Back in the day when I was a philosophy student, one of our tutors used to give us moral problems to solve. You know the sort of thing. Would you push one person into the path of an oncoming train to save a hundred people? Well today I am going to talk to you about a food bloggers dilemma – The Fig, Fennel and Pistachio Roulade conundrum.

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What if you had an item of food that tasted really good. Awesomely good. And it took no time to make and is a perfect addition to a Christmas, or any, cheese platter. Only thing is, it is really, really ugly.

Seriously ugly.

Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it.

The Fig, Fennel and Pistachio Roulade looks like a turd.

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What do you do? Post it anyway? Then cringe in a corner and wait for the sounds of international guffaws to reach your ears?

Or simply not post ? And deprive the world…well a small segment thereof of a definite snicker and a delightful addition to their cheeseboard in all it’s pooh looking glory?

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Well you know what? Damn the torpedoes! Maybe 2016 can become the year of keeping the internet real and we can all be free to post picture of ugly food free of ridicule.

Starting with the Fig, Fennel and Pistachio Roulade.

Fig, Fennel and Pistachio Roulade6This may be the ugliest thing you have seen but it tastes…welll:

By itself – good

With Cheese – amazing

With cheese and a glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry or a Sparkling Shiraz – mind blowingly awesome!!!!!

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This recipe for the Fig, Fennel and Pistachio Roulade came to me via my friend Pam who gave me one of these ugly but awesome rolls for Christmas last year. I ate mine in one go.  And I don’t even like figs! 

Fig, Fennel and Pistachio Roulade7I gave one of these to my boss the other day… I wrapped it in the paper and cellophane with the red ribbon as in the photo below.  Because as one of my friend’s commented.  “if you leave one on his desk unwrapped, it just looks like you’re being passive aggressive”.

Fig, Fennel and Pistachio Roulade1He later told me that he and his family enjoyed it very much so it was taken in the spirit of good cheer and Christmas spirit in which it was given. And I warned him beforehand that it was of dubious looks so he was fully prepared. An added advantage is that my bosses wife who is coeliac could also enjoy this because it is totally gluten-free.

Mine were also vegan because I used maple syrup not honey as the sweetener.

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People of the world, close your eyes, think of England, do whatever you have to do but please, please, please make this.  You will  not be disappointed.

Fig, Fennel and Pistachio Roulade

Fig, Fennel and Pistachio Roulade

Adapted from my friend Pam who got the recipe here:


  • 500g (2½ cups) dried figs, stems removed
  • 100g (1 cup) pistachios, lightly toasted, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • rice flour, to dust


  • Using a large knife, chop figs until they form a chunky paste. Or if you are lazy like me put them through a food processor until they break down into the same.
  • Place figs in a large bowl with the pistachios, spices, maple syrup and brandy. Knead mixture for 4 minutes or until it starts to come together, adding extra brandy if mixture is too dry.
  • Lightly dust a work surface with rice flour. Shape dough into a 20 cm-long log, then roll in rice flour, to coat.
  • Wrap log in baking paper and twist ends to seal. Place in a large container with a plate on top, weighed down with a tin. Set aside in a cool, dry place for 3 days to dry out before slicing to serve. Fig roulade will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.


Adapted from my friend Pam who got the recipe here:

And whilst we’re speaking of the holidays, here is one of my favorite Christmas stories courtesy of David Sedaris. 

I read this on the train on the way to work one day and I laughed so hard I nearly peed myself.  This is quite honestly the funniest thing I have ever read.

And for the non-readers, here is a you tube.

Let it be known that this is the year I gave you a Christmas present that looks like a pooh. And 6-8 black men.

I hope you love them both as much as I love you for reading and commenting and being a part of my little space of the internet.

Merry Christmas!Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2