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Fig #1

Autumn on a plate using figs

Nothing signals the end of summer and beginning of autumn for me like a good fig and using figs in delicious dishes is easy.

Looking at the gooey green figs piled up before me, bursting with tiny little seeds and glowing with oozy pink promise, it is also quite clear why ancient civilisations prized figs, along with their equally seedy neighbours pomegranates, as symbols of femininity and fertility.

The great Cleopatra herself was said to have stipulated that bowls of figs be stationed around her general person at all times (what a diva).

It’s no wonder then, that modern cultures around the world have come up with some divine classic pairings– with figs usually being complimented by preserved meats (like prosciutto or chorizo) and/or cheese (like burrata or goats cheese).

My favourite aspect of this exotic fruit is its jamminess – pick a ripe one out and you don’t really need to do much when using figs to make it sing.

How to know when they’re ripe?

Pick the softer ones up, one by one, and compare the weight. The heavier the fruit, the more laden it is with seeds and juice.

The figs are quite glorious at the moment, but the inclement weather we’ve been having will mean that this year’s fig season will be a short one. Get them while they’re good and pop them on a cheeseboard, grill them and pop them on bruschetta or toss fresh firmer fruit through a salad.

I had some leftover ricotta and mascarpone in the fridge, so I whipped it together with a little vanilla bean paste and served it alongside a bunch of ripe figs. Teamed with a glass of bubbles, and some fresh pistachio slivers, that’s dessert done and dusted. Or, brew some fresh mint tea and treat yourself to this combo for breakfast.

Fig-uratively speaking, it just works!

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