I planted a vine in the garden a couple of years ago, with the intention of joining our local wine co-operative (yes, there really is such a thing in Tooting). However, despite attempting to take over the entire street, it only ever produces about three bunches of pathetic, raisin-like grapes. The foliage though is lush, especially as the season starts to turn at this time of year, and I’ve had my eye on the leaves for some time.
This Camembert is one that was sent to me by Aldi, as part of their new British artisan cheese range. It’s a soft, pasteurised, cow’s milk cheese produced by Cornish Country Larder at the Trevarrian Creamery, which is situated on the North Cornwall coast between Newquay and Padstow. The company was started in 1996 by John Gaylard, a local goat farmer, who was making a hard goat’s cheese. Business boomed, they diversified into cow’s milk cheeses and in 2011 the company was bought by the co-operative Milk Link, which then merged with big player Arla Foods to create the largest dairy business in the UK. It’s therefore fair to say that this isn’t the sort of cheese made in a bath-tub by a couple of enthusiastic family members. Judging by the mushroomy smell that’s been emanating from my fridge though, it’s pretty darn authentic.
I decided to bake my Camembert in vine leaves. No doubt you could use other, equally pretty, autumn leaves but I was not confident enough in my knowledge of tree toxicology to stray too far. To use vine leaves, you would normally aim for fresh new growth earlier in the year but these leaves were to be purely decorative so I picked them on the basis of loveliness and largeness. I went for garlic, rosemary and honey but you could also experiment with different herbs, such as thyme or sage, or jellies such as quince or redcurrant.
One Cornish Camembert cheese (200g will feed two as a greedy starter)
6-7 medium vine leaves, washed
1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut into pointy slivers
Half a dozen small sprigs of rosemary
Drizzle of runny honey
First, blanch the vine leaves in boiling water for about 4-5 minutes. This will make them pliable enough to handle.
Make small holes in the top of the cheese and poke in the slivers of garlic and sprigs of rosemary. Drizzle honey over the top.
Wrap the cheese in the vine leaves, so that it is completely covered. Secure with cocktail sticks or string. I cooked mine in a garlic baker; you could also use a Camembert baker or a snug baking dish.
Bake for about ten minutes at 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6 until the cheese is gooey inside. Peel back the leaves and serve with bread or crackers.
My freebie disclaimer: This cheese sample was sent to me by Aldi. I have not received any payment for this post, and the views expressed are mine, all mine.