• This was inspired by the suspiros (meringues) and bag of beautiful almonds we brought back from the Algarve. This has dates and figs served in layers with whipped cream and cinnamon, like a very rough Portuguese trifle. It is about right for two people, so change it as needs be for as many as you’re feeding.

    TO DRINK (F&HE): Simonsig Gewürztraminer

    Dates, figs, almonds and sighs

    Serves: 2


    • 185ml cream
    • 20g butter
    • 4 fresh dates, halved, stones removed
    • 4 or 5 plump dried figs, halved
    • 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons brandy
    • about 16 whole almonds with skin, roughly chopped
    • ground cinnamon
    • 2 – 3 small meringues per person



    Whip the cream into soft peaks that will just hold up on a plate. Melt the butter in a small saucepan with the dates, figs and brown sugar and, when it starts to sizzle, add the brandy. Cook until gooey and just starting to crisp, but still with some sauce. Leave to cool a little. Toast the nuts in a small dry frying pan until a bit golden, taking care not to burn them. Leave to cool. Spoon some of the dates and figs onto a plate and top with a generous blob of cream, another spoonful of dates, figs and sauce, a scattering of nuts, a sprinkling of cinnamon and a couple of whole or crushed meringues on top.