The other day, as I was nipping around the supermarket to grab a few things before picking the children up from nursery, I spied a small clutch of figs nestling in the corner of the salad fridge (should that be where figs go in a supermarket? Seems odd to me, but there you are). I gave them a squeeze, they felt ripe, and they were on special offer so, without much more thought, I tossed them in the basket and continued working my way down the shopping list.
Now, I’m guilty of buying nice looking food cause it’s on offer, sticking it in the fridge/cupboard/fruit bowl and then, from that moment on, glancing guiltily at it several times a day as it slowly decays into inedibility, destined for the bin and an eternal place in the every growing shelf in my mental library marked ‘Food-Waste Guilt’. According to the European Commission on Health and Food Safety, I’m not alone in this; we Europeans chuck 88 million tonnes of food per year. I shan’t make this any kind of sermon on frugality and the inexorable decline of morals or whatever, but it’s certainly not something I’m especially proud to be a part of.
With that thought at the front of my mind, I resolved to find something to do with my figs and, as I flicked through Real Fast Food (you wouldn’t believe it from the rate at which I update this blog, but I do often have the book in mind when I’m considering meal options) and alighted upon ‘Purple Figs with Warm Honey’, which seemed the perfect choice for a summer’s breakfast the following morning.
Nigel suggests this recipe might serve as ‘a snack to share with someone special, in bed, on a cold winter’s night’, a notion which, as a parent of two small children, elicited a scornful and hollow laugh from me. As it was, despite the figs not quite carrying the perfumed bouquet of those one might find in a market in Italy (and who could expect them to? They weren’t bad though), they made a fine breakfast, alongside some buttered toast (it’s a source of eternal frustration that the nature of this book prevents me from writing an entry on bread, considering how often I mention it, but please bookmark THIS RECIPE, and enjoy wonderful bread, toast, breadcrumbs and croutons forever more) and a cup of swedish-strength coffee.
I boiled the kettle and stuck a pot of honey (some transcendent stuff from Rucher du Val D’Arz my mother-in-law and her husband bought us from Brittany) into a pan with the hot water for a few minutes to soften. As I waited, I sliced two figs in half, and popped them in a bowl. Once suitably melted, I spooned some honey over the figs, and ate them with my hands.
Simply that. The work of five minutes, and part of a breakfast you could happily serve to anyone from your children to a visiting dignitary. Do it tomorrow.
Buy your own copy of Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Fast Food’ HERE.