The French Retreat part one. Early figs with blue cheese and honey.

FIgs with blue cheese and honey (1 of 1)No, this is not a mini series about Napoleon’s fun in Russia in 1812. For this year’s holiday, we were lucky enough to spend some time in one of the most heavenly places on the planet. As the vagaries of life prevented us having had a break since 2012, we were in need of complete R&R. For this, we went to stay with Helen and David Furniss in their fantastic ‘Keirmasi’ gites. Over the years, we have stayed with them a number of times and it has proven to be an idyllic place for a badly needed French Retreat.

We were idling in the shade during the morning when Helen brought us some “early figs”. It had rained unseasonably earlier on in the year and the fig tree had responded by growing some very big (and very tasty) fruits. Helen also brought us some blue cheese.

The laughably short ingredients list is shown above.

The laughably short ingredients list is shown above.

I added honey and we had the recipe for a delicious starter. Figs with blue cheese and honey, what else?

This, as is my habit in so many concoctions of late, is not a recipe. The first thing to do is to slice the figs as shown.

Off with their heads! Then cut a 'croix' in the flesh and give them a good squeeze.

Off with their heads! Then cut a ‘croix’ in the flesh and give them a good squeeze.

Then add the blue cheese and honey.

You can see I had a limited honey pot for this recipe. We just about had enough.

You can see I had a limited honey pot for this recipe. We just about had enough.

Pop them into a hot oven (200 French, 400 American) for ten minutes to warm the figs and melt the cheese. Take them out and serve.

We enjoyed ours with a glass of Rosé sitting in the shade.

We enjoyed ours, sitting in the shade, with a glass of Rosé.

We had a fantastic time over in France this year. We are always made to feel welcome by Helen and David. If you are thinking of a Dordogne break, you could do worse than to give them a shout.

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Latest comments
  • Nice to see figs in the market again.

    • Hi Rosemary, straight from the tree in this case. Delicious!

  • OMG! This means enjoying life!

  • Lovely and simple!

  • Gorgeous. Not jealous at all. xxx

    • Neither should you be. I’m back at the desk….

      • My heart goes out to you. Far too hot (here anyway) to be stuck in an office. Still not jealous about France, oh no.

        • Yes. A melter indeed. And all the customers seem to have gone to the beach.

  • This looks so pretty! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Debbie, Delighted you like it. Happy to share with the Mountain Kitchen.

  • Simple, yet effective. I have also grilled them this way on skewers (Okay – and wrapped with bacon – what can I say, it’s a yank thing 🙂 ) over oak with equally fabulous results. Sounds like a fabulous time.

    • Wrapped in bacon is certainly interesting. We sophisticated Europeans would wrap them in Parma ham and look down our noses at ye doing it with bacon. Funny old world.

  • This looks like a wonderful combination. We are hoping to be in that area next year, fingers crossed!

  • Beautiful and decadent. I too would love to get there one day.

  • Wonderfully simple and elegant.

  • Put on top of the list for our next fig season tho’ think I won’t forget: too appetizing!!!

  • Oh, there you go, reminding me how much I long to be back in France… Looks like you had a wonderful trip. Looking forward to the next parts of the series!

  • Well, that’s certainly the cat’s pajamas–having fresh figs delivered to your door in the morning! You know, I see something like this and it always reminds of how easy it is to assemble a great meal out of a few ingredients in France or Italy. You CAN do that here, but nowhere near as easily. I assume, by the way, that this little treat was merely the tip of an iceberg of pleasure you experienced. Ken

  • These are beautiful! There is a fig tree at Leandro’s music school and I think I will once again be the happy recipient of some early figs…so now I know what to do!

  • Such a simple creation but, oh, boy, does it ever satisfy! I hope the rest of your holiday was eually as good, Conor.

    • If not better John. Plenty of posts to follow.

  • Glad you both enjoyed the French retreat, which you definitely deserved. Envious of those figs fresh from the tree. I really like the recipe, as I think it will also work with the figs I can get here. In Italy a popular combination is fresh figs with prosciutto (and sometimes a bit of good balsamic), but for that the figs must be tree-ripened.

    • The flavour is more intense if they are ‘later’ figs. These were delicious. The Italian way appeals too.
      Thanks Stefan.

  • What a gorgeous idea for a starter, dessert… or anytime, really! I love the combination of figs and honey (sometimes I just slice them, drizzle them with honey and a fair whack of black pepper and voila! Delicious!) and the additional blue cheese sounds heavenly. Glad that you loved the French retreat. Sounds idyllic!

    • If you add walnuts to yours, it can be pretty good too.
      The trip was great. Back to reality now…

  • You have me craving figs real bad right now!

    • Good! Figs are so delicious. Here in Ireland, there is a very short window for them (imported) in the late summer / early autumn. I am looking forward to more then.

  • Hi Conor,

    Would it be possible to get an email address to contact you on as I would love to get in touch about a meat food feature/collaboration? Or if preferred I could send you mine?

    Thanks Conor.

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