2nd of August i celebrated my birthday.
As i was flying at noon, i decided to have a small happy celebration in the morning as I was to blow a full size birthday cake at night.. What better way than to make a couple of chocolate muffins and decorate them with strawberry icing, vanilla creme, cranberries, strawberries and sugar flakes that sparkle for a dose of glitterful happiness!:)

I placed the leftover cakes in a box and carried them along on the plane…

A quick, easy and happy birthday treat!

Did you know?

Though the origin of the cupcakes concept remains unknown, we have a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” in American Cookery by Amelia Simms, a book written in 1796!!!