A Little Bit of Everything (and dangly bull bits) part II


It's like it came with its very own ray of light.

In Jamaica they have a soup that’s brilliantly named “Mannish Water”.

There’s a good reason for this, in that it’s essentially the brains, cock and balls of a bull boiled up good and proper with jerk spice. Seriously.  No wonder Ursain Bolt runs so fucking fast – he’s just trying to get away from someone trying to feed him boiled bull-penis.

And so, if that’s not Mannish Water I seriously don’t know what is (although my bath after a good post-gym soak probably comes close).

So, you know what’s the opposite of Mannish Water? Salad. That’s what. Except there is a clever and subtle way to make a salad more testosterony (not a failed brand of polony), and that’s by adding alcohol and meat. Yes sirree. That’ll man that green thing right up, but still have the sophisticated appeal of leafy stuff in a bowl that the fairer sex love so much (and by extension the men who make them…just saying guys).

This was a product of seeing the first batch of fresh figs at my local greengrocers, and wanting to do something with them.  Because who can leave fresh figs on the shelf and just walk on by? Okay well, a lot of people, but I can’t – it’s compulsive that way (figs figs figs figs). I also had some of the chorizo left over from the other salad, so that got thrown in the mix as well, and what came out was this.

Salad of Figs Poached in Red Wine

Ingredients (for 4-6)

The key to this is the lovely combination of sweet figs, wine, peppery rocket and radishes and the creamy/salty quality of the Danish feta.


1 pack of watercress

1 pack of rocket

1 pack of Danish feta

1 pack of prosciutto/smoked bacon or half a chorizo sausage (sliced fine)

a handful of radishes

12 figs

red wine


olive oil

balsamic vinegar

What to do

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (I had to write this out because the insert function seems to have gone on holiday). Remove the stems from the figs, and then slice the fruit lengthways into quarters. Brush a shallow roasting-tray with a bit of olive oil, and then place the figs on the tray. Pack them quite close together, then with a table spoon, start drizzling red wine over them. You want to give them all a good lick of the wine so that they all get a coating, and so that they’re also sitting in what should become a small puddle of the liquid. Then sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the figs, and pop the tray in the oven for about 20 minutes. When you take them out, the wine should have bubbled into a jammy syrupy goodness, and the figs should have darkened and roasted nicely.

In the mean-time, if you’re using bacon or chorizo, fry it up in a pan and then set aside on some paper towel to drain the oil (you’ll need to cut the bacon up after cooking). If you’re using prosciutto this isn’t necessary, you can just shred it with your hands and add it to the salad fresh.

Wash and thinly slice up your radishes, add them to the mixed leaves, crumble the feta over the top add your bacon/prosciutto/chorizo and then add the figs hot from the oven (with as much of the juice that will want to part from the pan). Splash a lick of olive oil and balsamic over it all and you’re good to go.

14 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Everything (and dangly bull bits) part II

    1. Ha ha! This is true – you were the first to try this out.

      Although I do think it might have contributed to Trevor falling asleep later during the story of the crazy man who kicked you in the shins in La Paz.

  1. Is it my imagination or does every recipe contain some kind of alcohol. Oh no! That means I need to stock up my liquor cabinet, won’t that be really expensive?

    Can you please compile a list of the most essential alcohol to cook with please? Then I can do my drank shopping as a once-off.

  2. Why not deglaze the pan with a splash more wine and add all that yumminess to the ‘dressing’? Seems a shame to lose any trace of figgy-deliciousness!

  3. @tunetjordaan – ha! yes, well I didn’t invent the ‘cooking with masses of alcohol all the time’ thing. You might have to take that up with the French. In terms of what wine to use? Well – you obviously don’t want to waste a good bottle – I usually just use whatever I happen to be drinking at the time, but if you can get either the Obikwa Shiraz or Merlot – you’ll be smiling. It’s ridiculously cheap (about R23), and unbelievably good at the price. Figs are in season at the moment – so any good greengrocer should stock them, Fruit and Veg City and the like… and probably most supermarkets as well actually. I keep some brandy, sherry, and then bottles of red and white wine on hand most of the time. Those are really the four staples. For cooking purposes you never have to go for the expensive stuff. The cheapies will be fine.

    @thandi – you’re totally right, it’s an excellent suggestion. Although what you’ll find is that after roasting there’s usually quite a lot of carbon around the edges of what used to be the wine puddle – and that’s not great in a dressing for a salad. I guess it’s just a question of being balanced and not getting too much of the burned bits.

  4. Yeah! I made it and loved it! I bought really cheap wine, which funny enough gave me a headache!

    Did I do something wrong? I could not taste the wine in the figs.

    Thank you so very much.

  5. It seems sad to me to cook (albeit very nicely) lovely fresh figs. Like putting a baby on a sunbed or something? I’m not judging, I haven’t tried the recipe. Just saying, you know…sorry, I’ll shut up now.

  6. looks yum. poached eggs, chick`peas and sunflower seeds also work well in pretty much any salad…the eggs man it up a bit (maybe) and figs are awesome! ok im hungry now….

    1. Ha ha – yes, the eggs would probably man it up well enough. Although in the presence of almost any egg I’m almost pathologically inclined to attack it with tabasco sauce. Which is probably a bridge too far – even for a manly salad.

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