Ever since I starting writing this blog, I’ve been thinking about eating cheese, especially artisan cheeses and foreign cheeses that I haven’t tried before. But, unexpectedly, there is one cheese that I can’t stop thinking about. And that cheese is Red Leicester.
I don’t think I’ve eaten Red Leicester for about twenty years. It doesn’t seem to be in vogue these days, doesn’t seem to have had the renaissance that cheddar has, rarely features in cookery magazines or lifestyle features. Nobody ever serves it on a cheeseboard. Or if they did, it would probably be in an ironic way, on cocktail sticks with pineapple chunks, jammed into a tin-foiled potato. It feels like the cheese that time forgot.
Cheddar was the sandwich cheese of choice in our house and, although there was always a slab of Red Leicester in the fridge, I struggle to remember many meals in which it featured. One was in cheesy baked potatoes, which reminds me of bonfires and snowmen and kicking up piles of autumn leaves. It’s still one of my top comfort foods, although I tend to use Cheddar these days. The only other Red Leicester recipe I can remember was my sister’s cheese scones and so scones it must be.
I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes and if you put them in scones then it’s one of your five-a-day and the calories from the butter and cheese absolutely don’t count. This recipe will make about eight to ten scones. Delicious served with soup or just with butter and more cheese. The sweet potato will make them a little denser than your usual scone
or perhaps that’s just my crap baking.
Sweet Potato and Red Leicester Scones
- 125g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon English Mustard powder
- 1 pinch chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 100g cooked mashed sweet potatoes
- 100g of grated Red Leicester
- Milk or beaten egg
Preheat the oven to 200 C / Gas Mark 6.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, mustard powder, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Mix in the sweet potatoes and cheese to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to 0.5 cm thickness. Cut into circles using a scone cutter. Place the scones 2.5cm apart onto a greased baking tray and brush the tops with milk or beaten egg.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
I’ll admit, the Red Leicester I used was bog-standard supermarket fare and so was rubbery with a slight slimy sheen to it. I’m not sure it tasted of much. I’m sure these days someone must be making a nice farmhouse version somewhere. Are they? I’d like to find it. It would be nice to be on speaking terms with Red Leicester again after growing up together.