My very long holiday is slowly coming to an end. I spent the short break I took from the blog eating loads of things from our garden, tasting the most delicious roast chicken I’ve had, trying to recreate the taste and look of mine and my sisters favourite summer nectarine cake/tart and making loads of jam. All these I call research, you know? Tasting as many ingredients as possible, making different combinations, getting my hands dirty, my senses intrigued and my tummy filled.
There’s also another reason behind all this testing and tasting, all these ingredients and shapes and smells and tastes: I’m getting ready for the winter, I’m gathering as much light and colour from fresh produce, hoping that their beauty and my time experimenting with them will keep me warm during the winter. Summer offers inspiration in surplus and I’m taking advantage as much as I can.
I hate the end of the holidays, but in my mind it’s always marked by the appearance of figs; middle to end of August, figs and having to go back to school is all that’s on my mind. Luckily, the charm of figs always wins, so instead of worrying about the weather soon changing and me also soon changing into coats and boots, I spend my time trying to come up with ways to eat as many figs from our fig trees in as many different ways as possible.
When I finally get my hands on the very first ones, I just briefly wash them and eat as much as I can. Then I compromise and start adding them in salads or have them with yogurt and honey. And before I bite the bullet and use loads of them to make my favourite jam in the world, I make the easiest crostini, one that needs no recipe, no measurements, no planning at all.
Figs are roasted with only tangy and sweet balsamic, black pepper and fresh lemon thyme; fragrant fresh bread is toasted until lightly browned and topped with a good slab of creamy cheese and the roasted, juicy and syrupy figs. A drizzle of honey and some toasted pine nuts to finish things off. All you need to extend the summer and fight the going back to school blues. It starts with figs and ends with a cheesy sweetness.
8 slices of bread
8 large figs, halved
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of ricotta cheese
a few springs of lemon thyme
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
extra honey to drizzle
Turn the oven on to 180C (160 for air); arrange the quartered figs in a baking tray and add the balsamic, honey, black pepper and lemon thyme springs.
Roast for 15-20’ or until the figs are tender and juicy.
Toast the bread slices until lightly browned and top with the cheese, halved figs, pine nuts and drizzle some honey on top.