It’s rare that there’s such a thing as ‘left-over’ cheese in our house; it usually denotes that the cheese was a bit ropey in some way, or sometimes it happens with a particularly potent washed rind that no-one else will eat but me and I fail to conquer in time. In the case of this Lanark Blue, I just happened to have bought a whopper of a chunk and I thought that, rather than just scoff it all down in handfuls (which I was doing quite a good job of), I’d see if I could cook something with it to complement its striking flavour.
I’m not much of a baker. As can be witnessed by my cheese-making exploits, anything that requires fermentation usually flummoxes me in some way. But soda bread promised to be fool-proof and so when I came across one of these gnarly old beasts in my vegetable box
and a recipe by Abel and Cole that used it in soda bread, my plan began to come together. I fiddled with their recipe slightly, adding the walnuts, changing the cheese and throwing some salt in and I have to say the result was great; the sharpness of the cheese was a classic combination with the crunchy walnuts and the celeriac gave it a great texture, as well as complementing the flavours. And as it was cooking and the smell of melting blue cheese filled the kitchen, I felt the urge to go and get some watercress, which topped it off perfectly.
175g self raising flour
175g celeriac, coarsely grated
75g Lanark Blue cheese, crumbled into pieces
25g walnuts, broken into bits
Generous pinch of freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon salt
50ml natural yoghurt diluted with 50ml water
Preheat the oven to 180˚C / 160˚C fan assisted / Gas Mark 4.
Mix the flour, celeriac, cheese, walnuts and salt and pepper together gently.
Whisk the milk and egg together and pour it into the flour mix. Gently fold through until it all comes together to form a dough that is very gloopy but just about managing to hold it together. Put it onto an oiled baking tray or a sheet of greaseproof paper.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Serve warm or cold, with soup or with lashings of salty butter and watercress.