There’s something a bit autumnal in the air, don’t you think? The nights are ‘drawing in’, there’s a chill in the early morning air (and believe me, with two small children I know ‘early’ better than most) and the garden, as well as giving up its tomatoes and chillies, is starting to look a bit sad. We’ve already harvested our first blackberries and have been circling the local sloe bushes in anticipation. After a hot summer of salad and barbeques, my mind is turning to different food; I’m craving something more substantial now, casseroles, pies and soup and bread. And so with all this in mind and with a nod to the changing of the season, I hereby nominate Cheddar cheese as the cheese of the month. Cheddar for me is synonymous with cheesy jacket spuds, the comfort food of my childhood, scoffed whilst watching Grange Hill on a chilly evening. Happy days.
For many Cheddar is the quintessential English cheese. We’re practically weaned on it, it’s the cheese everyone’s got in their fridge, the cheese that most turn to for a sandwich or a snack. With a history dating back to the Romans, these days it’s produced in industrial quantities, with more than 250,000 tons being made each year in the UK alone, and it accounts for 50% of our cheese consumption. Unlike Stilton, Cheddar has no PDO and so can be made anywhere in the world, although only Cheddar produced within four counties (Somerset, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall) may use the name ‘West Country Farmhouse Cheddar.’
For myself this month, I’m looking forward to getting to grips with some real farmhouse Cheddar: cloth-bound, cave-aged and covered in rind. There are lots of producers making traditional Cheddar: Keen’s, Montgomery’s, Barber’s and Westcombe in Somerset; Quicke’s in Devon (who also make goat Cheddar); Denhay in Dorset; and the Scottish Isle of Mull. (Any other Cheddar recommendations, cheese-lovers?) And what to do with it? A truly versatile cheese, I’m thinking tarts and pies, scones and biscuits, sauces and sarnies and, of course, lovely squidgy baked spuds.
And, most excitingly, September will see the unveiling of a brand new Cheddar, the urban-produced, cellar-aged beauty that is Tooting Gold! Yes, my very own Cheddar, which has been sitting happily beneath me (in the cellar, I mean, not like it’s an egg) for more than two months now, fighting off the advances of both mice and rising sewerage, will finally be tasted and hopefully tested by our own in-family cheese judge. Watch this space…
Have a Cheddar recipe in mind? Want to take part in September’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:
Gorgeous Tiny Cheese Muffins
Montgomery’s Cheddar and Salmon Fishcakes
Tomato Cheddar Pie
Quicke’s Cheddar Cheese and Beer Soup
Cheddar Cheese and Potato Pies
Cheddar Cheese and Chilli Bread
Pumpkin, Cauliflower and Mature Cheddar Soup
Skinny Mac and Cheese with Kale and Mushrooms