Courgette Fritters with Greenfields Lancashire Cheese

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I’ve not been very prolific at blogging over the summer. This is partly due to children being everywhere, all the time, and partly because I spent two lovely weeks in Greece. Mainly though, my time has been spent fighting a doughty and relentless foe, hell-bent on world domination: courgettes. ‘Three plants will supply the needs of a family for the summer’, said my allotment book. Well, I don’t know what family they were talking about. The Von Trapps? The Waltons? Certainly not our four, two of whom don’t really like courgettes. We’ve had them griddled every night for the last two months but that doesn’t keep them nearly at bay.

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Chard and Westcombe Ricotta Ravioli

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It’s fair to say that there were some doubters in my inner circle when I took on my allotment. The early signs looked likely to prove them right as my garlic rotted, the broad beans got infested with black fly and the slugs and snails rampaged with glee through my emerging seedlings. But, now we’re in the full fling of summer, things are looking good. French beans, runner beans, globe artichokes, onions, courgettes, summer squash, new potatoes and salad are all on the menu, as is the unstoppable rhubarb chard. Although the slugs had only left perhaps six or seven seedlings, they are now the gift that keeps on giving. Relentlessly.

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Fromage Friday: Rosary Ash Goat’s Cheese

Last weekend saw us on a camping trip, as ever featuring limited sleep, the ever-present threat of rain and the usual one in ten odds of vomiting (it wasn’t us this time). In amongst this unalloyed pleasure, we also got to enjoy the beauty of the New Forest. Grazing ponies (and some donks with a deathwish), scrub and furze and babbling brooks, perfect for paddling. Striking and scenic but not, at first glance, obvious cheese country. However, this week’s cheese hails from just up the road from our buffeted tent:

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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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