You know, the sort where you know you're not getting any younger, and you feel like you haven't accomplished much.
The sort where you look back at the dreams you had, and how you fell short.
Despondent, I asked Simon what he thought made a successful life. "Enjoying it," he said simply.
Therein lies our differences. I have an ego, a hunger for approval, a slightly competitive streak, and yet I've never been able to stay passionate long enough to be exceptional at anything, invariably resulting in a self-flagellating sense of failure. He, on the other hand, is unburdened by the weight of covetous aspirations, and finds it almost bewildering.
Sometimes I feel so influenced by the world external to me that I no longer know what it is that I really want. What it is that will really make me happy. I wish, wistfully, for grand accomplishments, but I'm beginning to realise what I really need is to be at peace with myself.
|sweet and sour... lime and fig compote.|
So that brings us to this lime and fig compote. Basic techniques. Uncomplicated flavours. Stack it on some freshly toasted bread, and eat it while it's still blissfully warm. Not really a huge achievement, making this. And yet, in that quiet, fleeting moment, I found it unassumingly sublime. The rest didn't matter.
lime & fig compote
300g ripe figs (approximately 6 - 7 medium-sized figs, or 2/3 lb)
3 tablespoons raw sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest (optional)
Trim off the hard stems of the figs and discard. Slice the figs into eighths. I do this by vertically slicing them into quarters, then horizontally halving the quarters.
Simmer the chopped figs with the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan for 15 - 20 minutes until the figs are soft and the juices are reduced. I like to turn up the heat towards the last few minutes, partly to hasten the process, and partly to introduce a lovely thick hint of caramelisation.
If you're going for a compote that goes with some bread, as I was, aim for a final result that is moist and plump, but free from excess liquids. You want a compote that is dry enough to sit pretty on toast, yet still succulent enough so that the fleshy, almost jelly-like fig pieces burst with juices as you bite into them.
So serve this while it's still comfortingly warm, on slices of freshly toasted bread, and congratulate yourself on this little triumph: one of the many you can celebrate amidst the ups and downs of life.
|lime and fig compote on toasted pane di casa.|