Autumn Still Life:
Figs stuffed with Blue Cheese and Lavender Honey Drizzle
Although I have enjoyed the amazingly hot and sunny summer we have had in Europe this year, I do look forward to the cooler months, especially autumn, which is my favourite season. I’m not a huge fan of the darker mornings and evenings, but I do love the bounty of fruit that comes with the season, apples, pears, quince, walnuts and plums……..plus, the changing colour of the leaves, the misty mornings and magical spider’s webs that glisten like diamonds in the morning sun…..the smell of wood-smoke and hedgerow harvests. It’s a season of rustling leaves and mushrooms, as well as Harvest Festivals and Plum Crumbles…….it’s the official start of the “Comfort Food” season where stews, pies, soups and casseroles are de rigueur. It’s also a season of FIGS, as the old fig tree in our garden just keeps on giving and giving and giving!
I have lots of fig recipes on Lavender and Lovage, mostly salad recipes as well as chutney and jam, but what I really wanted to highlight today was just how versatile the fig is as an easy to prepare starter or light luncheon dish. Today’s recipe, if one can call it a recipe, is a simple assembly job where fresh figs are stuffed with blue cheese and drizzled with a lavender honey…….it’s easy to prepare, there’s no cooking and the finished dish looks like a still life painting. Figs are a favourite accompaniment for the family cheeseboard, but, they are also wonderful when stuffed with cheese too, and the honey drizzle adds a floral sweetness that offsets the saltiness of the cheese. I have shared a recipe for a Fig and Blue Cheese salad over on Great British Chefs recently, where wafer thin smoked ham is added as well as walnuts for a more substantial meal.
As well as salads, I also LOVE preserving with my fig harvest, and one of the most requested preserves I make is my recipe for Apple, Fig and Pear Chutney with Cardamom – a delectable, richly coloured chutney with the warmth and muskiness of cardamom and the sweetness of apples and pears married with the almost nutty flavour of the figs.
Whereas I love blue cheese with fresh figs, goat’s cheese also makes a stunning culinary partner and my recipe for Fresh Fig and Goat’s Cheese Salad with Walnuts is always popular during fig season. If cheese is a natural partner for figs, then walnuts (or any other nuts) are also perfect when served with figs, and as my walnut tree is nearly ready to offer its annual harvest, it’s very handy that both ingredients are available at the same time.
However, today’s fresh fig serving idea is for something much simpler and more elegant than my rustic and hearty salad recipes……it’s a cheese stuffed fig recipe with a honey drizzle, perfect when served as an appetiser or as part of the buffet table. I used Fourme d’Ambert as my blue cheese of choice, but any blue cheese such as Roquefort and Stilton would also be good, as well as Saint Agur or Shropshire blue. I used home-made lavender honey, but again use any local honey you may have to hand, as long as it is a light, floral one, it will be delicious with the cheese stuffed figs.
I hope you have enjoyed my “figgy” post for today – look out for some holiday news later on in the week, as I have just returned from Pays Basque and Spain, where we had a well-earned mini break……that’s all for today, see you later, Karen
This time last year: