Tasty cooking is cheesy-peasy

image
Print Friendly

British cheese is among the best in the world right now and British Cheese week is between the 7th – 15th Septmber. Andy Welch sniffs out a prize-winning cheesemaker and some deliciously melty recipes

We’ve long since been a nation of cheese lovers, but nowadays Britain is well and truly on the foodie map as a great cheese producer too.

Indeed, while the Italians and French were once able to crow about how superior their cheeses were, that’s no longer the case. British producers are not only offering world-beating traditional varieties, but developing their own versions of tried-and-tested continental cheeses too.

For example, the Carmarthenshire Cheese Company’s camembert is very good, especially so when pricked with shards of garlic and rosemary, doused with a little white wine and baked for 20 minutes in a medium oven.

The International Cheese Awards took place in late July and saw more than 4,000 different cheeses proudly displayed and judged at the annual event in Nantwich, Cheshire.

This year’s supreme champion was Claxstone’s Smooth Blue (available from claxstone.co.uk) which was two years in the making by a company which previously focused on aged Stilton.

“We were pretty overwhelmed to win,” says Kim Kettle, co-managing director of Long Clawson, Claxstone’s parent company.

“We had a discussion about three years ago and basically said there are people out there who find Stilton too strong in flavour, so we wanted to make a milder, artisan blue cheese. It’s soft from the fridge, so easy to eat, great for nibbling, on cheese boards and in cooking.

“As for British cheese in general, it’s come on in leaps and bounds over the past six years, there are small producers coming into the industry offering craft cheeses, goat and sheep’s milk, you name it.

“I’ve been in cheese production for 35 years and I can see things are in great shape. It’s very exciting.”

Another great thing about cheese is the endless choice available. Whatever your preference, there’s something to suit your palate.

Want something so strong, savoury and mature that it’ll make your eyes water? There are Farmhouse Cheddars and blues to do just that.

After something for the perfect ploughman’s, or a sandwich to remember? Then there’s a Wensleydale, double Gloucester or red Leicester for you, while any number of soft and gooey, hard or melting cheeses are available from supermarkets and artisan producers up and down the country.

Vegetarians, and those with a lactose intolerance or aversion to the high-fat content, are also catered for with new and, crucially, tastier options popping up all the time. Check out lactofree.co.uk if you want that cheesy taste without the lactose.

And while cheese is delightful eaten straight off a board, there are endless ways to use it in cooking too, and you’ll find lots of recipes on the British Cheese Board’s website (Britishcheese.com) – here are three of my favourites.

They include recommendations of which cheese to use but, of course, whatever you like will do just fine.

GRILLED CAULIFLOWER AND BLUE CHEESE SOUP

1 medium cauliflower (approx 800g) broken into florets

350g onions, finely chopped

1tbsp rosemary

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2tbsp olive oil

1tbsp flour

900ml semi-skimmed milk

500ml chicken stock

125g blue cheese in small lumps

1tsp paprika

Black pepper

Rocket to garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the onion and soften slightly, then add the cauliflower, garlic and rosemary. Cook for around 10 minutes, or until the onion is very soft and a golden colour, stirring all the while.

Stir in the flour, milk and chicken stock. Season and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 30-35 minutes or until the cauliflower is very soft.

Cool the soup a little then puree in a blender or with a hand blender. Return to the rinsed pan and reheat gently. Dilute, if necessary, with a little extra stock and correct the seasoning.

When ready to serve – the soup can be made to the this point the day before – turn the grill on high. Place the bowls in a roasting tin. Stir 50g of blue cheese – Claxstone’s Smooth Blue would be a good choice, available from claxstone.co.uk – into the soup and ladle into shallow, heatproof soup bowls (the bowls need to be quite full). Sprinkle the reserved cheese and a little paprika over the soup.

Boil a kettle of water and pour the hot water into the roasting tin around the base of the bowls to make a bain-marie. Using oven gloves, carefully lift the roasting pan under the grill and cook for five to 10 minutes, or until the tops are golden and bubbling. Carefully remove the roasting tin from the grill and lift the bowls out. Gently wipe dry and garnish with rocket. Serve the soup with warm soda bread or freshly made cheese scones.

FARMHOUSE CHEDDAR LINGUINE WITH BACON, MINT AND PEAS

300g linguine

1tbsp olive oil

4 rashers bacon, snipped into pieces

2 garlic cloves, very finely sliced

1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped

100g frozen petit pois or garden peas, thawed

Zest of 1 lemon

75g Farmhouse Cheddar cheese, finely grated

12 mint leaves, shredded

Salt and black pepper

Mint leaves and extra grated Farmhouse Cheddar, to garnish

Cook the linguine in plenty of boiling, salted water for 10-12 minutes, or one minute less than the pack instructions to ensure it’s al dente and not gloopy.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sizzle the bacon for two to three minutes before adding add the garlic and spring onions. Cook gently until softened, without browning. Add the peas, then heat gently, stirring for a couple of minutes.

Drain the linguine, making sure to keep four tablespoons of the cooking liquid, then return it to the saucepan with this liquid. Stir in the bacon and peas, add the lemon zest, Cheddar and mint leaves, stirring gently to combine. Cook over a low heat for about two minutes, until thoroughly reheated. Season to taste, going easy on the salt as the liquor and bacon will add plenty.

Transfer to four warmed plates. Serve garnished with fresh mint leaves and a little extra grated Cheddar.

WENSLEYDALE CHEESE & APPLE FRUIT BREAD BAKES

1 large egg

150ml milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

A few pinches of ground cinnamon or a few grates of nutmeg

4 thick slices fruit bread

1 apple – crisp, such as a Cox, Pink Lady or Braeburn

100g Wensleydale cheese, thinly sliced

4tsp honey or maple syrup, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil.

Whisk the egg, milk and vanilla extract together in a bowl. Add a pinch of either cinnamon or nutmeg. Dip the slices of fruit bread into the egg mixture, allowing them to soak for a few seconds before transferring to the prepared baking sheet.

Core and thinly slice the unpeeled apple and arrange the slices on top of the bread, then finish off with the sliced Wensleydale cheese. Sprinkle with a little extra cinnamon or nutmeg.

Bake in the oven until golden, should take four to five minutes, then serve, drizzled with a little honey or maple syrup. You could also serve with a spoon of Greek yoghurt or a spoonful of creme fraiche.

The following two tabs change content below.
Hello ... I am the Creative Director and Website Editor for Silversurfers and manage all the social media too. I hope you find the features and articles we have shared with you of interest and relevance. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us ... I hope you enjoy Silversurfers and all that we offer ...

Latest posts by Silversurfers Editor (see all)

Not a member?

Join the silversurfers community today! It's free, easy to do, and is packed full of features and amazing offers!

Join the community!
Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!

More Food

Blackberry and Blueberry Christmas Cake xmas-cake
If you are not a fan of heavy dried fruit cakes then try this light almondy sponge cake speckled...
Pink Lady Apple and Mincemeat Tarts mince-pies
A lighter alternative to traditional mince pies, these simple tarts combine melt in the mouth...
Celebration canapés for the festive season toasted-sourdough
We have compiled a selection of delicious canapés recipes, to help give you some inspiration...
Cranberry and Goats Cheese Filo Parcels berryworld-cranberry-and-goats-cheese-filo-parcels
These golden, tasty and crispy filo parcels are perfect for parties and Christmas entertaining...
Christmas pudding Christmas pudding
The last Sunday before advent is known as Stir-up Sunday because it's the day to get cracking...
Warming Savoury Pies for Cold Weather Steak and mushroom pie
The clocks go back this weekend - winter is well on its way!  What better way to keep cosy...
Weekend Breakfast Three Ways Gluten free American-style pancakes
Lazy Saturday and Sunday mornings are a weekly highlight for many - and what better way to slow...
Kebabs three ways chicken-shashlik-salad
Summer may be over but that doesn't mean you need to give up on grilling - today we've put...
Easy rice dishes for dinner Love-the-Crunch-special-fried-rice
Quick, delicious and easy to pull together, rice dishes make for the perfect mid-week meal...
Easy Bank Holiday Weekend Pasta Recipes Leeks-and-Spaghetti
It's the Bank Holiday weekend - whether you've got big things planned or are just enjoying some...
Chicken and Mozzarella Sandwich Loaf Chicken-and-Mozzarella-Sandwich-Loaf
Our chicken and mozzarella sandwich loaf recipe is a sophisticated spin on a popular lunchtime...
Super simple raspberry jam Fresh Raspberries
Making jam is incredibly easy, and you don't need any special equipment. You can either buy...