Warm Salad of Stinking Bishop, New Potatoes, Bacon and Pears

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It’s fair to say that Stinking Bishop and its washed rind cousins can be divisive. Undeniably stinky, they are the sort of cheeses that can clear a room and leave a lingering impression. I’ve tried Stinking Bishop several times before, with varying degrees of success that led me to the conclusion that I’m not a fan of washed rinds run wild. That’s not to say that they can’t be delicious cheeses, just that you have to pick your moment, unless you’re a fan of very strong cheeses.

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Fromage Friday: Quicke’s Elderflower Clothbound Cheddar

What season are we in right now? It’s easy to lose track. The last four months seem to have merged into one long biblical downpour, punctuated only by the briefest teasing sun-spells. Fortunately, I came across a froth of elderflowers recently, soggy but defiant, the last on the bush, to remind me that apparently it’s summer.

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They also served to remind me about one of the cheeses that I’d tried back in April, when I visited Devon, but never got round to writing about: Quicke’s Elderflower Cheddar.

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Quicke’s Elderflower Cheddar is a hard, pasteurised, cow’s milk cheese, produced by Mary Quicke and her team at Newton St Cyres, near Exeter in Devon. The Quicke family have been farming the pastures here for more than 450 years and the operation is now run by fourteenth-generation Mary Quicke, with other family members. Herds of cows, cross-bred to produce quality (as opposed to quantity) milk roam the fields, where the temperate climate of the West Country bestows a perfect balance of sun and showers.

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Fromage Friday: Snowdrop

This week’s cheese had a lot to live up to. I’d bought it once before at an agricultural show and then left it in my  mother-in-law’s fridge before I’d even opened it. By all accounts they enjoyed eating it. When I managed to buy some more, on another visit to the West Country, it was the first thing I checked had gone into the cool box in the car.

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Cavolo Nero and Sheeps’ Tor Pesto

So much news to pack into one post! Where to begin? Okay, a confession: I bought a spiralizer. Yes, yes, I know, no doubt it will soon be relegated to the spot above the washing machine, along with the pasta machine and the bread-maker. In the meantime, though, I’m having fun with it.

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Fromage Friday: Isle of Wight Blue

I find myself drawn to cheeses for different reasons: maybe because I want to try something from a new region; maybe because I just fancy a certain type of cheese; or sometimes for a random reason. In this case, I thought it had gorgeously striking packaging, so – boom – it was in the bag:

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Cheese Gougères with Cornish Gouda

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I’ve wanted to make gougères for a long time but was afraid that my limited baking skills would falter when it came to choux pastry. I wrote about Cornish Gouda with Honey and Clover a couple of weeks ago and, on tasting it, I could imagine what a great cheese it would be to cook with: sweet but with interesting savoury notes. So, it seemed like the opportune time to get to grips with gougères. I used this Guardian recipe as my basis.

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Fromage Friday: Cornish Gouda with Honey and Clover

I recently wrote about my conversion to cheese with bits in (not that ‘full turkey dinner’ stuff, though, I draw the line at that). Whereas I used to shy away from any cheese that had been ‘mucked about with’ (to quote one cheese professional I met), I am now willing to give such cheeses a try, having found such beauties as Posbury and Vulscombe. So it was that when I recently ordered some cheese, I added this one to the basket:

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Cheddar Cheese and Wild Leek Scones

DSCF0427Last week I was off to see the Barber family, who make Cheddar cheese down in Somerset. I’ve been to see them before but, as they are the guardians of the last traditional cheese cultures, I wanted to talk to their cultures expert (I’m not very scientific so need such things explaining to me at least three times, preferably with pictures). I thought it only polite to take something suitably cheesy with me, so opted for scones, made with their 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar. There’s nothing worse than a cheese scone that isn’t cheesy so the 1833 is a good choice, punchy and tasty as it is.

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Fromage Friday: Olde York

I’m off to Devon for Easter and am looking forward to seeking out some little-known West Country cheeses. However, I’ve become aware recently that my Fromage Friday selections have been displaying a distinct southern bias. So, to redress the balance before I go away, to give Margaret at From Pyrenees to Pennines a fighting chance at tracking down a Fromage Friday cheese (they stock it in Booths!) and to please my mother, this week’s selection is from Yorkshire:

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Vulscombe, Red Pepper and Fennel Tart

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I wondered if I could pass this off as a pie, in honour of British Pie Week. Pie, tart, pastry case, pastry base, it’s all the same surely? But in my heart of hearts I knew I had a tart on my hands (so to speak). Possibly a flan. But not a pie. Last week’s chunk of Vulscombe seemed to deserve something better than just me secretly scoffing it when the house was empty, plus I had a veggie coming for lunch which always throws me into a pickle. This is super easy, even if you make a mess of the puff pastry like I did and don’t use the right-sized baking tray.

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