Making Sparkenhoe Cheese and Disguising Cauliflower


Red Leicester cheese has got a bad rep and, in many cases, deservedly so. Like many British cheeses, farmhouse production was wiped out by the Second World War and, as a result, most Red Leicester comes in a sweaty, claggy block. But, thanks to David and Jo Clarke, farmhouse Red Leicester has risen, zombie-like from its cheesy grave. I discovered Sparkenhoe last year and was blown away by its rich taste of biscuits and brown butter, surrounded by an earthy rind. If you’ve never tried it, get yourself to a monger forthwith; you won’t be disappointed.
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Fromage Friday: Burt’s Blue Cheese

I went to a reunion in Manchester recently – twenty ten years since we started university there, who would believe it? The height of the weekend’s debauchery was my friend’s husband getting thrown out of a pub for falling asleep because he’d been up with the kids since 5am so, hangover-free, we all decided to go for a walk into the city centre during the day. Once, a walk into Manchester would result in one of us getting our nose pierced in Affleck’s Palace (guilty), another gaining a tattoo from a dodgy bloke at the back of the Arndale Centre (not guilty) and purchasing a poster of either a) Pulp Fiction; b) the Blur dogtrack picture; or c) Magic Eye psychedelic cannabis leaves (guilty as charged on all counts). But gone are those days and so I dragged us all to Harvey Nicks to check out the deli counter. I was in search of a local cheese which I’d heard about last year, through Twitter, I think and – huzzah! – there it was:

Burt's blue cheese
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Cheddar and Apple Scone Bread

cheddar and apple scone bread

It’s a funny old time of year. The leaves are falling, the squirrels are going nuts (arf!) but the sun is shining and the tomatoes continue to ripen, thwarting all of my plans for green tomato chutney. I have no idea what to dress in on any given day and so spend much of my time shivering foolishly or sweating attractively. But there’s definitely a whiff of autumn in the air and so I thought I’d pair up those perennial favourites, apples and cheddar. I was pondering scones when I came across this recipe and was so intrigued by the thought of cooking with Shreddies that I had to proceed. The result is quite a dense but tasty sort of soda-esque bread which goes well with soup. Next time I’d cut down on the mustard though; as my six year old patronisingly informed me: ‘Mummy, next time you cook for children, you should think about leaving out the mustard and chillies.’ Yeah, thanks for that, mini-Ottolenghi…
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Fromage Friday: Camelbert

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:

Camelbert cheese

Camelbert cheese
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Fromage Friday: Mrs Temple’s Alpine

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):

mrs temple's wells alpine cheese
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Cheese, Please! – a challenge for September


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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Suffolk Gold and Courgette Fritters

Suffolk Gold and Courgette Fritters

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).
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Fromage Friday: Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses

Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses

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.
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Sourdough Focaccia with Basil and Laverstoke Park Farm Mozzarella

Sourdough focaccia with basil and laverstoke park farm mozzarella

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!
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July’s Cheese, Please! Challenge Recipe Round-Up – Summery Cheese

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.
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