It’s Burns Night on Sunday and so what better excuse to
mail-order a mahoosive haul of cheese explore another historic Scottish cheese? This time last year I plumped for Caboc, which even its own producer describes as having ‘a taste which should stay in the 1970s’. I have to say I couldn’t disagree with him and so I was hoping for something a little less…ahem…idiosyncratic this time around. The big question though of course remains: will I be able to shoehorn a mention of Robert Burns into this week’s post? So, settle down on your hurdies and get a load of this week’s cheese down your weel-swall’d kytes: I bring you Dunlop.
It’s Burns Night on Sunday and so what better excuse to
Today’s cheese drew me to it like a fossil in a bed of pebbles. Lurking in a cheese shop, I was disappointed to find that they’d reduced their usual selection to less than a dozen. I was grumpy. I’d tried them all before and, although some of them were great cheeses, that wasn’t going to help me find a new one to try and research for Fromage Friday. I was about to flounce from the shop when one cheese caught my eye. It wasn’t labelled and so I’d overlooked it but it had one of those beautiful rinds that made it look like a millstone or an ammonite. I asked the lady in the shop what it was and, sure enough, it was new to me and one that I’d been wanting to try. Praise be! So here it is, the cheesy siren on the rocks that is Old Ford:
As I wrote last week, I was lucky enough to be sent a truckle of Wookey Hole Cave-Aged Cheddar to try and, although we have been gobbling it non-stop throughout the festive period and beyond, it stands undefeated. I swear it grows back overnight. So, I thought I’d use some of it to cook up something suitably troglodyte-friendly. I pondered about what cave-people would eat (probably not mature cheese, to be fair) and the basic principle I came up with was: MEAT.
Happy New Year everyone! Okay, I realise I’m a bit on the late side for that but I’ve been so busy lazing about, scoffing festive cheese, that this poor old blog has been a bit neglected. But here I am, pushing away the tumbleweeds and blowing off the cobwebs, ready to start the year afresh. And what better way to leap back into action than with a great big bear of a cheese?
Most cheeses on this blog I forage for but I was lucky enough to be sent this week’s Fromage Friday. I received it a week before Christmas, then my parents arrived and my dad took a serious fancy to it, along with the Other Half who hasn’t stop guzzling it. Or indeed myself. But the cheese lives on. It’s like the tardis of cheeses. So here it is (and I must apologise to any cheese pros for the photo as so eager was I to get to the cheese that I cut it in half before I read the label on the bottom telling me not to do just that. Whoopsie):
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks what with one thing and another and, sadly, for the first time ever I have had to neglect the blog (and reading everyone else’s too – apologies). New Year will see me return full of cheesy vim and vigour but, in the meantime, I thought I would lead everyone into the festive spirit by sharing the cheeses I have bought for Christmas. And – as if that wasn’t exciting enough – now is the time to see who has been listening to all those Fromage Fridays and who has been sitting at the back of the class flicking rubbers and writing rude verse in the back of their exercise book. Cheese quiz! So, here are nine cheeses. Seven of them are British, two of them are foreign interlopers. Eight of them have featured on the blog before in one way or another. Seven of them I’m going to scoff myself, two of them I bought for a friend (just so you don’t think I’m a complete pig). Score yourself one point for identifying the cheese and a bonus point if you can get the producer, where one is named (the most you can score is sixteen points). It’s just for fun so have a bash and I’ll reveal the results when all the cheeses have been guessed or during the boring bit between Christmas and New Year, whichever comes first. Have yourselves a very Merry Christmas. Ready…Steady…Guess that Cheese!
I was struck by two things recently: one is that it’s flipping chilly now; the other is that I hardly ever feature meaty dishes on this blog. There’s a veritable panoply of bread and quiches but meat-wise only the odd burger and a sprinkling of ham. I don’t know why this is. Cheese and fish together often make me feel a bit queasy but there are plenty of classic cheesy meat dishes out there. So I thought I’d try a bit harder. I’ve also been trying harder to eat more game so when I saw a variation of this recipe in my Ultimate Slow Cooker book, a plan started to come together.
It’s been a heck of a week. Not in a bad way, just in a ‘How much work? And I have to hand in my Masters project (which is about cheese, of course)? And try and keep two offspring alive? Eek.’ So I nearly, very nearly, decided to forgo Fromage Friday this week. But then I remembered that it’s St Andrew’s Day this weekend and I had recently tried a Scottish cheese and so fate stepped in, thwacked me sharply round the back of the head with a rolled-up newspaper and said, ‘Get on with it. Tell them about Dunsyre Blue.’ So here I am. And here is Dunsyre Blue:
Earlier this week I had my fifteen minutes of fame on a radio show called The Dirt, which focuses on gardening and food. Should you be at a very loose end and wish to hear me wittering on about disastrous home-cheesemaking and how people should be able to eat nasty cheese if that’s what they like (fence-sitter, moi?) then you can find it here. I turn up about three quarters of the way through. One of the topics we got on to was ‘cheese with bits in’ and I did at this point declare that I am, on the whole, not a fan. All of which leads me neatly on to this week’s cheese, Posbury. My slab of Posbury was kindly sent to me by a friend who tried it, liked it and thought I might too. My initial thought was ‘Eeek, cheese with bits in!’ So, here it is: Posbury, pre-nibble, with its bitty-bits glittering at me evilly:
I am increasingly loathe to post any variation on a traditional recipe for fear of igniting national indignation à la Jamie and his Jollof rice. Admittedly, my readership is somewhat smaller than Mr Oliver’s but nevertheless I learned my lesson with the whole ‘your Bajan Macaroni Pie looks like thrush’ blogpost episode. However, Tartiflette – a French cheese, bacon and potato combination – sounded like such a divine way to put on half a stone in one sitting that I decided to throw caution to the wind and experiment using a British cheese. I then found out that Tartiflette was actually invented in the 1980s to drum up sales of reblochon cheese and so it felt much less like cultural plunder then anyway.
I confess: I bought this cheese because I thought it was another cheese made by someone else. And also because I’d been sent out to buy blue cheese. But then, rather excitingly, not only did I find out that it was a totally different cheese, I also found out that it was to be the first cheese from Northern Ireland to feature on Fromage Friday and the only raw milk cheese made there. It was also being feted as ‘the next big cheese thing’ by top-end delis. So it must have been cheese fate. Here is Young Buck, masquerading as a cheese made by someone from Buckinghamshire (duh, more fool me): Continue reading