It’s not every day that you find a link between the name of a cheese and a British prime minister. (I tried very hard here to come up with some suitable puns but I’m afraid that Stilton Churchill, Anthony Edam and Gouda Brown was the best I could do. Apologies. I lay down the gauntlet for anyone to do better.) I stress that I didn’t buy this week’s cheese because of its connections to the Tory party, which would be a bit weird; I only discovered it afterwards. I bought it because it looked good and gooey, so here it is, looking a bit buttery and lovely:
Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know about my nostalgic obsession with autumn. It’s always sad to say goodbye to summer but nice to welcome hot water bottles, cocoa and the smell of real fires. Alas, there is a long-running debate in our house about adding a real fire or logburner and I appear to losing, so I have to take my smoky fixes where I can (note: I realise that this makes me sound like an arsonist so, for the record, I’m not).
This blog is about British cheese, I eat huge amounts of British cheese and my fridge is usually groaning with the stuff. I’ve even had to start lurching about in front of an exercise video, such is my dedication to the stuff. But I have a confession to make. Every few weeks I scuttle off to the Italian delicatessen about ten minutes from where I live to buy an aged goat’s cheese from them. I don’t know what it’s called and neither do they (they seemed quite bemused when I asked them). But it’s lovely and I hadn’t found anything resembling it during my British cheese travels. But then, as the year rolled on through all the various cheese awards, I kept hearing about an aged goat gouda, which was hoovering up gongs left, right and centre. I asked its maker if it was available anywhere in the Big Smoke (it isn’t) and she very kindly sent me some to try. Here it is:
My garden has not been a roaring success this year with the exception of one tomato plant which must be from the genus triffidius. I grew it in a pot but it has nevertheless cleared the fence, encroached across the lawn and invaded next door.
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.
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:
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…
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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