Sunday, 14 October 2012

Roasted Figs and Quorridge

I'm always on the lookout for new ideas for brekkie. Muffins, scones, home made bread, french toast, omelettes, smoothies... But sometimes you want something really different. Which is where this lovely post from Joy the Baker comes in. I immediately fell in love with the idea of roasted figs. Figs are amazing, and seem to be so juicy and ripe at the moment. Yesterday I was strolling through the marketplace and the figs just kept calling out to me; "Take us home and make something amazingly good out of us". I totally fell in love with roasted strawberries earlier this year, so I thought roasted figs must be really tasty as well.

I'm sure roasted figs go together lovely with oatmeal. However, I have been making a lot of refrigerator oatmeal during the summer, so I thought something slightly different might be nice. My bootcamp nutrition plan had cooked quinoa as one breakfast option. I hardly ever used to eat quinoa for breakfast, partly because the bootcamp morning quinoa was served with rice milk, which I think is vile. But after finding this recipe on Eat Yourself Skinny, I thought quinoa would make a great porridge with the right spices. And because fall is so clearly here with crispy cold evenings and even the first signs of Christmas appearing (they are selling tickets to our traditional Christmas lunch at work...), I thought some warm spices such as cinnamon and cloves would make a tasty quinoa porridge. 
This could make a great weekend breakfast recipe, but to be quite honest, it's so quick and easy that you could even manage it on a weekday morning. Get out of bed, turn on oven, splash ice cold water on your face, blow your nose to get the smoke and soot out of your nose. Oh wait, that could just be the small minority of people in this world living upstairs from a flat that burned to a crisp. Anyways, after making sure your nose is smoke free, use 10 seconds to cut the figs in half, another 30 seconds to sprinkle with seasoning, and pop into the oven. Measure quinoa and spices into a pan, add water, let bubble away while getting dressed. Add milk to the quorridge, slap on that make up, remove figs from the oven, skip doing your hair and just tie it back in a ponytail. Because who has time to bother with the hair, really... Serve your brekkie, check what's going on in the world (i.e. Facebook), enjoy your hot spicy porridge while having a glance at what horrible disaster awaits you in your inbox, get so lost in the amazing flavour of roasted figs that you almost miss your bus. What a perfect start to a morning!

Roasted figs and quorridge (serves 2):
4 figs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp pomegranate balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar

90 g (1/2 cup) quinoa (dry weight)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp cinnamon
3 cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
3/4 cup milk
The howto:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Cut the figs in half, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Sprinkle the sugar on top. Roast for 8-10 minutes.

Measure the water, quinoa, spices and sugar in a pot and heat until water is boiling. When the quinoa has absorbed most of the water, add half of the milk and let boil gently until the milk is absorbed. Keep adding milk in small quantities until the quinoa is cooked to your liking. Serve with the roasted figs, drizzling the syrup that has formed on the bottom of the roasting tray on top of the figs.
The verdict:
I'm in love with figs. They are so juicy and sweet just as they are. But roasting them just takes them to a completely new level. They get soft and mushy, and even sweeter. The balsamic adds a nice little sharpness to the flavour. And the quorridge. That certainly is a winner! Cold, crisp fall morning, and all those lovely spices. They make your kitchen (or all of your tiny little shoebox of a studio) smell like fall, gingerbread, sweet buns and all wonderful things. Obviously you can use any spices you like. But I thought ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon would be perfect and very seasonal. Candied ginger might also be worth trying. Or maybe boiling the quinoa with prunes and raisins, a bit of cinnamon. That would also go perfect with the figs. And the great thing, roasting the figs will work perfectly when the best fig season has passed, and the figs are no longer juice dripping ripe. I made a batch and ate half one morning, and re-heated the rest in the microwave the next morning. Admittedly the texture of the figs is not quite as perfect when re-heated, but still very nice. And very practical. It's not like you have time to cook brekkie every single morning. Like those mornings when you have to spend 20 minutes in the shower to get the smell of smoke out of your hair. Oh wait, so that's not what normal people do every morning? Only the people who live in a flat which smells like a smokery. That's probably not a real word. Well, smells like whatever that place is called where things like hams and bacons are smoked. Oh, and if you think this moaning about the fire is getting a bit old. But it's not every day you almost lose all your worldly possessions because your neighbour is too ignorant to put out his cigarette. Which he was not allowed to smoke inside the flat in the first place. But everyone got through it unhurt, as did my shoes. So I will be complaining about it until kingdom come. But I promise, there will always be a delicious recipe attached to my moaning. 

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