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!
Cheese Nine (you can’t really get a sense of scale with this one – it basically takes up about half of the cheeseboard)
Happy Fromage Friday!
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
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: Continue reading