Close to where I live, I have a small fruit and vegetable shop, which is an odd mix of common products and exotic, unidentified ones. Many times I go in, and I find myself in front of fruit (or are they vegetables?) that I have no idea where to place, let alone how to use. But as I refuse to give in to the unknown, I buy, try, taste and then wonder how I could integrate the UEO’s in my usual cooking.One of these UEO’s was (what later turned out to be) the cactus fig. Known as well under the name of prickly pear or feijoa. Seeing fig, I thought … fig! So I tried it at first with cheese. Not a top combination. But with a little help from Rick Stein and his travels through France, I decided to combine the flesh of these fruit with cream and vanilla extract. Which made a very tasty dessert. To adapt the recipe to my taste I also added a splash of lemon juice, and it was perfect.
Lesson learned: don’t be afraid of the UEO’s and just try them out. That doesn’t mean you will always like what you’ll try (memories of a durian still linger from Singapore) but my motto is, you have to give everything a chance.