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
I’d never really thought much about quinces until I got interested in cheese and then it seemed I couldn’t move for falling over a sticky chunk of membrillo. I was desperate to try and make some last year but never managed to track down the elusive quince. When they came back into season this year I searched high and low but there wasn’t a quince to be found anywhere in southwest London. Finally, I gave up and decided to make a version with plums instead but just as I hauled my shopping bag of fruit onto the table an email pinged in from Linda at Mrs Portly’s Kitchen, who was in London with some Suffolk quinces in need of a home. A mad dash across London later and I was the proud owner of half a dozen beautiful golden quinces (many thanks, Linda!)
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: