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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
So it seems like soft sheep’s cheeses are like proverbial buses: you wait a year and then two come along at once (yes, that should be three but I think you can have too much of a gooey ovine thing…) This week’s cheese is one that I’ve often spotted in cheese shops but have never bought due to the sheer heft of the thing and the fact you have to buy a whole one. Since starting this blog I’ve had to start walking about 10k a day to avoid turning into one of those people on Channel Five documentaries that have to have the front of their house removed by emergency services to let them out. And I try not to buy pieces of cheese the size of a small house brick. However, the imminent visit of some fellow turophiles gave me the perfect excuse to snap one up this week. So here is Flower Marie:
It’s early in the morning as I write this but the sky is bird’s egg blue and the sun is shining. Of course, in the blink of an eye the rain could be cascading through the drainpipes but nevertheless it feels like a sort of summer has arrived. So, in its honour, I declare July’s Cheese, Please! Recipe Blog Challenge to be all about cheesy summer food.
June has been a busy one, so much so that I’ve had little time to even eat cheese, let alone write about it. A sad state of affairs indeed. Fortunately, my fellow bloggers have waved the cheese standard, passed the cheese baton and generally paid homage to the fromage and so this month’s Cheese, Please! Challenge, as usual, has some lovely recipes, all featuring the abundant, fresh herbs that are verily flourishing at this time of year. So without further delay, I bring you cheese and herbs…