It could be argued that February’s Cheese, Please! Challenge was cheesy in more ways than one. But with Valentine’s Day smack in the middle of the month like a big, glowing red beacon plus Godminster giving me some lovely heart-shaped cheese to give away, it had to be a romantic theme. Normal cynicism will be resumed in March. But without further ado, onto the round-up and the announcement of the lucky winner…
The first off the bloc with the Valentine vibe was fellow cheese-botherer Sciapod Dairy with her extraordinary Moonraker Cocktail. Seriously – cider garnished with Cheddar, what more does it take to get you in mood? No photo was provided so I
nicked one from elsewhere have provided an artist’s impression.
What could be more romantic than snuggling up with a big plate of comfort food? And so it was that EasyRecipes4You shared a delicious recipe for Cauliflower Cheese with us.
Pizza is a perfect sharing food and so qualifies as romantic, especially when it’s dripping with Reblochon cheese. Bangers and Mash brought us the sumptuous-looking Tartiflette Pizza, covered with potatoes, onion, lardons and garlic. Ooh là là!
Strawberries have always had a bit of a saucy side and so Put on Your Cake Pants took advantage of their romantic nature to match them up with basil and mozzarella and bring us these lovely (and lovey) looking Strawberry Caprese Crostini.
As Foodie Quine herself says, ‘Surely nothing can say love like mechanically-recovered meat.’ With that heart-warming thought in mind, she shared these truly romantic creations, Hot Dog and Cheese Valentine Canapes. You would though, wouldn’t you?
Another one to recognise the fruity (geddit?!) potential in a strawberry, Food Day-Dreaming paired hers with triple cream Brie in a gooey, melty Brie and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast. For breakfast in bed, with champagne? Oh, if I must…
I pitched up next with a creation that caused a kerfuffle, my Chocolate and Cheese Truffles. ‘Chocolate with blue cheese?’ you wailed. ‘Really?’ ‘Yes, really’, I said and scoffed the lot.
Self-confessed Valentine’s scrooge The Pink Rose Bakery threw her own V-day cynicism to the wind with these Spinach, Cheddar and Sweet Potato Waffles. Cheesy and heart-shaped, what more do you need? (Just make sure you don’t get the spinach stuck between your teeth).
Fellow fans of a choc-cheese combo, Rosemary and Pork Belly conjured up these Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Muffins. Using goat’s cheese in perfect combination with layers of chocolate muffin and cheesecake layers, they even have a little chocolate heart as a garnish. Aaawwwww…
Fats and Bird took inspiration from a cheese and romance-filled trip to Tuscany to create a Ricotta, Aubergine, Prosciutto and Tomato Salad that dreams up sunnier days with its Mediterranean ingredients: creamy ricotta and juicy tomatoes, aubergines and peppers.
Food Jam made this as a starter on Valentine’s Day so who could deny the romance? And who could deny the cheese in this Cheese Soufflé with Anchovy Essence, a fluffy pot of Cheddary loveliness, guaranteed to get your heart beating.
The Garden Deli baked up a Nettle and Herb Focaccia with Mozzarella summing up its credentials with ‘mozzarella is from that most romantic of countries, thyme is associated with affection, rosemary has long been a symbol of love and loyalty.’ Nettles were a trickier one to tie in although apparently some people like that kind of thing…
When it comes to romance, Delicieux probably can’t go wrong, cooking an Italian-inspired recipe in France. Combining ‘meaty little ducky chunks’ (and they’re hearts!) with cheese, she cooks up Duck Hearts and Parmesan Risotto for us.
It’s a classic, it’s cheesy and in this case Jibber Jabber’s ‘beloved husband’ loves it so much that he went out and bought the ingredients. You can’t go wrong with a lovely, layery, meaty, cheesy Lasagne.
Caroline Makes brought romance to the table as she made these Cheese-stuffed Meatballs for her boyfriend. And what man could resist a herby, garlicky meatball oozing Cheddar onto a pile of spaghetti?
Flippenblog was inspired by a local cheese discovery in her native South Africa to cook these Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms. Girt big mushrooms stuffed with creamed spinach and two types of cheese – delicious! And check out her romantic table setting!
Sometimes the simplest things can be rather lovely (insert your own sexist joke about an ex-boyfriend here) and so it is that Mrs Portly’s Kitchen uses just potato, cheese, butter and flour to make these Cheesy Potato Farls, heart-shaped and topped with a poached egg.
Vohn’s Vittles uses cheese in these little rye crispbreads, Healthy Hearts for Your Valentine. They’re heart-shaped which ticks the romance box but she also makes them because they’re healthy for Mr Vohn’s heart ‘to show how much I love him.’ Lovely, snivel…
Saucy Gander went for a sweeter option with her Savoury Plum Tarts, gorgeous little puff pastry tartlets topped with caramelised onion, plums, mascarpone cheese, basil and a honey-balsamic drizzle. Saucy is another who says ‘we are not romantic people’ but she does a very good line in romantic poetry 😉
All of which brought us to the end of a month of fromage and frolics. There were so many lovely recipes this month that it gave me palpitations at the thought of having to choose just one winner. In the interests of fairness, I roped in my Other Half (qualifications: loves food, was weaned on cheese by his mother, Mrs Cheese Judge and is the harshest critic I know). We both shortlisted and then got together and had a full-on row to decide the final winner. It was tricky stuff but in the end there can only be one cheese winner and that winner is…
Rosemary and Pork Belly, with their goat’s cheese, chocolate and cherry muffins!
Congratulations to you (email me your contact details) and a big thanks to everyone who shared their recipes this month (especially those from foreign climes who couldn’t even win the cheese). Tune in again next month for more cheese fun but definitely none of that mushy stuff this time.