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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Fromage Friday: Allerdale

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.

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Glamorgan Sausage Rolls

Glamorgan Sausage Rolls

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.
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Fromage Friday: Doddington

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:

Doddington Cheese
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Courgette and Chunky Cheddar Loaf

Courgette and Chunky Cheddar Loaf

The food blogosphere is currently at fever pitch over what to do with a courgette glut. So, not one to strike out independently, here is my own courgette glut:

courgette glut
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Fromage Friday: Harbourne Blue

It’s been a very sheepish Fromage Friday for the last few weeks with St James, Flower Marie and Homewood Ewes Cheese all making an appearance. But the sheepish one this week is me; after tantalising everyone with my promise of cooking something up with the Homewood curd, it all went very wrong. I planned to make stuffed courgette flowers, waiting four days for enough flowers to appear, diligently stuffed them, prepared the batter, heated the oil and then fried them. Oh – except I’d forgotten to batter them first so they all disintegrated on impact. I blame the heat. Sigh. Anyway, onto this week’s cheese which is decidedly goaty:

harbourne blue
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Homewood Fresh Ewes Cheese

I said last week, didn’t I, that you wait for months on this blog and then three ewe’s milk cheeses come along at once? Well, here’s the third. I didn’t mean to choose another sheepy one this week but then I saw these little pots of strained curd, quite unlike any cheese I’ve tried before, so couldn’t resist buying one. Plus, it’s the season for fresh sheep’s milk cheese, given that they tend to stop producing milk in the winter months. So here is the pot of ovine temptation that lured me in:

Homewood Fresh Ewes Cheese
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Nasturtium and Goat’s Cheese Salad

Nasturtium and Goat's Cheese Salad

I’d had my eye on this recipe for the best part of a year, since seeing a local wall festooned with nasturtium flowers last summer. I’d read about them being edible with a slightly peppery taste and thought that they would pair beautifully with goat’s cheese. For weeks I staked the house out, wondering if I could just nab half a dozen or if they’d think I was a lunatic if I knocked on the door and asked for a bunch. And then, the season was over, the moment passed. So this spring I bought a packet, sowed them and waited for them to do their thing.
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