I was recently lucky to get the opportunity to be a cheese judge at the Global Cheese Awards (don’t worry; I was in a team of people with experience who knew what they were doing so any amateurism on my part was ironed out overall). It was fascinating and great fun too, although I haven’t been able to eat much cheese since after scoffing about 40 different types. Whilst I tried some cheeses that were lovely, some that were okay and one that was truly horrible, there was one in particular that wasn’t up for judging but which caught my eye for obvious reasons: camel cheese. Whilst I couldn’t buy any as very little was made, I did manage to snaffle some and here are some photos to prove it:
Norfolk is not a county renowned for its cheese. Asparagus, definitely. Root crops, certainly. Crabs, absolutely. But ask most people to name a Norfolk cheese and they’d be stumped. In most of my cheese books, East Anglia is indignantly lumped in with ‘The Midlands’ and one of the few references I found to Norfolk was that its dairymaids were renowned for being ‘extremely culpable’ at making ‘rancid’ cheese that they allowed to turn into ‘literally so many bags of maggots.’ Not a glowing reference then. However, having already sampled the magnificent Baron Bigod, I decided to risk another Norfolk cheese this week. Interestingly, Norfolk is not renowned for its towering mountain ranges either – the highest point in the county is only marginally loftier than the end of my not-that-hilly London street – so the moniker ‘Alpine’ was also an interesting one. Anyway, without more ado, here is the cheese (and it was cut like that, it hasn’t been savaged by either me or a giant mouse):
Cheese, Please! is back and this month hosted by the lovely Garden Deli, so do go and check out this beautiful blog :)
Originally posted on The Garden Deli:
I’m excited, honoured, and hugely nervous to be hosting this month’s Cheese, Please! blog challenge. It’s the first time The Garden Deli has been let loose with a blog challenge. But Jane from the brilliantly written blog Fromage Homage has trusted me with her cheesy challenge, so let’s see what we can do…
First up we need a theme. Over the past few weeks I’ve been watching trees full of fruit edge towards ripeness and pondering over what to do with it all. As a result, a theme of cheese n’ fruit springs to mind. Right now I’m looking for ideas to use apples, plums, pears and greengages. But don’t feel you need to limit yourself to these, or indeed just to autumn fruit… if you’re reading this in the southern hemisphere and have a glut of lemons on the tree why not share your recipe ideas. Or if you’re…
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I’ve been away from the blog for a while but never fear on the cheese front; a holiday in Italy ensured that I could eat my own body weight in fresh mozzarella, gorgonzola and pecorino. Expect some diet cheese recipes coming your way soon (if that’s not too much of a contradiction in terms).
It’s fair to say that Suffolk has historically had a bit of an image problem when it comes to cheese. Back in the sixteenth century Suffolk cheese had a good reputation but farmers began to turn to butter production, which was more profitable; cheese made from the resulting skimmed milk was famously hard and inedible. One connoisseur described it as having ‘a horny hardness and indigestible quality’, Samuel Pepys recorded that his wife was ‘vexed at her people for grumbling to eat Suffolk cheese’ and a range of contemporary ditties describe how weevils are unable to penetrate it and rats on ships prefer to eat grindstones. When severe floods and cattle disease caused a drop in production, cheesemongers were only too happy to turn their attentions to Cheshire cheese instead and before long Suffolk cheese receded into folk memory.
A little while ago my Italian food-loving friend pressed some of her sourdough starter on me. Those of you that have followed this blog for a while will know that my success rate with foodstuffs requiring cultures or fermentation is not good. I confess that I wrapped the starter in some clingfilm and put it in the fridge. I then tried to forget about it, put some vegetables on top of it and generally abused it foully for several weeks. But one day I caught sight of it and felt a bit bad. I took it out, poked it, stuck it in a bowl and stirred in a random amount of flour and water. By some miracle, after a few hours, it started to bubble. Praise be, it was still alive!
First of all, apologies for the tardiness of my round-up this month. The summer holidays are taking their toll on my available time as I seem to be engrossed in a constant round of Dinosaur Top Trumps, playhouse-building, learning-to-ride-a-bike supervision and football retrieval. But, as ever, a lovely haul of recipes makes the wait worthwhile.
The advantage of living in London is that there are numerous cheese shops which stock a huge variety of British cheeses; the capital has been an epicentre of cheese commerce for centuries, even before Samuel Pepys was being ‘merry’ with a Cheshire cheese in 1660 (must have made a change from his housemaids). But there are also a myriad of cheeses being made all over the British Isles that rarely or never make it to the Big Smoke and are predominantly sold in local shops and farmers’ markets. I know they’re out there but unless I’m on my travels I often never hear about them. Eventually though, a quality local cheese will pack up its belongings Dick Whittington-style and make it down to one of my emporiums of choice and, when it does, I’m waiting, jaws open like a cat near the hole in the skirting board. So it was when this week’s chunk of regional loveliness hit my local shelves. Snap. Gotcha.
Last weekend was my vegetarian friends’ annual barbeque. Although they are happy to tolerate carnivores and even rig up a separate grill for us to drip our saturated fats all over, I thought I would make an effort and take something veggie-friendly (as well as a pack of sausages and some halloumi…and some beer, obviously). I’d heard of Glamorgan Sausages about a year ago (or Selsig Morgannwg to give them their proper name) and so thought I’d turn them into the ultimate summer picnic food for my herbivorous chums.
I have to admit I’ve been feeling a bit stumped recently when it comes to finding a cheese I haven’t tried before. I know that there are some 700 different cheese in the British Isles and I’ve so far only scoffed a hundred or so of them, so I’ve got some way to go. But even so, having tracked down and raided all the local cheese emporiums on several occasions, I was starting to find it more difficult to track down an unforaged fromage. So it was with some relief that I spotted this week’s cheese, hiding coyly from the heat behind a plastic curtain: