If last month’s Cheese, Please! Challenge featured probably the most common cheese consumed in the UK, this month is all about a cheese that’s much under-used. I wavered about picking sheep’s milk (or ewe’s milk) cheese for fear of scaring people away but then I figured – what’s a challenge if it’s not a challenge?! And besides, when it comes to devising recipes, these cheeses pair beautifully with seasonal fruits, preserves and nuts; with fig jam, black cherry jam and quince jelly or eaten simply with a slice of pear or apple and a handful of walnuts or almonds.
Sheep’s milk cheeses are more common than you might think. Spain brings us Manchego and Idiazábal; from Italy, there’s Pecorino and the lesser-known Canestrato Pugliese PDO; and the French have Ossau-Iraty AOC (voted best cheese in the world in 2011), Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc and a whole host of brebis from the south of the country. Whilst some of these cheeses are only available in specialist shops, others are easily found in any supermarket.
If you can track them down from a good deli or cheesemonger, there’s also a whole host of British hard sheep’s milk cheeses to play with. From the West Midlands, there’s the much-lauded Berkswell; from the West Country, there’s Campscott, Millstone and Fosseway Fleece; the Southeast gives us Lord of the Hundreds, Duddleswell and Spenwood; in Wales there’s Dragon’s Back; and in Scotland, Cairnsmore Ewe.
The taste of these cheeses range from nutty and sweet, even caramel-like, to salty and pungent with lanolin notes. As well as fruits and nuts, such cheeses go well in pastas and risottos and any dish that usually calls for parmesan. They love a drizzle of honey, some artichoke hearts or a handful of winter salad leaves.
Are you up for the Challenge? Or will October be as sparse as a deciduous tree in the autumn wind?!
Want to take part in October’s Cheese, Please! Recipe Blog Challenge? Check out the full rules here.
Write a recipe post using the featured cheese of the month and post it on your blog.
A link to these rules and the Cheese, Please! button (code below) should be included in your post.
Post your recipe url to the Linky at the bottom of this post, including your email and the title of your recipe or post.
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Entries so far:
Spenwood Cheese Souffle with Blackberry Sauce
Tear ‘n’ Share Zucchini and Berkswell Bread
Capsicum & Corn Empanadas with Roasted Tomato & Chipotle Hot Manchego Dip
Leek and Manchego Bread
Salvadoran Breakfast Quesadillas with Lord of the Hundreds
Olde Yorke Sheep’s Cheese and Fig Parcels
Capsicum, Corn and Manchego Migas
Ektori, Leek and Hazelnut Tart
Olive and Cheese Tarts