Fig and Honey Bircher Muesli

bircher muesli #voraciousvander

I used to be one of those people who grabbed a coffee on the way to class or work and called it breakfast. Somewhere around the time that I began my first full-time job and started to run for exercise, I decided to try behaving like an adult and make breakfast a priority. I haven’t looked back since.

Breakfast during the week is what I dream about on my morning run, it’s my fuel and nourishment. On the weekends it’s a recreational activity – going out and getting the freshest bread we can find, trying a new restaurant, meeting up with friends, making something warm and slightly elaborate and enjoying it over too much coffee and the weekend papers.

Any way it’s had, breakfast is a happy part of my day.

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Fig and Caramelized Onion Pita Pizzas

Figs are having their autumn moment!

And I’m majorly feeling the pressure. Figs bring on a case of cook’s block for me every time. It’s like writer’s block, but with ingredients.

My knee-jerk reaction is to slice them open and eat them on their own, but I also don’t want to miss the opportunity to cook with them.

I agonize over what I can make with these revered little parcels. I want something a little different, but I also want to maintain the fig’s natural flavor and texture.  You know, treat them right.

I think it’s best to keep it simple. They’re perfect on toast with ricotta and drizzle of honey. Or sliced with a little sweet cheese on each piece, canape style.

One of my favorite simple short-cuts is using thin pita bread as a quick pizza crust. This time, I decorated them with complimenting flavors like goat cheese, caramelized onion and of course, figs. Top with some mesculin greens tossed with a little olive oil just before serving and we’re in business!

Boom. Celebration of figs.

Fig and Caramelized Onion Pita Pizzas
(makes 2 pizzas)
– 2 pita breads, poked with a fork*
– 1 large red onion, sliced thin
– 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing and garnishing
– 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
– 2-4 fresh figs, sliced into discs*
– 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
– 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
– 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
– salt and pepper, to taste

For salad topping
– 1 cup mesculin greens or arugula
– 1 teaspoon olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste

To caramelize the onions, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Add onions, salt and balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes until browned and completely soft.

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F.

Prepare a baking tray by coating it in a small amount of olive oil. (This helps the pitas crisp up without becoming brittle.)

Put together your pizzas, starting with spreading the caramelized onions on the pitas. Top with sliced figs, cheese and nuts. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper and drizzle each pizza with a small about of olive oil (about a 1/2-1 teaspoon for each pizza.)

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until everything is heated through.

In a bowl mix greens with olive oil, salt and pepper. Top heated pizzas with the greens and serve immediately.

*Notes:
– Putting little holes in the pitas prevents them from ballooning in the oven.
– The amount of figs you’ll need depends on the size of your figs and of your pitas. I only used two figs for the pizzas pictured.

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Fig & Rosemary Scones


Some things I learned this weekend:

  1. Foil-wrapped chocolate Santas still get me excited.
  2. Clark Griswold will always make me laugh.
  3. You cannot find red sprinkles in supermarkets in Australia.
  4. If you make a batch of fruit and herb scones, they will all get eaten.

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These may be the easiest scones ever. Using cream instead of a butter dough simplifies things but doesn’t sacrifice the taste that you want in a homemade scone.

Sure, they’re not the prettiest. In a moment of forgetfulness/scone crafting excitement, I neglected to add my figs and rosemary before I started kneading my dough. So ingredients were incorporated…haphazardly. I thought about scraping this batch when I saw the imperfections that formed during baking, but once I had a bite of one I realized there was no need for a do-over. They taste fantastic – beauty contests be damned!

Fig & Rosemary Scones (makes approximately 10-12 small scones)
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

- 300 ml/1 1/4 cups pure cream
– 1 teaspoon sugar
– 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour, plus extra for dusting
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
– 5 dried figs, chopped into small pieces
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt
– milk, for brushing

Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Whip cream and sugar with an electric mixer until firm peaks form (3-4 minutes). Stir in flour, rosemary, figs and salt until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth (2-3 minutes). Add extra flour if dough is sticky.

Roll dough to 2 cm/3/4 inch thick on a well-floured surface. Cut into rounds using a 5 cm/2 inch-diameter cutter. Place scones on a baking paper-lined oven tray, brush tops with milk.  Bake until risen and golden (10-15 minutes). Can be served warm or cold.

I served these with ricotta and honey. Further proving my hypothesis that ricotta goes well with everything.